Crop Circle Research Groups in the US

Tony Travis ajt at
Wed Oct 19 11:46:51 EST 1994

Brian Cox (coxb at com.netcom) wrote:
: I am interested in any labs here in the US doing research on biochemical
: and genetic changes to plants affected by the so-called crop circle
: phenomenon common in England and recently surfacing here in the United
: States.  I am an undergraduate student currently looking for a research
: internship next summer, and work in this particular area intriques me.  If
: anyone is aware of professional (not UFO-ology) research projects along 
: these lines, please let me know.  Thanks for any help.

: Due to the potential for rather excitable and stubborn opinion holders on 
: this matter, I have directed followups away from this group.

Ah, but there *is* a scientific interest in this area as you have
pointed out, so don't back off too quickly!

Apart from the blatant frauds that have now been exposed, and the very low
probability that we have been visited by aliens, why do crop circles occur?

My own interpretation is that it is an aspect of lodging in cereal
crops and I would be interested to know if anyone has done simulations
with eg. physical models to show the effect of eddies and vortices on
standing crops that are vulnerable to lodging?

If the crop is in a very susceptible state, I would expect a local
increase in mechanical disturbance to cause a local effect which would
be propagated from plant to plant according to planting density etc.
This would produce a 'domino' effect until the energy is dissipated.

If the mechanical disturbance has some angular momentum (eg. an eddy or
vortex in the air above the crop) it would be reasonable to expect the
affected area to be circular unless there is anisotropy of the soil
mechanics caused by compaction along the direction that farm machinery
has been used if root lodging occurs.

If the mechanical stress is simply localised within the crop there is
no evidence to suggest that the plants within a circle are any
different to the rest of the crop is there? - they have just been
exposed to more mechanical disturbance and lodged.

I'm sure this is a 'chaotic' system where a slight disturbance of a
vulnerable crop on the point of lodging causes a very large change in
the state of the crop: maybe just a butterfly sneezing ...

Dr. A.J.Travis,                       |  JANET: <ajt at>
Rowett Research Institute,            |  other: <ajt at>
Greenburn Road, Bucksburn,            |  phone: +44 (0)224 712751
Aberdeen, AB2 9SB. UK.                |    fax: +44 (0)224 716687

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