Huge Kenyan crack points to an Africa split in two
The downpour in Kenya exposed a fault line that geologists now say is evidence that the African continent will split into two over time
Continents around the globe fit in like a jigsaw puzzle and if that isn't anything new then there's a high possibility that Africa may split into two parts following a huge crack tearing the continent in two.
Heavy rain in March has already caused havoc in Kenya with floods and major building collapses but the most concerning of it all has been an exposed faultline that geologists affirm is an evidence of the African continent splitting into two over the next tens of millions of years. It so happened that the floodwaters created a rift stretching several kilometers near Mai Mahiu town in the Rift Valley, ripping a major highway open and creating a deep gully that sucked in cars.
Some scientists blame the seismic tremors and tectonic shifts occurring in the region but many believe that there are no record of seismic activity, and such cracks can form through “piping,” a geological activity that occurs when heavy rainfalls cause the softer layers underground to buckle under pressure.
The East African Rift System (EARS), an active continental rift zone in East Africa is a part of the Great Rift Valley, that stretches thousands of kilometers, starting from the Gulf of Aden in the north to Mozambique in the south.
The EARS is an actively developing rift, a process that will slowly thin the earth’s lithosphere crust, spread the seafloor, stretch and break the topography through faulting, and eventually break the continent apart. Once this process is completed, most of Africa will remain on what is known as the Nubian Plate, while Somalia and parts of Kenya, Ethiopia, and Tanzania will form a new continent on the Somali Plate. Over the last few years, the subject has been of a keen interest to scientists who have been studying how and why these two massive chunks of land are slowly breaking apart. It’s also not the first time that huge crevices have opened up in the Horn of Africa region: scientists have recorded new splits in the Afar Triangle, which cuts across Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti.
Historically, this is the same process that led to the break up of Africa and South America around 138 million years ago.
Scientists argue that just because we aren’t visibly seeing the fracture happening, doesn’t mean a new continent isn’t forming at a staggering speed.
“Dramatic events, such as sudden motorway-splitting faults or large catastrophic earthquakes may give continental rifting a sense of urgency but, most of the time, it goes about splitting Africa without anybody even noticing,” Lucia Perez Diaz, a postdoctoral researcher on tectonics at the University of London, wrote on March 29, 2018.