Home Page Science Frontiers
ONLINE

No. 40: Jul-Aug 1985

Issue Contents





Other pages


Other Interesting Sites


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

 

Multiple Whirlwind Patterns

English meteorologists are spending some of the lazy summer days out in the countryside tracking down whirl wind patterns engraved on fields of wheat and other crops. One eyewitness account of the formation of a single spial pattern has been found. However, the multiple spiral patterns excite the most interest because of their geometric regularity. Between 1980 and 1984, eight quintuplet patterns have been found consisting of a large central circle and four smaller satellite circles. Triplets were also discovered. Although the origins of the multiplet patterns are still unexplained, some interesting generalizations have emerged:

1. The whirlwinds responsible for the flattened circles of crops have lifetimes of only a few seconds, whereas dust devils may persist for many minutes; 2. These whirlwinds seem to occur around evening time instead of during the heat of the day; and 3. They are all anticyclonic, while tornados are almost all cyclonic and true heat whirlwinds are split about evenly in their spin direction.

(Meaden, G.T.; "Advances in Understanding of Whirlwind Spiral Patterns in Cereal Fields," Journal of Meteorology, U.K., 10:73, 1985.)

Quintuplet circles found in a grain field near Cley Hill, England Quintuplet circles found in a grain field near Cley Hill, England.

From Science Frontiers #40, JUL-AUG 1985. 1985-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:

Quotes

  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987