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Earth Science

Volcanic Activity May Split Africa In Two 170

An anonymous reader writes 'Volcanic activity may split the African continent in two, creating a new ocean, say experts. This is due to a recent geological crack which has appeared in northeastern Ethiopia.'
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Volcanic Activity May Split Africa In Two

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    • by Xest ( 935314 ) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @05:51AM (#29992596)

      Yes, and it's now happened twice in 2 days, the world is falling apart, run for the hills!

    • by lena_10326 ( 1100441 ) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @06:31AM (#29992808) Homepage
      3 pieces. Break a cookie in half 2 times.
      • Break #1: 1 = 0.5 + 0.5
      • Break #2: 1 = 0.5 + 0.25 + 0.25

      3 pieces. Not 4. You would need 3 breaks to get 4 pieces.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by imakemusic ( 1164993 )
        You can't break a cookie in half twice. You can break it in half once and then you can break a half-cookie in half. Saying that you're breaking the [whole] cookie in half twice implies that you are making the first break and then breaking both of those halves in two.
        • by lena_10326 ( 1100441 ) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @07:24AM (#29993060) Homepage

          There are no half-cookies. There are only cookies. Some are small; some are big. It's like saying there are half rocks. Divide a rock in half, u get 2 rocks. Not 2 half rocks. This is because a cookie has no anatomy as you and I would know it. It is symmetrical and the independent of scale. It applies down to a cookie of size 2 molecules. A 1 molecule cookie cannot be divided, because dividing molecule yields entirely different substances.

          If I had said an "apple", that would have been different. Half apples do indeed exist.

          • by imakemusic ( 1164993 ) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @07:29AM (#29993092)
            Isn't a cookie of size 2 molecules technically known as a Crumb?
            • When is a crumb not a cookie? When it's a bread crumb. It's not called a cookie crumb for nothin. A cookie crumb is just a very small cookie. Would a mile wide cookie cease to be a cookie? Why discriminate against the radially challenged?
            • by noundi ( 1044080 )

              Isn't a cookie of size 2 molecules technically known as a Crumb?

              Or two Plack cookies (Ö, pron. "yummy").

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by mh1997 ( 1065630 )

            There are no half-cookies. There are only cookies. Some are small; some are big. It's like saying there are half rocks....

            It's like a car. Divide it in half and you get a Ford Pinto, not 2 half cars. This is because a car....

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by lena_10326 ( 1100441 )

              It does not work for cars because cookies and rocks have a property that cars do not--symmetry of matter. Materialwise, they are consistent. Imagine a plane slicing through a rock dividing it into two--slicing at any angle. The material on both sides of the plane will always be of the same type of material possessing the same properties. This is why a rock sliced in half results in 2 rocks--not 2 half rocks. That is not true for cars because I can slice only the tire and have rubber on one side and the rema

              • by chronosan ( 1109639 ) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @08:52AM (#29993516)
                You can, however, have half an Oreo Cookie.
              • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

                by Anonymous Coward
                You must be a lot of fun at parties.
              • If I accept that cookie crumbs *are* cookies, what happens when I pulverise a chocolate chip cookie? Do the child cookies inherit their "chocolate chip cookie" nature from the parent cookie? What happens if the child cookie does not actually contain any chocolate chips?

                Or, are you arguing that chocolate-free child cookies remain cookies, but undergo some sort of change into a non-chocolate-chip cookie, even though the molecules in the child cookie have in fact not changed since being baked? If a chocolat

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by camperdave ( 969942 )
                  Obviously the cookie is made of an exotic form of matter. Other substances, like water or salt, can be divided almost indefinitely (until you get down to a single molecule) without losing their properties. Not so with cookie matter. A chocolate chip cookie can be broken down only so far before it ceases being a chocolate chip cookie, and becomes just a plain cookie. This can happen even at centimetre scales. Some cookies have a directionality to them. Oreos, for example, when broken radially maintain
                • by blueZ3 ( 744446 )

                  Dude--your explanation sounds WAY too much like the Catholic church's explanation of transubstantiation.

              • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                by steelfood ( 895457 )

                I can't believe Africa just got compared to a cookie--for an entire thread, no less.

                So I have to ask now, what kind of cookie is it? And is it crisp or soft?

              • "It does not work for cars"

                So this ISN'T like a car? I'm confused. Can you come up with an analogy?

              • by SQLGuru ( 980662 )

                Splitting a continent may leave you with only one continent......just one that is divided.


          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Gulthek ( 12570 )

            There are no half-cookies. There are only cookies. Some are small; some are big.

            Wow, that just became one of my favorite phrases.

          • by Trails ( 629752 ) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @11:29AM (#29995220)
            I cordially invite you to come to my house and explain to my kids that half a cookie is in fact a cookie. Good luck. If you're successful, I'll even pay for your airfare.
        • Breaking the same cookie in half is feasible if you are in two parallel universes, right? Or did I just screw up that whole spacetime-continuum thing again? Damn, I should have paid better attention when we were learning quantum physics.
      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        3 pieces. Not 4. You would need 3 breaks to get 4 pieces.

        Chuck Norris would get 4 pieces from 1 break, you just didn't break it hard enough.

    • by Tarlus ( 1000874 )
      Seriously, I wish it was possible to mod the whole Slashdot article as -1 Redundant.
  • by Enleth ( 947766 ) <> on Thursday November 05, 2009 @05:12AM (#29992378) Homepage

    The article duping activity would be enough to split Slashdot in two, creating a new site that could actualy cover the same events at almost the same time with little additional work, says any attentive reader.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Rumours have also surfaced that the article duping activity would be enough to split Slashdot in two, creating a new site that could actualy cover the same events at almost the same time with little additional work.
      • by BuR4N ( 512430 )
        Its possible that article duping activity could sustain at least three Slashdot sites, that actually cover the same events, with no additional work.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Goffee71 ( 628501 )
      In other news, East Africa and West Africa rap battles set to get more intense and possibly end in violence!
    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      Ah, but with enough time, grasshopper, the two halves of Slashdot would meet on the other side of the internet and again become one.

  • by MWojcik ( 859959 ) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @05:24AM (#29992452)
    It must be some some african-internet hybrid volcano, it is already splitting the article about itself in two.
  • Wait a million years and you will be rich, with ocean panoramas on your lands, private resorts, etc.
    I'm finding a real estate agent, I think there are some good ones in Nigeria...
  • by theurge14 ( 820596 ) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @05:39AM (#29992518)

    I must be playing too much WoW because now I'm starting to believe the upcoming expansion Cataclysm is a real even that will take place in Africa.

  • by G3ckoG33k ( 647276 ) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @05:43AM (#29992540)
    This has been in the school books since 1970s, at least. For starters - look at [] and then do a Google search for "Rift Valley"
    • I am not sure about this bit:

      "The significance of the finding is that a huge magnetic deformation can happen within a few days, like in [the] oceans," said lead author Atalay Ayele, a professor at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia.

      And then

      The Afar region, known for its salt mines and active volcanoes, is one of the lowest and hottest places on the planet.

      Okay thats interesting. In wonder how you would go pumping sea water into it? You would certainly get a sea (or lake) for a while but salinity would be a problem sooner or later. It might do wonders for the local climate.

      • by Fred_A ( 10934 )

        Okay thats interesting. In wonder how you would go pumping sea water into it?

        That's easy, you'd just use a series of tubes.

        Wait, I just had an idea...

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        Do you know where youd get a topological map for that area?

        Assuming verical cliff walls surrounding the dead sea and digging a canal to it would lower world sea levels by ~1.95mm - in reality would be a lot more (810sq km surface area, 422m below "sea" level), doing likewise with the Caspian sea (28 metres below "sea" level and >300,000sq km surface area) would drop world sea levels by ~6cm.

        That basin has a trough of around 155m below sea level - in Djibouti (neighbouring Ethiopia) I believe - only 125
    • by mea37 ( 1201159 )


      Looking at the headline, you would think this new ocean were poised to spring into existance in a sudden burst of volcanic chaos. In human terms, that's clearly not what we're looking at - they're talking about a million-year process.

      The clear conclusion is that this story was written by an entity with a much courser view of time than our own. Sure, 40 years sounds like old news to you, but to them it must be a blink of an eye. Barely enough time to bring the information to press, even.

      Somehow I

  • new news is always old news when you look for science in everyday magazines/newspapers. Anyway, I remember knowing from somewhere (school, discovery, whatever) that Africa is due for another splitting in some millions of years (the great lakes are just rifts filled with water from what I remember) I found this webpage [] the new news is at least a few months old. maybe the news is just that they published an article about it.
    • by mrboyd ( 1211932 )
      The news is not that there's a rift of about 6000km long. Other people had noticed that. The news is that some very specific stuff that mere human don't give a frack about may happen there. Of course since I'm not a geologist I have no clue why it matters; if it's news or only news for that particular location or quack science.

      For the first time they demonstrate that activity on one rift segment can trigger a major episode of magma injection and associated deformation on a neighbouring segment.

    • The great lakes wereformed from glaciers during the last ice age. This is more like the midAtlantic ridge. Once it reaches an ocean it will flood and we no longer will have to worry about global flooding from melting glaceirs.

  • This kind of early investigative reporting is exactly what Slashdot needs to rectify "old news & dupes site" image.

    Also showing:

    Australia will crash into Antarctica!

    Barack Obama will die!

    Cockroaches will go extinct!

    You read it first here!

  • by gafisher ( 865473 ) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @06:24AM (#29992754)
    Where's the United Nations when we need them?
  • Sever to south. fight now
  • This news is really not new. I saw this in a documentary by Dr. Ian Stuart on the BBC: "Earth - the Power of the Planet" over a year back. Why is it getting so much attention now then? 2 stories in 2 days? Did people wake up after a Long Siesta?
    • That's because you didn't RTFA, and the summary is utter shite.

      The rift isn't new, it happened in 2005 when two volcanoes went off. What is new is that just this week, this very week in which this duped story came out, the very thing that these articles are talking about, it was shown for the very first time that it is possible for a huge magnetic deformation to occur on the surface in a matter of days, as it does in the ocean. For the first time they've been able to show that activity in one segment can

  • North America (Score:5, Informative)

    by QuoteMstr ( 55051 ) <> on Thursday November 05, 2009 @07:01AM (#29992948)

    What's not very well-known is that the same thing happened to North America [], almost splitting the continent in two. Lake Superior lies in the depression left by the failed North American rift.

    • It only seems like it failed. Then, any minute now, the earth is going to roar to life as a giant burp of magma rises from the core to underneath north america. yellowstone traps, missouri mega-earthquake, the end is nigh. If you knew geology, and lived in America, you'd be a preacher too. Doom is before us! Repent!

    • Note from the map that the eastern arm of the rift was successful until it neared Detroit.
  • ...Google Earth coordinates? If it's not on GE, it doesn't exist in the so called real world.
  • Ethiopia is going to end up being Africa's equivalent o New Zealand for Australia or Madagascar for Africa.
    What has happened before will happen again.

  • Relax (Score:3, Funny)

    by gmuslera ( 3436 ) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @08:28AM (#29993384) Homepage Journal
    In 1 millon years slashdot that will finally happens and Slashdot will stop posting dupes about it.
  • It looks like 2012 is starting a bit early. Or perhaps this is just more studio publicity vulcanism.

  • by happy_place ( 632005 ) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @08:55AM (#29993542) Homepage
    I'm forty(ish) now, but I distinctly remember a social studies/geography teacher telling me about this when I was in Jr. High School. Who knew going to a California public school would be so leading edge!? ;)
  • by thomasdz ( 178114 ) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @09:17AM (#29993706)

    A couple of years ago, Slashdot was doing LOTS of duplicate articles and that has been cleaned up tremedously. It's kinda nice to see a dupe now and then to remind me of those heady days of 2007, ahhhh, how I miss them

  • We need some of that volcanic activity here in Virginia. Why, we haven't had a good volcano in, well, 40-50 million years. About time I say!
  • Splitting articles is fine, just don't split participles, or Miss Grundy will get you...
  • This is obviously another Crusader ploy to tear away the largely Christian southern Africa from the primarily Muslim northern Africa. We condemn this despicable act of aggression!
  • I read that link as cosmo magazine.

    I was wondering why a magazine dedicated to women giving better blowjobs would have a geology article.

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan