The Aorounga Crater in Northern Chad

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Aorounga Crater, Chad. Image: JAXA/ESA, 2010.

Aorounga Crater, Chad. Image: JAXA/ESA, 2010.

The Aorounga Crater is an impact crater located in northern Chad just south of the Tibesti Mountains in the central Sahara desert. Measuring 12 kilometers across, the crater was formed about 340 million years ago by the impact of a meteorite.  At the center of the crater is a dark peak, or central highland, caused by material splashing up after the impact.  This peak is surrounded by a small sand-filled trough.  That trough is ringed by rocks.

Map showing the relative location of the Aorounga Crater in northern Chad. Map produced by GeoLounge from Natural Earth data.

Map showing the relative location of the Aorounga Crater in northern Chad. Map produced by GeoLounge from Natural Earth data.

The linear ridges found crossing the crater are known as yardangs.  These ridges are formed by wind erosion which exposes rock layers.  The winds crossing the Aorounga Crater are unidirectional and flow from the northeast causing the sand dunes between the yardangs to migrate to the southwest.


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Japan’s ALOS satellite captured the above image of the Aorounga Crater on November 3, 2010.

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