acquired June 22, 2019
- Landsat 8 - OLI
- Data Date: June 22, 2019
- Visualization Date: December 23, 2019
Since a pilot first noticed Marree Man in 1998, the mysterious work of earthen art has attracted international attention. Etched into a plateau in South Australia, the artwork depicts a hunter with what appears to be a stick or boomerang in his hand.
Spanning 3.5 kilometers (2.2 miles) from top to bottom, Marree Man is a geoglyph—a design made from earthen materials that is so large it is best viewed from above. An example of an even larger geoglyph is the Nazca Lines in Peru.
For many years, Marree Man, named after a nearby town, was a prominent feature in Landsat satellite images of the area, but the lines faded over the years. By 2013, they were hardly visible in the natural-color images acquired by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8.
In August 2016, local business owners, concerned about the loss of what had become a tourist draw, decided to restore the fading geoglyph. With accurate GPS coordinates for the original in hand, they used a construction grader to redraw Marree Man over a period of five days.
The restoration team thinks the updated geoglyph will last longer than the original because they created wind grooves, designed to trap water and encourage the growth of vegetation. Over time, they hope vegetation will turn the lines green. The OLI acquired this image of the feature on June 22, 2019.
Who created the geoglyph and why has long been a topic of controversy and remains unknown, despite the recent announcement of a cash reward for credible information about it. There are indications that an artist living in Alice Springs may have created Marree Man, though other clues suggest that the creator may have been an American.
References and Further Reading
- ABC (2019, August 24) An outback enigma. Accessed December 23, 2019.
- Atlas Obscura Marree Man. Accessed December 23, 2019.
- BBC (2018, June 26) Marree Man: The enduring mystery of a giant outback figure. Accessed December 23, 2019.
- Expedition Australia (2016, August 20) Marree Man geoglyph returns in outback South Australia. Accessed December 23, 2019.
- Spatial Sources (2018, March 21) Marree Man: A mystery rendered in earth. Accessed December 23, 2019.
- The Advertiser (2018, October 21) Alice Springs artist Bardius Goldberg created the Marree Man, another friend says. Accessed December 23, 2019.
- The Guardian (2018, October 21) Giant Marree Man makes a comeback in South Australian outback. Accessed December 23, 2019.
- U.S. Geological Survey (2017, January 10) Marree Man Geoglyph in Australia Does Reappearing Act. Accessed December 23, 2019.