The Richat Structure is a great circular formation, which is commonly known as the Earth’s Eye or the Eye of the Sahara. It is located near Oudane, Mauritania, at the western end of the Sahara Desert. It is a geological formation of about 25 miles in diameter, visible only from space. It is unusual as it it is formed in the shape of a human eye.
The formal name of this unusual phenomenon is Richat’s Structure or Guelb El Richat and was discovered in June 1965 by the two American astronauts McDivitt and White during the Gemini 4 Space Mission. Initially, due to the correspondence of its circular rings, it was believed to be a crater caused by the impact of a meteorite, but without finding any sign of molten rock, this first hypothesis was immediately discarded.
Today, the most accredited theory sustained by two Canadian geologists has come about through in-depth studies, classifying the structure as the result of a geological rise dating to more than 100 million years ago. A phenomenon that generated the profound erosion of a geologic dome that then collapsed, a structure formed when there was a much larger part of the earth’s surface. The concentric rings of multiple colors indicates the various types of rock that have been consumed at different rates over time, thanks to erosion due to water and wind that occurred over millions of years. However, the perfectly circular form still remains inexplicable.
Admiring the Sahara Eye from above is a privilege only few have had, but there are several “desert tours” that, despite the high temperatures and the various difficulties due to the deserted path, allow you to reach this structure by jeep, allowing everyone to experience a truly unforgettable adventure.