Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Google Earth: Interesting Finds From Above

I've been doing some research from above and have come across interesting finds. As I discover these, I'll be happy to share them. Here's just some recent ones - 

Quartzsite Rock Alignment

A huge compass and a 100-foot-long name "Quartzsite," with arrows, is spelled out with rocks on the desert. In 1945, Patton's Army Air Force would fly from Quartzsite over the mountains to practice bombing. To help find their way back to the airfield, this alignment was drawn. It points directly to the old airfield southwest of town, with mileage. The compass helped them find the bombing range. Apparently a lot of the new pilots got lost and this guided them back home! The rock layout is in perfect condition and is pretty cool to see, considering it's over 70 years old.

Giant concrete arrows around the US. I ran into one of these in Casa Grande, Arizona and wondered about it. Apparently, there is a story behind this.

Early navigation:  Every 16 km, pilots would pass a 21 m concrete arrow on the ground that was painted bright yellow. At the center of each arrow there would be a 15.5 m steel tower, topped by a million-candlepower rotating beacon. Below the rotating light were two course lights pointing forward and backward along the arrow. The course lights flashed a code to identify the beacon's number. If needed, a generator shed at the tail (or feather end) of each arrow powered the beacon and lights.

Intaglios:  Blythe, California and the Bouse, Arizona areas have Intaglios, ancient ground shapes like those found in Nazca.

1 comment:

  1. About the Quartzsite Rock Alignment...common misconception it being from WWII. Even I thought that until I started digging deeper for a presentation I gave about it. It's actually much older than that. Don't know who constructed it, but it was for the early airmail/airline pilots. Navigation was not very good, and planes unreliable back then. In the early 20's, the Post Office directed that routes be laid out for aircraft to follow so as not to get lost. These routes were marked by concrete arrows on the ground, flashing beacons, writing on buildings and other types of markings. This was an airfield for these pilots to land in case of emergency in Quartzsite (and there was also Conner Field, where the WASP's flew from). That's what the numbers in the sand pointed to. There's a description for it in the 1931 Commerce Department, Descriptions of Airports and Landing Fields.
    It was located SE of the current I-10/Hwy 95 intersection, and Conner Field (where WASP's trained) was located SW of the same intersection.

    Quartzsite airfield was dropped from aircraft sectionals (maps for pilots) after 1938. Conner Field was renamed Quartzsite Airfield sometime in 1947, so the arrow once again pointed to an airfield named Quartzsite.

    Hope this helps!

    Rick Jackson