Tethys Sea Geological History (02:39)
Pangaea united planetary land masses 300 million years ago. Evidence of a rift between Eurasia and Southern continents is found in Oman's Wadi Nakhr Canyon. Marine sediments created kerogen that transformed into hydrocarbons, forming oil deposits.
Black Gold (02:25)
An oil prospector looks for deposits in Oman's Wadi Nakhr Canyon. Signs include rock fractures and marine fossils created by Tethys Sea sediment.
Wadi El-Hitan (03:05)
Egypt's "Valley of Whales" contains 1,000 fossilized skeletons—evidence of the Tethys Sea. Dorudons mating in a shallow lagoon were prey to the basilosaurus.
African Continental Movement (01:51)
Whale carcasses fossilized under sediment were later exposed by the African Plate’s uplift and desert wind erosion. The Tethys Sea once linked the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean. As the African Plate moved north, it closed the Mediterranean Sea.
Al Hoceima Seismic Activity (03:54)
Earthquakes in Morocco are proof of Africa's collision with Europe. Tectonic forces fracture the ground and fold rocks. Scientists gather topographical data along a river bed to model the region's uplift rate.
Modeling Fault Line Chronology (03:33)
Geologists gather data along a cliff face in Al Hoceima to understand regional seismic activity and African continental movements. Learn about cosmic ray dating technology. The Mediterranean Sea will close within 50 million years.
Dead Sea Rift (02:16)
Arabia is separating from the Sinai and moving north, creating a fault line between Jordan and Israel. The Massada Fortress provides a view of the tectonic plates.
Dead Sea Earthquake Archive (02:31)
Tectonic forces have produced seismic activity, but magnitude and frequency are unknown. Scientists trace the region's tectonic history through rocky strata in a lake bed.
Eastern Mediterranean Regional Geodynamics (03:32)
Christians built the Vadum Jacob Templar Castle in 1178 along the Dead Sea Transform. A structural crack demonstrates Sinai and Arabian plate shifts; in 1202, an earthquake moved its walls 1.6 meters. Seismic events will continue with continental movement.
Red Sea Plate Tectonics (03:00)
Africa and Arabia have been separating for 20 million years. Al-Hallaniyah Island is suited to seismic analysis due to low human activity. Scientists collect seismographs for regional ground movement data.
Gulf of Aden Plate Tectonics (03:49)
Magma is forming a mid-ocean ridge where Africa and Arabia separate; seismographs map the continental margin. In Mirbat, scientists study dikes to determine when the Gulf opened. Magnetic iron content reveals historical movements.
Afar Triangle (03:41)
A land bridge links the African and Arabian plate and a "dry" mid-ocean ridge forms as they separate. The Erta Ale volcano features sulfur deposits and a permanent lava lake at its crater. Scientists take samples.
Ghoubbet-el-Kharab Bay (02:40)
Ardoukoba Volcano's 1978 eruption transformed the landscape and Lake Assal is increasingly salty as the sea moves in. Recently formed basalt forks enable geologists to study how earth's crust is transformed into an ocean floor.
Magnetic Accretion (02:03)
A new oceanic ridge is forming from mantle magma under the Assal Depression's shallow crust. Tectonic separation occurs at 2 cm per year; the region will gradually be flooded from the Ghoubbet Gulf.
Great Rift Valley (02:18)
A 6,000 km fault line is separating Africa. Gorongosa National Park fossils reveal how the valley collapsed and was flooded by seawater, depositing sediment.
Human Origins (03:21)
Paleontologist Martin Pickford discovered the remains of six million year old hominid Orrorin in Gorongosa National Park in 2000. The Great Rift Valley provided a habitable environment for human evolution.
African Continental Future (02:14)
Pickford believes the Great Rift Valley was central in human evolution. In a few million years, Africa and Europe will form a single continent; the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden will become oceans, and East Africa will drift towards Asia.
Credits: Africa Today—Voyage of the Continents, Series 2 (00:58)
Credits: Africa Today—Voyage of the Continents, Series 2
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