13

earthview from google maps

I found them in Nevada, USA. At 37.488, -116.228 coords and I can't find any information about this. The bright white lines are roads and I have seen a similar ones but it had a triangle around it.

Anyone know what this is?

13
  • 2
    Can you tell us a little more about that locations? What have you done to search that place so far? And can you explain why you want to know. – Willeke Feb 21 at 11:02
  • 1
    I am unfamiliar with the area but having a look zoomed out more, I wonder if they are quarries. And a quick search finds a lot of information on quarries, also lists ordered by states and so on. – Willeke Feb 21 at 11:36
  • 2
    Google Earth calls the location Lambs Pond and googling for that in Nevada produces results that it is variously a fishing location and a military bomb practice target. – Weather Vane Feb 21 at 12:38
  • 1
    Such circular features are usually irrigation systems. There’s an “arm” with sprinklers which rotates around the center and needs circular supports to hold it over the cultures. You’ll see quite a number of those in active form in the area (series of dark green dots). The location of this one of what seems to be pretty much sand or even a salt deposit is a bit weird, and I haven’t checked if the size is consistent, though, so no idea of this is what we actually have here (it would of course be an incomplete and not yet active system). – jcaron Feb 21 at 12:41
  • 11
    Relevant xkcd: xkcd.com/2170 – Azor Ahai -him- Feb 22 at 19:24
35

The location you've picked out is part of the Nevada Test and Training Range. If the map on Wikipedia is to be believed, it's in the larger area marked "Nellis Air Force Range", possibly in the sub-area marked Nevada Wild Horse Range.

So this all probably means that:

  • it is probably a practice target for military airplanes (or, as Nzall points out, artillery);
  • you're unlikely to find more definitive information about it, since the area is closed off to the general public; and
  • for the same reason, you probably shouldn't try to visit.
4
  • 2
    +1 But what it is and what it is going to be used for do not describe how it became to look like it is now, so maybe still something to search for. – Willeke Feb 21 at 15:57
  • 2
    @Willeke When I look it up on GaiaGPS it shows up marked like concentric dirt roads, but the whole area is blocked out, you can't actually see what's there. It's roughly 20 miles from the closest point you can legally be--even if it's flat (one of the things missing was the topo lines) that's still beyond the ability of most hikers. (Without knowing about water sources you have to carry enough to get you back out.) – Loren Pechtel Feb 22 at 1:35
  • 7
    "I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you." – Barmar Feb 22 at 15:47
  • @Barmar - "I could tell you, but ... would you stand just over there please? Yeah, on that white disc over there ..." – davidbak Feb 24 at 20:24
28

You can probably find circles like this at other military testing facilities.

These are artillery firing targets meant for "Circular Error Probable" and Time on Target related calibrations and training. During WW1 and WW2, it was found that most artillery kills happen within seconds of the attack starting, because once the artillery has started to impact, the soldiers are quickly rushing for cover. Because of this, artillery soldiers found that the best way to get optimal impact from artillery was to ensure that all shells landed roughly in the same area and at the same time, like a high-powered shotgun blast. These circles are used to determine how closely grouped the shells are, and because the ground is completely flat, it also allows for easy monitoring of the impacts to verify how close they are in time. If you look over the hills to the west, there is a similar circle that has more obvious impact markings. The circles are roughly 100 meters apart so it's easy to gauge how many shells land within 100 meters of the target.

1
  • 2
    As disgusting as this answer is, it seems likely to be the most accurate answer. Upvoted this answer for accuracy. Downvoted the current state of certain elements of the human race for finding ways to kill even more people. – RockPaperLz- Mask it or Casket Feb 24 at 17:06
7

As Michael Seifert has said it's part of the Nevada Test and Training Range, between your noted circles (GM: 37.48781°N 116.22827°W) and the ones approx 2km NNW (GM: 37.51303°N 116.24306°W) and being so close to Area 51 (Groom Lake) I'm going to go with bombing targets as a most likely explanation.

On looking closely though I found more curious things in the immediate area:


I spent far too long looking at the area to admit but it was interesting, thank you for bringing it to my attention.

5
  • 8
    Me too... tomorrow it'll be in the news: "Terrorist attack planned? hundreds of people were looking for hours on Google maps at Area 51 layouts" ... lol – Aganju Feb 22 at 4:14
  • The NTTR was established during World War 2 for training US Army Air Force personnel. The fact that it now contains Area 51 and the Nevada Test Site mostly comes from this initial use. Even now, over at the NTS, one can easily find old 50 cal machine gun brass on the dry lake beds, left over from WWII. – Jon Custer Feb 22 at 14:53
  • 2
    Can you add some pictures of the features you are describing? – dalearn Feb 23 at 3:17
  • @EricDuminil - copy and paste the Lat/Long into google maps. Sure, nicer to link there, but maps is pretty smart – Jon Custer Feb 23 at 17:18
  • 1
    @JonCuster: I'm lazy, so I wrote a ruby script to replace coordinates with direct links to satellite view on Google Maps. – Eric Duminil Feb 23 at 18:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.