Following large amounts of heavy rainfall in south-western Kenya, an enormous crack has appeared in the region. Scientists predict that this could be the start of an eventual breaking up of the African continent.
On the morning of the 19th March 2018, a huge crack appeared in the middle of Mahiu-Narok road in Kenya. Almost 15 metres deep and running for more than 1.8 miles, the incredible fissure comes as a result of abundant heavy rainfall that recently hit the country.
According to geologists, it’s likely that this fissure had existed for some time before and was filled with volcanic ash from the nearby Mount Longonot. The rainwater would then have flushed out the ashes thus revealing the gigantic hole in the earth. In any case, this huge break in the earth’s crust could very well mark the start of a more spectacular phenomenon: the separation of Africa.
Frequent activity, witnessing profound changes
This was not the first time the Mahiu Narok road has caused problems. Julius Korir, the head of infrastructure stated:
There seems to be a weakness in the area.
Once again,the road has since been refilled to allow the flow of traffic to return. However, that solution may not be the most efficient in the long run.
This has happened before
The Earth’s lithosphere is made up of the crust and the upper mantle of our planet. This structure is divided up into many tectonic plates that move relative to each other. The forces behind these movements can also cause some plates to rupture and create new islands, drifting from the asthenosphere.
‘When the lithosphere is subjected to a force of horizontal extension, it stretches and becomes thinner and this eventually leads to a rupture, resulting in the forming of the Rift Valley. This process is accompanied by a greater volcanic and seismic activity and as time goes on, it can lead to the formation of oceans.
This is exactly what happened about 138 million years ago when Africa and America split up to create the Atlantic Ocean. It is also what is happening in the Rift Valley, a geological ensemble spanning nearly 1,865 miles between the near East and southern Africa. The Rift Valley is splitting Africa in half leaving the Nubian plate on one side and the Somali plate on the other.