Desert Rift Creating New African Sea—Slowly

Crack created by volcanic eruption will eventually meet with Red Sea
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2009 2:14 PM CST
A map of Ethiopia. In a million years, waters will spill into a newly-formed rift, creating a new sea perpendicular to the red sea.   (Wikimedia commons)

(Newser) – Africa is getting a new ocean—in a million years, give or take. It's starting with a 35-mile rift in the Ethiopian desert caused by the eruption of a volcano in 2005. The rift will eventually meet with the Red Sea, allowing the waters to spill in, say scientists. The process is a small part of the separation of the African and Arabian tectonic plates, which have been moving away from one another at a rate of 1 inch per year for 30 million years, LiveScience reports.