homeaboutessential guidepicture of the daythunderblogsnewsmultimediapredictionsproductsget involvedcontact

Credit: Landsat 7, USGS, NASA


pic of the day
  subject index
  abstract archive



Electric Cosmos

The Universe

Plasma Cosmology

Society for



Apr 07, 2005
Earth's Richat Crater

What was the cause of this uplifted region on the Saharan desert floor cut by a circular crater with concentric terraces? Geologists speculate that erosion by wind and water must have worked its magic on the upraised dome. Electric theorists see something else—the scar left by electric discharge.

In the October 28, 2002 Astronomy Picture of the Day the "explanation" goes like this: "What on Earth is that? The Richat Structure in the Sahara Desert of Mauritania is easily visible from space because it is nearly 50 kilometers across. Once thought to be an impact crater, the Richat Structure's flat middle and lack of shock-altered rock indicates otherwise. The possibility that the Richat Structure was formed by a volcanic eruption also seems improbable because of the lack of a dome of igneous or volcanic rock. Rather, the layered sedimentary rock of the Richat structure is now thought by many to have been caused by uplifted rock sculpted by erosion....Why the Richat Structure is nearly circular remains a mystery."

Electric Universe proponents consider the circularity of the Richat Structure to be predictable. So they pose a different question for planetary scientists: What on Earth and Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Io, Europa, Phobos, Mimas and Tethys, Enceladus, Miranda, Eros, and other asteroids, etc. are these?  Geologists have never adequately explained why almost all craters everywhere are circular. This has only been dismissed as a feature of impacts, something that has never been demonstrated, but only surmised.  Other features of various circular craters--domes, spheres, steep walls, chains, central peaks with strata consistent with the walls or surrounding terrain, undisturbed strata in the floor, unexpected size distribution, unexpected placement distribution (such as location on the rim of other craters), elevated ramparts--all defy coherent explanation under the impact model.

Advocates of the EU model claim that craters like the Richat were not formed by impacts but were "machined" by electric discharges, Birkeland currents that rotate around a "sticking" point and excavate material by electrically accelerating it upwards without disturbing the surrounding or underlying strata, unless the whole area is raised in a fulgamite blister--hence Rampart Craters. Specific effects will depend on a wide variety of soil conditions including chemical composition, material type, density, moisture, and conductivity.  Discharge factors, including diameter, voltage, current, and duration will also affect the crater configuration.

In contrast to conventional theorists, advocates of the electric universe contend that planets moved under the influence of electrified plasma, a medium that can easily overwhelm gravity.  Orbits changed, and catastrophic electrical encounters altered the terrain, the climates, and the atmospheres of planets, including our Earth.

In the case of the Richat Structure, it is evident that the force uplifting the area also cut the concentric crater walls. In crater formation, the electrical forces constrain the arc to contact the surface at a 90-degree angle. Because the arc typically consists of one or more pairs of channels rotating around a common axis, a stationary arc will etch a circular crater and, in stratified terrain, will machine out concentric circles.

See also: Craters on Mars
               What Else Could It Be
               The Scars of Planetary Violence
Especially see also: Layered Crater

Composed by Michael Armstrong


David Talbott, Wallace Thornhill
Amy Acheson
  CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Mel Acheson, Michael Armstrong, Dwardu Cardona,
Ev Cochrane, C.J. Ransom, Don Scott, Rens van der Sluijs, Ian Tresman
  WEBMASTER: Michael Armstrong

Copyright 2005: