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Remember Pangea? Well, no, you probably don’t. Pangea, a supercontinent that included most of the Earth’s current landmasses, broke apart during the Mesozoic era. Over millions of years, plate tectonics opened up rifts and shifted and moved sections of the continent to new locations around the planet. Those locations — and the size and shape of the continents we know today — are not final, however. Geologists predict that in the next 250 million years, the continents will shift again, bringing Africa and the Americas back together with Eurasia. This spring, it became clear that the process has already begun.

In early 2018, catastrophic rainfall flooded communities and farms in Kenya, causing buildings to collapse and highways to wash out. The floodwaters also caused a deep rift, several miles long and 65 feet across, to open up, sucking in homes, cars, and farms. Eliud Njoroge Mbugua watched the crack open up across the floor of his home, and narrowly escaped before it collapsed. Another family was having dinner when their home cracked in two. Area residents are moving away from the rift. “Staying here is like courting death,” said Mary Wambui, whose house was destroyed.

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