Home » Scientists warn of the formation of a new ocean – Enséñame de Ciencia

Scientists warn of the formation of a new ocean – Enséñame de Ciencia

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Scientists warn of the formation of a new ocean – Enséñame de Ciencia

Scientists Discover Largest Continental Rift on Earth Could Split Africa in Two and Form New Ocean

For some time now, scientists have known that one of the largest continental rifts on Earth, known as the “East African Rift System” (EARS), continues to expand at a rate of 2.5 to 5 centimeters per year. This geological phenomenon could potentially lead to the splitting of the African continent and the formation of a new ocean.

The EARS spans approximately 6,400 kilometers in length and about 64 kilometers wide, crossing several African countries. The rift, which runs from the Gulf of Aden in the north to Zimbabwe in the south, is located on the boundary of two divergent plates, the Somalia and Nubia plate. As the plates continue to separate, the rift expands, leading to the formation of the Great Rift Valley in the eastern portion of Africa.

Geologists believe that if this geological phenomenon continues, the eastern region of Africa could eventually separate from the rest of the continent, leading to the formation of a new continental mass and an accompanying new ocean. Fractures that began forming approximately 30 million years ago are expected to result in a complete rupture in approximately 10 million more years, according to researchers.

Geologist Lucía Pérez Díaz explains that when the rift finally breaks, a new ocean will begin to form, and the seabed will advance along the entire crack. This will lead to the flooding of the emerging region and result in the African continent becoming smaller. It is expected that a large island in the Indian Ocean will be formed, made up of parts of Ethiopia and Somalia, including the Horn of Africa.

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The divergence of the Somalia and Nubia plates, if it continues as it has, will ultimately lead to the separation of Africa and the formation of a new ocean. This geological process will forever change the continent as we know it, giving rise to a new continental mass that will remain adrift.

As scientists continue to study this process, the potential formation of a new ocean and the splitting of the African continent could provide valuable insights into the planet’s geological history and future.

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