Giant Crack in Africa Will Create a New Ocean

Researchers believe that a newly opened rift in the Ethiopian desert will one day become a new ocean. The crack, 35 miles long, opened in a matter of days in 2005, set in motion by a volcanic eruption and forced apart by magma pushing up through the middle of the rift.

The African and Arabian plates meet in the remote Afar desert of Northern Ethiopia and have been spreading apart in a rifting process – at a speed of less than 1 inch per year – for the past 30 million years. This rifting formed the 186-mile Afar depression and the Red Sea. The thinking is that the Red Sea will eventually pour into the new sea in a million years or so. The new ocean would connect to the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, an arm of the Arabian Sea between Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula and Somalia in eastern Africa.

(via kottke)

11.05.2009Tagged with: