Mysterious Structures Shown In Chinese Desert By Google Earth Stump Former CIA Analyst

China Satellite Base

[credit provider=”Google Earth via Wired” url=”″]

Do you know what is being shown in the above image? If so, you may be doing better than an ex-CIA analyst renowned for the analysis he does by satellite images.

Last month Allen Thomson discovered a vast structure via Google Earth. It sits in the desert near Kashgar in southwestern China. Despite Thomson’s long history of satellite analysis (he’s discovered other secret buildings in China and even bunkers in Iran), the former spook has no idea what this structure is.

Noah Shachtman of Wired’s Danger Room is now on the case, and is asking readers to contact him if they know what is behind the enormous building. Right now the best theory seems to be that it is some kind of site for rare earth mining.

You can see more of Thomson’s satellite images — with dates and notes to show the timing and scale of the structure’s construction — over at Wired.

UPDATE: Stefan Geens, a Google Earth blogger who has some experience of the area, argues its nothing much to get excited about and there is definitely no grand conspiracy, just more of China’s usual rapid and grand construction.