Did Google Earth discover an underwater alien base?

I had been ignoring this story since it’s so crazy, but it seems to be popping up more and more so I felt it was time to address it. In short, the folks at “Before It’s News” (and others) have been showing the following screenshot from Google Earth, claiming the lines in the image are from an underwater alien base.

underwater alien base

It’s very similar to the story that went around five years ago claiming that the lost city of Atlantis had been found, with similar tracks showing up on the ocean surface. Google wrote a detailed blog post explaining what it really was, which is the same case here:

The scientific explanation is a bit less exotic, but we think it’s still pretty interesting: these marks are what we call “ship tracks.” You see, it’s actually quite hard to measure the depth of the ocean. Sunlight, lasers, and other electromagnetic radiation can travel less than 100 feet below the surface, yet the typical depth in the ocean is more than two and a half miles. Sound waves are more effective. By measuring the time it takes for sound to travel from a ship to the sea floor and back, you can get an idea of how far away the sea floor is. Since this process — known as echosounding — only maps a strip of the sea floor under the ship, the maps it produces often show the path the ship took, hence the “ship tracks.” In this case, the soundings produced by a ship are also about 1% deeper than the data we have in surrounding areas — likely an error — making the tracks stand out more.

I encourage you to read the full entry on that old Lat Long Blog post if you want to really understand how this occurs. Stefan at Ogle Earth also wrote a detailed breakdown of Atlantis years ago which is worth re-reading as well.

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.



Comments

  1. Pitiable twits … oooh, look, there goes Elvis!

    • just how often do you see “Elvis” Mister…..?
      we have Medication and Therapy and Professional Services available for you to help you with
      your “Elvis” sightings…

      Meanwhile I will get back to Investigating Underwater Alien Bases….!

  2. So if these are “Ship tracks”, how come they don’t exist throughout the entire mapped ocean? Was it not mapped the exact same way? Their explanation is flawed.

    • Because what you’re seeing here is the swath of of a mulitbeam sonar system, the vast majority of the worlds oceans have not been mapped by systems like these, what you see in Google Earth is interpolation of various data sources to create its bathymetry map in many places especially far from shore these rely on very little actual data. Whereas close to shore more resources are expended to map it more accurately mainly because of mapping for nautical charts and to determine a countries economic exclusion zone. Also the deeper the water gets the more the resolution of a sonar system gets diluted and only larger features are identifiable.

      Unlike most of people here speculating I’m commenting on this because this what I do for a living and I’m always a little bit amused when I see posts like these created people who are ill informed.

      ( also see my post below )

  3. *and of course, the ship naturally traveled in a rectangular formation to form these ship tracts. A nearly perfect rectangular formation, that looks like a damned city block, yes, a ship can instantly make 90 degree turns! Gimme a break.

  4. Not rain on any ones parade, but as Hydrographic surveyor. I can tell you all that is some poor quality multibeam sonar data (showing both vessel motion artifacts and not being tide corrected ) , merged into the lower resolution Google bathymetry layer The this can be seen all over Google Earth.

    Keep in mind that the Google Earth Baythemtry in many places is made of very few data points with heavy interpolation between them and smoothed out to make a digital terrain model of very low resolution.

    If you’re interested in some places with good sonar data look at the coast of southern California, but even there you will see lines that don’t match up well with the surrounding data.

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