As a plane soars over the high desert of southern Peru, the dull pale sameness of the rocks and sand organize and change form. Distinct white lines gradually evolve from tan and rust-red. Strips of white crisscross a desert so dry that it rains less than an inch every year. The landscape changes as lines take shape to form simple geometric designs: trapezoids, straight lines, rectangles, triangles, and swirls. Some of the swirls and zigzags start to form more distinct shapes: a hummingbird, a spider, a monkey.
These are the renowned Nasca lines—subject of mystery for over 80 years. The ancient lines can only be truly taken in, their forms discerned, from high in the air, leaving generations mystified as to how these precise works could’ve been completed long before the documented invention of human flight. Are the lines signs left by an alien race? Landing strips for UFOs? Relics of a ancient people far more advanced—capable of human flight—then previously imagined?
The lines are found in a region of Peru just over 200 miles southeast of Lima, near the modern town of Nasca. In total, there are over 800 straight lines, 300 geometric figures and 70 animal and plant designs, also called biomorphs. Some of the straight lines run up to 30 miles, while the biomorphs range from 50 to 1200 feet in length (as large as the Empire State Building).