Google Earth has put the world at your fingertips: from the Pyramids of Giza to the Great Wall of China everything and anywhere is just a click away, but even Google has its secrets.
news.com.au have reported a number of sensitive areas which are blacked out or hidden on Google Earth, and conspiracy theorists claim these sites hide sinister secrets.
Here’s a list of the hidden areas.
HAARP, Washington-Oregon border
The mysterious and secretive HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) was located near the Washington-Oregon border.
The US Air Force shut down the research facility – which studied an energetic and active region of the upper atmosphere known as the ionosphere – in 2014, however it remains blacked out on Google maps.
Conspiracy theorists have long believed that HAARP was a program designed to build a device to control the weather, while some have said it’s a UFO test site.
After the Haiti earthquake in 2010 the Venezuelan leader, Huge Chavez, claimed HAARP, or a program like it triggered the earthquake.
The secret city, Russia
Deep in the Siberian Tundra there’s an area that appears blurred out on Google and nobody knows why.
Back 1986, Russia claimed there were dozens of ‘closed cities’ around their country. These mysterious towns have strict travel and residency restrictions and specific permission is needed to visit them.
It’s thought that these towns are probably sensitive military establishments or secret research installations which need much more space or freedom than is available in a conventional military base.
These cities usually have mysterious numbers attached to their names, such as Arzamas-16, which was the home of the atomic engineers who put an end to America’s nuclear monopoly. Some have suggested this blurred piece of tundra may be one of Russia’s ‘secret cities’.
One writer on the website Siberian Light speculates it’s either ‘a radar station or missile interceptor,’ while another theory is that the image of the area has just been copy-pasted from another part of the country.
Portlaoise Prison, Ireland
Portlaoise Prison in Ireland’s County Laois is a high-security prison where the country houses some of its most dangerous criminals.
The prison isn’t blurred on Google Earth, but anyone who takes a look at the prison on the map may notice that the colours of the image don’t match with its surroundings.
This is because the view on Google Earth is of an old prison, believed to be a security precaution to stop people planning an escape from the facility.
The Faroe Islands, Denmark
The Faroe Islands are a self-governing archipelago, and a part of Denmark. They’re made up of 18 volcanic islands between Iceland and Norway in the North Atlantic Ocean.
Oddly, a large area of the islands is missing, including an old WWII military base on the island of Vágar.
No one is quite sure why parts of the Faroe Islands, home to 50,000 people, are pixelated, but news.com.au claim that it’s nothing exciting like a UFO base and is probably something to do with fishing rights.
Százhalombatta Oil Refinery, Hungary
When Google photographed the Százhalombatta Oil Refinery in Hungary they asked that the image be coloured green and have its building and grounds removed from satellite photos – but no one really knows why.
Even stranger, though, is that the green blocks out a field of grass with nothing on top of it.
Kangtega, known also as The Snow Saddle, is a huge mountain peak in the Himalayas, Nepal.
For completely unknown reasons the Saddle is blacked out on Google Earth, although it’s believed by some to be a simple glitch in the system.
The Volkel air base, the Netherlands
If you try and check out Volkel air base on Google Earth you’ll be sad to find nothing but a blocky camouflaged patch in the middle of the Netherlands, but they’ve got a good reason to keep the base secret.
The former Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers has claimed that the US store 22 nuclear bombs in the bunkers of the air base.
This includes incredibly powerful B61 thermonuclear bombs and a device said to be four times as powerful as the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
It’s believed that the nukes have been stored at the Volkel base since the Cuban Missile Crisis in the early 1960s.
Wikileaks also leaked a number of US diplomatic files mentioning atomic weapons being housed in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Turkey.
Valencia City, Philippines
A large chunk of Valencia City in the Philippines has been pixelated by Google, which some suggest may simply be an oversight on the tech giant’s part.
However, a number of people have raised suspicions that the city is the headquarters of the government’s missile defence program and is pixelated for national security reasons.
More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism.
Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV.
He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.