Solving the ice rings – part three of the hunt for a Norwegian meteorite

After learning that the odd formations on the small lake near Bergen reminded a man of science of crop circles, newspaper Bergens Tidende made the obvious logical leap from a sales point of view, and immediately contacted one of Norway’s leading figures in crop circle … circles.

Eva Marie Brekkestø had a book being published a few days later, called Crop circles – Miracle of the field, and there she has written about mysterious patterns appearing on frozen ponds and lakes as well as in more familiar settings.

“We know of other fantastic examples of similar patterns to the one in Arna now,” Eva Marie told BT’s web site. Other ice circles have been recorded in the USA and Sweden. Brekkestø has received many messages from some of the 2700+ members of Norway’s crop circle association, discussing the ice pattern in Arna near Bergen.

Eva Marie has a sensible theory, and a ditto attitude. She emphasizes that she has only seen photos of the Arna phenomenon, but from what she can see, it is probably a tidal effect forcing water through ice fishing holes – which is exactly what our astrophysicist guessed in yesterday’s report.

“But it could just as likely be a mystery,” Eva Marie told a possibly disappointed BT journalist. “There are many things that link patterns on ice to the mystery of crop circles,” she says, and relates the case in Snåsa in Norway in 2004. Discovered by schoolchildren, they ran home to get a camera, but as they approached the phenomenon the battery began to fail, so only very poor photos exist. Batteries often fail around crop circles, we are told.

In this installment of BT, the light originally sighted before the pattern was found is now believed to be the reflection of a street light, even though this had been ruled out by earlier checks. BT then went to arguably the biggest expert on odd phenomena in Scandinavia, my old chum Clas Svahn, a journalist for Sweden’s respected daily Dagens Nyheter.

Clas is one of two extremely interesting characters I got to know in my time on Aftenposten’s News in English desk in respect to odd stories. I would occasionally have to write about unidentified aerial phenomena or other strangeness, and I found Clas to be the kind of expert who is always on hand in a good Hollywood sci-fi blockbuster. Except the real world expert consistently has a logical explanation. Though if something absolutely incredible does turn up in Scandinavia, it will have to get past him. He is the head of UFO Sweden, and it tends to be IFO Sweden.

Clas is the guy who has seen every obscure weather effect, knows all airline schedules and deviations, and can always make a quick call and confirm latest military missile test and flight patterns. When there was an enormous fuss about a remarkable aerial sighting in Norway recently, I just got on to Clas and asked him about it. He calmly said it linked up with a known missile launch test, and explained why it likely appeared the way it did, and I waited for the rest of the world to fall into line, which it did. One interesting aspect of that incident is that many excitable groups discussed the phenomenon’s ‘explanation’ as being a possible ‘crop circle in the sky’.

Clas told BT that there were several natural explanations for the Arna pattern – gas from the sea bed carrying up warmer water that eats through the ice is one – but he too feels that tidal effects are the answer here, as well as a similar one being examined in Østfold, which resembled a hole with cracks around it, a bit like a bullet hole in a window.

“When the water laps into the cracks, these widen, and where the cracks cross each other larger holes form, and eventually one large, round hole,” Svahn explains.

In his blog (in Swedish) Clas mentions that Arna very seldom freezes over since it has a river feeding it. The rings occur from the movement of water, or when the weight of the snow presses the ice down and forces water back up through the hole.

“When the water presses up through the hole regularly, it streams to all sides and spreads out in a circle, just like when you throw a stone i the water and the waves spread outward,” Svahn says. Clas’ Big book of natural pheonomena records examples from Sweden and Denmark.

“Strange – but not mysterious,” is Svahn’s calm conclusion. Sometimes calling in the UFO guy is the right decision.

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