Rift Val­ley, Kenya

The Week (US) - - News 9 -

Con­ti­nen­tal crack-up? A mas­sive crack that sud­denly opened up in Kenya last month is not a sign that Africa is split­ting in two, sci­en­tists said this week. The gi­ant rift, sev­eral miles long and in some places 50 feet deep, ap­peared af­ter heavy rains and caused part of the Nairobi-Narok high­way to col­lapse. Alarmist head­lines around the world de­clared the crack to be the be­gin­ning of the cleav­ing of Africa into two con­ti­nents. While the Horn of Africa is ex­pected to break off from the rest of Africa at some point in the next 50 mil­lion years, sci­en­tists said, the Kenyan fis­sure is not re­lated to that process. “The cur­rent sit­u­a­tion has noth­ing to do with the split­ting of the con­ti­nent,” said Kenyan ge­ol­o­gist Gla­dys Kianji, who blames the crack on un­der­ground sediment be­ing washed away by rain­fall.

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