Thursday, July 7, 2022

Who left these circles in the Sahara, visible from Google Earth?

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Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

Deep in the Sahara, far from any cities, roads or other signs of life, is a row of markers in the sand† There are dozens of them stretching for miles in a straight line in central Algeria, each consisting of a central point surrounded by a circle of 12 nodes, like numbers on a clock. And when we started making this video, nobody seemed to know what they were.

Maxar Technologies

We first saw the circles back in September 2021, after finding a Reddit post on r/WhatIsThis with coordinates asking what the circles could be. With only two upvotes and two commentators, it wasn’t exactly a lively discussion. But it was fascinating to see the circles themselves on Google Earth: they were eerily perfect in their shape and regularity, but so deeply isolated in the desert. We were addicted to finding an answer.

So we decided to make a video where we tried to solve the mystery wherever it took us. We’ve documented every step of the process – from Zoom calls and screen captures from web browser to vlogs and field shots — to show the reporting process from the inside out. We spoke to historiansgeographers, and professors. And when we knew to the maximum of what we could learn on the internet, we handed this story over to a team in Algeria to work it all out.

You will find the entire library of cafemadrid’s videos on our YouTube channel

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