Strange “Fairy Circles” Appear in the Middle of Africa’s Namib Desert

by , 03/09/14

Norbert Juergens, Fairy Circles, Namib Desert, africa, sand termites, Psammotermes allocerus, circles, Animals, Botanical

Southwest Africa’s Namib Desert is an arid landscape home to ostriches, leopards and other large animals. But a few of its more petite inhabitants are the makers of these huge desert circles that measure between 6.5 to 40 feet diameter. Biologist Norbert Juergens (University of Hamburg), who had been working to unlock the mystery, noticed that whenever he looked closely at the barren centers of fairy circles, he would also find sand termites (Psammotermes allocerus).

He found that without grass readily available to absorb rainwater and the release it back into the air (evaporation), any available water would collect in the porous, sandy soil. This water supply would keep the termites alive and active, even during the harshest days of the dry season. He also noticed that the root of the local plants had been chewed and that the areas in and around the circles showed traces of underground tunnels—all signs that the sand termites had been inhabiting the area.

Just like we recently witnessed with Japan’s underwater “crop circles”, nature’s tiny creatures are some of the world’s greatest artists.

+ Norbert Juergens

Via The Huffington Post

Photos by Norbert Juergens 

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  1. Craig Schaffer October 17, 2014 at 2:25 am

    The wording of the article references the location of the desert as if the author thinks Africa is a single country. Nobody ever writes “North America’s Mojave Desert”. The Namib desert is in a country called Namibia. Prior to 1990 it was called Southwest Africa, which since is deemed a colonialist, politically incorrect reference to the country…

  2. Kristina Reed March 6, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Maybe it’s the Arcturians

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