Thursday 19 January 2017

Namibian Desert Fairy Circle Mystery Has Finally Been Revealed


It’s the mystery that’s kept astronomers guessing for decades.

But scientists think they finally know what has been mysterious fairy circles 20cm wide and perfectly spaced 20cm apart in the Namibian desert.

The grassy flatland is puckered with millions of small round patches of bare earth, appearing like the pock-marked surface of the moon.


One theory suggested that plants competing for water created the bizarre-looking pattern.

But now Princeton University researcher Corina Tarnita and Juan Bonachela of the University of Strathclyde, along with their colleagues, have used computer software to show that competition between sand bugs like termites could be to blame.


It’s backed up by the presence of wriggly termite nests in each circle, but the regularity of the circle pattern still remains a mystery.

But not everyone’s convinced.

German researchers have spotted similar patterns in the Australian outback – but no termites were to be found.


Stephan Getzin at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research in Leipzig, Germany, said: Logically, if there are fairy circles without the presence of termites, the termite theory cannot be considered as a strong explanation for the phenomenon.

It appears deserts are (in)fertile ground for mysterious goings on.



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