March 25, 2013
The East African Rift System is also referred to as the (EARS). This is a place where the earth’s tectonic forces are trying to create new plates by splitting old ones apart. A rift is defined as a fracture in the earth’s surface that widens over time. A more technical definition for a rift is an elongated basin bounded by opposed steeply dipping normal faults. Geologists continue to debate exactly how rifting occurs. They do believe the process is so well displayed in East Africa, having given the new plate to be a name. The name is the Nubian Plate. The Nubian Plate makes up most of Africa, while the smaller plate that is pulling away has been named the Somalian Plate. (Wood James, 2005) These two plates are moving away from each other and also away from the Arabian plate to the north. These three plates meet in Ethiopia and form a triple-junction. All of the rifting does is not confined to the Horn of Africa; there is a lot of rifting activity in the far south as well. This extended into Kenya and Tanzania. The reason that this paper was written was to discuss the general geology of these rifts and highlight the geological process involved in their formation.
Brief Overview and Main Points
The main point of this paper was to discuss the general geology of rifts in African and highlight the geological process involved in the formation of rifts. (Wood James, 2005) The oldest and best defined rifts occur in the region of Ethiopia. This rift is referred to as the Ethiopian rift. In the South a series of rifts occur which include a Western branch, the "Lake Albert Rift" or "Albertine Rift" which contains the East African Great Lakes, and an Eastern branch that roughly bisects Kenya north-to-south on a line slightly west of Nairobi. (Wood James, 2005) The two branches together have been termed the East African Rift (EAR)....