Umm al Binni lake

Umm al Binni Lake

Maysan Governorate

31°14′29″N 47°06′21″E / 31.24139°N 47.10583°E / 31.24139; 47.10583Coordinates: 31°14′29″N 47°06′21″E / 31.24139°N 47.10583°E / 31.24139; 47.10583

Lake type
former lake

Basin countries

Max. length
3.4 km (2.1 mi)

Max. depth
3 m (9.8 ft)

Umm al Binni lake is a mostly dry lake within the Central Marshes in Maysan Governorate in southern Iraq. The 3.4 km wide lake is approximately 45 km northwest of the Tigris–Euphrates confluence. Because of its shape, location, and other details, it has been conjectured to represent an impact crater.


1 Evidence as an impact crater
2 Details and historical context
3 Climate change and impact effects
4 See also
5 References

Evidence as an impact crater[edit]
Using satellite imagery, Sharad Master suggests[1][2] the 3.4 km diameter dry lake may be an impact crater based on its nearly circular, slightly polygonal rim shape, and contrasting shape to other lakes in the region. As to its origin, he rules out karst topography, salt doming, tectonic deformation, and igneous intrusion as well as possible bombing or man-made origins. Some structures may initially be found through satellite remote sensing and later established as impact craters like the recently confirmed Santa Marta crater found by S. Master and J. Heymann.[3][4]
Details and historical context[edit]
Master estimates the age of the crater to be less than 5000 years, or earlier than 3000 BCE, due to the deposition of sediments of the Tigris-Euphrates plain as a result of the 130–150 km seaward progradation[5] of the Persian Gulf during that time period.[1][2] A lack of writings describing this event by well-known authors like Herodotus (484–425 BC) and Nearchus (360–300 BC) or later historians implies the impact may have occurred earlier, or between 3000 and 5000 years BP.[2] During this time period, the Al Amarah region was under the Persian Gulf at a depth of approximately 10 m.[5] Impact-induced tsunamis would have devastated coastal Sumerian cities. This may provide an alternate origin of the 2.6 m sediment layer discovered during an excavation of the Sumerian city of Ur by Leonard Woolley in 1922-1934. Descriptive passages in The Epic of Gilgamesh (circa 1600–1800 BCE) may describe such an impact and tsunami, suggesting a link to the Sumerian Deluge:[6][7]