Google Earth spots a lot of unusual things and now two researchers say it has found El Dorado, the legendary “city of gold” that sent Spanish explorers on expeditions to South America for 200 years, starting in the 16th century. The Spanish destroyed several indigenous civilizations in their quest for gold.

Researchers Martti Parssinen and Alceu Ranzi believe that the geometrical structures they have discovered deep within the Brazilian rain forest, by scanning Google Earth images of deforested portions of the Amazonian jungle, suggest that the area they found could have supported a large Pre-Columbian civilization of nearly 60,000 inhabitants. The UK’s Times Online quotes Parssinen as saying, “[Ranzi] understood they weren’t natural structures. He realized they must have been made by indigenous people,” so Parssinen got in a plane and flew over the structures himself. He says, “When I saw the shapes then, it was an amazing feeling. All the old theories said that this area of the Amazon could only ever have supported hunters and collectors. No one believed that a large civilization could have existedthere. We realized that this discovery could change history.”

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