Crop circles are on top of the pyramid of the conspiracy theory crowd, with the beautiful creations in cereal fields often connected to UFO landings, or complex forms of Alien contact. So just think the excitement some must’ve felt when these amazing pictures of incredible geometric designs appeared in a forest in Japan recently, not from some crushed wheat, but from huge, mature Japanese cedar trees.
What kind of extra-terrestrial technology can do this? Sadly, for those who want to believe, there is an absolutely innocent, yet still entertaining explanation that begins firmly here on planet Earth.
Back in 1973 scientists started a project in ‘experimental forestry,’ with the purpose of studying the spacing of trees and its effect on growth. They planted circles of cedars near Nichinan City in Miyazaki Prefecture, with shorter inner circles increasing incrementally into larger circles to create 10 distinct rings.
As you can see in the photo below, the experiment seems to show sharp results. The concave shape suggests that the outside circles of least body promote higher growth, with the tree size getting steadily smaller as the thickness increases.
This makes sense right? More space equals less opposition for resources such as water and sunlight, so it’s easier for these outer trees to grow larger and stronger while those on the inside fight it out amongst themselves.
According to a document from Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, the final height difference between the smallest trees at the center and the tallest trees on the outer ring was over 5 meters.
The trees are due to be harvested soon, with the experiment drawing to a close. But such is the interest in this surprisingly beautiful result there continues the possibility that these monster ‘crop circles’ could be saved, and maybe even become a tourist magnet in the future!