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Giant Rift In Africa Will Create a New Ocean

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the basin-and-range dept.

Earth 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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168 comments

Scam coming in your inbox today! (4, Funny)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#29962420)

BUY beachfront property NOW!

After a while* you'll be sitting on a goldmine!

(* definition of "while" might be different in your state)

Re:Scam coming in your inbox today! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29962748)

And new waters for Somali Pirates. This will solve [venganza.org] global warming problem.

Re:Scam coming in your inbox today! (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#29962756)

And look forward to sitting on the ocean-front and using a laptop running the stable release version of HURD.

Surfin' Ethiopia! (5, Funny)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 4 years ago | (#29962902)

If everybody had an ocean
Across the desert sands,
Then everybody'd be surfin'
Like Ethiop-I-A
You'd see 'em wearin' their baggies
Huarachi sandals, too
A bushy bushy blonde hairdo
Surfin' Africa.

google wave invite requested (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29962942)

google wave invite requested

pauloshore AT gmail.com

Re:google wave invite requested (1)

gomiam (587421) | more than 4 years ago | (#29963844)

Sorry, no waves expected until several hundred thousand years in the future ;)

Re:Scam coming in your inbox today! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29963812)

Hopefully God Almighty will drowned them niggers right swiftly. This is the best thing that can happen! Less monkey-ape-niggers, the better!

Re:Scam coming in your inbox today! (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 4 years ago | (#29964690)

BUY beachfront property NOW!

After a while* you'll be sitting on a goldmine!

There was a documentary [imdb.com] on this business strategy a while ago.

"In a million years or so" (4, Funny)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#29962426)

Nothing to see here folks... move along. Come back in a million years or so.

What's next? Another story about Duke Nukem Forever?

Re:"In a million years or so" (1, Redundant)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#29962670)

Considering that both events will happen approximately at the same year, yes, would be stuff that matters here.

Headlines: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29963410)

New ocean born within Africa.

Duke Nukem Forever development taken up again, should launch later next year.

This Friday! On SyFy! A rift opens in Sheffield! (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 4 years ago | (#29962446)

Swallowing up thousands of hectares of the English countryside! With no warning! On the Most Dangerous Cheesiest Night on Television!

Re:This Friday! On SyFy! A rift opens in Sheffield (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29962562)

Swallowing up thousands of hectares of the English countryside! With no warning! On the Most Dangerous Cheesiest Night on Television!

This made-for-TV movie is brought to you by Cheetoes, they're dangerously cheesy.

Noah's flood and a massive deluge (2, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#29962454)

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

Before the Flood, this area was simply a low-lying area, but approximately 5000 years ago waters from the Mediterranean Sea spilled over the Bosporus and rapidly filled the Black Sea area within days. The massive influx of water wiped out many local civilizations and probably gave rise to the Flood legend.

If this rift is going to become a new ocean, the water must come from somewhere. If it all comes at once, we could see a massive loss of life and property, especially as the problematic area lies in some of the poorest parts of the globe. In another 5000 years, we could be debating if the Savior Adibi Christ walked with elephants!

Re:Noah's flood and a massive deluge (5, Informative)

pe1rxq (141710) | more than 4 years ago | (#29962552)

Except that it didn't happen in just a few days....
It is still a nice theory though... just not as dramatic.
Another nice theory is that the 'flood' was just a local one.
Not so long ago the world ended at the horizon for most people since they never traveled far from home.
And since a lot of civilizations started in river deltas (which tend to flood now and then) it is not a surprise that many religions contain some flooding in their myths.

Re:Noah's flood and a massive deluge (5, Interesting)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29962662)

Except that it didn't happen in just a few days....

There are fairly mainstream theories that as the Ice Age ended, ice deposits in the Arctic melted into enormous lakes. Really enormous lakes. All that was holding this water in was ice. When finally the ice holding all this water in melted and cracked, all that water was released in a sudden catastrophic event. Rivers to dwarf anything we have today. Sea levels globally rising by several metres, in a matter of days.

I was always dubious about the idea that a gradual rise in sea levels would result in all those deluge myths worldwide (Atlantis, Cantre'r Gwaelod, Noah, etc.). I'm much more convinced if it can be sudden. That would certainly enter into oral history.

Unfortunately the best source I can offer right now is the Beringia Museum in Whitehorse, British Columbia. A bit of a trek for most people. I guess if I were to Google a bit I could find something online, but hey, I ain't gonna.

Re:Noah's flood and a massive deluge (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29963070)

The geologic evidence is pretty clear that these huge "Missoula Floods" repeatedly blew through the southeast quadrant of Washington State, sometimes covering about a third of the state.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missoula_Floods

Re:Noah's flood and a massive deluge (2, Interesting)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#29963192)

there was an 1800's geologist in the US who studied strange markings on the great plains. his theory was that at the end of the last ice age the ice burst and a huge avalanche of water hit the ground going so fast that it created water tornadoes that tore up the ground. the kids cartoon Ice Age copied his theory

Re:Noah's flood and a massive deluge (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29963238)

avalanche of water = flood?

water tornadoes = whirlpools?

Surely we don't have to create new terms for things we already have words for.

Poetic language (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29963728)

Surely we don't have to create new terms for things we already have words for.

It's called "poetic language". Back in the day, when verse was based on alliteration as opposed to rhyme, these new terms were called kennings [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Noah's flood and a massive deluge (1)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 4 years ago | (#29964278)

avalanche of water = flood?

No, not really. If anything, it would be closer to a tsunami than a flood. It would be a enormous amount of water moving very rapidly...enough to transform the landscape, doing way more damage than a tsunami. Further more, a tsunami is the water being pushed by displacement, where as these type of events have a massive surge of water moving under the force of gravity (much like an avalanche does).

I suppose the definition of flood does cover such an event, but it's on a scale much larger than what we typically think of as a flood. Typically a flood is associated with rising water levels, where as that's not the case with this sort of thing.

Re:Noah's flood and a massive deluge (4, Interesting)

JerkBoB (7130) | more than 4 years ago | (#29963298)

I believe you might be referring to the Channeled Scablands [wikipedia.org] in Washington State? I remember seeing a documentary about that. Interesting stuff. The research happened a bit later than the 1800s, unless you're referring to something else. More pictures and information [uwsp.edu] .

Re:Noah's flood and a massive deluge (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 4 years ago | (#29964602)

PBS had a fairly (to my laymen eyes) informative and accessible NOVA [pbs.org] episode concerning the megaflood.

Whitehorse, Yukon (2, Informative)

justthinkit (954982) | more than 4 years ago | (#29963334)

Whitehorse is the capital of the Yukon territory, that borders the northern part of British Columbia and borders the eastern part of Alaska. [map [wikipedia.org] ]

Re:Whitehorse, Yukon (1)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29964292)

As I followed up another correction - my mistake.

If it's any consolation, I bloody loved Yukon.

Re:Noah's flood and a massive deluge (2, Informative)

the_arrow (171557) | more than 4 years ago | (#29963458)

Yeah, I saw a movie about this once. Ice Age 2 I think it was called...

Re:Noah's flood and a massive deluge (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | more than 4 years ago | (#29964022)

No, the GP is entirely correct.

Atlantis was a story made up by Plato in his dialogs to make a rhetorical point. It doesn't even qualify as a "myth". Either way, its story bears no resemblance whatsoever to the story of Noah (other than there was water involved I suppose). That Welsh myth might be similar to Plato's story, but that means it also bears no resemblance whatsoever to Noah's flood.

There are some similarities between the Jewish flood myth and the Sumerian one. However, the two peoples lived awfully close together (they shared a border), so it could just be a story one picked up from the other.

If we apply Occham's razor, the simplest explanation is that the Jews borrowed the Sumerian flood myth. Plato made Atlantis up, and the Welsh had a completely unrelated submerged city story. Oh, and all these stories are myths. They aren't history.

But don't let that stop you from renting subs and searching for Lemuria...

Re:Noah's flood and a massive deluge (1)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29964260)

Oh, and all these stories are myths. They aren't history.

What's suggested is that they're myths grounded in events that happened at some point in human history. If the sea level rose suddenly, there would, 50 years later, be *lots* of old people telling rapt children "We had a big settlement, but one day there was a great flood, and now that settlement is under the sea".

Over centuries, you'd get embellishments to make the fully formed myths that exist to this day.

I take your point about Plato and Atlantis, although I suspect he'd have been informed by an existing meme.

You can dive to actual pre-deluge settlements: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/oct/16/lost-greek-city-atlantis-myth [guardian.co.uk]

Re:Noah's flood and a massive deluge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29964384)

Whitehorse, Yukon.

Re:Noah's flood and a massive deluge (2, Funny)

Enleth (947766) | more than 4 years ago | (#29962606)

It's going to be even more interesting than that. The area is reatively close to the shore, and the pit is actually volcanic. Guess what happens when a big mass of water spills over and enters the pit.. Well, it's a shame this is Ethiopia and not Nigeria, because if it were the latter, it would be raining scammers after the massive steam explosion that is bound to happen there...

Re:Noah's flood and a massive deluge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29962736)

I would rather see it be east Somalia.

Re:Noah's flood and a massive deluge (1)

solevita (967690) | more than 4 years ago | (#29962738)

If it all comes at once, we could see a massive loss of life and property, especially as the problematic area lies in some of the poorest parts of the globe. In another 5000 years, we could be debating if the Savior Adibi Christ walked with elephants!

Except this is forecast to happen in roughly a million years time, so really you would say that in 1,000,500 years there might be such debates, if we haven't been wiped out by a comet, or zombies, or all gone to live on Mars. And, of course, you're also assuming that in a million years this sea will be "in some of the poorest parts of the globe". Not sure how you can look so far ahead...

Re:Noah's flood and a massive deluge (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#29962838)

People have read the Sumerian version, we don't have to try putting it all in a modern context where "the entire world" has a functionally completely different meaning to what it meant to people at the time. Like a lot of the Bible it's a good story in there to make a point, but unfortunately people entirely miss the point and go after minor bits of the story.

Re:Noah's flood and a massive deluge (0, Troll)

MoellerPlesset2 (1419023) | more than 4 years ago | (#29962872)

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

Yeah there are lots of stupid theories from Christian apologetics who want scientific proof that the Old Testament really happened in one way or another.

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. Why any rational person (without an agenda) would need to look for a big, epic reason for why people who were living on a floodplain would have a folk-tale about a giant catastrophic flood, is beyond me.

Re:Noah's flood and a massive deluge (5, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Noah's flood and a massive deluge (1)

EvilBudMan (588716) | more than 4 years ago | (#29964220)

Yeah, Troy was thought to be a joke at one time. Some of it is made up metaphor and some things are probably fact in these stories. I cn't see where the bible would be any more or less accurate than other writings found from the period.

Re:Noah's flood and a massive deluge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29964586)

Funny, because all cultures everywhere have a flood story. There are two possible reasons:
1) There really was a deity-caused flood, or
2) Floods happen wherever there is water and people like water, darn it all.

Choose wisely.

Re:Noah's flood and a massive deluge (2, Insightful)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 4 years ago | (#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?

Re:Noah's flood and a massive deluge (2, Informative)

G-Man (79561) | more than 4 years ago | (#29964308)

Yeah there are lots of stupid theories from Christian apologetics

Yeah, like those fundies at PBS! [pbs.org]

Or those zealots at National Geographic! [nationalgeographic.com]

Or all those bible thumpers at Columbia University! [columbia.edu] Buncha holy rollers!

Re:Noah's flood and a massive deluge (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 4 years ago | (#29963034)

I heard it was a bit further back than 5000 years ago, butit still gave rise to all of the Flood legends.
In addition to the rise in water level, the new water was salty, so the fish that were in the lake and the plants would have died too. The (human) survivors of the even would have had to migrate quite a ways to find somewhere else to live, spreading the story with them.

(The story of Atlantis however probably was due to the Thera/Santorini eruption.

Re:Noah's flood and a massive deluge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29963390)

There is also a theory, and evidence [nature.com] , that something similar happened in Europe, separating Britain from the continent and forming the Straits of Dover. Modern civilization would see something like this coming, as the article itself shows, but there is little chance our progeny will still be around when it happens.

Re:Noah's flood and a massive deluge (5, Insightful)

radtea (464814) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Noah's flood and a massive deluge (1, Funny)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29963898)

much as zombie stories arise today from a plausible fear of Republicans

Republicans, you say?

"Hooooooooooooooooooope... Chaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaange...."

Re:Noah's flood and a massive deluge (0)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#29964666)

much as zombie stories arise today from a plausible fear of Republicans

Republicans, you say?

"Hooooooooooooooooooope... Chaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaange...."

Universal Health Careeeeeeeeeeeee

Globallllllll Climateeeeee Changeeeeeeeee

It's all George Bushes Faulttttttttttt

Use my mop. It's a soviet mop.

Problem solved! (1)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 4 years ago | (#29964552)

>If it all comes at once, we could see a massive loss of life and property, especially as the >problematic area lies in some of the poorest parts of the globe. New solution for poverty!

Re:Noah's flood and a massive deluge (1)

Opyros (1153335) | more than 4 years ago | (#29964684)

This is the Black Sea deluge hypothesis [wikipedia.org] , originated by William Ryan and Walter Pitman [amazon.com] . (Although they argued that the Black Sea already existed before the flood, but was signinficantly smaller.) Incidentally, Orson Scott Card wrote a story [hatrack.com] which postulates that the Flood legends started with a prehistoric flood which filled the modern-day Red Sea.

how come we have only 3 oceans? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29962484)

if we observed one ocean in a few decades of satellite observations (or if you want replace with "in a few thousand years of written history"..we should have more than 3 oceans right now.

Re:how come we have only 3 oceans? (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#29962496)

Oceans start out as seas, and we have seven of those. So just give it a little more time.

Re:how come we have only 3 oceans? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29963324)

I'm trying to decide if you're being funny with a musical reference. There are more than seven seas [wikipedia.org] , and less than seven oceans [wikipedia.org] . They aren't necessarily related (e.g. the Caspian Sea won't turn in to an Ocean, unless sea levels rise and it merges in to an existing one, such as the Indian Ocean), and nor seas necessarily span two or more continental plates.

Re:how come we have only 3 oceans? (3, Informative)

CuriHP (741480) | more than 4 years ago | (#29963234)

We already have more than 3. Try again.

Re:how come we have only 3 oceans? (1)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 4 years ago | (#29964420)

Well, we already took the land from the "Indians", so why not the Ocean too?

Re:how come we have only 3 oceans? (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#29964752)

We should send explorers to go there, and plant a flag claiming the land in the name of our emperor (the reborn Jesus, Abe Lincoln, Malcom X, Michael Jackson, etc.) in the middle of the largest village we can find, just like our European ancesters did.

Re:how come we have only 3 oceans? (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 4 years ago | (#29963734)

We really only have one ocean, it's just convenient to apply different names to parts that have a large continent between them. There may have been the belief at some time in history that the oceans weren't all connected (I find this highly likely, but I don't feel like searching for proof).

Re:how come we have only 3 oceans? (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 4 years ago | (#29963992)

There is geological evidence that the Mediterranean and Black Seas were once cut off from the rest of the worlds oceans in (relatively recent) times. Its possible that the Arctic ocean was also cut off during the ice age, but then it was more an ice shelf than an ocean/sea.Anyway in a million years we may have managed to melt all the (land supported) ice and most of africa would be underwater before the rift opens wide. On the other hand if we cause enough of a greenhouse effect, all the water could be boiled off, and the planet resembles venus.

Re:how come we have only 3 oceans? (1)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29964428)

We really only have one ocean, it's just convenient to apply different names to parts that have a large continent between them.

Although where oceans meet, you can sometimes actually see the boundary - different temperature water, currents colliding etc.

Yes, those natural boundaries move, and it's fairly arbitrary which ones we call ocean boundaries. A bit like countries, really :)

Slashdot's missing statement (1)

suso (153703) | more than 4 years ago | (#29962512)

I would say that this doesn't really fall under the category of "stuff that matters".

Re:Slashdot's missing statement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29962602)

"stuff that matters ... eventually ... in a million years or so"

Wrong story title (4, Informative)

Malc (1751) | more than 4 years ago | (#29962518)

Rising Sea Levels (5, Funny)

Fez (468752) | more than 4 years ago | (#29962534)

There's the answer to rising sea levels... Divert the water into what will eventually become an ocean basin anyway.

Re:Rising Sea Levels (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29962630)

wish I had mod points. mod funny! :-)

Poor Headline (5, Informative)

dkf (304284) | more than 4 years ago | (#29962564)

The news is not that the East African rift will form a new ocean - that's been known for a few years - but that it can happen very quickly. A timescale of days for an event of that scale is really rather significant, since it means that if something like it were to happen anywhere near existing infrastructure, our ability to adapt to it would be extremely limited. Well, not until afterwards anyway.

Another geographical blunder in the article is saying that the rift will connect the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. That's because they're already connected.

Re:Poor Headline (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 4 years ago | (#29964646)

Another geographical blunder in the article is saying that the rift will connect the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. That's because they're already connected.

Yeah; I was sorta wondering what map they're using. Another channel linking the Red Se and the Gulf of Aden wouldn't really do much to either of those bodies of water, though it might sorta change property values along the length of the rift.

In any case, I've been noticing that we seem to have this sort of wide-eyed "OMG Africa is splitting apart and we're gonna have a NEW OCEAN!!!" sort of report at least once a year. The nature of Africa's Great Rift has been pretty much understood for at least a century. And the "new ocean" idea is sorta silly. It'll split off a new small continent about the size of Australia, though longer and narrower. There'll be a watery passage that's comparable to the Mediterranean or Baltic. It'll be much like what formed Madagascar, but on a scale 2 or 3 times bigger. And it'll slowly happen over a few million years, with lots of major earthquakes and volcanic eruptions along the way. Just as the geological record says has been happening for several million years of the past. This is intro geology text material, not news. There are much better articles on the subject in National Geographic from 20 or 40 years ago.

One interesting aspect to the whole story is that it's the main environment where our earliest ancestors split off from the other great apes. This has been observed by any number of paleontologists, though so far there's not really all that much evidence of a cause-and-effect relation between Great Rift conditions and human evolution. But it is our species' home turf.

The speed of this event is interesting, and possibly a news story. But the geological record shows lots of earlier events that were equally fast and catastrophic. It's a major fault zone, with a string of huge live volcanoes and several large calderas. Of course there are going to be big, catastrophic events now and then.

Re:Poor Headline (1)

devonbowen (231626) | more than 4 years ago | (#29964686)

The news is not that the East African rift will form a new ocean - that's been known for a few years

In order for an ocean to form, the plates on either side need to have somewhere to move to. That requires not only the local rift dynamics but also a shift in all the surrounding plates so they "get out of the way". I don't know of any evidence that this is happening. If others do, I'd be happy to have references.

Similarly, the nearby Red Sea was able to start spreading because the plate to the north was being subducted near Iran. But since that subduction has likely stopped, it's questionable whether the Red Sea will continue spreading into anything much bigger than it is today.

Devon

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29962638)

it's about goddamn time!

fights global warming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29962654)

Since the sea level is supposed to rise from melting ice due to global warming, the new proposed sea created at the behest of Al Gore, can be used to offset the extra water. Besides there will extra ocean front property for beach houses. On the other hand I'll be dead so it will be some else's problem.

Meanwhile... (2, Funny)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 4 years ago | (#29962660)

Meanwhile, in deepest Africa....

"M'gulu gulu mulugu lugulugu" (*)

"lugulugu um'gulu lulu?"

"gugu"

"gugu lulu gugu?"

"gugu kaboom"

(*) Translation:

"There's something very important I forgot to tell you."

"What?"

"Don't cross the streams."

"Why?"

"It would be bad."

Maybe (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 4 years ago | (#29962676)

Perhaps nature itself is tired of all the in-fighting and is simply dividing the region for them.

On a more serious note, what could an ocean and life-giving water mean for a harsh region like this? Perhaps some prosperity in the form of much needed farm land.

Re:Maybe (2)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 4 years ago | (#29962798)

Millions of Tonnes of Salt water .... would do very little

The region in question is in places very low in population simply because it is a volcanic arid wasteland .... other parts however are lush and full of life which would be wiped out by this new ocean ...

Rapid change on this scale is always bad news in the short term ... (short term measured in 1000's of years)

Great Lakes are in a "Failed Rift" (3, Interesting)

piotru (124109) | more than 4 years ago | (#29962690)

Not every rift is going to become an ocean like Atlantic. Some fail, as did the rift under the Big Lakes. Correct my rusty geology if I'm wrong.

Re:Great Lakes are in a "Failed Rift" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Great Lakes are in a "Failed Rift" (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29962840)

Sort of...2 actually...

From Wikipeida..

"It has been estimated that the foundational geology which created the conditions shaping the present day upper Great Lakes was laid from 1.1 to 1.2 billion years ago,[4][8] when two previously fused tectonic plates split apart and created the Midcontinent Rift. A valley was formed providing a basin that eventually became modern day Lake Superior. When a second fault line, the Saint Lawrence rift, formed approximately 570 million years ago,[4] the basis for Lakes Ontario and Erie were created, along with what would become the St. Lawrence River.

The Great Lakes are estimated to have been formed at the end of the last ice age (i.e. about 10,000 years ago), when the Laurentide ice sheet receded. The retreat of the ice sheet left behind a large amount of meltwater (see Lake Agassiz) which filled up the basins that the glaciers had carved, thus creating the Great Lakes as we know them today.[9] Because of the uneven nature of glacier erosion, some higher hills became Great Lakes islands. The Niagara Escarpment follows the contour of the Great Lakes between New York and Wisconsin. Land below the glaciers "rebounded" as it was uncovered.[10] Because the glaciers covered some areas longer than others, this glacial rebound occurred at different rates. Some researchers believe that differential has contributed to fluctuating water levels throughout the Great Lakes basin."

Whole page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_lakes

Re:Great Lakes are in a "Failed Rift" (1)

adavies42 (746183) | more than 4 years ago | (#29964118)

The (scientifically abysmal, BTW) miniseries 10.5: Apocalypse [wikipedia.org] ended with that rift cracking wide open, creating an inland sea running straight from South Dakota to the Gulf of Mexico. (This was a step up from the first miniseries, 10.5 [wikipedia.org] , which merely turned a chunk of southern California into an island. I suppose a followup about the breakup of Africa will be coming any season now....)

Re:Great Lakes are in a "Failed Rift" (1)

thickdiick (1663057) | more than 4 years ago | (#29962976)

I was under the impression that the great lakes were carved out by glaciers. The badlands in places like Idaho seem to support that theory, as the glaciers grinded away topsoil too.

Re:Great Lakes are in a "Failed Rift" (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 4 years ago | (#29963590)

Not every rift is going to become an ocean like Atlantic. Some fail, as did the rift under the Big Lakes. Correct my rusty geology if I'm wrong.

I live by the Great Lakes, and I have always understood that the lakes were carved out by glaciers during the last ice age. I've never heard this failed rift explanation. What's your source for this info?

Brilliant insight comes decades too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29962716)

A local herdsman's once in a lifetime eureka moment of envisioning the Earth as massive plates of goat's dug layered over a molten core was shattered by a school child explaining plate tectonics to the excited goat herder.

New ocean connecting what now? (3, Funny)

Gorath99 (746654) | more than 4 years ago | (#29962740)

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.

Wow! This is a revolution [wikipedia.org] !

Re:New ocean connecting what now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29962910)

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.

Wow! This is a revolution [wikipedia.org] !

I think the word he was searching for was "merging" not connecting.

Re:New ocean connecting what now? (1)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 4 years ago | (#29963210)

There was a bit missing....

"..connecting the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden VIA A SECOND PATHWAY"

A kind of Spanning-Sea protocol

Re:New ocean connecting what now? (1)

elnyka (803306) | more than 4 years ago | (#29963478)

I dunno, my geography might be rusty, but if and when the Rift goes split like Jenna Jameson, wouldn't that either simply create an inland sea going either inland into Mozambique or opening up again on the Indian Ocean (and south of Somalia), with either scenario starting off the Bab-el-Mandeb strait????? It kinda like doesn't look like creating a new pathway, but a widening of the strait basically merging the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden into a new and wider waterway?

Predictable (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29962794)

I am with Linus on this one.

million years?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29962846)

searchers at the University of Rochester believe that a 35-mile rift in the desert of Ethiopia will likely become a new ocean in a few years or so

There fixed that for you

The same one as last year's? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29963252)

It's the same Ocean as the one from one year ago?

http://news.slashdot.org/story/08/10/05/1824237/Birth-of-a-New-African-Ocean?art_pos=3

And, in fact, what is an Ocean? If this will be an Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, right now, is a Mega Giga Ocean!

Real State Boom!!!(10+1) (1)

elnyka (803306) | more than 4 years ago | (#29963398)

Can't wait to see another Aussie-sounding infomercial guy selling you the one book on how to me a fuckzillion dollars in buying fixer-uppers for a fraction of a penny in the someday-to-be Ethiopian Riviera!

Land Before Time... (3, Interesting)

Jamori (725303) | more than 4 years ago | (#29963582)

As a child, I had nightmares about the giant rifts dramatically opening in the ground like they did in the Land Before Time movie. I had since convinced myself this was unlikely to happen, and assuaged my fears.
Thanks a lot, "Researchers at the University of Rochester"...
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