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Mysterious Underwater Circles Off the Coast of Denmark Explained

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the round-and-round dept.

Science 37

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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fairy rings (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46134735)

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

Get your story straight, science.

Re:fairy rings (5, Informative)

tysonedwards (969693) | about a year ago | (#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.

Re:fairy rings (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46134903)

If you are a liberal moderators here will mod you down

Re:fairy rings (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46135069)

If you are a conservative they will. If you are a libertarian they will. If you are a communist they will. If you are a fascist they will. If you're a martian they will.

If you include a line about how you anticipate that moderators will mod your post down, however...

Re:fairy rings (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about a year ago | (#46140779)

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.

bummer (1)

ToasterTester (95180) | about a year ago | (#46134761)

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

Re:bummer (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about a year ago | (#46134817)

Will this work for you? http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_MBnj... [blogspot.com]

Re:bummer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46134853)

Worked for me!

Re:bummer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46134857)

Why yes. Yes it will. I'll be in my bunk.

WARNING: Goatse re-direct Link! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46134893)

Do not click that link!! The disgusting image will forever be burned into your eyes.

Re:WARNING: Goatse re-direct Link! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46134983)

Has Science published an article about Goatse yet? Search for Extra Terrestrial Gay Niggers? Search for pheromones in sexy human excrement?

can your comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46145437)

be moved to 4chan?

Re:WARNING: Goatse re-direct Link! (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about a year ago | (#46135141)

No, it is the old pic of scully in a latex wetsuit. Generally, blogspot is quite good about filtering gaping assholes. (ba-dump bump)

Re:WARNING: Goatse re-direct Link! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46135409)

Fucking troll.... I was so exited to see goatse here.... and its just that sisy wetsuit,

Re:bummer (1)

gtall (79522) | about a year ago | (#46136339)

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.

Fairy Rings, Frankenstein (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46134803)

Science Mag is a fucking tabloid.

science tabloid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46134927)

crop circles, sexual mind control, sexually frustrated crustaceans, eleven-thousand-year-old dog tumor, Facebook is a disease, road trip with Rodman, queen of sex, name that smell, bad bug breath, Earth's crust was so drippy, Turing was so gay, this one weird trick during foreplay

No way! How could Science be a tabloid.

Something rotten in the state of Denmark? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46135027)

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"?

Re:Something rotten in the state of Denmark? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46135043)

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

Re:Something rotten in the state of Denmark? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46135065)

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

Yes, I think that would qualify.

Re:Something rotten in the state of Denmark? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46137833)

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

From memory, it was to rule them all, was it not? At least until some hairy footed midget shoved it into the gob of the recently retired pope [chzbgr.com] , and shoved him into a volcano.

You want mysterious circles in the sea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46135311)

Punch these coordinates into google maps or Google Earth:
60.62040, -0.9824
and:
60.64248, -0.9917

Re:You want mysterious circles in the sea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46135395)

What is mysterious about a Salmon Farm?

Re:You want mysterious circles in the sea? (2)

mellon (7048) | about a year ago | (#46135421)

Those aren't very mysterious—they are salmon farms. The Shetland Islands are big on aquaculture in their sheltered lagoons (sea lochs).

Another good Slashdot story (5, Insightful)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about a year ago | (#46135453)

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?

Re:Another good Slashdot story (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year ago | (#46135539)

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.

I come to Slashdot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46135787)

I come to Slashdot and post stuff because I'm bored and to stroke my pathetic little ego - and when I get moded +5 it really inflates my shitty little self-esteem. Especially since I'm an AC and we're Slashdot niggers here - see, most of you are abusive arrogant pricks who think because you lay down a few lines of code, you're better than everyone else on the planet.

As far as the articles, I usually have seen these articles days before Slashdot ever puts them up.

I really need to get a life and spend time with real - nice - people instead of this pseudo social interaction that leaves me socially isolated. I'm working my way there. I changed my registered account's pw to something random and deleted the throw away email address.

Now, if only more submitters lock out us ACs.

Like yourself much? (1)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about a year ago | (#46136409)

I come to Slashdot and post stuff because I'm bored and to stroke my pathetic little ego - and when I get moded +5 it really inflates my shitty little self-esteem. Especially since I'm an AC and we're Slashdot niggers here - see, most of you are abusive arrogant pricks who think because you lay down a few lines of code, you're better than everyone else on the planet.

Apropos of nothing, do you like yourself?

I ask because your post appears to be a carefully-crafted insult to the readers of this board.

People who insult tend to base their self-worth on the opinions of others. They wage a constant battle for the little bits of esteem they can get by counting coup [wikipedia.org] on others.

People like that usually have a difficult time saying "I like myself" while believing it at a deep level. There's always someone better to impress, always other people to push down while you make your way to the top. You're never satisfied with yourself until you're the pinnacle of esteem.

How's that working out for you?

If you've got a minute, please answer my original question. I'm honestly curious if you can claim, with deep agreement, that you like yourself.

Re:I come to Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46151695)

Thank you! If only this & other such herds came to their senses in regard to the forum crass. Learn, O mediocrity, that social influence can undermine the wisdom of crowd effect: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2011/05/10/1008636108 (Google doesn't like this paper, obviously).

Whale turds (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | about a year ago | (#46135769)

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.

Am I the only one (2)

lolococo (574827) | about a year ago | (#46135933)

who read it first as "Mysterious underwear circles off the coast ..." ?

Re:Am I the only one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46136675)

Crap circles?

Crop circles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46136309)

" Because eelgrass usually grows as continuous underwater meadows, scientists were still baffled by the rims of lush eelgrass with barren cores."

Underwater crop circles :-)

Uhm. Duh? (1)

lemur666 (313121) | about a year ago | (#46138075)

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.

Mysterious underwear?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46139919)

Did anybody else misread that headline as "Mysterious Underwear Circles off the coast" etc.? Made my morning.

Pollution should be in the headlines... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#46143935)

It's aight. The West pollutes the ocean, the East pollutes the air.

Sounds like a good combination.

Puffer fish (1)

z0idberg (888892) | about a year ago | (#46145775)

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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