Temimichât-Ghallaman crater

Main characteristics

Coordinates: 24.2485 N 9.6496 W
No:366        (list of all attractions)
Categories:Impact craters
Values:Geology
Rank:6
Address:Africa, Mauritania, Tiris Zemmour, in the vast deserts in the north of the country
Alternate names:Temimichat Ghallaman, Timmimichat
Diameter:640 - 730 m
Depth:Rim rises 35 m above surroundings and the the crater floor
Age:unknown, rather old

Temimichât-Ghallaman crater is very remote, large crater of unclear origin. Most likely it has been created by large meteorite but this has not been proved yet.

Temimichât-Ghallaman crater was known to locals and was described by French explorer Théodore Andre Monod already in the 1950s. Nevertheless few scientists have visited this remote site in the inhospitable, almost lifeless plains of northern Mauritania.

This crater is well visible on satellite images or in nature, but it is more eroded than the other great Mauritanian craters - Tenoumer and Aouelloul craters - thus it might be rather old.

Crater is formed in crystalline bedrock - 3.5 billion years old Precambrian gneisses and gabro of Reguibat shield.

Rims of crater are partly eroded, their height fluctuates from some meters to 35 m. Original circular form has been lost and now the crater looks rather hexagonal. Crater is filled with sediments - aeolian sand and silt.

The origin of this crater is unclear. Meteorite impact is just one of possible explanations, although some aspects of the disturbed rocks show possible impact event - re-melted granitic clasts, deformation effects, on the edges of crater are some blocks which seem to have glassy cover.

Map

See Temimichât-Ghallaman crater on the map of Mauritania!

References

  1. Rossi, A. P.; Baliva, A.; Piluso, E., New Indications for an impact origin of Temimichat crater, Mauritania. EGS - AGU - EUG Joint Assembly, Abstracts from the meeting held in Nice, France, 6 - 11 April 2003, abstract #7403. Accessed on December 26, 2012.

Landmarks of Mauritania

Traditional architecture in Oualata, Mauritania
Traditional architecture in Oualata / c.hug, CC BY-SA 2.0

Almost all of Mauritania today is desert - somewhere desolate, somewhere - with some plants, lakes and animals.

In earlier times the nature here was less harsh, great cultures developed. People from those times have left countless cliff paintings and etchings, megaliths and abandoned towns.

Nature of Mauritania also provides surprises - giant, smooth and very dark granite monoliths, rising hundreds of meters above the desert, and even wealth of life - millions of birds at the ocean and even unusual dwarf crocodiles in the desert plateau of Tagant.

Impact craters and meteorites

Tenoumer crater, Mauritania
Tenoumer crater in Mauritania, January 2008 / NASA / ASTER, Earth Observatory / CC BY-SA 3.0

There are many pieces of solid matter flying around in the space. And VERY frequently they fall on the surface of Earth. There are estimates that every year on Earth fall 18,000 – 84,000 meteorites larger than 10 grams: e.g. one meteorite every 6 – 30 minutes.

This category includes outstanding impact craters - detectable scars on the surface of Earth left by a body coming from outer space. Category includes also meteorites - natural objects from the outer space.

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