CRACKING UP: Huge crack stretching several miles sparks fears Africa is splitting in TWO
The growing tear in the continent has caused part of the Nairobi-Narok highway in Kenya to collapse.
By Guy Birchall, March 31, 2018
(The Sun) — Now tectonic boffins are claiming Africa could split in several million years.
Dr Lucia Perez Diaz, Postdoctoral Researcher at the Fault Dynamics Research Group, London’s Royal Holloway, explained how this continental rupture could occur.
Writing for The Conversation she said: “The East African Rift Valley stretches over 3,000km from the Gulf of Aden in the north towards Zimbabwe in the south, splitting the African plate into two unequal parts: the Somali and Nubian plates.
“Activity along the eastern branch of the rift valley, running along Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania, became evident when the large crack suddenly appeared in south-western Kenya.”
The process is known as “continental rifting” and requires huge forces to be exerted on the Earth.
Underneath the crust a “magma plume” forms forcing the crust up and eventually splitting it.
Dr Diaz added: “Eventually, over a period of tens of millions of years, seafloor spreading will progress along the entire length of the rift.
“The ocean will flood in and, as a result, the African continent will become smaller and there will be a large island in the Indian Ocean composed of parts of Ethiopia and Somalia, including the Horn of Africa.”
The active rift zone is currently spreading at a few millimetres per year.
This means that in around 10 million years, a new ocean will emerge as the rip continues to tear East Africa apart.