Africa is slowly separating into two continents. The Somali and Nubian tectonic plates are dissolving as the Arabian plate continues to separate.
The continent will eventually divide into two sub-continents, forming a new ocean basin between them, however, it will take between five and ten million years for this to occur because of the 7 mm annual expansion of fault lines.
According to recent research published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, the continental rift will occur in the east African Rift Valley, a geologically active region whose genesis millions of years ago resembles that of oceanic tectonic processes.
How it began
In 2005, the emergence and rapid development of a massive fissure in Ethiopia’s Afar desert confirmed the long-held geological belief that Africa will eventually split into two separate continents.
This occurred when the Dabbahu volcano erupted near the end of the East African Rift Valley. It is the consequence of tectonic action in three directions involving the Nubian Plate, Somali Plate, and Arabian Plate. At the intersection of these three plates is Afar.
In 2018, geologists confirmed this notion when a similar fissure emerged in Narok, a tiny town located around 142 kilometers west of Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, and proceeded to spread as torrential rains lashed the region. Geologists believed that tectonic movements were the underlying reason, despite the widespread perception at the time that it was the consequence of rainfall.
“The rift is still active, and the movement of the plates near the border creates tension pressures. The fact that the mantle, from where magma originates, is part of the earth’s crust is sufficient cause for additional rifting, according to Mercy Buret, a geologist at the Baringo Technical College. Baringo is a county located in Kenya’s rift valley, which, according to Buret, sees daily imperceptible tectonic ground movement. Perhaps a portion of the fissure will be separated by an island.
What a coastline signifies for landlocked nations
This implies that landlocked nations like as Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, and Zambia will unwittingly gain a coastline, allowing them to construct harbors that connect them directly to the rest of the globe. The DRC has a little strip of shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean, however it is underutilized. Each of Kenya, Tanzania, and Ethiopia would possess two territories.
When it splits, the smaller portion containing Somalia, Eritrea, Djibouti, the eastern parts of Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique, where the valley ends, may drift away, while the remaining larger Nubian Plate will create a coastline for several countries in eastern and southern Africa that have historically relied on their neighbors for access to the sea.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi have, for the most part, relied on Kenya’s port of Mombasa on the Indian Ocean and Tanzania’s port of Dar es Salaam for their marine freight and transit.
A new shoreline in their backyard would cost the countries millions of dollars in evacuation costs, but it would have enormous benefits, including a reduction in international logistics costs and the establishment of new shipping and fishing sectors.
It also means that countries can finally be directly connected to undersea internet cables, presuming that after millions of years, nation states would still exist in their current form and that technology will not have been rendered obsolete.