How a 50-year-old experiment changed the enigmatic “Crop Circle” forest in Japan

The globe has been taking notice of this Japanese forest because of its distinctive shape.

In the Miyazaki Prefecture of southern Japan on an airplane, a recent aerial photo spotted some mysterious concentric ‘crop’ circles of Japanese cedar trees swell toward the sky, creating a unique visual effect. It left people all around the world wondering just how they were formed

Photo: Miyazaki southern forest management office via Sankei News.

Many thought the picturesque natural formations were the results of an alien invasion, but no, they are rather part of a plan conceived nearly 50 years ago. Α document by the Japanese Ministry of Αgriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries explains that what you see is due to a 1973 project targeting growth and tree spacing. The area was designated as “experimental forestry,” with one experiment involving researchers planting trees in 10 degree radial increments to form 10 concentric circles.

Patterns that appear to be crop circles visible in Google Earth satellite images of a Japanese forest are actually a 50-year-old government experiment and not a sign that aliens are coming. (Google Earth)

What is visible today – even on Google Earth – are the results after 45 years. Interestingly, the trees also grew in a convex shape, fanning out into the forest and showing that spacing does have unexpected results on growth. The original plan called for the trees to be harvested in 5 years, but given the new interest, officials are actually considering saving the circular forest.

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