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No. 60: Nov-Dec 1988

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Mysterious Stone Rings

After worrying so much above about possible scientific blunders, it is pleasant to relax with a minor geological (perhaps "archeological") anomaly.

In Green Ridge State Forest, in Western Maryland, are found 150-200 annular piles of sandstone rocks. All lie on the western slope of Polish Mountain. No one seems to have a good explanation of their origin. Archeological digs have not unearthed any human artifacts. From a photograph of one ring, we estimate an outer diameter of 15 feet, and an inner hole 5 feet in diameter. The height of the rock ring is perhaps 2 feet. The sandstone rocks are generally slab-like. A popular theory states that the rocks were piled up to protect apple trees.

(Anonymous; "Rings of Stone Pose Mystery in Md.," Washington Post, June 26, 1988. Cr. J. Judge.)

Comment. We have classified this item under GEOLOGY because these rings could be periglacial phenomena; that is akin to patterned ground. Periglacial structures are occasionally found in the Appalachians.

From Science Frontiers #60, NOV-DEC 1988. 1988-2000 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