Geographical fun

We have friends travelling in India right now. They’re nearing the end of a month long excursion, and with the terrorism happening in Mombai, I had to rectify my geographical ignorance and see how far away from Goa that might be, and whether I should fret about the possibility of them taking a day trip into the area.

They’re at a substantial distance.

But from there, I started wondering about whether there was any non-lived in land in India. It seems unlikely: it seems that India, Japan, and China have got to be brimming with people. Packed! So I looked at google maps and started zooming about to see what all that land looked like up close, and what the footprint of a whole lot of people in the developing world looked like from space.

I saw a lot of farmland. That seems right.

Then I saw a hole. 


I figured it was a volcanic lake of some sort; it looks like maybe. Very dark. Of course it’s looking back at me – you can see why it’d draw the eye, as it were … although from farther back, it looks more like a pimple.

The blue-green colour really drew me, being unique to the region around it. Plus, there’s an outcropping of red on the west side. What is that?

I suddenly was gripped with the desperate urge to understand this landmark. Where’d it come from? Was this like the devil’s tower in the badlands, an intrusion left behind after erosion of the rock around it? Was it a human made hydro and irrigation system? I had to know.

So, not *realizing* that under the more button, google would put up the wiki entry on this landmark, I took the nearest town (Lonai) and googled it. Found nothing but a Lonai in Pakistan, and I wasn’t there.

Then I googled the highways and points around. Learned some things about Indian highways.

Then: LonaR. John suggested this is probably a translation thing. This is a geographical feature near Lonar, and indeed they thought it was volcanic for many years.

But really, it’s Lonar Crater.

Some geology folks find this interesting because this crater’s like those you might find on Mars.

Are y’amazed? No?

I also found out that oxidized clay in the area is used for bricks. And that they don’t get a lot of foreigners, but those that come like to look at the crater. And that the women there are of the group of those skilled enough to balance all kinds of stuff on their heads that otherwise they’d throw their backs out carrying.


  1. I was in India 16 years ago, when there were (presumably) fewer people living there than there are now. And I was stunned, gobsmacked, at how MANY people there were, everywhere. There was not a single place, indoors or out, where there was no one else around. I’d never imagined anything like it.

    (I’ve been to the Taj Mahal Hotel, and I’m having trouble controlling my own agitation about it. Craters! Make an excellent distraction!)

  2. I love Google Earth. When we were planning our trip to Turkey, we did this, visually followed the road we would have to take out of Istanbul, using satellite photos. Saved us a giant headache later on, because we were able to understand and sort out a really weird intersection before having to navigate it in the car.

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