Home Page Science Frontiers

No. 80: Mar-Apr 1992

Issue Contents

Other pages

Other Interesting Sites











What fluid cut the styx?

"One of the most bizarre features yet identified on Venus is a remarkably long and narrow channel that [the spacecraft] Magellan scientists have nicknamed the River Styx. Although it is only half a mile wide, Styx is 4,800 miles long. What could have carved such a channel in unclear. Water, of course, is out of the question. Flowing lava is a possibility, but it would have to have been extremely hot, thin, and fluid."

Another suggested fluid is sulphur, but there is still room for speculating about exotic fluids, given Venus's high surface temperatures. Another point of interest: the River Styx does not run steadily downhill. It takes an up-anddown course. Either the Venusian topography has shifted since the Styx was cut, or the channel is not a river at all but rather some bizarre geological feature.

(Chaikin, Andrew; "Magellan Pierces the Venusian Veil," Discover, 13:22, January 1992.)

From Science Frontiers #80, MAR-APR 1992. 1992-2000 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