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1990: Mysterious etchings appear in Oregon desert

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Published on Apr 25, 2017

In September 1990, a 7-by-12-mile dry lake bed in southeastern Oregon became a subject of national attention.

A giant mystical-looking design mysteriously appeared in the Alvord Desert in Harney County, seemingly having been carved into the sand. The artwork appeared to be Hindu-inspired, showing a number of interlocking circles, in a pattern known as a Sri Yanta design.

The appearance of the design led to a number of theories. Was it the work of radical, secretive artists? Was it the work of extra-terrestrial life? No one had a clear answer. Even military officials, who had discovered the pattern while on a routine aerial exercise, said they were mystified.

But the truth would come out. KGW reporter Walden Kirsch and photojournalist Brian Robertson traveled to the far-away desert to investigate and eventually found the story, but not everyone they talked with was a believer.

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