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Still Waters

Mystery of Desert 'Fairy Circles' Solved

18 posts in this topic

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Still Waters

The "artists" behind bizarre, barren, grassless rings dotting the desert of Southwest Africa have been found lurking right at scientists' feet: termites.

Known as fairy circles, these patches crop up in regular patterns along a narrow strip of the Namib Desert between mid-Angola and northwestern South Africa, and can persist for decades. The cause of these desert pockmarks has been widely debated, but a species of sand termite, Psammotermes allocerus, could be behind the mysterious dirt rings, suggests a study published today (March 28) in the journal Science.

http://news.yahoo.co...-180452868.html

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Ashotep

Busy little critters.

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Eldorado

Busy little critters.

Smart little critters.

:)

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Starseed hybrid 1111

i like that guys smart and busy little critters.that's so cool.animals and insects and etc are smart nothing new if course but still interesting:)the rings do look awesome though.

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HuntrSThompsun

My junk itches

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dharma warrior

Fairies, termites,...close enough.

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paperdyer

Send in the Orkin Man!

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Sakari

I prefered alien spacecraft myself.

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TheSpoonyOne

To be honest, South Africa isn't exactly the place I'd imagine fairies showing up even if they did exist. :/

Edited by TheSpoonyOne

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AlienDan
36853016.jpg
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Sakari

36853016.jpg

:nw:

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Hawkin

Fairy circles? What a name! How about sand circles. Sorta like crop circles.

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csspwns

So much for UFOs

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woopypooky

so crop circles were done by rabbits?

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Oppono Astos

so crop circles were done by rabbits?

Nope, intoxicated hedgehogs.

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HollyDolly

There is an ant that also will clear the grass away from where it nests into circular areas,forgot what they are called.

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Doug1o29

Known as fairy circles, these patches crop up in regular patterns along a narrow strip of the Namib Desert between mid-Angola and northwestern South Africa, and can persist for decades. The cause of these desert pockmarks has been widely debated, but a species of sand termite, Psammotermes allocerus, could be behind the mysterious dirt rings, suggests a study published today (March 28) in the journal Science.

There are lots of things that form "fairy rings." Fungi consume the available organics out of the soil. The center of the patch then starves for lack of food, while the edges expand outward. You can see this in lawns after a good rain. It's pretty cool when you find a complete ring.

There's a ring-shaped creosote bush in the Mojave Desert that has consumed the nutrients in the inner area. Based on size and rate-of-spread, it is estimated at 15,000 years old - older than the desert it's in.

Some types of bunch grass in dry areas do this. There's not enough water in the middle, so that area dies out, leaving a ring.

Doug

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Wickian

Makes sense, I have a large backyard with quite a few ant colonies(the mellow large black ant variety that you can put your hand into a line of and they'll just walk over you if you do it right) and their ant holes are cleared of all plant life in a few feet radius. They eat all the seeds/foxtails all year long.

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