Mystery: NASA captures surprising ‘skull’ in the Sahara desert

An intriguing photo released by NASA last Tuesday (31/10) it caused a stir on the networks. The image shows what appears to be a huge skull in the middle of the Sahara desert.

The photo, shared by NASA Earth Observatory as part of the Halloweenwas captured from a specific perspective – from the International Space Station (ISS).

The macabre “skull” is actually a volcanic crater with a remarkably peculiar shape. The photo was taken on February 12th by one of the astronauts aboard the ISS, using a simple Nikon D5 digital camera.

The location in question is the volcano known as Trou au Natron, located in northern Chad. Check it out below:

Image: NASA/Reproduction

3 curious facts about the image

  1. The Trou au Natron has a depth of around a thousand meters and an irregular diameter varying between 6 and 8 kilometers.
  2. The white area in the image, which makes up the “skull,” is actually composed of natron, a mixture of sodium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, sodium chloride, and sodium sulfate.
  3. The black parts that make up the “eyes” and “nose” of the skull are cinder cones that have accumulated over time, coming from volcanic vents.

Find out more about Trou

O volcano Trou au Natron is situated in the Tibesti Mountains, considered the highest point in the Sahara, at an altitude of approximately 2,450 meters above sea level.

Image: NASA/Reproduction

Although the region is known for its harsh landscape, it is home to surprisingly rich biodiversity, including animals such as golden jackals, fennec foxes, gazelles, African wildcats and several species of birds. Additionally, the Tibesti Mountains are home to an ancient semi-nomadic people called Stole.

However, the Trou au Natron is not much researched by science due to the vastness and dangerousness of the region, as well as the historical political instability.

Although the volcano is currently extinct, scientists still don’t have all the answers about its formation and the date of its last eruption.

What is known is that, around 14,000 years ago, this unique landscape was occupied by a glacial lake, before transforming into the intriguing skull-like volcano we see today.

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