This report studies the causes and effects of extensional tectonics which results in the formation of rift basins. Essentially, all ocean basins form as a result of continental extension.

The causes of this crustal extension which will be discussed first in the report  include mantle convection, mantle plumes, opposing forces from slab pull and ridge push, and gravitational collapse.

Consequences of these factors acting individually or together can result in rifting, earthquakes, volcanism, ocean basins  and petroleum resovoirs. Rifting results in faulting (as discussed in the tectonic structures section) ranging from small to large faults, and those driven by gravity. Faulting may also make metamorphic rocks visible at the surface and at any time, fault linkage can form.

Lastly, taking all these factors into account, two main models have come about explaining two quite opposite views- the Mckenzie model and the Wernicke model.. In an attempt to bridge the two theories, the flexural cantilever model has been proposed incorporating aspects of both models.