Africa Is Being Ripped Apart By a Gigantic New Ocean Forming Right Now

It’s astounding to learn that Earth is in the process of creating itself a new ocean, but it’s how that’s actually happening that deserves all the attention.

Earth Like You Never Knew It Before

The Horn of Africa jutting out into the Arabian as seen from space. Image: NASA

Country and political borders change all the time, but the actual physical layout of the planet is presumed to be constant, right? Well, the truth is a bit more complicated.

The surface of the Earth that we live and walk on — that green and brown stuff we see breaking up the vast blue patches in pictures of our globe taken from space — is in regular motion… it just moves so slowly that it rarely impacts anyone other than the scientists who study it.

The Ground Beneath Your Feet Is Always In Motion

What the planet looks like from the inside out. Image: Kelvinsong

The hard stuff up on the surface of the planet (the upper mantle and crust) is comprised of a relatively thin layer of moving parts called the lithosphere. Since the lithosphere isn’t a solid shell, its plates can shift around based on what happens around them.

For example, adjacent plates can slide alongside each other, causing earthquakes. Or volcanic eruptions along between tectonic plates can spew out magma, forcing them apart. This typically happens at the bottom of the ocean where the action isn’t particularly visible.