The Cenozoic East African Rift System (EARS) is the largest continental rift valley system on Earth. Extending over a total distance of approximately 4,500 km, and with an average width of about 50 km, it is home to some of East Africa's largest urban populations and some of its most important transport, energy and water supply infrastructure. Rifting commenced during the Early Miocene and crustal extension has continued to the present day, posing seismic and volcanic hazards throughout its history of human occupation. Deep-seated landslides also present significant challenges for public safety, land management and infrastructure development on the flanks of rift margins. The rift floor itself poses a range of geohazards to community livelihood and engineering infrastructure, including ground fissuring and cavity collapse, flooding and sedimentation. On the positive side, the development of the EARS has created hydrocarbon and geothermal energy resources, and geomaterials for use as aggregates and cement substitutes in road and building construction. Optimising the use of these resources requires careful planning to ensure sustainability, while land use management and infrastructure development must take full consideration of the hazards posed by the ground and the fragility and dynamism of the human and physical environment.

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