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Mysterious Underwater Circles Off the Coast of Denmark Explained 37

Posted by samzenpus
from the round-and-round dept.
sciencehabit writes "The truth behind the mysterious underwater circles that periodically appear off the coast of Denmark has been discovered, and sadly it doesn't involve aliens, fairies, or the fabled lost city of Atlantis. In 2008, a tourist snapped photos of several large dark rings that appeared near the white cliffs of Denmark's island of Møn in the Baltic Sea. The circles, several as large as a tennis courts, sparked numerous theories of their origin—some more outlandish than others. In 2011, when the formations reappeared, scientists discovered they were actually round bands of marine eelgrass, similar to rings of mushrooms known as fairy rings. Because eelgrass usually grows as continuous underwater meadows, scientists were still baffled by the rims of lush eelgrass with barren cores. Now, researchers say they at last know the rings' true cause."
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Mysterious Underwater Circles Off the Coast of Denmark Explained

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    doesn't involve aliens, fairies, or the fabled lost city of Atlantis

    Get your story straight, science.

    • Re:fairy rings (Score:5, Informative)

      by tysonedwards (969693) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @01:47PM (#46134749)
      And to complete the summary Copy / Paste:

      The scientists found large amounts of toxic sulfide built up in the muds where the eelgrass grows. The sulfide forms when nutrients from agricultural runoff cause bacteria to flourish. Eelgrass grows radially outward, with older plants in the middle and younger seedlings on the outer rim. Because only the middle ring of mature plants can endure the poisonous sulfide, a near-perfect ring of seagrass forms, the researchers report in the February issue of Marine Biology. While the eelgrass circles make for a remarkable sight and a catalyst for kooky conspiracy theories, the researchers say sulfide from agricultural runoff has become a major problem for seagrass ecosystems worldwide.
      • So the "middle ring" is the plants that are old enough to weather the toxin but not yet old enough to die off naturally? Without the natural die-off we'd be talking about a filled-in circle.

  • That's sucks I was hoping to go skin diving and see Scully and Mulder.

    • Will this work for you? http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_MBnj... [blogspot.com]
    • by gtall (79522)

      I was hoping to see the Greek guy with the electric hair down there looking for aliens. One of these days he'll get abducted and his dreams will come true, kind of. The aliens will alter his memory and from then on he'll claim Jimmy Hoffa and Elvis kidnapped him.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Now, researchers say they at last know the rings' true cause.

    So what is it? And don't ask me to RTFA!

    Is it "something rotten"?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Are "large amounts of toxic sulfide" rotten enough for you?

  • by Okian Warrior (537106) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @04:04PM (#46135453) Homepage Journal

    While the subject matter is not very interesting, this is a another fine example of a good Slashdot story.

    Do people come to Slashdot for articles on politics when you can get those anywhere? Also common are "Oh! the humanity!" articles that stoke indignation while leaving the reader no way to help - every news outlet has them.

    News such as this, an interesting effect scientifically explained, is Slashdot's distinguishing feature.

    Can we have more like this?

    • While I agree that it's an interesting story, it came pre-explained. Personally I prefer the stories about unsolved mysteries which get solved by the /. community. We need a science-y who(what)-dunit here that needs the nerdy types to solve it.
  • Out west where cattle roam around in open country, you can often find these grassy vegetation rings that form after they've taken a dump on that spot.

  • who read it first as "Mysterious underwear circles off the coast ..." ?
  • Anyone who has a dog and a lawn could have explained this one.

    When our dog takes a crap on the lawn, and it isn't cleaned up promptly, within a week there's a dead spot with a perfect ring of extra healthy grass around it.

    Too many 'nutrients' at ground zero kills the grass, but around the edges where it gets diluted the grass grows like crazy.

    I'm still going with aliens pooping, though.

  • The title reminded me of a story of another set of mystery underwater circles that was solved recently:

    http://www.thisiscolossal.com/... [thisiscolossal.com]

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