Ouadâne, Mauritania

Richat Structure

A geological bull's-eye visible from outer space

Contributors: Josh, spinkk, Dylan

In the midst of the vast, vacant Sahara desert, just outside of Ouadane, Mauritania, lies a 30-mile wide geological oddity known the Richat Structure, or the "Eye of Africa." From space, this natural curiosity forms a distinct and unmistakable bull's-eye that once served as a geographical landmark for early astronauts as they passed over the Sahara.

Once thought to be a crater due to its circularity, the unusual formation is now widely believed to have been caused by the erosion of what was once a volcanic dome. Over time, desert weather has caused the volcano to gradually shed layers, resulting in the structure's remarkable flatness.

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    Ouadâne, Mauritania
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