Ever since Google Earth was officially launched in 2005, it’s been an invaluable tool for mapping the Earth and giving anyone with internet access the ability to discover countless geographical wonders. With the sheer magnitude of the program’s aquired images, it then makes sense that a lot of bizarre, fascinating discoveries have been made along the way. Read on to see 7 of the best.
7. Firefox Logo
Seeing overhead shots of crop circles is nothing new, but finding one that looks exactly like the Firefox browser’s logo in an Oregon oat field might make you think that all aliens might really be corporations. Thankfully, the logo was put there as a stunt by a group of Firefox fans and took 2 weeks to plan and only 24 hours to assemble. The team also arranged their cars underneath the logo to spell out “FX”. You can read about how they assembled everything here.
6. Largest Swimming Pool
Aerial photos are a great way to see who has a pool and who doesn’t in your neighbourhood, but have you ever wondered what the biggest swimming pool in the world would look like? This Google Earth aerial shot shows the pool at the San Alfonso del Mar resort in Algarrobo, Chile. The pool measures over a kilometer in length and holds 250 million liters (or 66 million gallons) of water. The pool is such a architectural marvel that a new technology that filters and collect ocean water was created to make it a reality.
5. Heart-Shaped Island
The owner of this island in the Adriatic sea is probably thankful for the marketing assist from Mother Nature. The distinct heart-shape of the desert island of Galesnjak became a viral sensation and couples tourist destination after its discovery through Google Earth. Allegedly, the island’s owner at the time wasn’t even aware of his property’s shape until he received numerous requests from love-happy tourists hoping to book a stay on Love Island (author’s creation).
4. Giant Pink Bunny
Here’s a truly bizarre discovery: a 200-foot long toy rabbit was spotted in a farm field northern Italy. The rather creepy looking bunny didn’t get there by accident though. A local art collective made up of old ladies knitted the giant wool creature for people to play with. The stuffed animal has already attracted a ton of visitors and the plan is to keep it there until 2025.
3. Airplane Graveyard
The Aerospace Maintenance And Regeneration Center (AMARC) wasn’t a secret before Google Earth came along, but the mapping program helped capture the awe-inspiring scale of the facility. Over 4,200 aircraft dot the landscape often referred to as “The Boneyard”. While AMARC spends a lot of time repairing aircraft and repurposing parts for reuse, it doesn’t take away from the astonishing sight of seeing thousands of abandoned aircraft in the same spot in the desert.
2. Wild Elephant Herd
Wildlife poaching is an epidemic in central Africa thanks to the high black market prices of animal goods like ivory, so seeing this picture of a group of elephants in Chad’s Zakouma National Park is a reminder of the what’s at stake if poaching is not combated and mammals such as the elephant are driven to extinction.
1. 2000-Year Old Roman Villa
There have been a lot of funny discoveries made using Google Earth, but its functionality goes far beyond finding a giant stuffed bunny in an Italian field (as awesome as that is). Back in 2005, an Italian computer programmer named Luca Mori was looking at maps of his town of Sorbolo when he made a shocking discovery. It turns out that a group of “rectangular shadows” were actually the outlines of an ancient villa’s courtyards. An archeology team was called in and the findings were confirmed — Mori had discovered a 2000-year old Roman villa.