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No. 74: Mar-Apr 1991

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Newtonian Gravity May Have Broken Down In Greenland

Anomalies in the measurement of gravity in Australian mines have stimulated an experiment in one of the very deep holes drilled in the Greenland ice cap. The hole at location Dye-3 is 2 kilometers deep. Gravity measurements were made at 183-meter intervals between depths of 213 and 1673 meters. Elaborate precautions were taken to assure that proper corrections were made for ice density and the nature of the rock below the ice. Ice-penetrating radar sketched the topography of the icerock surface, and surface-gravity measurements assessed density variations in surrounding ice and rock. The results of this finely tuned experiment are found in the final two sentences of the report's Abstract:

"An anomalous variation in gravity totaling 3.87 mGal (3.87 x 10- 5 m/s 2 ) in a depth interval of 1460 m was observed. This may be attributed either to a breakdown of Newtonian gravity or to unexpected density variations in the rock below the ice."

(Zumberge, Mark A., et al; "The Greenland Gravitational Constant Experiment," Journal of Geophysical Research, 95:15483, 1990.)

From Science Frontiers #74, MAR-APR 1991. 1991-2000 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