How old is the East African Rift system?

The rift has been forming for some 30 million years (as Africa and the Arabian Peninsula separated) and has been accompanied by extensive volcanism along parts of its length, producing such massifs as Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya.

How long did it take for the East African Rift Valley to form?

The eastern branch of the rift passes through Ethiopia and Kenya, and the western branch forms a giant arc from Uganda to Malawi. The eastern branch formed around 25 to 30 million years ago, whereas the western branch formed only 10 to 15 million years ago — or at least that’s what scientists thought.

What caused the East African Rift Valley to form?

The East African Rift is one of the great tectonic features of Africa, caused by fracturing of the Earth’s crust. … The Somalian plate—which is moving away in the other direction—lies to the other side and includes the Horn of Africa.

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When was the Rift Valley formed?

More than a billion years ago, for instance, the North American plate began a rifting process. A triple junction formed in the middle of the young continent, and deep rift valley developed.

How was the East African valley formed?

The East African Rift (EAR) or East African Rift System (EARS) is an active continental rift zone in East Africa. The EAR began developing around the onset of the Miocene, 22–25 million years ago. In the past it was considered to be part of a larger Great Rift Valley that extended north to Asia Minor.

Which is the longest rift valley in the world?

List

World Rift/Valley Length
Earth Great Rift Valley 6,000 km (3,700 mi)
Canadian Arctic Rift System 4,800 km (3,000 mi)
West Antarctic Rift System
Midcontinent Rift System 2,000 km (1,200 mi)

How fast is Africa splitting apart?

The three plates are separating at different speeds. The Arabian plate is moving away from Africa at a rate of about 1 inch per year, while the two African plates are separating even slower, between half an inch to 0.2 inches per year, according to Macdonald.

What is the East African Rift an example of?

The East African Rift Valley (EAR) is a developing divergent plate boundary in East Africa. Here the eastern portion of Africa, the Somalian plate, is pulling away from the rest of the continent, that comprises the Nubian plate.

How many volcanoes are in the East African Rift Valley?

More than 100 young volcanoes – that have had activity within about 10,000 years – dot the landscape of the East African Rift – an area that runs for more than 3000 kilometres from Djibouti and Eritrea, down through Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania.

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How is Rift Valley formed?

A rift valley is a lowland region that forms where Earth’s tectonic plates move apart, or rift. Rift valleys are found both on land and at the bottom of the ocean, where they are created by the process of seafloor spreading. … Tectonic plates are huge, rocky slabs of Earth’s lithosphere—its crust and upper mantle.

What will eventually happen if a Rift Valley continues to pull apart?

If these two rift zones continue they will break apart the crustal plates they are located on and will create new plates. Sea water will flood the rift valleys and they will eventually become seas like the Red Sea.

Why is the Rift Valley important to Africa?

The system of rift valleys that characterizes the African continent represents a perfect environment to understand the evolution of mankind; for the important paleoanthropological discoveries in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zaire, the African rift valleys are indeed considered the “cradle of mankind”, that is …

What countries does the Great Rift Valley go through?

The Rift Valley consists of a group of independent interior basins, extending from Djibouti in the north to Tanzania in the south, nearly half being located in Ethiopia.

Name of basin Total area of basin Area in the country
Uganda 4 514
Kenya 102 452
Southern lakes: 178 800
Kenya 25 000

Why do rift valleys have volcanoes?

Rift volcanoes form when magma rises into the gap between diverging plates. They thus occur at or near actual plate boundaries. … Earthquake swarms and volcanic eruptions occur when the stretching exceeds the strength of the near-surface rocks, which then fracture along steeply dipping cracks parallel to the rift.

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Where is Great Rift Valley located in Africa?

In Kenya, Uganda and the fringes of South Sudan, the Great Rift runs along two separate branches that are joined to each other only at their southern end, in Southern Tanzania along its border with Zambia. The two branches are called the Western Rift Valley and the Eastern Rift Valley.

Across the Sahara