Half a million tourists come to Petra annually, with the ruins drawing huge crowds of visitors.
While the purpose of the structure remains unclear, Sarah Parcak says,
A UNESCO world heritage site, Petra is known for its incredibly stunning structures featuring rose-colored rock faces.
The setting has made its way into such films as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Parcak notes that satellite imagery allows for the recording of information in different parts of the light spectrum that cannot be seen with human eyes.
She originally dismissed the large structure when it popped up, but decided to pass it on to her colleague Christopher Tuttle, who was working on the ground in Petra and had discovered foundations and column bases at the site.
While the structure's condition cannot be determined until it's excavated, it is known that it consists of a small platform surrounded by a large rectangular platform. It is thought that the small platform may have had a row of sandstone drum columns.
It also has a tiny structure on it that measures about 27 square feet.
The researchers think the structure was built,
The discovery has created an uproar of questions about its functions, and researchers have answered with a newly published paper (Hiding in Plain Sight - The Discovery of a New Monumental Structure at Petra, Jordan) in the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, saying:
The excavation will likely occur over the next couple of years, and hopefully will answer some of the mystery surrounding the structure.