Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Giant Zipper in the Earth's Crust

Why are the ruins at Yonaguni underwater? This is a big question. The easy answer is the global warming of an ancient era that raised sea levels and sunk coastal settlements. The more complicated answer concerns crustal movements--the changes that happen when the Earth's tender skin wrinkles or cracks.

A rare opportunity to watch crustal movement in action is happening now, in the desert of Ethiopia. A volcanic eruption and the flow of magma that split a rift through the desert has been likened by the scientists observing it to the opening of a giant zipper in the Earth's crust--one that is some 35 miles long.

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