Where are these dragon-fin-esque hills?
June 19, 2010 5:59 PM   Subscribe

Shot-in-the-dark-filter: On a recent flight going from L.A. to Denver, I noticed a very unusual landform, but I can't find it anywhere on google earth. Specifics within.

There's a long stretch of dry-looking, arid ravines and small mountains b/w where the mountains end outside of L.A. and where the Rockies begin. Roughly halfway through the flight (the flight was two hours, and I noticed this one hour after we took off), there was a very green valley that looked to run North and South and had a series of very sharp, defined hills that looked like the back of a Stegosaurus (though not diamond shaped -- kinda flat on the top, but equally spaced).

It was tough to gauge distances from 30,000 feet, but I'd guess this valley was several miles long, with the interesting hills running nearly the entire length. The other thing I noticed was that there appeared to be a road running down the valley... although it could've been power lines or a railroad. That's all I know.

Anyone know what I'm talking about?
posted by bjork24 to Grab Bag (17 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Part of me wants to say Vasquez Rocks, but this is too close to L.A.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:08 PM on June 19, 2010

Here's my real guess -- Bryce Canyon.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:10 PM on June 19, 2010

Response by poster: I forgot to mention that I was on the left side of the plane, so my view was primarily North of the flight's route.
posted by bjork24 at 6:11 PM on June 19, 2010

Response by poster: Cool Papa Bell: After looking at those two from google earth, neither look like what I saw. I did notice Vasquez Rocks during the flight though, and, like you said, they were much closer to L.A..
posted by bjork24 at 6:13 PM on June 19, 2010

What airline? I know that Alaska has their coordinates online in real time. Perhaps your flight had this as well?
posted by Jazz Hands at 6:14 PM on June 19, 2010

Response by poster: I should also note that the symmetry of these hills made them almost look man-made, and they were BIG. I imagine from ground level they'd look like kind of like Cahokia Mounds.
posted by bjork24 at 6:16 PM on June 19, 2010

Response by poster: Jazz Hands: it was a United flight.
posted by bjork24 at 6:17 PM on June 19, 2010

The area west of Zion is really, really jaggy. You may have actually been looking down the Virgin River valley.
posted by notsnot at 6:37 PM on June 19, 2010

Grand dikes of the Spanish Peaks?
posted by Confess, Fletch at 6:43 PM on June 19, 2010

Response by poster: Those dikes are awesome, but not what I was seeing. Also, I'm not seeing it along the Virgin River valley.
posted by bjork24 at 7:06 PM on June 19, 2010

Best answer: You should be able to plot the route of your flight on FlightAware. A free account gives access to tracks from the past four months, IIRC. That might help narrow your search area.
posted by Nothlit at 8:26 PM on June 19, 2010

On a flight from Atlanta to San Francisco, seated on the left and looking south, I spotted a similar loooooong N-S feature as we flew over Utah. Once I got to the internet I quickly figured out that it was Capitol Reef National Park. From your description I don't think it's a match but I thought I'd mention it.
posted by intermod at 9:51 PM on June 19, 2010

Just east of Capitol Reef National Park is a long green valley that runs north-south and includes the Henry Mountains.
posted by carmicha at 11:05 AM on June 20, 2010

Response by poster: These are all great guesses, but, sadly, none of them look like what I saw.
posted by bjork24 at 11:17 AM on June 21, 2010

Response by poster: Ah ha! Using the flightaware.com tip, I followed our flight path and found the land feature... right here. It's not very green in Google maps, but it certainly appeared that way last Thursday. Thanks for all the tips!
posted by bjork24 at 1:15 PM on June 21, 2010


You mean the peaks in Utah, NW of House Rock Valley Road, just north of the border with Arizona?

Believe it or not, I woke up in the middle of the night on Saturday trying to figure this out, so I'm glad you did!
posted by lukemeister at 8:26 PM on June 21, 2010

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