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Underwater Crop Circles Discovered And Explained

Jun 09, 14 Underwater Crop Circles Discovered And Explained

For decades, crop circles have been discovered in almost every part of the world. The source of their creation is mostly a mystery, but the most common explanation is visitors from space. Granted, some have been proven as hoaxes, but the majority of them remain unexplained.

Crop circles not only have been discovered in crop fields — hence how they got their name — they also have been found under the surface of the oceans. These crop circles, as well as their kin on dry land, have been a mystery until recently.

Off the coast of Denmark, circular formations were filmed in 2008 and then again in 2011. Explanations ranged from World War II bomb craters to ever-popular aliens. Some of the circles were as large as 49 feet in diameter.

Biologists investigated these circles and have discovered what actually formed them. The area is where large amounts of eelgrass grows and the rings are created when the eelgrass is exposed to toxins in the mud. Large amounts of sulfide have been found in the mud and this substance is poisonous to the eelgrass. Scientist also explained that the toxin can build naturally within the eelgrass bed, or can be acquired from disposal of agricultural pollutants.

Two biologists, Marianne Holmer and Jens Borum, conclude that the circles have, “nothing to do with either bomb craters or landing marks for aliens, nor with fairies, who in the old days got the blame for similar phenomena on land, the fairy rings in lawns being a well known example.”

Instead, they explain, “most mud gets washed away from the barren, chalky seabed, but like trees trap soil on an exposed hillside, eelgrass plants trap the mud and therefore there will be a high concentration of sulfide-rich mud among the eelgrass plants. Eelgrass populations grow vegetatively by stolons which spread radially in all directions and therefore each plant creates a circular growth pattern. When the sulfide begins to work, it starts with the oldest and thus the inner part of the population because here is an increased release of toxic sulfide and uptake by plants due to accumulation of mud. The result is an exceptional circular shape, where only the rim of the circle survives — like fairy rings in a lawn.”

Another underwater crop circle discovery in the waters off Japan have also been a mystery until recently. Yoji Ookata, a Japanese photographer who has spent the last 50 years exploring and documenting underwater phenomena, came upon a mysterious circle 80 feet below the surface, resting on the ocean floor. It was six feet in diameter with ridges of sand extending outward from a center circle.

He returned with a television crew to document the discovery. They set up underwater cameras to film the mysterious circle. What they found was a tiny puffer fish only a few inches long would swim day and night creating this anomaly. In addition to the creator of the circle, the team discovered other reasons for the spectacular formation. Apparently the hills and valleys made of sand attract female fish, which will lay their eggs in the center circle. The grooves also act as a buffer from the current to protect the eggs from being swept away.

A video of the little puffer fish performing its artistic work can be seen here.

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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