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No. 40: Jul-Aug 1985

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Quakes And Ufos

"A strong temporal correlation was found between the numbers of reports of UFOs (unidentified flying objects) and nearby seismic activity within the Uinta Basin for the year 1967. The numbers of UFO reports per month during this classic UFO flap were correlated 0.80 with the sum of the earthquake magnitudes per month for events within 150 km of the report area. Numbers of UFO reports were not correlated significantly with earthquake activity at distances greater than 150 km but less than 250 km away. The strongest correlation occurred between UFO reports and nearby seismic activity within the same month but not for previous or consequent months. Close scrutiny of daily shifts of epicenters and reports of UFOs indicated that they occurred when the locus of successive epicenters shifted across the area. These analyses were interpreted as support for the existence of strain fields whose movements generate natural phenomena that are reported as UFOs."

(Persinger, M.S., and Derr, J.S.; "Geophysical Variables and Behavior: XXIII. Relations between UFO Reports within the Uinta Basin and Local Seismicity," Perceptual and Motor Skills, 60:143, 1985.)

Comment. The "natural phenomena" mentioned above are probably close kin or identical to earthquake lights. An earli-er paper by Persinger alone in the same journal (60:59, 1985) links transient and very localized geophysical forces to such psychic phenomena as haunts and poltergeist activity. These two papers are the latest in a long series, mostly authored by Persinger, in this psychological journal.

Calculated correlations between seismic activity and UFO observations in the Uinta Basin. Calculated correlations between seismic activity and UFO observations in the Uinta Basin.

From Science Frontiers #40, JUL-AUG 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