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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