Colossal Fissure In Africa Will Pave The Path For A New Ocean

InterestingShitPublished: June 28, 2017Updated: July 4, 2017140,828 plays$350.32 earned
Published: June 28, 2017Updated: July 4, 2017

It seems like the world's second biggest continent is starting to create conditions for the world's sixth ocean!

The two tectonic plates beneath the continent of Africa are slowly but surely moving away from each other. The tectonic movement has created a crack in the desert that could house a new ocean in the future. The fissure, located in Ethiopia, has reached lengths of 60 kilometers in recent years and sealed itself with 2.5 cubic kilometers of molten rock, as volcanoes are coming alive and erupt on the surface. This volcanic activity is identical to what happens at the bottom of the oceans. It will eventually create a basin for a new ocean.

The only eruption of the Dabbahu volcano in recorded history occurred on September 26, 2005. The eruption began 5 kilometers northeast of the summit, while ash from the eruption darkened the area surrounding the volcano for nearly 3 days. It was this eruption that formed the 37 mile long fissure. The tectonic plates are moving apart at a rate of 2 centimeters each year, so when the fissure completes itself, it will span from from the Red Sea in the north, taking water from the Gulf of Aden, all the way down to the Horn of Africa, separating it from the rest of the continent. From a crack in the desert to the world’s sixth ocean.

Even though the new ocean splitting the African continent is only growing about as fast as a fingernail, scientists are monitoring the changes with bated breath. After all, the ability to witness a process that is typically inaccessible has the makings of a once-in-a-career opportunity. How long will you have to wait until you can dip your toes in this new ocean? We guess that you could make an arrangement in about a million years or so. Don’t grab your surfboard yet, you still have time to get ready.

The Earth is an ever-changing planet, even though in some respects change might be almost unnoticeable to us. Plate tectonics is a good example of this. But every now and again something dramatic happens and leads to renewed questions about the African continent splitting in two. The Earth’s lithosphere (formed by the crust and the upper part of the mantle) is broken up into a number of tectonic plates. These plates are not static, but move relative to each other at varying speeds, “gliding” over a viscous asthenosphere. Exactly what mechanism or mechanisms are behind their movement is still debated, but are likely to include convection currents within the asthenosphere and the forces generated at the boundaries between plates.

These forces do not simply move the plates around, they can also cause plates to rupture, forming a rift and potentially leading to the creation of new plate boundaries. The East African Rift system is an example of where this is currently happening. When the lithosphere is subject to a horizontal extensional force it will stretch, becoming thinner. Eventually, it will rupture, leading to the formation of a rift valley.

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      Giggle · 1 year ago

      We MUST separate the Horn of Africa from the rest of Africa AT ALL COSTS!