Arift valleyis a lowland an ar that creates where Earth’s tectonic plates move apart, orrift.
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Arift valleyis a lowland an ar that creates where Earth’s tectonic plates move apart, orrift. Rift valleys are found both top top land and at the bottom that the ocean, where they are created by the process of seafloor spreading. Rift valleys different fromriver valleys andglacial valleys in that they are produced bytectonic activityand not the procedure oferosion.
Tectonic plates space huge, rocky slabs that Earth"s lithosphere—its crust and uppermantle. Tectonic plates are constantly in motion—shifting against each various other in error zones, falling in ~ one another in a process calledsubduction, crashing versus one another at convergent bowl boundaries, and also tearing apart from each other at divergent bowl boundaries.
Many rift valleys are component of “triple junctions,” a form of divergent border where 3 tectonic plates satisfy at about 120° angles. Two arms that the triple junction can separation to kind an entire ocean. The third, “failed rift” or aulacogen, may come to be a rift valley. The Atlantic Ocean, for instance, is a result of a triple junction that started in what is currently the Gulf that Guinea on the west coastline of Africa. Two arms the a triple junction on the supercontinent Pangaea “opened” the ocean, when the aulacogen formed the rift valley recognized as the Benue Trough with what is now southern Nigeria.
Rift valleys have the right to also kind at transform faults, where tectonic plates room grinding past each other. The Salton Trough, i m sorry stretches through the claims of California (United States) and also Baja California (Mexico), is a rift valley developed in part by the mountain Andreas Fault. The san Andreas is a transform fault the marks the approximately northward movement of the Pacific plate and also the approximately southern activity of the north American plate.
Many that Earth’s deepest rift valleys are uncovered underwater, dividing long hill ranges referred to as mid-ocean ridges. As tectonic plates relocate away native one an additional at mid-ocean ridges, moltenrock indigenous the mantle maywell upand harden as it contact the frigid sea, forming newoceanic crustat the bottom the the rift valley. In the northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the phibìc American plate and also the Eurasian key are dividing apart in ~ a rate of around 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) every year. Over numerous years, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge has created rift valleys as vast as 15 kilometers (9 miles). In the Pacific Ocean, theEast Pacific Risehas produced rift valleys wherein the Pacific bowl is separating indigenous the phibìc American plate, Cocos plate, Nazca plate, and also Antarctic plate. Like plenty of underwater rift valleys, the eastern Pacific increase is dotted withhydrothermalvents. Geologic activity beneath the underwater rift sink creates this vents, which spew super-heated water and also vent fluids right into the ocean. Continental Rift Valleys
Very few active rift valleys are found on continent lithosphere. The eastern African Rift, the Baikal Rift Valley, the West Antarctic Rift, and also the Rio Grande Rift are Earth’s significant active continent rift valleys. The eastern African Rift is part of the “Great Rift Valley” system debated below.
The Baikal Rift sink (sometimes dubbed the Baikal Rift Zone) cuts v 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) of Siberia, in eastern Russia. The Baikal Rift sink is formed by a divergent bowl boundary, whereby the Amur key is progressively tearing itself far from the Eurasian plate, and also has been doing for this reason for about 25 million years. The Amur plate is moving eastward in ~ a rate of about 4 come 5 millimeter (.16 to .2 inch) a year.
The West Antarctic Rift is a collection of smaller rifts that approximately separate the two areas of Earth’s most southern continent, West Antarctica and East Antarctica. The West Antarctic Rift is among the most challenging rift valleys come study, due to the fact that it lies beneath the enormous Antarctic ice Sheet, which have the right to be more than 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) thick.
The Rio Grande Rift is a collection of rift valleysalong faults in the Southwestern unified States. The Rio Grande Rift off the Colorado Plateau, which is typically moving in a clockwise direction, native the older component (craton) that the phibìc American plate. The Rio Grande Rift stretches from central Colorado to the mexico state of Chihuahua.
The most popular rift sink on earth is probably the so-called "Great Rift valley System" which follow me from the Middle eastern in the north to Mozambique in the south. The area is geologically active, and featuresvolcanoes, hot springs, geysers, and frequentearthquakes.
Today, however, the great Rift valley exists as a social concept, not a clinical one. Every one of the rift valleys in the “system” room connected, but not component of a single unit. The northern part of the system is the Jordan Rift Valley. The Jordan Rift valley stretches from the Golan Heights, near Israel’s border v Syria and Lebanon, to the Dead Sea, come the Gulf of Aqaba—an inlet the the Red Sea that separates the Sinai Peninsula native the Arabian Peninsula.
associated with the Jordan Rift valley to the southern is the Red Sea Rift. Countless years ago, the Arabian Peninsula was associated to Africa. Seafloor spreading led to the Arabian and African plates come rift apart. The Indian s flooded the rift valley in between the continents, developing the Red Sea. Today, Africa and Asia are linked by the triangle the the Sinai Peninsula. Eventually, the Red Sea Rift will different Africa and Asia entirely and connect the Mediterranean and Red Seas. East african Rift
South the the Red Sea Rift lies the massive, complicated East african Rift. Throughout the east African Rift, the continent the Africa is splitting in two. The afri plate, sometimes dubbed the Nubian plate, carries most of the continent, while the smaller Somali plate carriesHorn of Africa.
The two major rift valley systems of the east African Rift room the Gregory Rift and the west Rift. This rift valleys space dotted by volcanoes: Erta Ale, Ethiopia; mountain Kenya, Kenya (an die out stratovolcano); Ol Doinyo Lengai, Tanzania; mountain Kilimanjaro, Tanzania (a dormant stratovolcano); and Mount Nyiragongo, democratic Republic the Congo.
The Gregory Rift stretches from the Red Sea and also the Arabian Sea come as much south as Mount Kilimanjaro. Among the most vital features the the Gregory Rift is the Afar Triple Junction, discovered where the Horn that Africa straddles the Red Sea and also the Gulf of Aden in the Arabian Sea. In ~ the Afar Triple Junction, the Arabian plate, Nubian plate and Somali plate space all tearing far from each other.
Two arms of the Afar Triple Junction continue to widen in the procedure of seafloor spreading—the arm expanding into the Red Sea and also the arm prolonging into the Gulf the Aden. As these rifts continue, the narrow valley developed by the Gregory Rift (the arm of the Afar Triple Junction located over sea level) may sink low enough that the Arabian Sea will flood it. Separated native Africa by this brand-new strait, Horn that Africa (sitting top top the Somali plate) would become acontinental island, prefer Madagascar or new Zealand.
The west Rift, additionally called the Albertine Rift, contains many that theAfrican an excellent Lakes. The western Rift is one of the many biodiverse regions in Africa, special a narrow corridor of highland forests, snow-capped mountains, savannas, and also chains that lakes and also wetlands.
Rift lakes, formed as freshwater floods rift valleys, frequently mark rift sink systems. Much more than a billion year ago, because that instance, the north American plate began a rifting process. A triple junction developed in the center of the young continent, and deep rift sink developed. Freshwater drained and gathered in this rift valley, producing a lake. After numerous years, however, the rift failed. The continent remained intact and the rift’s arms failed to open up a new ocean. Today, the continues to be of that ancient rift lake, Lake Superior, remainder atop one of the oldest and deepest rift valleys in the world.
Lake Baikal, the rift lake over the Baikal Rift valley in Siberia, is the deepest and also oldestfreshwaterlake in the world. The deepest parts of Lake Baikal are 1,642 meters (5,387 feet),and are obtaining deeper every year. In addition, end the past 25 million years, great of soft sediment have collected on the lakebed. The actual floor that the rift valley is more than 5 kilometers (3 miles) deep. Lake Baikal additionally has the biggest volume of fluid freshwater in the world—a staggering 23,615 cubic kilometers (5,700 cubic miles).
The Dead Sea is a rift lake in the Jordan Rift Valley. Back the Dead Sea is no the world"s deepest lake, the deep Jordan Rift provides it the lowest land elevationon Earth. The surface of the Dead Sea is 429 meters (1,407 feet) below sea level, and also the lake’s depth is an additional 304 meters (997 feet). Uneven Lake Baikal, however, the Dead Sea is no a true rift lake as it was no formed totally by the rift in ~ it. The so-called Dead Sea change is a geologically facility area, wherein tectonic plates communicate in countless ways.
The most renowned rift lakes in the people may it is in the collection of narrow, deep rift valleys in the eastern African Rift recognized simply together the Rift sink lakes. The Rift valley lakes, extending from Ethiopia come Malawi, are sites of amazing biodiversity. They incorporate freshwater lakes, similar to Lake Baikal, and also saltwater “soda lakes” comparable to the Dead Sea.
Lake Tanganyika, whose long shores are common by Burundi, autonomous Republic that Congo, Tanzania, and Zambia, is the largest of the Rift valley lakes. Lake Tanganyika is the world’s second-deepest and second-biggest (by volume the freshwater) lake in the world. Only Lake Baikal is deeper and also holds much more water. Like plenty of freshwater Rift valley lakes, Lake Tanganyika is residence to numerous endemic varieties of cichlid fish.
Lake Natron, Tanzania, is among the shallow, alkali-rich soda lakes of the east African Rift. That is dazzling red shade is no a product the the region’s rocky geology, but the pink salt-loving bacteria the live in the briny water.
Grabens Rift valleys are sometimes called grabens, which means “ditch” in German. While there is no official distinction between a graben and a rift valley, a graben usually describes a tiny rift valley.
Lakes in the Rift not all lakes located approximately the eastern African Rift space rift lakes. Lake Victoria, the biggest freshwater lake in Africa, is not a rift lake, for instance. Lake Victoria’s basin formed as mountains uplifted approximately it. That did no sink together a result of the adjacent East african Rift.
Finds in the RiftMany, countless important paleoanthropological explorations have been made in the eastern African Rift, nicknamed the “cradle that humanity.” “Lucy,” for instance, is a 3.2 million-year-old hominin skeleton the was discovered in Ethiopia, if “Turkana Boy” is a 1.5-million-year old hominin skeleton unearthed in Kenya. Scientists think that the tectonic activity that produced the eastern African Rift also contributed to producing an atmosphere that was ideal to the proliferation of life. The continuous erosion that the cliffs of eastern African Rift additionally contribute come the dozens that discoveries.
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Valles MarinerisThe largest and deepest rift sink yet discovered is not on Earth—it’s ~ above Mars. Valles Marineris was formed millions of years ago, once the rocky Martian lithosphere to be still rifting and shifting. Valles Marineris reaches depth of approximately 7 kilometers (4 miles) and spans around 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles) long. That’s about 20% of the diameter of Mars itself!
Let she Rift through so much volcanic and also tectonic activity going top top there, the east African Rift valley is a potent strength source. The united Nations setting Program is occurring a geothermal energy program that would certainly tap right into this potential. The program would transform the heat produced by the rift valley’s underground activity into electrical energy through a collection of vapor wells. One of the wells in Kenya produces sufficient power because that 5,700 homes! If successful, this program would administer a sustainable energy resource for millions of people, countless of whom do not have access to electrical power today.