Seeing worm poo from space

We recently came across this interesting article about a South American phenomenon of mounds known as surales. Apparently scientists have demonstrated that they consist largely of earthworm excrement and are created by the earthworms. The patterns they produce are reminiscent of fairy circles and ant and termite cities that we have covered in the past.

We tried looking for the surales, but they proved quite difficult to find. We found places we thought might be surales but had no way of confirming they were not termite mounds or just small bushes. In one case we even found a hopeful location with Street View but we could see termite mounds in the Street View.


Possibly a mix of surales and termite mounds

Luckily, we came across this article, which includes a video of one of the scientists using Google Earth to show off some of the locations.

Surales come in a variety of sizes:

It is difficult to distinguish them from termite mounds, and sometimes they occur together:

Surales on the left, termite mounds on the right.

Surales form a variety of patterns:

The original science paper can be found here

For the above locations and more from the video, download this KML file.

About Timothy Whitehead

Timothy has been using Google Earth since 2004 when it was still called Keyhole before it was renamed Google Earth in 2005 and has been a huge fan ever since. He is a programmer working for Red Wing Aerobatx and lives in Cape Town, South Africa.






PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.



PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.