The Sahara is one of the largest deserts in the world, which holds many secrets. In ancient times, whole armies disappeared here, and even experienced travelers are still afraid to get lost in the vast sands. It is almost impossible to thoroughly explore the secrets that the desert hides. But some of them the humanity managed to comprehend all the same, and the rest are still waiting for their turn for millions of years.
Rishat – “Desert eye”
In 1965, on board the Gemini 4 manned spacecraft, an amazing object was discovered, which is a circular structure with a diameter of 50 kilometers.
Scientists have estimated the age of this structure a few hundred million years, but to establish the nature of the origin was not possible.
Now this “Desert eye” is called Rishat, and there are several versions of the formation of the structure:
- The most popular one is associated with a meteorite that once fell to Earth. But the official confirmation of this version has not received, because no traces of impact have been found in the rocks, and the crater from the meteorite also could not be found;
- According to the second hypothesis, the structure could have a volcanic origin, but here everything is not smooth, because the form of the object does not fit to confirm this version;
- Another hypothesis states that the appearance of the ring structure is associated with soil erosion. Many scientists are inclined to believe this version, but there are those who are categorically against it. The fact is that the rings of the structure have too regular soil, in addition, nothing like this has ever been formed on the whole planet as a result of erosion.
What is behind the mysterious rings in the sand? A crater of meteorite or perhaps an alien spaceship?
Scientists have not yet solved the mystery of the Rishat. Today it remains the most amazing natural phenomenon in the Sahara. Who or what the desert “watches” by means of it remains a mystery.
In 2010, scientists discovered more than 100 fortresses in the heart of the Sahara. All of them once belonged to the ancient people “Garamantes” who lived in Libya.
Who needed to build cities in the sands? In those days (II century BC – VII AD), the territory of the modern desert was still fertile, but the drought had already come, and people provided water for the settlement by cultivating underground reservoirs. But then the sources of the underground bowels dried up, and the Sahara buried entire cities under its sands.
The Libyan desert glass
Another mystery that still keeps scientists busy is the glassy yellow-green rock (Libyan glass), which can be found in the most unexpected places in the Sahara.
There are even some areas in the desert where the barchans consist not of ordinary sand, but of translucent pieces of glass. This rock was also found during the opening of Tutankhamun’s tomb – there they found the bib of the pharaoh among the treasures. The breastplate was encrusted with precious stones, in the center of which was a scarab beetle carved from Libyan glass.
The nature of the origin of the Libyan glass could not be established conclusively, but there are two main versions. According to one of them, it is a product of a meteorite collision with the Earth. But if you believe the other theory, the Libyan glass was formed as a result of lightning strikes.
The lost river
The Sahara was not always a desert. Studies have shown that rivers once flowed through the area. One of the proofs is the bed of an ancient river in Mauritania.
We managed to detect traces of the water artery with the help of a satellite – from space the channel is perfectly visible.
Dry river bed in the desert, view from space.
The Tamanrasset River carried water into the Atlantic Ocean, was more than 500 km long, and could be listed as one of the longest rivers in the world. Scientists suggest that the river dried up about 5,000 years ago, and now in its place there are only clear outlines.
The ancient ocean
Not only rivers once flowed in the Sahara, but also an entire ocean. This is confirmed by the remains of ancient whales that scientists found in the desert.
And next to the remains of whales found teeth of large sharks, the remains of huge turtles and crocodiles, which is further confirmation of the existence of the ancient Saharan ocean.
Despite all the efforts of scientists, much of this desert territory remains completely unexplored. Who knows, perhaps beneath the red-hot sands of the Sahara lies many other secrets that it protects from human eyes.