Scientists Find Answers to Mysterious “Fairy Circles” in the Namibian Desert

Scientists+Find+Answers+to+Mysterious+%E2%80%9CFairy+Circles%E2%80%9D+in+the+Namibian+Desert

mnn.com

Colleagues Corina Tarnita and Rob Pringle, researchers from Princeton University, New Jersey have finally found answers to the mysterious circular patches that have been showing up in the Namibian Desert for centuries, according to theguardian.com.

The researchers used computer models to investigate whether some combinations of both theories might offer a complete explanation. They found a model that explains the circles but there was one catch.

The model predicted a smaller pattern in the vegetation between the circles, which has never been reported. So they decided to investigate in person. It turns out that the smaller patterns were there too, just no one has noticed it before, according to mnn.com.

One myth even claims that the circles are formed by a dragon in the Earth that kills vegetation by spewing a poisonous breath, according to mnn.com. The local Himba people refer to them as the footsteps of the gods, because of how stark and intentional they appear, and over the past few years, studies have narrowed down the possible explanations to two theories, states sciencealert.com.

The first theory to the circular patches involves termites. The idea was that the termites created their nests under the soil. The only problem with that theory was that even though termites nests are always found within the circles, scientists have never been able to replicate the circles using the nests, according to mnn.com.

The second theory involves the alternative idea that plants are competing for water. The water competition theory can explain the regular patterns but can’t be proven in any tests. Meanwhile, the termite theory is backed up by the observations in the nests of the circles, states newscientists.com.

Not only are the patches found in the Namibian Desert, but are also found in Australia but have not been studied. So until the patches in Australia are investigated, it’s not clear if the theory proposed by Tarnita and Pringle can explain the unusual circular patches. For now, scientists haves a natural explanation for these mysterious patches, states mnn.com.