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Birth of an Ocean
October 2, 2008 11:30 AM   Subscribe

Birth of an Ocean: The Evolution of Ethiopia's Afar Depression. "Formation of an ocean is a rare event, one few scientists have ever witnessed. Yet this geophysical nativity is unfolding today in one of the hottest and most inhospitable corners of the globe." [Via]
posted by homunculus (26 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
OK this is awesome. Great post.
posted by GuyZero at 12:03 PM on October 2, 2008


Well done. Thanks.
posted by jonjacobmoon at 12:10 PM on October 2, 2008


I was just talking about this yesterday! This is awesome! In the conversation I wasn't sure if I wasn't just making it up, it sounds so ... insane.

small niggle, can I get the video in English or French or even German? Because the images are very cool but he could be trying to sell me Pepsi and I wouldn't know it.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:18 PM on October 2, 2008


Running a pipe from the Red Sea down into the depression would give you ~150m of head. Every cubic meter of sea water run down the pipe should yield roughly 0.4 kwh of potential energy if my calculations are correct. 1000 cubic meters per second + generation overheads would yield about 700MW of electrical generation capacity.

Plus all the insolation and geothermal energy . . . quite an energetic place, too bad nobody can live there.
posted by troy at 12:22 PM on October 2, 2008


I know the times are changing, but seeing [DIGG THIS] on a Scientific American article is something like seeing coin-op massage panel bolted to the bench in a confessional.
posted by seanmpuckett at 12:23 PM on October 2, 2008 [4 favorites]


Wow ... this 'new ocean' in Afar will be huge! It looks like it could take so much water out of ALL the earth's oceans that it would change the sea level around the world.

But ... this process started millions of years ago and they think it might take another million years before the water rushes in?? Hmmmmm.

Maybe we need to intervene and speed the process up! (for the sake of the Pacific Islanders??)
posted by Surfurrus at 12:24 PM on October 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


small niggle, can I get the video in English or French or even German? Because the images are very cool but he could be trying to sell me Pepsi and I wouldn't know it.

It is unlikely the YouTube link is trying to sell anything, except perhaps salt. So you may choose this one time to trust the people talking foreign.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:25 PM on October 2, 2008


How much dynamite would this take to do this job now?
posted by parmanparman at 1:01 PM on October 2, 2008


There is something about the rift valley that makes my mind tingle. I know it is a result of my education and learning that the area was likely the cradle of our species; but even still I'd like to think it is an echo of memories of my ancestors who lived there.

Also this is awesome - thanks homunculus.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 1:11 PM on October 2, 2008


The video is in Amharic, just so's you know. Great post!
posted by languagehat at 1:20 PM on October 2, 2008



How much dynamite would this take to do this job now?


Hey, parmanparman - If that is your submission to Google's Project 10 competition you need to split the prize with homunculus, troy and me!
posted by Surfurrus at 1:25 PM on October 2, 2008


are we all a bunch of destructive mayhem artists? got to this discussion late, but the first thing i thought as i read thru the articles was, "let's blow it up and get it NOW!"

then i come back and see that everybody here is thinking that way. ah, so good to know that i'm amongst the right sort of apes around here on the mefi...
posted by artof.mulata at 2:09 PM on October 2, 2008


That's just the water breaking. It's the birth of the Rapture.
posted by jimmythefish at 2:59 PM on October 2, 2008


The world... is an EGG!
posted by Artw at 4:26 PM on October 2, 2008


This is why I love the internet. Before, I would mostly be exposed to local or national events but now I can get news from Afar.
posted by redteam at 5:56 PM on October 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


What I want is a distant photo of a lone scientist in the desert floor of the Rift Valley, wearing an inner tube.

I love continental drift. I find it peaceful to contemplate, for some reason, although it causes earthquakes and a good deal of dangerous things. I also think Laurasia would be a lovely name for a girl.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:14 PM on October 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


That would be here, then
posted by 5MeoCMP at 8:33 PM on October 2, 2008


There is a seaway opening up in Southeastern California and Nevada. . .just a matter of time. Albeit a lot of time.
posted by Danf at 8:43 PM on October 2, 2008


I remember reading about this back in grade school. You mean to tell me it's still not an ocean yet? What's the hold-up?
posted by Herodios at 10:04 PM on October 2, 2008


Environmental impact review, Herodios.
posted by dhartung at 10:24 PM on October 2, 2008


Like a shirtsleeve tearing under a bulging bicep, Earth's crust rips apart as hot rock from deep within the interior pushes up on the solid surface and stretches it thin--sometimes to its breaking point.

Geology porn!

This whole thing is fascinating. Thanks, homunculus!
posted by hippugeek at 10:56 PM on October 2, 2008


Geology porn.
posted by homunculus at 11:06 PM on October 2, 2008


*knees go weak*

I have a particular fondness for alluvial fans. If you'll excuse me, I'm just going to wallow in this for a while.
posted by hippugeek at 11:34 PM on October 2, 2008


I think it's safe to say that no scientist has ever witnessed anything that takes a few million years.
posted by phliar at 11:49 PM on October 2, 2008


The video is in Amharic, just so's you know.

Get OUT! *shoves LH a la Elaine* That is almost as cool as the video itself. Being sold Pepsi/salt in Amharic. Man, go, intertubes, go.
posted by From Bklyn at 6:26 AM on October 3, 2008


This is really getting at my inner geology geek child. Thanks for the great link!
posted by sararah at 12:27 PM on October 3, 2008


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