Thoughts on teaching, technology, learning and life in an era of change.
Google Earth discoveries
November 23rd, 2008

Google Earth and its browser based cousin Google Maps fascinate. This morning I read that a possible meteorite crater has been discovered in western New South Wales. The report in the Sydney Morning Herald tells the story of opal miner Mike Fry and how he spotted the crater via Google Earth. Mr Fry had been using Google Earth to explore terrain for possible opal mining sites. The site requires further geological investigation to confirm it is the result of an meteorite impact. The western rim of the site is visible. The eastern rim has been significantly eroded and is no longer visible.

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Earlier this year another potential impact crater was discovered in Western Australia by Dr Arthur Hickman, a government geologist with the Geological Survey of Western Australia.

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If you are interested in similar discoveries and meteorite craters around the globe this Google Earth Hacks site, Craters [scroll down], and this Google Maps site, Meteor Craters may interest you.

It fascinates that both of these geological ‘discoveries’ were made whilst seated in front of a computer display.

Have you ever made a ‘discovery’ while exploring Google Earth or Google Maps. Some time back I was exploring some of the towns where my wife and I had lived while we were living in Singapore. To my surprise I ‘discovered’ that a group of trees that were located in a park that was adjacent to our estate spelt out the name of the town, Pasir Ris. We had walked through and around the park many times yet we never realised that the trees had been so planted.

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In the classroom I like to use Google Earth to support the teaching of history. It is particularly useful when teaching students the history of the Persian Wars. Sites for battles such as Marathon, Salamis, Thermopylae and Artemisium are all accessible. Of course the terrain and coastlines have altered to some extent yet the maps provide an invaluable viusal for the students and it makes the events all the more tangible.

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Battle of Marathon site. Athenian soldiers are buried in this mound.

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Both the Battle of Thermopylae and the naval battle of Artemisium were fought in this region.

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The Battle of Salamis was fought in the narrows between the island of Salamis and the coastline of ancient Attica

So, have you made any “discoveries” using Google Earth? What do you think are some of the more interesting locations visible via Google Earth? How do you use Google Earth in the classroom?

7 Responses to “Google Earth discoveries”

  1. teachernz Says:

    I used a “tour” of all the modern Olympic venues earlier this year to show how it really was a worldwide event. My students asked, “Why aren’t there any in Africa?”.

  2. John Larkin Says:

    Thanks for the comment! I like the idea of a tour. I hope to embed links in the kml pointers so that students can jump from one point to the next on the globe and launch a supporting web site to boot. I have taught other teachers how to do it. Time to practise what I preach! Cheers, John.

  3. Jazmin Says:

    someone might have discovered Atlantis recently.. it’s possible because patterns of city-like streets and such are seen in google earth’s ocean in west Africa.. look it up it’s really interesting!

  4. John Larkin Says:

    Thanks Jazmin, I have checked it out thank you. The grid lines look quite interesting yet I understand that they are an artefact of the sonar mapping process.

  5. wayne wells Says:

    For some time i have studied images from google earth in central and south america.Australia,egypt and syria.I beleive i have found a number of intreasting sites which could be undiscovered ancient reiens.Most of the images comes from the thick mosso grosse rain forest in brazil.This area has very few villages and roads and seems like one of the last places on earth that has never fulled been exsplored.The most intreasting site was a large circle outline in the forest that seems to be about one kilometre wide.I found what looked like ancient buildings in the andies mountains.I have no idea what the large circle is.I have already copied pictures of theses areas from google earth and sent some to nasa.I have never received any reply from them yet.

  6. brian hall Says:

    Hey Wayne Wells, please state where this Brazil circle roughly is located, I would love to see it. Brian

  7. wayne wells Says:

    Hi Brian

    The cooordanates for that strange circle on google earth is
    11’33’15.32′south by 53’12’59.31′west at 29419 feet.The circle is between two rivers.You have to look carefully as the circle maybe hard to see.Since i found that circle last year i have found tonns of other strange areas all over the world including strange circles even here in tasmania.