A remarkable seismic survey to probe how the African continent is splitting apart will collect its final data on Tuesday, when geophysicists set off their last controlled explosion.
Since Saturday, over 70 scientists from Europe, the US and Ethiopia have detonated 19 explosions across and along Ethiopia’s Rift Valley. Project EAGLE is Africa’s largest ever seismic survey, and the world’s biggest ever three-dimensional seismic survey.
Tectonic forces are in the process of slowly pulling the African plate apart. “It is the only place on Earth where molten rock bubbles to the surface and a continental split is actively taking place,” says Peter Maguire, at Leicester University, UK, who is leading the study. A new ocean will form if, in several million years’ time, the continent splits completely.