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Recently we reported on the sighting of snow circles near Winchester this winter. A mundane, if still curious, explanation now seems likely…

Over the years, there have been documented definite, if rare, sightings of swirled markings in snow (and geometric shapes cut into ice), but photos we have recently received appear to have solved the mystery surrounding the spotting of ‘snow circles’ in January this year.

In fact several people witnessed what appeared to be snow circles in the Cheesefoot Head/Chilcomb Down area of Hampshire, near Winchester, as seen from the A272 road. However, we can now be fairly sure from the photos (see top right) that these remarkably clear markings were actually what was left of the crop formations from summer 2001, somehow retaining snow in the same configuration, after snow in the rest of the field had melted away.

It would appear that either some kind of temperature differentiation in the circle-affected soil (probably a natural effect rather than anything paranormal) kept the areas of the original pattern cooler, enabling snow to be retained, or a sprinkling of sprouting seeds from fallen ears of the once flattened crop had left the snow clinging to leaves. Either way, it is a very attractive phenomenon!

A similar effect was reported at Hollingbury, near Brighton in East Sussex over the winter, where one half of last year’s huge pattern remained highly visible in green shoots for months, and then shone out for a few days as a white snow pattern after a couple of days of wintry showers.

Thanks to Jenny Keen for the photos.



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