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This is kind of hard to explain, so I'll provide a picture.

By "marks around the circumference of the Dowsing Machine", I meant what was circled in the image. This question didn't seem to answer it, but, if it does, tell me and I'll hide this.

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It's hard to answer this question, because I knew people who couldn't use it no matter how hard they tried, but when I use it it's not hard to understand at all.
I don't know if they do anything or not. So, I can't help you there. ):
I'm 99.9% certain that they're indicators for nearby items. The blob in the middle gets brighter the closer you are to a hidden object, and those red squares shows you their general direction.

I can answer if you want but I don't have a source other than the one time I tried it out, and I think it worked.

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As far as I can tell from experience and by looking at this, Taco, I can only assume that they seem to be linked to where the player taps and drags on the Dowsing MCHN to find stuff, along with glowing brighter the closer you are to treasure, as if the marks are tracking the position of the point the stylus is pressing, as if the marks help callibrate where the stylus is touching in order to give accurate results. Other than that, though, the marks contribute nothing to how the MCHN works, I'm sorry to say.

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