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No. 43: Jan-Feb 1986

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Underground Weather

Most residents of central Oregon can tell you tales about winds blowing out of the ground, about roaring and whistling sounds emanating from their wells, and of mysterious holes in the winter snow on Mount Bachelor. Central Oregon is geologically young and plastered with lava flows and cinder cones. It is like a sponge, with many cubic miles of holes, air channels, and open fissures. The air in this rocky sponge is usually on the move in response to changes in atmospheric pressure. The earth absorbs air during barometric highs and expels it during lows. In some spots the expelled air is captured to cool homes during the summer. In the High Cascades, though, the underground winds pose hazards to skiers by creating blowholes in the snow.

These blowholes are actually mildly anomalous because they blow out a gentle 40°F breeze regardless of the barometric pressure. Some of Oregon's blowing caves also "breath" without re gard to barometric pressure. Also, the water wells north of Fort Rock Basin often blow for days during periods of high barometric pressure -- times when they should be taking air in.

(Chitwood, Larry; "Central Oregon's Underground World Filled with Wind That Roars, Whistles," The Oregonian, Octo ber 3l, 1985. Cr. R. Byrd)

Comment. See category GHG2, in Earthquakes, Tides, Unidentified Sounds, for material on blowing wells, etc. This catalog volume is described here.

From Science Frontiers #43, JAN-FEB 1986. İ 1986-2000 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