The Best Accidental Images Captured by Google Earth

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By: Lilli Keeve | Published: Dec 13, 2022

We find Google Earth and Google Street View amazing. How awesome is it to zoom in on a street anywhere in the world and see cars driving and people walking? You can do this in any country, city, town, or village that Google has photographed. It’s literally the world at your fingertips. 

 

Because the camera snaps and moves on immediately,  it catches and shares some fascinating moments. Keep reading to discover the ones we found the coolest. 

Not so Secret Anymore

China’s Gobi Desert is vast, and Google Earth has photographed just about every square mile of it. Taking a closer look at the photo, you can see structures that look military in nature. It seems that they belong to a secret military installation that performs weapons testing.  

 

 

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Google Earth

Researchers have identified these as sets of Yagi antennae, which are used to track weather and the atmosphere. The antennae constitute the most complex structures in the Gobi and can be seen for at least 20 miles. But…are they actually weather satellites? What do you think?

Monkey Spa

Are these guys on vacation? They certainly look relaxed. Google Earth caught them soaking in a natural spring in Japan, so maybe they just needed a break from work and the kids. These beautiful creatures are Japanese macaques, also called snow monkeys, and the spa is a  natural hot spring.  

 

 

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Because Google happened to snap this image, we now know exactly where to find them if we want to hang out with them. But ask first and don’t just jump in; they’re not looking very friendly. If you can speak macaque, it might help.  

Something Doesn’t Look Right

This red pool of some liquid snapped by Google Earth at coordinates 44.486926° E, 33.396157° N near Sadr City in Iraq makes you wonder. What are they collecting? Is it supposed to be red? Do they know it’s red? Should someone warn them?   

 

 

 

 

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Live Science

Scientists who have seen this photo theorize that there is a high concentration of salt in the area’s water, which is an ideal breeding ground for algae. The algae are called Dunaliella, which can cause water to turn blood red. Now we know the answer….maybe. 

 

Protector of the Zoo

The image below is of a geoglyph, a large design created with natural elements, and yes, it is in the shape of the King of the Jungle. Named the Whipsnade White Lion and constructed in 1933, it is a majestic sight for someone flying overhead.   

 

 

 

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Google Earth

Mr. Whipsnade has an important job, as does any King. He is a visual reminder to pilots flying overhead to keep their distance from the attraction nearby – the local zoo. The noise from an aircraft is quite disturbing to the zoo’s residents. His Majesty serves his kingdom well. 

Excuse Me?

“Um, could you get that camera out of my face?” This cat on a street in Argentina is clearly miffed with the Google camera car, and if he could talk, he would ask it to move on because he or she seems pretty busy.  

 

 

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Google

It’s hard to figure out exactly how the camera was angled to get this shot, but unlike it does with humans, Google does not blur the faces of animals. So if you know this kitty, please explain that we appreciate its time and think it’s adorable.  

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Plane Sad

Ever wonder where old military planes go to die? It’s the Davis Monthan Air Force Base at the coordinates 32 0859.96″ N, 110 5009.03″ W.  This 2,600-acre graveyard for the aircraft, sometimes called “the boneyard,” is closed to the public. 

 

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Reddit | MarcoMtl

Even though you can’t visit in person (how great would it be to climb into these old planes?), you can take a high-resolution close-up look on Google Earth. From the close-up view, you can identify every kind of aircraft used by the U.S. military since World War II. These planes have served the country well, and it is sad to see them rusting away.  

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Not that Coooot

It is inevitable that knowing when the Google Earth folks are in the neighborhood; groups try to prank them by dressing up, posting signs, or making faces, hoping to make their own mark on the Maps website.  

 

 

 

 

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This particular prank was staged in Western Tokyo, probably by students at the nearby art school, Musashino Art University. Artsy and fun as they probably thought it was, we believe it will come across on Google Street View as incredibly creepy, if not downright frightening. Try again, kids.

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Airborne Bunny

We have to give this bunny credit – this guy can jump, and in this case, obviously much higher than the Google Street camera car. What luck to catch this talented animal in mid-flight, and what a surprise viewers will get if they check out that road on Google Maps. 

 

 

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Google

It’s nice to be reminded by this photo that Google Earth is not just a way for us to find streets but to witness nature and appreciate all of the creatures who share this earth. However, we hope this rabbit did not happen to land on the Google camera car – ouch.  

 

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Did Someone Call Batman?

A real Batman symbol exists on the island of Okinawa in Japan. According to Kadena spokesperson Ed Gulick, the distinctive bat symbolizes the home of the Air Force’s 44th Fighter Squadron, also known as the Vampire Bats.

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Apparently, no one actually knows who painted the bat on the roof. All we know is that it appeared in the 1980s. In Kadena, a similar artwork of a fighting rooster can be seen on the top of a facility that houses the 67th Fighter Squadron.

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High-Altitude Marketing

The world’s largest Coca-Cola logo – 50 meters tall, 120 meters wide, and made entirely of empty Coca-Cola bottles – can be seen in the desert near Arica in northern Chile. Because the logo is essentially a sculpture of monumental proportions, it can only be seen in its entirety from a distance of several hundred meters above the ground.

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Google Earth

“100 años” (100 years) is written beneath the Coca-Cola logo in celebration of the company’s 100th anniversary, which was commemorated in 1986. Perhaps they’ll create an even bigger structure in 2086! 

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Alone But Never Lonely

Tsukimi Ayano takes a different approach to loneliness. Reminiscing about her late father’s life while working alone in her mini garden, she began collecting straw to make a doll in his honor. A strange thing happened once the doll was completed.

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Google Earth

Tsukimi couldn’t stop. She began filling the village with dolls to fill the vacuum left by her lost loved ones. Each doll is a former acquaintance or family member. Her labor has continued for the past 15 years, with approximately 350 dolls currently residing in Nagoro.

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Perfect Dating Place

Cleveland, Ohio, has been identified as the location of a rather romantic environment. Upon closer inspection, you can see that this heart-shaped pond is part of the front entrance of a large property. It was most likely made by the homeowner as it is not accessible to the public. 

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Google Earth

This could have been a romantic location for a partner or lover because of the privacy afforded by the surroundings. In addition to the basketball court, they appear to have a forest that leads to a lake with an accompanying dock on their property.

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Hidden Identity

We’ve seen plenty of animals on this list, and their faces weren’t blurred. So what’s the deal with this cow? Perhaps she didn’t want her face to be visible on Google Street View, so the company disguised her image to conceal her identity.

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Google

Maybe this cow is in the witness protection program and must be shielded from view at all costs. Though all this conjecture is fun, we must apply Occam’s Razor and go with the simplest explanation: The cow refused to sign the paperwork agreeing to have her photo published.

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Froggy Photobomb

No part of this stunning landscape is going to make this frog feel like he has to share the limelight with it. The cute frog is determined to be the main attraction. He took advantage of the opportunity and turned this section of Google Street View into a tribute to himself.

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In this case, a Google Street View boat is being used instead of a Google Street View automobile, which is even more amazing. Stunning vistas of lakes and rivers can now be enjoyed – or obstructed by cute little frogs!

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Magnificent Moose

This moose crossed the road directly in front of the Google Street View car. In all likelihood, this photo was taken by chance. A lucky break came along for someone who happened to be at the right place at the right moment!

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Google

When your goal is to capture the entire planet, it’s inevitable that you’ll catch images of animals in their natural environments. We think this is a picture that should be framed. Those massive antlers are just stunning. That moose is magnificent.

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KFC Mapvertising

Many brands have become aware of the fact that people are spending a decent amount of time exploring Google Earth. Of course, it wasn’t long before massive advertisements began appearing in faraway locations for their viewing pleasure – a notion known as “mapvertising.”

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Google Earth

Earlier, we saw the world’s largest logo of Coca-Cola (built from 70,000 empty Coca-Cola bottles). An 87,500-square-foot image of Colonel Sanders – the KFC emblem – previously stood at 37.646163° N, 115.750819° W, right off Nevada’s Extraterrestrial Highway, but it has since been removed.

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Street View And Chill

When this herd of sheep grew tired of exploring the countryside, they chose to rest and enjoy the sunset. Or maybe, just maybe, they all agreed to meet there to watch the Google Street View car go by. Either way, it appears to be a warm and comfortable spot.

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Google

On a long trip, there’s nothing more frustrating than getting stranded halfway home because a herd of sheep in the road won’t budge. While other animals will generally budge when you honk your horn, sheep are entirely unpredictable. 

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Wall Climbing

This cat appears to be clinging to life by the scruff of its neck. We’re not sure what possessed it to conclude that it needed to scale this stone barrier. Is it possible that it was fleeing because a massive car with a camera on it was barreling down the road, and it needed to get away quickly?

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Google

It’s possible that this cat may climb back down after the car drives away, or perhaps it will just linger out on that wall for a while longer. It can’t be that difficult to climb up that stone.

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This Perfectly Preserved Crater

The Barringer Crater is the most well-preserved meteor crater on the planet. The meteor had a significant impact, with the crater it left measuring nearly one mile across, 2.4 miles around, and more than 550 feet deep. The meteor is located near Winslow, Arizona, close to Interstate 40 and Route 66.

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Google Earth

The crater formed around 50,000 years ago when a nickel-iron meteor measuring 150 feet in diameter slammed into the Earth’s surface. This giant space rock left us the Barringer Crater as a souvenir of its visit.

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Where Are You Going, Horse-boy?

Of all the bizarre things we’ve seen on Google Street View, this is perhaps one of the most outlandish. This man, who was photographed in Aberdeen, Scotland, has piqued the interest of people all over the world. In case you’re wondering, the controversy is about more than just the fact that he’s wearing a horse head.

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Dubbed “horse-boy” by the British media, people from all across Europe have been reporting sightings of the mysterious man in a horse mask. According to reports from the BBC, he has been spotted in Germany, Norwich, Norway, and Cardiff.

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Flock Of Birds

The number of birds in this photograph is impressive. A flock of hungry seagulls can be unrelenting when they find the perfect opportunity to feast, and this one has found it. Hopefully, they were able to secure enough leftovers to feed them all!

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Google

While this is reminiscent of a scene from a horror film, the truth is that it is simply a case of comically awful timing. You simply can’t ask a flock of seagulls to behave reasonably when you’re taking photos. The only tip we can offer is to avoid consuming food if you want to take good photos in the company of seagulls! 

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An Alien Bunker?

Two huge diamonds, each surrounded by a pair of overlapping circles, were discovered carved into the desert floor at Mesa Huerfanita in the state of New Mexico. According to author John Sweeney, the strange pattern marks the location of a subterranean bunker belonging to the Church of Scientology.

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Weird Google Earth

The presence of such markings on the desert floor, according to reports, is intended to assist these scientologists who have returned to Earth after fleeing a planetary “Armageddon.” Of course, the symbols will most likely remain a mystery for the time being.

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A Penguin Race

These penguins are on a mission to reach their destination. Although it appears that Timmy is in the lead, Charlie is closing in on him quickly. Little Paulie comes in sixth place. He’s having trouble keeping up, but with patience and perseverance, he might be able to catch up to the rest of the group.

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Google

We have no idea where this photograph was taken or which vehicle transported the camera to this location, but we are quite grateful that this photograph exists. Penguins are far too endearing to be ignored.

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How To Herd Sheep

Shepherds going up mountains with a walking stick are now a thing of the past. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are available to modern-day shepherds, whose job is still to care for their herd and to pick up any stragglers who may have become separated.

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Google

In this traffic bottleneck, we’re left wondering how the Google Street View car managed to get through. A long period must have elapsed between when the driver arrived and when the flock of sheep finally moved. Although it took a little longer than expected, the photo was well worth it.

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Pentagram Maze

A gigantic pentagram, approximately 1,200 feet in diameter, has been etched into the surface of the Earth in a remote area of Kazakhstan. The five-pointed star, which is enclosed by a circle, can be found on the southern bank of the Upper Tobol Reservoir.

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Reddit | zoomsixx

When viewed from above, the pentagram appears to be the outline of a park in the shape of a star; the star is denoted by roadways that have been planted with trees, which makes the shape even more evident in aerial photographs.

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Nice Meeting You

No one knows what happened, but this ostrich has gotten himself into a bit of a pickle. The car must have come to a complete stop long enough for the large bird to squeeze its head through the open window. That’s the only thing that makes any logical sense.

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Google

This photograph serves as a reminder that you should never stop and feed the animals. Once the ostrich discovered which car was transporting the goodies, it wouldn’t quit pestering the occupants. They had better give it what it wants in order for it to move along.

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Looking Pale 

Albino animals are extremely rare due to the fact that their bright coats do not provide good camouflage, making them more vulnerable to predators. Seeing an albino moose in the wild is so rare that it’s almost impossible to come by.

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Google

A Google Street View automobile happened to be traveling along this stretch of road at just the right time to catch sight of an albino moose in the wild. Have you ever seen the Harry Potter movies? This creature has the appearance of Harry’s stag Patronus.

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Another Ordinary Day

Passersby might be a little uneasy if they saw a man casually holding a huge gun that appeared to be loaded and ready for action. This would be true in most places on the planet. However, in Russia, life is lived a little differently.

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Imgur | Andewz111

Yes, a regular fellow handling a massive weapon on the street is apparently not a big deal in Russia. The people in this Google Street View image seem to be perfectly comfortable and not the least bit concerned. These guys are enviably calm under pressure! 

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Showing Off Your Skills

This seagull, like the monarch butterfly, found himself smack bang in the middle of a Google Street View photograph – and he did so while flying through the air. To accomplish this is no simple task. That delectable lunch he snatched from some garbage can or beachside cafe was on display when this seagull soared straight up to the camera.

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Google

The seagull should take advantage of this tasty treat while it lasts. Given the large number of seagulls that congregate near outdoor food vendors, we’re surprised there aren’t more images like this one available on Street View.

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Slow Down

This incredible Street View image shows a mother and her baby in a remote part of the world. We’re sure they’re both wondering what this strange mechanical creature is. In such a remote area, they may never have seen anything like this before. 

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What route did Google take? Did they provide the animals with any snacks? Did they take a detour and turn around? There are a plethora of options, and only one thing is certain: stay away from those horns!

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Highland Accident

A vehicle traveling down the coastal highway near Ardmair Beach made a false turn and ended up in the wrong place. Thankfully, the driver’s lack of awareness didn’t have fatal results. However, the accident was recorded forever on the internet thanks to a passing Google Street View car.

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The driver lost control and ended up in a ditch on the corner. The crevice was substantial enough that the driver didn’t roll down the cliffs. Fortunately, neither the driver nor any passengers appeared to be hurt.

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The End Of A Long Search

The body of a man who had been missing for nearly a decade has been discovered inside a sunken car that had been visible on Google Maps for nine years before being discovered. At the age of 72, Davie Lee Niles mysteriously disappeared in 2006. He had recently been diagnosed with depression and cancer.

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Wizzed

The mud-covered car was submerged in this pond, visible only to passing aircraft and anyone who happened to check it on Google Earth. The man’s skeletal remains were eventually discovered inside. His relatives gathered around the pond to express their condolences and honor him.

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I Just Want To Make Friends

Not all large fish are interested in converting divers into good meals. This massive sunfish simply wants to be buddies, as evidenced by Google Maps’ location. Do you think those divers are in danger?

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Google

This colossal creature is 100% harmless to humans. It would have been great for the Finding Nemo universe, and we’re actually surprised that one didn’t appear in the film. Maybe they’ll include our new best friend in the third film (if they create a third one, that is).

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Fly High, Hawk!

As the Google Street View vehicle drove across the snowy terrain, this hawk flew directly in front of the camera. It was strategically placed above the mountains in the distance. This photograph was taken completely by chance, yet experienced photographers spend years attempting to get images like this.

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Google

This is an example of one of those happy accidents that makes life worthwhile. With the appropriate timing and location, this hawk was able to contribute to an image that will be available online until the end of time or the end of the internet – whichever comes first.

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Just A Herd Of Buffalo

Before Google Earth, seeing a herd of buffalo from above was not possible for most people. Now, you can see a buffalo herd moving through the Kigosi Game Reserve in Tanzania thanks to Google Earth and this stunning photograph.

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Google Earth

If only we could perfect our David Attenborough impersonation, we’d be able to pretend that we were the hosts of our very own Planet Earth episode! We can’t wait for this Google Earth/ Planet Earth collab!

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The Resting Place Of A Massive Shipwreck

The SS Jassim, a Bolivian cargo ferry, ran aground and sank on the Wingate Reef, off the coast of Sudan, in 2003. It appears to be resting on its side, possibly in the same position in which it capsized. 

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Welcome To Earth Dude

It was previously one of the largest shipwrecks visible on Google Earth, measuring 265 feet in length and located at 19 38 45.99″ N, 37 17 42.17″E. The cargo ship is owned by Al Ramzani’s Sea Transport of Qatar.

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A Lone Monarch Butterfly

This small butterfly somehow managed to float right in the center of a Google Street View photograph. For us, any street with a monarch butterfly on it is a nice street, regardless of where it is located. The majority of these butterflies can be found in North America, but they are endangered due to habitat loss and climate change.

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Google

Their main source of nutrition is milkweed, which provides them with a natural defense against predators because of the poisons present in the plant. During the winter, all monarch butterflies travel south to warmer climates in Florida and Mexico, where they spend the majority of their time.

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Cross Road Test

What prompted the horse to cross the road? Just like the chicken, it seems the goal was quite simply to get to the other side! We’re not sure what this horse was looking for, but we’re quite sure she was attempting to get out of the path of the Google Street View car as quickly as she could.

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Google

She appears to have popped out of nowhere, a stunning pinto horse. The only thing to hope for is that she makes it back to the herd safely.

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Roaming Around

This ferocious cat stalking the streets in a metropolitan setting is actually a fake. Google Maps has been fooled by some pranksters, and now we’re laughing along with them.

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Google

You have to admit – this prank is probably a step up from the pigeon people we saw earlier. That looks like a real tiger! If you were fooled by it, don’t worry – we were too. We were completely taken aback when it first appeared on our computer screen! Thank goodness it’s just a clever prank.

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A Floating Forest

The SS Ayrfield has been everything from a cargo ship to a floating forest, and it is now permanently moored in Australia’s Homebush Bay. The ship is the most spectacular of these wrecks since it has magically developed a luxuriant forest of mangrove plants on its deck.

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Google Earth

The ship’s hull is slowly being eroded by the branches of the growing trees that have spilled over the sides since it was erected in 1911. This cargo freighter may have survived WWII, but nothing can stand in the way of nature’s advancing arm.

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Feeling Lost

We’re sorry if you wound up in the forest with a herd of elephants as a result of your Google Maps misadventures. The elephants, for their part, have no idea where they are heading. They were certain they had to go left at the big green bush and then right at the next green bush, but with green bushes everywhere, they soon became hopelessly lost.

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Google

If you find yourself in this location, you’re probably even further away from your destination than you were when you started. We were under the impression that elephants could never forget! What exactly are they up to? You simply can’t put your faith in anything in this world anymore.

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A New Best Friend For Humanity?

Most people agree that dogs and cats make the ideal pets, but this picture proves that we may have been completely incorrect all along. If you haven’t experienced the comforting embrace of an alpaca, you are truly missing out.

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Google

These creatures may not be the most domesticated critters on the block, but they are quite industrious and useful. Also, one look at this gentleman and his alpaca should be enough to convince you that they are fluffy, loyal, and adorable friends.

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The Floor Is Lava

The Floor is Lava is a rather self-explanatory game in which participants must assume that the floor is molten lava. You must avoid contacting the ground in order to avoid losing the game. Everyone has five seconds to get their feet off the ground after hearing someone call out, “the floor is lava!”

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Google Earth

Imagine playing this game on the edge of a raging lava cauldron! The volcano in this picture is located on an island in the Vanuatu chain, which is situated in the South Pacific.

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Yoga With A View

This photograph, shot in Whitstable, Kent, has gained widespread attention on the internet due to the presence of a woman who is seen doing something peculiar. She has clearly made the decision to take advantage of the great weather by doing yoga on the grass.

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Furthermore, the woman is clearly advanced since she is performing the splits. However, she doesn’t have a yoga mat, and there’s not another soul in sight. She also appears to have an admirer in that red car, which is slightly creepy.

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Are You Lost?

Is this dog hoping to be able to fetch something? Do you think it’s going to use the street as a restroom soon? We simply don’t know, and frankly, we don’t care – all we want is for the dog to return home safely.

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Google

This dog seems to be in a neighborhood, and it is clearly well cared for, so it is unlikely that it has strayed too far from its home. We hope this cute pup got off the road and headed back home to its family.

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Guard On Duty

This dog is so clever and such a good boy! He’s standing calmly outside his owners’ house, guarding them and keeping an eye on the strange car with the strange cameras. It is his responsibility to ensure that no one enters their home and that no Google Street View automobiles encroaches on their personal space. 

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Google

To look over the fence, he must stand on his hind legs, but this dog will do everything it takes to protect his family. Perhaps he was just putting on a show for the cameras.

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Firefox Logo

Firefox’s logo has been cropped into a stunning circle. A high-resolution snapshot appears to have been taken of this location specifically for Google Earth. The circle was erected by a group of Linux users at the Oregon State University. They completed the 220-foot wide circle in less than 24 hours.

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Google Earth

Complete instructions for creating the circle can be found on the website. At the bottom of the map, they have organized their cars in an “FX” formation. This stunt was done to commemorate the 50-millionth download of the web browser.

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Sleeping On The Job

This cute kitty reasoned that catching a nap on the roof of this car would be a smart idea. To be fair, that car does appear to have a bed built right into it. That looks like a nice safe place to have a sleep without being disturbed.

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Google

If that blue platform isn’t for cats to lay on, what is it for? We just hope the owner of this car double-checked the roof before driving away. Maybe that cat got a harsh awakening.

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Desert Artwork

This 1-million-square-foot spiral design, which is located in an Egyptian desert not far from the coasts of the Red Sea, is actually an art piece named Desert Breath. It is undeniably spectacular.

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Google Earth

Alexandra Stratou, Stella Constantinides, and Danae Stratou collaborated on this piece of art in March 2007, and it was intended to commemorate the desert scenery. Since the early photographs that can be found on their website, the magnificent creation has gone through major deterioration and no longer appears to be as neat.

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