Denver area farmers don’t do crop circles

Recently I’ve been doing a lot of close-up perusal of Google maps, among others, and came across this field today. Not crop circles, but certainly a creative farmer, or someone, at work. What I can’t figure out is what crop is involved and what the structures (equipment?) in the field might be. And do the patterns serve any useful purpose? Access to the crop, perhaps? If such access is unnecessary, why destroy part of the crop? Or is it just vandals at work? Are these patterns cut after the crop has been harvested? Is it the same crop in both pictures? Typical city girl questions.

The first view is the one that caught my attention. Part of it looks like a maze. You can see it on Google maps just southeast of the intersection of E. 104th Ave. and Riverdale Rd., Thornton, CO.


Naturally I zoomed in for a closer look. Unfortunately the closer view was shot in a different year, so the pattern changed. (Note the “artist” was kind enough to include the date, 2011, although it appears upside down in this view.)


And just for grins: This view of a different field a few miles from the first, caught my attention a few months ago. (See Google maps, east of E. 120th Ave. and Holly Dr., Thornton, CO.) This is a common occurrence in open fields and lots in Colorado, but I’d never seen it from overhead. You do know what causes those spots, don’t you?


17 thoughts on “Denver area farmers don’t do crop circles

    1. I hadn’t thought of that. It is reminiscent of Aztec design, isn’t it? Or some of our Southwestern Native American tribes. Especially in the first picture.

  1. I have long noted that it’s basic human nature to crave attention. This is from the Wikipedia page on “crop circles”, a term which of course encompasses many shapes other than circles:

    Although farmers have expressed concern at the damage caused to their crops, local response to the appearance of crop circles can be enthusiastic, with locals taking advantage of the increase of tourism and visits from scientists, crop circle researchers, and individuals seeking spiritual experiences.[5] The market for crop-circle interest has consequently generated bus or helicopter tours of circle sites, walking tours, T-shirts, and book sales.

    The last decade has witnessed crop formations with increased size and complexity of form, some featuring as many as 2000 different shapes,[14] and some incorporating complex mathematical and scientific characteristics.

    Strangely, the article only mentioned GPS once in passing, but it’s my guess that a great many of these dalliances are enabled by that technology. After all, plowing, seeding, fertilizing and harvesting with high-tech equipment has got to have all the excitement of watching paint dry, so what better way to become the talk of the town?

    And no, I don’t have a clue about the spots in the bottom photo. I’ll bite, what are they?

    1. I don’t know if these crop patterns ever garnered local attention. But I imagine it would be very exciting to have such creative endeavors visible to and photographed by satellites and subsequently made available to the entire world. Graffiti for the space age.

      Oh, and the spots are prairie dog burrows. I never imagined they’d be visible from space.

  2. Was that one of those corn mazes? Farmer/artists now are using GPS to create stuff like this. Did you see the designs made of different types/colors of rice? (I think it was China – was on news this morning..NBC?). Really intriguing.
    The designs do look like the ancient ones in South America you can see by plane.
    Very cool stuff. thanks for sharing

    1. I don’t know that any of this was a corn maze, but they aren’t uncommon around here. Certainly part of that top image looks like a maze, and when I zoomed way in on the Google map, I’m pretty sure it was a corn field.

  3. Neat! I, too, enjoy cruising around via Google Maps. I tell people that I travel all the time for next to nothing. I’ve been to the coldest year-round inhabited town in the northern hemisphere, and never took my coat out of the closet.

    FYI… you can get links from g-maps specific to what you want. For the first image, the link is:

    If you want to embed it, the embed code is (I can’t remember if WP will accept the straight embed code, or if there is a shortcode to use):
    [I’ve deleted the embed code. Something about iframes and WordPress not talking to each other. -Ed.]

      1. If I can figure out why it did that and fix it without breaking the link, I will. I’m not hopeful, since I failed to find the proper code in the first place.

        … aha, I didn’t see the little link symbol over to the side. I’ve changed the post to include it, using the short URL, and edited your comment so there aren’t any codes hanging out of the box. My apologies for doing that.

    1. Prairie dog burrows. If you drive by on a pretty day, you’ll likely see “watch dogs” perched on a lot of the mounds while their compatriots forage for food nearby.

      1. Ahhhhh… that’s right! We had a prairie dog town that the city had to relocate when the did the “Big I” I-25 and I-40 interchange project. They’re around here but I don’t see them very often.

... and that's my two cents