10 Mysteries Solved By Google Earth

10 Mysteries Solved by Google Earth 10 Evolutionary Discovery The progression of Human evolution is one of the greatest mysteries in the history of mankind, one that has perplexed scientists for centuries

So you might be surprised that of all things, we’ve gotten a step closer thanks to a really fancy map So back in 2007, professor Lee Berger was using the very new Google Earth software to explore the Cradle of Humankind in South Africa – named for its massive deposits of early human fossils, some around 35 million years old After spotting some interesting caves in the Cradle, Berger set out with his son to investigate And they found more than they could’ve possibly expected – bones belonging to an as yet undiscovered species of human ancestor

The new hominid, called Australopithecus sediba had many similar features to modern humans, but a cranium just one third the size It suggests an extra stage in human evolution that we weren’t aware of before So that’s one point to Google in the search for the origin of species Maybe we’ll see Bigfoot on Street View next 9

Tax Scam There was once a time where unscrupulous individuals could slip their dodgy dealings under the radar with relative impunity But now the growing tech world is making it harder year-on-year But far from financial software and online whistleblowers, this is a case of cartographical crime fighting In 2009 the Italian financial police noticed that a businessman had sold a home in 2002 for $330,000, but it had a peculiar feature – a phallic shaped pool That’s a pretty lavish feature in a modestly priced home, which gave rise to suspicions that something could be amiss with this guy’s finances

So using everyone’s favorite satellite-based software to gather evidence, they scouted out the location of the home, and would you look at that, it was a huge villa worth much more than a paltry $330K That was the jumping off point for a wider fraud investigation that turned up $824 million worth of unpaid taxes He must have known that penis pool would come back to bite him somehow 8

Sunken Plane As with many mysteries solved by Google Earth, this one was, well, caused by Google Earth Speculation went wild in 2016 when the internet caught wind of what appeared to be a sunken plane at the bottom of Lake Harriet, Minnesota Oh, and there was apparently a second craft at the bottom of nearby Lake Nokomis It’s pretty hard to lose a plane and have no one notice until it shows up at the bottom of a lake… twice, so what happened? Don’t worry, Google’s got you covered As the questions mounted online, the Google Earth team dispelled the rumors by explaining that the imaging system takes multiple shots in succession to put together the display, so when a fast-moving object like a plane passes through, it can blur into the image

As for why they both appeared in lakes – coincidence, I guess? 7 Weed Bust In 2006 police in Racine, Wisconsin, nabbed a dealer with 8kg of weed at a traffic stop They charged him with felony drug possession as usual, but in the process of booking him they found a curious device around his neck On inspection, that device contained a bunch of GPS coordinates, so the police used Google Maps to scope out all of those locations You can probably guess what they found – yep, a slew of cannabis plants around the town

You have to give the dealer credit for ingenuity, but if he needed multiple sets of coordinates to keep track of his stash, then he might have been smoking too much of his own supply 6 Limestone Whale In 2009, Italian stonecutters found what appeared to be a set of large bones inside some limestone imported from Egypt Understandably perplexed, they got in touch with Paleontologist Giovanni Bianucci of the University of Pisa, who recognized the samples as coming from a species of whale that lived around 40 million years ago Ancient whale expert Philip Gingerich was drafted in to get to the bottom of where the bones came from and what they suggested, so instead of doing things the hard way he jumped on his computer and used Google Earth to scout out possible quarry locations

When he found Khasm el Raqaba, he inspected the area and discovered the 20 million-year-old teeth and bones of various mammals That might not sound like much, but it means that Google Earth could have led to the discovery of the first mammals to have traveled to Africa In other words, the progenitors of the iconic wildlife we know today 5 Saudi Arabian Gates We don’t tend to think of Saudi Arabia as having the most hospitable climate in the world, with average high temperatures of over 40 degrees Celsius and frequently frozen nights

But thanks to a mysterious set of stone structures and some help from Google, we know that it might not have always been the case In 2004 an amateur archaeologist came across a series of meter high stone walls in the Harrat Khaybar region of Saudi Arabia – but with little else to go by, it was pretty much left a mystery Fast-forward to 2008 and Google Earth gave the chance to properly investigate Using the software, he found a network of over 400 walls, some of which were 500 meters long and could even be 9000 years old That means that since the old nomadic tribes of the area had such established structures – ancient Saudi Arabia might not have been the harsh landscape it is now

4 Kazakh Pentagram Sometimes Google Earth throws up some unusual shapes and abstract anomalies on the planet’s surface that have people guessing But it’s rare that they’re as clean cut as an occult symbol seemingly carved into the face of the earth When that appeared on the program in Kazakhstan in 2013, people were understandably curious about just what it could be Was it the sight of occult rituals? Was it tied to the New World Order as some online suggested? Or was it just a coincidence? Actually, it was none of them

The shape was definitely meant to look that way on the map, but it was because Kazakhstan is a former soviet nation and during that period, stars were a pretty significant symbol According to archaeologist Emma Usmanova at Karaganda State University, the startling shape was most likely a park, and now as trees have grown on the edges of the road over time, the star shape has become more pronounced It’s a little anticlimactic, but at least we know there’s no demons coming out of Kazakhstan any time soon 3 Chinese Mystery Spots China isn’t the most open country in the world

So when we see something we can’t explain, it can whip up a lot of speculation and confusion That was the case in 2013 when ex-CIA analyst Allan Thomson looked on Google Earth and spotted a set of structures that appeared seemingly out of nowhere near the major Chinese city of Kashgar Now bear in mind this was around the same time that China had come under scrutiny from the US for testing possible anti-satellite weaponry, so there were fears that these structures could be secret military bases But according to geospatial blogger Stefan Geens, it was much more innocent than that As someone who had studied China’s development, his answer was that it was nothing more than factories built to support the country’s rapidly expanding cityscapes

That’s definitely relieving, if not kind of a let-down, but according to Geens it’s not uncommon He argued that because of the massive amount of information on Google Earth, people let anything unusual go to their heads 2 Atlantis When Google Earth extended to the oceans in 2009, people were pretty excited to work out what might lie in the briny deep Little did they know that they would find the fabled lost city of Atlantis… except they didn’t

It all came from these lines that showed up in the ocean off the coast of Spain and Africa They just seemed too structured to be random ocean patterns, and it didn’t hurt that the location was pretty close to where Plato described the civilization Having whipped up such a mystery, the Google Earth team had to come forward and directly explain that no, it wasn’t a sunken paradise, but rather the trail of the ships that mapped the seafloor That all sounds pretty reasonable, but unsurprisingly the cover-up claims cropped up online I mean we all know that if there’s a mystery, conspiracies can’t be far behind

1 Plane Crash On September 24th 2006, a small plane carrying 2 passengers went missing over the skies of Arizona But here’s the kicker: they didn’t file a flight plan, so to this day we have no idea what their route was For 3 years that seemed like the end of it, until a group of cyber-sleuths over at the website Adventure Science had a crack at it using Google Earth’s telemetry data Using pictures of a forest fire that occurred in Sedona, Arizona on the same day, they managed to compare the location of the blaze with the surrounding area – the most likely destination that the plane was headed

Lo and behold, they managed to track down the location of that ill-fated plane crash While it didn’t bring William and Marcy, the people who lost their lives back, it’s a great example of how public satellite imaging data can resolve years of uncertainty That was 10 Mysteries Solved by Google Earth Which other mysteries have you found online? Let us know in the comments and make sure to like and subscribe And while you’re at it, check out this great Alltime10s video on screen now

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