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Monday, 29 June 2015

Sorted stone circles


A fabulous photo taken on Nordaustlandet, Svalbard, by Jenny Ross.  It shows sorted stone circles in an area of permafrost.  The sorting takes place in the active layer under the control of rather mysterious processes, which have been argued about by geomorphologists for many years.

It's much more common to see pictures of sorted polygons.  When the density of circles is too great for them to remain as individual entities, they press together -- and the result is that all of them assume polygonal shapes.

41 comments:

TonyH said...

Could these geomorphological processes have occurred after the last Ice Age in what we now call Britain? i.e. could prehistoric man have witnessed them?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Yes, there are lots of examples of patterned ground in England and Wales, mostly outside the Devensian ice limit. Just do a search on the blog site......

But circles like those in the photo are rare. As for pingos, the picture gets very confusing, as we saw in recent posts!

TonyH said...

You may have guessed that I was indeed wondering whether prehistoric man witnessed the formation of the circles....

BRIAN JOHN said...

Well, I suppose that if people were wandering about in the Palaeolothic when there was permafrost and tundra, they might have seen circles -- or more likely polygons. But if you want to have something to mimic, all you have to do is look at the moon, or at the radiating waves when you chuck a pebble into a lake, or at any other of the multitude of circular things in nature.....

TonyH said...

I think we could go around and round in circles debating this one.....we may never never know for sure!......unless MPP comes up with something definitive, of course, as with the Stonehenge Avenue, with the help of French and Allen.

Evergreen said...

You should be ashamed, both of you.

Any fool knows that Stone Circles were put up at places where crop circles appeared. This is why they only started to appear after farming really got underway and why the best ones are in Wiltshire.

Keep up, for gog ma gogs sake.

TonyH said...

So presumably, Ever - Green, you know all about Professor Terence Meaden's theories of plasma - vortexes as explanations for crop circle formation, Evergreen? Stephen Hawking agreed with Terence that this meteorological explanation may apply to those crop circles that are not hoaxes.

Prof Meaden has produced books on his theories.

Evergreen said...

I've met Terence Meaden, and, yes, I do remember his theories from way back. He sees faces in the stones at Avebury too you know Tony. I bought 'Circular Evidence' when it came out (I was very young). Colin Andrews and Pat Delgado. Classic stuff. Jim Schnabels 'Round in circles' is a good read.

Crop circles that are not hoaxes? "Hoaxes"?
You need to catch up!

Matthew Williams is the guy you want.

Geo Cur said...



Anyone who lives near fields of cereals will have seen rough circles that rae not mand made . Similarly anyone with experience of summits over approx 3000 ft in summer will have experienced mini whirlwinds that last for a few seconds creating roughly circular marks on the deck .
But what was bought by the "cerealogists" was the fancy stuff too , they really did believe much of the man made stuff was natural .

TonyH said...

I too have met Terence Meaden in various contexts. He's also very keen on natural fauna e.g insects and butterflies. His family used to own an automobile - related business not far from Bradford on Avon's Tithe Barn. This now is having houses built on the site, so Terence has probably come out quite well off as a result, and it carries the family surname.

He was also on a Julian Richards - led Stonehenge Area walk 30 years ago I was also on, when Terence's "croppy books" were just emerging from their chrysalises, and Julian (not realising TM was within his walking party) rather dismissed this fellow with his new theories. They ended up talking together about the practicalities of building a facsimile Stonehenge at Lord Bath's Longleat.

I also have New Age relations who live near Avebury and lap up all the crop circles, and film UFO's. Each to his own. Some of us eat vegetables, some of eat meat, to paraphrase the New Testament. Different strokes for different folks! Live and let live, as Shirley Bassey almost sang.

TonyH said...

Cereal..... to be continued

TonyH said...

Among the fields of barley.....

Ever - Green said...

George, they did indeed. Quite incredible really, it stunned me that anybody could believe it.

Andrew Collins' book was a good read at the time too. Wilhelm Reich, orgone theory.
Although 'the black alchemist' was the real corker.

Ever - Green

Evergreen said...

Tony, just in case there is any confusion, my initial post on this was 'just a bit of fun'.

BRIAN JOHN said...

There's a lot of irony and many strange metaphors on this blog...... at times it becomes almost metaphysical or theological. Not to mention all that folk music. Must be the silly season.....

Evergreen said...

Brian, I think it's a decent mix on here and I think it's a great blog. Long may it continue!

re music, have you heard of Ancient Colours? That guy is a bloody genius.

Much much better than that bloke from Darts, who knows nothing about music or archaeology.

Now THATS irony.

TonyH said...

If it's a mixture of Music and Archaeology you're after, turn to Sting, aka Gordon, who knows a serious amount about both, and sometimes lives very close to the Stonehenge Avenue's terminus just downstream the Avon from there, at Lake House, where he's even had a professional dig (Iron Age) in his grounds. Mind you, don't know what he thinks of the Stonehenge Riverside Project and the means of movement of dem dere Bluestones. He may of course think they were just luted.

TonyH said...

Ah, Evergreen, "just a bit of fun", I see.

But I have a feeling I may have known you in a different life, if that is not too metaphysical a suggestion? Richard III, any coincidence of geography? I'd bet My Kingdom on it, if not My Horse.

Evergreen said...

I don't follow..?

BRIAN JOHN said...

Ah, more puzzles, mysteries and enigmas. At times this gets rather like a list of difficult crossword puzzle clues! Most of them are beyond my ken...... never did like crossword puzzles, or folk music.

Earl said...

What he really said was "A horse, a horse, my Kingdom for a horse; you must be bloody joking"!!!


Crossword puzzle clue -----'Overloaded postman.

How many letters?

Bloody hundreds.


Silly season it is see. and can someone tell me what an URL is please?

Evergreen said...

I think the term 'folk music' conjures up a lot of 'finger in the ear' images in peoples minds.

Bert Jansch though Brian, come on, surely? If everybody listened to Bert Jansch daily the world would be a better place.

I could start going on about Sandy Denny, Fairport, Nick Drake, Pentangle, Danny Thompson, Voice of the seven woods.. but a lot of that isn't what i'd call 'folk' and also you'd ban me from the blog, so i'll shut up now.

Myris of Alexandria said...

Some of these were friends, some not so.Tiger Hutchens is to blame,saw he got a recent gong as did Ms Tickell, a slap in the face for Steeleye Span.
Nothing wrong with Folk music, it those bloody folk dancers who gives us a bad name,
Go to YouTube and hear Rosemary Hardman sing Lady for Today.
A folk classic from Razzamataz hotmoma.
For purists it has to be Nic Jones.
M

Geo Cur said...



In the real i.e. man made ,crop circle /Richard Long tradition .
Simon Beck's stuff is well worth a look .
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-29080006
http://snowart.gallery/see.php

TonyH said...

Evergreen, seems I was wrong in speculating that you might be a shape - shifter, i.e. that you also make comments on the Blog under a different name. But you do seem to share that Contributor's appreciation of certain wondrous musicians.

Brian, please let this final remark pass, then we'll all agree to your embargo on "Folkie" - type music mentions:

James Taylor has just released his first CD in 13 years and it has been particularly well received: "Before This World".

It's my birthday soon and then I'll at last be given it to listen to, whilst simultaneously dreaming of Mikey PP's Proto - Orthostats ...... "All In A Line, Like Ducks They're All In A Row"

"They do not move, they cannot shift
They Have no place to go"

Geo Cur said...



Not that she needed it or that it matters but if MS Tickell is happy to receive it then fine by ,previously unaware of the gonging , me .
For purists (in the Isles ), Seamus Ennis & Jeannie Robertson with honourable mention for the not quite so pure "the Galoot " and young (well at least he's still living ) Paddy Maloney .

Evergreen said...

Tony, no just the one name here. I like an awful lot of different music and probably a lot of awful different music. But I think I know who you thought I might be.

Geo, I really liked Richard Longs map stuff. I first became aware of him via Bill Drummond. $20,000 is very good read.

Myris, v nice track.

I'm no James Blackshaw but I do my best

http://youtu.be/AojgsMqOKNc


TonyH said...

The above - mentioned JT lyrics are from the 1980's non - Stonehenge song, "Sun on the Moon", taken from the album "Never Die Young", late '80's.

Myris of Alexandria said...

First Kostas now folkies are banned, Brian is becoming a second Sessi Seko but with fewer diamonds I suspect. Death to tyrants.
My name is Myris and I am a folkie
Hello Myris"
M

BRIAN JOHN said...

Who said I had banned folkies? Not me. Outrageous suggestion. I like a bit of gentle folk music now and them, without having a clue who the singer is, or what he/she is singing about....... All I did, lads and lasses, was to ask for restraint, given that this is supposed to be a blog about weightier things.

TonyH said...

Now Scandinavian dramas are becoming flavour of the decade, what about a resurgence of interest in the musical legacy of '50's & '60's folk duo Nina and Frederik? They may even have been amateur enthusiasts of geomorphology and glaciology. They certainly sang "Listen to the Ocean". Expect bronzed octogenarian Judith Chalmers still plays there records incessantly.

TonyH said...

Myris

Took your advice and went onto YouTube and listened to versions of Rosemary Hardman's song "Lady For Today". Did enjoy the versions I found, but neither sung by Rosemary/ Rose herself.

Did she write the song?

I noticed one version featured female singers from China.
Hope your Rosie is getting the Performance Royalties. She also has a very comprehensive Wikipedia entry, and seems to be in a longstanding relationship with an esteemed Stonehenge Geologist who appears to be a very good friend of yours.

Myris of Alexandria said...

Very pretty girl and were they not ennobled, are not all Scandinavian singers ennobled even Aha.
I have seen a bit of the Berwick St James standing stone aka Inigo Jones altar stone.
It is an oolitic Mesozoic fossiliferous limestone. Unlike any debitage seen by the Pet Rock boys from Stonehenge.

I note others have called the two stones sarsen, well this is not.

Germane enough Brian, now can we get back to folk stars of the 70s.

M

BRIAN JOHN said...

Well, what an amazing coincidence! We all wish Rosie well, and indeed wish all performers and writers well, in the hope that they do get something in the way of royalties via PRS. Our son is a singer too, and with many of his generation it's a sore point.....

Myris of Alexandria said...

Do not start us on the PRS or worse music publishers, mind you book publishers are just as bad. You wake up to find you have been sold on. You have the correct idea, self publish. I made little money from my atlas until I bought the copyright back and sold all the remainders and went on line.
Rereading Acts of God (available at few good bookshops) and enjoying it more, still don't have a clue who is who, but why worry, the sun shines all day and there is plenty of healthy exercise.
M

TonyH said...

Myris

Since you DID mention the Berwick St James Standing Stone [not quite sure WHY you did, were you remembering aristocratic, blonde Nina, and comparing her hue to limestone?] and have identified a sliver of it as Mesozoic fossiliferous limestone, could you give us some ideas about its possible range of provenances in what we nowadays call the United Kingdom, or alternatively, the Cameroon Empire? (Please feel free to take account of both human and glaciological theories of transportation to Stonehenge/ Berwick St James/A303.)

Nina was slightly too early for me, but I did see ?Nordic Amazon Ice - Maiden Mary Travers, with - either side - her bodyguards Peter and Paul, at Newcastle in '67. Not sure if Geordie Sting, in his stingless days, was also present - he did see James Taylor in New - Castle Man, in 1971. Mary Travers was forbidden from sunbathing when staying in the Florida area early in the career of P,P & M., lest she lose her folkie marketability. But these days, Roger McGuinn lives in Florida when he's not touring.

TonyH said...

Since Brian has asked for some restraint as regards the degree of mentions of folkie - type music and artists, "given that this is supposed to be a blog about weightier things", I present the indisputable case for a mention of non - folkie heavyweight Soul Man Barry White, also that Greek bloke with the high - pitched voice previously given a name - check by Myris here.

Myris of Alexandria said...

I have indeed been given a formation name for it and have just sent off a piece for thin sectioning, note no government funding, I did wonder about crowd funding but know how everyone here is scraping the money for reprints so gave that idea up.
Swarbrick, no not that, twice dead, one, called them both sarsen very wrong. I blame the editor for that error.
As this is paid work (fattening comestibules) I must let the sponsors know first.
Anyway one is limestone all the way.
Sadly we can rule out the Cameroons but not yet macaroons. Never been paid in maceroons....'til now.
M
I remember Nina and Fred very well and still love PPM version of Jesus at the well. Played it a few weeks back.

BRIAN JOHN said...

I thought it was well known that the Berwick St James stones are limestone, and not sarsen? Our friend Dennis Price (Eternal Idol) says "....the altar stone was believed to have been made of Jurassic Limestone found in Dorset and the Cotswolds." He has this theory that these stones were once a bigger stone used at Stonehenge as an altar stone -- which later split into two. Haven't followed the recent discussions on this idea.....

TonyH said...

Amazed to discover Myris's "the more famous Swarbrick", Dave, had a successful double lung transplant in 2004 and is, I think, still alive. Saw him perform concept album Babbacombe Lee with Fairport in 1972. This is based on the true story of a man condemned to be hanged, but he survived 3 attempts and was then acquitted.

Haven't kept up with Eternal Idol over recent months, so no knowledge of any updates on the Berwick St James stones. Dennis Price did go rather quiet.

TonyH said...

Wouldn't it be great to have Dave "Lazarus" Swarbrick do a Live gig at Stonehenge? He was described as 'fit as a fiddle' by the Oxford Times of 2014. Perhaps he could conjure up the spirits of the Ancestors whilst he's at it.