rift valley


Definition of rift valley

: an elongated valley formed by the depression of a block of the earth's crust between two faults or groups of faults of approximately parallel orientation

Examples of rift valley in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The Eastern Valley is a 45-mile long rift valley bounded by mountain chains and one of the richest agricultural regions in the world. Ann M. Cheney, The Conversation, "Rethinking what research means during a global pandemic," 26 June 2020 East Africa’s rift valleys, the continent’s other great hominin fossil source, feature layers of volcanic ash that can be dated by measuring the decay of radioactive elements, thereby dating the fossils within. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian Magazine, "In Groundbreaking Find, Three Kinds of Early Humans Unearthed Living Together in South Africa," 2 Apr. 2020 It was nestled in a lush rift valley between the continents of Antarctica and Australia, surrounded by mountains covered in ferns, conifers, and ginkgo trees. Rachel Fritts, Ars Technica, "Forgotten trove of fossil feathers belonged to tiny polar dinosaurs," 15 Jan. 2020 Geologists discovered that new seafloor is formed where the tectonic plates at the mid-ocean ridges spread apart from each other—hence the rift valley Tharp spotted at the mid-Atlantic ridge. Meg Neal, Popular Mechanics, "We’ve Been Wrong Before: The Expanding Earth Theory," 3 Aug. 2018 This process is accompanied by surface manifestations along the rift valley in the form of volcanism and seismic activity. Lucia Perez Diaz, CNN, "Big crack evidence East Africa could be splitting in two," 5 Apr. 2018 The East African Rift has several rift valleys that can be seen from space. Laura Geggel, Washington Post, "A huge crack provides evidence that Africa is slowly splitting into two," 7 Apr. 2018 The East African Rift is one of the world’s largest rift valleys, about 3,700 miles in length and 30 to 40 miles across. Amy Yee, New York Times, "Geothermal Energy Grows in Kenya," 23 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rift valley.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of rift valley

1894, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of rift valley was in 1894

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Cite this Entry

“Rift valley.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rift%20valley. Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

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rift valley


English Language Learners Definition of rift valley

geology : a long, steep valley formed when two parallel rifts form in the Earth's crust and the land between them sinks

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