Africa is the second largest continent in the world after Asia. I’ve scratched the tip of Africa going to Morocco and supposedly Tunisia as a young fella but have zero recollection of it. That said what many people may not realize is that Africa is also in the process of splitting in two. This is known as the East African Rift System, and it has been occurring for millions of years but doesn’t seem like everyday news so heres some Natural News for ya 🙂
To give ya the jist of it, the African continent is actually made up of a bunch of tectonic plates that are movin’ and shiftin’ all the time. And right now, two of those plates – the Nubian plate and the Somali plate – are driftin’ apart from each other. It’s happenin’ super slow, like less than an inch a year, but over time it’s gonna have a major impact. The East African Rift System is not just one rift, but more like a network of rift valleys, active volcanoes and lakes that run from the Red Sea in the north to the Zambezi River in the south, some wild carry on.
The Nubian Plate, which makes up most of Africa, is moving northwards towards Europe at a rate of about 2.5 centimeters per year. The Somali Plate, on the other hand, is moving southwards towards Antarctica at a similar rate. As these two plates move in opposite directions, the rift valley between them widens and deepens.
This carry on is nothing new but what makes the East African Rift System unique is the speed at which it is happening. Scientists estimate that the rift is widening at a rate of about 6-7 millimeters per year which may not seem like a lot but over the course of a few million years, it adds up.
All this moving and shaking has already created mad geological features over time including the East African Great Lakes, which include Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika, and Lake Malawi. These lakes were formed by the movement of the rift, which caused the Earth’s crust to sink and fill with water. The rift has also created some of Africa’s most famous volcanoes, including Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Nyiragongo.
On the flip side the movement of the tectonic plates can cause earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, which can be devastating for local communities. While the rift has the potential to create new water sources and fertile land it also has the potential to dry up existing water sources and create deserts.
The real kicker is what’s gonna happen when the two plates finally split completely. Right now, the East African Rift Valley is forming, which is gonna eventually lead to a massive ocean basin that’ll separate the continent in two. That’s gonna have all sorts of effects on the landscape, the climate and the people who live there. The East African Rift System serves as a reminder of the constant and wild ongoing processes taking place beneath our feet as we speak that shape our planet.
As always thank you 🙂