Mysterious Fairy Circles Not ‘Mystifying’ After All

Mysterious Fairy Circles Not ‘Mystifying’ After All
Namibia Jeremy T. Hetzel / FlickrCC BY 2.0

A group of Australian and Israeli scientists from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig, Germany claimed that they have solved the mysterious fairy circles that baffled the world for years now.


The mysterious fairy circles were spotted in an Australian outback some 10,000 kilometers away from the southern Africa, where it was first recorded. Scientists thought at that time that the circles are unique to African desert of Nimibia.

Until recently, UFZ researches have discovered almost similar pattern in a barren Australian desert. This, according to the press release from the UFZ, has pushed the researchers to dig deeper and finally provide plausible and science-base explanation of this mysterious natural occurrence.

According to the months of research, after the circles were first spotted in the Australian outback in 2014, the UFZ scientists concluded that the barren circle of land with grasses on the edge could be explained by the lack of water. Thus, researchers claim that the lack of water in the area pushes plants and grasses to organize themselves, forming circles with relatively uniform shapes.

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“In Namibia, the sandy soils of the fairy circles are much more permeable and precipitation can drain away with ease. The details of this mechanism are different to that in Australia. But it produces the same vegetation pattern because both systems of gaps are triggered by the same instability,” Stephen Getzin was quoted as saying by the UFZ.

The UFZ researches also found in their investigation that the circles have an average diameter of 4 meters and are spread homogeneously, meaning, they seem to have a uniform pattern. A closer look of the circle would show that the center of the circle is a hardened soil, which prevents the growth of any plants of even grasses.

Before the UFZ researches published their study just this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences several theories from different scientists have offered science-based theories in explaining the formation of the mysterious fairy circle. One of which is the theory on ants and termites nibbling the roots of the plants, thus the circling pattern.

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