Here's a new geological conundrum courtesy of the Mysterious East: A group of people studying online maps stumbled across a series of strange patterns in the Chinese desert large enough to be seen from space. The unusual white designs appear to have been etched into the ground and their creators clearly don't lack for ambition: They are over one mile long and 3,000 feet wide. The researchers have yet to identify the silver or white material used to fabricate these outsize desert grids.
You can see a detailed satellite view of the desert pattern here.
So why would the Chinese government--or anyone, for that matter--go to such trouble to paint such gigantic stripes on such remote territory? People analyzing the photos suggest the Chinese military may have constructed them as space-targeting grids.
According to Gizmodo, the various patterned sites are located in Dunhuang, Jiuquan, Gansu, north of the Shule River. The Shule crosses the Tibetan Plateau to the west into the Kumtag Desert—meaning that the painted sites would serve as an ideal, isolated location for training in military targeting.
Slash Gear notes that in one of the grid photos, you can see three structures that are destroyed or partially standing, "as if they were for target practice." Another image of the grid clearly shows aircraft resting in the pattern's inner circle.