Space image: Aorounga Crater, Chad

November 29, 2013, European Space Agency
Credit: JAXA/ESA

This image from Japan's ALOS satellite shows the Aorounga Crater in northern Chad.

The is just south of the Tibesti Mountains, a range of inactive – with some potentially active – volcanoes in the central Sahara desert.

Measuring about 12 km across, the crater was created by a about 340 million years ago.

Clearly visible is the dark, central peak, caused by material splashing up after the impact, similar to how water bounces back up when a stone is thrown in. This peak is surrounded by a low, sand-filled ring, which is surrounded by another ring of rock from when the material was thrown outwards. A distinctive low, sand-filled trough circles the others – the outer edges of the initial impact.

The linear rock ridges that run diagonally across this image are 'yardangs' and are formed by wind erosion. Here, we can clearly see how the wind blows from northeast to southwest. Sand dunes form in the wind-cut valleys between the rock ridges of the yardangs.

Japan's Advanced Land Observation Satellite captured this image on 3 November 2010. ALOS was supported as a Third Party Mission, which means that ESA used its multimission ground systems to acquire, process, distribute and archive data from the to its user community.

Explore further: Sahara oasis from space

Related Stories

Sahara oasis from space

September 20, 2013

Deep in the Sahara Desert, the Al Jawf oasis in southeastern Libya is pictured in this image from Japan's ALOS satellite.

Image: Blue on Mars

February 17, 2011

This image shows part of the floor of Rabe Crater, a large impact crater in Mars' southern highlands.

Mars crater shows evidence for climate evolution

June 7, 2012

(Phys.org) -- ESA’s Mars Express has provided images of a remarkable crater on Mars that may show evidence that the planet underwent significant periodic fluctuations in its climate due to changes in its rotation axis.

Water in a Martian desert

August 2, 2013

Craters once brim-full with sediments and water have long since drained dry, but traces of their former lives as muddy lakes cling on in the Martian desert.

Sunrise view of Tycho crater's peak

June 30, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- On June 10, 2011, NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft angled its orbit 65° to the west, allowing the LRO Camera NACs to capture a dramatic sunrise view of Tycho crater.

Recommended for you

Black hole spin cranks-up radio volume

January 12, 2018

Statistical analysis of supermassive black holes suggests that the spin of the black hole may play a role in the generation of powerful high-speed jets blasting radio waves and other radiation across the universe.

NASA team first to demonstrate X-ray navigation in space

January 11, 2018

In a technology first, a team of NASA engineers has demonstrated fully autonomous X-ray navigation in space—a capability that could revolutionize NASA's ability in the future to pilot robotic spacecraft to the far reaches ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.