Last week Google gave the Google Earth global mosaic a makeover. When we were having a look at some of the minor issues with the new mosaic we noted some odd patterns in Chandeleur Sound, Louisiana. We have since found what we believe are related patterns in other parts of the world where there is permanent snow cover.
The effect occurs as you zoom in and Google Earth is transitioning between the global mosaic created from Landsat imagery, to higher resolution imagery. We believe that it is a glitch in the algorithm used to do the blending between the two imagery sets. The most obvious cases are rectangular sections with very bright colours, but we believe the yellowish tint to the imagery in the right hand side of the screenshot below is also related. The tint goes away as you zoom in further (as do the brighter coloured patches).
In Iceland, there are patches of yellow:
Chandeleur Sound, Louisiana.
To find the locations above in Google Earth download this KML file.