Feeds

Geologists have ringside seats for an ocean's birth

A new sea forming in Africa

Top three mobile application threats

A rift that opened in Africa after a massive earthquake last September could be the beginning of a new Ocean, scientists say. The crack in the ground appeared along a fault line in the Afar desert in Ethiopia.

The crack is heading for the Red Sea. If it makes it that far, it would carve a new ocean that would separate Eritrea and part of Ethiopia (both of which lie on the Arabian plate) from the rest of the continent, creating a new island.

Satellite data collected since the quake shows that the rift is widening at an unprecedented rate, according to reports. It is sixty kilometres long and by October it was already eight metres wide in some places. These observations are reported in Nature.

The Rift Valley is a very geologically active region, thanks to the separation of the Arabian and Nubian tectonic plates. As the plates slide away from each other, the crust of the Earth is stretched and thinned to the point where cracks appear.

In this case, as the crust fractured, approximately 2.5 cubic kilometres of magma from nearby volcanoes flooded into the rift, forming fresh continental crust. That is enough to cover the area inside the M25 to a depth of about a yard, the BBC reports.

The research team, a collaboration between scientists in the UK and in Ethiopia, used both field measurements and satellite images from the European Space Agency's Envisat spacecraft to build a precise map of the changes. It is the first event of this kind to have occurred since the satellite technology became available.

If the crack does represent the birth of a new ocean (and it may not - it could all just settle down again), it will be about a million years before it is wet enough.

Which should give any local Noahs plenty of time to build their Arks. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
R.I.P. LADEE: Probe smashes into lunar surface at 3,600mph
Swan dive signs off successful science mission
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.