Crop Circles – spectacular gifts of nature – where environment joins the sacred sciences (I)

I have studied Crop Circles since High School period and my interest in the environmental problems triggered by those peculiar vegetation formations was accomplished when I had to choose my theme for the English Certification Thesis, at the end of the XIIth grade. Now, returning in time, I realized I can share with you, dear lecturers, the results of my first empirical, but thorough research, Crop Circles.

1While a form of relief can be properly defined as a shape resulted from ”The range of topographic elevation within a specific area”[1], the term ”Crop circles” describes an ample form created by the flattening of a crop such as wheat, barley, rye, or maize. Their existence has begun to be perceived as a scientific phenomenon since 1991, when self-professed pranksters Doug Bower and Dave Chorley from London were enough interested in researching them to find out that crop circles started to grow little time before 1970. Although crop circles are often associated with peculiar patterns that belong to the sciences of nature, such as Geography, Physics and even Biogeography, researchers have stated that their generation comes from somewhere beyond the common laws of nature, a fascinating thesis that cannot be contradicted with our actual knowledge about them.  

imagesFake or reality, the statistics regarding their rhythm of emergence indicate that every year 150 to 300 patterns of flattened plants appear in crop fields around the world. They have been reported on every continent, in over 50 countries, but they are preponderant in southern England. Since the early 1990s, the original simple circles have become huge, intricate, geometrical patterns of breathtaking precision and beauty. The majority of them appear in wheat, barley and oil-seed rape, but they can also be seen in rye, oats, flax, maize, sugar cane, peas, potatoes, sunflowers, grass, fruit orchards, rice paddies, snow, and ice[2].

Characteristics of Crop Circles

The ”fight” between biological and man-made formation explanations

In the literature of topic, crop circles are generally shared into two categories, considering their trust worth. In the ‘authentic’ crop circles, the flattened plants tend to be predominantly undamaged and to continue extending themselves, whereas in hoaxed circles the stalks are generally broken and often crushed.

A normal pattern with circular components is usually swirled clockwise or anticlockwise from a centre point outwards. Where lines merge, the plants tend to lean over and under one another, suggesting that all the plants have simultaneously collapsed in opposing directions.

The centre of a crop circle is often marked by a bare area of soil or a ”hole” and is frequently offset from the mathematical centre, sometimes by several meters[2]. The circle-making force apparently discriminates between the maturities of plants. To exemplify, less mature plants stand in a row or scatter throughout the flattened area. The plant species are aslo selected, as corn or rice may be left standing amid flattened barley or wheat[2].

Crop Circles and Chemical reactions in the soil

The soil under crop circles often differes from the soil outside them. In many formations, for example, the soil had been baked as hard as cement, whereas the rest of it remains moist and muddy[3].

Mineralogists involved in the study revealed through their microscopic analysis the presence of strange substances, which are sometimes found on the leaves and soil inside crop circles. Powdery deposits include high-purity silicon dioxide, magnesium oxide, and magnetite (magnetic iron ore). The latter may be meteoric dust, which is constantly drifting down through the atmosphere to the earth’s surface[3]. As a consequence, the concentration of magnetite in circles, up to 600 times higher than the normal value, indicates an accentuation of the magnetic fields around crop circles.                                                         

indexIn a first conclusion, we may say Crop Circles have the power of unifying two divergent worlds: tourism and science. The tourist and the scientist have the unique occasion to breath the same air by dint of crop circles, in which both the scientist and the traveller are given the chance to find new valences of the Universe and the symbolistic of life through sacred geography.

1. Carroll, R., Skeptics Dictionary: Crop Circles, 2005;

2. Collins A., The New Circlemakers: Insights into the crop circle mystery, 2009;

3. Ridley, Matt. “Crop Circle Confession” Scientific American. 1 Aug. 2002, Volume 287: 2-25;





Despre autor
Studentă în anul II Master, specializarea Climatologie și Resurse de Apă, Facultatea de Geografie, Universitatea din București
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