Here’s the true science behind the ‘UFO’ on the bottom.
A circular structure on the bottom seen on Google Earth is eliciting “UFO” shouts, but it’s unlikely to be aliens.
The encounter was reported by Scott Waring, the owner of UFOsightingsdaily.com and a regular finder of “100 percent evidence” of ancient aliens. (He’s also a big fan of NASA’s rovers’ photos, claiming to have discovered anything from a chimpanzee on Mars to the 24-foot-tall (7.3-meter) corpse of a Martian monarch slain in combat 1 million years ago.) The form is situated off the coast, near Peru’s Nazca Lines, a series of massive geoglyphs erected by the Nazca people about 2,000 years ago, upping the UFO ante. Conspiracy theorists often focus on these lines, claiming that aliens were involved in their creation.
So, what did Waring come up with? A 4.2-mile (6.8-kilometer) diameter circle is seen 352 miles (566 kilometers) off the coast of Lima. Like a hill or mountain, the circle seems to emerge from the seabed.
This nubbin on the ocean bottom, on the other hand, is most likely a data artifact. Strange forms may occur on the ocean bottom in Google Earth for a variety of causes. To map out the seabed, the business gathers data from a variety of sources. When these sources are stitched together, unusual forms emerge due to their differing resolutions, or degrees of information.
Near Peru’s Nazca Lines, a set of huge geoglyphs carved by the Nazca people over 2,000 years ago, a strange, circular structure was seen in Google Earth photographs. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)
Google engineers pointed out one data peculiarity that may lead to weird hill-and-valley effects in a 2016 blog post: The ocean floor backdrop map is based on a map created by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which utilizes gravity readings from satellites to map out the ups and downs of the seabed (also known as the ocean’s bathymetry).
The firm uses data from ship-based sonar scans for more comprehensive mapping. Sonar surveys send sound pulses down to the ocean bottom, then capture the echoes to create a high-resolution image. When satellite-based measurements and shipboard measurements disagree, a single point of data from one or the other might result in what seems to be a steep slope or drop.
Notably, Waring’s “UFO” seems to be in the center of a transect line through which a shipboard sonar survey has definitely passed, suggesting that the form is a result of combining different data sources. On Google Earth, these lengthy lines may be seen all across the ocean bottom and are frequently mistaken for traces of a vanished civilization.
On Google Earth, strange ocean bottom forms demonstrate how little is known about the seabed. Satellite imaging can resolve features down to around 0.9 miles (1.5 km), while contemporary seabed sonar can show details on the order of 328 feet (100 m). Only 5% of the ocean bottom has been mapped by modern sonar, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).