Where are Modern Continental Rifts?

What are Continental Rifts? Where can Rifts be found? Where is Continental Rifting in North America? Can Rifts be Associated with Volcanic Eruptions?

Geography, Wiki

Continental drifts are the initial stage in which geologists thought that the continents shifted. Nowadays, continental drifts are known as plate tectonics. The continental crust is very thick and light and stays above sea level. Do you know where are modern continental rifts? We need to know about the place where are rifts found because the mid-continental rifts stretch across Nebraska and Kansas. Today, let us learn where is continental rifting in North America and many more interesting facts. Let’s begin and find where are modern continental rifts.

1. Where are Modern Continental Rifts?

Well, in the lithosphere. Most notably, the modern continental rift is defined as the lithosphere’s cutting process that causes the continent to split apart and causes a mid-ocean ridge to form. Rifting is essentially the first stage of the tectonic plate separation that takes place between two continents. The center axis of the majority of mid-ocean ridges contains the present continental rifts. It takes place when the two tectonic borders result in the formation of a new oceanic crust and lithosphere. (See What is the Best Piece of Evidence for Plate Tectonics?)

2. How do the Continental Rifts begin?

The continental rifts start by stretching of crust and mantle of the lithosphere which is also followed by a mantle plume. The location and trend of a rift zone are controlled by the crust. The East African Rift is the best example of a continental rift. (See What Landform is created when Two Continental Plates Collide?)

3. Does Rift Zones have Volcanic Eruptions?

Photo by Thomas Fields on Unsplash

You already know where are modern continental rifts, right? But do you understand what the rifting zones are? Let’s investigate. The volcano erupts in the rifting zones. They grow brittle and with many cracks in the rocks. According to the topography of the area, the lava flows downward on the external portion. The maximum standing capacity of lava is not as great as that of water. Lava flows in the vicinity of extinct volcanoes in the downhill rift zones. (See Why do Shield Volcanoes have Weak Eruptions?)

4. What is a Rift Valley?

A rift valley is a long and narrow valley that is formed when there is a depression in the Earth’s crust. They are formed when there is a decline on the floor of a river valley. The crust spreads and forms a rift valley, this is again increased by erosion pressures. Let us see where are rifts found in the next segment. (See What is the Difference between Oceanic Crust and Continental Crust?)

5. Where are Rifts found?

Rifts are found on both the land and the bottom of the ocean. They occur by the increase in the sea floor. These rifts are different from the river or glaciers because these are formed by the tectonic activity of the earth and not by erosion. If you ask how large they are, well, in East Africa, they are for about 37 miles. Must See What body of Water connects Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean?

6. Where are Rifts found in the Lithosphere?

Image by Ronile from Pixabay

Where are modern continental rifts? The rifts that are found in the Lithosphere are continental rifts. Some of the active continental rifts are the East African rift, the Baikal rift, the West Antarctic Rift, and the Rio Grande Rift. (See How Convection Current causes the Lithospheric Plate to move?)  

7. Why are the Great Rift Valleys so Famous?

The great rift valley is very well known as the rift valley in the world. It stretches from the Middle East to the North until the South. The importance of Great rifts is: 

  • There are volcanoes, hot springs, geysers, and earthquakes.
  • There were several paleoanthropological discoveries that happened in Africa which gave rise to mankind.

8. How would you Differentiate between a Rift and a Mid Ocean Ridge?

It is proven that Africa is a place where are rifts found, but do you know about the mid-ocean ridge? They are somehow different from the rifts, let’s see how.

Rift Mid Ocean Ridge
If the spreading of two continental plates occurs in the Earth’s Crust, it is called the Rift. When mountainsides expand it is called the Mid-Ocean Ridge.
These are also naturally produced but they float on the higher space of the mantle. These are naturally produced and start moving from each other.
An example of the rift valley is the East African rift. An example of the Mid-Ocean ridge is the East Pacific Rise.

9. Where is Continental Rifting in North America found?

Due to the Great tectonic shift forming, rifts broke out in North America. So, where are modern continental rifts in North America? The rifts that are found in North America stretch over Marathon, Ontario until Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas. (Also read What is the Importance of Geography?)

10. How many Rifts can be found in North America?

It is said that in North America we have 81 rifts in total.

11. How does Active Continental Rifting in the United States happen?

Photo by Sean Lee on Unsplash

When the tectonic plates move, the lithosphere becomes thin. This gives rise to the asthenosphere which then expands just like a big balloon raising the broad regions. When the tectonic plate is covered by the crust, the continental rift zone rises above sea level. The basin and the range province give the high elevations which have portions of Nevada, Utah, California, and Arizona and Stretches until Oregon, Idaho, and Montana where is continental rifting in North America found and listed. It is similar to the East African Rift. 

When the tectonic plates of the Earth move, a lowland zone called a rift or rift valley is created. Both the ocean floor and the surface of the land include rift valleys. They are made possible by the spreading of the seafloor. Due to the fact that rifts are produced by tectonic activity rather than erosion, they are all unique from one another. The East African Rift, the Baikal Rift, and the West Antarctic Rift are a few examples of rift valleys. The reduction in the ocean floor is what causes these rifts to emerge. They are still emerging and taking shape in North American locations. (See How are earthquakes distributed on the map?)

About the author
Alex Williams is a PhD student in urban studies and planning. He is broadly interested in the historical geographies of capital, the geopolitical economy of urbanization, environmental and imperial history, critical urban theory, and spatial dialectics.

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