Biologists recently debunked the myths surrounding the Baltic Sea. Mysterious rings have been spotted off of the coast of Denmark for years, yet there has been no rational explanation for them. The interesting green circles that could be seen on the shallow sea floor garnered many theories, however.
The rings, often referred to as “fairy rings,” were first spotted by tourists in 2008 and again in 2011. Their photos of the rings have circulated and produced speculation as to what could have created them. Some theories have alluded to the idea that the marks came from alien spacecrafts and World War II bomb craters.
Biologists have confirmed that the circles in the Baltic Sea are not bomb craters and have nothing to do with aliens. Nor do they have anything to do with fairies, despite their name. Marianne Holmer from the University of Southern Denmark and Jens Borum from the University of Copenhagen testify that there is a scientific explanation for their existence. They have debunked these myths and shed light on why these dark circle they really exist. Their research was recently published in the journal Marine Biology, where they provided a detailed explanation about the dark circles.
The rings are actually the result of poison due to radiating pattern that forms in the water from eelgrass. Eelgrass is a marine plant similar to seagrass. The plant is identifiable by its long ribbon-like leaves. Scientists detected high levels of sulfide near the eelgrass in the Baltic Sea. The sulfide deposits poison the plant, choking it as it infiltrates the long leaves, and that produces a chalk-like residue in the seabed.
When eelgrass traps the mud, it intensifies the level of sulfide in that particular area. Unlike seaweed, eelgrass is a flowering plant that expands as it grows. They can grow as big as 49 feet wide in the shallow waters. The growth cycle creates a circular pattern in the mud. When the plant dies out, it leaves a hallow spot where it once lived. The strength of the plant lies around the outer edges, rather than in the center. It leaves the part where center of the plant had once been as the deepest part of the hole. The mud then fills in the hole, giving it the darker appearance and leaving plenty of room for speculation.
Similar theories involving aliens cropped up when circles appeared on land at one time, as well. The circles found in the desert grasslands of Namibia in southern Africa, for example, have sparked a number of explanations. Scientists have reasoned that it could be due to ants and termites, gas leaks or from plants competing with one another for the space to grow.
The Danish biologists’ research and the discovery explains the phenomenon that tourists have experienced in recent years. Their explanation of how eelgrass grows, is poisoned by sulfide and dies out, leaving a dark indentation at the bottom of the Baltic Sea shows exactly how the holes are formed. The facts about the plant have debunked the myths surrounding these dark holes, taking the mystery out of what they could actually be.
By Tracy Rose