igneous rocks. They include rhyolitic volcanic rocks, gabbros, carbonatites and kimberlites. The rhyolitic rocks consist of lava flows and hydrothermally altered tuffaceous rocks that are part of two distinct eruptive centers, which are interpreted to be the eroded remains of two maars. According to field mapping and aeromagnetic data, the gabbroic rocks form two concentric ring dikes. The inner ring dike is about 20 m in width and lies about 3 km from the center of Richat Structure. The outer ring dike is about 50 m in width and lies about 7 to 8 km from the center of this structure. Thirty-two carbonatite dikes and sills have been mapped within the Richat structure. The dikes are generally about 300 m long and typically 1 to 4 m wide. They consist of massive carbonatites that are mostly devoid of vesicles. The carbonatite rocks have been dated as having cooled between 94 to 104 million years ago. A kimberlitic plug and several sills have been found within the northern part of the Richat structure. The kimberlite plug has been dated being about 99 million years old. These intrusive igneous rocks are interpreted as indicating the presence of a large alkaline igneous intrusion that currently underlies the Richat structure and created it by uplifting the overlying rock.
limestone and is intensively silicified. The hydrothermal alteration, which created this breccia, has been dated to have occurred about 98.2 ± 2.6 million years ago using the 40Ar/39Ar method.
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Coesite, an indicator of shock metamorphism, had been reported as being present in rocks samples collected from the Richat structure. As the result of the further analysis of rock samples from this structure, it was concluded that barite had been misidentified as coesite. In addition, the Richat structure lacks the annular depression that characterizes large extraterrestrial impact structures of this size. Also, it is quite different from large extraterrestrial impact structures in that the sedimentary strata comprising this structure is remarkably intact and "orderly" and lacking in overturned, steeply dipping strata or disoriented blocks. A more recent multianalytical study on the Richat megabreccias concluded that carbonates within the silica-rich megabreccias were created by low-temperature hydrothermal waters, and that the structure requires special protection and further investigation of its origin.
da: Geologie Maroc - Guelb El Richat - Mauritanie
La structure de Richat ou dôme de Richat, surnommé « l'œil de l'Afrique » ou traditionnellement Guelb er Richât, près de Ouadane en Mauritanie en plein désert du Sahara, est une ancienne « énigme scientifique » de 50 km de diamètre, qui ne s'observe pleinement que depuis l'espace. Largement révélé en 1965 par une mission Gémini américaine, ce serait d'après les dernières interprétations scientifiques géologiques1, le résultat d'un phénomène volcanique géant, vieux de 100 millions d'années (Crétacé), totalement effondré à la suite d'une longue érosion différentielle.