What are these mysterious "fireballs" in the South China sea?

Google Maps is a useful tool for gaining insight into far-flung locations across the globe. Occasionally users come across unexpected sightings, such as these mysterious glowing orbs in the South China sea. What could they be?

PUBLISHED: 20:57, Wed, Jan 1, 2020 | UPDATED: 21:24, Wed, Jan 1, 2020

Google Maps has been helping users gain a new perspective of the world since 2005. Using satellite images the application lets viewers gain a birds-eye view of the world and map their way through foreign lands. In recent years, users have noticed it is also hugely successful at helping them find unexpected and mysterious things.

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Recently one user was surveying the South China sea from above when they noticed something particularly strange in one section.

A cluster of orange, glowing orbs appear to have gathered in one location between Vietnam and The Philippines.

While the surrounding crystal blue waters appear normal, with clusters of coral and sea life apparent beneath the surface the glowing balls of “fire” stand out dramatically.

The scene was so bizarre a Google Maps viewer posted it to Reddit begging the question: "Any ideas what this might be?”

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Google Maps: Chinese seaGoogle Maps: What are these bizarre orbs in the South China sea? (Image: Getty Images)

Google maps spotted orange orbs in seaGoogle Maps: A reddit user spotted the bright, glowing dots in the sea (Image: Google Maps)

The user described the orbs as “strange red glowing dots or fireballs”.

Are these dots actually balls of fire caused by a bizarre natural occurrence?

Or perhaps they are a mysterious and somewhat Scifi entity?

While the comments are largely sparse of resolute answers, one user has suggested they could be “fishing operations” set up in the sea.

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