Arift valleyis a lowland an ar that creates where Earth’s tectonic plates relocate apart, orrift.
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Arift valleyis a lowland an ar that develops where Earth’s tectonic plates move apart, orrift. Rift valleys are discovered both on land and also at the bottom of the ocean, wherein they are developed by the procedure of seafloor spreading. Rift valleys differ fromriver valleys andglacial valleys in the they are produced bytectonic activityand not the procedure oferosion.
Tectonic plates are huge, rocky slabs that Earth"s lithosphere—its crust and also uppermantle. Tectonic plates space constantly in motion—shifting versus each various other in fault zones, falling in ~ one one more in a procedure calledsubduction, crashing against one another at convergent key boundaries, and tearing except each various other at divergent bowl boundaries.
Many rift valleys are component of “triple junctions,” a kind of divergent border where three tectonic plates satisfy at about 120° angles. 2 arms that the triple junction can break-up to kind an whole ocean. The third, “failed rift” or aulacogen, may become a rift valley. The Atlantic Ocean, for instance, is a an outcome of a triple junction that began in what is currently the Gulf that Guinea top top the west shore of Africa. Two arms that a triple junction ~ above the supercontinent Pangaea “opened” the ocean, when the aulacogen developed the rift valley well-known as the Benue Trough through what is currently southern Nigeria.
Rift valleys have the right to also form at transform faults, wherein tectonic plates space grinding past each other. The Salton Trough, i beg your pardon stretches with the says of California (United States) and also Baja California (Mexico), is a rift valley produced in component by the mountain Andreas Fault. The mountain Andreas is a change fault that marks the roughly northward activity of the Pacific plate and also the around southern activity of the north American plate.
Many that Earth’s deepest rift valleys are discovered underwater, dividing long mountain ranges referred to as mid-ocean ridges. As tectonic plates relocate away indigenous one another at mid-ocean ridges, moltenrock from the mantle maywell upand harden together it contact the frigid sea, forming newoceanic crustat the bottom of the rift valley. In the north Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the north American plate and also the Eurasian key are separating apart in ~ a price of around 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) per year. Over millions of years, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge has created rift valleys as broad as 15 kilometers (9 miles). In the Pacific Ocean, theEast Pacific Risehas developed rift valleys whereby the Pacific bowl is separating native the phibìc American plate, Cocos plate, Nazca plate, and also Antarctic plate. Like many underwater rift valleys, the eastern Pacific increase is dotted withhydrothermalvents. Geologic task beneath the underwater rift valley creates these vents, which spew super-heated water and also vent fluids into the ocean. Continental Rift Valleys
Very couple of active rift valleys are uncovered on continent lithosphere. The eastern African Rift, the Baikal Rift Valley, the West Antarctic Rift, and the Rio Grande Rift room Earth’s significant active continent rift valleys. The east African Rift is part of the “Great Rift Valley” system disputed below.
The Baikal Rift sink (sometimes called the Baikal Rift Zone) cuts v 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) that Siberia, in east Russia. The Baikal Rift sink is formed by a divergent key boundary, whereby the Amur key is gradually tearing itself away from the Eurasian plate, and has been doing so for around 25 million years. The Amur plate is moving eastward at a price of around 4 come 5 millimeter (.16 to .2 inch) a year.
The West Antarctic Rift is a series of smaller rifts that approximately separate the two regions of Earth’s southernmost continent, West Antarctica and also East Antarctica. The West Antarctic Rift is just one of the most daunting rift valleys come study, because it lies in ~ the massive Antarctic ice cream Sheet, which deserve to be much more than 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) thick.
The Rio Grande Rift is a collection of rift valleysalong faults in the Southwestern joined States. The Rio Grande Rift off the Colorado Plateau, i beg your pardon is normally moving in a clockwise direction, native the older component (craton) of the north American plate. The Rio Grande Rift follow me from main Colorado come the mexico state the Chihuahua.
The most popular rift valley on earth is most likely the so-called "Great Rift sink System" which stretches from the Middle east in the phibìc to Mozambique in the south. The area is geologically active, and featuresvolcanoes, hot springs, geysers, and also frequentearthquakes.
Today, however, the good Rift valley exists together a cultural concept, not a scientific one. All of the rift valleys in the “system” room connected, however not part of a solitary unit. The northern part of the system is the Jordan Rift Valley. The Jordan Rift sink stretches indigenous the Golan Heights, close to Israel’s border v Syria and Lebanon, come the Dead Sea, come the Gulf of Aqaba—an inlet of the Red Sea that separates the Sinai Peninsula native the Arabian Peninsula.
linked with the Jordan Rift valley to the southern is the Red Sea Rift. Numerous years ago, the Arabian Peninsula was connected to Africa. Seafloor spreading resulted in the Arabian and also African plates to rift apart. The Indian ocean flooded the rift valley between the continents, creating 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 also Red Seas. East afri Rift
South of the Red Sea Rift lies the massive, complex East african Rift. Throughout the east African Rift, the continent of Africa is dividing in two. The african plate, sometimes called the Nubian plate, carries most of the continent, while the smaller Somali plate carriesHorn the Africa.
The two significant rift valley systems of the eastern African Rift space the Gregory Rift and the western Rift. These rift valleys room dotted by volcanoes: Erta Ale, Ethiopia; mount Kenya, Kenya (an extinction stratovolcano); Ol Doinyo Lengai, Tanzania; mountain Kilimanjaro, Tanzania (a dormant stratovolcano); and also Mount Nyiragongo, autonomous Republic the Congo.
The Gregory Rift follow me from the Red Sea and also the Arabian Sea come as far south as Mount Kilimanjaro. Among the most important features of the Gregory Rift is the Afar Triple Junction, uncovered where the Horn of Africa straddles the Red Sea and the Gulf that Aden in the Arabian Sea. In ~ the Afar Triple Junction, the Arabian plate, Nubian plate and also Somali plate space all tearing far from each other.
Two arms of the Afar Triple Junction proceed to widen in the process of seafloor spreading—the arm prolonging into the Red Sea and the arm prolonging into the Gulf the Aden. As these rifts continue, the narrow valley produced by the Gregory Rift (the eight of the Afar Triple Junction located over sea level) might sink low enough that the Arabian Sea will flood it. Separated indigenous Africa by this new strait, Horn of Africa (sitting top top the Somali plate) would end up being acontinental island, like Madagascar or brand-new Zealand.
The west Rift, additionally called the Albertine Rift, contains many of theAfrican an excellent Lakes. The west Rift is one of the most biodiverse regions in Africa, featuring a narrow corridor the highland forests, snow-capped mountains, savannas, and also chains that lakes and also wetlands.
Rift lakes, formed as freshwater floods rift valleys, regularly mark rift sink systems. Much more than a billion year ago, because that instance, the phibìc American plate started a rifting process. A triple junction formed in the center of the young continent, and also deep rift sink developed. Freshwater drained and collected in this rift valley, creating a lake. After millions of years, however, the rift failed. The continent continued to be intact and also the rift’s eight failed to open up up a brand-new ocean. Today, the stays 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 end the Baikal Rift valley in Siberia, is the deepest and oldestfreshwaterlake in the world. The deepest components of Lake Baikal room 1,642 meter (5,387 feet),and are acquiring deeper every year. In addition, over the previous 25 million years, layers of soft sediment have collected on the lakebed. The yes, really floor that the rift valley is an ext than 5 kilometers (3 miles) deep. Lake Baikal likewise has the largest 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. Although 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 another 304 meter (997 feet). Unlike Lake Baikal, however, the Dead Sea is no a true rift lake together it was not formed completely by the rift in ~ it. The so-called Dead Sea transform is a geologically complicated area, wherein tectonic plates interact in plenty of ways.
The most famous rift lakes in the civilization may it is in the collection of narrow, deep rift valleys in the eastern African Rift known simply together the Rift sink lakes. The Rift valley lakes, stretching from Ethiopia come Malawi, are sites of exceptional biodiversity. They encompass freshwater lakes, comparable to Lake Baikal, and also saltwater “soda lakes” similar to the Dead Sea.
Lake Tanganyika, whose long shores are common by Burundi, autonomous Republic the Congo, Tanzania, and also Zambia, is the largest of the Rift sink lakes. Lake Tanganyika is the world’s second-deepest and second-biggest (by volume the freshwater) lake in the world. Just Lake Baikal is deeper and also holds much more water. Like plenty of freshwater Rift valley lakes, Lake Tanganyika is house to numerous endemic varieties of cichlid fish.
Lake Natron, Tanzania, is just one of the shallow, alkali-rich soda lakes the the eastern African Rift. The dazzling red color is not a product of the region’s rocky geology, but the pink salt-loving bacteria that live in the briny water.
Grabens Rift valleys space sometimes called grabens, which way “ditch” in German. While there is no official difference between a graben and also a rift valley, a graben usually defines a tiny rift valley.
Lakes in the Rift no all lakes located roughly the eastern African Rift space rift lakes. Lake Victoria, the biggest freshwater lake in Africa, is no a rift lake, for instance. Lake Victoria’s basin formed as hills uplifted approximately it. That did no sink together a result of the nearby East african Rift.
Finds in the RiftMany, many important paleoanthropological discoveries have been made in the eastern African Rift, nicknamed the “cradle of humanity.” “Lucy,” because that instance, is a 3.2 million-year-old hominin skeleton that was discovered in Ethiopia, when “Turkana Boy” is a 1.5-million-year old hominin skeleton uncovered in Kenya. Scientists think that the tectonic activity that produced the east African Rift also contributed to developing an environment that was appropriate to the proliferation of life. The continuous erosion of the cliffs of east African Rift additionally contribute to the dozens of discoveries.
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Valles MarinerisThe largest and deepest rift valley yet uncovered is not on Earth—it’s top top Mars. Valles Marineris was developed millions of years ago, when the rocky Martian lithosphere was still rifting and also shifting. Valles Marineris reaches depths of as much as 7 kilometers (4 miles) and spans around 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles) long. That’s around 20% that the diameter of Mars itself!
Let she Rift through so lot volcanic and tectonic task going top top there, the east African Rift valley is a potent strength source. The unified Nations setting Program is occurring a geothermal energy program that would certainly tap into this potential. The routine would convert the heat developed by the rift valley’s underground activity into power through a collection of steam wells. One of the wells in Kenya produces enough power for 5,700 homes! If successful, this regimen would carry out a sustainable energy source for numerous people, numerous of whom do not have access to power today.