ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS

Both of these photos were taken from within the center of the large circle. No telephoto lens was used, although the images have been cropped.

Those of us investigating this formation were seriously disturbed by the local farmers' difficulties with the natural gas industry, which has installations on every quarter section within view of both the farmer's home and this formation. There are non-producing wellheads, temporarily dormant wellheads and new rigs dotting the landscape. A natural gas pipeline runs north/south along the west edge of the formation's field.

Flares from natural gas wells within less than half a mile were undertaken on extremely short notice. Official notice consisted only of a note tacked to the door, "We'll be flaring tomorrow."

These flares are fires that burn off waste gases from deep within the earth. No one knows exactly what is in the combustion gases that blow on to the surrounding farms. The farmer told us of illness, vomiting and severe headaches that accompany flaring.

Horizontal drilling operations that shook the earth like earthquakes occurred without warning. Horses panicked from the vibrations. A neighbor's eggs intended for the hatchery were all sterile from the day of drilling onwards. The farmer's breeding mares suddenly produced numerous stillborn foals.

I can't say that there is any connection between this crop formation and the environmental problems in this immediate locale, but it does give one pause to think.

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