Home Page Science Frontiers

No. 76: Jul-Aug 1991

Issue Contents

Other pages











Subterranean "circles"

As if we didn't have enough problems with crop circles on the earth's surface, it now seems that whatever agency (or "entity") that is responsible for them also plies its craft underground!

"Sets of concentric rings, similar to those found last summer in British wheat fields, have been discovered in a Japanese subway tunnel.

"Many sets of concentric rings were found drawn in dust that accumulated on the ground and walls inside the tube. The metro versions of the mystery circles are much smaller -- up to 8 centimeters in diameter -- than the British ones, the largest of which measures scores of meters."

Y. Otsuki, a professor of physics at Waseda University, discovered the rings and believes that plasma generated in the air creates them. Subway tunnels, he says, create conditions similar to those in the plasma generators he uses in his fireball research.

A photo of the rings accompanying the article shows six neatly-formed, concentric rings around a central crude circle. (Anonymous; "'Mystery Circle' Found in Tunnel," Asahi Evening News (Tokyo), April 5, 1991. Cr. Y. Matsumura via L. Farish)

Speculations. Apparently, plasmoids can be of any size: crop circles may be 100 feet in diameter of just a foot or two, and now we may have centimeter-sized expressions of plasmoid activity in the unexpected locale of the subway tunnel!

Building upon these observations, it is not unreasonable to ask whether plasmoids (including plasma vortices) may not exist on larger scales, say, astronomical and geological. We are drawn to those strange swirl markings on the moon. These loop-like patterns are 1050 kilometers in size and are associated with strong magnetic anomalies. (See ALE5 in The Moon and the Planets.) And right here on earth we have the devastation of the Tunguska Event sans a gaping crater. And how about the shallow Carolina Bays, some of which are associated with magnetic anomalies? Could such phenomena be the handiwork of plasmoids rather than meteorites or comets? Plasmoids could also be involved in such phenomena as ball lightning, the cookie-cutter holes, and even spontaneous human combustion!

Reference. For ordering information on The Moon and the Planets, visit: here.

From Science Frontiers #76, JUL-AUG 1991. � 1991-2000 William R. Corliss