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Earth Science Essay

723 words - 3 pages

frica’s East A Great Rift Valley: A Complex Rift System
Journal Article Review

Stephen Underwood, Instructor
PHSC 210
Elements of Earth Science
March 23, 2012

The East African Rift System (EARS) seems to be one of the most amazing geographic studies of the world. A rift can be defined as a split in the earth’s surface that becomes wider over time. In this case, the EARS has developed into two plates or branches, which have been named the Nubian Plate and the Somalian Plate. The two branches include a west branch, which consists of the African Great Lakes, and a nearly parallel east branch, which divides Kenya from north to south and enters Tanzania. Because the ...view middle of the document...

On the other hand, other scientists attribute the African rifts to the hot spot located under central Kenya. They suggest that the Kenya Dome (hot spot) caused the initial Ethiopian rift. However, despite what the cause of these rifts may be, they have become prevalent throughout Africa.

Article Strengths
In this article, Wood and Guth create a detailed description of the physical and geographic characteristics of the East African Rift System. They explain where the rifts are located, how the area is separating into multiple plates, and how the series of rifts, including the East African Rift and the Ethiopian Rift, make up the East African Rift System. As a whole, the authors’ explanations are clear. In addition, the authors present explanations concerning the formation of rifts. By explaining the various conclusions and models that scientists have developed for rift formation, they enable readers to understand some of the possible causes of these separations in the earth’s surface.

Article Weakness
The article details what the East African Rift System is and presents some of the possible causes of the rifts. However, the authors could have gone into greater depth regarding the actual formation of rifts. Although they...

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