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No. 25: Jan-Feb 1983

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The Andes Ice Islands

High in the Bolivian Andes are some shallow, saltwater lakes. From some of these white-shored lakes rise bizarre "islands" of fresh-water ice, neatly layered horizontally, and up to 20 feet higher than the saltwater surface. The ice crystals comprising these islands are vertical, proving that they grew in water and are not pieces of glaciers. Clearly, they did not form from the present saltwater lakes, but they might be relics of the Ice Ages, when the lakes were deeper and fresher. But whence the nicely layered structure? Some scientists have thought that volcanic springs might be the sources of fresh water, but some ice islands occur in lakes where there are no volcanic springs nearby. At the moment, every-one seems stumped by these strange creations of Nature.

(Anonymous; "Who Made the Andes Islands of Ice?" New Scientist, 96:272, 1982.)

Comment. Could the ice islands be related to the Arctic pingoes -- those debris-covered ice hills?

From Science Frontiers #25, JAN-FEB 1983. 1983-2000 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