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No. 37: Jan-Feb 1985

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The big divot!

Sometime between mid-September and October 18, North-central Washington.

"...a chunk of earth weighing tons was plucked out of a wheat field, as though someone use a 'giant cookie cutter' and put down, right side up, 73 feet away. 'All we know for sure is that this puzzle piece of earth is 73 feet away from the hole it came out of,' said Greg W. Behrens, a geologist with the Bureau of Reclamation at Grand Coulee Dam. The displaced slab, mostly soil held together by roots, is about 10 feet long and 7 feet wide. Its thickness varies from 2 feet at one end to about 18 inches at the other. The shape and thickness of the piece exactly match the hole that was left behind, just like a piece in a jigsaw puzzle, though it was rotated about 20 degrees."

There are no marks left by machinery in the area; and the sides of the hole reveal dangling roots, indicating that the slab was torn out rather than cut out. A final item of possible interest: on October 9, there was a small quake, magnitude 3, with the epicenter 20 miles southwest of the hole.

(Anonymous; "A Rare Phenomenon Moves Earth," Philadelphia Inquirer, November 25, 1984. Also: many other papers, mostly in the west.)

Comment. The quake mentioned was quite small. Large quakes, however, have been known to toss boulders out of the ground, leaving large holes behind. See Category GQHl in Anomalies in Geology. This Catalog volume is described here.

From Science Frontiers #37, JAN-FEB 1985. 1985-2000 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