The East African Rift System is one the geologic wonders of the world, as it is a place where the earth's tectonic forces are currently trying to create new plates by splitting apart old ones. In simple terms, a rift can be thought of as a fracture in the earth's surface that widen over time, or more technically, as an elongate basin bounded by opposed steeply dipping normal faults. The East African Rift is an active divergent boundary in East Africa. In the past, it was considered to be part of a larger Great Rift Valley that extended north to Asia Minor. The rift is a narrow zone in which the African Plate is in the process of splitting into two new tectonic plates, called the Somali Plate and the Nubian Plate, which are subplates or protoplates.