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No. 33: May-Jun 1984

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An ordovician hammer?

This article begins with a startling photograph of an obvious hammer partly embedded in rock. Here are some particulars:

(1) "The hammer was discovered on the Llano uplift, southwest of the Paluxy River, Texas, U.S.A. The Llano uplift is a granite intrusion covered with Ordovician sandstone. (2) "The hammer was discovered within a concretion of shell-bearing sandstone. (Initial reports incorrectly labelled is as limestone.) (3) "The hammer handle is probably spruce wood. (4) "The interior of the handle is partly coalified. (5) "The handle contains pockets of fluid. (6) "The wood in the handle was hard and fibrously intact when discovered. (7) "When the stone surface was first removed, the iron (alloy?) was shiny and began to corrode only several months later. (8) "The concretion contained fossil shells which can just be seen at the top left of the picture [not reproduced]. (9) "When the concretion was first broken open, there was a significant space around the hammer."

(Anonymous; "Ordovician Hammer Report," Ex Nihilo, 6:16, no, 3, 1984.)

Comments. If the hammer was really deposited with the sandstone, it would be about 400 million years old, according to present geological dating! This item was taken from a creationist publication, which has an obvious stake in undermining the prevailing scheme of geological dating. Nowhere does the report say the concretion was found firmly embedded in the Ordovician sandstone matrix. The concretion may have been loose on the surface. Furthermore, concretions often contain unusual objects, as described in our Catalog: Neglected Geological Anomalies. And lastly, the hammer discovery was made near the Paluxy River, where one also finds inter- mingled dinosaur and humanlike tracks! The whole business is at once fascinating and suspicious.

Reference. The book Neglected Geologi cal Anomalies is described here.

From Science Frontiers #33, MAY-JUN 1984. 1984-2000 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