Geologists expect that the tectonic plates that make up the continent of Africa will be torn in a period of five to ten million years and may expand to such an extent that it will divide the continent into two parts forming a new ocean.
Tectonic plates in the Ethiopian Afar region, the Arab, Nubian, and Somali regions are slowly turning away from each other. This fissure gradually expanded to create a massive crack that would slowly form a new ocean, according to NBC News.
“We can see that the crust of the new ocean is beginning to form, because it is distinctly different from the continental crust in its composition and density,” Christopher Moore, PhD student at the University of Leeds, told NBC.
Unique opportunity for a new ocean
Scientists think that the Earth’s panels will fall apart for some time, but the new GPS improvements help them know exactly what is happening beneath the Earth’s surface.
According to NBC, the new ocean will give geologists an unprecedented opportunity to see how such a tectonic split occurs. Although the tectonic plates of the Earth are constantly moving, scientists still do not know the reason that drives these three pieces apart.
The theory now is that huge, superheated rocks emanate from the Earth’s crust at the point where the three panels meet, but it is difficult to verify such ideas.
“With GPS measurements, we can measure movement rates even if it is a few millimeters a year, and we will be able to better understand what is happening by collecting more measurements from the GPS,” Ken MacDonald, a marine geophysicist in Santa Barbara, told NBC.
Astronomers also pointed out that a complex process taking place this period in the arid region of eastern Africa, may lead to the split of the continent into two parts and the birth of a new ocean after a long time.
In detail, the US News Network NBC News reported that the Afar region in East Africa, which is one of the hottest places on earth, has a meeting point of 3 tectonic plates.
The satellites have observed a very slow separation of these plates, a complex geological process that scientists say will eventually split the continent into two parts, and the emergence of a new ocean after millions of years.
New ocean in 5 to 10 million years
In turn, satellite measurements revealed a 35-mile long crack in the Ethiopian desert, and it is believed that the new ocean of Africa will take between 5 and 10 million years to form.
The Earth’s crust is made up of dozens of large tectonic plates, which are irregular shaped slabs of rock, constantly cracking or expanding.
The reason is unknown.
The cause of the “disintegration of the continent” is still unknown, while some experts believe that this is due to very hot rocks rising from under the mantle.
Geophysicist Ken MacDonald, professor emeritus at the University of California, said: “GPS devices have revolutionized this field, allowing scientists to make accurate measurements of how the Earth moves over time, adding:” Using GPS, you can measure movement rates In the year, “and thus estimate the shape of the Earth over time.”