Antarctica is one of the most unlivable and remote places on the globe. Its gigantic size has fascinated humans for decades, and some people do not hesitate to explore the massive continent using public cartographic tools like Google Maps. One of these curious minds has discovered a mysterious luminous rectangle a few hundred kilometers from the coast.
A surprising find
In 2018 Antarctica had become the best mapped continent in the world. Researchers at the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center at Ohio State University have indeed produced the most detailed map ever made to date. The researchers had then compiled thousands of HD photos collected by satellites over the previous six years.
However, a user did not need such a map to make an astonishing discovery. The latter simply used Google Maps to explore the surface of Antarctica and spotted a luminous rectangle measuring approximately 20 km long by 8 km wide. The screenshot below shows the coordinates of this surprising find.
Bug or not bug?
After verification, this rectangle is in the part claimed by Australia, approximately 500 km from the coast. The site is also located approximately 1,500 km east of the part claimed by France: Terre Adélie. In this region, we find the Dumont-d’Urville base, a French scientific base that can accommodate 30 to 40 people in winter.
How to explain the presence of this mysterious rectangle? In any case, the theories are not lacking! For example, there is talk of “camouflage” aimed at concealing military installations. Others believe that this is a simple bug, as Google Maps has dozens of them and not only in Google Street View.
Doubt is allowed
If the bug theory seems the most likely, we should nonetheless remain skeptical. In 2019, there were reports of an island in Siberia deliberately hidden in Google Maps. The island in question, Jeannette Island, is officially attached to the Republic of Sakha (Russia). It would not appear because of the controversy involving its legitimate ownership, a question of geopolitics dating back more than a century!
In any case, there is indeed a short list of prohibited areas, blurred or deliberately camouflaged on Google Maps. For example the famous Zone 51 (United States), the ancient ancient city of Babylon (Iraq) or even the whole of North Korea!