Sunday, 6 April 2014

'Secret Iranian base' photographed from a plane window?

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Many of my images of the Kavir salt Desert, in North Iran, look like sliced onions, giant eyes or the stripes of Jupiter when seen through a telescope. Most of these features were formed by the erosion of salt domes rising to the surface - the remnants of an ancient sea. There's little to suggest human activity other than a road which dissects the striking patterns of a salt dome in one of my photos. However one image really caught my eye. It shows some sort of man-made installation in the Iranian desert, far from anywhere. Possibly a military base. Could it be one of the mock-bases used for covert training in 2012 while 'Iran prepared for War', as mentioned in this article, or could it just be some sort of irrigation system?

I've found the GPS coordinates for most of my aerial photos on Google Earth, and based on the geology and the route my plane was taking I believe that this 'secret base' is at GPS coordinates 34.935538, 54.436137. Go to this spot on Google Earth it is hidden under a small patch of cloud. Go closer, and there is still no sign at all of the base - either it wasn't built at the time the satellite images were captured (Google Maps say that these images are recently sourced from Digital Globe and Astridium), or it's purposely been removed. Whatever the story, I find it fascinating to see the Earth from above and understand both the natural and human made features that adorn out planet.

For more of my 'planescapes' please visit my photography website:

My aerial photograph taken through a plane window. The 'base' is clearer visible.
 The Kavir salt desert showing the location of the base (Image: Nasa)
 The base covered by a small patch of cloud (Image: Google Earth)
Closer still, and no sign at all of the base (Image: Google Earth)