Images of disappeared, or nearly disappeared, African tradition

The Great Rift-Valley

The Great Rift Valley cuts a swath down the eastern side of the African continent. Slicing across 4,500 miles from the Dead Sea in the north to Mozambique in the south, it forms the largest visible rift on earth. Shifting tectonic plates formed the Great Rift about 30 million years ago when the plates of Africa and Eurasia crashed together, then pulled apart and caused huge landslides to empty rock from the earth's surface deep inside its crust. Water has collected in the valley to form lakes. Millions of years of erosion have made the surrounding volcanic soil oddly fertile. The bones of several hominid ancestors of modern humans have been found there, including those of "Lucy", a nearly complete australopithecine skeleton. Here we have a profusion of animal life, unequaled anywhere else in the world. Although protected in natural parks, wildlifet is still the hunted prey for some groups of people.


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