Of this world or not? The crop circle debate begins

Published: Apr. 13, 2011 at 11:08 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 14, 2011 at 4:19 PM CDT
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VAN ZANDT COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - A family found what they believe is evidence of beings from another world left in their backyard.

The belief came after unusual markings were made in the yard near Canton on FM 16.

It's a sight that's had many wondering- what is this and who did it?

The landowners believe a UFO is responsible, but one expert believes the cause is much more earthly.

Karl Steddom says the term fairy ring was  coined decades ago for the ring-like shape

As for how it ends up growing in your lawn?

"Mushrooms have gills underneath that have spores that will blow around and they'll just land somewhere where there's lots of organic matter which is the thatch leaves," explained Steddom.

The plant pathologist says as soon the spores land they develop in the ground like seeds and grow out from the center

"They're starting out at a single point and they grow outwards from there, so it's always going to be in a circle. As they keep growing, they don't grow faster in any direction typically," he continued.

Steddom says mushrooms only sprout where there is active growing which is usually along the ring because growth has already taken place in the center.

Fairy rings can be found  in pastures, lawns and golf courses.

And the only reason they begin to appear is because of the lack of rain, which then shows the damage the fungi has done to the grass...

"As soon as you see those mushrooms, then you know it's a fairy ring, and a lot of times you wont even see a symptom on the ground, but those mushrooms will come up and you'll see this nice pretty circles of mushrooms," said Steddom.

That's when you know you have a fairy ring in your yard.

As for UFO's?

"I see this symptom pretty commonly as a fairy ring so there's a pretty good explanation for what it would be naturally, without UFOs," said Steddom.

Steddom says while  fairy rings can not be prevented, you shouldn't worry because they don't pose any real threat to you.

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