A haunting and ethereal face has been observed within the confines of a volcano, as seen from space.
This peculiar phenomenon resides within Trou au Natron, a profound crater in the north-central region of Chad, Africa. The crater is an integral part of the Tibesti Mountains, a series of volcanic formations nestled in the heart of the central Sahara.
Within this crater lies natron, a naturally occurring blend composed of sodium carbonate decahydrate, encompassing approximately 17% sodium bicarbonate. Minor traces of sodium chloride and sodium sulfate are also present. Natron, lending its name to this volcanic pit, was famously employed by ancient Egyptians for mummification rituals.
The mesmerizing image of the volcano’s spectral face, featuring two eyes and a nose, was captured aboard the International Space Station and shared by NASA Earth Observatory on 31 October as their ‘Image of the Day.’
A spokesperson from NASA explained, “The outline of the ‘face’ is partially defined by shadows cast by the rim of a caldera – a type of volcanic crater formed after an explosive eruption or the surface’s collapse into a partially emptied magma chamber.”
“The ‘eyes’ and ‘nose’ are cinder cones – steep conical hills that developed around volcanic vents. These cinder cones are believed to be relatively youthful in geological terms, likely forming within the past few million years, possibly even as recently as a few thousand years ago.”
“The white expanse encircling the ‘mouth’ comprises a mineral crust formed from a salt called natron. This crust materializes when hot spring water accumulates on the surface and evaporates, releasing mineral-rich steam from the geothermally active area.”
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