March 29, 2023

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Is Africa splitting in two? Understand the “show” that is going on

Posted on 3/8/2023 8:54 PM

A wreck that appeared in Kenya in 2018 reminded locals of the movement taking place on the African continent – (Credit: Youtube/Reproduction)

Earth, in the future, may have more than six continents: Africa is divided into two large rock blocks. In 2005, the discovery of an extensive rupture at Val da Fenda, which widens every year, revealed to geologists in the area that a new sea had formed at the site, separating the two rock blocks once. But what motivates this enormous change in rate?

According to Edwin Dindi, a doctor and professor of geology in the Department of Geography at the University of Nairobi’s Faculty of Science and Technology, the separation is caused by frictional movements of tectonic plates, a movement that marks the region as the Great Rift Valley or Rift Valley.

“The plates are in a flow of motion, moving against each other in some fault zones, and there is movement that creates more faults,” the professor told the African newspaper. The New Times On February 20 this year.

The rift valley stretches for 6,400 kilometers and extends through Jordan, Southwest Asia, central Mozambique, and further south into Africa – on the African continent, the rift begins in the north of Ethiopia. The process of separation is seen most extensively in what geologists call East Africa, made up of Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

  • The sides of the continents separated by the rift are called the Nubian plate (larger side, left) and the Somali plate (smaller, left).

  • The illustration shows what the new continents will look like after Africa breaks up

The naked eye can already observe the displacement of a small part of Africa, called by experts the Somalia plate, from a similar area of ​​a larger size, called the Somalia plate. Earth’s visible opening and continental separation occurs through the rise of magma spurts from the planet’s interior, which thin the Earth’s crust until it causes rupture.

In 2018, a major rupture occurred in Kenya and also endangered drivers passing through the area. Although caused by heavy rains in the region, according to geologists, the crater demonstrates the weaknesses of the region near the Val da Fenda – further proof that the breakaway from the continent is an inevitable path.

Frictional movement of tectonic plates in Africa was responsible for the formation of the continents we know today after the breakup of the supercontinent Pangea, which divided the Earth into six rock blocks. According to the geologist, the natural forces on the earth pressurize the place causing separation, and when it separates, a new ocean will form.

“But it doesn’t happen instantly, it’s something that happens after millions of years”, confirms Edwin. The expert says that it took about 30 million years for the first signs of eruptions to appear on the continent, and now more than 3,000 kilometers are visible in Africa, with an average growth rate of 2.5 to 5 centimeters per year.

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