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November 3 2012

Mysterious Grid Patterns in China's Deserts Explained


A mysterious grid of dots spanning several miles of Western China's sand dunes like a giant chessboard may be the result of geological surveys for nickel mines, according to new analysis of satellite images of the area.

"In the satellite maps, we can see a man-made texture on the soil, a huge band which seems created by relatively small holes or mounds," wrote the study author, Amelia Carolina Sparavigna, a physicist at Italy's Polytechnic University of Turin, on Oct. 25 on the website arXiv.org, ahead of publication to a scientific journal. "This curious texture on the desert soil was probably produced by the pinpointing of geophysical [research].".

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