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Friday, May 23, 2008

You've Probably Heard Of Crop Circles, But How About Forest Rings?

The boreal forests of northern Ontario are dotted with as many as 8000 "forest rings". Discovered on aerial photographs about 50 years ago, the rings have baffled biologists, geologists and foresters ever since. Stew Hamilton, a Sudbury-based geochemist with the Sedimentary Geoscience Section of the Ontario Geological Survey says "We have been working on the rings since 1998, and there have been many developments, but there are still many unanswered questions," Speaking to the CBC Hamilton explained that he theorizes "the forest rings are caused by giant, naturally occurring electrochemical cells — big centres of negative charges (called reduced chimneys) that are frequently situated over metal or mineral deposits or methane (a natural gas source)." Check out the CBC story for more detail and a couple of interesting photos of the phenomenon.