Strange lines on a mountain

Strange lines on a mountain

China (CN)
Anyone know what to make of this? Art maybe? It isn't a satellite problem or artifact added afterwards. Zoom all the way in and you'll see tire marks and tracks crossing the white areas.
Anyone know what to make of this? Art maybe? It isn't a satellite problem or artifact added afterwards. Zoom all the way in and you'll see tire marks and tracks crossing the white areas.
View in Google Earth Writings - Misc, Info Requested
By: kjfitz



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Analogman picture
@ 2006-06-21 14:47:05
If I were a betting man I'd put my money on the lines being an overlay on the image. They're just too straight and the corners are too perfectly square for the lines to actually be painted on the ground. If they were painted on the ground there'd be more variation along the edges where the paint soaked into the ground or changed elevation.
kjfitz picture
@ 2006-06-21 15:07:48
I thought that too at first but look in the SW corner. There are road ruts that parallel the very edge and then around the end of some of the lines. Other lines have ruts like someone drove off the end of the line and looped around to go back up it.

Staging area for the painting with ruts radiating out into the pattern here?,93.737154&spn=0.002915,0.006781

Other odd stuff way off to the west. Could this be a target? There seems to be simulated runways to the west.
kjfitz picture
@ 2006-06-21 15:10:27
Definitely military related off to the west:,93.314111&spn=0.002914,0.006781
kjfitz picture
@ 2006-06-21 15:12:04
And here is a section of white painted area covered with fabric.,93.468992&spn=0.002913,0.006781
Analogman picture
@ 2006-06-21 15:45:23
WOW!, those are some freakish facilities. They look like some sort of military test area, but I don't know what for. I think the circular thing, with the planes in the center, might be an electronics test facility, either testing radar OR possibly testing aircraft systems against EMP. The isolated location and the strange things make this almost certainly a military test facility.

It looks like the bases are in the Lanzhou Military District, and Global lists five air bases in that region. Just to the east of the strange circle formation is a 10,000 ft runway, so it's set up for big cargo planes.

When I get into the office tomorrow I'll have to take a look at some other sources and see if there's anything relevant.
kjfitz picture
@ 2006-06-21 18:14:38
I don't know if it is related but the Chinese conducted nuclear explosions about 400km to the WNW.
jbottero picture
@ 2006-06-21 18:19:36
I still think it's an overlay. Why? The lines, if painted are about 80 feet wide. But look at some of the jogs, the edges are exactly parallel without exception. So what did they do, use an 80 foot wide wheeled machine of some sort? The types of jogs would not, I think, have been allowed if it where surveyed out. It’s like running a compass and accidentally shaking your hand, both drawing points reflect the little jog.
jbottero picture
@ 2006-06-21 18:23:58
Actually, after looking at Kjfitz last comment, I take it back; it's got to be painted on the ground. Must be for the benefit of space imaging, maybe satellite imaging tests…
kjfitz picture
@ 2006-06-21 19:33:53
I've posted a collection of all the features I can find in this site here (GE only):
Analogman picture
@ 2006-06-22 05:37:52
Here's the gouge I found. The circular area with the planes in the middle is a missile impact test target, used to test the warhead effectiveness of Chinese missiles. The planes and other objects are used to document the warhead blast effectiveness.

Just to the west of the circular area are two buildings, possibly just stacked shipping containers, also used to test warhead effectiveness.

This leads me to believe the fake runway and the white lines are all part of a testing area, and the lines on the ground are somehow used to measure impact and explosive effectiveness of the warhead. The fake runway may provide a target for other weapons, possibly runway denial munitions.

The U.S. operates similar facilites at the Naval Weapons Station at China Lake. northeast of Los Angeles.
jbottero picture
@ 2006-06-22 15:54:25
I grew up at China Lake. I wish the imaging was better...
kjfitz picture
@ 2011-11-14 10:27:17
The latest imagery shows lots of erosion and washed out debris on the pattern. I guess it wasn't used for very long.

The fake runways nearby now show bomb damage. There are also new buildings that look to have been blown up.

All this lends credence to the "target" theories put forward earlier.
kjfitz picture
@ 2011-11-15 14:50:17
kjfitz picture
@ 2011-11-15 14:56:13
More discussion here:

Sadly the quality of comments on slashdot has deteriorated to the point where the better discussion is on Wired. :(
Anonymous picture
@ 2012-02-07 14:34:35
These grids are used to calibrate satellites, specifically spy satellites. There was something on the History Channel or Nat Geo recently about this.