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No. 84: Nov-Dec 1992

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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