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[Comments] (9) : I was Google sightseeing (they just put up the first decent-resolution satellite photos of the whole world that I've ever seen) and I noticed something weird in Libya. It looks like the Black Pit of Doom. Now that I've seen it I can find the same feature on other, much larger-scale satellite maps. I'm almost positive it's a real geographical feature and not a picture of a solar eclipse or something, but I can't find any information about it on the web. I tried the geographical name search engine for that latitude and longitude, and nothing it found seemed to match. What is that thing? It's creeping me out.

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Posted by Nick Moffitt at Thu Jun 23 2005 01:37

My guess is that it's a patch of land where the optical spectrum cameras never got enough passes, and all the data is from some other recording device, like doppler radar or an infrared pass. Perhaps there were sandstorms during the crucial window when the satellites weren't watching Ghaddafi eat breakfast, so they settled for second-best.

Posted by Lionfire at Thu Jun 23 2005 02:17

A giant pillar of smoke casting a shadow?

Posted by Brendan at Thu Jun 23 2005 07:39

And here I was convinced that somebody spilled a drop of ink on the picture and tried to wipe it off with a sleeve.

Posted by Adam P. at Thu Jun 23 2005 08:41

Striking - a great find.

Posted by Leonard at Thu Jun 23 2005 10:33

Sean, how did you find that page? That's got both the satellite photos I saw. Did you go from the assumption that it was a volcano or use some other search engine trickery?

Posted by Sean Hunter at Thu Jun 23 2005 12:24

I work with some really amazing people. I posted your url on our internal messaging system and within 5 minutes someone here sent the link I posted.

Posted by Leonard at Thu Jun 23 2005 12:30

That is pretty amazing. I just now submitted it to Google Sightseeing, so hopefully soon the world will know.

Posted by Tim May at Thu Jun 23 2005 14:01

I suspect someone guessed it was a volcano - that page is #1 on Google for 'libya volcano'. Plus that's probably what I would have done. You can see something caldera-shaped glimmering in the darkness on the satellite image, so it's a pretty reasonable guess.

Here are some ground-level pictures

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