Oct. 14, 2010 -- Amelia Carolina Sparavigna, assistant professor at the department of physics of Turin's Polytechnic University used Google satellite maps and AstroFracTool, an astronomical image-processing program which she developed, to investigate over 463 square miles of land around Peru's Titicaca Lake.
Enhanced satellite imagery suggest that some land forms were not only the remains of extensive agricultural systems, but also designs made to represent birds, snakes and other animals.
Built by excavating parallel canals and piling the earth to form long and low mounds, the raised fields feature different forms and sizes.
Sparavigna believes that ancient Andean people created these elaborate earthworks by following the natural slope of the terrain and incorporating symbolic shapes.
This appears to be an image of a bird, where a circular pond is the eye.
Sparavigna says this shape could represent an armadillo.
This resembles the head of a snake, with a forked tongue and a pond as its eye.
This land appears to have been shaped in the form of a flamingo head.
Sometimes a geoglyph can be difficult to interpret. Sparavigna believes this image looks like a tortoise or a fish.
The researcher interpreted this land form to be the head of a bird. The beak is touching an old dry channel.
According to Sparavigna, modern cultivations pose the main threat to the the preservation of the ancient structures.