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Africa splitting into two, experts say Suswa rift is evidence

Nicholas Sewe
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The Suswa crevasse at the intersection of the busy Mai Mahiu – Narok road. [Photo/alleastafrica.com]

The Earth movement that led to a rift in Suswa more than two weeks ago is an indication that Africa will eventually split into two, geologists say.

Although this might not happen any time soon, a recent study by the experts says that the lithosphere in the East African region has thinned almost to the point of complete break-up. 

“When this happens, a new ocean will begin forming by the solidification of magma in the space created by the broken-up plates. Eventually, over a period of tens of millions of years, seafloor spreading will progress along the entire length of the rift. 

The ocean will flood in and, as a result, the African continent will become smaller and there will be a large island in the Indian Ocean composed of parts of Ethiopia and Somalia, including the Horn of Africa,” reads in part an article by theconversation.com.

Geologists say the African continent will split into two. [Photo/theconversation.com]

In East Africa, the geologists say, the seismicity is spread over a wide zone across the rift valley and is of relatively small magnitude. 

“Volcanism running alongside is a further surface manifestation of the ongoing process of a continental break up and the proximity of the hot molten asthenosphere to the surface.” 

[Photo/alleastafrica.com]

The Suswa crevasse at the intersection of the busy Mai Mahiu – Narok road is more than 20 metres wide and 50 metres deep.

A few families have already been evacuated from their homes after the split extended to nearby homesteads.

A family is evacuated after the Suswa rift reached their homestead. [Photo/Hot96FM]

The rift that disrupted transport activities opened up again a day after the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) filled it up.

Geologist David Adede in an interview with the Daily Nation said that despite the Rift Valley remaining tectonically inactive in the recent past, there could be movements deep within the Earth’s crust that have resulted in zones of weakness extending all the way to the surface and that the rains have only aggravated the situation by washing away the soil filling up the cracks.

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