Brief Tectonic Intro of the East African Rift

the East African Rift

The East African Rift is among the most significant tectonic characteristics in Africa. It’s like a huge scar on the Earth’s face. The landscapes in it are just among the classic geologic frameworks.

On one side of the valley is African (also called Nubian) tectonic plate, which contains the ancient African continental crust. On the other side is the Somalian plate, in where the Horn of Africa is located. This part is moving slightly away to the other direction. The East African Rift is linked together with the Ethiopian Rift. The scar stretches from central Mozambique to the southern Red Sea.

The landscapes in the rift valley are farraginous. The most significant features should be the countless fault lines that are nearly parallel at the bottom of the rift. If in afternoon, shadows cast by sunlight will make the fault scarps more brilliant. Those steps in the land shape are formed by slip move along separate faults and they are just aligned with the rift’s north-south axis.

The western branch of the rift is located on the frontier of Congolese rainforest, and the eastern part is droughtier, here you can find the shallow salty Lake Magadi with the salt-loving red algae. On the dry part of the lake are salt deposits, providing supplies for some salt pans business. The lake is where the main and secondary fault scarps join in an intersection.

The East African rift system is noted by massive volcanic activities. Sometimes you may have the chance to see lavas erupting out from fissures and flowing among the faults. Volcano form is usual in the East African rift system, some volcanoes are very big, such as Mount Kenya and Mount Kilimanjaro.

The largest vegetated region in the system is the green floor of the valley where contain a large area with water exists near the surface. This green floor is over 17 kilometers long.

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