Extraordinary describes Richat – a thirty mile wide geologic anomaly surrounded by thousands of featureless Saharan square miles. Dubbed “Eye of the Sahara” by men aboard our first space missions, pondering this curiosity from above led to initial assumptions Richat had to be a impact crater. Located in west-central Mauritania, Richat proved to be anything but.
Extensive research produced no evidence of impact. Geologists generally agree that layers, known as dikes – each one distinctive sedimentary rings dating from the Late Proterozoic (2.5 billion years) to Ordovician (480 million years) – are evidence of low temperature hydro-thermal erosion.
Columns left from volcanic eruptions.
As with most weird and wonderful places, conspiracy theorists follow. The Richat Structure Conspiracy centres on Plato’s description of Atlantis –
“According to Plato, the island was circular, divided into concentric circles of land and water: “There were 2 of land and 3 of water… Atlantis when sunk by the earthquake became an impossible barrier of mud to voyagers sailing from hence to any part of the ocean…” And he spoke about a mount sheltering the city by North and “and encompassing a great plain of an oblong shape in the south “…etc… Atlantis in Greek means Atlantis, nesos : the island of Atlas. And we get near the geologic eye at the North the Mount Atlas. According to Plato, Atlantis was lying “in front of the Pillars of Hercule”, and we are there just in front from South and not beside from East or West as many authors are searching…”
Atlantis main island according to the text of Plato in Timaeus and Critias, 360 BC.
Not to be a party pooper but the chances of this being the lost city of Atlantis are slim to none. All the same. Richat deserves a ponder – the Eye of the Sahara is mesmerizing.