Scientists Discovered Mysterious Fairy Circles in Australia

Canberra, Mar 17 (Prensa Latina) Mysterious circular patches of dry, barren land have been spotted scattered across the Australian outbreak.

Known as 'fairy circles', these round patterns had previously only been seen in the dry grasslands of Namibia, and were thought to be the only example anywhere in the world.

But an aerial image of the Australian outbreak has revealed that the circles appear there too, and their distribution provides further insight into how the structures form, which, despite appearances, that has more to do with water than aliens.

Fairy circles are incredibly rare, but they've been spotted in the grasslands of Namibia in southwest Africa for years. Ranging in diameter anywhere from 2 to 15 metres (7 to 50 feet), these dry patches of land form mysteriously in the middle of an otherwise uniform sea of grass.

It was generally assumed that this was the only place the patterns occurred, but recently a photo was sent to Stephan Getzin, an ecologist with the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Germany, of what looked a lot like fairy circles near Newman in Western Australia.

The circles were already well-known to the locals, but they can only be properly seen from the air, and no one had taken the time to study them properly until recently.

With further research,they demonstrated that the structures in Australia are the same as the mysterious patterns in Namibia, despite being located more than 10,000 kilometres away.

So what causes these circles? One of the leading hypotheses suggests that fairy circles are caused by carbon monoxide rising up from the earth. Another idea is that termites or ants could be nibbling away at plant roots in the circular pattern.

But now they came up with a third hypothesis back in 2014, proposing that fairy circles form naturally as plants organise themselves to get the most amount of water available - and this new discovery supports that idea.

The results have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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