Why do earthquakes occur in the African Rift Valley?

Deadly earthquales have occurred in the African Rift Valley, where two pieces of plate are moving apart. Read about it here:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7224925.stm

The Afar Rift Consortium are researching the reasons behind the tectonic activity in the northern Rfit Valley of Africa:

http://www.see.leeds.ac.uk/afar/index.htm

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