Thursday, March 29, 2012

Red Sea Rifting

I got mocked by many on a forum a while ago for saying continental drift, or its effects, could occur suddenly rather than very gradually. Well, it seems I was right after all.
For the past 30 million years the Arabian tectonic plate has been moving away from the African (Nubian) plate at the Red Sea. But the rift, in which Earth's crust is being stretched and thinned, is not happening smoothly. Most of the time the plates are stuck together. But in September of last year they split apart along a 37-mile (60-kilometer) section in Afar, Ethiopia (Ethiopia map), near the southern end of the Red Sea. Read more here.

"The event was a vivid expression of the unimaginable amount of stored energy the Earth releases from time to time to split apart continents,"
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