Google Maps users reckon they’ve found secret ‘rocket’ hidden in Chinese desert

Google Maps users reckon they may have found a "rocket" hidden in rural China.

The bizarre find, shared on Reddit page r/GoogleMap, appears to show a rocket-like structure at a site in Qiemo County, Xinjiang.

Following the coordinates reveals a number of similar sites located next to industrial buildings near to the centre of the vast Taklamakan desert.

Spanning 337,000sq km (130,000sq mi), it is the world's second largest shifting sand desert with dunes reaching as high as 18m (60ft).

Sharing the snap and the coordinates, one Reddit user asked: "Is that a rocket?"

Another user shared an article from China Power regarding China's missile forces, which indicates that there is at least one Rocket Force brigade in the desert.

The article also states that: "China’s land-based conventional missile capabilities have developed significantly over the last several years.

"The PLA Rocket Force, which maintains and operates China’s land-based conventional and nuclear missiles, has fielded multiple new missile systems over the last several years."

However, not everyone was convinced that the structure really is a hidden Chinese military site.

Someone commented: "I don't think it's a rocket. There are no big enough road/rail in and out of the 'launch pad'."

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Several others all suggested the same theory.

One said: "Most of the smaller towers look like oil/gas, there are dozens all around not just those few."

"Oil area," added a second.

A third asked: "There's a ton of these things in the area. Maybe oil/gas wells?"

Another person identified the site as a "oil processing plant with deflagrated gas" near the town of Tazhong.

According to CGTN, Petro China's Tarim Oil Field Company was the first to discover oil and water in the centre of the Taklamakan desert.

The company launched a number of energy projects there and now over 300 people live in a "largely manmade oasis" as workers.

"The fields are equipped with facilities like a gym, stadium and karaoke house to help workers overcome the desolation," they write.

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