Just over 30 miles in diameter, the Richat Structure is a circular unexplained geological formation located in the midst of the Sahara Desert.
Well stare into the eye of the Sahara!
At close to 50 kilometers in diameter, the Sahara Desert‘s sprawling Richat Structure is one of the most mysterious geological features on Earth.
The Richat Structure is situated in Oudane, Mauritania, is a huge circular formation (50 km in diameter – 30 miles), that resembles an eye when looked upon from space. Why the structure is nearly circular, however, remains a mystery.
Originally thought to be a crater, this volcanic dome is most likely a product of erosion, an ancient geological artifact in the middle of featureless Maur Adrar desert, in Africa’s Western Sahara.
The earliest space missions used it as a landmark, the adventurous 4×4 enthusiasts consider it to be their playground, and scientists are still debating its origin. For those “Mad Max” kinds of tourists, there is also a hotel smack in the middle of the Richat Structure.
Here an overview of the different rocks found in the mysterious structure:
Once thought to be an impact crater, the Richat Structure‘s flat middle and lack of shock-altered rock indicates otherwise. The possibility that the Richat Structure was formed by a volcanic eruption also seems improbable because of the lack of a dome of igneous or volcanic rock. Rather, the layered sedimentary rock of the Richat structure is now thought by many to have been caused by uplifted rock sculpted by erosion.
For adventurous travelers, I think the Richat structure is worth a visit.