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Earth Matters

August Puzzler Answer

August 21st, 2012 by Adam Voiland

Read our recent Image of the Day to find out more about the Yanqi Basin, the answer to August’s puzzler.  Congratulations to Yiannis Raftopoulos for being the first to identify the location.

We posted the mystery image on Monday at 6:17 p.m. and on our social media accounts on Tuesday morning. Within minutes of appearing on social media, Yiannis had worked out the answer. The lesson we take from this: the Yanqi Basin puzzler was a bit too easy.

So we ask you: what should we do to make this more challenging?  Do you have any suggestions for puzzler imagery?  (Write to us directly, so as not to spoil the idea for the rest of the readers.)  We will keep hunting for something that will stump you.

5 Responses to “August Puzzler Answer”

  1. Alexandre Mathieu says:


    Here are possible solutions which could make puzzlers more challenging :

    – to propose pictures which are not necessarily north-oriented, like it was for the first puzzler.
    – to propose not only natural-color pictures, but false-color too.
    – to propose former picture from an area which has undergone major changes over time that make it almost unrecognizable
    – the possibility to combine these three solutions…

    Best regards,

  2. Gustavo Ortiz says:

    Hi everybody,

    A suggestion to improve the puzzles should be a scene of a natural disaster, curious environmental process or even an interesting man-made surface transformation. The challenge in that case should be to guess “What is happening/happened there? What processes or structures caused it?”
    Two images from different periods might also be shown in order to evidence the transformations and motivate the participants.

  3. JohnnyMorales says:

    Surely you guys know that all you have to do to find what most images are is drop the image into google images search. When you do that it will search for similar images. When you get the results many will have the information as to where/when info on the image. With the new drag and drop feature on google images search you can expect most of your puzzlers to be solved in minutes if not seconds.

  4. Dave McKay says:

    Physical locations where significant, current historic, social, tecnological, etc. events took place.

    Use puns. dates. Don’t be too esoteric.

    Q- Google Earth is about the only resource I have. Make answers deterministic via GE.

  5. Yiannis Raftopoulos says:

    Yes, this puzzler was easy especially compared with the two previous ones. Once you guessed where the wider area it was located (central Asia) it was pretty easy to then find it via Google Earth. Personally I found the previous far more intriguing.

    I think the proposals of Alexandre Mathieu above are excellent. In some cases (like when there are drastic landscape changes) the adition of some hints could draw the attention of even more people.