This is perhaps the site of a devastating meteor impact in the Middle East.
The catastrophic effect from which could explain the mystery of why so many early cultures went into sudden decline around 2300 BC.
Today’s crater lies on what would have been shallow sea 4,000 years ago, and any impact would have caused devastating fires and flooding.
The near circular, ~3.4 km-diameter postulated impact structure in the Al ‘Amarah marshes , in southern Iraq, is identified as the Umm al Binni lake. After the partial draining of the marshes in 1993, the lake has shrunk, and in recent Landsat TM and SPOT satellite imagery, it appears as a light coloured area, due to surface salt encrustations.