Jump to content
Join the Unexplained Mysteries community today! It's free and setting up an account only takes a moment.
- Sign In or Create Account -
Sign in to follow this  
DC09

'Fairy circles' of Africa baffle scientists

Recommended Posts

DC09

Twenty-five years of research fail to find the cause of a mysterious natural phenomenon, reports Tim Butcher at Wolwedans Camp

One of Africa's most mysterious natural phenomena still cannot be explained despite 25 years of research, scientists admitted yesterday.

Rings known as "fairy circles" that pockmark vast areas of desert in Namibia and South Africa have baffled botanists from the University of Pretoria and the Polytechnic of Namibia.

They have ruled out termite activity, poisoning from toxic indigenous plants, contamination from radioactive minerals and even ostrich dust baths as possible causes.

"At this stage I suppose we could say that fairies are as good an explanation as any," Gretel van Rooyen, professor of botany at Pretoria, told The Telegraph.

The findings will come as a relief to the region's bushmen who have traditionally attributed magical, spiritual powers to these desert rings.

Some tribes say each marks the grave of a bushman killed in clashes with colonialists, both black and white, who over the centuries have wiped out their hunter-gatherer, nomadic lifestyle.

And there is something other-worldly about the circles at Wolwedans desert camp in Namibia, perhaps the best place to see the phenomenon. The symmetrical divots in the sand stretch as far as the eye can see across vast, open plains like a giant terrestrial form of chickenpox or, as one Austrian holidaymaker put it, like splash marks from giant raindrops.

Such figurative thoughts were far from the minds of Prof van Rooyen and her team when they began to analyse the circles, which are to be found about 100 miles inland, in a band stretching 1,500 miles south from Angola. The territory is among the most remote and inhospitable on the planet which may explain why so little scientific research had been done on the rings.

In 1978 a long-term project was started when researchers hammered metal stakes into the centre of numerous circles. It had always been assumed the circles moved and the stakes would show how far and in what direction.

When the researchers eventually returned to the test circles after 22 years, they found they had not moved an inch.

Full Article

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 
Rivendell

It's kind of like crop circles in a way. Really interesting stuff. Does anyone have pictures of these things?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Daughter of the Nine Moons

Great article Kellalor. I looked for pictures & although the story was carried widely I haven't yet found any.

Dot(m

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mowo

I found one!!

post-60-1084200784.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Daughter of the Nine Moons

mowo you're the best! laugh.gif

Dot9M original.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rivendell

Thanks Mowo! grin2.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BurnSide

VERY interesting. Thanks for the article and the picture. I'm quite curious about these.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cradle of Fish

So they are just areas where no plants grow?

maybe its just bad luck?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Falco Rex

I've heard them explained as an area where a certain type of fungus ruins the soil so nothing can grow there. I have no idea if that's true or not though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.