NASA: The most recent photo of the Eye of the Sahara generates further debate about its origin


The Eye of the Sahara, officially known as the Richat Structure, is a 38-kilometer-diameter geological formation located in Mauritania, northwestern Africa. Its origin has long been speculated, and a recent photo sparked further debate, but POT gives the final explanation.

The image shared by NASA in mid-July it was taken from the International Space Station. In social networks the controversy returned about how the structure was formed.

Before it was thought that the origin was the result of an impact event, since the great meteorites generate circular spaces on our planet.

And NASA responds: it is a raised geological dome, called a domed anticline. Although it looks like a sinkhole in the photo, it is a raised and slightly elliptical formation.

“Over time,” the agency explains in a statement, “different rates of erosion among various rock types in the exposed upper dome led to the formation of circular ridges known as slopes.

“The different color tones in the image reveal different sedimentary and igneous rocks, exposed in the structure and landscape.”

More details about the Eye of the Sahara, Richat Structure

According to the US Aerospace Agency, dune fields intersperse the dome and exposed rocky rings. Longitudinal dunes stretch across the bottom half and top right of the photo.

While on the center left side transverse dunes are included, which develop perpendicularly to the direction of the wind.

The following image, captured from the ISS in 2011, offers a much more detailed view.

The Richat Structure is located near the town of Ouadane, in Mauritania, northwest Africa. It was first described in the 1930s and 1940s as Richat’s Crater or Richat’s Grommet, and tools created in the so-called Acheulean industry were found in the area, during the Lower Paleolithic (2.5 million years ago-125 thousand years ago).

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