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Decoding the Desert: The Richat Structure as a Possible Link to Atlantis’ Mysteries?

The Richat Structure, or the “Eye of the Sahara,” is a stunning geographical phenomenon in Mauritania, Africa. Visible from space, this massive circular feature has intrigued scientists and the public alike. Initially thought to be a meteorite impact site, it is now believed to have formed through natural erosion processes.

The Discovery and Initial Theories

Discovered in 1965 during NASA’s Gemini 4 mission, the Richat Structure fascinated astronauts with its clear visibility from space. Early interpretations suggested a meteorite impact, given its striking circular shape. However, further studies revealed a more complex story.

The Formation of the Eye

Contrary to initial beliefs, the structure’s formation is attributed to the gradual erosion of an anticline dome—a geological uplift with layers that dip away from the center. This erosion revealed various rock types, including volcanic and sedimentary, dating back hundreds of millions of years.

Why the Eye of the Sahara Stands Out

  • Age and Composition: Estimated to be over 500 million years old, the Richat Structure consists of an extraordinary mix of rock types, recording geological history from the Proterozoic to the Ordovician periods.
  • Visibility from Space: Its distinct, bullseye appearance has made it a landmark for astronauts and satellites alike.
  • The Atlantis Connection: Some enthusiasts believe it matches descriptions of the legendary city of Atlantis, although this remains speculative.
 Satellite picture of the Richat Structure
 Satellite picture of the Richat Structure

Atlantis or Not?

The theory linking the Richat Structure to Atlantis stems from similarities in descriptions by ancient texts, particularly regarding the circular design and location. Despite these intriguing parallels, significant challenges exist, including the structure’s elevation and lack of archaeological evidence supporting a once-inhabited city.

Recent Research and Discoveries

A 2018 DNA study on ancient Moroccan individuals highlighted the complex genetic heritage of the region, hinting at a long and diverse human history. While not directly related to the Richat Structure, this research adds depth to our understanding of the Sahara’s historical significance.

European Space Agency’s (ESA) Thomas Pesquet shared images on Twitter while more than 250 miles above Earth’s surface that capture the ‘Eye of Sahara’ in western Africa. The pictures depict a reddish and orange-colored landscape, along with a deep indentation at the center that looks eerily similar to what resides on the Red Planet

The Need for Protection and Further Study

Despite its fame, the Richat Structure’s origins and significance remain partially understood. Scholars argue for its protection to enable further research, which could unravel more about Earth’s geological and possibly human history.


The Eye of the Sahara remains one of Earth’s most captivating mysteries, offering a window into our planet’s dynamic geological processes and the endless quest for knowledge about our past. Whether it holds the key to ancient myths or simply serves as a testament to the natural world’s beauty, the Richat Structure continues to fascinate and inspire.


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