The following outline is a summary of theories and working hypotheses regarding the mechanisms of crop circle formation. Bear in mind that there are literally thousands of scientists, mathematicians, researchers, and physicists out there who have heard of crop circle phenomena, and like yourself, harbor their own pet theories about how, why, and by whom these glyphs are produced. Keep an open mind as you scan through the ideas and conjectures. Remember that it is all too easy to grasp for certainty at the beginning of a mystery, and then all too easy to throw criticism at something which does not satisfy all the known facts. We encourage you to enter fully into this enigma, applying everything you know to what is unknown. Think of the whole phenomena as if it were an egg-shape of an ellipse. One focus of the ellipse is common knowledge, the other focus being the mystery. As you revolve around both foci, you will gradually bring a new understanding into awareness.

What is presented here is a synopsis of published findings and theories, and in no way does it pretend to be the final word. One of the interesting epiphenomena around this whole thing is the interactiveness of the formations with what various people are thinking and saying about it. Early on Terrence Meaden went public with his theory of the plasma vortex, and he treated it like a meteorology problem. Just as he had convinced the media and many leading researchers that his theory was correct….the circles began turning into pictograms, more complex, and unfortunately for Dr. Meaden, unexplainable by his vortex theory. Further stories of pattern premonitions and wish fulfillment have been common, but this will not be covered here, because we are more interested in building a bridge from conventional science to the crop circle phenomena. As the ideas and theories build up into a heady ferment of thought, most likely we’ll see the crop circles step up to their new evolutionary level. This would be miraculous to see, as if it hasn’t been miraculous already.

9 Basic Theories: An Overview (Colin Andrews)
1- Whirlwind Vortex
2- Plasma Vortex
3- Earth Energies
4- Extra-Terrestrial Origin
5- Underground Archaeological
6- Chemical Applications (no longer considered)
7- Hoaxes
8- God Force
9- Military Experimentation

As members of the CCCS (Centre for Crop Circle Studies) will tell you, the varieties and types of theories abound. The CCCS began in 1990 as a collaborative effort between professional researchers, authors, gifted psychics and dowsers, to establish a base station for scientific studies of the circles. The group is presently 400 members strong around the world, based in the UK, and has branch convenors in different parts of the U.S. and Canada. The scope of the research is quite open-ended, and owing to its voluntary efforts, conducts research according to the personal predilections of its authors and volunteers. Since many members have a decidedly metaphysical bent, some of the experiments are concerned with subjective effects on people, anomalous light, sound, and otherworldly contacts. While the stated purposes of the CCCS are quite clear, the elusive nature of the phenomena itself has made it difficult if not impossible to reach a consensus of opinion over the direction of research and the validity of results.

As a member of this group for less than a year, I have heard a number of independent voices state clearly that a plasma physicist would be the most valued person to enter the fray at this point. The idea that we are witnessing a directed plasma, leaving aside the questions of origin and intent, seems to keep re-emerging. All of the eyewitness descriptions of light phenomena, the T. Meaden hypothesis of Plasma-Vortex, the microwave energy of W.C. Levengood and others tends to point to a plasma- based phenomena. Almost everyone has seen arc phenomena such as lightning, the V-shaped Tesla spark ladder of Frankenstein fame, or of more recent vintage, the clear bubble-glass discharge of rare gases which you see in night clubs. As an experimental physicist, I have used microwave cavities to locally heat a plasma, and deliver ionized gas, such as O2 and N2 mixtures to a target. For me, the assumption of plasma and microwave energies are not incompatible. It is well-known in physics that there is a characteristic "plasma frequency" which is a measure of its cut-off frequency. Frequencies below this will be attenuated and/or reflected, while the frequencies above will propagate through with a real-valued "index of refraction", ie, as if it were an optical material. The unusual feature of the crop circle plasma is that it has no obvious confining walls. In a lab-based plasma, the "sheath" is generally a magnetic field, or a standing-wave pattern of microwaves. In the case of arc-discharge, the ultra-fast current created by breakdown into ions and electrons sets up its own constrictive "sheath" by Ampere’s circuit law. So where is the magnetic sheath in a crop circle? And how is it positioned so carefully?

One opinion which seems to keep rising to the surface is that there has to be a "ground component" to this whole phenomena. A number of facts support this idea. The stalks are bent at 90 degrees at a consistent distance with respect to the topsoil (1 inch is typical). The CC sites are located on ley-lines and points connecting other geographic features (ie, roads, sacred sites, farmer’s plough marks, etc). One researcher has reported that there is a 90% correlation with water from the ground….and the beginning of the plant stem is arguably the locale for the highest density of flowing H2O throughout the plant. Anyone who wishes to pay respects to Gaia as the mother of this whole invention may also do so at this juncture….there is ample room for telluric forces and gravity effects. (The stalks do fall downward, after all is said and done!)

My personal opinion is that we are not even scratching the surface yet. If you look into current research in plasma physics, you will discover that resonant structures such as "flute-shaped", toroidal, or "balooning" structures can be formed inside of a plasma. If you classify the plasma as "far from equilibrium" then you are opening up a Pandora’s box of unknown phenomena which may or may not be spontaneously generated. It is a generally accepted notion since Ilya Prigogine did his work on thermodynamics of dissipative structures, that in situations far from equilibrium, new order is established internally by self-organization. These new ordering "structures" tend to reflect the boundaries and "sheaths" of the host medium. Perhaps the plasma light that people have reported in crop circles is confined by sheaths of telluric fields which are geomagnetic. Then that would imply that earth fields are moveable and have fluid properties. Personally, I like what Barbara Hand Clow mentioned in her new work, The Pleadian Agenda (see reference). While speaking from her "Satya" channel, she mentioned that Pleadians consider the interaction of gravity and stellar light to be the most essential in-formation. (read: "inner formation"). I think that stellar light is the capstone of the creative pyramid, which guides and directs certain transformations of matter and energy. In this scheme, a plasma is only the fourth phase of matter out of seven, with gases, liquids, and solids toward the base of the pyramid. Gravity is the matrix which binds and gives continuity….in the sense of Einsteinian curved space around matter. Gravity is traction, while stellar light is inclination. Stellar light might be the plasma that appears during crop circle formations, but governed internally by a genius loci, not a laboratory emulation. (The dictionary defines "genius loci" to be the presiding deity or spirit of a place….it has the same root that appears in genesis and generation.) I think that to procede further along the lines of these admitedly "New Age" ideas, one would have to look closely at the evidence of the plants themselves, to see what specifically has been transformed. Is it the conversion of ammonia in the nitrogen cycle? Is it the cell turgidity changed by some water diffusion process that has been altered? Are the dissolved gases in the xylem tubes the same concentrations as in the control samples? Or are the changes affected entirely at the genetic level, and somehow rapidly dispatched into new cell copies? (This would accord with B.H. Clow’s channeled message that DNA has a "stellar component".)

In the long view, it may not even matter what the current theories and public disclosures proclaim. The fact that you became interested, and opened up just enough to look at some new ideas……THAT might be the best occurence yet!

The first theory proposed by Dr. Terrence Meaden in the 1980’s attempted to explain all spirally generated circle patterns as a product of entirely natural atmospheric phenomena. Meaden likened the vortex to dustdevils, tornados, etc., but also including friction-generated plasma which could account for the anomalous light phenomena which many eyewitnesses had seen. Meaden claimed the forces involved were hitherto "unrecognized helical or toroidal forces" which had "subsidiary electromagnetic properties due to self-electrification." The vortex would presumably form high above the ground, then suddenly "breakdown" to the ground level in an axial strike. The theory was plausible for a number of years, with further corroboration obtained in Japan by Dr. Y.H. Ohtsuki and Prof. H. Ofuruton. Their lab reserach produced similar vortices by electrostatic discharge and microwave interference. Theoretical work on the plasma-vortex was carried out by Prof. H. Kikuchi, Japan, who modeled the vortex using energy potentials including an interaction term between an axial electric field and the earth’s magnetic field.

Although Dr. Meaden was possibly the first to equate a meteorological event with a plasma-vortex, the term is not new to plasma physics. A 1970 Nobel Prize winning physicist, Hannes Alfven, developed several theories of wave propagation in plasmas. His broad vision embraces interstellar and laboratory phenomena, for he was interested in those properties of lab plasmas which could be used to form a cosmogony (a theory of evolution). The bulk of his work relates to magnetohydrodynamics, an area of plasma physics which investigates acoustic and magnetic interactions within an electrically conductive fluid or gas. It is an advanced subject, but Alfven wave concepts are at heart quite intuitive.

Basically, Alfven waves are ripples or propagating waves on top of plasma-vortex structures. The vortex structures themselves form spontaneously within a plasma from shear flows and instabilities. Once formed, however, they can propagate waves in various modes, as well as deliver momentum across large distances. How does this relate to crop circles? A plasma-vortex structure such as a toroid, or a moving spiral, can explain the gentle "groomed" appearance of the plant stalks after a formation has occured. The stalks show no mechanical chafing or damage, which would be the case if struck by a sudden whirlwind or tornado. I believe that Alfven waves create the final "push" which pulsates along the axes of vortex structures. How these are generated, and where they begin is still quite an intruiging mystery.

The whirlwind vortex, or upward-axis vortex as it was promulgated by Dr. Meaden, was sufficient to explain all of the true "circles" appearing in the 1980’s. However, the whirlwind theory became public "disinformation" as soon as the first large-scale pictograms began appearing in Britain as early as 1990. This new dimension to the shape of the phenomena began to inform people that much larger, more complex forces were at work. It could no longer be a simple combination of "hitherto unrecognized" natural forces. In addition to the anomalous light phenomena, several more reports of a 5KHz "trilling sound" were taken from witnesses in the vicinity of the formations, none of which could be explained by revolving wind and charge clouds. Straight lines began to appear in the pictograms, with stems of the plants lying parallel to the outer contours of the lines. Obviously, Meaden’s theory was in need of modification.

The unusual nature of the crop formations attracted many other researchers from outside of strict materialistic science. Ever since the early ’80’s when the basic circles became a frequent overnight appearance in southern England, archeologists, mystics, ecologists, and specialists in indigenous cultures began to recognize the symbolism in the shapes of the circles, as well as their proximity to known sacred sites. In particular, the complex of megalithic henges known as Avebury and Stonehenge, with the related earthmound of Silbury Hill and the original site of Salisbury at Old Sarum, were host to many of the circle formations in the late 80’s and early 90’s. The ancient arts of geomancy, sacred geometry, and dowsing were given new life, at least from a speculative point of view, in relation to the circle sites and the network of earth energies known as ley-lines. While the original meaning of "ley-lines" has been lost to us, it was considered by historians of sacred sites to be a "vital current" which flowed through the earth, often running huge distances.
We can only speculate today that it may have something to do with either geomagnetic activity of the earth’s crust, or perhaps charge accumulations from groundwater running through porous chalk deposits, known to be ubiquitous in the U.K. Such charge accumulations can redistribute and spill over to other sites on the ground, giving a "moving target" for electrical discharges coming from the air. Here we are on thin ground because we are trying to apply modern science to ancient religious custom and belief. The ancient indigenous tribes may well have had a direct understanding of earth cycles and "ley lines" which they used to build their religious and archeo-astronomical sites. The only remaining connection between crop circles and the ancient peoples are to be found in symbol and legend, also in ancient prophecy. The Mayan and Hopi religion are two examples of cultures which maintained prophecies of signs appearing at the end of the millenium, although the details and references are beyond the scope of this outline. Certain similarities can also be drawn between the pictograms in the crops and cup-and-ring markings on the stones of pre- historic sites in Britain, Ireland, and Whales, but it is not known what kind of knowledge and communications these pre-historic people actually had.

The Gaia hypothesis of James Lovelock has had considerable support since the appearance of crop-circle phenomena, and this is closely related to earth energies. The Gaia approach is a holistic, all-encompassing way of looking at earth phenomena in terms of a vital, living being which is self- protective and self-adaptive to its own environmental stresses, much the same way an organism or an animal would respond to external and internal stimuli. The controversial aspects of Lovelock’s hypothesis are the cybernetic versus the organismic components. If a natural feedback cycle— suppose we take the nitrogen cycle of plants for instance–displays parts which behave in a predictable, controlled feedback loop, then Gaia is demonstrating a cybernetic feature. However, if we see a unique and creative response to known stimuli, then Gaia evinces an organismic feature. Scientists generally find this dualism to be a logical contradiction. If there seems to be a larger, global purpose at work, then local phenomena cannot be reduced to a mechanism…which is generally maddening to most scientists. The crop circles tend to fall into this category of "organismic" responses, and most scientists, lacking solid answers to the "how" of crop circles, would like to bow out of the "why" of crop circles altogether.

There are exceptions, however. Researchers such as Colin Andrews and Pat Delgado, authors of the best-selling books Circular Evidence and Crop Circles: The Latest Evidence, have embraced the Gaia hypothesis as a meaningful explanation that the earth is now undergoing a realignment. It can no longer support the anti-life tendencies and continuous disregard the human populations have shown, and seeks to readjust all forms of consciousness to its new directive. The crop circles are a "spiritual nudge" which is designed to awaken us to our larger context and milieu, which is none other than our collective earth soul. This type of theory is teleological, in that it answers more of the "why"-type questions regarding purpose, instead of the "how"-type questions usually posed by modern academic science. It is legitimate, and avoids the myopic views of cybernetic and mechanistic reductionism.

Both the earth energy and Gaia approach to understanding the whole crop-circle phenomena will be needed if one is to arrive at a satisfying explanation. There are just too many factors surrounding the placement of CC’s, their juxtaposition to known sacred sites, their inherent symbolism, and of course, their arrival at this time for anyone to ignore the earth connection. It is a shortcoming of modern science that it places too much emphasis on technology and economically-driven research. This leaves us largely unconscious of the larger forces of nature which environ us but are only recently beginning to be felt.

Several years of incomplete theorizing, and still more circles appeared with similar characteristics. In January 1991, Dr. William C. Levengood approached Pat Delgado with an offer to apply some scientific methods to study the affected plants. Dr. Levengood has impressive credentials which include six patents and fifty papers for international scientific journals. He is a biophysicist who specializes in bioelectrochemical energies in plants and seeds. Working out of his Pinelandia Biophysical Lab in Michigan, he proceeded to examine many samples of affected stalks using microscopic techniques. One of the qualitative features which emerged directly from his comparison of affected plants versus control plants (obtained from the same fields) was the expansion of the "nodes", or elbow points along the stalks. In these particular regions, expansion of the cell walls had occurred, as well as enlarging of the "pits" or exchange pores in the cell walls. These holes are the exchange sites for ions and electrolytes in water to transport into and out of the cells. The curious feature about these holes was their sharp outline of trapezoidal-shaped edges, as opposed to a rather flat round appearance in the control samples.
Furthermore, Dr. Levengood performed an analysis of seed embryos from the glumes (husks) of the plant heads. In 40% of the glumes he found seed deformation of some kind as compared with the controls. "Most of these deformations can be explained by premature dehydration of the seeds," according to Dr. Levengood. However, a large fraction of these glumes showed "alterations" which he has assumed are genetic, but are rare conditions of "polyembryony" and arrested growth of the embryos without the next layer of endosperm. To study this condition further, he has proceeded to grow new generations of these affected seeds, and the results have been remarkable. I leave it up to the reader to find Dr. Levengood’s paper and learn more. (See reference at end.)

In some of these affected nodes, there was a split or hole opening to the outside air, indicating that some internal pressure had released at that point. It is known that the node areas contain more water per volume than other areas of the plants, so it appeared possible to Dr. Levengood that some kind of steam heating was taking place. He was also able to bend nodes of unaffected plants quite readily after a brief exposure to microwaves in a standard microwave oven. This result, coupled with the alternation of the seeds has led Dr. Levengood to a working hypothesis of microwave-type energy at work, rapidly heating and depleting the stored water regions within the nodes. It is known from military research and development that microwave radiation in the low gigahertz range can be directed from far away, provided that atmospheric conditions are permitting. (There has never been a report of a crop circle being formed in a rainstorm, for example.) The genetic part of the seed alteration cannot be explained by microwave radiation alone. For this, Dr. Levengood is simply reporting observations, and not jumping to any conclusions about genetic changes.

Other researchers, such as Omar Fowler have also concluded that microwave radiation is involved based on his study of "crease and burn marks" in the plant stems. He saw single standing stems of 22 inch height consistently in otherwise flattened circle areas. He believes this to be consistent with microwaves in the low gigahertz range of frequency. Another current researcher in the public eye, Roy Dutton, has assumed a microwave radiation combined with gravitational waves is responsible. Although he does not develop a model for the radiation interaction, he has put together a computer model of the flattening process which mimics the layout of the plant stalks remarkably well.