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No. 65: Sep-Oct 1989

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Books About The Crop Circles

You know a phenomenon has "made it" when a book is devoted to it. With the English crop circles, we now have two books (bibliographical information below.) We will try to stock at least one of these books, but it will be a few months before can can get them on this side of the Atlantic. Meanwhile, a review of the two books in New Scientist provides some information beyond that already presented in several past issues of SF.

First, the crop circles, spanning 5 to 20 meters, are incredibly precise and sharp. Flattened stems on the periphery of a circle almost touch erect, undamaged stems.

The so-called satellite circles that sometimes array themselves around the main circles may be connected by a narrow ring, thus:
Crop circle with so-called satellite circles

Even more curious, a short radial spur extends outward from some circles, so that from the air the circle resembles a fat tadpole.
Crop circle with short radial spur extending outwards

Other crop circle arrays
In his book, G.T. Meaden, the Editor of the Journal of Meteorology, U.K., presents his theory of how the circles are incised in field crops:

"He describes the clues that have enabled him to point to the circles being formed by the impact of a body of fast-spinning air that has been partially ionized. He explains how a columnar atmospheric vortex, with a vertical or inclined axis, provides the channel for the formation of a plasma (ionized gas) vortex and for its conduction towards the ground. The ionisation of the air ought to be sufficient to make the vortex luminous at night and the fast spin may make the vortex appear ball-shaped. Such a description suggests that Meaden may well have explained some sightings previously reported as UFOs in areas where circles have been found."

(Elsom, Derek; "A Crop of Circles," New Scientist, p. 58, July 29, 1989.)

The books are: Circular Evidence, Pat Delgado and Colin Andrews, Bloomsbury, 14.95 pounds; and The Circles Effect and Its Mysteries, G. Terence Meaden, Artetech, 11.95 pounds.

Comment. Why are the crop circles so common in England (160 so far this summer alone) so rare elsewhere? Could the luminous phenomenon predicted by Meaden be related to the tornado lights reported under GLD10 in Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights?

From Science Frontiers #65, SEP-OCT 1989. 1989-2000 William R. Corliss