New Ocean Developing in Ethiopia


Live Science is reporting that a new ocean may soon appear in Ethiopia. In 2005, a giant crack began to develop in the African country of Ethiopia, and has sense grown to be over 35 miles long and 20 feet wide in some spots. This view has been disputed by many, but has confirmed by a new study involving an international team of scientists. Their report in the journal Geophysical Research Letters finds the processes creating the Ethiopian rift are nearly identical to what occurs at the bottom of oceans. Additionally, similar seismic activity is causing the Red Sea to grow.

According to researchers, the 35-mile rift tore open in just a matter of days. Scientists believe that Dubbahu, a volcano at the northern end of the rift erupted, allowing magma to come up through the rift area, and causing the land to pull apart.

And here’s more from Live Science…

“We know that seafloor ridges are created by a similar intrusion of magma into a rift, but we never knew that a huge length of the ridge could break open at once like this,” said Cindy Ebinger, professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Rochester and co-author of the study.

The African and Arabian plates meet in the remote Afar desert of Northern Ethiopia and have been spreading apart in a rifting process — at a speed of less than 1 inch per year — for the past 30 million years. This rifting formed the 186-mile Afar depression and the Red Sea. The thinking is that the Red Sea will eventually pour into the new sea in a million years or so. The new ocean would connect to the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, an arm of the Arabian Sea between Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula and Somalia in eastern Africa.

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