Mother Nature really is incredible. But while she provides us with the most beautiful sights and sounds, she can also be cruel.
Some areas of the world feel this cruelty more than others, and for all its natural beauty, Africa is certainly one of them.
The current problems that Africans face include dangerous predators, and widespread economic deprivation. However, future inhabitants of the continent will have to contend with something much more fundamental.
You see, it turns out that Eastern Africa is actually breaking away from the rest of the Africa, with a rift which will change the continent forever.
The split – which will one day leave Africa without it’s horn – will eventually be replaced by ocean. This has been established fact for decades now. So what’s new?
Well, although this will not happen for millions of years, the pace of this split is already causing issues today. Worryingly, the divide is happening at a more rapid pace than expected; posing immediate challenges to human safety for engineers to overcome.
The Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) informed Daily Nation how the bustling Maai Mahiu-Narok road in Kenya caved in – once again – on Monday, March 19 – after developing a volcanic fault line.
KeNHA are now working to restore the collapsed road using rockfill, while ordering motorists to take different routes as a temporary solution. However, this obviously can’t go on for an extended period of time.
The tear in the Earth is believed to be up to 50 feet deep and over 20 metres wide and the fault line itself is said to stretch for some 700 metres.
According to All East Africa, people living within the vicinity of the Maai Mahiu-Narok road have begun to evacuate their homes, which just goes to show how serious this issue has already become.
According to geologist David Adede, this collapse was due to volcanic activity.
Geological processes, such as this, are not man-made occurrences, and also cannot be prevented because they happen deep inside the Earth’s crust.
David Adede has said that the volcanic activities within the region give a clear indication of future disasters if they’re not addressed immediately.
Speaking with NTV, he explained:
“The Great Rift splits Africa into two plates. With what is happening, we’ve established one plate – which is the Somali plate – is moving away from the other plate at a rate of 2.5cm.
In the near future, if this happens, we shall have Somali plate separating from the other Nubian plate”
The Nubian plate and the Somali plate are said to be breaking apart by a few millimetres every year.
This is because a huge section of the Earth’s mantle carries heat from close to the core all the way up to the crust; an occurence known as a ‘superplume.’
Adede made a plea for academically-gifted researchers to get involved in addressing the problem:
“There is a great need for researchers to conduct a comprehensive study on the terrain of this region so that they can advise on where roads and residential buildings can be established.
This can play a key role in dealing with such natural disasters should they happen”
Obviously, there is nothing that can be done to stop the plates from moving. These are the ongoing geological processes of the Earth, that have been in place for millions of years.
However, it is important that those living in East Africa in the here and now are looked out for, and get the assistance that they need to keep them safe from harm.
This incident follows recent flooding within the area, which is said to have exacerbated the situation; washing away volcanic ash and exposing the cracks below.
Adebe explained how after the road split, a large hole opened and swallowed all the water; resulting in further cracks.
Infrastructure Principal Secretary, Julius Korir confessed the shifting fault line brings significant challenges for engineers.
Korir suggested the possibility of redesigning the road which is prone to damage during rainy weather. The secretary had visited the scene and advised how the government would build a half-kilometer overpass to rectify the problem in the long term; noting the road’s inherent weaknesses.
Like we said at the start of the article – Mother Nature is amazing, but her power can be cruel at times.
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