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eye of the saharaGOOGLE MAPS

JUST DESERTS: The Saharan landscape looks normal until you view it from space

There are plenty of Google maps mysteries that will keep you awake at night – and this one is no exception.

The Eye of the Sahara has baffled boffins for years. Search engine users spotted that the Richat Structure swirled in an unsual way, but no one quite knows why.

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The natural phenomenon is not visible to those who walk past the location in west-central Mauritania.

You actually have to take a look at the landscape from above if you want to see the illusion for yourself.

This discovery wasn’t made until 1965, when Gemini vessel astronauts spotted the markings from space.

eye of the saharaGOOGLE EARTH

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The twist in the landscape is thought to span over 30 miles.

It’s believed that it’s caused by the different colours of the terrain.

In areas where the rock has been exposed, an elliptical effect has taken place.

But how did the structure get there?

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Originally, scientists believed that the region was disturbed by an asteroid collision.

Even though some supported this theory, there is little to suggest that the swirl was caused by space.

Experts today think that the Earth’s natural processes have caused the land blemish.

The structure may be a result of rocks being broken down at different rates, leaving some more prominent than others.

Wind and water erosion are likely to be the cause of this, but there is no solid evidence confirming any of these conspiracies.

The best time to visit the Eye of the Sahara is believed to be in December.

Tourists can book tours from several access countires, including Mali, Niger and Mauritania.

While anyone can drive past the location, you won't be able to see the swirl unless you take a look at it from above.

Some visitors choose to take a hot-air balloon tour from Atar, Mauritania, which allows them to marvel in the mysterious sights for themselves.

The Eye of the Sahara isn’t the only Google maps mystery to spark debate among scientists.

We previously revealed that a natural wonder was spotted in the Karakum Desert, Turkmenistan.

For years, scientists haven’t been able to understand why a fire burns in the region.

The mysterious location has since been dubbed the Door to Hell and is frequented by tourists.

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