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No. 9: Winter 1979

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Moon-like craters in the north sea floor

During the exploitation of the North Sea oil fields, geophysicists made detailed surveys of sea-floor topography with seismic instruments called boomers. They were startled to discover thousands of elliptical craters or pockmarks in the sediments. The craters are 30-330 feet across, 6-25 feet deep, and located in water about 500 feet deep. The long axes of the craters point roughly in the same direction; and the craters tend to be arranged in lines. The authors suggest that escaping subsurface gases and fluids may have formed the unusual structures. The possibility was underscored on July 30, 1978, when a very large eruption of sediment was detected by sonar.

(McQuillin, Robert, and Fannin, Nigel; "Explaining the North Sea's Lunar Floor," New Scientist, 83:90, 1979.)

Comment. The North Sea is a prime habitat of mistpouffers (sea-associated booming sounds). There might be a correlation here between natural-gas eruptions and these strange booming sounds. Also, the crude similarity of these sea-floor craters to the Carolina Bays should not be passed over.

Reference. All types of unusual craters are cataloged in Section ETC in: Carolina Bays, Mima Mounds. For ordering information, visit: here.

Moon-like craters in the north sea floor

From Science Frontiers #9, Winter 1979. 1979-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987