Crop circles are now made using lasers, microwaves and GPS technology to create ever larger and more elaborate patterns, scientist claims as days of using planks and rope long gone.
Crop circles have confounded farmers and scientists alike since they were first recorded in the 17th century, and now physicist Professor Richard Taylor says the phenomenon is growing alongside advances in technology.
The complexity of modern patterns, which can involve up to 2,000 individual and elaborately arranged shapes, suggest that clandestine groups of hoaxers must use sophisticated methods to complete their projects in a single night.
GPS systems enables the artists to cover vast spaces with absolute precision, while microwaves can be used to flatten large numbers of stalks at great speeds, it was claimed.
An analysis of evidence in the Physics World journal reported that researchers had used magnetrons – tubes which use electricity and magnetism to generate intense heat – to mimic the physical changes in flattened stalks in some circles, which are linked to radiation.
Prof Taylor, director of the Materials Science Institute at the University of Oregon, said the findings suggest that crop circle artists may be using magnetrons, found in microwave ovens, or similar technology to complete their detailed patterns in the space of a few hours. (more)