March 3, 2024

Is Africa divided into two parts? Understanding the ongoing “phenomenon”.

Publication date 8/3/2023 8:54 PM

The split that emerged in Kenya in 2018 reminded locals of the movement happening on the African continent – (Credit: Youtube/Reproduction)

The earth may, in the future, have more than six continents: Africa has been divided into two great massifs. The discovery in 2005 of a large-scale rupture in Vale da Fenda, which widens every year, revealed to geographers of the region that a new ocean would appear in the place and would separate the two massifs once and for all. But what underpins this massive change in proportion?

According to Dr. in Geology and Professor of the Department of Geology at the College of Science and Technology at the University of Nairobi Edwin Dende, the separation is caused by movements caused by the friction of tectonic plates, a movement that characterizes the region called the Great Rift Valley or Rift Valley.

“The plates are in a flowing motion and some are moving against each other along the rift zones and there is still movement causing more faults to form,” the professor told the African newspaper. new times On February 20 this year.

The rift valley stretches for 6,400 km and stretches from Jordan, in southwestern Asia, to central Mozambique, and south in Africa – on the African continent, the rift begins in northern Ethiopia. The separation process is seen in greater detail in what geographers call East Africa, a region formed by Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.


  • The sides of the continents separated by the Rift Valley have been named the Nubian Plate (larger side, left) and Somali Plate (smaller side, left).
    Wikipedia / clone


  • The illustration shows what the new continents will look like after Africa separates
    twitter / playback

With the naked eye, it is already possible to observe the displacement of a small part of Africa, which specialists call the Somalia Plate, from the part that corresponds to a greater extent, which is called the Somalia Plate. The opening occurs at the visible point of the Earth and the separation of the continent itself by the rise of magma rushes from the interior of the planet, which causes a thinning of the Earth’s crust until it results in a rupture.

In 2018, a huge rift appeared in Kenya, and it even put drivers passing through the area in danger. Although it was caused by heavy rains in the area, the crater, according to geologists, illustrates the weak points in the area, close to Vale da Fenda – it is further evidence that separation from the continent is an inevitable path.

The same movement of friction of tectonic plates, seen timidly in Africa, was responsible for the formation of the continents we know today after the separation of Pangea, the supercontinent that led to the division of the earth into six rocky masses. According to the geologist, it is as if the natural forces on Earth are pressing on the place to cause the split, and when it splits, a new ocean will emerge.

“But it won’t happen right away, it’s something that will happen millions of years from now,” Edwin asserts. The expert says it took about 30 million years for the first sign of rupture to appear on the continent, and it is now seen more than 3,000 km in Africa, with an average growth of 2.5 to 5 centimeters per year.


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