Lesson 10: East African Rifting


In this unit you will visit eastern Africa, specifically the East African Rift Zone. This area is a very tectonically-active region, where volcanic activitiy and earthquakes impact the lives of people from early hominids to modern humans.

Learning Objectives

By the end of Lesson 10, successful students will be able to:

  • Describe why eastern Africa is rifting.
  • Describe tectonic activity associated with rifting..
  • Describe the potential impact of rifting on human life.

Reading Assignment from e-Reserves

Electronic course reserves, or "e-Reserves," are articles that are available online through the University Libraries. You can access our course reserves by clicking on the Resources tab in ANGEL and then clicking on the "Library Reserves" link within the "Penn State Library Tools" box. E-Reserves directions are also available to help you learn how to use the online system.


The following items are due by the end of this lesson (see the Calendar tab in ANGEL for specific due date). Detailed information about the assignments and submission directions are included in this lesson.

  • Discussion Forum: Case Study: Nyiragongo
  • Thought-Provoking Assignment: Palynology from African Rift Lakes


If you have any questions now or at any point during this week, please feel free to post them to the Lesson 10 Discussion Forum. (That discussion forum can be accessed at any time by clicking on the Communicate tab in ANGEL, above, and then scrolling down to the Discussion Forums section.)