Two Africas???

Two Africas???

Erica Fitch, Art Director

Our continents are weirdly shaped. Before the mighty Pangea broke apart, continents like South America and Africa were held together as if they were pieces of a puzzle. Soon, Africa will have another landform that will appear to be a broken-off piece of the world puzzle.

Located in Kenya, the East African Rift Valley has created a large crack in the land due to the movement of the Nubian and Somalian tectonic plates. Ocean water will eventually fill the crack, separating the nations of Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania, Kenya, and more from the rest of Africa. With the water surrounding the land, what was once a part of the world’s second-largest continent will be its own island in the Indian Ocean.

Africa really said, “Time for spring cleaning!”

UPDATE: Yes, the rumors are true – a piece of Africa will split apart from the mainland…in a span of over tens of millions of years.

The East African Rift Valley splits the continent of Africa into the Nubian and Somalian Plates. Tectonic plates have moved and split up land masses throughout Earth’s history, such as the splitting of Africa and South America almost 140 million years ago. These specific tectonic plates have been observed to be moving apart extremely slowly, creating a rift growing at only a few millimeters per year. So, even though the continent appears to be splitting, we have nothing to worry about at this time!

If you planned to visit an island mass of Ethiopia, Somalia, and more, sorry to disappoint you. You’re just going to have to wait a few million years.