Physicist claims China's mysterious desert grids most likely mining related

An immense chessboard-like grid which mysteriously appeared in the deserts of China's Xinjiang province several years ago could be the result of exploratory surveys for nickel.

NBC reports that the grid was first noticed by foreign observers in 2010 when physicist and amateur archeologist Amelia Carolina Sparavigna from Italy's Polytechnic University of Turin was using Google Earth satellite images to study sand patterns created by the wind, as well as search for long-lost byways of the historic Silk Road.

During her searches Sparavigna stumbled upon a mysterious chessboard-like grid of dots in the middle of the desert. The grid was around 4.8 miles in length and unmistakably man-made.

According to Sparavigna subsequent research has determined that the grid is most likely the result of geological surveys for nickel reserves, which the Chinese media recently revealed exist in great abundance beneath the sand dunes of Xinjiang province.

Sparavigna has already become somewhat of a satellite image buff, uncovering patterns in Peru in 2011 which she claims were geoglyphs. The Italian-based physiciast now advocates the creation of a database of satellite images of man-made featuers, as "it can anticipate mining activity and development of a region."

The odd grid in Talkamkan Desert is merely one of a considerable number of strange, man-made formations which satellite imaging has uncovered in China's remote western reaches.

Image courtesy of Google Maps