What are the Mysterious Markings in China’s Gobi Desert?


Nerd looking through binoculars

What is going on in the Gobi desert? Wild speculations have made their rounds about the mysterious symbols that seem like they have been carved or etched into the surface of the mostly uninhabited landscape of China’s Gobi desert.

Originally spotted by Google Maps satellite, stories that range from likening it to the crop circles in southern England in 2003 to China’s testing of its weapon’s program have circulated. In fact, to me it closely resembles the NYC subway system map!

Odd Shapes in the Gobi Desert
Google Maps satellite image of an area on the borders of Gansu province and Xinjiang

An Arizona State University researcher from the Mars Space Flight Facility has a much more likely explanation in that they resemble targets for the U.S. spy satellite program from over fifty years ago. In fact they are probably symbols that allow for a satellite to spatially orient itself; several countries that have spy satellites in orbit use this protocol for satellite calibration. This should come as no surprise as China has never concealed its use of spy satellites.

What are these structures made of?

A closer examination of these images reveals charred trucks and airplanes further stoking the idea of whether it is a military weapons testing site given the proximity to China’s nuclear program facility. Scientists are now in agreement that these symbols are painted or sprayed on allowing for no changing with wind or rain.

How large are these structures?

Their large size in the order of over 60 feet across suggests that the resolution of these spy satellites is poor; the reason being that with current technology these dimensions seem larger than necessary. Another image from a Google Maps satellite is very Stonehenge-like suggesting that its use is for learning through experimentation how best to unmask hidden objects/structures in foreign terrain through radar technology.

Another strange place in the Gobi Desert

Since these images were first spotted, several new ones have been identified in China and the relative remoteness of the locations point to military weapons testing efforts. Other weather tracking facilities have also been spotted. So while these structures do appear mysterious, a thorough examination of nearby images and topography has suggested a more earthly explanation rather than anything extra-terrestrial.

As of now, there is no other plausible explanation of these symbols and equipment appearing almost overnight in a sparsely populated arid zone in China, or is there?


1 thought on “What are the Mysterious Markings in China’s Gobi Desert?

  1. So… has anyone thought to just ask China what’s going on with these? Seems to me like they’d know, leaving no reason for guessing unless they admit that they don’t really know.

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