A new ocean is being created in Africa (@lionofjudahhiddeke)
Slowly but surely, Africa is being torn in two.
Like everything in geology, this is an extremely long process that will take millions of years, but eventually we will see a part of East Africa break away from the rest of the continent - and probably cause a new ocean to form between the two massive pieces of land.
The massive rupture is associated with the East African Rift System (EARS), one of the world's largest rifts that extends downward for thousands of kilometers through several African countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia, Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique.
In the past it was considered part of the Syrian-African divide that we all know, but studies have found that it stands on its own.
This rift system means the African plate is splitting into two plates — the smaller Somali plate and the larger Nubian plate — that are moving apart at an extremely slow rate of a few millimeters per year, according to a 2004 study.
In 2018 the news of a crack that appeared in Kenya went viral and many claimed that it was evidence that Africa is breaking in two before our eyes.
Although this amazing scene was related to EARS, it is a bit misleading to present it as a living testimony of the great division of Africa.
As IFLScience reported at the time, it was probably a very local expression of the valley's permanent fault activity.
The EARS has been in the current process for about 25 million years and the Kenya rift was an indirect whisper of what is happening beneath the surface of the continent.
However, in 5 million to 10 million years, changes in the EARS could cause the world to look drastically different from what we know today.
Around this time period, we are expected to see a new ocean form between the Somali Plate and the Nubian Plate.
The great continent of Africa will lose its eastern shoulder and a vast sea will cut off East Africa.
More in Walla!
Virtual reality therapy: a treatment for coping with anxiety
in collaboration with zap doctors
The rift in Kenya was just a whisper of what was really going on
As strange as it may seem, it's worth remembering that the Earth's surface is in a constant state of tides.
The process is simply so slow that the human experience cannot discern it.
The appearance of the world as we know it today is relatively new.
The land and sea we see today—of Eurasia, America, Africa, Antarctica, and Oceania—are the product of vast tectonic plates that fit together like a puzzle.
However, very slowly, these puzzle pieces move apart over a time span of millions of years.
Just think about the fragmentation that the Earth saw about 138 million years ago when South America and Africa split apart.
If you look at the west coast of Africa and the east coast of South America, you'll notice that they fit together like two pieces of a puzzle, which nicely highlights how these continents were once connected to the ancient supercontinent Pangea.
The departure of East Africa will be just another page in this huge geological book.
Who knows if humanity will be around to see any of these changes, but it doesn't look hopeful right now.