The crustal and tectonic structure of the Red Sea and especially the maximum northward extent of the (ultra)slow Red Sea spreading centre has been debated—mainly due to a lack of detailed data. Here, we use a compilation of earthquake and vertical gravity gradient data together with high-resolution bathymetry to show that ocean spreading is occurring throughout the entire basin and is similar in style to that at other (ultra)slow spreading mid-ocean ridges globally, with only one first-order offset along the axis. Off-axis traces of axial volcanic highs, typical features of (ultra)slow-spreading ridges, are clearly visible in gravity data although buried under thick salt and sediments. This allows us to define a minimum off-axis extent of oceanic crust of <55 km off the coast along the complete basin. Hence, the Red Sea is a mature ocean basin in which spreading began along its entire length 13 Ma ago.
© 2021, The Author(s).