Not many of us have the means to travel across the world, searching for hidden mysteries or uncovering lost secrets. Plus, some things are only visible from a bird’s-eye view. However, thanks to the marvel of modern technology, you can scour the globe from the comfort of your own home. Whether you’re hunting for an ancient secret or just want to get a unique perspective on some historical art, Google Earth allows you to see things you wouldn’t otherwise be able to.
One of the best parts of using Google Earth is being able to see areas in a way that isn’t possible from the ground. The Atacama Giant is a legendary anthropomorphic figure that measures almost 400 feet long. This incredible form represented a deity for the local inhabitants of the Atacama Desert from 1000 to 1400 CE. Experts believe that the Giant is an astronomical calendar for knowing where the moon would set. The points on the Giant’s head would align with the moon differently depending on the season, allowing locals to determine the day, crop cycle, and when the rainy season would arrive.
Decades ago, an Argentinian farmer named Pedro Martin Ureta and his four children planted thousands of trees by hand. When viewing the area from Google Earth now, you can see a gorgeous forest that perfectly resembles a guitar. Ureta planted the trees as a memorial for his late wife, who loved the instrument and wished to shape the farm in its image. Through his and his family’s efforts, around 7,000 cypress and eucalyptus trees now represent her dream.
Deep in the southeast corner of Alberta, Canada, is a massive geological feature known as the Badlands Guardian. When viewing the area from the sky or a tool like Google Earth, it resembles a human head wearing an indigenous type of headdress. Experts believe the Badlands Guardian formed through erosion of the soft soil by water and wind hundreds of years ago. Despite looking as if it emerges from the ground like a hill, the head is actually a large valley.
When browsing the desert landscape of Utah on Google Earth, you may notice some shockingly bright purple and blue fields. These ponds are necessary for the extraction of potash, which are the various forms of water-soluble potassium. Potash has many uses but is a common component in creating fertilizers. To farm potash, workers dye the ponds blue to help the water absorb sunlight and heat. As the water evaporates, it leaves behind potassium salts. Over time, the water may take on a variety of colors, ranging from blue and purple to orange and white.
The Bermuda Triangle has been the focal point of mysteries and conspiracies for centuries. Many ships and aircraft are rumored to have vanished or sunk due to unknown dangers when traveling through this region. Many internet mystery solvers have taken to using Google Earth to try and identify some of these lost vessels. While the area isn’t much to look at with just a cursory glance, some people claim that you can see alien vessels and hidden buildings by closely examining the underwater forms.
Around a decade ago, the internet exploded with rumors surrounding a mysterious 1,200-foot wide pentagram in a field in Kazakhstan. The pentagram is a shape with many meanings across different cultures, so the explanation is a bit less exciting than the witchcraft and magic that many users had hoped for. In reality, the pentagram is an abandoned park that was under construction during the days of the Soviet Union. Now, it is just an interesting easter egg on Google Earth with some hilarious reviews.
Many people scan Google Earth looking for some sign of the unknown, hoping to uncover a grand mystery. Several years ago, some internet users discovered what they claim to be a UFO that crashed outside of Johannesburg, South Africa. The structure has a unique disc shape, a shining roof, and an edge that appears to be stuck in the ground. Sure, it could just be a building. However, its distance from anything else, in combination with its unique features, has internet users exploding with theories.
Ever wonder what happens to old planes? With the help of Google Earth, you can actually see “the boneyard” where they eventually end up. This four-square-mile area near the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is a cemetery for nearly every type of plane that the U.S. has used since World War II. It also contains a variety of other aerospace vehicles, including ballistic missiles. Members of the military take useful parts from some of the planes, scrap others, and let the rest slowly decay.
When it comes to influential geoglyphs, it’s hard to beat the Uffington White Horse. For thousands of years, this horse has been a representation of masterful minimalist art and inspired dozens of white horse figures across Britain. Historians believe the White Horse dates back to the Bronze Age, between 1380 and 550 BCE. Despite being most famous as a prehistoric depiction of a horse, many people argue that the large figure is actually a dog or saber-toothed cat.
Unless you have some extra cash laying around to charter a private plane, Google Earth may be your only option for viewing the Marree Man in its full glory. The Marree Man is a modern geoglyph that appears to depict an indigenous Australian figure hunting with a throwing stick or boomerang. It’s also absolutely massive, measuring two miles tall with a perimeter of 17 miles. Despite being one of the largest geoglyphs on Earth, its origins remain a mystery. By comparing satellite images, we now know that the creation of the Marree Man occurred between May 27 and June 12, 1998. With its scale and how quickly it appeared, the Marree man is a true mystery and a modern marvel.