Bad news: Freaky deaky crop-circle-ish lines spotted in Chinese desert

posted at 7:15 pm on November 14, 2011 by Allahpundit

To cleanse the palate, I’m tossing this out there because I’m honestly curious what Gizmodo’s photo gallery might show and it’s a cinch that some of our eagle-eyed military readers will have insightful feedback.

My own theory? Three words: Chinese Death Star.

They seem to be wide lines drawn with some white material. Or maybe the dust have been dug by machinery.

It’s located in Dunhuang, Jiuquan, Gansu, north of the Shule River, which crosses the Tibetan Plateau to the west into the Kumtag Desert. It covers an area approximately one mile long by more than 3,000 feet wide.

The tracks are perfectly executed, and they seem to be designed to be seen from orbit.

Perhaps it’s some kind of targeting or calibrating grid for Chinese spy satellites? Maybe it’s a QR code for aliens? Nobody really knows.

There’s another photo that appears to show some type of nuclear complex that’s … 10 miles long. Over at New Scientist, they think it’s much ado about nothing:

Slightly more likely is that it is being used to give China’s upcoming spacecraft some kind of frame of reference. China’s crewed Shenzhou 7 mission, launched in September 2008, released a small satellite that orbited the crew capsule a few kilometres away: Japanese researchers believe it was testing a quantum key distribution system between the spacecraft and satellite. Could a ground-to-space system need some kind of elaborate ground sight?

Probably not. My money’s on it being a target practice range for the People’s Liberation Army.

Why? One of the other formations gives the game away: looking tantalisingly like Stonehenge from a great height, zooming in reveals three aircraft sitting at it’s heart. Clearly, it is some kind of military target for airstrike or gunnery practice. Another 4 x 4 piece grid some 200 metes across has some pieces clearly blown to smithereens, again supporting the target practice theory, and a dummy runway in garish bluish-white is probably not for style-conscious aliens but air-to-ground strafing practice.

My favorite theory about the “grid” photo, via Gizmodo’s comments, is that it’s a representation of … the street layout of Washington D.C. For pure sinister genius, that’ll never be topped. Three problems, though. One: If you follow the link and look at the commenter’s overlay of the grid with D.C.’s map, it just doesn’t match up. If China wanted to duplicate Washington’s streets, they’d do it letter perfect. Two: Why would China want to duplicate Washington’s streets? With all due respect to America’s banker, they’re not going to be able to swing an amphibious invasion of D.C. to collect repayment on our debt anytime soon. Three: In the age of GPS, I’m guessing you don’t need visual cues to target a city from the air with bombers or ICBMs. Just punch in the latitude and longitude and let the machine do the rest.

So, no, it’s not a mock-up of D.C. But what is it? Intergalactic bar code? First stirrings of yet another ghost city? What?

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Stained glass solar panels?

Cindy Munford on November 14, 2011 at 7:17 PM

Would make a great template for stained glass.

carbon_footprint on November 14, 2011 at 7:17 PM

Many of the images have the topography overlayed on top. I don’t think there is a there, there.

keep the change on November 14, 2011 at 7:18 PM

Three: In the age of GPS, I’m guessing you don’t need visual cues to target a city from the air with bombers or ICBMs. Just punch in the latitude and longitude and let the machine do the rest.

First order of battle: Deny your enemy the information he needs to attack you. Our GPS satellites are therefore big targets.

unclesmrgol on November 14, 2011 at 7:19 PM

Three: In the age of GPS, I’m guessing you don’t need visual cues to target a city from the air with bombers or ICBMs. Just punch in the latitude and longitude and let the machine do the rest.

Doubt they’d rely on our GPS system when attacking us with GPS-dependent weapons. They’d need independent targeting ability.

Cuffy Meigs on November 14, 2011 at 7:24 PM

It’s the world’s biggest pane of candy glass. Those Chinese have always been envious of our candy-glass superiority.

Jim Treacher on November 14, 2011 at 7:25 PM

It’s so obvious! Artwork funded by the stimulus, so what if it’s in China. I’ll bet sheriff Joe Biden can tell us all about it and how many jobs were created, just ask him.

tim c on November 14, 2011 at 7:25 PM

Target practice for laser-armed satellites?

Not out of the question, especially given the scope of the one with the planes in the center.

hillbillyjim on November 14, 2011 at 7:27 PM

It’s a grid of intertwined liberal thought patterns all leading to a logical confusion.

JammieWearingFool on November 14, 2011 at 7:28 PM

A few well-placed missiles would turn those into dust in seconds. I guess I am not seeing the eventuality of WW III with the Chinese. It would appear to be self-defeating on both sides.

echosyst on November 14, 2011 at 7:28 PM

How about this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinetic_bombardment

Cuffy Meigs on November 14, 2011 at 7:28 PM

Yeah like other posted. It probably useless job programs, ie bridge to nowhere or in the case of China Ghost Cities.

China spending all it wealth trying to keep everybody employed.

jdun on November 14, 2011 at 7:28 PM

yet another ghost city

Your tax dollars at work; and your kids’ tax dollars at work, and…

hillbillyjim on November 14, 2011 at 7:30 PM

High speed bullet train tracks. See how cool it would be to have one?!

Badger40 on November 14, 2011 at 7:30 PM

Let me put on my hood and hornrims……………

You have probably never heard of a melamine farm have you? Most non hipster folks haven’t. You’re in the 99%.

BL@KBIRD on November 14, 2011 at 7:31 PM

Our GPS satellites are therefore big targets.

unclesmrgol on November 14, 2011 at 7:19 PM

theirs too :-)…guess that’s what they draw ‘lines in the sand’ , eh :-)….

jimver on November 14, 2011 at 7:32 PM

Target practice from space…

… Just in time for Obowma to kill the space shuttle program.

I, for one, welcome our new Chinese overlords…

Seven Percent Solution on November 14, 2011 at 7:33 PM

hillbillyjim on November 14, 2011 at 7:30 PM

I can’t get link to work for that site; anyhoo it’s Allahpundit’s last link.

hillbillyjim on November 14, 2011 at 7:34 PM

We should elect Mark Huntsman just because he knows Mandarin Chinese. It may come in handy.

carbon_footprint on November 14, 2011 at 7:35 PM

It’s a grid of intertwined liberal thought patterns all leading to a logical confusion.

JammieWearingFool on November 14, 2011 at 7:28 PM

Awesome.

hillbillyjim on November 14, 2011 at 7:35 PM

Some type of antenna array probably.

raiderdav on November 14, 2011 at 7:36 PM

They are making a huge stained glass window, melting sand from space with their laserzzzz.

portlandon on November 14, 2011 at 7:38 PM

It’s the world’s biggest pane of candy glass. Those Chinese have always been envious of our candy-glass superiority.

Jim Treacher on November 14, 2011 at 7:25 PM

Wait. I thought Allah was the world’s biggest candy glass.

nukemhill on November 14, 2011 at 7:38 PM

Let me try that again:

It’s the world’s biggest pane of candy glass. Those Chinese have always been envious of our candy-glass superiority.

Jim Treacher on November 14, 2011 at 7:25 PM

Wait. I thought Allah was the world’s biggest candy glass.

See. It loses something when you have to repeat yourself….

nukemhill on November 14, 2011 at 7:39 PM

So THAT’S where my Father left The Key! I’ve been looking for it for centuries…

karl9000 on November 14, 2011 at 7:41 PM

Blofeld….

Django on November 14, 2011 at 7:41 PM

Wait. I thought Allah was the world’s biggest candy glass.

nukemhill on November 14, 2011 at 7:38 PM

Make that candy glass RINO, and I think you are exactly right.

LOLZ

Lily on November 14, 2011 at 7:42 PM

Giant azz QR code to give aliens a 30% discount on the world.

Alden Pyle on November 14, 2011 at 7:42 PM

So, no, it’s not a mock-up of D.C. But what is it? Intergalactic bar code? First stirrings of yet another ghost city? What?

AllahP… wait for this… it is the City of the Walking Dead.

*Cue haunting music…*

LOL…

TheRightMan on November 14, 2011 at 7:44 PM

Chinese Checkers

Kini on November 14, 2011 at 7:45 PM

Flux Capacitor….

BigWyo on November 14, 2011 at 7:46 PM

Look at the scale reference. It isn’t as big as you might think looking at the geography.

lexhamfox on November 14, 2011 at 7:46 PM

Giant Bank Vault System to hold all of the loan agreements from the United States.

Fire Drill???

BigWyo on November 14, 2011 at 7:49 PM

Google Earth does a better job…probably testing some computer targeting system.

right2bright on November 14, 2011 at 7:49 PM

Heck, I find lots of weird stuff in that region of China:

http://g.co/maps/g9xqw

is one of them. Looks like some sort of compound out in the middle of nowhere. I’m looking for another that I found a couple of weeks ago, looks like an underground bunker complex but you can make out the tunnels from the picture.

crosspatch on November 14, 2011 at 7:51 PM

I wonder if any one thought that it could be Chinese writing script but as it was made with a fleet of bulldozers it was hard to get the curves right. Some leader wanted his family name/symbol big as can be. One wonders if they are paved with white or just when the top layer is removed it is white stone.

Anyways it cost a nice coin that is if it was not done with members of a reeducation center / slave labor moving one rock at a time.

tjexcite on November 14, 2011 at 7:51 PM

It’s a grid of intertwined liberal thought patterns all leading to a logical confusion.

JammieWearingFool on November 14, 2011 at 7:28 PM

Awesome.

hillbillyjim on November 14, 2011 at 7:35 PM

Very awesome. Also, potentially accurate (scary!)

Who is John Galt on November 14, 2011 at 7:53 PM

http://g.co/maps/g9xqw

Hey, that’s the Wildfire lab from The Andromeda Strain!

Fabozz on November 14, 2011 at 7:55 PM

hi ap:

here’s the answer:

i am posting it here first:

the grid is a surface replica of a subterranean tunnel system that china is planning to attack so they can practice.

reliapundit on November 14, 2011 at 7:55 PM

How does this benefit muslims?

SouthernGent on November 14, 2011 at 7:57 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinetic_bombardmrnt
Cuffy Meigs on November 14, 2011 at 7:28 PM

No brainer. Only our MIC-omplex is too stupid to have fielded such a cheap war-winner. Oh, maybe we aren’t the stupid…enough to need a freaking target grid visible on Google.

Or, maybe…uh…triple-think can take you anywhere.

Love the handle, Cuffy!

Who is John Galt on November 14, 2011 at 7:59 PM

Why not ask?

Kini on November 14, 2011 at 8:00 PM

In all seriousness, I think it’s likelier to be a covering of sorts, something over something else. What the two are, I have no idea but China doesn’t go to such lengths to build anything without what I’d call “a China intensive” motive, usually one that involves keeping what they’re doing as secret as possible.

I’d suggest some sort of covering for agricultural purposes (note the overall sharp or defined dimensions, only the interior appears haphazard) but I think China wouldn’t put all that intensity into agriculture in the desert while they would do so to conceal operations of an intelligence nature such as weapons or weaponized computing or related.

Lourdes on November 14, 2011 at 8:04 PM

Where is our resident commenter who lives there?

Cindy Munford on November 14, 2011 at 8:05 PM

Hey, that’s the Wildfire lab from The Andromeda Strain!

Fabozz on November 14, 2011 at 7:55 PM

I was just musing about that very same thing

Lourdes on November 14, 2011 at 8:06 PM

Whatever it is, it was under construction in April of 2005 and was complete or nearly complete in May of the same year. This is easy to verify in Google Earth historic views.

MikeA on November 14, 2011 at 8:07 PM

It’s a map of Colorado. WOLVERINES!

unlisted on November 14, 2011 at 8:07 PM

If you take away the border lines and the cross bars, it is Chinese (Canton dialect) meaning, “Apply liberally to affected areas. Rinse and repeat.”

TXUS on November 14, 2011 at 8:12 PM

My favorite theory about the “grid” photo, via Gizmodo’s comments, is that it’s a representation of … the street layout of Washington D.C

Maybe it’s the planned townsquares that China is going to redevelop the US into once they call in our debts??

ted c on November 14, 2011 at 8:22 PM

Two of them are obviously target areas for some sort of weapon testing. In the grid of small squares, you can see an impact or detonation point in the dead center with the blast effect fanning out to the west.

The geometric designs have me baffled. The design suggests some sort of target area also, but the scale (size) of the shapes renders accuracy a moot point. These may be test patterns for satellite imagery testing and/or calibration.

The huge “blue ponds” are a complete mystery, although they may be settling ponds from which some really hard to obtain material may be collected, similar to a gold sluice. If you zoom way in, some of the ponds have what appear to be dredger-like barges connected to a shore facility by long, float-supported pipes. Follow the “input” canal found at the northeast corner of the pond array. The canal travels in a straight line for miles, then branches into other perfectly straight canals which themselves extend for miles, and then all end abruptly. Weird. I wonder if this is some sort of uranium mining operation.

BobMbx on November 14, 2011 at 8:29 PM

Another 4 x 4 piece grid some 200 metes across has some pieces clearly blown to smithereens, again supporting the target practice theory, and a dummy runway in garish bluish-white is probably not for style-conscious aliens but air-to-ground strafing practice.

If that is strafing range, we have nothing to fear from the Chinese Air Force. If it is a runway simulator for bombing practice, how can you miss? The “runways” are hundreds of yards wide, vice the width of real runways, which rarely exceed 150 feet wide. And why is one of them blue? Must have gotten a discount on blue concrete.

BobMbx on November 14, 2011 at 8:33 PM

allahp; my first blink on this is as a tank/tracked vehicle manuever/firing range. Others have probably suggested it already, but when I look at this it makes me want to see drivers learning how to maneuver in difficult terrain and probably engaging targest. I wonder if there are impact areas in the vicinity (ie within 2000 meters).

ted c on November 14, 2011 at 8:38 PM

Along with the other ROC military branches, the ROC Army has extensive experience in the construction and utilization of underground tunnels and bases gained during the People’s Republic of China’s bombardments of Kinmen and Matsu during the Cold War and many facilities are rumoured to be located underground in undisclosed locations.

wiki:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_of_China_Army

the stained glass grid is a replica of taiwan’s tunnel system and the chicoms are practicing an invasion.

reliapundit on November 14, 2011 at 8:50 PM

Hmmm, I think I’ve seen that before… Here.

Fallon on November 14, 2011 at 8:55 PM

Dang, they’s inscrutable.

whatcat on November 14, 2011 at 8:59 PM

Ask Erich von Daniken.

Dr. ZhivBlago on November 14, 2011 at 9:01 PM

The ponds are at the Lop Nur Nuclear Weapons Test Base.
http://www.nti.org/db/china/lopnur.htm
Click on some of the pics near it in Google Earth, stick the squiggles that constitute the description in Google Translate, and they’re all something or the other at Lop Nur.

This will get you there: 40.452107,90.85693359375

HogsBreath on November 14, 2011 at 9:03 PM

Ni hao, y’all.

My guess:
Uncle Liu’s haphazard attempt to build a model of the LESSER Wall.

Shirotayama on November 14, 2011 at 9:07 PM

Some of it looks like a very interesting set of targeting mock-ups. But the purpose appears to be evaluating the blast radius and effects of the weapons, more than assisting in precision-targeting training.

The radial target set-up with the swept-wing bombers in the center (the planes look really old, like 1960s-era prototypes) clearly is designed to measure weapons effects. All the shapes set up in the radial pattern — the lines of oblong shapes radiating outward from the center — are probably set there to register effects from detonation of the weapon, so the physical effects can be studied in detail.

The US evaluates weapons effects too, but not in this particular manner.

The “nuclear power plant” looks a little odd, kind of like an assembly of the typical elements but not necessarily in any real-world configuration. Strikes me as a targeting mock-up.

The weird bright blue coloring may be added to register effects from certain kinds of weapons more effectively. That’s a WAG.

The strange grid is very interesting. I don’t think it’s a mock-up of city streets. It’s hard to think of a purpose for that. The size of it looks at first glance like an advancing tank army (e.g., on the Russian organizational model), perhaps gridded out to assist in developing targeting concepts.

Can’t say about the meandering, intersecting lines in the big square. It’s interesting about them, though, that to the satellite, the lines look perfectly flat. Since the terrain obviously undulates, that took some doing. It might almost seem to be the purpose of the exercise. Can’t immediately think of why. Practicing deception techniques, maybe?

If the Chinese are checking and double-checking the physical evidence from military applications in this comprehensive, kind of simplistic but brilliant way — well, that would be very … Chinese.

J.E. Dyer on November 14, 2011 at 9:11 PM

Maybe it’s not meant to be viewed from space. Maybe if you see it from the valley floor, the perspective changes and it looks like Chinese characters up on the hill side?
“Gangzhou Uni Tigers”, or something?

Allahs vulva on November 14, 2011 at 9:15 PM

I must correct myself. The ‘runways’ are 150 feet wide, according to the google earth ruler.

BobMbx on November 14, 2011 at 9:18 PM

Allahs vulva on November 14, 2011 at 9:15 PM

“HORRYWOOD”

BobMbx on November 14, 2011 at 9:19 PM

Spider webs?

faraway on November 14, 2011 at 9:38 PM

BobMbx,

HORRYWOOD?
Dude you’re getting Chinese mixed up with Japanese.
Chinese can pronounce both L and R just fine.

It’s the Japanese who can’t do English “L” or “R” since in the Japanese language, the “R” is kind of in between an “L” and an “R”.

Shirotayama on November 14, 2011 at 9:42 PM

Maybe it’s not meant to be viewed from space. Maybe if you see it from the valley floor, the perspective changes and it looks like Chinese characters up on the hill side?
“Gangzhou Uni Tigers”, or something?

Allahs vulva on November 14, 2011 at 9:15 PM

Bingo. But it’s clearly Mongolian, not Chinese script. It reads ‘Here Lies Genghis Khan…’.

DarkCurrent on November 14, 2011 at 9:45 PM

Y’all know that they’re gonna cover all that stuff up with tarp colored the same as that desert sand around all those things, now that we’ve started talking about what the heck they are.

I just betcha the next time Google Maps does an update of that region, nobody will be able to see a darned thing. It’ll just blend right in with the desert sands.

Shirotayama on November 14, 2011 at 9:46 PM

getting Chinese mixed up with Japanese.

And, heaven help the man who confuses a Chinese with a Japanese.
Them’s fightin’ words to the Chinese.

Three to four danged generations later and most of them STILL hate the Japanese with a passion.

Same with the Koreans. Both sets of Koreans.

Shirotayama on November 14, 2011 at 9:48 PM

Well, with Christmas coming up, I’ve read that it could be a secret code that says, “Be sure to drink your Ovaltine”…LOLOL

StarLady on November 14, 2011 at 9:54 PM

Dude you’re getting Chinese mixed up with Japanese.
Chinese can pronounce both L and R just fine.

Shirotayama on November 14, 2011 at 9:42 PM

Hey, give old Bob a break. The Chinese can’t pronounce ‘L’ jokes never get tired or stupid.

DarkCurrent on November 14, 2011 at 9:54 PM

Perhaps they’re urban warfare training areas?

kregg on November 14, 2011 at 9:59 PM

DarkCurrent on November 14, 2011 at 9:54 PM

Not to worry….I can defeat them because my Kung Fu which my father taught me of the elephant technique is superior to their phony Kung Fu of the lizard techinque

BobMbx on November 14, 2011 at 10:05 PM

What happens to the Godfather after 4 hours of sleep.

tomas on November 14, 2011 at 10:56 PM

It’s a cook book!

CultureWar on November 14, 2011 at 11:01 PM

Actually, I think it’s a lot more innocent than all these 007 speculations. If you look at the surrounding terrain, the lines appear to follow the natural drainage paths down the side of the mountain. That part of the mountain appears to be slumping badly down into the river below. Perhaps it is some sort of attempt (using concrete, perhaps) at stabilizing the hillside against erosion to prevent the river (which probably services many villages downstream with water) from silting in?

Just a thought.

txhsdad on November 14, 2011 at 11:09 PM

honestly.. you think that’s actual..

masons, bildeburgers, crop circles, myan calenders, third shooter,

bored , going to bed.

amend2 on November 14, 2011 at 11:13 PM

Burning Man 2013. In the Workers’ Paradise. Greener than ever. $5000 a head. Financing available.

Kenosha Kid on November 14, 2011 at 11:28 PM

Full-Scale Mock-Up of the stretch-marks on Rosie O’Donnel’s backside?

Tim_CA on November 15, 2011 at 12:47 AM

I think there may be two very distinct families of figures. One family which is modern and has a scale of hundreds of meters and a second family which may be precolumbian and has a scale of thousands of meters.

Forty or fifty years ago, when arial and satelite phtography were becoming wide spread, there were a bunch of appearently precolumbian figures found in a mountainous and desert area in the Americas. Unfortunately, I do not even remember whether they were in north or south america. My guess is that they were in or near Peru. Some of the figures were of a thousand meter scale. Some were stylized figures of humans and others were geometrical. I never read an accepted explaination of the figures.

burt on November 15, 2011 at 2:24 AM

… One family which is modern and has a scale of hundreds of meters and a second family which may be precolumbian and has a scale of thousands of meters.

burt on November 15, 2011 at 2:24 AM

Precolumbian? ;)

Perceptron on November 15, 2011 at 4:39 AM

Calibration for reconnaissance satellites?

coldwarrior on November 15, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Its a government operated driving instruction school, which explains a great deal.

Syd B. on November 15, 2011 at 10:45 AM

The supposed “grid” appears to me to be superimposed on the image. The topography and shadows created by it show through the grid. Even where the topography would make it very difficult to draw a straight line, the lines are razor straight. On the right hand side, if you look closely you can see where one image of a line overlays another image of a line but they aren’t quite lined up. Also, even viewed directly from above, when the line crossed rising or falling ground, we should be able to detect some curvature as the “road” follows the terrain. That’s not what we see here. All the lines have clean edges with no wiggles for terrain or shadows.

There’s no grid there. The others, dunno.

BillyWilly on November 15, 2011 at 1:32 PM

It’s a large scale model for the doors to the new restaurant the Double Lucky Dragon.

Pablo Snooze on November 15, 2011 at 1:57 PM

Heck, I find lots of weird stuff in that region of China:

http://g.co/maps/g9xqw

crosspatch on November 14, 2011 at 7:51 PM

Now that is one bad ass drag strip!

roy_batty on November 15, 2011 at 2:45 PM

Its a government operated driving instruction school, which explains a great deal.

Syd B. on November 15, 2011 at 10:45 AM

I saw what you did there and that’s funny.

roy_batty on November 15, 2011 at 2:46 PM

I’m sure the truth about this is probably not that spectacular. However, the Chinese are patient. Very patient. It’s weird to see China suddenly in the news (and in print):

Bowing to Beijing is a good conservative take on just how many cookie jars China has its hands in.

watchmen on November 15, 2011 at 2:52 PM