Kenya | Lucía Pérez Díaz | The gigantic rift that is splitting Africa in two and would form a new ocean | NNDC | WORLD

On March 18, 2018, the land began to open up in the rural town of Mai Mahiu, in southwestern Kenya, located 50 kilometers from Nairobi, after going through several weeks of heavy rains, floods and earthquakes.

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“My wife started yelling at the neighbors asking them to come help us to get our belongings.”, said Eliud Njoroge to the Reuters agency.

From that moment, the crack in the concrete floor of their house began to expand over the days until they were evacuated, like the other affected families.

“The cracks run almost in a straight line, so you can project them. If you see a crack heading your way, get out of its way “the Kenyan geologist explained David Adede.

This fissure is kilometers long and a couple of tens of meters wide, which is associated with the tectonic fault known as the East African Rift Valley. According to experts, the huge rift could separate Africa in two.

Africa without the Horn

Geologists consider that “sometime” the Horn of Africa will be released from that continent, as happened with South America and Africa 138 million years ago.

Scientist Lucía Pérez Díaz told the scientific journal that the East African Rift Valley stretches for more than 3,000 kilometers: “From the Gulf of Aden, in the north, to Zimbabwe, in the south, dividing the African plate into two equal parts: the Somali and the Nubian”.

Furthermore, he argues that “Activity along the eastern branch of the Rift Valley, which runs through Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania, became apparent when the great rift suddenly appeared in southwestern Kenya”.

For the geologist of the Royal Holloway College’s Dynamic Failure Research Group, this rift allows observing the different stages of cracking in vivo, therefore, it is unique.

Pérez Díaz predicts that a new ocean will begin to form: “In a period of tens of millions of years, the seabed will advance along the entire rift”.

“The ocean will flood and as a result the African continent will get smaller and there will be a large island in the Indian Ocean made up of parts of Ethiopia and Somalia, including the Horn of africaadded.


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