The image below shows a clean Jeep and dirty tire tracks on a black paved parking lot. The tracks are dirtiest near the Jeep, less dirty at the bottom of the image, and even less dirty on the right side of the image.

At 10am, the Jeep and the parking lot were clean. At 4pm, it looked like this. In those 6 hours, what happened in order for the tracks and Jeep to look like this? It can all be explained by normal processes. For example, nobody was out there with a bucket of mud and a paintbrush.

The Jeep is full-sized, of standard construction, and in good working order. The pavement is level.

This image depicts something real that I once saw, although I’ve altered some minor details to make it harder to unravel. That’s why you’re looking at this cartoon image instead of a photograph. My graphics talents are limited, so please pretend that the tracks really came from this Jeep. For example, imagine that those dots on the pavement look like tire treads.

clean Jeep and dirty tire tracks on a black paved parking lot

  • $\begingroup$ ...I just spent a half hour composing an answer talking about how that shape of tracks could be made, before realising that you're asking about the amount of dirt left behind in different areas. Oops! $\endgroup$ Jan 2, 2021 at 10:10

2 Answers 2


My answer:

The tyre tracks were not made by the jeep reversing into the parking spot, because that would require rear-wheel steering and the jeep is of "standard construction".

So the tracks were made by a vehicle reversing out of the parking spot. It reversed to the bottom of the image, and drove away to the top right.

The vehicle that left the tracks was parked the other way round. It departed before the jeep arrived. The muddy tracks fade in the direction of travel, so the tyres were muddy when it left.

My story:
The jeep left and returned twice during the day.
It was originally clean, but left to do some off-roading.
The mud had dried when it returned so it left no tracks.
But then it rained for a short time, just enough to wet the mud on its tyres.
Next, the jeep reversed out and departed, leaving muddy tracks.
It had already stopped raining, and during the day the mud dried out.
The owner had the jeep cleaned, returned and reversed into the parking spot.

  • $\begingroup$ Yes this is the point I got to but then I got stuck. $\endgroup$ Jan 2, 2021 at 14:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Smartest1here revised. $\endgroup$ Jan 2, 2021 at 17:30
  • $\begingroup$ Worth noting that Jeep have a concept car, the "Hurricane", which features front and rear wheel steering. It's not commercially available, but it is a Jeep-branded car that exists in the world and it's of the standard construction for its model. $\endgroup$ Jan 3, 2021 at 4:34

I've got the whole story:

  1. When the driver was parking their Jeep, back-facing the grass, they drove too far in and the Jeep go onto the glass.

  2. The front tires of the Jeep got into some mud, while the back tires didn't.

  3. The rest is pretty clear on the picture, here is an animation:

    enter image description here

UPDATE: Realizing that the story described above does not explain the intensity of the mud tracks at certain points of the tracks, here is the corrected story:

  1. The driver originally parked into the parking lot which the building was where they went to work. The Jeep's front tires rested on a puddle of mud that in the image, is covered by the front of the Jeep.

  2. The driver realized a sign that said "Reserved Parking" on a fence. The driver thought "The sign wasn't here before! Where should I park to go to work?"

  3. The driver decided to enter the building (where the driver worked at), and ask the clerk about the sign. But the driver couldn't just leave their Jeep in the potentially reserved parking lot, so the driver drove it out. They then realized that they would have to walk a long way to get back to the building to ask about the sign, so they drove back and onto the glass.

  4. The driver got out of the Jeep and entered the building. By the time the driver returned to the Jeep, the mud on its tires dried out. The driver got informed that the sign was put there by mistake, so they re-parked their Jeep.

Here is an animation:

enter image description here

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Rot13(Ohg gurer jbhyq or zhqql genpxf orgjrra gur rqtr bs gur tenff naq nyy gur jurryf). $\endgroup$ Jan 2, 2021 at 17:21

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