Around The World In 80 Seconds: 44 Odd And Beautiful Sights Found Via Google Earth
It goes without saying that the world is filled with many wondrous sights. We see this in animals, plants, geography, manmade constructions both old and new; the list goes on. Not all of us have the luxury of traveling across the globe to experience such things, but thankfully, we have Google Earth. With a phone or computer and internet access, you can explore our planet without expensive plane tickets. Swim, step, and soar with us as we take a look at just some of these surprising finds from around the world as discovered during Google Earth trips. Who knows, it might just inspire you to go and find some surprising and amazing finds of your own! Oh! If you want to inspect these pictures yourself, just copy and paste the numerical figure, attached to each mention, into Google.
A Firefox Logo in a Wheat Field (45° 7’25.87″N 123° 6’48.97″W)
Firefox is a niche and beloved browser that went from being one of the most popular browsers back in the day to now only being the 4th most used browser with less than 4% of global interest users using it.
While it might not have anywhere near the same numbers that Chrome has, it has still maintained a dedicated userbase. A dedication that is no better illustrated than by this cropped Firefox Logo made into a wheat field in Dayton, Oregon.
5th Biggest Pool in the World (-33.350534, -71.653268)
Apparently, any staple and must-have feature for rich people and celebrities is to have a big pool. The size never seems to matter, just as long that it is as big as possible. Well, the humble country of Chile has them all beat.
The Piscina Las Brisas de Santo Domingo is the largest pool in Chile and the 5th largest in the world, measuring 22000 square meters. The pool is located within San Alfonso del Mar, a private resort situated in Algarrobo city.
The Lion of Dunstable (51.848637, -0.55462)
While the lion might often be called the ‘king of the jungle,’ they are often found in very un-jungle-like areas. Such as the savannahs of Africa and even on the English monarchical flags of old and new. Honestly, we don’t know how they got the nickname…
Various European kingdoms and city-states have had a fascination with this powerful animal for centuries, with England being no exception. In fact, near the English market town of Dunstable, you can find a giant lion design, most likely made from stones.
A Boat-Shaped Shopping Center (22°18’14.15″N, 114°11’24.66″E)
In the Kowloon peninsula of the Hong Kong area, you can find the residential area of Hung Hom, a tourist hotspot filled with many attractions. The boat-shaped shopping centre in the Whampoa area (previously an old dockyard) is certainly the most noteworthy.
This shopping center is so big that you can easily make it out among the equally massive buildings that surround it. Whampoa used to be a dockyard in Hong Kong and one of the largest in Asia before turning into a residential area.
A 2x Island Lake (69.793° N, 108.241° W)
Northern Canada refers to a great area of land that falls within the authority and jurisdiction of the country of Canada. The area is home to three territories (unlike provinces, they don’t have their own governments) Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and Yukon.
Within this vast land, you can find, using Google Earth, a giant lake within which is an island. Nothing special so far, but there’s more. Within the island is another lake, within which is another lake, making it a double island and lake.
Australia’s Ayers Rock/Uluru (-25.344375, 131.034401)
Found in the heart of the country is the giant sandstone formation, Uluru, known by its anglicized name, Ayers Rock. It is also one of its most popular tourist attractions and one of the most spiritually significant places for its native peoples.
Google Earth allows us to take a bird’s-eye view of the famous rock, making it look a little like a giant foot/paw print in the sand. It might not look that big from up there, but Uluru has a perimeter of 9.4 km.
The Heart of New Caledonia (20°56’15.47″S, 164°39’30.56″E)
New Caledonia is an overseas territory (or “collectivity”) of France that is situated southwest of the Pacific Ocean, 1200 km to the east of Australia, and over 17000 km from France proper. This tiny archipelago has something more to show.
With the aid of Google Earth, a remarkable land formation or feature is available for us to see. The feature in question is a great and perfectly shaped heart formation located within a bog-like area on one of the islands.
The Batman Signal in Japan (26.357896, 127.783809)
Okinawa is a city on the island of Okinawa, within Okinawa Prefecture, which is part of the Ryukyu Islands to the southwest of Japan and part of the nation of Japan. Don’t worry; it is quite a bit to take in.
Regardless, the city of Okinawa has something that is sure to excite any DC fan. Somewhere within the city, you can see this giant Batman symbol atop the roof of what looks like a building, for reasons we have no idea.
Solar Farm (34.871778, -116.834192)
Daggett, California, is referred to as an ‘unincorporated’ community within the County of San Bernardino. Daggett has the distinction of being the first place where SEGS commercial solar power plants were installed and a number of other solar-based energy systems.
This aerial shot gives us a glimpse at one of these solar farms, with hundreds of solar panels arranged into a radial design. Unfortunately, the area was mainly used as an experimental site, meaning many of the panels are no longer in use.
The Barringer Crater (35.027185, -111.022388)
One of Winslow, Arizona’s most popular attractions has to be the famous Barringer/Meteor Crater located to the west of Winslow and east of Flagstaff city in the northern desert of Arizona. The site is thought to be over 50000 years old!
Even from this aerial shot, you can tell that this is one serious crater, with a diameter of close to 1.2 km, a depth of 170 m, and a rise of 45 m. Surviving fragments are officially named Canyon Diablo Meteorites.
The Desert Memorial of Flight 722 (16.864841, 11.953808)
Back in 1989, the French UTA (Union de Transports Aériens) plane Flight 772 crashed in the Ténéré desert (between the African countries of Niger and Chad) after a bomb went off. The bomb was believed to be planted by Chadian rebels.
In honor of the lost lives of the passengers and crew, a memorial was created in the desert 10 km from the actual crash zone. Black rocks, broken mirrors, and the stabilizer of the plane were used to make this incredible monument.
Mattel’s Giant Logo (33.921277, -118.391674)
Mattel is arguably one of the most successful American toy manufacturers in the world, with products such as Hot Wheels, UNO, Barbie, and more. Chances are, if you had a toy box as a kid, at least one of the products would be from Mattel.
Mattel has also tried its hand in the entertainment sphere, creating a number of video games and shows based on its toys. The headquarters in El Segundo, California, has a giant stencil of their brand logo drawn outside and next to the building.
Strange Patterns in Chinese Desert (40.458148, 93.393145)
Deep within the Taklamakan Desert of Northwest China and found within the autonomous region of Xinjiang, many Google Earth users stumbled upon a remarkable and mysterious find. The discovery was a great undistinguishable pattern drawn upon the sandy and barren desert floor.
When this pattern first made its rounds on the internet, many people were puzzled as to what it was. It is now believed that the pattern was either a layout design for a new city or the remains of a mining site.
Chile’s Sand Giant (19°56’56.96″S 69°38’1.83″W)
What you are about to see is called the Atacama Giant, a giant geoglyph (a design produced on the ground/landscape) found in Chile’s Atacama Desert. The Atacama Giant is the largest ancient geoglyph of an anthropomorphic (resembles a human) figure.
Experts believe that the Giant is between 600-1000 years old and was used as a form of an astronomical calendar to help the inhabitants track the passage of the moon. This allowed the inhabitants to determine the next crop cycle and season.
A Pool Within a River (52°29’52.24″N 13°27’13.67″E)
Right, so this one isn’t necessarily as interesting as the others. Instead, it is just extremely odd, silly, absurd, and borderline idiotic. What we are talking about is a pool that someone in Germany decided to build in a river.
Yep. A pool built in Berlin’s Spree river (the main river of Lusatia, Brandenburg, and Berlin) must have been absolutely gigantic if you could see it this easily. Badeschiff, the name of this floating swimming pool, was opened in 2004.
Colorado Concentric Circles (39.623119, -107.635353)
New Castle — in Colorado, USA — seems to have some very interesting mysteries of its own. The main one is this giant pattern geoglyph, found somewhere within the region and made up of multiple concentric circles that grow around each other.
Rather surprisingly, there is not a whole lot of information out there with regards to what it is. This is odd because you would think that something like this would be pretty well documented. If anything, it just makes it even more mysterious.
Fort Henricus (51°36’04.8″N 4°18’21.9″E)
This giant star-like design you see is the boundary, outlines, and remains of the Dutch’s Fort Henricus. Fort Henricus is a type of ‘star fort’ (also known as a bastion fort or a trace Italienne) that was built to defend Steenbergen’s harbor.
The Dutch fort was built in 1626 and was last in use in 1809; it was retired once it was no longer needed. The area was gradually sold as private land, which, in turn, was converted into farm and agricultural land.
A Guitar Forest (-33.867886, -63.987)
Staying within South America, let’s wander over the lush and vast plain of the Pampas, an enormous fertile lowland that measures around 1,200,000 square kilometers. The Pampas falls within large parts of Argentina, a small portion of Brazil, and the entirety of Uruguay.
It is within the boundaries of Argentina that will be looking next. Here you will find a giant forest, magically shaped into the elegant form of a guitar. Pedro Martin Ureta, planted the trees in memory of his deceased wife.
Desert Spiral (27°22’50.10″N, 33°37’54.62″E)
When Google Earth users first stumbled upon this mysterious geoglyph within Egypt’s Red Sea Governorate, they were sure there was something extra-terrestrial about it. Sorry to burst your bubble if you were one of them. It was just an art installation.
The design was entitled Desert Breath and was constructed back in 1997 near the shores of the Red Sea and near the resort town of El-Gouna. Sadly, the art piece has slowly been disintegrating over the years due to the harsh desert sand.
A Herd of Buffalo (4°17’21.49″ S 31°23’46.46″ E)
The wild African buffalo is as much an iconic resident of the vast African plains as lions, elephants, and giraffes. Because of this, it should be no surprise that they are included as one of Africa’s Big Five — five of the continent’s most iconic animals.
This Google Earth shot managed to capture the astounding scene of a roaming herd of buffalo as they traversed the savannah, kicking up great clouds of sand as they did so. This heard was located in Tanzania’s Kigosi Game Reserve.
Aircraft Graveyard (32 08’59.96″ N, 110 50’09.03″W)
Tucson, Arizona, is home to the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group storage unit, which also happens to be the largest aircraft graveyard in the world! An aircraft graveyard/boneyard is a storage area that houses older plans that are no longer in service.
This picture is a bird’s eye view of the Tucson storage area, often colloquially just called The Boneyard. Its neat, organized rows and blocks of dozens upon dozens of retired commercial planes and jets, antique planes, and warplanes is certainly a sight to behold.
Giant Triangle (33.747252, -112.633853)
Hold up! No, it’s not some remains of a ‘supposedly’ mysterious alien landing site; in reality, it’s simply the remains of Luke Aux #4, an abandoned air force base. The base could be found in Wittmann, Arizona, in Wickenburg Field.
The airbase was closed down somewhere between 1956-1966. However, the reasons for its closure are not known to the public. We do know, however, the origin of the town. It was named after the couple, Joseph and Eleanor van Beuren Wittmann, who originally attempted to construct a dam within the area.
Mystery Symbol (37.401573, -116.867808)
We have another bizarre symbol for you to look at, only this time it seems that no one really knows what it is. While we do not know much about this strange symbol, we do know where it is located. Roughly.
The symbol is somewhere within the Mojave Desert situated along the base of the Sierra Nevada in the southwestern part of the USA. Apparently, it is not uncommon to find or see a number of varied and strange symbols within the area.
Oil Fields Lines (37°39’16.06″S 68°10’16.42″W)
Without knowing what you were looking at, we would not be surprised if most people thought it was either an art installation, a depiction of galactic constellations, or a lengthy message from a friendly neighborhood alien. Well, it’s none of those.
Those surprisingly intricate lines and delightful-looking starburst designs are actually the remains of oil pine lines that crisscrossed across this oil field in Argentina’s province of Rio Negro. This is a picture that is both visually pleasing and mentally distressing.
A Pool of Hippos (6°53’53.00″ S 31°11’15.40″ E)
No, you are not looking at a cluster of big rocks poking out of a very muddy pool. What you are actually seeing, is a giant bloat of hippos. Yes, a bloat, is what you call a group of hippos.
These hefty and extremely territorial aquatic mammals were spotted by eagle-eyed Google Earth users over Tanzania’s Katavi National Park, the third-largest within the country and a relatively remote and lesser-visited one that seems quite popular with the hippos. At least, according to Google Earth.
The Grand Prismatic Spring (44.525049, -110.83819)
If you ever happen to be lucky enough to visit Yellowstone National Park in the US, you just have to see the Grand Prismatic Spring. This dazzling spring is the largest in the USA and the third-largest in the world.
The spring gets its name from the fact that it features most of the colors of the rainbow. A rainbow, in turn, is a meteorological phenomenon that forms when light reflects through water droplets, creating an optical prism, hence the prismatic spring.
Fighter Jet Parking (33.927911, -118.38069)
We have something a little strange and funny for you to take a look at next. At first, you might think it is just a standard parking lot and building in El Segundo, California. That is until you take a closer look.
If you look at the center of the photo, just under the right half of the building, are two stationary fighter jets. We have no idea why there are two random fighters just parked outside a public building, but it’s one heck of a place to park your plane!
A Desert Kiss (12°22’13.32″N, 23°19’20.18″E)
Near Arawala, a little village within West Darfur, a state of North Sudan/the Republic of Sudan, Google Earth users spotted a rather curious sighting. The sighting in question was something that looked like a giant pair of red lips surrounded by desert sand.
The outline and middle of the “lips” were given definition by the small clusters of trees that populated the area. The dark red coloration is thought to just be sand of a different color that happened to form as it did.
The Badlands Guardian (50° 0’38.20″N 110° 6’48.32″W)
The southern corner of Alberta, Canada, is home to a geomorphological feature known as the Badlands Guardian. Geomorphology refers to natural and physical features made into the land by nature. Using Google Earth, you can see what appears to be the ‘guardian’s’ profile.
The guardian is facing left, allowing us to see their chin, lips, nose, eyes, and forehead, upon which rests an indigenous headdress. The guardian’s face was exposed to centuries of fierce rains and winds. Elements that gradually eroded the clay-rich earth.
More Mysteries from the Chinese Desert (40.452107, 93.742118)
The vast Chinese desert is full of odd sightings that seem to catch the attention of the curious eyes of Google Earth users. Now the mystery behind this one has “supposedly” been solved, and no, it’s not an abandoned building site.
Nor are these lines the traces of odd mining sites or pipelines. What it is, is a testing and calibration site for Chinese satellites. The various crisscrossed lines help to calibrate the cameras of the satellites to see if they are working correctly.
Potash Ponds (38°29’0.16″N 109°40’52.80″W)
At first glance, you think this was a zoomed-in painting, or that someone took a giant paintbrush to an otherwise barren and mountainous area. In truth, this is a Google Earth view of a site is known as the Potash Ponds of Moab, Utah, in the USA.
The area is owned by Intrepid Potash, Inc. and is the largest producer of potassium chloride fertilizer in the States. The bright blue coloration of the water is due to a high concentration of copper sulphate meant to accelerate the evaporation process.
Mystery Target in Nevada (37.563936, -116.85123)
Returning back to desert mysteries, we have this giant crosshair or target-like looking symbol out in the deserts of Nevada. What we are seeing is, supposedly, an aerial photo calibration target and, therefore very similar to the one in China.
The purpose of the structure would have been to test and gauge the performance of the plane’s onboard camera equipment, using the target basically like an eye test chart. Well, either that or someone had way too much free time.
Yet another bizarre Nevada Pattern (37.629562, -116.849556)
We hesitated to mention this one, fearing sending the conspiracy theorists into a blind panic. But we have another mysterious pattern from again, Nevada. For such an incredibly detailed design, it truly is weird that there is no information about it.
How does a giant triangle, with five equally giant circles inside it, not have a Wikipedia entry or at least a mention in some online article or other? Because of this, it’s hard to say who was behind making it.
Quirky Message in Memphis (35.141533, -90.052695)
Memphis, Tennessee, is arguably one of the State’s most culturally significant cities. It was long known as a center for artists, creatives, and media, keeping a decades-old music scene alive. Memphis is often called the “Home of the Blues” for this reason.
It should be no surprise that there are over 20 songs written about the place. That might not sound like a lot, but consider how many cities there are in the world! This Google Earth image, with the words “come downtown and play” spray-painted on a roof, even looks like it could be an album cover.
Flipped Car in Krefeld (51°19’18.13″N, 6°34’35.64″E)
Krefeld is a city situated in the East German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It was a wealthy city in old times that earned the name of the “Velvet and Silk City.” We have two reasons for showing this next picture.
The first is to show a flipped blue/gray car laying on its side near a gas station. The second reason is that it, much like the last picture we saw, also looks like it could be used as artwork for an album cover.
Eye of Africa (21.124039, -11.397509)
This astounding geographical formation is known as the Richat Structure or Guelb er Richât. It is a natural feature found in the Sahara’s Adrar Plateau — a stretch of land that lies within the Republic of Mauritania in Northwest Africa. Unlike the previous African pictures, there are no animals to look for…
This giant eroded dome measures over 40 km in diameter. Each sequential layer or ring of the area reveals different rock formations. The sedimentary rock found within is believed to date back to the Late Proterozoic era (500 million-plus years ago.)
Russell Square (51.521658, -0.126061)
Russell Square is a large public garden situated in the district of Bloomsbury. Bloomsbury falls into the London borough of Camden, near both the British Museum and the University of London. The square has appeared in numerous novels over the years.
There is something oddly beautiful and sad about this picture. Capturing a scene of a tiny green island — a lone patch completely surrounded, caged in by massive buildings of industry and housing complexes. This “island” of nature was once a noble estate.
White Horse (51.577718, -1.566620)
The Uffington White Horse is a giant geoglyph that measures 110 m in length and dates back to the Iron or Bronze Age. The figure was formed by deposits of crushed white chalk that were filled into dug up trenches.
The Uffington White Horse is the oldest of its kind, with numerous other and similar figures found across Britain. It is owned by the National Trust and is a ‘scheduled’ monument. A term used in the UK for important national archaeological locations/sites.
The Shipwreck of SS Ayrfield (-33.836379, 151.080506)
Homebush Bay is situated on the south bank of Sydney’s Parramatta River. It has proven to be the final watery home (grave) for a handful of ships over the century. One of the most famous is the remains of the shipwrecked SS Ayrfield.
SS Ayrfield was a steam collier, a type of cargo ship that was made to transport and carry coal and which, in turn, also used coal to move. The ship broke apart in the early 70s and has since been reclaimed by nature.
The Long Man of Wilmington (50°48’36.1″N 0°11’16.9″E)
Nope, you are not seeing things. That is, in fact, a giant outline of a human-like figure holding two sticks upright. This curious geoglyph is called the Long Man of Wilmington, a 72 m long figure that can be slopes of Windover.
Windover Hill is near the parish of Wilmington in East Sussex. The Wilmington Giant (another nickname) is thought to have been made in the 16th century. The Long Man and ancient Cerne Abbas Giant are the only two surviving human geoglyphs.
Blythe Intaglios (33°48’01.1″N 114°31’54.7″W)
What you are seeing are two giant figures that form part of the Blythe Intaglios, a number of ancient geoglyphs that decorate the sands of the Colorado Desert near the town of Blythe, California. Intaglios refers to a specific kind of rock art.
The Blythe Intaglios are the most well-known of over 200 individual intaglios covering the Colorado Desert. The figures are said to have been made by the Native Americans, the exact date, however, is uncertain, but some feel is over 3000 years old.
Paracas Candelabra (13°47’40.0″S 76°18’31.4″W)
If nothing else, you have to admit that the native inhabitants of the Americas really knew how to create some fascinating geoglyphs. This is the Paracas Candelabra (or the Candelabra of the Andes); it can be found on Peru’s Paracas Peninsula.
The exact age of the design is unknown, partly due to there existing multiple accounts of different creators, all from differing periods. That said, archaeologists have been able to uncover and date pieces of pottery around the area to 200 BCE.
Desert Landing Strips (32.663367, -111.487618)
It goes without saying that the United States of America is an absolutely gigantic country, that covers a lot of land, with a lot of open areas in between their cities. This makes the next image not all that surprising.
This is a multi-laned landing strip found deep in a desert near the tiny city of Eloy in Pinal County, Arizona. Due to its wide-open areas and distance from any proper airports, Eloy has a number of this non-towered landing strips.
The Sajama Lines (18°16’42.4″S 68°41’40.3″W)
This last one is once again from, you guessed it, the Americas. More specifically, from the South American country of Bolivia. This picture is of the famous Sajama Lines in the western part of Bolivia, a network of thousands of hand-etched lines.
While we say thousands, many wonder if it is much more than that. These near-perfectly carved lines were made by the indigenous inhabitants who lived near the Nevado Sajama stratovolcano (now extinct) some 3000 years ago for possibly spiritual reasons.