Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Colin. Colin Wonders, “What is a crop circle?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Colin!

Have you ever flown in an airplane? Many say there’s nothing like the view from thousands of feet in the air. They gaze out the window at beautiful landscapes as far as the eye can see. Of course, airplane windows also offer the perfect spot to see the topic of today’s Wonder of the Day. That’s right—today, we’re talking about crop circles!

Crop circles are large geometric patterns that appear in fields that are otherwise full of corn, wheat, barley, etc. The patterns are created when certain areas are packed down while others are left untouched. They tend to be very exact. Often, crop circles look like they were made by a machine.

Reports of crop circles may go back hundreds of years. However, modern sightings really started piling up in the 1970s. Most of these were reported in England. The first crop circles (and still most common) were single circles. They both delighted and puzzled farmers. The news media also quickly became interested.

As interest in crop circles grew, they began to appear in dozens of other countries, including the United States. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the number and complexity of crop circles grew. Some are very large and elaborate. Today, England remains the home of the largest number of crop circles.

There’s no doubt that crop circles are real. The evidence is there for all to see. However, their origin remained a mystery for quite some time. Even today, some people still cling to wild theories to explain crop circles.

For example, some people believe that aliens make crop circles. They claim UFOs leave the patterns behind after landing on Earth. Others believe the explanation may be scientific. They point to powerful wind patterns or energy fields.

However, the only explanation that has proved true is that human beings are to blame for crop circles. In September 1991, British duo Doug Bower and Dave Chorley admitted that they had made hundreds of crop circles since 1978. They even demonstrated their method of doing so. They used a homemade device made of a rope and a plank.

The two claimed that they made crop circles as a prank. They wanted to make people believe that UFOs or aliens had visited Earth. Since they came forward, most crop circles have since been traced to copycat hoaxers. Still, some crop circle enthusiasts insist that there are other examples that cannot be explained away as a prank.

Could such crop circles point to visits by aliens? We’ll let you be the judge of that. They still appear seemingly out of nowhere in fields today. Maybe if you’re lucky, you’ll find a crop circle yourself one day.

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1

Wonder What's Next?

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