Home Page Science Frontiers

No. 84: Nov-Dec 1992

Issue Contents

Other pages

Other Interesting Sites











Mysterious Smoke In Sri Lanka

"Mysterious smoke exuding from a dry river bed has produced the highest temperature ever recorded in Sri Lanka, and geologists said Friday they are baffled by the phenomenon.

"The 300-degree ground temperature has caused plants to wither in the mountainous region of Diyatalawa, a tourist resort in central Sri Lanka, said D.A. Kathriarachchi, the deputy director of the Geological Survey Department.

"He said scientists were puzzled because there is no volcanic activity in Sri Lanka, which lies outside any volcanic zone.

"The area, about 75 miles southeast of the capital, Columbo, is 9800 feet above sea level. The villagers have been told to report any other signs of smoke in the area, but no one has been evacuated."

(Anonymous; "Hot Smoke Baffles Geologists," Panama City News Herald, p. 1B, September 5, 1992. Cr. L.B. Peirce)

Comment. Category ESC4, in Anomalies in Geology, describes the "Smoking Hills" of the Canadian Arctic, as well as several other places where the oxidation of iron pyrite and other exothermic chemical reactions create very hot areas in non-volcanic regions. To order this catalog, see: here.

From Science Frontiers #84, NOV-DEC 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