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No. 62: Mar-Apr 1989

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The cookie cutter strikes again -- four times - in norway

Divot from an Andøva moor
The divot from an Andøva moor
Yes, the cookie-cutter phenomenon has left its mark again: more mysterious divots and holes in the ground. T. Jo nassen has sent us a study of the phenomenon published in Ottar, a publication of the Tromse Museum, in Norway. Even better, he has provided a translation, from which we quote a few paragraphs:

"About 1 km SE of Skogvollvatnet (a lake), at Skogvollmyra (a moor), a slab of turf 5.2 m long and 1.8 m wide, has, in an apparently inexplicable manner, torn itself loose from its 'mother turf' and placed itself 4-5 m away. The slab of turf is completely undamaged and is placed with the right side up. The piece of turf has rotated 20-30 degrees compared to the original hole. The hole in the moor is absolutely even at the bottom, and the angle between the bottom and its walls is 90 degrees. The hole is 30-35 cm deep, and its edges are nicely cut.

"From the hole there is a crack running westwards for about 6 m. Close to the hole this crack is somewhat widened, and one side of the crack twists itself 25-30 cm above the other. This twisting decreases as one gets further from the hole. The crack gradually subsides, and it is hard to tell exactly where it ends.

"About 12 m NW of the hole there is an arched crack of about 15 m lying with its concave side towards the hole. It is plainest in the middle. Here the side closest to the hole has been twisted upwards about 15 cm. Here also the crack gradually disappears at both ends. There is an open hollow beneath the part which has been twisted upwards, about 30 cm below the surface.

Lightning creating a steam explosion from underground water
One theory has lightning creating a steam explosion from underground water. If this were the case, one would expect to find some fusion of the earth and more havoc wrought to the divot.

"The slab of turf has an area of about 5 m2 and this should give a weight of between 1500-1700 kg."

The article concludes with a brief description of three similar occurrences of the phenomenon in Norway.

(Dybwik, Dagfinn, and Møller, Jakob J.; "Phenomenon in an Andøya Moor - An Insoluble Mystery?" Ottar, no. 5, p. 15, 1988. Cr. T. Jonassen)

Comment. One could easily dismiss (with a knowing smile) a single occurrence of the cookie-cutter phenomenon - but now we have a total of seven! The situation becomes more serious.

Reference. Similar "holes" and other topographic anomalies are to be found in our catalog: Carolina Bays, Mima Mounds. This book is described here.

From Science Frontiers #62, MAR-APR 1989. © 1989-2000 William R. Corliss