• A geoglyph in Arica, Chile. (Photo: Alexson Scheppa Peisino/Wikimedia Commons)


A large sculptured character or symbol on the ground. Typically, these “land pictures” are made from earthen mounds, rocks, trees or even by carving out the ground.

From the Greek geō, meaning “the earth,” and gluphē, meaning “carving.”

Geoglyphs recently made the pages of the New York Times, when the paper reported that satellite pictures had revealed huge geometric earthworks on the steppes of Northern Kazakhstan, the oldest of which was estimated to be 8,000 years old. Other famous geoglyphs include those at Nasca and the pampas of Jumana, in Peru.