The most well-known rift valley on Earth is probably the so-called “Great Rift Valley System” which stretches from the Middle East in the north to Mozambique in the south. The area is geologically active, and features volcanoes, hot springs, geysers, and frequent earthquakes.
What is the Great Rift Valley and why is it important?
The system of rift valleys that characterizes the African continent represents a perfect environment to understand the evolution of mankind; for the important paleoanthropological discoveries in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zaire, the African rift valleys are indeed considered the “cradle of mankind”, that is …
How was the Great East African Rift Valley formed?
The East African Rift Valley, as the region is known, formed where the Somalian and Nubian plates are pulling away from the Arabian Plate. … The eastern branch formed around 25 to 30 million years ago, whereas the western branch formed only 10 to 15 million years ago — or at least that’s what scientists thought.
Where is the Great African Rift Valley?
The Great Rift Valley is a series of contiguous geographic trenches, approximately 7,000 kilometres (4,300 mi) in total length, that runs from the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon which is in Asia to Mozambique in Southeast Africa.
What caused the East African Rift Valley?
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. …
What is the largest rift valley on Earth?
The largest and deepest rift valley yet discovered is not on Earth—it’s on Mars. Valles Marineris was formed millions of years ago, when the rocky Martian lithosphere was still rifting and shifting. Valles Marineris reaches depths of up to 7 kilometers (4 miles) and spans about 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles) long.
What is the Great Rift Valley used for?
This area is part of the Great Rift Valley, where Africa is slowly pushed and pulled apart by uprising material in earth’s mantle. Eventually, the rift will become deep enough to host a new ocean, separating Eastern Africa from the rest of the continent.
What will eventually happen if a Rift Valley continues to pull apart?
If these two rift zones continue they will break apart the crustal plates they are located on and will create new plates. Sea water will flood the rift valleys and they will eventually become seas like the Red Sea.
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|
|Southern lakes:||178 800|
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.
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.
Who lives in the Great Rift Valley?
An estimated 1,000 to 1,500 Hadza live in the central Great Rift Valley and the surrounding plains in north-central Tanzania, where they subsist almost entirely off the land: hunting animals, foraging for roots and fruit, gathering honey.
How long is the African Rift Valley?
East African Rift System, also called Afro-Arabian Rift Valley, one of the most extensive rifts on Earth’s surface, extending from Jordan in southwestern Asia southward through eastern Africa to Mozambique. The system is some 4,000 miles (6,400 km) long and averages 30–40 miles (48–64 km) wide.
Is Africa breaking apart?
It is an active continental rift that began millions of years ago, splitting at 7mm annually. The regular eruption of volcanoes along the rift and new insights into the break up of continents adds to the belief that the continent may be splitting to form a new ocean.
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.
What if the 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.