Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A new ocean is born! permanent link   1 comments

finally nature provides us with some exciting news, and for a change its the kind of news for which humankind is not responsible.
This is not about pollution, global warming, deterioration of the ozone layer or El Niño, nor is it about water contamination, unconscious garbage disposal, viruses or the near extinction of whales, lions and other species, just to name the tip of the iceberg.

Our generation is witnessing the birth of a new ocean. New rivers, oceans and mountain ranges usually form in slow motion but this is not the case in the Afar dip in Northeast-Africa. Speaking in terms of geological measures, the drift that will eventually divide Africa happens with a breathtaking speed. Researchers have been observing the 37-mile-long (60-kilometer-long) fissure since it split open in September 2005 in Ethiopia and estimate it will take a million years to fully form into an ocean. Again, speaking in geological terms, "it won't take long" until the Red Sea will flood the region and divide the continent of Africa.

The Afar dip is the earth's largest construction site. Dereje Ayalew, head of earth science at Addis Ababa University, said that the split is the beginning of a long process, which will eventually lead to Ethiopia's eastern part tearing off from the rest of Africa, with a sea forming in the gap. The Afar desert is being torn off the continent by about 0.8 inches (20 millimeters) each year.
"The crust under Afar is becoming like the crust found in the Red Sea," Dereje said. "Once the crust is formed you will have water because it is a low area and the water will migrate from the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. It becomes a basin."

Friends of mine chipped in:
This is great news! Everyone knows that Ethiopia has been just a half step behind Kenya in the world of distance running for ages. Now that there won't be a horrible drought in those parts anymore, Ethiopia can take its rightful place atop the world in track and field!
Or maybe they'll just trash the distance running thing and become a power in beach volleyball! Or sailing. Perhaps Ethiopia will win the America's Cup in a million years...


At 3/01/2006 10:30:00 PM, Blogger Catholicgauze wrote...

Neat post! I love anything geographical.


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