Umm al Binni Structure, Southern Iraq, as a Postulated Late Holocene Meteorite Impact Crater

  • S. Master
  • T. Woldai


Master (2001) discovered a ca. 3.4 km diameter circular structure, in the marshes of southern Iraq, on published satellite imagery (Fig. 4.1, after North 1993a), and interpreted it to be a possible meteorite impact crater, based on its morphology (its roughly polygonal outline, an apparent raised rim and a surrounding annulus), which differed greatly from the highly irregular outlines of surrounding lakes. The structure, which is situated in the Al ’Amarah Marshes, near the confluence of the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers (at 47° 4′ 44.4″ E, 31° 8′ 58.2″ N), was identified by Master (2002) as the Umm al Binni lake, based on a detailed map of the marshes published by Wilfred Thesiger (1964). Following the Gulf War of 1991, Saddam Hussein’s regime embarked on a massive program to drain the Al ’Amarah marshes, by building a huge canal named the “Glory River” parallel to the Tigris River (Fig. 4.3) (North 1993a, b; Wood 1993; Pearce 1993, 2001; Partow 2001a; Naff and Hanna 2002). After the almost complete draining of the marshes since 1993 (Munro and Touron 1997; Partow 2001a, b; Nicholson and Clark 2002) the Umm al Binni Lake has disappeared and in recent Landsat TM and ASTER satellite imagery, it appears as a light colored area, due to surface salt encrustations (Fig. 4.4). Following the Iraq War of 2003, there are moves afoot to re-flood the marshes in an attempt to restore its devastated ecology (Brookings Institution 2003; Jacobsen 2003; Lubick 2003; Martin 2003; Sultan et al. 2003; Richardson et al. 2005; Lawler 2005).


Foreland Basin Meteorite Impact Geographical History North 1993a Zagros Basin 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Master
    • 1
  • T. Woldai
    • 2
  1. 1.Impact Cratering Research Group, Economic Geology Research Institute, School of GeosciencesUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa
  2. 2.International Institute for Geoinformation Sciences & Earth Observation (ITC)EnschedeThe Netherlands

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