Scientists have studied them for decades. Farmers wonder at these strange shapes formed
among their crops. The media has sensationalized these amazing feats of nature. Some
people insist that the beautiful geometric figures known as crop circles are made by
How are they really made? According to one witness from Westbury, along England’s
Salisbury Plain, he was walking by a grain field one late July afternoon in 1982 after
a short thunderstorm had passed. A light drizzle was falling from the sky when he saw a
strange wind blow across the crop field. It swept a line across the field before
stopping suddenly, turning on one axis, and with a hissing sound, flattened a circle
100 to 150 feet in diameter. The event had only taken a few seconds, and moments later
the wind vanished.
Crop circles are puzzling because they are so exquisitely symmetrical in shape and form.
They appear in the form of flattened crops ranging from soybeans to sugar beets, though
they are most commonly found among wheat, barley, and oats (cereal crops). The shapes
include single circles, concentric rings, Celtic crosses, and even a tadpole created
from a circle with a long, curly tail. The edges of these shapes are neatly cut, and
the circles are often precise spirals. Even more strange is that fact that, in
concentric circles, the direction of the spiral is reversed in each successive circle.
More than 800 of these phenomena have been reported in Britain since 1980.
Scientists have studied these objects for many years, but still many questions surround
them. Most of the crop circles have appeared in the counties of Wiltshire and Hampshire,
which are not far from the enigmatic huge stone circles at Avebury and Stonehenge. Some
people look to supernatural and paranormal explanations for them. Other theories include
alien spaceships, electromagnetic forces, helicopters, angry hedgehogs, mating deer, and
British meteorologist George Terence Meaden has one theory. He thinks that certain
climactic forces and the topography of the land combine to create miniature whirlwinds,
or vortexes. Similar to the spirals created by the air-pressure differences around a
plane’s wingtip, these winds have a tremendous amount of force (just like the whirlind
from the wing of a large plane can upset the course of a small plane).
The make-up of the land, considering hills, woods, and other terrain, causes a similar
high-pressure low-pressure difference, so that the wind forms vortexes powerful enough
to flatten grain in a certain area. In this way, Nature’s artistry forms the
breathtaking and mysterious rings and spiraling shapes known as crop circles.