Rift Valley, Kenya
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.