Google Maps: Mysterious natural phenomenon in Namib Desert leaves scientists baffled

Google Maps: What causes the fairy circles in the Namib Desert?

Google Maps Street View is often a way to see the world as well as many online users planning routes and directions with it.It has also revealed some of the world’s craziest natural phenomena that can’t be explained.

One of those is something dubbed “fairy circles” which have previously been spotted in the Namib Desert.

But the origin of the circles has baffled scientists for years.

Scientists believe that they are caused by termites

Appearing as raised circles in the desert formed of soil and vegetation, it is often debated why they form in that way.Scientists believe that they are caused by termites, which according to the New Scientists is because they “clear vegetation in the area around their nests”.

The bare circles in the middle then trap water that falls, creating the ring shapes.

The second theory of their origin is that of the natural competition of plants which attempt to find moisture and shade.

Google Maps: Mysterious natural phenomenon in Namib Desert leaves scientists baffledGoogle Maps

Google Maps: The fairy circles appear in ring shapes but their origin is unknown

 

A study by Princeton University found that both theories could both be partially true after analysing the circles.Study researcher Juan Bonachela, a theoretical ecologist at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland stated: “Our findings harmonize both theories and find a possible explanation for regular vegetation patterns observed around the globe.”

Until 2014, the circles were only found in the Namib desert. The fairy circles have since been spotted in other parts of the world such as Australia.

This has caused problems for the termite theory, due to the creatures not being found in Australia.

Google Maps: Mysterious natural phenomenon in Namib Desert leaves scientists baffledGoogle Maps

Google Maps: Whilst found in the Namib Desert, they are also in Australia

Alternate theories have included ostriches, plants and even UFOs for the cause behind the bizarre sight.Local myths have also thought they are the mark of a fire-breathing, underground dragon.

It isn’t the only bizarre natural mystery found on Google Maps.

The “Door to Hell” in Turkmenistan has been burning for over 40 years yet no-one knows why.

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