The Eye of Africa

Okay, now look at this;


This is the richat structure in Mauritania.

Is it a crater after a meteorite? Is it the site of nuclear testing? Is it on another planet?

Well, as you might have guessed it’s time for one of my infamous essays again, I guess it’s bad for me to be out of school. Not that I wrote that many essays for school anyways.

So, the Eye of Africa; it was first discovered by astronauts James A. McDivitt and Edward H. White on the Gemeni 4, the 8th crewed flight into space, by NASA at least. Sometime between June 3rd and 7th 1965 they saw the strange circular shape in the middle of the desert. It might have looked something like this;

I left a piece of Africa's western coast so you can get an idea of the size of this thing, the eye is over to the right.

It’s about 50 kilometres in diameter (about 30 miles) and has been used as a landmark for astronauts since it was found.

Scientists are still debating the origin of this strange eye, at first it was indeed believed to be a meteor-made crater, but since the surface of the structure is actually flat, and more of an upwards dome than a crater it’s not a generally accepted theory. It has also been believed to be created from volcanic activity, but the currently, most widely accepted theory is that it’s simply shaped by an uplift, or so called anticline.

An anticline is a fold in the rocks of the earth, imagine a flat surface of layered cloth, then them being pushed together, thus creating an upwards fold, that is an anticline, in nature it’s mostly covered by other “cloths” as well, but in theory that’s it, correct me if I’m wrong though.

Another picture, it's really looking cool.

Why the structure is round is still quite the mystery, but there are similar marks around Africa’s deserts, such as these two;

The Brandberg intrusion in Namibia

The Jebel Uwaynat in the corner of Egypt, Sudan and Libya.

But they’re not nearly as magnificent as the Eye. Not quite as round either.

Now, the brown, dark rock you can see around the eye on some of the pictures are sedimentary rocks, and the Eye itself is primarily bands of resistant paleozoic quartzite, which is forming the ridges sticking up like circles, and the valleys between them are less erosion-resistant types of rock.

Anyways, it’s quite amazing, right?

Awesome, right?

(As usual the images were borrowed from other places with information on the Eye, feel free to visit them and find out things I’ve skipped or missed or completely misunderstood. Also here’s some things about the Brandberg intrustion and Jebel Uwaynat, and a google maps location of the Eye.)


One response to “The Eye of Africa

  1. Pingback: Flooded Sinkholes « Halfhead

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