Thursday, December 08, 2005


Mother Nature, the ultimate in force times mass.
BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Geologists witness 'ocean birth': "The team watched an 8m rift develop in the ground in just three weeks in the Afar desert region last September.

It is one small step in a long-term split that is tearing the east of the country from the rest of Africa and should eventually create a huge sea.

The UK-Ethiopian group says it was astonished at the speed with which the 60km-long fissure developed.

'It's the first large event we've seen like this in a rift zone since the advent of some of the space-based techniques we're now using, and which give us a resolution and a detail to see what's really going on and how the earth processes work; it's amazing,' said Cindy Ebinger, from Royal Holloway University of London.

Professor Ebinger and colleagues described the event here at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting.

Earth forces

In the far-distant past, oceans such as the Atlantic have formed when supercontinents have torn apart.

Indeed, North America and Europe are still moving in opposite directions at about the pace fingernails grow.

Researchers have long recognised that the Afar region, an inhospitable depression in southern Ethiopia, has been contorted by similar forces in recent geological time."
And you thought geology was boring and nothing ever happened.

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