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If we dig into the ground deep enough, could we actually separate countries?

This is a weird one, but I often wonder – if we were to dig down into the ground along a line (say for instance along a border or a country that is next to the sea) deep enough, could we actually separate countries?
Deborah Platt from Cheshire (age 15-24)


One Response

  1. Dear Deborah,

    If I dug a trench all along the border between England and Wales I would have to dig down deeper than sea level in order for the sea to flood in and separate the two. That would mean a deeper trench in mountainous parts than low-lying lands (it would be easier to separate Norfolk from the rest of England !).

    However, a canal like this would only be a tiny scratch cut into the same piece of the continental crust. If you want to really separate a continent into different parts you need to wait millions of years for plate tectonics to do the job for you. The African continental plate is currently being thinned and stretched along the Great Rift Valley in East Africa by the upwelling of hot magma from deep in the Earth’s mantle. If it continues the rift will widen and eventually split apart completely, with a new piece of ocean crust forming in between.

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