Chinese X-file not so mysterious after all
Image of the mysterious area in China's Ningxia province.
Photo: Google Earth
The mysterious man-made landscape recently "discovered" by eagle-eyed Google Earth spotters in a remote part of China is almost certainly a tank training ground.
The Beijing correspondent for The Sydney Morning and The Age, Mary-Anne Toy, contacted authorities in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region - where the landscape is situated - on Friday.
She was told that the facility was used for putting tanks and their drivers through their paces and that the installation had been there for seven or eight years.
Situated near the town of Huangyangtan, the installation has many features which identify it as a military complex, including a communications tower and a watch tower. It also is situated nearby what looks like an artillery range.
Behind the main building, there is what appears to be a large area where numerous trucks - or tank carriers - are parked.
Although it is difficult to distinguish any tanks, there are several large red-roofed structures in what looks like a massive parking lot where tanks could be housed.
Huangyangtan is about 35km south-west of the provincial capital of Yinchuan, making it unlikely that this is some top secret military establishment.
According to comparative data gathered by members of the Google Earth community, the rectangular landscape bears an uncanny resemblance to 450 kilometres of territory occupied by China, but claimed by India, in the Karakoram mountain range.
The Huangyangtan site has a three-kilometre perimeter.
Launched last year, the Google Earth site became the first to offer users free access to satellite images covering many parts of the globe. In some areas you can see people sitting by swimming pools or walking the streets.
The service has spawned a devoted group of followers who spend their time, scouring the images for interesting or unusual natural and man-made features.
MashUp Blog: What do you reckon it is?