Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/07/19/huangyangtan_mystery/

Chinese black helicopters circle Google Earth

Mystery military project wows the crowd

By Lester Haines

Posted in Media, 19th July 2006 08:35 GMT

Those among you who like your skies darkened by black helicopters are invited to mosey on down to the remote Chinese village of Huangyangtan which hosts what must be the strangest military installation ever spotted by the Google Earth Community:

Strange goings-on in Huangyangtan

Zooming in for a closer look, we have what appears to be a 900x700m scale model of a mountainous landscape...

A closer look at that Huangyangtan project

...complete with lakes, valleys and snow-capped peaks:

Revealed: a vast landscape

Truly bizarre. Google Earth aficionados can examine the evidence for themselves here (.kmz) while wondering what on Earth, or where on Earth for that matter, this remarkable landscaping project is.

Don't, however, spend the next three days scouring the world's mountain ranges trying to find a geographical match: the legwork has already been done for you by this enterprising Google Earth Community member who correctly identified the model as representing this disputed area on the Chinese/Indian border.

Here's a comparison of the Chinese model and the Google Earth image of the region in question...

...while a closer look reveals the meticulous attention to detail:

It's clear that a huge amount of time and resources has been invested in this perplexing scale model, which incidentally represents an area of around 450 by 350 kilometers. The big question is: why?

The only sensible explanation we can come up with is that it's a training aid for pilots - possibly helicopter jockeys - designed to familiarise them with the landscape should military action ever be required.

No doubt you lot can come up with some better suggestions, but while you ponder this mystery keep one eye open for the black helicopters of Huangyangtan. ®

Bootnote

Thanks to Ken Welch for the tip-off.