Frequent question: What is the East African Rift Zone?

The East African Rift Valley (EAR) is a developing divergent plate boundary in East Africa. … The Nubian and Somalian plates are also separating from the Arabian plate in the north, thus creating a ‘Y’ shaped rifting system. These plates intersect in the Afar region of Ethiopia at what is known as a ‘triple junction’.

What is the African Rift Zone?

A narrow zone, the rift is a developing divergent tectonic plate boundary where the African Plate is in the process of splitting into two tectonic plates, called the Somali Plate and the Nubian Plate, at a rate of 6–7 mm (0.24–0.28 in) per year.

Where is the East African Rift?

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.

What causes the East African Rift?

The East African Rift is one of the great tectonic features of Africa, caused by fracturing of the Earth’s crust. … The Somalian plate—which is moving away in the other direction—lies to the other side and includes the Horn of Africa. (Note that the image is oriented so that north is to the lower left.)

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What boundary is the Great Rift Valley in Africa?

Today, the term is most often used to refer to the valley of the East African Rift, the divergent plate boundary which extends from the Afar Triple Junction southward across eastern Africa, and is in the process of splitting the African Plate into two new separate plates.

What is the East African Rift an example of?

The East African Rift Valley (EAR) is a developing divergent plate boundary in East Africa. Here the eastern portion of Africa, the Somalian plate, is pulling away from the rest of the continent, that comprises the Nubian plate.

How fast is Africa splitting apart?

The three plates are separating at different speeds. The Arabian plate is moving away from Africa at a rate of about 1 inch per year, while the two African plates are separating even slower, between half an inch to 0.2 inches per year, according to Macdonald.

Is Africa breaking apart?

The African continent is slowly separating into several large and small tectonic blocks along the diverging East African Rift System, continuing to Madagascar — the long island just off the coast of Southeast Africa — that itself will also break apart into smaller islands.

How Africa is divided?

The African continent is commonly divided into five subregions: North or Northern Africa, West Africa, Central or Middle Africa, East Africa, and Southern Africa.

How deep is the East African Rift Valley?

Valles Marineris reaches depths of up to 7 kilometers (4 miles) and spans about 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles) long. That’s about 20% of the diameter of Mars itself! With so much volcanic and tectonic activity going on there, the East African Rift Valley is a potent power source.

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What if African continent broke apart?

As the plates continue to pull away from each other, the rift valley will sink deeper and deeper, and water from the Red Sea will flood in to create a new ocean. Africa will become a lot smaller, as parts of southern Ethiopia and Somalia will drift off to form a new island.

What will happen to the Great Rift Valley in Africa eventually?

Eventually, it will rupture, leading to the formation of a rift valley. This process is accompanied by surface manifestations along the rift valley in the form of volcanism and seismic activity. Rifts are the initial stage of a continental break-up and, if successful, can lead to the formation of a new ocean basin.

How many volcanoes are in the East African Rift Valley?

More than 100 young volcanoes – that have had activity within about 10,000 years – dot the landscape of the East African Rift – an area that runs for more than 3000 kilometres from Djibouti and Eritrea, down through Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania.

What countries does the Great Rift Valley go through?

The Rift Valley consists of a group of independent interior basins, extending from Djibouti in the north to Tanzania in the south, nearly half being located in Ethiopia.

Name of basin Total area of basin Area in the country
Uganda 4 514
Kenya 102 452
Southern lakes: 178 800
Kenya 25 000

How is the African Rift Valley formed?

Geologists know that the Rift Valley was formed by violent subterranean forces that tore apart the earth’s crust. These forces caused huge chunks of the crust to sink between parallel fault lines and force up molten rock in volcanic eruptions.

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What’s an example of a rift valley?

Very few active rift valleys are found on continental lithosphere. The East African Rift, the Baikal Rift Valley, the West Antarctic Rift, and the Rio Grande Rift are Earth’s major active continental rift valleys. The East African Rift is part of the “Great Rift Valley” system discussed below.

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