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No. 103: Jan-Feb 1996

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Stythe = choke damp

This, according to an unabridged dictionary. Looking up "choke damp", it is found to be "a suffocating gas, chiefly carbon dioxide, found in wells, coal mines, and other pits, also called "blackdamp."

Evidently, in the quotation in SF#102 describing the death of one Donald Tollett due to a stythe, the word "stythe" was used for the meteorological event itself rather than -- correctly -- for the gases sucked out of the coal mine by a sudden drop in atmospheric pressure.

(Stepp, Richard; personal communication, November 26, 1995)

Comment. Changes in atmospheric pressure are also the causes of "blowing caves" and "weather wells". See GHG2 in Earthquakes, Tides, Unidentified Sounds. To order, visit here.

Incidentally, blowing caves were used in the very early days of aernonautics for testing aircraft models due to the lack of wind tunnels.

From Science Frontiers #103, JAN-FEB 1996. 1996-2000 William R. Corliss