Not Quite Tree Tuesday

The trees are doing something odd out in northern Ontario:

In the forests of northern Ontario, a “strange phenomenon” of large natural rings occurs, where thousands of circles, as large as two kilometers in diameter, appear in the remote landscape.

Via this link:, which leads to a very scientific article on the phenomenon.

The article assures us that this is nothing unnatural or particularly mysterious:

Indeed, as geochemist Stew Hamilton suggested in 1998, the rings are most likely to be surface features caused by “reduced chimneys,” or “big centres of negative charge that frequently occur over metal deposits,” where a forest ring is simply “a special case of a reduced chimney.”

Reduced chimneys, meanwhile, are “giant electrochemical cells” in the ground that, as seen through the example of forest rings, can affect the way vegetation grows there.

I’ve been out there and it looked fine to me, but things get even weirder and weirder the more I read – but that just might be the full article going in all kinds of directions, especially at the end. But the tree rings are cool. And maybe it’s aliens…


  1. kestrel says

    What this reminds me of are mushroom rings, or “fairy rings” that mushrooms grow in. The mycelia grow outward at a certain rate and so the fruiting body (the mushroom is simply a fruiting body, not the organism itself) tends to grow in rings in some species. And so what does this have to do with trees… many trees have a mycelial symbiotic companion. So yes, mushrooms grow in a symbiotic relationship with trees and other plants. The ones that do this are called mycorrhizal fungi. They help the host plant get nutrients they otherwise would not get, while at the same time receiving carbohydrates from their companion. It would be so interesting to find out if the tree rings are somehow related, or have to do with geological features as the article implies. Life is so fascinating!

  2. avalus says

    Aerial archeology works the same way. Old walls still influence plants growing smetimes meters above them. It is much more pronounced on fields of corse.

    Geochemistry is a fascinating thing.

  3. jazzlet says

    Kestrel that is just what I thought, and the trees would be getting more nutrients at the growing edge of the mycorrhiza, just the way you get dark green grass at the growing edge in grassland.

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