How is a Rift Valley Formed? Give One Example of a Rift Valley

By Shivank Goel|Updated : November 1st, 2022

When the Earth's tectonic plates separate or split in opposite directions, a rift valley forms. It is a low-lying area formed by faulting caused by deviation. Continental rifts are potential locations for the formation of unexplored oceans. Rift valley formations are entirely the result of tectonic plate activity, as opposed to rivers and glacial valleys, which are geographical components formed by erosion.

Rift Valley Formation and Examples

When two faults occur at the same time, the land between them is raised or pushed. A rift valley forms when the lower portion of land between two or more horizontal faults becomes elevated, or when the middle portion of the land remains static but the two parallel side blocks become elevated.

Examples of continental rift valleys are:

  • The East African Rift valley
  • The West Antarctic Rift valley
  • The Baikal Rift Valley
  • The Rio Grande Rift valley

The rift valley is an important topic in Geography, and this chapter is covered in several competitive exams. A rift valley is a long, narrow valley formed by a block depression between two sets of faults. It is typically formed at the deepest depths of the ocean. Many of the world's largest lakes are located on rifts formed by natural events.

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FAQs on Formation of Rift Valley

  • A rift valley is a flat, lowland region formed due to the moving apart of the Earth's tectonic plates. Rift valleys are found on land and at the base of the ocean. A rift is a fault (crack or break) within an entity.

  • The Great Rift Valley is a chain of adjacent geographic channels, about 7,000 kilometres in total distance, stretching from Lebanon in Asia to Mozambique in Southeast Africa.

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