Storm on the Horizon

Jill Fisher

Joined July 2009

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Fairy circle in foreground and storm on the horizon, Namibia, Africa. Canon 5D mark II, Canon 16-35mm L lens. CLICK ON PIC TO VIEW LARGE.

Fairy circles are enigmatic barren patches, typically found in the grasslands of the western part of southern Africa.
They are most prolific in Namibia, but are also present in Angola and South Africa. These fairy circles consist of round areas barren of vegetation; as yet there is no clear picture as to how they are formed, although scientists are researching the matter. One theory suggests termites as the creator of these circles, but recent studies have stated that there is no evidence termites would cause this phenomenon. In the oral myths of the Himba people these barren patches are said to have been caused by the gods, spirits and/or natural divinities.
Studies done by South African scientists shows that these circles are under continuous development. They grow in diameter, ranging from 2 to 12 meters in diameter, where they mature and “die”, filled in by invasive grasses.
This natural phenomenon has still not been explained despite 25 years of research. The region’s bushmen have traditionally attributed magical, spiritual powers to these desert rings.
The circles are to be found about 100 miles inland, in a band stretching 1,500 miles south from Angola. The territory is among the most remote and inhospitable on the planet, which may explain why so little scientific research has been done on the rings. These circles are not moving and after 22 years they have remained in the same spot. During these studies they have come up with a possible explanation to why these fairy circles are appearing; researchers have found out that there is a possible toxin left by poisonous plants that has caused the plant seed destruction. But experiments conducted thus far have failed to produce any evidence that supports this hypothesis.

Artwork Comments

  • Carol Knudsen
  • David Clarke
  • Konstantinos Arvanitopoulos
  • dgscotland
  • Larry Trupp
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