Google Earth allows us to view aerial photos or satellite images from cities around the world, which technically makes it one of the most affordable ways to explore the world without ever leaving the house. But these images tell a hidden and, in some cases, frightening story that will make anyone wonder what on Earth is going on down there.
Eagle-eyed Google Earth users have documented some mysterious and intriguing satellite images from around the world that need further explanation. Some of these images are pure art and others are stories that need some clarification...
Potash Evaporation Ponds
Intrepid Potash is a fertilizer manufacturer based in Denver, Colorado that is also the largest producer of potassium chloride. To produce their chemical products, they use evaporation ponds, which appear a bright blue color due to the presence of copper sulfate, which is added to the water to speed up evaporation processes.
If you squint your eyes, you just might be able to see the famous Coca-Cola logo hidden in the sand. This logo is said to be made up of 70,000 empty coke bottles. The logo was found in the country of Chile, and no one is quite sure who put it there in the first place.
A View of Wild Elephants
There’s also some incredible wildlife to be seen from Google Earth, as this picture of a group of wild elephants shows. This family of animals are running close together to keep safe, and it was photographed by a satellite in the country of Chad.
Unknown Structures in China
This satellite image caused a stir after an ex-CIA analyst told Wired that he found buildings and structures in the desert near Kashgar, which is located in the Xinjiang province in China. These structures were not previously known about by intelligence officials.
Ancient Hidden Pyramid
Some viewers of this image believe this structure to be a pyramid that was excavated in Egypt. Many strange structures have recently been found in Egypt using modern technology like satellite images, but there isn’t enough funding to excavate them all in person.
A Huge Swimming Pool Near the Water
The stark contrast of the clear blue water of the swimming pool next to the murky dark water it is directly next to is what make this satellite image so shocking. This huge pool can be found in Berlin, Germany and its size is absolutely massive.
A Shipwreck Viewed From Above
This is a photograph of the S.S. Jassim, a cargo ferry from Bolivia that sank in the Wingate Reef off the coast of Sudan in 2003. The ship, which is 81 meters long or 265 feet, is now considered one of the largest shipwrecks visible on Google Earth.
Colonel Sanders From the Sky
There’s quite a few pieces of advertising visible from Google Earth, which is a concept known as “mapvertising.” This picture of KFC’s famous logo is actually 87,500 square feet long and appears just off the Extraterrestrial Highway in Nevada.
An Island in an Island in an Island
On Volcano Island in Lake Taal on the Philippine island of Luzon is this beautiful natural phenomenon. The small island rests inside a crater lake, and was thought to be the largest of its kind until satellite viewers found the phenomenon appear again in Canada.
Ancient Wheels and Spokes
People believe that these ancient wheel structures may date back 8,500 years. They were found in the country of Jordan and they mysteriously align with the position of sunrise on the winter solstice. A team of scientists have been studying these wheels with the help of Google Earth and ran into some questions when they realized that some of the wheels don’t have the same number of spokes.
Memorial Above the Water
Beneath the water of this photo, taken in Pearl Harbor, which is located off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii, the USS Arizona battleship is clearly visible. This is the only one of four ships that were sunk in the attack in 1941 that was not later raised from the water, so a memorial was placed above it in remembrance of that event.
A Fort in Lille, France
This structure in France is a pentagonal citadel in the city of Lille. It was built in the 1600s and it is the headquarters for a section of the French government. Parts of this structure have been classified as historic monuments in 1914, 1921 and 1934.
A Private Island Off the Coast of Maine
This small island on the east coast of the United States has just one road leading to it. The bridge has a gate leading into the island and on the island is one house that overlooks a shipping lane in Penobscot Bay. It would be the perfect place to just watch boats go by and get away from the world.
Pits From a Salt Extraction
When the man who took a screenshot of this satellite image from Google Earth first saw this site, he thought that it might be an archaeological excavation site. But it is actually pits left behind form an old fashioned salt extraction operation, even though it resembles colorful pebbles or an abstract painting!
An Oasis in the Desert
Many movies portray oasis’s in the middle of deserts as mirages that soon disappear. But this green patch of land in the middle of the desert is very real. All of the lines leading to and from the oasis are tracks that were made by cars, people and animals.
A Perfect Meteor Crater
It’s easy to forget that meteors have fallen to Earth on multiple occasions, and many people don’t realize that they leave massive craters that are visible from space. This crater has a raised rim around its edges and has created space for a lake in its center.
An Uninhabited Planned Settlement
According to Google Earth sleuths, this group of well planned buildings popped up in around 2013, but there are currently no markings left by vehicles, which means that no one travels to or from this site, making it completely uninhabited. Other detectives found out that the site was a housing project.
Sandy Conditions in Africa
This photo was taken in Assamakka, Niger, a landlocked country located in Africa, after a sand storm. The tips of the buildings pictured are completely covered in sand and its easy to see the prevailing wind direction in this satellite shot.
Shipwrecked On the Shore of Africa
There is documentation of a crew of U.S. sailors wrecking on the Northwestern shore of Africa in 1815, but this photo, which is a satellite image from 2019, shows a much more modern vessel off the coast of South Africa. The ship, which is most likely made of metal is still well persevered, although it has been on the coast for a few years.
Lakeview Neighborhood One Day After Hurricane Katrina
If this photo looks eerily blue to you, that’s because the ground of this shot, taken on August 30, 2005, is covered with water after the devastation of the Category 5 hurricane that ravaged the South of the United States. Over $125 billion in damage was caused by the hurricane.
Crime On the Docks?
No one’s sure what this is but it looks like someone may be in the process of dragging a victim’s body to the edge of this dock in the middle of nowhere. So, for a while, Google Earth made us all believe we just witnessed a horrible act. But as it turns out, it was nothing but a wet dog who had gone swimming in the pier.
The Indigenous Man in the Landscape
At a glance, it looks like a cave carving of an indigenous man wearing a headdress but it’s actually a landscape in Walsh, Alberta in Canada. What happened was that over time, the valley eroded, forming this interesting design. And that thing that looks like headphones is actually a road.
Arizona Has a Giant Triangle
It may not be the Bermuda Triangle, but this giant triangle in Wittmann, Arizona, is just as weird and mysterious. The triangle is actually an Air Force Base named Luke Aux #4 which has been abandoned for years.
Firefox Logo in the Field
It might seem like a bunch of techie aliens carved the Firefox logo in a field in Dayton, Oregon, but aliens have better things to do. Humans, on the other hand, do not. This crop circle was reportedly made by a bunch of students of Oregon State University, none of whom were aliens as far as we know.
Forest in the Form of a Guitar
A guitar-shaped forest containing thousands of eucalyptus and cypress trees was reportedly made in memory of the lost love of farmer Pedro Martin Ureta in the Pampa region of Argentina.
Freaky Pattern in the Sand
There’s a mysterious swirling pattern in the sand in the desert at Red Sea Governorate in Egypt. This mysterious shape looks like a mix of tiny domes and indented circles. But was it man-made or was it created by a cloaked UFO? Perhaps, we will never know!
Shipwreck With Trees
It might seem like a land mass with trees to the untrained eye, but it’s actually the SS Ayrfield which remains shipwrecked in Homebush Bay in Sydney, Australia. And yes! Those are trees that are growing out of the wreckage.
This Building Looks Like a Symbol
No one would ever even suspect that this building in Coronado, California, is shaped like a symbol that has been used by hateful social groups. But from up above, that’s exactly what it looks like. Then again, maybe it’s just an architectural oversight and nothing malicious is happening in there.
Weird Squiggly Lines in China Desert
Maybe it’s a series of roads in the middle of the desert in China. It’s hard to tell from up above. But judging from the image, it’s just a random series of luminescent line patterns on the sand.
A Car Parked on Its Side
Usually, the only side we get to see of a car from a bird’s eye view is the top. But here’s a strange shot of a car that’s actually lying on its side. How this happened is unknown, but it doesn’t appear to have been the result of an accident.
The Lion Sleeps Tonight
Um yeah. So, there’s this Lion King, or rather, the shape of an oversized lion on the ground in the United Kingdom, particularly, in the town of Dunstable in England. It's so lifelike, we can almost hear it roar.
Oil Fields in Argentina
It looks like an intricate network of strings, but what we’re seeing are several oil fields in Rio Negro, Argentina. And judging from the looks of it, the impressive network is vast and covers a lot of acres.
Another Unusual Symbol in Nevada
Unusual symbols in the Nevada Desert tend to appear everywhere like this 6-point star surrounded by a circle. And there seems to be a series of hatches which might indicate that this is where missiles are launched from.
The Mattel Logo
Mattel has been responsible for the creation of many popular children’s toys over the years, most notably, Barbie dolls. So, it’s not surprising that they designed this Mattel Logo to be visible from high in the sky in El Segundo, California.
A Phallus Building
From high above, this building looks like a giant you know what, but believe it or not, it's actually a church. The designer of the Christian Science Church in Dixon, Illinois, never intended to make the building look like a phallus. It just sort of came out that way.
This Rainbow Plane
Ever seen a rainbow plane? Well, here it is. We’re not really sure what caused this photo's effect but it’s likely that the speed of the aircraft along with the sun reflecting off of its hull caused this rainbow effect as it passed over Cathy Terrace Englewood Cliffs in New Jersey.
Shipwreck in Iraq
This shipwreck is just one of many in Basra, Iraq. These ship remnants are from the Iraqi-Iranian War and there are still a couple of damaged ships lying on their sides on the Shatt al-Arab waters.
This Desert Has Lips
These lips aren’t part of any natural rock formation. The combination of red and yellow sand along with the sun reflecting off of the sand created some sort of large lips mirage on the desert of Nyala, Sudan.
Jesus Loves You
Anyone feeling a little lonely or depressed might take comfort in this “Jesus Loves You” image. This divine message is located at the Boise National Forest in Boise, Idaho, and undoubtedly lifted the spirit of a lot of faithful followers.
A Bull’s Eye in a Triangle
Right at the heart of the Nevada Desert is yet another targeting symbol. Only this one isn’t just a triangle. This mysterious image contains a bull’s eye right in the middle of this perfectly symmetrical triangle.
The Largest Pool Ever
The world’s largest pool on the planet was snapped from high above. It’s located at the San Alfonso del Mar Resort in Valparaiso, Chile and is said to be about 3,000 feet long and 115 feet deep.
The Turkish Flag
This Turkish flag was craved into a giant mountain in Kyrenia, Cyprus. And it’s so enormous that that half crescent moon and star on the side can be seen from space. Now that’s what we call pride for the flag!
Giant Bull’s Eye Target in the Desert
Somewhere deep in the Nevada desert is an enormous bull’s eye target, like the one a soldier sees on a targeting scope right before they fire a missile or a hand weapon. This was likely a testing site for aerial bombing.
A Heart-Shaped Lake
Columbia Station, Ohio, is sharing the love with this heart shaped lake that’s surrounded by a garden, some tress and a road. Sadly, the property doesn’t appear to be a public venue, so good luck taking a dip in this lake of love.
An Airplane Graveyard
High above the skies of Tucson, Arizona is a graveyard, but not the kind that has decaying dead bodies in it. Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is actually the final resting place for a lot of government and military aircrafts.
A Volcano in Tanzania
This photo was taken avocet the Great Rift Valley in Tanzania. The volcano itself is tall enough to have its own micro climate above the land surrounding it, which is why it has much more green vegetation growing than the area around it.
Symmetrical Volcano in Russa
This beautiful volcano seen from above is located on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia. Notice how the land spreads out evenly creating similarly sized cones along the edges of the large land mass.
Winter Ice in a Marina
This marina is located near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. You can easily see how ice has formed where boats are typically meant to dock, creating an incredible pattern that doesn’t ever appear in warmer climates.
A Lighthouse on the Great Lakes
This lighthouse is off the shore of one of the Great Lakes in the United States. Notice how the waves form a circular pattern around the structure and flow out into the ocean around it. This structure helps sailors navigate their way in the water at night without crashing.
Underwater Tidal Channels in Denmark
This satellite shot showcases the tidal channels underneath the water of the Wadden Sea in Denmark. You can see the differences in elevation of the shore and the land beneath it, creating this effect that is absolutely mind boggling.
Dabbing For the Camera
This cyclist in Victoria, Australia did what anyone passing by a Google Street View car would do: pose for the camera. Of course, they couldn't hop off of their vehicle for the spur of the moment chance, so they did their best dab for the photograph, which was captured in several different photos all along this street.
Smile For the Camera
No, this isn't just a group of random people who happened to find themselves in front of a Google Street View car, this is a group of Google employees from their offices in London who knew that the car was planning to make a trip past their location. So, they organized a flash mob and got on their craziest hats for the occasion.
Have I Seen You Around Before?
It's always fun to see Google Street View camera cars meet, and this is exactly what you should be on the look out for if you'd like to end up on the site's maps someday. The cars are covered in map graphics and have a huge camera extending from the top of the car, so they're pretty hard to miss if you're looking out for them.
A Traditional Japanese Wedding
This beautiful wedding march was photographed in Kyoto, Japan and it shows the bride and groom with their families walking behind them during their wedding ceremony. The location of the photo was near the Shimogamo-Jinja Shrine, which is one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan, dating back to the 6th century.
A Haunting Sight
Thankfully, this Street View photo was taken in October, removing any doubt that these are in fact Halloween decorations. If you look closely, the mysterious figures are also situated between the glass and the curtains, where no person could actually fit, so these are probably just stickers that were placed onto the window itself.
The Same White Van in Four Different Years
Every time the Google Street View van visits this exact same road in Belfast, Northern Ireland, it happens upon a white van in the exact same location. But one year, the van wasn't in its usual spot, but it was still close-by, driving down the street right next to Google's car!
Did Someone Misplace Some Feet?
In this photo, a group of cyclists in Poland were effected by a glitch that somehow removed their bodies from their feet. The mysterious illusion totally looks like a couple of people abandoned their shoes and the man on the right, who doesn't have any feet, is definitely eyeing them!
Diagon Alley is Real!
Okay, so Diagon Alley from the "Harry Potter" series isn't totally really, but fans of magic can visit the Diagon Alley that was used to film the movies at Warner Bros. Studios location in London on Google Street View. This location is also available for fans to visit in person should they ever find themselves in England.
A Twin Pair of Legs
When you really have to hurry to get where you're going, sometimes it may feel like the rest of your body has to catch up to your legs! Maybe that's what happened to these two people in Anchorage, Alaska, who were caught without their bodies while walking next to the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts.
This is Where They All Go to Park
It's unknown why, but there were a lot of Google Street View cars in Monterey, California in March of 2012, and this one happened to get a great shot of all of the other ones parked in the lot. They may have been working in the area too, but as of yet, no one else has found any photos of this many Google Street View cars parked together in the app.
Japanese Cherry Blossoms
Cherry blossoms are very popular in Japan, and when they are in bloom the whole country practically turns pink thanks to the delicate petals. This particular cherry blossom tree is found in Maruyama Park in Kyoto, Japan, where it is often lit up to showcase its spectacular color and impressive size.
A Famous Field
If this baseball field looks familiar to you, that's because it is the very field where the film "Field of Dream" was filmed in the '80s. The Kevin Costner film was shot in Dyersville, Iowa and some baseball scenes were shot in a neighboring farm.
Black Canyon Freeway
No wonder why it got its name, Black Canyon freeway is pretty dark at night, especially if there aren't many cars driving on it at the moment. This freeway passes through Arizona, where this photo was taken, and is located in some very flat desert, which is why it is so pitch black at night.
Seaweed Monster At the Beach
Don't be scared, this obviously isn't a real seaweed monster come to attack the Google Street View car, but this man has a pretty impressive commitment to being unusual! This photo was taken at Mission Beach in San Diego and by the looks of it, this surfer ran right from the water to the road to be in this hilarious photo.
A Cat Caught In the Act
This kitty was photographed in Tver Oblast in Russia while it was doing its business in the front yard. The little cat looks as cute as ever, though and its owners were probably surprised to see it immortalized online forever! This cat didn't even know that it had to be camera ready while taking its morning stroll.
A Construction Man Rocking Out
When this guy saw the Google car, he immediately went into rock star mode, grabbing the nearest shovel and doing a mean air guitar like he was suddenly overtaken by the spirit of Slash.
Under the Sea
It's not only possible to visit the streets of the world on Google, you can also take a look at some of the places on Earth that are harder to reach, like coral reefs and other underwater paradises. This shot of a scuba diver's view was taken near Jaco Island in East Timor.
Showing Off For the Camera
When some people see a Google Street View camera car, they know that it's time to do something impressive should anyone find these photos in use in the future. And that's exactly what this man did when he popped a wheelie on his motorcycle just as the Google car went by. And thankfully, it made it onto the site.
A Romantic Proposal
Some of the people who take photographs to be used for Google Street View get creative with their work. Some of these photographs tell pretty interesting stories if you're willing to spend a few hours exploring the virtual world. This man used his photographs to capture a truly amazing moment out at sea, and now his engagement will be remembered forever.
A Floating Man
A glitch in the camera that makes the composite photos for Google Street View caused this New York City Ramones fan to look like they were just half of a person! That certainly ups his cool factor, but don't think that you'll find anyone really floating like this when you take a trip to the famous city.
Tiger on the Loose
Google Street View has the power to capture things most people wouldn’t see, or in this case, might not see until it’s too late. Take this tiger for instance. It’s loose in the parking lot of this office building. We doubt there’s anyone inside who wants to walk out to their car for lunch only to end up being lunch for this beast.
The Curious Case of the Crazy Archer
Is it just us or did Google just make everyone a witness to a murder? Based on the image alone, it appears that the archer on the far left is moments away from shooting an arrow into his neighbor’s heart. Yikes!
Penguin on a Bike Attachment
Most people use a bike attachment to take their kids along for the ride. But this rider has a penguin for a passenger. Then again, it’s not the only weird thing about this photograph. The rider appears to be riding a unicycle with a big wheel and no handle bars.
A Perfectly Timed Marching Band
An artist by the name of Ben Kinsley timed it perfectly so that a vignette he choreographed in the form of a parade coincided with the Google Street View vehicle way back in 2008. And the cameras captured the marching band right on time.
A Bunch of Life-Sized Rag Dolls
If the people at the bus stop in Nagoro, Japan, are looking a little inhuman, it’s probably because they’re not human at all. They’re actually a bunch of rag dolls made by Tsukimi Ayano. The reason behind this inspiration was to replace the neighbors who had either passed away or moved away.
Day of the Scarecrow
Forget about zombies. This is a full-on scarecrow invasion... or is it? Actually, they’re called “The Silent People” and the person behind these 1,000 scarecrows in a Finnish field is none other than an artist named Reijo Kela.
Bear Eating Fish
If this bear looks annoyed than he probably is. See, he was in the middle of having a nice fish meal in Kurile Lake in Russia when a done suddenly hovered overhead and started taking photos of him.
A Creepy Group of People
This looks like a promotional image still for an upcoming horror thriller, but it’s actually just a bunch of people in Mexico who decided to don a couple of creepy costumes. But they weren’t heading to a Halloween party. They dressed up so they would get captured by the Google Street car.
Man on a Mailbox
Google Street cars have captured all sorts of people doing things that make people do a double-take. One of those images includes one of this man who is sitting on top of a mailbox taking a smoke break in the middle of Manhattan.
Baby on the Loose
When the Google Street car drove past this commercial district, it caught sight of a baby who appeared to be making a break for it. And yet, the mother was nowhere to be seen as it crawled around on the sidewalk.
Bagel Snacking Dog
Go on Google Street View and you’ll find all sorts of things, including some images that are absolutely adorable. Take this dog for instance. He was looking up at the camera as if he had just been caught doing something bad. In reality, he was simply munching on bagels that had been discarded on the side of the road.
Google Captured Pranksters
Right outside the Salon Gallery in Santa Cruz, California, were two women, who for whatever reason were pranking someone by wrapping their car in saran wrap. Too bad we’ll never know how the car owner reacted when they saw this.
An Enormous Pink Bunny
According to “Geek” a Vienna-based art collective known as Gelitin, formerly known as Gelatin, placed an enormous pink bunny named Hase outside of this farmhouse on a hill in Italy’s Piedmont area. It wasn’t a prank but rather one of the collective’s many out of the box art projects.
A Little Boy Hiding
Take a good look at this image, and pay close attention to the trash can in the alley. Notice something unusual? There’s a kid crouched behind the trash attempting to hide. Was he simply playing hide and go seek with a group of friends or siblings or was he hiding from his parents after doing something bad? The world may never know.
Mad Scientists at Work
Something strange is happening in the neighborhood on Sampsonia Way in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. According to this picture, one scientist appears to be testing a laser from this open car garage while two other scientists outside seem to rejoice with wicked joy at how well their invention works.
Pigeon-Human Hybrids Invade Tokyo
It might look like scientists created horrible pigeon-human hybrids and then released them on the unsuspecting population. But the people walking on the sidewalk are actually Japanese art students from Musashino Art University, who wanted to play a joke on the Google Street View car.
Pool Party in Holland
A bunch of people in Holland decided to throw caution and their clothes to the wind and relax in a small inflatable pool outside of a building. And the Google Street View car caught the particular moment when they were chillaxing with a couple of beers.
Murder in Progress
To the untrained eye, this might look a murder in progress. But it’s actually just two guys who staged a crime scene in Edinburgh, Scotland. Unfortunately for them, it caught the attention of local authorities who were not laughing at the prank.
A Horse in His Bathrobe
Where else would one expect to find a horse in his bathrobe other than Victoria, British Columbia, Canada? Well, actually, it’s just a human sitting casually on the side of the street eating a banana while wearing a horse mask and a robe.
Old Men on Segways
The Google Street View car captures all sorts of things, including this amazing sight of three elderly men riding around town on their Segways. While some folks would rather relax in front of their television in their golden years, these friends aren’t ready to slow down anytime soon.
A Human and His Cockatoo
It’s not uncommon to find people caught walking their dogs outside by the Google Street View car. But this man was caught taking his Cockatoo out for a walk in Portland. Now that’s not exactly something people see every day.
Shirtless Russian Goes After Bear
This shirtless Russian saw a bear in his property and probably thought, “Not today, Yogi!” So, he took a bat and started running after it. The ironic part is that bears are usually intimidating but this one was running a way in terror at the crazy human who was chasing him.
Woman in the New Mexico Desert
There’s a story in this photo, obviously. Why else would this woman be rolling a suitcase in New Mexico on the outskirts of the city of Roswell? And she’s wearing heels, no less! It’s safe to assume that her car probably broke down and she’s trying to make it to the nearest town to get some help.
Skiing on a Green Slope
Most snow enthusiasts head to the icy slopes to ski. But this person was in Mont Blanc, an area bordering Italy and France that clearly had no snow. So, he decided to ski on a slope full of luscious green grass and Google Street View caught him in the act.