Last fall, we showed you some satellite pictures of mysterious geoglyphs– squares, lines, crosses, rings and even a swastika that had been etched into the landscape of Kazakhstan by an 8,000-year-old civilization.
So when you look at picture of the giant T shape that NASA's Landsat 8 satellite captured in March from above the desert in the United Arab Emirates, you might wonder if it similarly was left behind by the ancients.
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As it turns out, though, the T is just an odd happenstance. NASA says that the letter shape is formed by greenery - for the most part, date trees - that were planted along a highway and the Liwa oasis. The green stands out startlingly because of the surrounding area's dusty brown coloration.
Liwa lies 155 miles southwest of Abu Dhabi, and about 62 miles south of the Arabian Gulf. It's at the edge of the Rub' al-Khali, AKA the Empty Quarter, a 255,000 square-mile desert that has more sand in it than the Sahara. As Lonely Planet notes, the area has an assortment of villages and farms - situated along the top of the T - in the midst of "endless landscape of undulating sand dunes, shimmering in shades of gold, apricot and cinnamon."
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It's such an exotic place that when Google needed pictures for its Street View database, it shot them with a camera mounted on the back of a camel. And if you think the T is odd, check out this Gizmodo blog post filled with even weirder geometric shapes in other satellite images.
Here's something that we found even more surprising. NASA actually has compiled an entire 26-letter alphabet from satellite photos, from a cursive-style letter ‘A' formed in rock by a river in Utah, to a ‘Z' that it detected in smoke rising over Canada.