Outside Sadr City in Iraq, at coordinates 33.396157° N, 44.486926° E, lies a blood-red lake. There is, as yet, no official explanation for the color of this strange body of water.
The world's largest island-in-a-lake-on-an-island-in-a-lake-on-an-island is a narrow, four-acre strip of land in Canada located at exactly 69.793° N, 108.241° W. The nameless island (that little-tilde shaped squiggle of green) lolls across the center of a small lake, which is itself encapsulated by a slightly larger island. That resides inside one of a series of long finger lakes located 75 miles inland from the southern coast of Victoria Island, a land feature in Northern Canada. This little "sub-sub-sub island" would never have received its strange distinction if not for careful trolling of Google Earth by map geeks around the world. In all likelihood, no human has ever actually set foot there. [Zoom through the island layers]
The Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Ariz., is where U.S. military planes go to die. Dubbed "the boneyard," this 2,600-acre cemetery of steel at coordinates 32 08'59.96" N, 110 50'09.03"W is closed to the general public, but Google Earth provides a high-resolution glimpse of what's inside: virtually every plane the military has flown since World War II — from the B-52 StratoFortress to the F-14 Tomcat — in various stages of decay. A bit of trivia: The boneyard at Davis Monthan was used as the backdrop in the music video for "Learning to Fly" by rock music legend Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The band was shown performing amongst various aircraft hulks.
Hamad bin Hamdan al Nahyan, a billionaire Sheikh and member of Abu Dhabi's ruling family, has had his name carved into the sandy surface of al Futaisi Island, an island he owns in the Persian Gulf. At half a mile tall and 2 miles long altogether, the letters HAMAD may be the world's largest; regardless, they're visible from space. Normally, words written in sand wash away, but these letters are large enough to form waterways that absorb the encroaching tide. Indeed, at the time these satellite photographs were taken, said tide can be seen flowing through the letters all the way to the M.
Thought you might never get to see a herd of African elephants in the wild? Luckily, satellites captured a few high-resolution images of a herd on the move in Chad, at coordinates 10.903497 N,19.93229 E.
Newfound Google Earth images have revealed an array of mysterious structures and patterns etched into the surface of China's Gobi Desert. According to experts, this is a secret military base, and the structures are used for a variety of purposes including weapons testing, spy satellite calibration and testing of radar instrumentation. The most elaborate feature, an intricate grid of perfectly straight lines that weave back and forth every few hundred feet for 20 miles (33 kilometers), is most likely a Yagi antenna array, a device used for weather tracking and other atmospheric research. [More Photos: Strange Structures in China's Gobi Desert]
Considering the number of people who troll Google Earth in their free time, it isn't surprising that enormous advertisements have started popping up in remote areas for their viewing pleasure—a concept known as "mapvertising." The world's largest Coca-Cola logo, for example, can be seen on a hillside in Chile; it is said to be made of 70,000 empty coke bottles. A 87,500-square-foot picture of Colonel Sanders — the KFC logo— appears at 37.646163° N, 115.750819° W just off Extraterrestrial Highway in Nevada.
The S.S. Jassim, a Bolivian cargo ferry, ran aground and sank on the Wingate Reef off the coast of Sudan in 2003. At 265 feet (81 meters) long, it is now one of the largest shipwrecks visible on Google Earth, and is located at 19° 38' 46.00" N, 37° 17' 42.00" E.
These luscious lips are a hill formation located in Gharb, Darfur, in Sudan at coordinates 12°22'13.32"N, 23°19'20.18"E.
In Australia, at coordinates 30°30'38.44"S 115°22'56.03"E, a strange triangle dotted with bright lights appears in the middle of a field. When first discovered in 2007, ufologists were quick to call it a "triangle UFO" caught in the act of hovering above Earth. Other Google Earth users say it may be an antenna associated with a nearby remote-controlled wind farm. With three sets of wires forming a triangle, and a tower in the middle, the antenna likely receives and transmits control signals.