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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ancient Crater Discovered in Sahara by Satellite Camera

Boston University scientists sifting through satellite photos found the largest crater seen to date in the Great Sahara Desert of North Africa. The 100-million-year old crater, known as Kebira, which means "large" in Arabic, is 19 miles wide, which is more than twice the next largest crater known in the Sahara.

The crater is on the northern tip of the Gilf Kebir region of southwestern Egypt near Libya. The meteorite that fell to Earth and gouged out Kebira probably was three-quarters of a mile wide. The terrain around the crater is 100 million year-old sandstone. Two ancient rivers run through the crater site from the east and west.

The shock of such a large object crashing into Earth tens of millions of years ago may have left behind the field of yellow-green silica chips – the mysterious desert glass – seen today on the surface among the giant dunes of the Great Sand Sea in southwestern Egypt.

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