Pentagram
© Google Maps
This strange pentagram, etched into the Earth's surface in a remote corner of Kazakhstan, can be seen on Google Maps.
Conspiracy theorists, start your engines: On the wind-blown steppes of central Asia, in an isolated corner of Kazakhstan, there's a large pentagram etched into the Earth's surface.

The five-pointed star surrounded by a circle shows up vividly on Google Maps. There are almost no other signs of human habitation in the area; the closest settlement is the city of Lisakovsk, about 12 miles (20 kilometers) to the east.

What is this bizarre symbol, measuring roughly 1,200 feet (366 meters) in diameter, doing on the side of a desolate lake in northern Kazakhstan? Naturally, many online comments have already linked the site with devil worship, nefarious religious sects or denizens of the underworld.

It certainly doesn't help that, upon zooming into the center of the pentagram, viewers will see two places highlighted by previous visitors to Google Maps: One spot is called Adam, the other, Lucifer - a name often linked to Satan.

The pentagram is an ancient symbol used by many (non-Satanic) cultures and religious groups. It has been adopted by the Mesopotamians, Pythagoreans (followers of Pythagoras, the ancient Greek mathematician), Christians, Freemasons and Wiccans.

The Kazakh pentagram certainly isn't the first odd discovery gleaned from Google Maps. Etched onto the desert floor of New Mexico are two large diamonds surrounded by a pair of overlapping circles. This is reportedly the site of a hidden bunker belonging to the Church of Scientology, according to the author of a book on the religious group.

Deep in the Gobi Desert, viewers of Google Maps can find a Yagi antenna array, a device that looks like a giant piece of cracked glass but is used for atmospheric research. And in a remote corner of Nevada, there's an enormous KFC advertisement, featuring the smiling face of Colonel Sanders.

Though it's difficult to discern exactly what the Kazakh pentagram is, or was, used for, several online comments indicate that it's the abandoned site of a Soviet-era lakeside campground (Kazakhstan was part of the former Soviet Union).

The pentagram is outlined by roadways that are now lined with trees, which make the star shape even more distinct. Additional images of the site can be seen at here.