(ORDO NEWS) — Deep in the Sahara Desert lies one of the best preserved craters on Earth. The Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission captured the near-perfectly round Tenoumer crater in Mauritania.
Tenoumer crater, visible in the center of the image, is 1.9 km wide. The edges of the crater rise above its base by about 110 m, but the bottom of the crater is covered with a layer of sedimentary rocks 200 to 300 meters thick.
For a long time there were disputes about whether the crater was formed by a volcano or a meteorite. Rocks scattered around the crater, similar to basalt, gave the impression of an ancient volcano.
However, a more thorough study of the structure showed that the frozen “lava” of the crater is actually rock that melted as a result of a meteorite fall.
The crater is located on a vast plain of very ancient rocks, formed hundreds of millions of years before the appearance of the first dinosaurs on Earth.
But despite the fact that the Tenoumer crater is in such ancient rocks, it is much younger – its age ranges between 10,000 and 30,000 years.
This Sentinel-2 image taken on May 16, 2022 shows the arid landscape around the crater, which has varying shades of brown, beige and orange.
Over a million asteroids have been discovered in the solar system, and many more are expected. Astronomers around the world are keeping us safe and working together to make sure we know ahead of time when an asteroid is found on a collision course.
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