What do astronauts, Atlantis and Africa have in common

(ORDO NEWS) — In Mauritania, surrounded by the majestic, moving dunes of the Sahara desert, lies the Richat structure.

An impressive rock formation with many names, the Eye of the Sahara has served as a landmark for astronauts, inspired those searching for the lost city of Atlantis, and puzzled geologists.

However, when walking along this magnificent geological feature, you may not notice the concentric stone circles around it. How did Richat’s structure, visible only from space, generate so much discussion, curiosity, and awe?

The Gemini astronauts of the 1960s saw the Richat structure for the first time!

The Richat structure, or Gelb-er-Rishat, is a short distance from the city of Ouadan, which was once the center of human society in west-central Mauritania, on the west coast of Africa.

A testament to how difficult it is to observe the true scale of this formation from earth is that little was known about the Richat structure until man went into space.

From Earth’s orbit, astronauts from the Gemini mission first photographed what they dubbed the “Eye of Africa” ​​in the 1960s, and it has since become a landmark for humans orbiting the Earth.

Richat Building: Dome and scattered stone rings

The Richat structure is a dome 198 meters high, consisting mainly of breccia – a rock consisting of many small rocks that have grown together.

Geologists classify this central plateau as a domed anticline (an arc-shaped formation of rocks with the oldest rock in the center). Around the plateau are concentric stone rings with low valleys between them, which, when viewed from above, form a shape resembling an eye.

The structure is huge, about 40 kilometers wide, and is composed of various igneous and sedimentary rocks. While Richat’s composition and structure are well documented, its origins are a source of ongoing controversy.

What do astronauts Atlantis and Africa have in common 2

Is the Richat Structure the Lost City of Atlantis?

Around 360 B.C. The Greek philosopher Plato wrote “Plato’s Dialogues” in which he described in detail the great city called Atlantis. Modern science considers Atlantis a myth, but this has not prevented speculation that the city actually existed.

What do we know?

Atlantis was destroyed 11,600 years ago, which corresponds to the period of the Younger Dryad, the time of the Ice Age, which caused fluctuating sea levels and destructive fires.

Plato describes Atlantis as a central island surrounded by concentric rings of alternating water and structures; this description corresponds to the Richat structure.

Atlantis is supposed to have been 127 stadia, or 23 kilometers across, which matches the dimensions of the Richat structure.

Atlantis lay in the shadow of mountains to the north, through which rivers flowed into a wide valley coinciding with the Richat structure.

There is evidence that water from the Richat structure drained into the ocean, suggesting that it was once surrounded by water, as was Atlantis.

What do astronauts Atlantis and Africa have in common 3

Pros and cons

There are those who do not agree with this theory and arguments. Their arguments are, respectively, as follows:

The Younger Dryas occurred between 12,900 and 11,700 years ago, a hundred years after the destruction of Atlantis. In addition, the Ice Age lasted 1,200 years in the Earth’s equatorial regions (most affecting North America); Atlantis is said to have been destroyed in a single cataclysmic event within a single day.

The rings of the Richat structure are broken and incomplete, so it is not known how many of them were filled with water, if any. In addition, there is no evidence for the canal through the rings that Plato spoke of.

According to scientific measurements, the width of the Richat structure is approximately 40 kilometers, that is, in order for Atlantis to fit, 17 kilometers must be left out.

There are mountains in the north, but this is hardly a unique feature. Skeptics also question the extent to which the description of Atlantis surrounded by “flat plains” fits the Sahara desert.

The Sahara is 4.6 million years old and there is no evidence that it was covered in water just 12,000 years ago.

In addition, skeptics wonder why no archaeological discoveries have been made on the Richat structure if Atlantis once lay atop it.

While there is a debate about whether the Richat structure was the site of an ancient civilization, scientists are preoccupied with a completely different question: how did it form?

The Science of the Eye of the Sahara

When first studied, scientists suggested that the “Eye of the Sahara” is an astroblem, the result of a meteorite impact. However, upon closer examination, it turned out that none of the rocks has signs of impact processes.

Recent studies have shown that Richat is 100 million years old and was formed as a result of volcanic activity. Deep underground, a massive cavern of magma formed, causing the Earth’s surface above it to bulge upward.

The boiling liquid then dissolved the limestone surrounding it, causing the structure to weaken and collapse. Thousands of years of erosion have formed rings and valleys on the surface, in which magma channels have formed or collapsed. The magma contained in the central dome solidified to form a breccia massif.

However, one question still defies explanation: the Richat structure is located separately, while most of the volcanoes form groups.

Whether you believe that Gelb-er-Rishat was once the center of an ancient Atlantean civilization or not, the fact remains that it is an extraordinarily beautiful structure.

Astronauts have long admired its majesty and use it for orientation in space flights. Geologists have been studying the mystery of this structure and have been puzzling over how it came to be for decades.

The Richat structure, the “eye of the Sahara”, the “eye of Africa”, Gelb-er-Rishat, call it what you will, is a huge eye-shaped stone formation that has gone unnoticed for millennia and continues to elude understanding today.

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