Home Page Science Frontiers

No. 67: Jan-Feb 1990

Issue Contents

Other pages

Other Interesting Sites











Really-deep rivers

"Ecologists studying rivers have discovered a vast subterranean world filled with dozens of previously unknown species of worms, shrimp, insects and microscopic organisms that live in the groundwater below the stream channel and sometimes for miles on each side."

The quotation above once again evokes the concept of "crevicular structure" in the crust. The crevicular world is that immense, unappreciated maze of underground space created by cracks in the rocks, solution channels, permeable gravels, and so on. In the article reviewed here, a crevicular realm has been discovered underneath river beds. But this is just a special case of a subterranean world found many places beneath the surface -- even under the continental shelves. The surface waters we see are just (to use an aquatic metaphor) the tip of the iceberg!

Sub-river life lives far under the beds of the great Alaskan rivers and even small desert streams in Arizona. Preliminary exploration has shown that fluid-and life-filled crevicular structure exists at least 30 feet under river beds and may extend several miles to either side. For example, water wells drilled two miles from the Flathead River, in Montana, yield immature stoneflies. J. Stanford, Director of Montana's Flathead Lake Biological Station states, "We have basically enlarged the concept of what a river is." He and his colleagues have found at least a dozen new species in the crevicular world beneath the bed of the Flathead River.

(Anonymous; "Life-Filled Subterranean World Found Flowing under Rivers," San Francisco Chronicle, November 24, 1989. Cr. J. Covey.)

Comment. There are many instances of fish being found in wells far from surface water.

From Science Frontiers #67, JAN-FEB 1990. 1990-2000 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