Nat Commun. 2022 Sep 15;13(1):5405. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-32293-1.
Feedbacks between climatic and geological processes are highly controversial and testing them is a key challenge in Earth sciences. The Great Escarpment of the Arabian Red Sea margin has several features that make it a useful natural laboratory for studying the effect of surface processes on deep Earth. These include strong orographic rainfall, convex channel profiles versus concave swath profiles on the west side of the divide, morphological disequilibrium in fluvial channels, and systematic morphological changes from north to south that relate to depth changes of the central Red Sea. Here we show that these features are well interpreted with a cycle that initiated with the onset of spreading in the Red Sea and involves feedbacks between orographic precipitation, tectonic deformation, mid-ocean spreading and coastal magmatism. It appears that the feedback is enhanced by the moist easterly trade winds that initiated largely contemporaneously with sea floor spreading in the Red Sea.