The most recent and accepted view is the theory put forth in 2009: that magmatism and plate tectonics have a feedback with one another, controlled by oblique rifting conditions.
At that time it was suggested that lithospheric thinning generated volcanic activity, further increasing the magmatic processes at play such as intrusions and numerous small plumes.
These processes further thin the lithosphere in saturated areas, forcing the thinning lithosphere to behave like a mid-ocean ridge.
A map of East Africa showing some of the historically active volcanoes (as red triangles) and the Afar Triangle (shaded at the center), which is a so-called triple junction (or triple point) where three plates are pulling away from one another: the Arabian Plate and two parts of the African Plate—the Nubian and Somali—splitting along the East African Rift Zone.
In the past, it was considered to be part of a larger Great Rift Valley that extended north to Asia Minor.