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No. 93: May-Jun 1994

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The nebraska sand hills: wind or water deposits?

Mosaic of Landsat photographs of northwestern Nebraska
In response to the item in SF#92 about possible massive flooding in Siberia, E. Hansen sent the accompanying mosaic of Landsat photographs of northwestern Nebraska. On this, the famous Nebraska sandhills appear like giant ripples. The width of the mosaic is about 340 kilometers, so you can appreciate the scale of the hills themselves. The crest-to-crest distances seem to be 2-3 kilometers. Roughly 35,000 square kilometers are covered with a sheet of sand that averages 8 meters thick.

Mainstream geologists write these sandhills off as eolian (wind-carried) deposits laid down during the late Pleistocene. Hansen, however, along with geological iconoclast A. Kelly, demur. The Nebraska sanhills, they aver, were actually deposited by a wall of water sweeping down across the continent from the north -- very likely the consequence of an impact of a large asteroid. For more on Kelly's rejection of the eolian theory and many additional examples of deposits by huge tsunamis or marine incursions, see his book Impact Geology and/or category ETM7 in our catalog volume: Carolina Bays, Mima Mounds, etc. (To order the latter book, visit here.)

(Hansen, Evan; personal communication, March 26, 1994.)

From Science Frontiers #93, MAY-JUN 1994. 1994-2000 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