Letter from Readers

Asfawossen Asrat 


I read your piece. Interesting!

I am a geologist familiar with Ethiopian Geology (actually working on it).

Some precisions:

(1) The fact that there might be a continental breakup along the Ethiopian Rift valley in the "near future" is not a new discovery (it surely is a new media discovery) but a well-known phenomenon (in the geological world), since around the beginning of the 80s.

(2)The formation of an ocean in the geological sense does not necessarly imply filling of the continent by water. "Continental break up" in the geological sense refers to the formation of oceanic crust (the rocks that make up the ocean floors are different from those that make up the continental crust). In this sense, Afar is already in the stage of an ocean (It is an oceanic crust in the geological sense), the only thing is that it is not covered by water. By the way, Dallol is around 100 m below Sea level, which means,  it is virtually an ocean without water. 

(3) The "splitting" of the continent is not a rapid process but a very slow phenomenon (actually the splitting rate is not more than 2 - 3 cm/yr).  However, this rate may be abruptly changed with volcanic and earthquake activities which may accelerate the splitting process. So when there is a continental breakup, it is not as simple as you imagined (like "Harrar wedia-mado" - "Addis wedih- mado") but it may affect the whole region.

(4) Many Ethiopian researchers (Geologists from the Addis Ababa University, Department of Geology and Geophysics) are leading members of the research groups that include also "ferenjis". If you need a detailed information on this subject, you may consult them. The e-mail address of the Department is dgg@telecom.net.et (or you may contact Dr. Gezahegn Yirgu, Associate Professor of Volcanology and Igneous Petrology or Dr. Dereje Ayalew, Assistant Professor of Igneous Petrology and Geochemistry, at the Department at Arat Kilo Campus).

Beterefe, your piece is witty.

One more thing (FYI):

The railway in French is "chemin-de-fer" (not chemendefeur).


Asfawossen Asrat


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