The mysterious fairy circles.
by Hezi Yizhaq
The grassy Namibian desert is pock-marked with millions of circular patches of bare earth
just like these shown in the picture between linear dunes . Viewed from a balloon, they
make the ground look like a moonscape. Commonly known as fairy circles, the patches
range from 2 to 12 metres across and appear in a 2000 kilometre strip that stretches from Angola to South Africa.
For many decades, the fairy circles extending uniformly over vast areas in the landscape, have puzzled laymen and scientists alike. They are subject to a lively debate and contrary hypotheses on their origin exist. Some researchers claim fairy circles were caused by termites, others propose they are the result of vegetation self-organization.
Hezi Yizhaq (distributed via imaggeo.egu.eu)