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No. 66: Nov-Dec 1989

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Drumlins May Record Catastrophic Floods

Cross section of a typical drumlin
Cross section of a typical drumlin, as figured in CAROLINA BAYS, etc.
Drumlins are small, teardrop-shaped hills that occur in large numbers, often aligned in large "fields," in areas thought to have been covered by ice during the Ice Ages. Geologists custom-arily explain drumlins as debris piled up and sculpted by the ice sheets them-selves, despite the fact they look like they might have been shaped by flowing water. As we all know, the word "flood" is an anathema in geology, probably because a provable episode of extensive flooding would lend credence to the Biblical Flood! (Actually, many cultures around the world have similar flood legends.)

Canadian geologist J. Shaw is now trying to break out of this philosophical prison.

"According to Shaw, heat from the Earth formed huge lakes of meltwater that remained trapped beneath the North American ice sheet. As the sheet began to retreat near the end of the glacial age, the water broke through and flowed in torrents down to the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. While flowing under the ice cap, water would have surged in vast, turbulent sheets that sculpted and scoured drumlins. Each flood lasted until the weight of the ice cap once again shut off the outlet of the covered lake, Shaw says."

Shaw goes on to estimate that one large drumlin field in Saskatchewan was created when 84,000 cubic kilometers of water was discharged. Just this single episode would have raised global sealevels by about 10 inches in a few days or weeks. Imagine what happened as this water flowed across North America.

Many geologists look askance at Shaw's theory of drumlin formation.

(Monastersky, R.; "Hills Point to Catastrophic Ice Age Floods," Science News, 136:213, 1989.)

Comment. The famous Channelled Scablands in the Pacific Northwest are thought to have been scoured out when an ice dam broke unleashing the Spokane Flood near the end of the Ice Ages. These land forms are described in our catalog: Carolina Bays, Mima Mounds. For details on this volume visit: here.

From Science Frontiers #66, NOV-DEC 1989. 1989-2000 William R. Corliss

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  • "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