Is Africa splitting in TWO?

Fears Africa could split in TWO after enormous crack stretching for miles appears – and it is growing

-Is Africa splitting in TWO? A huge crack in Kenya that is growing could mean the continent will break up

-Plates can rupture, forming a rift and creating new plate boundaries

-East African Rift system is an example of where this is happening

-There is currently activity along the eastern branch of the rift valley

-This became evident when the large crack appeared in south-western Kenya

-Eventually, over tens of millions of years, this could cause Africa to split in two

A large crack, stretching several miles, made a sudden appearance recently in south-western Kenya.

The tear, which continues to grow, caused part of the Nairobi-Narok highway to collapse and was accompanied by seismic activity in the area.

The rift continues to grow and an expert says it’s evidence that the continent is breaking apart.

The crack has been accompanied by seismic activity and it has caused part of the Nairobi-Narok highway in in south-western Kenya to collapse, said Dr Lucia Perez Diaz.

Over a period of tens of millions of years, she said, the tear will become so big that the ocean will flood in and parts of Ethiopia and Somalia, including the Horn of Africa, will become an island, separating them from the mainland.

Dr Diaz, a postdoctoral researcher at the Fault Dynamics Research Group, at Royal Holloway, University of London, has written an article for the Conversation explaining how Africa will split apart.

She said tectonic plates in the Earth’s crust and upper mantle can create a rift when they rupture, and an active example is the East African Rift Valley where the crack has appeared.

Ms Perez Diaz wrote: “The East African Rift Valley stretches over 3,000km [1,800 miles] from the Gulf of Aden in the north towards Zimbabwe in the south, splitting the African plate into two unequal parts: the Somali and Nubian plates.

“Activity along the eastern branch of the rift valley, running along Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania, became evident when the large crack suddenly appeared in south-western Kenya.”

Rifts are the initial stage of a continental break-up and, if successful, can lead to the formation of a new ocean basin, she added.

The scenario played out when a huge land mass broke in two, creating what’s now known as South America and Africa around 138 million years ago.

The process called continental rifting involves a large “magma plume” which forces the Earth’s crust upwards, causing it to weaken and break apart.

Researchers have found evidence of a hotter-than-normal plume – called the “African Superswell” – in the rift valley.

The rift that has appeared in Kenya is spreading at just a few millimetres per year.

Dr Perez Diaz wrote: “Eventually, over a period of tens of millions of years, seafloor spreading will progress along the entire length of the rift.

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