A large rift (or crack) has formed in south-western Kenya, stretching several kilometres and measures 50 feet deep and up to 20 metres wide, continuing to grow. The tear, which began to appear in the past two days, is causing havoc in the country, with seismic activity and has caused part of the Nairobi-Narok highway to collapse.
National Geographic revealed the result of the crack to be due to because two tectonic plates, the Somali and the Nubian, moving away from each other. It is believed that the crack formed over many years and scientists already knew about it. Geologist David Adede has said the crack was likely filled previously with volcanic ash from nearby Mt. Longonot and recent heavy rainfall washed away the ash to uncover the crack. They may separate completely, but this won’t be for over a 50 million year time period (sorry, I know your inner scientist was getting excited), and create a land-mass comparable to New Zealand.
The Earth’s lithosphere (formed by the crust and the upper part of the mantle), will thin to almost complete break-up and form a new ocean by the solidification of magma from the broken tectonic plates. And eventually, over a period of tens of millions of years, the seafloor will spread across the whole surface of the rift and cause the crack to flood, resulting in a new continent.
In the meantime, however, the physical effects of the separation will continue to be felt. To give you an idea of the sheer size of the rift, watch below.