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  • Everyone knows there are five oceans: the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Cold One, the Other

  • One, and the One People Forget Aboutbut five oceans isn't cool.

  • You know what's cool?

  • Fanny packswait that's not right.

  • Six oceans... six oceans is cool--and what if I told you that for the low low price of

  • $12.99 per month, I could get you a sixth ocean.

  • I mean you'll have to wait like 10 million years and the $12.99 isn't really necessary

  • for the ocean, but I'm short on cash and I need to buy a new fanny pack.

  • To understand how this sixth ocean might form, we need to do what privileged white kids trying

  • to get into Harvard do: go to Africa.

  • Specifically, to a far away place called the Afar Region, a part of Ethiopia that's home

  • to a meeting of three tectonic plates.

  • Tectonic plates, if you don't know, are the big pieces of the earth's crust that

  • slowly move and sometimes make earthquakes and stuff.

  • To illustrate, if you imagine the earth is a grape, tectonic plates are like if that

  • grape had big pieces of the earth's crust on it that slowly move and sometimes make

  • earthquakes and stuff.

  • Here, in the Afar Region, we can see the meeting of the Arabian Plate to the North, the Nubian

  • Plate to the West, and the Somali Plate to the East, which create a Y-shaped intersection

  • almost as volatile as the ones Google draws with dotted lines.

  • The problem is that the plates are movingthe Somali plate is slowly headed southeast, towards

  • the Indian and Australian plates, and the Arabian plate is slowly headed north, towards

  • the Eurasian plate, where it will eventually close the Persian gulf, meaning Saudi Arabia

  • and Iran will eventually have a land border, which I'm sure will go great and be celebrated

  • with an extra-special fireworks show.

  • This tectonic movement has formed what's calledthe Great Rift Valleybecause

  • of, you know, all the rifts and stuff: there's the Red Sea Rift to the west, the Aden Ridge

  • to the east, the East African Rift to the south, and the Oculus Rift, in stores now

  • for only $299 plus shipping and handling.

  • The East African Rift, though, is the key to the potential new ocean.

  • It's what's called a continental rift, a term that currently holds the record for

  • most esoteric geological phenomenon to ever be the basis of a children's movie.

  • Basically, a continental rift is where two tectonic plates that make up a single continent

  • begin to separatein this case, the Nubian and Somali plates, which together make up

  • Africa.

  • If they keep separating, the continental rift may turn into what's called an oceanic spreading

  • ridge: essentially, once the plates move far enough apart, they'll form a big crack,

  • which will allow magma to flow up from beneath them, where it will cool and create a new

  • ocean floor, continuing until Africa has split into Africa: Original Flavor and Africa 2:

  • Electric Boogaloo, and a new ocean will flow between the newly separated mini-continents.

  • But you shouldn't get out your swim trunks, sunscreen, and Aquaman traps just yet: it'll

  • be millions of years before this sixth oceanwhich I'm proposing we call either Ocean's 6,

  • 6 Fast 6 Furious, or Ocean and the Chipmunks: The Sixquelforms.

  • In the meantime, though, the plates' slow separation has led to East Africa being home

  • to a set of geological phenomena that are, much like the Facebook algorithm, equal parts

  • fascinating and terrifying.

  • There's Erta Ale, a massive volcano in Ethiopia which is home to the world's longest-lasting

  • lava lake and is almost certainly a Fire Nation base; there's Lake Tanganyika, the world's

  • second-deepest lake, and home to the Goliath Tiger Fish, which looks like if a largemouth

  • bass had a baby with the clown from It; and there's also a bunch of giant, tens-of-miles-long

  • cracks in the ground in Ethiopia and Kenya that look like CGI portals to the underworld.

  • The point is, and there's no easy way to say this, but the plates are separating.

  • It's not that they don't love each other, and it's not that they don't love you,

  • but they just need some space.

  • The main reason for this is something called the Afar plume.

  • Unlike Jafar's gloom, which is the main source of conflict in the direct-to-video

  • Aladdin sequel, the Afar plume is a part of the Earth's mantle that has been heated

  • by underground magma.

  • If you've ever stolen a hot air balloon or tooted in the poolexcept, don't fact

  • check me on that second oneyou'll know that heat tends to make things rise, which

  • is exactly what happened to the crust above the magma, which eventually rose so much that

  • it split, thus creating the rift valleys.

  • It's worth mentioning that there's still some debate over whether or not the new ocean

  • really will form.

  • Some scientists say that the Arabian and Somali plates may not move enough to create an oceanic

  • spreading ridge, while other scientists say that if I keep refusing to eat anything other

  • than Flamin' Hot Cheetos, I will die.

  • That's not related, but it does keep me up at night.

  • Anyways, whether the new ocean forms or not, we're all going to be dead in 100 years

  • regardless, either from climate change, flamin' hot Cheetos, or both, so I say we should just

  • be grateful for the oceans we've got, except for the Southern Ocean, which I'm almost

  • positive is fake ocean invented by the Ocean Lobby to sell more waves.

  • While there might be a new ocean forming, it's super important that right now, we

  • preserve the ones we've already got.

  • Good news for you: preserving oceans is one of the many charitable causes you can support

  • by using Tab for a Cause.

  • Tab for a Cause is kind of an unbelievably good deal: it's a browser extension that

  • lets you generate free moneyyes, free moneythat goes to charitable causes of your choosing.

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Why the World's Sixth Ocean is Forming in Africa

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    joey joey posted on 2021/06/10
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