Formed about 30 million the great rift valley is such a wonderful sight to view. The great rift valley runs from the Middle East and extends downwards to Mozambique in Africa. There is probably some fascinating information about the great rift valley which remains unknown to many people. Read on to discover more about the rift valley.
- It Stretches All The Way From Lebanon to Mozambique And Covers Over 7000 Km
It is astonishing how the great rift valley extends over a large distance and crosses over two continents which are the middle east and Africa. It runs across various countries in Africa which are Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Congo Malawi and ends in Soloda town in Mozambique. The great rift valley has some unique features such as the presence of salty water lakes which have no outlet. High evaluation of these leaves behind a high percentage of salts.
Although Mount Kenya and Mount Kilimanjaro are not found in the Rift Valley, they have also been affected by its formation. Researchers have outlined that since the formation of Rift Valley, they have discovered a subsequent drop in the height of Mount Kenya. The huge distance of the Rift Valley is a manifestation of how great the forces were.
- The Great Rift Valley Still Continues Even To The Sea Floor
Not only does the great rift valley firm on the earth’s surface but it also extends where there are seas or oceans. However, the mode of formation on the seafloor differs from that of the land. On the seafloor, the rift valley forms through the spreading method. Seafloor spreading occurs with the aid of the oceanic crust which is in the sea.
Due to the presence of water which requires more complexity in the formation of the rift valley the oceanic crust has to be broader, and heavier and should also have an alternate chemical composition from that of the continental crust.
The ridges which form the basis of the formation have magma which expands and then cools off to form the ocean crust. When the ocean crust is formed it then moves away from the crests around it in all directions. The separation of the oceanic crust from the crests then forms a hollow region in between which becomes part of the rift valley.
- The Great Valley Comprises Of Two Branches The Western And The Eastern Rift Valley
At some point, the great rift valley divides itself into two parts which are the Western and Eastern Rift Valley. There is a significant difference between the two branches.
The Eastern Rift Valley is considered to be the chief branch of the great rift valley. One thing to note is that it follows the path of the great rift valley. It extends from the River Jordan and passes through the Ethiopian Rift to Kenya and Mozambique. The Eastern Rift Valley does not vividly manifest itself in Tanzania. This can be attributed to erosion. The Eastern Rift which is also called the Gregory Rift has been known to be dry. Due to this, there are several salty lakes like Lake Magadi which evaporate leaving behind salt.
The Western Rift Valley which is also called the Lake Albert Rift separates itself and forms from Uganda to Malawi. The Western Rift Valley is known to have numerous freshwater lakes which are considered to be the earliest, vast and deepest of all the lakes in Rift Valley.
- The Rift Valley Floor Is About 5 Km Deep From The Original Ground Level
The forces involved in the formation of the rift valley are very strong and the erosion is also a lot. The great rift valley was formed as a result of the movement of the tectonic plates found far below the earth’s surface. The tectonic plates were always moving to cause a huge disturbance in the earth’s crust. This vigorous moment made the tectonic plates run over each other and hit each other. Some of them even moved below others.
All this movement caused a great weakness in the divergent boundaries making them break apart. With this, a huge part of the land went down a great distance making the level of the initial ground to be way higher than that of the rift valley. Due to the change in the structure of the earth layers, the land in the rift valley became very leveled.
- The Floor’s Elevation Ranges From Between 300m To About 1800m
The elevation of the floor of the great rift valley differs from place to place. Whereas in some areas the elevation may be the people in other areas the elevation is hardly noticed. There is no place where an elevation cannot occur on the floor of the rift valley. It can be on the earth’s crust or even on the oceanic crust. The whole process of elevation occurs through the process of rifting. As said earlier, far below the earth’s surface there are tectonic plates.
At certain times the tectonic plates start becoming smaller in size and they also expand. This is great pressure on them since in the original size they are very thick. Due to this pressure, they become broader and finally they break the continental crust. The area around is then raised higher and an elevation is said to have taken place. The forces in the tectonic plates as they increase in size cause the difference in the height of elevation.
- The Tectonic Plates That Caused The Formation Of The Rift Valley Are Still Moving Today
Despite forming the rift valley the tectonic plate is said to be moving although at a very slow pace. The tectonic plate is a result of the oceanic lithosphere and the continental lithosphere. Of the two the continental lithosphere is the heavier. This difference means that the robustness of the continental drift is higher than that of the oceanic lithosphere. This further creates a difference between the two that creates a slight movement of the tectonic plate. Some radioactivity causes its movement.