Richat Structure

Last week I posted a couple of photographs of Cyprus from space.  While looking through the rest of the images in collection, I noticed something that I’ve never heard about before – a picture of so called Richat Structure.

If you, like me, haven’t heard about it or heard and totally forgot, here is a brief Wikipedia summary that should get you started.

The Richat Structure, also known as the Eye of the Sahara, is a prominent circular feature in the Sahara desert of Mauritania near Ouadane. It has attracted attention since the earliest space missions because it forms a conspicuous bull’s-eye in the otherwise rather featureless expanse of desert. The structure, which has a diameter of approximately 50 kilometres (31 mi) and is located 400–450 metres (1,310–1,480 ft) above sea level, has become a landmark for space shuttle crews.

Initially interpreted as a meteorite impact structure because of its high degree of circularity, it is now thought to be a symmetrical uplift (circular anticline or dome) that has been laid bare by erosion. Paleozoic quartzites form the resistant beds outlining the structure. The lack of shock metamorphism at the site further backs the latter claim.

Twinkle – sudden popularization of Cyprus

There was an sudden boost in searches for Cyprus yesterday.  The reason for that was a bug in Twinkle – a Twitter client for iPhone.  For some reason, Twinkle was identifying current location wrong for a whole lot of users.  Instead of being somewhere in the States, they were said to be Nicosia, Cyprus.  That probably felt very surprising for them, especially considering the fact that not many of them knew what or where Nicosia, Cyprus was.  Hence, all the searching.

There is a rumor going around that it was the work of Cyprus government, desperately trying to keep tourism levels up.  You, of course, should believe whatever your tin foil hat tells you to believe…

Three things to like about WikiMapia

Here are three things that I like about WikiMapia :

  1.  It’s brings together the excellence of Google Maps and the social power of Wiki.  The results are better than anywhere else.  Even Cyprus, which usually gets little attention on the web, is covered pretty good.
  2. It’s easy to add landmarks and notes.  That’s something I really missed so far on Google Maps, where I can just see maps and search for geographical locations.  With WikiMapia, I can find something, mark it down with the notes, and then send the link to somebody else.  I won’t need to provide the instructions like “find two major roads crossing at the bottom of this map and then follow the one that goes up until second turn on the right. You’ll see a sort of triangular white building.  That’s our office” any more.  Just a link.
  3. WikiMapia pages score pretty good in  Google search results (I hope it doesn’t sound like invitation to spammers).  To find map to our offices now all I need to do is search for brief company name – “mmvirtual“.  The map link is the second result after our own web site.