Rift valley

A rift valley is a linear shaped lowland between several highlands or mountain ranges created by the action of a geologic rift. Rifts are formed as a result of the pulling apart of the lithosphere due to extensional tectonics. The linear depression may subsequently be further deepened by the forces of erosion. More generally the valley is likely to be filled with sedimentary deposits derived from the rift flanks and the surrounding areas. In many cases rift lakes are formed. One of the best known examples of this process is the East African Rift.[1] On Earth, rifts can occur at all elevations, from the sea floor to plateaus and mountain ranges in continental crust or in oceanic crust. They are often associated with a number of adjoining subsidiary or co-extensive valleys, which are typically considered part of the principal rift valley geologically.

African Rift Valley. From left to right: Lake Upemba, Lake Mweru, Lake Tanganyika (largest), and Lake Rukwa.
A rift valley near Quilotoa, Ecuador.
The Ottawa-Bonnechere Graben
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