The objective of this incredibly hard game is relatively simple: Locate the picture below on Google Earth using nothing but geological clues. If you don’t like to play or consider Google Earth to be a huge waste of time, just ignore this post. It’s WoGE time!

Here’s how the game works: (taken from Ron’s page)

“For those of you who may be unfamiliar with WoGE (who dat?), the object is to search Google Earth until you find the tract of land pictured below. Once you’ve found it, identify its latitude and longitude in the comments to this post and do what you can to describe the geological significance of this area or the landform in question. The winner (first person to post the correct location and geology) will have the honor of hosting the next WoGE competition on their own Geoblog. If you haven’t won (recently) or have just been thinking about starting your own geology blog it’s a great chance to win a little exposure among your colleagues and the bragging rights that go with that. If you’re getting bogged down or just want to take a break from searching, consider taking a tour of past WoGE localities – the list is getting quite impressive. ”

More on the rules on felix’ blog:

If you don’t have your own geoblog, no problem- just ask a geoblogger to kindly host it for you.

Laste WoGE at – again – reynardo’s place featured part of the Blue Mountains in Australia, which I had the pleasure to visit a few years back.

So, new one.

As you can see, the view is slightly tilted and north is again unknown (yeah, call me a bastard) – but don’t be fooled by the scale, it measures exactly the polygons it is superimposed on. The length of the visible river portion covers roughly 2.6 miles / 4.2 km. No vertical exaggeration. No Schott rule this time.


Posting time: 11:00 UTC

Update 1:

Ron is right, it is a little early to give real clues. After all, previous WoGEs have sometimes been stalled for several weeks. Still, I would like to show you this: It is more of a focus on the geological niceties than a useful hint. Some of the geometry was obscured in the previous tilted picture. Have fun!


Update 2:

I’ll admit, this is harder than I expected. So without any further ado, two more vantage points from roughly opposite directions – this time including the horizon and cardinal directions (on a side note: shadows in Google Earth almost always point towards the poles as most of the images are taken during noon).


Look closely – they reveal quite a lot! Happy hunting everyone 🙂

Update 3:

I’ll just post these two. The location is on the north end of a huge basin, which was indicated in one of the previous clues. The distance to the mountain range on the horizon is approx. 100-140 miles.


If this remains unsolved (which I hope it won’t), I will post the name of the country in 3 days and the location itself in 1 week and yield back the next WoGE to the previous poster, Gilian/reynardo.

Just a few words:
I’m getting a feeling that people aren’t too happy about this WoGE #268 and how it is developing. Where on Google Earth has always been a fun game that can quickly turn into tedious work if you get a feeling you might be “this close” to solving it. The last contests have usually been solved in a matter of a few hours, something that some were annoyed by as they often came too late to the party.

So I deliberately chose a very tough location – but I guess I overshot it (and my handling of the situation) and would like to apologize for that. On the other hand, as an outsider, I cannot see where the problem is. Is it the 3D perspective? The small scale? The ambigous geology or vegetation? Bad choice of clues?

Even if you don’t want to play, I would like to invite everyone for a few words of open criticism to improve the overall Wogeness. Please speak your mind!

(Send commentary by clicking “Kommentar abschicken”. The checkboxes are unimportant)

Kommentare (23)

  1. #1 Ole Sumfleth
    9. Februar 2011

    Oh, I just realized that a clue is in the picture for directions. Easy 🙂

    Btw: click “Kommentar abschicken” for abschicking your Kommentar!
    The checkboxes are unimportant.

  2. #2 Gillian (Reynardo)
    11. Februar 2011

    Clue for directions in the pictures? *peers closely* AH! Got it! There’s moss on the sides of the trees away from the sun! (And the hiker under the trees on the left has his compass out and is pointing the way)

  3. #3 Felix Bossert
    11. Februar 2011

    @Gillian: LOL 😀

  4. #4 Brian
    12. Februar 2011

    I’ve found a couple places on the planet with terrain and vegetation that are VERY similar, but not this exact spot.

    This is a tough one!!!


  5. #5 Ole Sumfleth
    14. Februar 2011

    Yes! I finally managed to stall the Wogers! Hooray!

    @Gillian – there is something visible on the side of the trees, but it’s not moss 🙂

    I am compelled to give hints, but I guess the best thing would be to post another view from top. So unless someone solves this before, I’ll post a hint tomorrow 11 pm UTC

  6. #6 fj
    14. Februar 2011

    Aber holla, das hat’s in sich. Immerhin, mal ne Chance, wieder mitzumachen und nicht dauernd zu spät zu kommen. 😉

  7. #7 Felix Bossert
    14. Februar 2011

    I would say, the visible thing at the side of the trees is the shadow. As the layers of the mountains (sediments) are pretty often tilted away from the source of the incoming force (tectonic), and the shadow most of the time goes to north or south, we can assume that the direction of the tilted sediments and the upper branch of the river is east-west. We are not looking at a extremely old river valley, so we can assume a younger orogen. This would rule out the Americas and of course Africa. Hot candidates would be the European and Asian orogens. The only problem is: I did not find it all there…. Maybe someone added some alien planet to GoogleEarth?

  8. #8 Ron Schott
    15. Februar 2011

    I don’t think the orogen is as youthful as Felix seems to suggest. I spent a lot of time looking around Pakistan and India and while I can’t rule out a young orogen, I suspect this is from something a bit older.

    I’ll add some observations of my own, at the risk of helping out my competition.

    I find it remarkable that there’s no evidence of roads or other evidence of human land use at this scale – especially in a river basin. I’ve all but eliminated Europe based on this criteria. Wherever this is, it seems to be a very sparsely populated region.

    Curiously, the river seems to be sediment-rich, but not braided. Not sure how much to read into that. I wanted to start looking downstream of areas with recent glaciation or slope failures, but most of the qualifying areas seem to be more rugged topographically than this scene.

    I’m stumped, but very definitely enjoying it. I’d urge Ole to hold off in posting a clue while there are still fresh comments indicating active searchers – just my two cents.

  9. #9 Ole Sumfleth
    16. Februar 2011

    Still nothing? Wogers, I am disappoint!


    A few hints: It’s not in Antarctica and not in Australia.

  10. #10 Ron Schott
    18. Februar 2011

    I’m ready for more clues. The joy has gone out of searching today.

  11. #11 Felix Bossert
    18. Februar 2011

    Last night I posted the same thing as Ron, looks like it disappeared in the spam filter. On my “blog” you can see 60% of the area I’ve been looking at.

  12. #12 Ole Sumfleth
    18. Februar 2011

    Alright, – sorry for being a condescending dick before. I know how frustrating and tedious this can be after a while.

    O.k., clue coming up tonight 11 pm UTC, or in 10.5 hours

  13. #13 Ole Sumfleth
    20. Februar 2011

    1 more clue coming up tonight.

    Hope someone will be able to solve then ^^

  14. #14 Gillian (Reynardo)
    20. Februar 2011

    So I go away for a few days – and you lot haven’t solved it yet? Sheesh!

    Ole – I’m impressed. Well done on something that looks so interesting yet hasn’t been picked. (And yes, I knew how to pick by the shadows. Now if only you’d included the odd penguin or two…)

    On a desperate hoping-for-a-hint note, would the word “gate” come into the name of this place by any chance?

  15. #15 Ole Sumfleth
    21. Februar 2011


    Cheers 😀

    To be frank, I know zip about this place. I’m not even sure the river (at least this part of it) actually has a name.

  16. #16 Gillian (Reynardo)
    21. Februar 2011

    Don’t sweat it, Ole. About time these smug rockhounds had to work for an answer 🙂 I think it’s awesome that you’ve managed to stump us for so long.

    And as soon as I’ve been soundly defeated by my mother in the Settlers of Catan marathon she’s insisting on, I’ll be on that Google Earth and have you pinned 🙂

  17. #17 Felix Bossert
    21. Februar 2011

    41°23’N 73°08’E Kyrgyzstan.
    River flowing parallel to Mountain Range east-west trending. River cutting through sedimentary (sandstone?) Range, no fault in the cut-through. “Soft” layers being eroded quicker, “hard” layers being elevated somehow. During time the river has been “sliding” down the “hard” layers of the mountain. South side steep north side less steep.

    Ok this is just a quick shot in my lunch break. In the european evening I’m going to dig somehow deeper. At least we are over it.

  18. #18
    21. Februar 2011

    my comments do not show up…

  19. #19 Felix Bossert
    21. Februar 2011

    Ole: thank you for your Woge and trying to find a way to make the challenges more difficult! Someone had to try smaller scales, so now we know how difficult they are. Generally spoken it might be a good idea to try to get a WOGE being solved within a week by giving clues after 5-7 days. After a week it gets a little bit hard to keep the motivation high.

  20. #20 Felix Bossert
    21. Februar 2011

    According to this fantastic map:
    the area consist out of Silurian to Permian rocks. 20 km to the north of our location is the major large dextral “Talasso fergana” fault. To both sides of the fault are smaller ones and I think our east-west valley is one of these small faults. The shape of our valley is pretty sharp at the bottom. As Ron mentioned, the river is not braided, even with the amount of sediments in it. I would assume, that as the valley is likely a trust fault, the bottom of the valley is “moving” too quick, to allow the valley to get wider and the river braided.

    The mountains are in the greater Tian Shan Mountain System:
    The major fault I was refering to, is the major large dextral “Talasso fergana” fault.
    At this site we can read, that the mountain range is kind of older, so Ron was perfectly right in his guess of an older orogen:

  21. #21 Ole Sumfleth
    21. Februar 2011

    Hey! Great job! 😀

    I actually found this place while looking for one of the previous WoGEs and I couldn’t find much info on it on the web (it really seems to be in the middle of nowhere).

    The fault geometry is somewhat weird in that place, it doesn’t seem to be very consistent.

    Again, kudos for digging up quite a lot on that place – WoGE 269 is all yours!

  22. #22
    21. Februar 2011

    WOGE269 is on my “blog”

  23. #23 fj
    22. Februar 2011

    Ah great, someone solved it. I was completely lost. I’ve come across that area several times (It had to be around there!), but from farer away, I didn’t recognise it. 🙁

    Ole, you asked why it took so long. From my experiences, it wasn’t the 3D perspective, and the clues did help a bit (e.g. the snow-capped mountains to the south). My problem was that I expected that those pronounced, weathering-resistant ridges (Is that the correct English word?) would extend for a longer distance, out of the field of view. (Similar to Lost Geologist’s nice WoGE of the Bayerischer Pfahl.) So I looked for longer, parallel linear features and didn’t zoom in enough.

    I agree with Felix that it was a good idea to make WoGE a bit “harder” by using bigger scales. (I think Felix wanted to say “bigger scales”. 😉 )

    It will be a bit diffcult to select a small area that is however in a way typical for the geology around it; otherwise there might be just to little information to find the concrete spot.