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Why Knowing about ‘Eye of Sahara’ is always interesting?

07:47 PM May 03, 2023 IST | Ground report
why knowing about ‘eye of sahara’ is always interesting

The Richat Structure, alternatively called the ‘Eye of the Sahara’, is a circular geological formation located on the Adrar Plateau in Mauritania, northwest Africa.

It has a diameter of 50 kilometres (30 miles) and resembles a large circular opening in the ground. Despite its appearance, the Richat Structure is not an impact crater, but rather a symmetrical anticline formed by geological processes and erosion.


The International Space Station posted pictures on Instagram ‘The Richat Structure, also known as the ‘Eye of the Sahara,’ an eroded geological dome in the nation of Mauritania, is pictured from the International Space Station as it orbited over 250 miles above north Africa.’

Geologists have studied this structure to better understand the geology of the region. The Richat Structure is not only a spectacular sight when viewed from satellite imagery or in person, but it is also one of the most impressive geological formations on Earth.


The local name, Tagense, derives from the circular opening of the leather bag used to draw water from the local wells, while the name ‘Eye of the Sahara’ refers to its circular shape.

Key Takeaways: The Eye of the Sahara

  • The Eye of the Sahara, also known as the Richat Structure, is a geological dome containing rocks that predate life on Earth.
  • The Eye resembles a blue target and is found in Western Sahara. It is visible from space and has been used as a visual reference point by astronauts.
  • Geologists believe that the formation of the Eye began when the supercontinent Pangea began to break apart.

What is Eye of the Sahara?

The Eye of the Sahara, also known as the Richat Structure, is a large circular geological formation in the Sahara desert of Mauritania, West Africa.


The Eye of the Sahara is a spectacular place to see with satellite images or even to tour locally, and has been studied by geologists to understand the geology of the region. Overall, it is one of the most remarkable geological formations on the planet.

The formal name of this unusual phenomenon is the Richat Structure or Guelb El Richat and it was discovered in June 1965 by the two American astronauts McDivitt and White during the Gemini 4 space mission. Initially, due to the correspondence of their circular rings, It was believed that it was a crater caused by the impact of a meteorite, but since no trace of molten rock was found, this first hypothesis was immediately discarded.


A Unique Geological Wonder

According to geologists, the Eye of the Sahara is a geological dome formed by rocks that are more than 100 million years old, before the appearance of life on Earth.

These rocks include sedimentary layers deposited by wind and water, as well as igneous deposits resulting from volcanic activity deep below the surface. The region was probably much more temperate and humid in the past, with plenty of running water.

Over time, underground volcanic activity pushed up the upper layers of sandstone and other rock, creating a vaulted structure. Wind and water erosion eventually caused the region to settle and collapse inward, resulting in the circular shape of the Eye. Today, the area contains several types of igneous rocks, such as kimberlite, carbonatite, black basalt, and rhyolite.

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