allman bruce africas rift system1 Essay

Submitted By bawarrior
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EAST AFRICA”S GREAT RIFT VALLEY: A COMPLEX RIFT SYSTEM

EAST AFRICAS GREAT RIFT VALLEY
Allman, Bruce
PHSC 210-D
Breuner
4/16/2015

Introduction
This article, as the authors stated in their introductory paragraph is to “discuss the general geology of the East African Rift Valley and to highlight the geologic processes involved.”
Brief Overview and Main Points
A basic overview of the article can be articulated as such; within the East African rift system, there are rifts forming altering the shape of that continent. The author’s position is that these rifts located in the countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, are called the Nubian plate. The smaller plate which is pulling away is called the Somalian plate. This rift, as well as other rifts on the continent of Africa is moving away to form what has yet to be seen.

The authors of this paper James Wood, and Alex Guth, determined that these two geologic features could be broken down into two distinct areas. One, called the Ethiopian rift, and a Western branch containing the African Great Lakes. The rift system extends thousands of kilometers in Africa alone, and thousands of kilometers more if we include the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. The author concludes that these rifts were formed by heat flow from the mantle, causing thermal bulges. These bulges form and stretch the outer brutal crust into a series of faults forming the structure of the rift valleys. These authors also concluded that the stretching process associated with this rift formation was preceded by huge volcanic eruptions which flowed over large areas and preserved/exposed flanks of the rift. These areas can develop enormous thickness the stretching of the crust continues, it forms a stretch zone.
The authors detailed this rift system and the bodies of water affected by this system. They showed us drops below sea level, as they figure happened at the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. Eventually this stretching, the authors conclude will form a new ocean basin.
Article Strengths
These authors did a great job in defining the areas of the East African rift, they adequately described what they feel helped form this rift system and its causes. They gave us the countries contained what they determined to be the extent of these rifts, meaning how far they extended on this continent, as well as how far they extended into the Gulf and seas surrounding them.
There are two branches to this rift system; the one on the West contains the African Great Lakes. The other rift sits approximately 600 km to the east and bisects Kenya north to south before it enters Tanzania. The authors also gave us detailed illustrations in an attempt to…