For over the past 5 years, scientific researchers have been observing an ocean in the making. Scientists at the Royal Society, claim that the African continent will be split in two based on a 60 kilometer crack in the Earth’s surface in Ethiopia. Tim Wright, the lead researcher, estimates that the process of forming a new ocean will take approximately ten billion years. The crack is caused by molten rock slowly rising from deep below the Earth’s surface. Matt McGrath of the BBC goes into detail:
“Dr James Hammond, a seismologist from the University of Bristol – who has been working in Afar – says that parts of the region are below sea level and the ocean is only cut off by about a 20-metre block of land in Eritrea.
“Eventually this will drift apart,” he told the BBC World Service. “The sea will flood in and will start to create this new ocean.
“It will pull apart, sink down deeper and deeper and eventually… parts of southern Ethiopia, Somalia will drift off, create a new island, and we’ll have a smaller Africa and a very big island that floats out into the Indian Ocean.”
The team hope to conduct experiments in the area that will help understand how the surface of the Earth is shaped.
They believe that the information they glean from observing the shaping of the Earth will help scientists better understand natural hazards such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.”