Africa is splitting in two: this is how it will remain

Africa is slowly but steadily splitting in two. Like any geological phenomenon, it is an extremely long process that will take millions of years to complete, but will ultimately cause part of eastern Africa breaks away from the rest of the continentlikely resulting in the creation of a new sea between the two resulting landmasses.

This colossal rupture is related to the East African Rift System (EARS), one of the largest rifts in the world and which extends for thousands of kilometers through several countries in Africa, including Ethiopia, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia, Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique.

This system of cracks actually shows that the african plate is splitting into two subplates: the smaller Somali plate and the larger Nubian plate. They are separating from each other at a tremendously slow speed, only a few centimeters per year, according to a 2004 study.

The end result will probably be that the region of the Horn of Africa separates itself from the restforming a kind of large elongated island.

A huge crack came out of nowhere in 2018

In 2018, specifically on March 18, the residents of a small town in the southeast of Kenya believed they were victims of a catastrophic event. They literally saw the ground open under their feet, creating a gigantic crack that reached several kilometers in length and a depth of twenty meters. They had never seen anything like it.

This rift was related to the East African rift and is a demonstration of how it is evolving.

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Geologist Lucía Pérez Díaz, from the Dynamic Fault Research Group at Royal Holloway College, stated in the magazine The Conversation that “existing activity along the eastern branch of the Rift Valley, which runs through Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania, became apparent when the large fissure suddenly appeared in southwestern Kenya.”

For Perez Diaz, this rifting It is unique on the planet because it allows live observation of the different stages of cracking.

The most interesting fracture, he writes, began in the Afar region of northern Ethiopia about 30 million years ago. Since then, it has been spreading south towards Zimbabwe, to an average of between 2.5 and 5 centimeters per year.

Currently in Afar the solid outer layer of the Earth, called the lithosphere, has been reduced to the point of almost complete rupture.

When it breaks, Pérez Díaz details, a new ocean will begin to form and, “in a period of tens of millions of years, the seabed will advance along the entire crack.”

“As a result, the African continent will become smaller and there will be a large island in the Indian Ocean made up of parts of Ethiopia and Somalia, including the Horn of Africa“, it states.


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