Fine Structure

The Beginning of a New Ocean

A rift has opened up in Ethiopia, shown here, that will one day become a new ocean. Other than a fascinating picture, the explanation is also really interesting.

Though the area is a clear choice for expansion since it sits near the meeting point for the African and Arabian tectonic plates, regular geologic expansion occurs here only at a rate of one inch per year. The rift was apparently caused in only a few days due to magma pressure from a nearby erupting volcano.

Welcome, new ocean! Now what should we call it? ]