Synthetic Aperture Radar Data Unveiled a Possible Peak-Ring Impact Structure in Northwestern Sudan

Authors: Eman Ghoneim*, University of North Carolina - Wilmington
Topics: Remote Sensing, Arid Regions, Geomorphology
Keywords: Crater, Great Sahara, Remote Sensing, GIS, DEM, Radar Waves Penetration
Session Type: Paper


The present work communicates the detection of a large circular structure in the eastern part of the Great Sahara in North Africa. This probable impact structure is named the Darfur structure, since it lies in northern Darfur. Remote sensing investigations based on Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data from ALOS PALSAR (L-band with HH polarization) along with SRTM elevation data revealed a peak-ring crater like structure, with an outer rim, 10,5 km in diameter, a single discontinuous symmetric interior peaked ring, 5.4 km in diameter, and no central peak. This structure shows a morphological resemblance to other confirmed terrestrial peak-ring structures. Topographic data indicated that the Nubian sandstone surface, in which the peak-ring structure was formed, has suffered from severe fluvial and aeolian erosion. The morphology of the eastern side of the structure shows that the eastern side of the outer rim of the structure has largely eroded by a now dry large river course. Confirmation of the impact crater hypothesis requires collection and analyses of rock samples from in and around the structure, a task that is currently challenging due to the environmentally inaccessibility of the area and for security reasons.

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