Skip to main content
Select Source:

rift valley

rift valley An elongate trough, of regional extent, bounded by two or more faults. Many rifts on land are associated with alkaline volcanicity and, because their margins are uplifted, many are starved of clastic sediments and so contain lakes; the E. African rift system is an outstanding example. Some rifts are thought to be at the embryonic stage of ocean development of the Wilson cycle, whilst others may become ‘failed rifts’ (or ‘failed arms’) and fill with sediment to become aulacogens. The rift valley developed along the axis of slow-spreading oceanic ridges is known as the median valley (or axial rift or axial trough) and is associated with the production of basaltic magmas. Tibetan rifts form at the end of the Wilson cycle as a result of the northward indentation of India into Asia and the spreading of the thickening Tibetan crust. Graben (the German word for ‘ditch’) can be used synonymously for ‘rift valley’ and also for an infilled, fault-bounded trough of any size, with or without topographic expression.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"rift valley." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 May. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"rift valley." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/rift-valley

"rift valley." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Retrieved May 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/rift-valley

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

rift valley

rift valley, elongated depression, trough, or graben in the earth's crust, bounded on both sides by normal faults and occurring on the continents or under the oceans. The central flat block forming the trough slips downward relative to the crustal blocks on either side. The appearance is that of a fallen keystone in a broken arch. Rift valleys form by tensional forces, typically those associated with the initiation of plate separation (see plate tectonics). The development of a rift valley in a continent is believed to be a precursor to the breakup of the continent and the development of a new ocean basin by seafloor spreading. Rift valleys, such as the Red Sea and the African rift valleys, are commonly the sites of volcanism and the locus of much earthquake activity.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"rift valley." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 May. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"rift valley." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/rift-valley

"rift valley." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved May 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/rift-valley

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

rift valley

rift valley An elongate trough of regional extent, bounded by two or more faults. Many rifts on land are associated with volcanic activity and many contain lakes. The East African rift system is an outstanding example. Some rifts are thought to be at the embryonic stage of ocean development of the Wilson cycle; others may become ‘failed rifts’ (or ‘failed arms’) and fill with sediment to become aulacogens. The rift valley developed along the axis of a slow-spreading oceanic ridge is known as the median valley (or axial rift or axial trough). ‘Graben’ (the German word for ‘ditch’) can be used synonymously for ‘rift valley’ and also for an infilled, fault-bounded trough of any size.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"rift valley." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 May. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"rift valley." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/rift-valley-0

"rift valley." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Retrieved May 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/rift-valley-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

rift valley

rift val·ley • n. a large elongated depression with steep walls formed by the downward displacement of a block of the earth's surface between nearly parallel faults or fault systems.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"rift valley." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 May. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"rift valley." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/rift-valley

"rift valley." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved May 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/rift-valley

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.