Ronald Brak

Because not everyone can be normal.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

How Crop Circles Are Formed

One of the neat things about Japan is the insistence on avoiding a false dichotomy between city and country. Many towns, cities and suburbs are peppered with small rice fields. From a height it's like looking down at a sliding tile puzzle in which someone has mixed together all the country and city pieces. One advantage of this is that it's easy to look down at a rice paddy from a high-rise apartment building and watch crop circles forming.

Now I’m sorry to disappoint some people but no flying saucers were involved. Nor did Bigfoot make an appearance and dance in a circle. And I have to regretfully inform fans of anime that no giant robot mechs piloted by young women in skin tight costumes took part in their formation either.

All that was required was a constantly shifting wind. Normally rice plants will bend in the wind but not break, for not only are the stalks springy, but they are closely packed and give each other mutual support. However, once one stalk is damaged and loses its springiness, it can become the straw that breaks other straws backs. Rather than springing up and blowing in another direction when the wind changes it will push against the backs of other straws and the extra weight can cause their stalks to become damaged and lose their springiness. Once a small patch of damaged plants has formed, the changing wind will cause the destruction to spread in a circle as plants are damaged from other plants leaning on them and also from not having undamaged plants next to them to help give support.

Sometimes the shape that results is a crop blob rather than a crop circle, but other times it is a very neat circle with the damaged stalks spiralling out from the centre, all woven together by the shifting wind. When I first saw crop circles being formed I assumed that all sensible people realized that was how they were made, but a quick Google search on crop circles has since convinced me that there aren't many sensible people out there.


At 12:41 PM, Anonymous Anon said...

A quote from the experts about crop circles

"Irrespective of origin, they have acted as a catalyst to learning, understanding and spirituality as we strive to understand the meaning and purpose behind the genuine crop circles."

I don't think they care about wind and bending stalks, or ropes and boards.

At 8:59 AM, Anonymous Abie said...

Thanks for this description of a spontaneous formation of crop circle : as strange as it may seem, I had never heard anything convincing about it, and one gets tired of invoking pranksters to the defendants of alien-driven UFOs...


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