The BLT Research group, well-known for its biological analysis of plant samples from crop circles, has recently issued a new report dealing with anomalies in the soil beneath formations. However, the report has subsequently been hi-jacked by certain researchers keen to back-up their own theories, as ANDY THOMAS recounts…
In a recent statement, Nancy Talbott of BLT Research announced the web-publication of an important new study on “the X-ray diffraction study of clay minerals in crop circle soils”. This work began in 1999 and was completed in late 2001, but has only just been made publicly available on the BLT Research Team's website at:
“This study, funded by Laurence Rockefeller, examined specific clay minerals (those which are called "expandable" clays and which are most sensitive to heat) in crop circle soils, in an attempt to gather further data which might inform us regarding the hypothesized presence of microwave radiation at crop circle sites…
…The results are startling. Specific clay minerals (illite/smectites) are shown to exhibit a subtle, but statistically significant, increase in degree of crystallization... a change heretofore seen only in sedimentary rock, which has been exposed to the massive pressure (called "geologic" pressure) of tons of overlying rock and to heat from the earth's core over hundreds, or thousands of years. To our knowledge this increase in degree of crystallization has never been reported previously in surface soils (as is the case here).
If "geologic" pressure had been present, obviously the plants would have been obliterated. And, of course, they were not. Further, if the intense heat required (a minimum of 6-800 degrees C, over a period of many hours) to produce the crystalline change (in the absence of such geologic pressure) had been present, the plants would have been incinerated. And, again, they were not. The plants DID show the well-documented changes (elongated apical nodes, presence of expulsion cavities) regularly found in crop circles which are not created by mechanical flattening (ie., with planks and boards). What is MOST interesting is the fact that both the documented plant changes and the increases in clay-mineral crystallization occurred at the SAME sampling locations. A regression analysis found that the node-length increases in the plants were correlated with the increase in crystallization of the clay minerals in the soils at the 99.2% level of confidence, a truly extraordinary result.
So the data appears to indicate that whatever caused the plant changes also caused the soil changes at the same sampling locations. And yet we realize that the intense energy situation required to produce the soil effects would have destroyed the plants altogether. As Dr Reynolds, the Dartmouth mineralogist and recognized authority on clay minerals and the XRD technique whom we asked to review our study stated, we are apparently dealing with an energy currently unknown to science.
As is often the case in science, new and intriguing questions have been raised. The notion of mechanical flattening, however, is without question ruled out.”
BLT’s work is to be applauded, and those looking for yet more evidence that a significant proportion of crop formations have a non-mundane origin are advised to read the report forthwith.
However, BLT’s analysis was instantly hijacked by veteran researcher Colin Andrews to support his widely-dispensed view that only 20% of crop circles are genuine. In a typically sweeping and quickly circulated e-mail (wasting no time at all in firing off a kick at Swirled News), Colin triumphantly wrote (reproduced here exactly as written):
“As you know my results which were so vocally apposed by many like Andy Thomas, Glickman etc, showed that the simple designs ( the 20%) were the ones we were unable to find any indications of being man made. You will notice that without exception, as far as I could see in this BLT study, shows the significant findings ALSO only from the simple designs.”
Nancy Talbott was quick to disown this erroneous and rather unwise bandwagon-jumping, retorting in a circulated reply e-mail:
“I must respond to this current assertion that the BLT XRD Study somehow supports this notion that 80% of crop circles (those of "complex" design) are all man-made and only 20% (those with "simple designs") are not man-made. Please be aware that the BLT study IN NO WAY DEALS WITH THIS QUESTION, as is clear if one reads the "Study Objectives" and "Study Results" at the beginning of the XRD report. Perhaps Mr Andrews has misunderstood entirely the work reported in the BLT study, mixing up somehow illite/smectites with "magnetic profiles." I don't know. But the reader should be aware that there is no scientific evidence provided by the XRD Study which CAN IN ANY WAY be construed as supporting (or contradicting) this 80/20 idea.
Additionally, it is not clear to me what Mr Andrews means exactly by "simple designs." The XRD Study Case at Edmonton, Canada is a seven-circle event which looks a bit like a "mini-Triple Julia" in reverse. Three of the other crop circles initially evaluated consisted of 1) two circles connected by pathways and with adjacent pathways at Logan Utah in 1966, 2) three various-sized circles connected by pathways at Acadia Valley, Alberta, Canada in 1999, and 3) a large ring with long pathways (like an "X") crossing through it and with attendant additional pathways at Whitefish, Montana in, I think, 1999. The soils in all of these cases indicated the same crystalline changes were present... but were rejected for the final study due to various sampling problems (not enough samples/controls, unavailability of samples/controls due to the farmer's swathing of the field, and a misunderstanding of sampling protocol by the fieldworkers). Are these all considered to be "simple designs?"
In science one must clarify terms, protocols, examination techniques, etc., precisely, so that other professionals can attempt replication of any results claimed. Anything less is confabulation, or really BAD science. BLT is trying to offer the interested public first-class, reliable, professional work, so that we can ALL follow new facts as they emerge. Please don't make the mistake, here, of mixing apples and oranges.”
In other words, one should be rather careful about responding too quickly to studies without full and proper consideration, lest the elastic snap back on you.
BLT’s report inevitably received some criticism from the more sceptical branches of crop circle research (“While I appreciate their sincerity and effort, I feel that the report's conclusions are not consistent with its own methodology and statistical analysis” wrote Simeon Hein, who essentially believes most crop circles to be man-made), but still stands as yet another piece of very interesting research which deserves any serious croppie’s study.
Whether coincidence or conspiracy, it’s interesting to note that almost immediately after the appearance of the new soil report on the BLT website, the site was attacked by a hacker, who managed to knock the website offline for a few days...