The African continent is breaking in two, with large cracks appearing over thousands of kilometers. A new ocean may form

The African continent is slowly but surely breaking apart. The process is very slow and time consuming. Researchers say it could take 5 to 10 million years for East Africa to separate from the rest of the continent and form a new ocean between the two landmasses. IFL Science.

This process is associated with the East African Rift System (EARS), one of the largest rifts in the world, which stretches for thousands of kilometers and crosses several African countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia, Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique.

A map of East Africa showing some historically active volcanoes (red triangles) and two parts of the African plate (Nubian and Somali) breaking apart at the East African Rift Zone. Photo: USGS

In fact, since 2004, geologists have been saying that the African plate will split into two: the smaller Somali plate and the larger Nubian plate, moving very slowly away from each other by only a few millimeters a year.

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In 2018, information about a crack in Kenya went viral. Many have argued that this is proof that Africa is breaking into two. Although the information may be related to the EARS, it is unlikely to be the source of the African Great Rift, but rather a form of valley rifting activity. The ears have been in this process for about 25 million years, and Kenya is indirect evidence of what is happening on the rift continent.

However, in 5 – 10 million years, changes in the ears will lead to a completely different world. During this time, a new ocean may form between the two continental plates.

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Strange as it may seem, the Earth’s surface is in constant, very slow motion. IFL Science writes that the origin of the world as we know it is relatively new. The land and oceans we see today are the result of millions of years of moving tectonic plates that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.

We can only think of the continental divide when South America and Africa separated about 138 million years ago. If we look at the west coast of Africa and the east coast of South America, we notice that they fit together as two pieces of a puzzle, illustrating how these continents were once connected.

Publisher: GM

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