EL GOUNA, Egypt, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- The strange spiral pattern of mounds and impressions looks like the crop circles of Europe, but reinterpreted for the desert landscape. And for the more conspiracy-prone Google Earth viewers, the spiral might resemble a landing pad for alien invaders or a vortex to another dimension.
But the pattern is actually an art installation -- one that's been confusing onlookers since 1997.
Almost two decades ago, artist Danae Stratou teamed up with two architects, Alexandra Stratou and Stella Constantinides, to bulldoze dirt into perfectly shaped piles and dig giant cylindrical holes in the Egyptian desert -- all in order to create a unique spiral shape spanning more than one million square feet.
Situated in the eastern Sahara desert near the Red Sea and titled "Desert Breath," the piece of art is meant to showcase the "the desert as a state of mind, a landscape of the mind," the artists write on their website.
The environmental art installation used to feature a bright blue lake in the center, but the arid desert and parched sands have since sucked away all the moisture. The desert winds have also slowly weathered the art's other features, and eventually time will erase the artwork entirely.
"The work functions on two different levels in terms of viewpoint," the artists write, "from above as a visual image, and from the ground, walking the spiral pathway, a physical experience."
[Danae Stratou] [Live Science]