Home > Current Events, Disasters, Environment, Nature, Research, Science > Is Africa being Slowly Torn Apart by Tectonic Plate Rifts?

Is Africa being Slowly Torn Apart by Tectonic Plate Rifts?

At one point in its past, all the Earth’s continents were merged into a giant supercontinent called Pangea. Since then, rifting activity has broken continents apart, leaving deep ocean ridges of spreading crust behind.

These remains, buried deep under the ocean and newly-formed oceanic crust, make it difficult to figure out how the process started.

Researchers have now gone to a site where the African continent is being torn apart in order to get a clearer picture of just how hard it is for continents to go their separate ways.

The area the research focuses on is in current-day Ethiopia. Here, three separate rifts meet.

One is under the Red Sea, where Africa and the Middle East are moving away from each other. South of the Arabian Peninsula, another rift lies beneath the Gulf of Aden; combined, these two are allowing the Peninsula to move northeast relative to Africa at the rate of 16mm a year.”

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