2020-11-06

With a diameter of up to 48 kilometers, where did this mysterious”giant eye” staring into space come from?

By yqqlm yqqlm

Imagine, if one day, when you look down on the earth from space, you suddenly find that there is a huge eye on the earth gazing into space. What would it be like?

In 1965, when the”Gemini manned spacecraft” several hundred kilometers from the earth’s surface moved over Africa, the astronauts John Young and Virgil Grison in it experienced this experience. Wonderful feelings, they were surprised to find that in the southwestern part of the Sahara Desert, there is a huge circular structure that looks like a huge eye, gazing deeply into space.

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This one The mysterious”giant eye” gazing into space was later called the”Saharan Eye”. Interestingly, the”Saharan Eye” has a”concentric circle” structure, and the first layer looks like a light yellow The”pupil” of the second layer is like blue”eyeballs”, and the concentric circles on the outer layer are like”eyelids”, which makes it look really like eyes.

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“Sahara The size of the”eye” is very large, the diameter of the”eyeball” is as high as 48 kilometers, and the length of the whole”eye” is about 340 kilometers. Because of its peculiar shape, it is easy to find in space, so”Saharan Eye” is sometimes used as a visual landmark by astronauts.

So where did this”Saharan Eye” staring into space come from?

People are always full of infinite imagination for extraordinary things. This mysterious”big eye” gazing into space is of course no exception. So after the”Sahara Eye” was discovered, people have Brainstorming, a lot of weird speculations were put forward. For example, some people think that this should be the remains of the legendary”Atlantis civilization”.

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(“”Imagination of Atlantis Civilization”)

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(“Saharan Eye”)

From the above two pictures, we can see that this is really a bit like that, but everyone knows that for strict In terms of science, this explanation is obviously not convincing, so how do scientists explain it?

At the beginning, scientists speculated that the reason for the formation of”Saharan Eye” should be very simple, that is, in the distant past, a meteorite from outer space hit here and formed a huge impact The crater, the impact crater slowly weathered, gradually forming this peculiar structure.

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but follow However, the research of ”has denied this speculation. One of the most direct evidence is that when a meteorite hits the earth, the rocks in the impact area will undergo gasification, mechanical deformation, melting, thermal decomposition, phase change, etc. due to high temperature. Some special minerals (such as coesite) are produced, but in fact, the researchers did not find such minerals in the vicinity of the”Eye of the Sahara”.

After the”meteorite impact theory” was denied, geologists conducted a lot of exploration work on the”Saharan Eye”. After conducting in-depth research, they proposed a more reasonable explanation, namely :”Dome structure, differential weathering”.

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Simple In other words, the so-called”dome” refers to a geological structure that”arches” on the ground. Generally speaking, if the viscous fluid (such as magma) under the ground is upwelling, the upward trend is If it is blocked by rocks and other materials, it is likely to form a”dome”.

Scientists speculate that about hundreds of thousands of years ago, due to the influence of geological activities, a huge”dome” was formed on the surface of the area. After the geological activities subsided, this”dome” entered A long weathering process.

Because the rock layers in the”domes” are different in composition, relatively soft rocks (such as limestone and mudstone) are easily eroded by weathering, and they will gradually form depressions with relatively hard High rocks (such as quartzite, gabbro) will slowly form a protruding circle because they are not easily weathered ridge.

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This is The so-called”differential weathering”, it is under the long-term effect of this mechanism that the”Saharan Eye” has a unique concentric structure, making it look like a”giant eye”, as for its blue The”eyeballs” are decorated with a kind of quartzite.

It is worth mentioning that although the”Eye of the Sahara” is located in an area with almost no precipitation, and the area is sparsely populated, and generally not threatened by humans, it seems to exist for a long time, but it It will still be attacked by wind and sand. Scientists estimate that perhaps in the near future, this mysterious “big eye” staring into space may be covered by sand.


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