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StarPedia - Mauritania

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Bay of Nouadhibou Ship Graveyard

THE VIEW OFF THE COAST of Mauritania’s Bay of Nouadhibou is spotted with rusting hulks in every direction, ships that were cheaper to illegally abandon in the harbor than to correctly dismantle.


The city of Nouadhibou is the second largest settlement in Mauritania, but due to the limited employment opportunities, it is also somewhat poor. This economic hardship, as it often does, led to widespread corruption in the local government. Dismantling large boats is a costly procedure, and unscrupulous ship owners found that for a comparatively small bribe they could simply abandon their unwanted sea hulks in Nouadhibou’s bay. Ships were brought from all over the world to be left in the shallow waters with a particular boom during the 1980’s. Fishing trawlers, cargo vessels, and naval cruisers are just some of the varied types of boats among the over 300 rusting ships that have accumulated over the years like coral.


Despite the environmental concerns of toxic oils, paints, and rust seeping into the waters of the bay, the rotting ships have produced a few surprising benefits. In addition to a continuing salvage industry that has sprung up around the wrecks, their deteriorating hulls have actually provided new habitats for fish and undersea life, giving the city’s vital fishing industry a much-needed shot in the arm. 


Richat Structure

Many travelers go to the Sahara Desert in search of amazing sights, as its western part features the most mysterious formation on the planet, Richat structure. Its scale is so large that photographers usually take companions to shoot this thing in full. Richat is a collection of many fossilized circles. The diameter of the outer circle is about 50 kilometers.

The structure is perfectly visible from space, so astronauts continue to use it as a benchmark like it was many years ago. The amazing structure has a lot of informal names - it is also called 'the Eye of the Earth' and 'the Eye of the Sahara', as it really resembles an eye. After extensive research it was found out that the structure has begun to form 600 million years ago. The exact cause of its formation remains a mystery.

Originally Richat was considered a huge sump formed after the fall of the meteorite, but this version has been refuted by scientists almost immediately. There’s no hint of recess in the center of the structure, which has inevitably to be formed in a collision with a meteorite. Many scholars suspect that once there was a huge volcano, but this theory raises a lot of doubts, because there were found no trace of volcanic rocks near Richat.

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