"soccer ball" patterns, Sheridan county Montana
While doing GIS work for my job, I came across 4 odd soccer ball shaped patterns in the fields/marshes of Sheridan county, Montana. Unlike the usual checkerboard patterns one is acustomed to seeing, these are only 420' x 320' in size, and appear quite black. Though it could be burned areas, the water in this general area is black in the photos as well, leading me to believe the unaffected areas are raised and the black areas are flooded. For what purpose I have no idea, and the pattern is remarkably regular and each of the four individual grids are completely identical, as if they were stamped out by a giant cookie cutter.
I'm seeing them on the 2005 NAIP photography, which is likely the same photo source for this area that Google Earth uses, though I'm unable to check it, not having a recent copy of GE available here at work. If I'm correct about the patterns being made by raised and lowered terrain, they should show regardless, unless a drought were to dry up all the water in this area.
These coordinates will lead you right to them... 104^ 16' 32.541" W; 48^ 30' 37.816" N.
I'm sure it is probably some type of agricultural deal, but something I've never seen before. Or possibly something to do with the petroleum drilling that is also common in this area - but I could see where, at a glance, someone might think it was the burn patterns of an alien spacecraft larger than a football field.
Just a guess, but I'm thinking has something to do with wildlife habitat. Maybe that area is breeding grounds for the endangered spiny horned lizard dart eagle and those islands were made to give it more favorable breeding conditions.
Never thought of that. I just figured agriculture or dewatering for petroleum drilling.
My college advisor specializes in wildlife habitat, I can ask him about it. I can also check the landuse layers I have at my disposal and see if these parcels are indeed on land reserved for nature conservation.
Thanks for the input!
Update! These areas are indeed on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Lands, so the habitat theory seems likely.
these patterns look like they are irragiation systems that rotate from a central point ... they have big wheels about 8' dia ... there should be more found in dry areas in the USA and Canada