The rifting in Africa occurred over 30 million years ago reflected by the minor earthquakes and volcanic activity. The Great Rift Valley in East Africa comprises of two major rifts the Western rift and…
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The East African Great Rift Valley is complex due to many facts. It has old plates which are trying to create new plates. The rifting process is clearly displayed in this rift system. Nubian, the new plate which makes up most of Africa, the Arabian plate and the smaller Somali plate are pulling away in the Afar region of what is known as the ‘triple junction’.
Its complexity is further demonstrated by its formation process. It is a 6000 mile fissure in the earth’s crust stretching from Mozambique in Southern Africa to Lebanon in the Jordan Valley. Some scholars have presented different thoughts on how the Great Rift Valley formed. One school is that there was an elevated heat flow from the mantle caused bulges in afar and Central Kenya region. The bulges stretched the outer crust to form normal faults resulting in the formation of graben structures of the rift valley.
Others scholars hold that most of the bulges were formed by mantle plumes which are under the continents resulting in overheating of the overlying crust therefore expanding the fractures. The fractures occurred within a pattern of three fractures radiating from a point of angular separation. This joint is called the ‘triple joint’ well illustrated by the Afar region (Kusky, 2010). The east African rift system is further complicated by the volcanic eruptions flowing over large areas and is normally exposed on the flanks leading to the stretching process. These eruptions are considered to be flood basalts after the lava erupts along the fractures to form sheets over the land.
The Great Rift Valley has many features with many lakes and rivers. The rivers, lakes and mountains are striking on how they illustrate the rift. The Eastern branch running through Kenya and Tanzania hosts Lake Victoria which is the largest lake in Africa.
The Western Branch, Albertine Rift runs through DRC, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania. This rift is the complicated of the
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