Geology rocks. Pun very much intended. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move on to the hardcore things that make up the bedrock of what Bored Panda is all about — beautiful pictures that are hot as lava. Please excuse my dad jokes.
A geologist named Will is known for collecting and uploading amazing shots he finds on Google Earth. Some of them are very peculiar. Others are breathtakingly gorgeous. But one thing is for certain — all of them are worth seeing. Scroll through our list of Will’s amazing discoveries, upvote your favorites, and rock on. Let us know what you think of the geologist’s pictures, and after you're done, look through Bored Panda’s other list of amazing Google Earth finds.
"A fort in Lille, France. I love finding forts while exploring. Star forts are an easy to spot shape. I esp. like finding forts in the middle of cities."
"This is a private island on the coast of Maine. The bridge has a gate, and the house overlooks a shipping lane in Penobscot Bay. I'd spend all day watching boats, drinking wine, and telling the world to fuck off."
"It looks like an abstract painting. My first thought was a huge archeological excavation site. Turns out that was wrong. These pits are used in a very old fashioned salt extraction operation."
Will goes by the user name geologistsmakethebedrock on Imgur, where he uploads most of his finds. The geologist from New Orleans told Bored Panda in an earlier interview a little bit about what he does: “I tried to find interesting examples of geologic processes to use in lecture presentations. That’s when I started gathering screenshots of cool stuff for myself. Then I decided to share some images on Imgur because my wife was tired of me making her look at them and listen to my explanations."
"A very sinuous river. This is a good illustration of how oxbow lakes form. In the middle of the image you can see where a meander loop is being actively cut off."
"A real live oasis!. Not all of these tracks are from cars. The smaller ones must be animal."
"Here is a perfect meteor crater. It has a very nice raised rim. I bet if you mapped out the lake bed you would see a central peak too."
"One tip to find interesting geology things is to look for symmetry or patterns in landscapes. Most symmetry is from human activities, but certain geologic processes can create semi-symmetry," the geologist said.
The geologist also wrote on Imgur that he really likes to “peruse Google Earth looking for cool things. My captions either come from basic internet research or my guess about what's happening.”
"I couldn't find anything about this strange place. It's a huge, planned settlement near Namibe, Angola. It seems to have been constructed around 2013-2014. It also appears to be uninhabited due to no vehicles. Does anyone know anything about this place."
"The circular reflections of these waves is cool."
"This is Assamakka, Niger, a community that appears to be fighting a losing battle with the sands.It's easy to see the prevailing wind direction here."
Most of us use Google Maps and Google Earth to find our way to where we need to go. Because nobody likes getting lost when they’re in a rush. But there will always be people like Will who see an opportunity to use something functional to find things of beauty.
Google Earth first appeared many years ago, way back in 2001; it’s not a kid anymore, because it turned 18 this summer. Yup, Google Earth can now legally vote and get married.
"I recently read the book, "Skeletons on the Zahara." It tells the true story of some US sailors who wrecked on the NW African coast in 1815. It sucked for them. I wanted to see if I could find a ship wreck. I figured a desert coast would preserve metal wrecks well. It didn't take to long to find this one in NW South Africa. It looks like a modern ship, and sure enough it wasn't there in 2003 (the oldest picture available)."
"This is the Lakeview neighborhood.
1 day after Katrina."
What started as a simple project quickly grew in scope to provide ultra-detailed images of our planet. But that’s not all! Did you know that Google’s project to create 3D representations of Earth eventually grew into something spanning the cosmos? That’s right, there are such things as Google Moon and Google Mars. I mean, how amazing is that? We’re hoping that Will decides to look for awesome finds on the Moon and on Mars, too.
"This is some sort of reservoir in Belgium. I've never seen an octagonal pond before. I wonder why they made it that way."
"A park in Pyongyang, North Korea. Someone at Google in going to be in hot water with the glorious leader."
"A lake somewhere on the Tibetan Plateau in summer and winter."
"Some huge gates protecting Rotterdam from the North Sea waters. What an amazing feat of engineering."
"Atolls: Hot spots not only punch holes in the crust, but the also raise it up and heat it. As the plate moves away, it cools and subsides. The mountains also subside, and also erode. If the mountains are formed in a tropical climate a reef will form around it's edges. If the coral growth can keep up with the relative sea level rise from the subsidence, then the reef will survive while the mountain sinks and eventually disappears below water level. If that happens you will get a circular ring of reef with an open lagoon in the center like the atoll above. At one point there was a volcano in the center of that lagoon. It's a cool example of biology and geology interacting and biology winning, so to speak."
"A volcano poking up out of the South Pacific. I'm not sure if this one is growing or eroding away. Seems like the rich people in boats are having a good time."
"When she wants to go to pound town, but you can only take her to..."
"The Zambezi River downstream of the falls. That's a very unusual path for any river."
"I've never seen this saw-tooth pattern on a beach before."
"While looking up that lava flow in New Mexico, there were some maps showing some nuclear bomb test sites nearby. This must have something to do with that. I'm fairly sure this is the sight of the first nuclear detonation."
"The shadow of a mountain."
"A glacier flowing out into a lake. The presence of a connecting stream suggests the 2 parts of the lake are at different levels. The glacier made an ice damn. That's pretty cool.
A river trying to do the same thing in another lake."
"I think this is a coal fired power plant in Egypt. Lookin a little nasty."
"The dark green lines caught my eye because they didn't make sense. My guess was that they were logging roads, but then why are they more vegetated than the surrounding fields?
Going back in time. They are certainly logging roads. I guess different plants grew on the churned up roads, thus the different colors seen in the last image."
"This was a pit of an optical illusion. At first it looked like a pyramid, but the coastline is a bluff, so it must be the inverse of a pyramid. My guess is an abandoned evil villain's mansion."
"More ships near Tombua, Angola. These might have been intentionally abandoned. They were also not here in the 2003 pics."
"A tug boat working barges on the Mississippi River in my home state to Louisiana (USA). Each rectangular barge is ~195 by 35 feet (59.4 m × 10.7 m)."
"I've always been intrigued by these small boggy pond things. Then often have a "spearpoint" shape and share a common orientation. I don't know why they do that.
Oil wells positioned between those funny ponds."
"These are landlocked ships from the drying up of the Aral Sea."
"Image 1: Cool old forts around Antwerp. They look like a maple leaf.
Image 2: More of the forts. There is a large line of them. Presumably they were once around the outskirts of the city, but are now very much incorporated. The flat side with the "stem" is facing the enemy. I've never seen forts built like this
Image 3: These 2 were blurred by GE. I've seen this with military properties in Europe. I wonder why just these 2 were blurred. I wonder what goes on there..."
"Icebergs and meltwater mixing with seawater.
More of the same. If you stare at the water long enough it seems like you are staring through trees are the night sky."
"The coast of Belgium. You can plainly see the long shore current at work here. It's flowing from the NE to the SW. The rock walls are there to slow the transport, and potential removal, of sand."
"Some muddy water mixing with some slightly less muddy water. This is in my home state of Louisiana (USA)."
"These are some very cool cinder cones in southern California. I wonder which direction the lava was flowing."
"An active volcanic island in the Pacific Ocean. Look at the beautiful basaltic lava flow on the SE corner. This was the result of an eruption from late 1952 to 1953."
"This might look like an imaging problem, but it's actually patterns of logging in Northern California (USA). I'm not sure why they do it this way. It must have something to do with limiting the area that's clear cut at any one time."
"The Bay of Fundy has the largest tidal ranges in the world. We can clearly see the tidal currents at work here."
"Bay of Fundy. I'm guessing these are enclosures for fish farming."
"Belgium, these bunkers look like they were part of the German Atlantic Wall."
"Platte River with some clearer water. It's such a pretty braided river."
"An unnamed (on GE) village in Namibia. It looks uninhabited, but it could just not have any cars to leave tracks. The tracks could also just be covered up by blown sediments. It could also be a seasonally inhabited fishing village."
"This is in the Punjab region of India. It seems like every inch of land here is planted, except for this part. I can't find any info on this place."
"That's certainly rock, not water. Must be a lava flow. Turns out it's pretty recent too, ~5000 years old."
"This is not the famous "Eye of the Sahara," but another exposed geologic dome.It seems like the road is more of a suggestion in this region. All of those lines are tire tracks."
"When image stitching goes wrong. I don't think that belongs there."
"A cruise ship watching ice break away from a glacier. I've been on one of these cruises. This was my favorite part of the trip."
"A marina in Monaco. There are few yachts here. The longest one in this picture is only ~250' (75m). Lame."
"The Nile River Delta. Don't the cities and towns look a lot like those watering holes in Botswana?"
"These are weird. I've never seen sand dunes in this pattern."
"This has to be the most braided braided river I've ever seen."
"This is a glacier in Switzerland. The dark colored parts are caused by sediment being exposed on top of the ice. The regularity of the banding suggests it's caused by something pretty cyclic, like the seasons. I don't know which conditions would make more exposed sediment. It looks kind of like an upside down snake."
"This is a tiny island off the Libyan coast. GE includes some bathymetry data for most ocean basins, but it is not very high definition. Here we clearly see a reef in the photo, that doesn't show up in the light blue part (bathymetry data). If we zoom out, you can just barely see the reef"
"This is a huge peninsula on the coast of Western Sahara. Looks like a large community on the tip. Wrong. It's all boats. That's a lot of boats."
"An alpine glacier. The black lines are sediment sitting on top of the glacier. Glaciers are really good at eroding."
"Point Hope. This has got to be the most isolated place ever."
"I wonder what totally legal activities are happening on Homebrew Island... I guess we will never know."
"Awesome sand dunes. The spice must flow."
"The trans-Alaska pipeline crossing a river colored by rock flour.
That same river entering another river that's clouded with grayish sediment."
"The island is called Nggela of the Solomon Islands. If you go looking for it, turn off "places" or the quest will be spoiled.
Another ship wreck near a small village of the same island"
"A relatively older wreck on Baia dos Tigres (whatever that means). Sand migration is moving the shoreline away from the wreck."
"This is an incredibly boggy area in Siberia. There is an oilfield in the NE corner. Image trying to travel across this in the summer... I guess an airboat would be the only option."
"Where the Badlands National Park meets the prairie in South Dakota (USA)."
"I'm fascinated with the man made sand islands in Dubai."
"Another cool volcano in the Pacific. I don't know if it's trying to grow out of the ocean, or eroding away."
"The Atlantic Mid Ocean Ridge: The largest mountain ranges in the world (the various mid ocean ridges) were not discovered until after WWII! The navy funded many sonar studies to better understand subsea hazards. This data gave geologists the missing pieces to finally understand how continents moved. The resulting theory of plate tectonics answered innumerable important geologic questions that we take for granted today. All of this stuff happened fairly recently too. I know a few older geologists who were not taught plate tectonics in college. The image above is cool because we see the offset/stair-step nature of rift zones. Why transform faults? Well, the rifting of oceanic crust is a very brittle operation. It can't just move apart along a straight line. The rift has to accommodate curves from the spherical nature of the Earth and the curved nature of continental crust boundaries. The transform faults are how that curvature is dealt with."
"Some clouds and their shadows. The top one looks like a jumping rabbit."
"Some deformed rock formations."
"Channels made by ocean currents."
"This might not look like a very impressive delta, but it is. This was the home of Dick Proenneke, a homesteader who was immortalized in the documentary series "Alone in the Wilderness." The river is called Hope Creek. His cabin was just to the north of the mouth."
"Looks like some strong ocean currents right there."
"Summer vs. winter on the southern coast of Prince Edward Island, Canada."