In the Horn, the ground underfoot can be as unstable as the political, economic and social turmoil above it.

Click for larger picture and more info.

Click for larger image and more info.

The Rift Valley is a long, seismically active crack in the earth’s crust that extends from the Sea of Galilee in Israel, follows the course of the River Jordan to the Dead Sea, then south through the Gulf of Aqaba, the Red Sea, goes ashore in Africa through Eritrea and Djibouti, then divides the highlands of Ethiopia as it descends along its lake-dotted way nearly to the bottom of the continent.

In Ethiopia, the crack is widening at a rapid  — in geologic terms — pace.  Small, and sometimes not so small,  earthquakes are the frequent result.  Several open volcanoes bubble constantly, the heat rising from the earth’s core through the broken crust above it.  Sulphurous fumes and lava flows leak out of new and reopened cracks.

Two sections of the earth’s crust are steadily moving away from each other in eastern Ethiopia.  Soon, geologically speaking, the Red Sea will pour into the Afar Depression, already hundreds of feet below sea level and sinking, and create a new sea.  Parts of Eritrea and Djibouti will also be affected.

New beachfront property will appear.  Beware real estate agents selling coastal sites for second homes.  Winters may fall to the 90s, but summers not infrequently soar well past 110.

A new lava flow was reported a few days ago in the Afar region of Ethiopia.  A blog by geologist Erik Klemetti describes the event in accessible language:   Eruptions