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Earth Science

Giant Rift In Africa Will Create a New Ocean 168

Hugh Pickens writes "Researchers at the University of Rochester believe that a 35-mile rift in the desert of Ethiopia will likely become a new ocean in a million years or so, connecting the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden. Using newly gathered seismic data, researchers have reconstructed how the rift tore open along its entire 35-mile length in just days. Dabbahu, a volcano at the northern end of the rift, erupted first, then magma pushed up through the middle of the rift area and began 'unzipping' the rift in both directions. 'We know that seafloor ridges are created by a similar intrusion of magma into a rift, but we never knew that a huge length of the ridge could break open at once like this,' says Cindy Ebinger, professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Rochester. The results show that highly active volcanic boundaries along the edges of tectonic ocean plates may suddenly break apart in large sections, instead of in bits, as the leading theory had previously held. The sudden large-scale events pose a much more serious hazard to populations living near the rift than would several smaller events."
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Giant Rift In Africa Will Create a New Ocean

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @09:57AM (#29962800)

    I wouldn't say it is failed. It did create a body of water that was filled by the ice sheet from the last ice age.

  • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @10:48AM (#29963368)

    I think you're being too harsh on the OP. He specifically mentioned other flood stories in his post.

    The simple fact is that oral stories and traditions (Christianity aside) usually have SOME basis in reality. Christianity isn't the only religion with a flood story. The Greek's also had a flood story where Zeus flooded the world. As you mention there is also the Babylonian flood story. Countless other cultures in that area have a flood story. It's not being a "Christian apologetic" to look for real events that may have inspired such stories - it's researching history.

  • by radtea ( 464814 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @10:52AM (#29963408)

    There is a theory that the flood story of Noah is based on the actual deluge which created the Black Sea.

    No, the flood story of Noah is based on the Sumerian story of Utnapishtim. The Sumerian story of Utnapishtim may be based on the Black Sea (or even Mediterranian) inundation, but the Noah story is just a copy of the Sumerian story, with all the roles of the various Sumerian gods subsumed by a rather confused and contradictory Hebrew god.

    Given the Sumerians were a river culture (think about what "Mesopotamia" means) it is at least as plausible that the Sumerian flood story, which is what the biblical flood story is based on, arose from plausible fears of a great innundation, much as zombie stories arise today from a plausible fear of Republicans.

  • by Dragonslicer ( 991472 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @11:19AM (#29963684)

    Anyone who doesn't have a religious agenda to promote tends to find it pretty dang obvious that the Jewish flood story was based off the Babylonian/Sumerian one.

    Sure, plenty of cultures in western Asia at the time had similar flood stories. How do you leap to the conclusion that these stories weren't based on some real event?

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson