Egypt's Giza pyramids have 'impressive' anomalies, thermal scans show

Two weeks of thermal scanning of Egypt's Giza pyramids have identified several anomalies, including a major one in the largest pyramid, the country's Antiquities Ministry announced Monday.

Major anomaly found in Khufu, the largest of the pyramids

Khufu, the largest of the Giza pyramids, is seen in Egypt on Monday. The country's Antiquities Ministry says a scanning project has identified thermal anomalies. (Nariman El-Mofty/Associated Press)

Two weeks of new thermal scanning at Egypt's Giza pyramids have identified several anomalies, including a major one in the largest pyramid, the country's Antiquities Ministry announced Monday.
 
Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty and technical experts working on the project showed the thermal differences in the pyramid in a live camera presentation to journalists.

The scanning showed "a particularly impressive [anomaly] located on the eastern side of the Khufu pyramid at ground level," the ministry said in a statement.

The thermal scanning was carried out during sunrise, as the sun heats the structures from the outside, and then during sunset as the pyramids are cooling down. The varying rates at which different parts of the pyramids heated up and cooled down could point to a number of anomalies, including empty areas inside the pyramids, internal air currents or a change in building material. 

Different colours on the presentation screen, ranging from blue to dark red, represented the varying temperatures in the pyramid. 

The largest of the three Giza pyramids is known locally as Khufu and internationally as Cheops. The structures are over 4,500 years old. 

Live footage from a thermal camera of limestone blocks from the Khufu pyramid are displayed showing different colours representing varying temperatures during a press conference on Monday. (Nariman El-Mofty/Associated Press)

"The first row of the pyramid's stones are all uniform, then we come here and find that there's a difference in the formation," said el-Damaty, pointing at three stones showing higher temperatures.

While inspecting the area, el-Damaty said they found "that there is something like a small passage in the ground that you can see, leading up to the pyramids ground, reaching an area with a different temperature. What will be behind it?"

He invited all Egyptologists, especially those interested in ancient Egyptian architecture, to join in the research and help come up with ideas on what could be behind the anomalies.

The pyramids made news last week when U.S. Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson reiterated his thoughts that the pyramids were intended to store grain, not dead pharaohs. He first made the remark 17 years ago in an address at Andrews University in Michigan.

With files from CBC News

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