W, E, 3, M so what is it?

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So I was building a Google Map today and came across this via the satellite view. What is this? A set of containers? Buildings? And did they put them this way on purpose to spell out a letter or number? And if so what?

Zoom out with the minus-sign to see where it is on the slopes of Mauna Loa. If you grab the map and move around the surrounding area you’ll find all kind of other stuff. Military? Science stuff? Future resorts?

19º 36.934'N, 155º 36.788'W Elevation: 7,547 feet
19º 36.934'N, 155º 36.788'W Elevation: 7,547 feet

Above a a screen snapshot from the Google Earth view. To view in Google Earth you can get the .kmz file by clicking on this and opening the file with Google Earth. (you may have to right-click save): we3m.kmz

From the scale on Google Maps the height of the ‘E’ is 200 feet which would make each one of the white objects 25 feet in length.

8 replies on “W, E, 3, M so what is it?”

There is a set of trenches if you head farther north-west from this spot. Looks similar to the kind they have for military training. Or maybe it's some grand lava diversion plan in case Mauna Loa goes off? When the pahoehoe flow hits the 'E' it mean time to Evacuate!

Where's Andrew Cooper? I bet he would know.

Yeah I saw this browsing Mauna Loa myself a while back. It would be great to find out whats it about.

It's near the Army training area, I wonder when this satellite shot was taken? Get me the Lat/Long fix and next time I'm flying up that way I'll plug it in to my GPS and go have a look.


It looks like shipping containers, which are sometimes used for dwellings in Puna, so maybe it's for training in a Puna-style urban setting should the troops ever get called out to quell unrest.

Just kidding (I hope).

Looks like the army is setting up a training area with whatever they had lying around, not unusual. The arrangement looks like classic revetments, used to provide some protection to vehicles or parked aircraft when full shelters are not available. Easy to make, just stack something or bulldoze up some dirt. Only a direct hit will cause damage. If one vehicle is destroyed, the next one is protected.

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