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No. 94: Jul-Aug 1994

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Flat-plate hail

Typical flat-plate hailston
Fig 1. A typical flat-plate hailstone from the May 17, 1993 fall.
May 17, 1993. Berkshire, England.

"As the cold front passed over Woodlands St. Mary, west Berkshire (183 meters above sea-level), at 1555 GMT, there commenced a 3-minute duration fall of unusual, flat-plate hailstones, measuring some 12 mm wide by 2 mm thick. These plates were smooth and glassy in appearance (indicating conditions of 'wet' growth) but not perfectly round, taking on an eccentric, wheel-like structure; with a 'hub' and four-spoke formation of transparent ice, having opaque areas in between."

(Anonymous; "Flat-Plate Hail -- 17 May 1993," Weather, 48:433, 1993.)

Comment. Other instances of hail platelets and small ice sheets may be found under GWP4 in Tornados, Dark Days. Ordering information here.

The spoke-like structure mentioned above, however, is most unusual. It is difficult to imagine a meteorological process that could create millions of hailstones -- all with this strange geometry.

From Science Frontiers #94, JUL-AUG 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