Does Africa consist of two continents? 2023

Africa is progressively splitting apart. According to the Geological Society of London, the East African Rift is a 2,175-mile (3,500-km) network of valleys from the Red Sea to Mozambique.

Will Africa be entirely divided? When? Let’s examine the area’s tectonic plates, which can clash to produce mountains or split away to generate wide basins.

According to NASA Earth Observatory, the Somali tectonic plate juts eastward from the biggest and oldest region of Africa, the Nubian plate, via this huge rupture in East Africa. (The Somali plate is also known as the Somali plate, and the Nubian plate as the African plate.)

Northern Somali and Nubian plates split from the Arabian plate. These plates form a Y-shaped fault system in Ethiopia’s Afar region, according to the Geological Society of London.

Slow break

Between the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa in eastern Africa, the East African Rift formed 35 million years ago. He told Live Science that Cynthia Ebinger, president of geology at Tulane University in New Orleans and science advisor to the US State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs. This rift reached south to northern Kenya 25 million years ago.

Two parallel Earth crust cracks produce the fault. The eastern rift stretches across Ethiopia and Kenya, while the western rift arcs from Uganda to Malawi, according to the Geological Society of London. NASA’s Earth Observatory says the eastern branch is dry while the western branch borders the Congo rainforest.

Eastern and western rifts and marine earthquakes and volcanoes Epbinger adds that Africa is steadily opening up along many streaks, totaling around 0.25 inches (6.35 mm) yearly.

According to the Geological Society of London, heat from Earth’s asthenosphere—the hotter, weaker highest section of the mantle—formed the East African Rift between Kenya and Ethiopia. Heat expanded the top crust, straining and breaking the fragile continental rocks. According to NASA Earth Observatory, Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest peak, was formed by volcanic activity.

How Africa is falling apart is debatable. A sea might arise between much of the Somali Plate and the rest of Africa. Ebinger predicted Somalia, Eritrea, Djibouti, eastern Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique will comprise this new geographical mass. “Another scenario separates only eastern Tanzania from Mozambique,” Eppinger said.

If Africa breaks, the rift in Ethiopia and Kenya may produce the Somali plate within one to five million years.

Africa might not be split. Eppinger said the rift’s geological processes were too sluggish to separate the Somali and Nuba plates. According to a 2022 Nature analysis, the Mid-Continent Rift, which bends for 1,900 miles (3,000 kilometers) over North America’s upper Midwest, is a failing rift. GSA today.

“Failed divisions form continental landmasses everywhere,” Eppinger added.

The Geological Society of London says the eastern arm of the East African Rift collapsed. Western branch activity continues.

McDonald added, “What we don’t know is whether this rift will continue at its current pace to eventually open up an ocean basin, like the Red Sea, and then later into something much larger, like a small version of the Atlantic. Could it speed up and arrive faster? Could it stop?

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