Curiosity in the desert

It is not often we see perfect triangles in the desert from space. Anybody know what this is?

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Keith Minto
May 13, 2011 12:12 am

To help migratory birds, or lost pilots ?

Lawrie Ayres
May 13, 2011 12:14 am

Chariots of the Gods. Landing areas for alien craft. The folk in Surprise are in for a surprise. Where’s your imagination?

May 13, 2011 12:17 am

Nazca lines?

May 13, 2011 12:19 am
Keith Minto
May 13, 2011 12:22 am

A marital aid ?

May 13, 2011 12:23 am

My first thought was that it was a watermark on the image, but you can zoom in real close see that it’s really there.
Seems to be one kilometre on each side – so probably Napoleon finally taking over the New World. Expect 10-day weeks with only day 10 off soon.

May 13, 2011 12:25 am

There is also an axial marking down the center of each clearing that comprises a side of the triangle….somewhat enhanced, it apears, by vehicular traffic.

May 13, 2011 12:31 am

This site explains the weird triangles very nicely. Not so much UFO as IFO.

May 13, 2011 12:32 am

…Not to mention what looks to be an immense three-lane oval race track about seven miles due west.

The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley
May 13, 2011 12:35 am

Obviously used though. If you look on Google Earth you can zoom in and see tracks, especially to the top left. There appears to be an area there where vehicles evidently leave at different points. Obviously it’s in continual use for something or other, though I just know some will readily lean toward something sinister or alien when it will just turn out to be something boringly earthly!

May 13, 2011 12:43 am

If it was Egypt it would be simple.

May 13, 2011 12:51 am

Mike – that would be the Toyota proving grounds

May 13, 2011 12:51 am

Warning! Global warming ahead! ??

May 13, 2011 12:55 am

Apparently it is one of several auxiliary airstrips built for Luke Air Force Base during World War 2.
The link below has the details and more photos of them.

May 13, 2011 12:57 am

At first I thought it was an airfield.
But there is no surface station

May 13, 2011 1:00 am

The former Tactical Air Command, which IIRC was rolled into the Strategic Air Command, used equilateral, triangular airfields, usually with a bisecting runway as training and navigation waypoints. Similar fields used to located around the Sacrmento region in California including one at Lincoln and another at Franklin. There were others as well.

May 13, 2011 1:09 am

Another couple of partial triangles can be seen at +33.71°, -112.42° and +33.72°, -112.53°.

Dodgy Geezer
May 13, 2011 1:18 am

@Mike Bromley says:
“…Not to mention what looks to be an immense three-lane oval race track about seven miles due west…”
That is actually a clue. This was going to be a NASCAR center some years ago, but about that time the Europeans started commenting about American racing cars not being able to turn corners. So the developers took note of this, and told their builders to build another racetrack a few miles to the East, with at least three tight corners…..

David Mellon
May 13, 2011 1:18 am

I found four more triangles all in the area west of Phoenix. The coordiantes are:
33.703778,-112.417946 (demagnify for kicks and giggles)
Three of the six are associated with old or abandoned airports.

May 13, 2011 1:29 am

You can zoom in and see details of this abandoned military training airfield.
Luke AFB Auxiliary Airfield #4
West Patton Road & Ogden Road
This field was also known as “Wickenburg Field” (which could lead to some confusion with Echeverria Field, which was actually located in Wickenburg).
Wickenburg Field (#4) had three 4,000′ x 300′ runways, and was “built during the period July – August 1942.
Luke Aux #4 airfield was apparently closed at some point between 1956-66, and the property of this field was apparently transferred to the City of Phoenix.

May 13, 2011 1:37 am

It’s a warning triangle for extraterrestrial traffic:
Watch out, CAGW-planet. Only solar-powered spacecrafts allowed to enter atmosphere.

May 13, 2011 1:59 am

Triangles in Native American symbolism usually referred to the Tipi, or temporary homes. Is it pointing towards Pensilvania

May 13, 2011 2:01 am

There are at least 4 of them; the one shown plus three in an orientation 90-degrees from the other. I’m inclined to go with “Duster” here. A leg of one of the triangles serves as the runway for a small airport, so it seems reasonable that would be the original intent.

Steve C
May 13, 2011 2:14 am

Wait ’til they add the All-Seeing Eye to it, then you’ll know it’s the NWO!

May 13, 2011 2:15 am

Those triangles were made by an early secret cult which fought against the (then) consensus that the square wheel was the only proper wheel. This determined cult of skeptics was out to prove the superiority of their design – the triangular wheel – which eliminated one bump.
Sadly, that society was wiped out when invaders using round wheeled chariots swooped in and massacred the culture in one great, tragic battle.

May 13, 2011 2:20 am

An invaluable resource and my first port of call …
Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields

Joe Lalonde
May 13, 2011 2:28 am

The triangle looks imposed over the picture. The terrain is still visible through the triangle and the center of the triangle is still pretty rough terrain like the rest of the area.
Maybe a new secret government base in the works??? You think?

Mike McMillan
May 13, 2011 2:28 am

Looks to me like one of the many WW2 training airfields dotted all over the western US.

May 13, 2011 2:31 am
John Gorter
May 13, 2011 2:31 am

This way up!

Mike McMillan
May 13, 2011 2:33 am

Yup. Flying between LA and Houston, I used to count them, close to 20 as I recall. A number of them were right triangles.

Brian D Finch
May 13, 2011 3:38 am

Roman roads?

May 13, 2011 3:41 am

A racetrack from the future?

Alistair Ahs
May 13, 2011 3:57 am

Is it big enough to prove the curvature of the Earth?

May 13, 2011 4:43 am

That link has a second example. The second one has a housing development that was recently build over top of the old air field. Using Google Maps, I zoomed out from the first one to find the second 17 miles south east in a town called Surprise. I could see the entire triangle. As I zoomed in, the pictures suddenly got newer and showed the housing development. — John M Reynolds

May 13, 2011 4:52 am

I see that TerryS hit the thread here and enlightened y’all!
I was not certain, many of the training and auxiliary airfields of that era were triangular in design so that runways could be used in varying wind conditions, at least when the terrain would allow it.
I had also thought that perhaps they were US Cavalry positions from the late 1800s Indian campaigns. Regimental size units often setup in triangular positions, each battalion occupying a leg. The precise compass lay would be rather typical of Westpointer type thinking.

May 13, 2011 5:03 am

Gaia, using the universal symbol, “YIELD”

John of Kent
May 13, 2011 5:14 am

“TinyCO2 says:
May 13, 2011 at 12:31 am
This site explains the weird triangles very nicely. Not so much UFO as IFO.
Could be airfields, in which case- are there any poorly cited weather stations there? 😉

May 13, 2011 5:20 am

There are pyramids in my head
There’s one underneath my bead
And my lady’s getting cranky
Every possible location
Has a simple explanation
And it isn’t hanky-panky
I had read
Somewhere in a book, they improve all your food and your wine
It said, that everything you grow in your garden would taste pretty fine
Instead, all I ever get is a pain in the neck and a
Yap yap yap yap yap yap yap
I’ve consulted all the sages
I could find in the yellow pages
But there aren’t many of them
And the myan panoramas
On my pyramid pajamas
Haven’t helped my little problem
I’ve been told
Someone in the know can be sure that his luck is as
Good as gold, money in the bank and you don’t even pay for it
If you fold, a dollar bill in the shape of the pyramid that’s printed on the back
It’s no lie, You can keep the edge of a razor as sharp as an
Eagle’s eye, you can grow a hedge that is vertically straight over
Ten feet high, all you really need is a pyramid and just a little luck
I had read, somewhere in a book, they improve all your food and wine
I’d been told, someone in the know can be sure of his good luck
It’s no lie, all you need is a little bit of pyramidic help
(Alan Parsons Project, “Pyramania”)

Lonnie E. Schubert
May 13, 2011 5:20 am

Abandoned air field as detailed above. Also, the huge oval is cool.
Thanks for making me think.

John Silver
May 13, 2011 5:25 am

Here’s another one: 46°21’11.48″N 84°48’49.70″W
and this one is connected to a UFO story.
I will say no more.

Terry W
May 13, 2011 5:39 am

Baseball with only 3 bases.

May 13, 2011 5:46 am

The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley says: Big Jim, I don’t know if kids today could afford the fuel, but in my boyhood it would be covered with burnout marks from all the drag races we’d be running. And the infield would be full of blown-up jalopys.
Come to think of it, I couldn’t afford the fuel to run that hemi now, either.

May 13, 2011 6:07 am

Airfields. There is another one in town, integrated with Wittmann airstrip. 33.718548, -112.528532.

Robert Hooper
May 13, 2011 6:18 am

You can see the outline of a plane just to the west and slightly north of the triangle base. Basically straight up from the southwest corner.
Two things are proven by the photo:
Greeks beat the Vikings to the continent.
Greeks had airplanes.

May 13, 2011 6:18 am

For Nature as Artist, fly to 32.4117, 93.4696, eye altitude 25 km. It is in Tibet, with the most beautifully artistic patterns of gorges and snow. Fly around and zoom up and down, it’s stunning. (Turn off roads, places, boundaries etc to get the rawest image).

May 13, 2011 6:41 am

Watt is it?
My view would be that it is a three sided figure with equal angles of 60 degrees and is called an equilateral triangle;-)

May 13, 2011 6:42 am
May 13, 2011 6:48 am

Clearly Aux Airfields

Jeff Carlson
May 13, 2011 6:54 am
R. Craigen
May 13, 2011 6:55 am

If you zoom in on Google Earth, you’ll find the well-defined image of what appears to be an older-style small aircraft with a 10 m wingspan, about 200 m NNW of the precise southwest corner of the structure. Peter, above, identifies it as an old WWII airfield, so this is no surprise. The plane is evidently not in use, as can be inferred from the lack of ruts around it — except for a curious bluish smudge forward of the plane that does look a lot like wheel marks. I wonder what that represents? I’m thinking it is the remant of some sort of rail an unpowered plane could be mounted on and moved around on the site.
If you view this from an elevation of 500 m in Google Earth and adjust so that the triangle is in the bottom left of your screen, two other interesting man-made structures are visible: Circle City, which is a small town deliberately laid out to look like a crop circle, which is about 10 km NNE of the triangle; and the Chrysler proving ground, which is a (vehicle) driving range laid out in various geometric figures, found about 14 Km ENE of the triangle.

May 13, 2011 6:58 am

I’m guessing it’s a telescope array on a mountain.

David Madsen
May 13, 2011 6:59 am

I’m going to join with the abandoned WW2 airfields crowd. You can see another triangle just East of the one shown where a more modern (but equally abandoned) airfield has been constructed. My Google Earth has an icon designating this 2nd field as an auxilliary airfield to Luke AFB.
Some comments have been made regarding the Toyota Proving grounds. Those show up West of the triangle in question. Also in the general vicinity, I found the Chrysler proving grounds (NE of Wittmann) and the Volvo Proving Grounds (SE end of abandoned Luke AFB Aux Airfield).

Bob Johnston
May 13, 2011 7:00 am

Obviously more funds will be needed to study the phenomenon…

May 13, 2011 7:01 am

Old airfield seems likely….there is an abandoned plane just off the south-west corner:
33°44’36.52″N, 112°38’25.54″W

R. Craigen
May 13, 2011 7:20 am

Hmm, I missed a few things.
For one thing, viewing altitude for the above experiement is not 500 m (I’m reading Google Earth wrong), it is 12 km.
10 Km ESE of the triangle is another triangle (a right-triangle) found as part of an active airfield. Two Km beyond that is the Volvo proving ground, also geometrically pleasing though less interesting than the Chrysler one.
Another right-triangle that is probably related to an older air base can be found 20.5 Km ESE, a little northward of the two above features.
The Phoenix raceway can be found just NW of the Volvo track, but is less impressive than both the Chrysler and the Volvo facilities.
There is a lovely Dam site 10 Km SW of the triangle, but Google Earth doesn’t label it, even though it looks like a pretty significant structure.
The Chrysler proving ground is twice the size of the Volvo one, but there is yet another oval at least twice as large again (it’s long diagonal is almost 7 km), containing another, more “challenging” track, located 15 km due W from the triangle. This is surely another proving ground (Ford or GM maybe?) but the track is cryptically labelled N. 303rd Ave., which I take to be someone’s joke.
20 km due N of the mystery proving ground is another triangle, but this one is different in nature: Los Cabalerros Golf club, with the fairways contrasting green against the dry Arizona landscape, and laid out in a triangle.
Gotta watch it, this could get addictive…

Mike from Canmore
May 13, 2011 7:21 am

It’s a picture of a triangle.

Rick Lynch
May 13, 2011 7:47 am

The “center line” in the surprise triangle is very definitely a street. You can see it on Google streetview.

Rick Lynch
May 13, 2011 7:50 am

As I look at it again, the street is not the center line, but there is a street that nearly bisects the triangle.

May 13, 2011 7:55 am

My educated guess, assuming this is not; photo-shopped imaging or a fake, and assuming we have shifting magnetic poles . . . that these triangles are for “triangulation is the process of determining the location of a point by measuring angles to it from known points at either end of a fixed baseline, rather than measuring distances to the point directly (trilateration). ”
In order to make our GPS’s work . . . “better, faster and more accurately” . . . If they are not, being used for that . . . . They should, could be!

May 13, 2011 7:59 am

One idea is that the universe is just a huge computer simulation ….. looks like a scroll bar!

May 13, 2011 8:18 am

Seems somehow connected to this.

William Abbott
May 13, 2011 8:27 am

All the bomber training bases built during the second world war in Nebraska look pretty similar to your desert triangle. There were at least half a dozen. Most are now municipal airports. I immediately correlated it visually with runways. The lack of hanger or structures? Maybe an auxiliary field at an old air base – nothing stationed there just a place to go and practice landings and take-offs?

May 13, 2011 8:37 am

EternalOptimist says:
May 13, 2011 at 12:57 am
At first I thought it was an airfield.
But there is no surface station

There doesn’t appear to be any nearby asphalt or A/C units to increase the temperature, so why would they put one there?

May 13, 2011 9:08 am

It is either a Masonic symbol pointing to a Knights Templar site or a touch and go practice landing strip. Or put there by a geometry obsessive compulsive.

Douglas DC
May 13, 2011 10:02 am

The US Navy built literally hundreds of them in WW2 they seemed to prefer triangles more than the Army did. Both did however. Aux fields, training bases. Madras, Oregon is a good example. So was Pasco Wa. until a major revamp back in the early 70’s.
Corvallis Oregon, too as I recall… The Army built Madras, btw…

Kelvin Vaughan
May 13, 2011 10:06 am

It’s a device for removing co2 from the atmosphere. One side extracts c and the other sides each extract o.

Brandon Caswell
May 13, 2011 10:12 am

They are airfields. A handy layout as they allow you to always take off or land into the wind, no matter what direction it is.
There is one about 10 miles from me at and The building is gone but there is an old bunker underground, not sure if it is actually explorable. It was part of a training facility in the area during ww2. This is actually the smaller second base, the main one is still being used as our city airport.

Robert A
May 13, 2011 10:17 am

‘Captain, if you look at it at 100X magnification you can see cigarette butts left by the sentries – this just has to be man made.”
“So let me see if I got this right. A twenty million dollar computer tells you that you got a triangular geographic anomaly but you don’t believe it and you come up with this?”
‘But Captain…”
“Relax Jonesey, you sold me, we just got to phone this in. If I get close enough, can you track it?”
REPLY: Yes but the triangle is neither Red, nor evidence of it being made in October – great book and movie BTW – Anthony

May 13, 2011 10:22 am

It’s a secret Mason’s base.

May 13, 2011 10:31 am

Zoom in:
If you REALLY zoom in, you can see an abandoned airplane off the lower left corner…

May 13, 2011 11:17 am

Well, the former auxiliary airfield crowd seems to have it, which spoils my fine detective work. If you look just to the east you’ll find Patton Acres and Patton Estates, and just to the south is Patton Road, so naturally, I figured this had something to do with the triangular patch of the 2nd Armored Division. Brilliant (if I do say so myself,) but evidently wrong.

May 13, 2011 11:26 am

Wittman Auxiliary Army Airfield #1, Glendale, AZ
33.72 North / 112.53 West (Northwest of Luke AFB, AZ)

May 13, 2011 11:38 am


May 13, 2011 12:11 pm

Erich von Daniken planted it.

Dave Bob
May 13, 2011 1:24 pm

This was a fun one.
Growing up in Phoenix in the 50’s & 60’s, I remember my father telling me about the old military auxiliary dirt fields with triangular shapes. I think some were even shown on Arizona roadmaps.
And to R. Craigen’s comment:
“This is surely another proving ground (Ford or GM maybe?) but the track is cryptically labelled N. 303rd Ave., which I take to be someone’s joke.”
…It does seem silly, but 303rd Ave isn’t a joke. It’s based on the Phoenix street numbering system, so it would be about 37 miles west of Central Ave.
I think there is an interchange on I-10 labelled 411th Ave, just in case 303rd isn’t absurd enough for you!

May 13, 2011 2:16 pm

I’m impressed. The WUWT crowd had this NAILED in a day!
Way to go WUWT readers and commentators.

May 13, 2011 2:33 pm

Hard as I look can not see it, where is it now?
For real, check google, they are gone now.

bob paglee
May 13, 2011 3:29 pm

A base for a three-sided pyramid by an ancient Egyptian non-conformist who worried that more carbon dioxide emanating from all those mummies in conventional pyramids would cause the Nile to stop its green life-supporting farmland floods?

May 13, 2011 4:59 pm

Supplementary Question.
What is the feature with many roads leading away from it, just NW of the triangle, 33.753461 -122.635644
This is much harder.

mike g
May 13, 2011 5:54 pm

Old airfield.
OK. What the heck is this? I’ve asked some old-timer helicopter pilots from Fort Rucker and they just give me a blank stare.,-86.827698&sspn=0.549415,0.850067&ie=UTF8&ll=30.366655,-86.06329&spn=0.017514,0.026565&t=h&z=15

May 13, 2011 6:15 pm

Abbotsford INTL Airport looks similar, but bigger.
49°01’27.77″ N 122°21’55.94″ W
Punch them babies into GE and behold the wonder!

May 13, 2011 6:18 pm

BTW, CYXX is where I learned to fly a glider and several fixed wing aircraft while with the Royal Canadian Space Air Cadets. 😎

May 13, 2011 7:43 pm

An overlay on the image, it’s too precise. More like it was added as a map reference of some sort.

May 13, 2011 8:18 pm

mike g says:
May 13, 2011 at 5:54 pm OK. What the heck is this?
It is part of a plantation forest that was clear felled about year 2002.
Did you know that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle chose “Sherlock Holmes” as a name for the great fictional detective, having first considered “Sherrington Hope”? Strange, but true.

May 13, 2011 9:00 pm

I thought it was the first proposed site for the Pentagon, back before all the post-war inflation.

The Expulsive
May 14, 2011 7:50 am

Not only is it an air field, likely for touch and go and use as a crash field, they were oriented in a specific manner so that airmen could get an idea of direction. Where I live there are five in close proximity built by the British for bomber training. Some fields used a triangle to allow pilots and airborne units to more accurately train for jumps and drops, and for bombardier training using targets. Mountainview is still in used, with airborne units dropping equipment and men into the areas between the runways from Hercules and Skyvans

Laurie Bowen
May 14, 2011 8:06 am

mike g says:
May 13, 2011 at 5:54 pm “”OK. What the heck is this?””
Looks like some kind of surface mining operation . . . . maybe for “clay”, phosphates, or something similar . . . at least to me . . . maybe a freshly tilled area for replanting.
Do you know how long it’s been there?

mike g
May 14, 2011 1:28 pm

@Laurie Bowen
I’ve been wondering what it is for a couple of years.
@Geoff Sherrington
Could be, as you say, “a plantation forest clear cut in 2002.” But, around here, they don’t waste any time replanting.
Interestingly, it disappears as you soom out. It could be it is a recent clear cut like Geoff says and the zoomed out picture is older than the zoomed in pictures.

Charlie Foxtrot
May 14, 2011 8:35 pm

Appears to be Luke Aux. 4. See the last picture at the very bottom of

Mike M
June 25, 2011 11:28 am

It’s three runways in a triangular shape simply so no matter what direction the wind is coming from, the pilot can land without ever having more than 30 deg crosswind.

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