Science 2 min read

Great Rift Valley Shows Evidence that Africa is Splitting into Two Continents

Theories on a possible split being formed on the African continent have been bolstered after a large crack appeared in Kenya's Great Rift Valley region.

Great Rift Valley | Shankar S. | Flickr.com

Great Rift Valley | Shankar S. | Flickr.com

A large crack in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley is being considered proof that Africa is splitting in two.

Recently, Kenya’s Great Rift Valley made headlines after anthropologists discovered artifacts in the region showing early human innovations. Now, local media outlets have reported that a giant crack has appeared in the middle of the Mai Mahiu-Narok Road.

According to geologists, the crack is an indicator that Africa is slowly splitting apart. The Daily Nation reported that the crack now measures around 50 feet deep and over 20 meters wide.

According to geologist David Adede, the crack may have been filled with volcanic ash coming from the nearby volcano Mt. Longonot.

“The valley has a history of tectonic and volcanic activities,” Adede was quoted as saying. “Whereas the rift has remained tectonically inactive in the recent past, there could be movements deep within the Earth’s crust that have resulted in zones of weakness extending all the way to the surface.”

Read More: New Evidence of Early Innovation Pushes Back Human Evolution Timeline

A series of heavy rainfall late last month reportedly exposed the massive crack. Scientists said that the area where the crack appeared is just one of the many weak spots in the Great Rift Valley. These cracks and fissures run throughout the continent, starting from the Horn of Africa and ending in Mozambique.

Currently, the Horn of Africa covers four countries: Somalia, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Kenya. In the next 50 million years, scientists predict that the land mass where these four nations are located will split from Africa. This will form a new continent known as the Somali Plate.

Since movements deep within Earth’s crust are causing the problem, filling the crack with concrete and rocks is only considered a temporary solution.

“You cannot stop a geological process because it occurs from deep within the crust of the Earth,” Adede explained.

People living near the crack began evacuating their homes yesterday, with one elderly local claiming that staying there is like courting death. Mary Wambui, 72 years of age, was reportedly having dinner with her family when “the Earth suddenly cracked beneath their feet,” splitting their home into two.

Do you think this could soon be a major issue in the region? Or is it something for future generations to worry about?

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Rechelle Ann Fuertes

Rechelle is an SEO content producer, technical writer, researcher, social media manager, and visual artist. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with family and friends.

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