Home Page Science Frontiers

No. 96: Nov-Dec 1994

Issue Contents

Other pages

Other Interesting Sites











Satellite Spies Strange Stripes

ERS-1, Europe's remote-sensing satellite, snapped some pictures of Australia's Nullarbor Plain that have geologists scratching their heads. The Nullarbor Plain, which has long been billed as a vast, featureless desert, is crossed by five long, parallel lines, 15 kilometers wide and 600 kilometers long. These huge stripes would seem to be too big to miss, but ground-based surveys see nothing obvious. Even more curious, infrared sensors on a US weather satellite also see the five stripes. As the Nullarbor Plain cools off at night, the stripes are found to be about 2C cooler than the surrounding terrain.

Could they be fault lines? Geologists have not found any in the area.

(Anderson, Ian; "Satellite Spies Strange Stripes in the Desert," New Scientist, p. 10, September 3, 1994.)

Comment. Are these stripes akin to the man-made Nazca lines etched upon Peru's high desert? Not likely; they are too big. Instead, we wonder whether they might be associated with the Nullarbor Plain's massive lode of meteorites. (SF#80)

From Science Frontiers #96, NOV-DEC 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