Researchers from Boston University (BU) have discovered the remnants of the largest crater of the Great Sahara of North Africa, which may have been formed by a meteorite impact tens of millions of years ago. Dr. Farouk El-Baz made the discovery while studying satellite images of the Western Desert of Egypt with his colleague, Dr. Eman Ghoneim, at BU’s Center for Remote Sensing.
The double-ringed crater has an outer rim surrounding an inner ring, which is approximately 31 kilometers in diameter. According to El-Baz, the Center’s director, the crater’s vast area suggests the location may have been hit by a meteorite, the entire size of the famous Meteor (Barringer) Crater in Arizona which is 1.2 kilometers wide. The terrain in which the crater resides is composed of 100 million year-old sandstone – the same material that lies under much of the eastern Sahara.
The researchers also found evidence that the crater suffered significant water and wind erosion which may have helped keep its features unrecognizable to others.