Great Rift Valley

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Great Rift Valley,

geological faultfault,
in geology, fracture in the earth's crust in which the rock on one side of the fracture has measurable movement in relation to the rock on the other side. Faults on other planets and satellites of the solar system also have been recognized.
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 system of SW Asia and E Africa. It extends c.3,000 mi (4,830 km) from N Syria to central Mozambique. The northernmost extension runs S through Syria and Lebanon, the Jordan valley, the Dead Sea, and the Gulf of Aqaba. It continues into the trough of the Red Sea and at the southern end branches into the Gulf of Aden, where it continues as part of the Mid-Oceanic Ridge of the Indian Ocean. The main section of the valley in Africa continues from the Red Sea SW across Ethiopia and S across Kenya, Tanzania, and Malawi to the lower Zambezi River valley in Mozambique. Many small lakes in Ethiopia and several long narrow lakes, notably lakes Turkana and Nyasa, lie on its course. Just N of Lake Nyasa there is a western branch, which runs north, chiefly along the eastern border of Congo (Kinshasa); this branch is marked by a chain of lakes, including lakes Tanganyika, Kivu, Edward, and Albert (Mobutu). Lake Victoria does not lie in the Great Rift Valley but between its main and western branches. The Great Rift Valley ranges in elevation from c.1,300 ft (395 m) below sea level (the Dead Sea) to c.6,000 ft (1,830 m) above sea level in S Kenya. Erosion has concealed some sections, but in places, notably in Kenya, there are sheer cliffs several thousand feet high. The present configuration of the rift, which dates from the mid-Pleistocene epoch, is probably a result of a rifting process associated with thermal currents in the earth's mantle (see rift valleyrift valley,
elongated depression, trough, or graben in the earth's crust, bounded on both sides by normal faults and occurring on the continents or under the oceans. The central flat block forming the trough slips downward relative to the crustal blocks on either side.
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); there is evidence of earlier rift structures.

Great Rift Valley


a system of major faults and grabens (rifts) that have developed against a background of recent uplifts in east Africa. The valley stretches meridionally from the northern edge of the Red Sea to the lower course of the Zambezi River. It also includes the graben of the Red Sea and its spurs (the Gulfs of Suez and Aqaba), as well as the graben of the Gulf of Aden. To the north of the Gulf of Aqaba, the Rift Valley continues across the Dead Sea and the Jordan River valley to the foothills of the Taurus Mountains, paralleling the Mediterranean coast of the Arabian peninsula.

Within Africa, the valley consists of two branches. The Afar graben in Ethiopia and, further, the graben belt running to the east of Lake Victoria, past the Elgon, Kenya, and Kilimanjaro volcanoes, and from the basin of Lake Rudolf to Lake Nyasa, are a continuation of the graben of the Red Sea. Roughly parallel to this eastern rift is the western rift, which skirts the eastern shore of Lake Victoria across Lakes Albert, Edward, Kivu, Tanganyika, and Rukwa to the northern end of Lake Nyasa. To the south of Lake Nyasa, the Rift Valley follows the graben of the Shire River valley to the Zambezi River.

The Great Rift Valley in its present form began to develop in the Oligocene period simultaneously with the formation of the major uplifts and orogeny in the eastern part of Africa and Arabia. Here the recent faults have in part used the strikes of the more ancient faults, which date back as far as the Precambrian period. The movements along the faults led to a great outburst of volcanic activity, which reached a peak in the Neocene period and has continued until the modern era. All the active volcanoes in Africa (with the exception of Mount Cameroun) are located in this zone. The seismicity of the valley is evidence of the recent movements along the faults. The Great Rift Valley is part of the world rift system and shows a great similarity with oceanic rifts.

In the opinion of some geologists, the general cause of the development of the rifts, volcanic activity, and seismicity in the Rift Valley is the breakup of the subcrusted matter of the upper mantle as a consequence of the heat flow from deeper parts of the earth’s interior. Others view these phenomena as related to the extension of the earth’s crust.


Dixie, F. Velikie afrikanskie razlomy. Moscow, 1959. (Translated from English.)
Milanovskii, E. E. “Osnovnye cherty stroeniia i formirovaniia riftovoi sistemy Vostochnoi Afriki i Aravii.” Vestnik MGU: Geologiia, 1969, no. 1.

Great Rift Valley

the most extensive rift in the earth's surface, extending from the Jordan valley in Syria to Mozambique; marked by a chain of steep-sided lakes, volcanoes, and escarpments
References in periodicals archive ?
The most striking of these features is the East African Rift System, of which the main branch, known as the Eastern Rift Valley or Great Rift Valley, extends from the junction of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, crosses the summit of two centres of uplift in Ethiopia and Kenya, and enters northern Tanzania, where it largely disappears only to reappear in the south of that country in the lake Nyasa trough (Lake Nyasa is also known as Lake Malawi).
Uganda situated to the west of the Great Rift Valley, is approximated to hold rich geothermal potential, equal to 500MW.
Such volcanic activity was part of the massive plate-tectonic activity between Africa and Asia that created the Great Rift Valley in East Africa, which includes Lake Tanganyika, and the uplift of the Tibetan plateau in Asia.
Established in 1989, Dana Biosphere Reserve is Jordan's largest nature reserve, covering some 320 square km of rugged and beautiful landscape along the face of the Great Rift Valley.
After crossing the mighty Zambezi River, you'll travel northeast through Zambia to the midpoint between Africa's two Great Rift Valley lakes.
A land of contrasts the east African state boasts the lush moors of the highlands, the jagged Simien Mountains - a Unesco World Heritage Site, the awesome Great Rift Valley, giant waterfalls and savannah teeming with wildlife.
The talents of these supreme athletes have been passed down from one generation to another, while their skills have been fashioned by the rigours and customs of the Great Rift Valley.
Situated in the center of the Great Rift Valley among beautiful Lake Naivasha, the festival will showcase the local crafts, culture, and arts of the Rift Valley.
In which continent is the Great Rift Valley to be found?
6bn exploration plan that will involve sinking 566 wells in the Great Rift Valley where shifting tectonic plates provide a key source of this energy.
This saw Brad climb Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for The African Root Foundation, a project which aims to bring clean drinking water to the Maasai people in the Tanzanian Great Rift Valley.
3 (ANI): Buckinghamshire George Solt has become the oldest man to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa's Great Rift Valley at the age of 82.

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