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 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.

See More

First Known Use of rift valley

1894, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about rift valley

Time Traveler for rift valley

Time Traveler

The first known use of rift valley was in 1894

See more words from the same year

Statistics for rift valley

Cite this Entry

“Rift valley.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rift%20valley. Accessed 13 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for rift valley

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

More from Merriam-Webster on rift valley

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about rift valley

Comments on rift valley

What made you want to look up rift valley? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


easily led, controlled, or managed

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!