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The Great Rift Valley is a series of contiguous geographic trenches, approximately 7,000 kilometres (4,300 mi) in total length, that runs from the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon which is in Asia to Mozambique in Southeast Africa. While the name continues in some usages, it is rarely used in geology as it is considered an imprecise merging of separate though related rift and fault systems.
Today, the term is most often used to refer to the valley of the East African Rift, the divergent plate boundary which extends from the Afar Triple Junction southward across eastern Africa, and is in the process of splitting the African Plate into two new separate plates. Geologists generally refer to these incipient plates as the Nubian Plate and the Somali Plate.
Today these rifts and faults are seen as distinct, although connected, but originally, the Great Rift Valley was thought to be a single feature that extended from Lebanon in the north to Mozambique in the south, where it constitutes one of two distinct physiographic provinces of the East African mountains. It included what today is called the Lebanese section of the Dead Sea Transform, the Jordan Rift Valley, Red Sea Rift and the East African Rift.These rifts and faults were formed 35 million years ago.
The northernmost parts of the Rift corresponds to the central section of what is called today the Dead Sea Transform (DST) or Rift. This midsection of the DST forms the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon, separating the Lebanon from the Anti-Lebanon Mountains. Further south it is known as the Hula Valley separating the Galilee mountains and the Golan Heights.
The Jordan River begins here and flows southward through Lake Hula into the Sea of Galilee in Israel. The Rift then continues south through the Jordan Rift Valley into the Dead Sea on the Israeli-Jordanian border. From the Dead Sea southwards, the Rift is occupied by the Wadi Arabah, then the Gulf of Aqaba, and then the Red Sea.
Off the southern tip of Sinai in the Red Sea, the Dead Sea Transform meets the Red Sea Rift which runs the length of the Red Sea. The Red Sea Rift comes ashore to meet the East African Rift and the Aden Ridge in the Afar Depression of East Africa. The junction of these three rifts is called the Afar Triple Junction.
The East African Rift follows the Red Sea to the end before turning inland into the Ethiopian highlands, dividing the country into two large and adjacent but separate mountainous regions. In Kenya, Uganda and the fringes of South Sudan, the Great Rift runs along two separate branches that are joined to each other only at their southern end, in Southern Tanzania along its border with Zambia. The two branches are called the Western Rift Valley and the Eastern Rift Valley.
The Western Rift, also called the Albertine Rift, is bordered by some of the highest mountains in Africa, including the Virunga Mountains, Mitumba Mountains, and Ruwenzori Range. It contains the Rift Valley lakes, which include some of the deepest lakes in the world (up to 1,470 metres (4,820 ft) deep at Lake Tanganyika).
Much of this area lies within the boundaries of national parks such as Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwenzori National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda, and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Lake Victoria is considered to be part of the rift valley system although it actually lies between the two branches. All of the African Great Lakes were formed as the result of the rift, and most lie in territories within the rift.
In Kenya, the valley is deepest to the north of Nairobi. As the lakes in the Eastern Rift have no outlet to the sea and tend to be shallow, they have a high mineral content as the evaporation of water leaves the salts behind. For example, Lake Magadi has high concentrations of soda (sodium carbonate) and Lake Elmenteita, Lake Bogoria, and Lake Nakuru are all strongly alkaline, while the freshwater springs supplying Lake Naivasha are essential to support its current biological variety.
The southern section of the Rift Valley includes Lake Malawi, the third-deepest freshwater body in the world, reaching 706 metres (2,316 ft) in depth and separating the Nyassa plateau of Northern Mozambique from Malawi; it ends in the Zambezi valley.
The geography of Israel is very diverse, with desert conditions in the south, and snow-capped mountains in the north. Israel is located at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea in Western Asia. It is bounded to the north by Lebanon, the northeast by Syria, the east by Jordan and the West Bank, and to the southwest by Egypt. To the west of Israel is the Mediterranean Sea, which makes up the majority of Israel's 273 km (170 mi) coastline, and the Gaza Strip. Israel has a small coastline on the Red Sea in the south.
A rift valley is a linear shaped lowland between several highlands or mountain ranges created by the action of a geologic rift. Rifts are formed as a result of the pulling apart of the lithosphere due to extensional tectonics. The linear depression may subsequently be further deepened by the forces of erosion. More generally the valley is likely to be filled with sedimentary deposits derived from the rift flanks and the surrounding areas. In many cases rift lakes are formed. One of the best known examples of this process is the East African Rift. On Earth, rifts can occur at all elevations, from the sea floor to plateaus and mountain ranges in continental crust or in oceanic crust. They are often associated with a number of adjoining subsidiary or co-extensive valleys, which are typically considered part of the principal rift valley geologically.
The African Great Lakes are a series of lakes constituting the part of the Rift Valley lakes in and around the East African Rift. They include Lake Victoria, the second-largest fresh water lake in the world by area, Lake Tanganyika, the world's second-largest freshwater lake by volume and depth, and Lake Malawi, the world's eighth-largest fresh water lake by area. Collectively, they contain 31,000 km3 of water, which is more than either Lake Baikal or the North American Great Lakes. This total constitutes about 25% of the planet's unfrozen surface fresh water. The large rift lakes of Africa are the ancient home of great biodiversity, and 10% of the world's fish species live in this region.
The Arabian Plate is a minor tectonic plate in the northern and eastern hemispheres.
The Jordan Rift Valley, also Jordan Valley, also called the Syro-African Depression, is an elongated depression located in modern-day Israel, Jordan, and Palestine. This geographic region includes the entire length of the Jordan River – from its sources, through the Hula Valley, the Korazim block, the Sea of Galilee, the (Lower) Jordan Valley, all the way to the Dead Sea, the lowest land elevation on Earth – and then continues through the Arabah depression, the Gulf of Aqaba whose shorelines it incorporates, until finally reaching the Red Sea proper at the Straits of Tiran.
The East African Rift (EAR) or East African Rift System (EARS) is an active continental rift zone in East Africa. The EAR began developing around the onset of the Miocene, 22–25 million years ago. In the past it was considered to be part of a larger Great Rift Valley that extended north to Asia Minor.
The Afar Triangle is a geological depression caused by the Afar Triple Junction, which is part of the Great Rift Valley in East Africa. The region has disclosed fossil specimens of the very earliest hominins; that is, the earliest of the human clade; and it is thought by some paleontologists to be the cradle of the evolution of humans, see Middle Awash, Hadar. The Depression overlaps the borders of Eritrea, Djibouti and the entire Afar Region of Ethiopia; and it contains the lowest point in Africa, Lake Assal, Djibouti, at 155 m below sea level.
The Afar Triple Junction is located along a divergent plate boundary dividing the Nubian, Somali, and Arabian plates. This area is considered a present-day example of continental rifting leading to seafloor spreading and producing an oceanic basin. Here, the Red Sea Rift meets the Aden Ridge and the East African Rift. It extends a total of 6,500 kilometers (4,000 mi) in three arms from the Afar Triangle to Mozambique.
The Red Sea Rift is a spreading center between two tectonic plates, the African Plate and the Arabian Plate. It extends from the Dead Sea Transform fault system, and ends at an intersection with the Aden Ridge and the East African Rift, forming the Afar Triple Junction in the Afar Depression of the Horn of Africa. It is in Egypt.
The Dead Sea Transform (DST) fault system, also sometimes referred to as the Dead Sea Rift, is a series of faults that run from the Maras Triple Junction to the northern end of the Red Sea Rift. The fault system forms the transform boundary between the African Plate to the west and the Arabian Plate to the east. It is a zone of left lateral displacement, signifying the relative motions of the two plates. Both plates are moving in a general north-northeast direction, but the Arabian Plate is moving faster, resulting in the observed left lateral motions along the fault of approximately 107 km. A component of extension is also present in the southern part of the transform, which has contributed to a series of depressions, or pull-apart basins, forming the Gulf of Aqaba, Dead Sea, Sea of Galilee, and Hula basins.
This is a list of articles related to plate tectonics and tectonic plates.
The Near East earthquakes of 1759 were a series of devastating earthquakes that shook a large portion of the Levant in October and November of that year. This geographical crossroads in the Eastern Mediterranean were at the time under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. The ruins of Baalbek, a settlement in the Beqaa Valley of Lebanon east of the Litani River, were badly damaged. These 1759 events, along with the earlier 1202 Syria earthquake, are likely the strongest historical earthquakes in the region.
The Madagascar Plate or Madagascar block was once attached to the Gondwana supercontinent and later the Indo-Australian Plate.
The Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia, is a branch of the East African Rift that runs through Ethiopia in a southwest direction from the Afar Triple Junction. In the past, it was seen as part of a "Great Rift Valley" that ran from Mozambique to Syria.
The Gregory Rift is the eastern branch of the East African Rift fracture system. The rift is being caused by the separation of the Somali plate from the Nubian plate, driven by a thermal plume. Although the term is sometimes used in the narrow sense of the Kenyan Rift, the larger definition of the Gregory Rift is the set of faults and grabens extending southward from the Gulf of Aden through Ethiopia and Kenya into Northern Tanzania, passing over the local uplifts of the Ethiopian and Kenyan domes. Ancient fossils of early hominins, the ancestors of humans, have been found in the southern part of the Gregory Rift.
The 1956 Chim earthquake was a destructive multiple-shock event that occurred on March 16 in Lebanon along a strand of the Dead Sea Transform (DST) fault system. The epicenter was located in the south of Lebanon in the Chouf District. Six thousand homes were destroyed and another 17,000 were damaged. The number of persons killed was 136.
The geology of Djibouti consists largely of volcanic rocks from the Miocene to Holocene epochs. There are more recent alluvial deposits with coral on the coast, as well as Cenozoic sedimentary. Amba Aradam Sandstones from the Jurassic Period are found in the southeast of the country.
A magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck Tanzania 27 km (17 mi) east northeast of Nsunga, Kagera Region on September 10 at a depth of 40 km (25 mi). The shock had a maximum intensity of VII (Very strong). Nineteen people were killed and 253 injured in Tanzania, while four people were killed in Kamuli and seven others were injured in the Rakai District of neighbouring Uganda.
The Danakil Alps are a highland region in Ethiopia and Eritrea with peaks over 1000 metres in height and a width varying between 40 and 70 kilometres. The alps lie to the east of the Danakil Depression and separate it from the southern Red Sea. A rift escarpment facing the Red Sea forms the eastern boundary of the range.
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