New ocean formation in Africa

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The African continent is undergoing a geological transformation that could result in the formation of a new ocean. This process is driven by the shifting of tectonic plates, specifically the African Nubian, African Somali, and Arabian plates, which have been drifting apart for some time1. The East African Rift, a 56-kilometer-long rift in the deserts of Ethiopia that formed in 2005, marked the beginning of this process1. The East African Rift (EAR) is an active continental rift zone in East Africa, which began developing around the onset of the Miocene, 22–25 million years ago. The African Plate is in the process of splitting into two tectonic plates, called the Somali Plate and the Nubian Plate, at a rate of 6–7 mm per year2. The Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden are expected to flood the Afar region and the East African Rift Valley, eventually forming a new ocean. This would result in the East African part becoming a separate continent1. This process is similar to how the Red Sea was formed by the Arabian peninsula being split from the Horn of Africa by the movement of the Red Sea Rift8. However, this transformation is not expected to occur rapidly. The separation of the tectonic plates is happening at a rate of a few millimeters per year, and the complete formation of a new ocean could take millions of years9. The implications of this geological event are significant. Landlocked countries such as Uganda and Zambia could gain coastlines, potentially expanding possibilities for trade and production9. However, it's important to note that these changes will occur over geological timescales and won't have immediate impacts on the current human populations.
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