The East African Rift Valley is causing Africa to split into two continents. While the process will take millions of years, it will eventually split the African plate into two – the Somali and Nubian plates. This would lead part of East Africa to chip off, and a new ocean would form between the two land masses, a study stated.
The East African Rift is a crack that stretches 56 kilometres and appeared in the desert of Ethiopia in 2005, triggering the formation of a new sea, according to a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Geophysical Research Letters. This geological process will inevitably divide the continent, leading the landlocked countries, such as Uganda and Zambia, to obtain their own coastlines in due time. This natural phenomenon will take five to 10 million years and will not be without necessary evacuation of people and the potential loss of lives. On the upside, the emergence of new coastlines will unlock a myriad of opportunities for economic growth through new ports for trade, fishing grounds and sub-sea internet infrastructure.
The new, smaller continent to be created from the rift will include present-day Somalia and parts of Kenya, Ethiopia, and Tanzania. The Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea will eventually flood into the Afar region in Ethiopia and the East African Rift Valley, leading to the formation of a new ocean. This new ocean will result in East Africa becoming a separate small continent with its own unique geographic and ecological characteristics.