This rift was located in the East African Rift Valley region. According to National Geographic, the crack is more than 50 feet deep and 65 feet wide. Part of the Nairobi-Narok Highway was damaged due to crack formation. According to a 2018 report by The Conversation, Earth is a changing planet, even if we are not aware of the changes taking place on it. Plate tectonics is the best example of this. But every now and then something dramatic happens and it has raised fresh questions about the division of Africa into two parts.
Will Africa break in two?
Scientists had expressed apprehension that this rift may expand in the future and eventually Africa will break into two continents. The smaller continent would include Somalia and parts of Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania. While the rest of the countries in the larger continent will be included. A similar rift would eventually separate the African and South American continents to form the Atlantic Ocean, said Christy Till, a geologist at Arizona State University. The rift seen in East Africa may be its initial stages.
How do cracks happen?
He said that this process is very slow and takes millions of years. Seismic activity was recorded in the area a few days before the rift was created. The upper part of the earth is made up of crust and mantle. This is called Lithosphere. It is divided into several tectonic plates which move at different speeds. These plates slide over the asthenosphere below the lithosphere, which creates dynamic forces. This force sometimes breaks the plates, causing cracks in the earth.