1. n. [Geology]
In plate tectonics, a failed rift arm. At the junctions of tectonic plates, three intersecting lithospheric plates typically are separated by "arms." Arms might be areas of rifting, convergence, or transform faults (similar to a strike-slip fault). The arm along which the motion that spreads the plates apart ceases is termed the failed arm, or aulacogen. Spreading or rifting along the other arms of the triple junction can form new oceanic basins, whereas the aulacogen can become a sediment-filled graben.