Geometric patterns in Chinese desert cause for suspicion?
By Kim Do-yeun
Satellite images of monumental geometric patterns in the deserts of China have been spreading on the Internet, with much speculation among netizens about their identity and purpose.
At least five different locations with distinct designs have been captured in images from Google Maps, and some are estimated to span areas as large as 1.6 kilometers by 900 meters.
The mysterious patterns include grids composed of irregular white lines, another of regular criss-crossing lines, and a giant circular form, located in northwestern China. They are reportedly near grounds used to build military, space and nuclear equipment in Gansu Province and Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
One of them, which resembles an overhead image of a giant Stonehenge with several concentric circles, is located near the city of Jiuquan, home to China’s space program headquarters and launch pads.
It is difficult to determine whether the designs were painted, dug into the ground or constructed out of materials, but zoomed images reveal some hints. In the circular form near Jiuquan, for example, aircraft can be identified in the center, fuelling a theory that some of these are sites used for military exercise.
Some claim that they are related to extraterrestrial communication and space exploration projects.
Responding to excited comments in the online community, Paul Marks, a senior technology correspondent for the New Scientist, wrote on its Website that these are most likely target grids and training grounds for military exercise.