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No. 35: Sep-Oct 1984

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An Extraordinary Peat Formation

Most of Beauchene Island, in the Falklands, is covered with a tussock-forming grass. During the past 12,500 years, a deep accumulation of exceptionally dense peat has formed. The basal peat is lignitic, but is several hundred times too young to be a true lignite. This peat does not decay as rapidly as it should, given its populations of bacteria, yeasts, and other fungi. The peat accumulates about ten times faster than in other peat-forming regions. The authors conclude that the peat-forming process is poorly understood.

(Smith, R.I. Lewis, and Clymo, R.S.; "An Extraordinary Peat-Forming Community on the Falkland Islands," Nature, 309:617, 1984.)

Comment. If we do not understand how present-day peat forms, how can we be so dogmatic about coal-forming processes millions of years ago?

From Science Frontiers #35, SEP-OCT 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