The mystery of the mystical circles of the Namib Desert unraveled


Scientists have finally found the authors' extraordinary rings in the barren desert in the south-west Africa — young artists run right under your feet.

These mystical circles, forming wonderful patterns in the Namib Desert, draw termites. Scientists have long been talk about the source of these markings, and more recently, researchers have found that it is the local termites are the authors of images. This hypothesis was suggested before, but it could not confirm due to lack of sufficient evidence.



By studying these unusual patterns in the Namib Desert, a biologist at the University of Hamburg Norbert Jurgen noticed that wherever there were circles, there are also the termites. From 2006 to 2012, Jürgen measured soil moisture in places where the circles were found. As a result, he found that even in the driest time of the year in a meter of soil contains 5 centimeters of water.

Jurgen added that due to the lack of grass water evaporates and is collected in porous sandy soil. This residue is enough water not only for the active life of termites, even in the driest weather, but also for the growth of grass.

Researchers have long studied the organisms living in these circles, and found that the sand termite — the only species occurring in almost all circles. Also in the soil with circles was found host plants, underground tunnels and cemented sand — obvious signs of the presence and activity of sand termites.



According to Jurgen, termites show a great example of eco-construction. Insects specially supplied the grass roots with water — just that these circles are formed. However, the researcher has not said why termites are grown herbal patterns.

A representative of the University of Pretoria in South Africa believes that the study of Jurgen useful in determining the causes of mystical circles, but it never resolves the main problem — why on this site are dying plants, and instead of which there are these circles?

Most likely, something has caused changes in the composition of the soil in the area, which is why it does not grow on grass. But termites enrich the soil so that plants form unusual patterns. By the way, Jurgen suggested that termites chew the roots of the plants so that they grow up in a circle.

It is possible that termites do not form a mystical circles, and simply live within them. However, Jurgen found insects even in the early stages of the education sector — even before the extinction of grass. Gradually the grass dies out, and survive only those plants whose roots are chewed termites.


Translation Sergei Vasilenkova

See also: Undetermined archaeological finds unexplained archaeological finds.

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