Wednesday, September 1, 2021

The strange structure in the Sahara desert

In the Sahara desert in Mauritania is the Richat structure, which with a diameter of almost 50 kilometers, forms a porthole in the expanse of the desert.

Although due to its shape it was thought that the structure could have been formed by the impact of a meteorite, different studies have shown that it is the section of an anticline dome eroded over millions of years. Analysis confirms that some rocky sediments in its interior date from about 2.5 billion years ago.

It is in Mauritania and can be seen from space. (It can also be seen from Google maps)

For many, it coincides with Plato's description of that mythical city, supposedly sunk in the sea.

In 1965, space travel was just beginning. And there they were, circling the Earth, NASA astronauts James McDivit and Edward White, on the “Gemini 4” space mission, when they saw something on our planet that caught their attention.

In the omnipresent yellow of the Sahara desert a strange formation stood out, practically circular - rather with concentric lines, in the form of a spiral -, which they called "the eye of the Sahara", and also "the Richat structure".

The colors and shades of the "eye" vary according to the time and time of year, due to the various minerals that make it up.

This curious geographical accident - shaped, little more, little less, of an eye - that is in the middle of the desert near the city of Oudane, in Mauritania, and has a diameter of approximately 50 kilometers, was unknown until that day in 1965.

The origin of this formation is still uncertain. At first it was thought that it had been generated by the impact of a meteorite, but later studies were inclined to point out that it could rather be a symmetrical structure of an anticline dome, created by the effect of erosion over millions of years.

As much as 2.5 billion years, which is when the Proterozoic began, a period that lasted until 542 million years ago. From that time are the rocks that form the center of the eye. Those that make up the external parts, on the other hand, date from the Ordovician (between 485 and 444 million years ago).

The truth is that this "eye of the Earth", which seems to scrutinize the universe, is an enigma. And like any enigma, it shoots all kinds of versions. Perhaps the one that most enthuses many is the one that ensures that this structure is remarkably similar to the representation we have of the mythical Atlantis, according to the description of the philosopher Plato. He described that mythical island city erected by Neptune as circular, and divided into concentric circles of interspersed land and water.

Photo: NASA.

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