About 10,000 crop circles have been documented worldwide since records began to be kept in the '70s. England tops the list with around 1,784, followed by the U.S. with 228, Canada with 135, Germany with 105, Australia with 71, the Netherlands with 62, Hungary with 23 and Japan with 19, most of them appearing in rice paddies. Dozens of other countries on every continent have also reported small numbers of simple formations.
Some have been exposed as hoaxes, but others remain unexplained. Crop circles range in diameter from as small as 3 meters (10 feet) to over 100 meters (315 feet). They appear overnight, and no tracks leading up to them are found, suggesting some external force from above is responsible. Visually, the stems are partially flattened, and entangled or intertwined. The plants are all bent and face the same direction, clockwise or counter clockwise. The crops are never damaged, broken, or show signs of forced bending. The plants continue to grow normally throughout the rest of their growing cycle. UFO sightings, moving orange lights, "whooshing" or warbling sounds usually preceed the formations of circles.
Each year more than 100 formations appear in the fields of southern England alone. According to one study, Wiltshire County, UK is the acknowledged center of the phenomenon with nearly half of all circles found in the UK in 2003 located within a 15 km radius of Avebury. The county is home to some of the most sacred Neolithic sites in Europe, built as far back as 4,600 years ago, including Stonehenge, Avebury, Silbury Hill, and burial grounds such as West Kennet Long Barrow. Some pretend that crop circles are usually aligned with ley lines, so you may discover new crop circles by following the lines.