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No. 36: Nov-Dec 1984

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Whirlwind spirals in cereal fields: quintuplet formations

"In 1983, as British meteorologists are well aware, Britain had one of its better summers of the century, with July proving to be the hottest in the 300-year record. At the same time, 1983 proved to be a bumper summer for the production of 'mystery spirals' (and for heat whirlwinds generally). Moreover, and entirely unexpectedly, some of the spiral formations turned out to be symmetrically complex systems in an extraordinary manner: as many as four sets in different parts of southern England were found to consist of a single circle attended by four smaller satellite ones.

"The beauty of these sets of circles caught the attention of the national newspapers, and thence the imagination of the general public. The story about the manner and the sequence of several of the 1983 discoveries has been given by Ian Mrzyglod (Probe Report, vol. 4, 4-11). Here, we shall simply summarize the main facts, many of which have not been detailed before.

"Set 1. Set of five circles at Bratton, Wiltshire (NGR ST 902522, below and northeast of the Westbury White Horse), consisting of one large circle (15 m diameter) and four satellites (each 4 m diameter). The distance between opposite pairs of circles was about 40 m (centre to centre)."

The other three sets are very similar and are omitted here. The aerial photo-graphs of the quintuplets are remarkable. Meteorologists describe the circles as being the consequence of a large central whirlwind accompanied by four satellites. There seems to be some aero-dynamic basis for accepting the reality of large vortexes attended by several smaller ones.

(Meaden, G.T.; "Whirlwind Spirals in Cereal-Fields: The Quintuplet Formations of 1983," Journal of Meteorology, U.K., 9:137, 1984. Journal address: 54 Frome Road, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, BA15 1LD ENGLAND.))

Comment. The regularity of whirlwind circles has prompted some to label them "UFO nests." Desert dust devils and steam devils often exhibit coordinated motion and geometrical organization. See GWW0 in Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation. This book is described here.

Some dynamically possible whirlwind patterns. Some dynamically possible whirlwind patterns. SET 1 conformed to the second pattern.

From Science Frontiers #36, NOV-DEC 1984. � 1984-2000 William R. Corliss