Science Frontiers
The Unusual & Unexplained

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About Science Frontiers

Science Frontiers is the bimonthly newsletter providing digests of reports that describe scientific anomalies; that is, those observations and facts that challenge prevailing scientific paradigms. Over 2000 Science Frontiers digests have been published since 1976.

These 2,000+ digests represent only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The Sourcebook Project, which publishes Science Frontiers, also publishes the Catalog of Anomalies, which delves far more deeply into anomalistics and now extends to sixteen volumes, and covers dozens of disciplines.

Over 14,000 volumes of science journals, including all issues of Nature and Science have been examined for reports on anomalies. In this context, the newsletter Science Frontiers is the appetizer and the Catalog of Anomalies is the main course.


Subscriptions to the Science Frontiers newsletter are no longer available.

Compilations of back issues can be found in Science Frontiers: The Book, and original and more detailed reports in the The Sourcebook Project series of books.

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Search results for: stone transportation

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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 44: Mar-Apr 1986 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects How The Incas Worked Stone Inca stonework is famous for its large stones (some over 100 tons), which are fitted so precisely that "a knife cannot be inserted into the joints." An aura of mystery has always hung about the great "walls" at Saqsaywaman and Ollantaytambo (spellings vary). How could the Incas have quarried, dressed, transported, and lifted such huge stones? As usual with such remarkable ancient structures, the overzealous have proposed antigravity devices, stone-softening agents, and similar wild notions. In truth, as J. Protzen relates in the subject article, Inca stonemasonry was surprisingly unsophisticated and yet ... , although some mysteries remain. Protzen has spent many months in Inca country experimenting with different methods of shaping and fitting the same kinds of stones used by the Incas. He found that quarrying and dressing the stones were not problems at all using the stone hammers found in abundance in the area. Even the precision-fitting of stones was a relatively simple matter. The concave depressions into which new stones were fit were pounded out by trial and error until a snug fit was achieved. Protzen's first-hand experience is impressive and convincing. Certainly he required no radical solutions. The problems that Protzen was not able to solve to his satisfaction involved the transportation and handling of the large stones. The fitting process necessitated the repeated lowering and raising of the stone being fitted, with trial ...
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... Dec 1988 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Unbelievable Baalbek The city of Baalbek, called Heliopolis by the ancient Greeks, lies some 50 miles northeast of Beirut. Here are ruins of the greatest temple the Romans ever tried to construct. However, we must focus not on mundane Roman temples but upon a great assemblage of precisely cut and fitted stones, called the Temple today, which the Romans found ready-made for them when they arrived at Baalbek. It was upon this Temple, or stone foundation, that the Romans reared their Temple of Jupiter. No one knows the purpose of the much older Temple underneath the Roman work. J. Theisen has reviewed the basic facts known about the Temple's construction -- and they ... limestone: 13 feet, 5 inches; 15 feet, 6 inches; and 69 feet, 11 inches. The Monolith weighs in at over 2,000,000 pounds. In comparison, the largest stones used in the Great Pyramid tip the scales at only 400,000 pounds. Not until NASA moved the giant Saturn V rocket to its launch pad on a giant tracked vehicle has man transported such a large object. Today, one sees no evidence of a road connecting the quarry and Temple. Even if a road existed, logs employed as rollers would have been crushed to a pulp. But, obviously, someone way back then knew how to transport million-pound stones. Just how, we do not know. (Theisen, Jim; "Unbelievable Baalbek," INFO ...
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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 133: JAN-FEB 2001 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects The Roads of Easter Island When the Fourth Dynasty Egyptians set about building the Great Pyramid, they built a stone-paved road from the Giza Plateau to the dock on the Nile where barges arrived from quarries upriver. The road's hard, smooth surface eased the task of hauling the huge blocks of limestone and granite to the construction site. Three thousand years later, the Easter Islanders faced a similar transportation problem in moving their huge stone heads -- some weighing as much as 90 tons -- from the quarries to stone platforms (ahu) on the coast, where the monstrous heads would stare out across the empty Pacific. ... has been written about how the more than 800 stone heads were dragged from the quarries by brute force and then erected on the ahu. Thor Heyerdahl and others have even managed to duplicate some phases of the operation. However, the voluminous Easter Island literature is not as forthcoming about the roads the natives built to accelerate this Ethic traffic. The Easter Island roads have turned out to be as curious as the statues themselves. During the summer of 2000, geologist C.M . Love and a crew of 17 students excavated sections of the three main roads that carried statue traffic. Parts of these roads were actually carved into the island's bedrock-lava flows mainly. Strangely, the roads were not flat but V- and U-shaped in cross section. They averaged 3. ...
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... than previously thought: 2950 50 BC. But beneath the present parking area are post holes dated 4,000 years earlier! They are apparently not related to the Stonehenge we know. oThe idea that Stonehenge's bluestones, which originated in the Preseli Mountains of southwest Wales, 200 kilometers distant, were carried to Salisbury Plain by glaciers has been emphatically disproved by geologists. These 4-ton stones were transported by people! This great effort required precocious social organization, communication, and some kind of psychological impetus. oThe sarsens -- those even bigger stones that define Stonehenge in our mind's view -- evoke the same sorts of questions as this issue's eccentric flints: Why? and How? Ruggles writes: "Why it was important to bring stones from so far ... is an open question, as is the issue of how people achieved the almost unimaginable feat of hauling the sarsens, weighing 25 tonnes or more, over 30 km from the Marlborough Downs in the north." oNew studies of the other ancient monuments in the vicinity of Stonehenge have revealed that they were not placed at random. Many are visible from Stonehenge. Stonehenge is at the center of a number of "nested bowls." [? ] Further, barrows of the Early Bronze Age were placed in lines along the horizon ridges visible from Stonehenge. There was obvious regional planning -- a master plan that we have not yet deciphered. oIt is now generally accepted that astronomical alignments do exist at Stonehenge, and that the monument itself and the surrounding sites are somehow related to astronomical time ...
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... -OCT 2000 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects A Mega-Megalith A reader of our most recent catalog volume, Ancient Infrastructure , informs us that in our rambles through the archeological literature we somehow missed the "mother of all megaliths." The sketch portrays the Tombs of the Genii, as they appeared circa 1876. These towering standing stones were -- and perhaps still are -- located on the Kora River in what was Soviet Turkestan, Siberia. When you learn of their sizes, you'll realize that these lithic monsters must still be there, because modern machinery would be taxed to nudge them. The largest of these standing stones rises 75 feet above ground level and probably penetrates 12 feet below. Its weight is ... , the largest standing stone in Brittany and more than twice the size of the massive Trilithon still languishing in its quarry at Baalbek, Lebanon. This latter stone is routinely claimed to be the largest dressed monolith in the world. It isn't ! While the Siberian monolith is probably more recent than the Baalbek stone and not as finely finished, it is an unparalleled example of stone quarrying, transportation, and erection. The stones of the Great Pyramid and those Easter Island statues are puny in comparison. Who erected these giant megaliths and how did they wrestle them into place? (Howard, John Eliot; "The Early Dawn of Civilization...," Victoria Institute, Journal of the Transactions, 9:239, 1876. Cr. E. von Fange) The Tombs ...
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... they transport the heavy blocks 7 ½ miles from quarry to quay? The answer: What was apparently the first paved road on the planet. This 4,600-year-old engineering feat averaged 6 ½ feet wide and was paved with thousands of slabs of sandstone and limestone, with some logs of petrified wood thrown in. Since the slabs show no grooves, it is thought that the stone-laden sleds moved on rollers. (Wilford, John Noble; "The World's Oldest Paved Road Is Found near Egyptian Quarry," New York Times, May 8, 1994. Also: Maugh, Thomas H., III; "Earth's Oldest Highway," San Francisco Chronicle, May 22, 1994. Cr. J. Covey) From Science Frontiers # ... . 94: Jul-Aug 1994 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Earth's oldest paved road Forty-three miles southwest of Cairo lies a basalt quarry favored by ancient Egyptian artisans. Old Kingdom craftsmen laboriously cut this hard, black, glassy rock into royal sarcophagi and pavements for the mortuary temples at Giza just outside Cairo. To transport the heavy blocks of basalt from the quarry to Giza, the Egyptians built a quay on Lake Moeris, which then had an elevation of 66 feet above sea level and was located 7 ½ miles southeast of the quarry. (The Lake is now much smaller and 148 feet below sea level, indicating a large climate change.) Then, when the Nile flooded and its waters reached a ...
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... quartz grains in sediments must have an igneous parent rock, probably granite, since this is the most abundant igneous rock on the continents. The quartz derived from granite is characterized by the presence of tiny mineral inclusions. Crystals of mica, rutile and tournaline are common. In sandstones formed from granite-derived quartz grains, mineral inclusions should be evident, but they are rarely present in sand-stones." The accepted explanation of this apparent anomaly is that the inclusions in fresh, granite-derived quartz grains so weakened the grain structure that the flawed grains are quickly broken up during weathering, transportation, and deposition. By the time any sandstone is formed, only flawless bits of sand remain. Case closed. No anomalist worth a grain of salt would let this delightful phenomenon escape without ... bit more study. Do young sandstones with identifiable granitic sources show more inclusions than older sandstones? Do desert sands, beach sands, and other unconsolidated quartz grains show any flaws? Has anyone really examined fresh quartz grains weathered from granite to determine how the number of flaws in a grain varies with the grain size? (Cox, Douglas E.; "Missing Mineral Inclusions in Quartz Sand Grains," Creationist Research Society Quarterly, 25:54, 1988.) Comment. Most geologists will complain that we are going out of our way to make trouble. But consider the possibility that some unflawed quartz grains in sandstones may have actually been precipitated from gases and fluids and not be granitic at all. And what about those sandstone dikes and other sand-stone intrusive bodies? Where did ...
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... typical of Precolumbian Mexicans. In fact, it is often termed a "Roman" head. But is it really? And how did it get into a Pre-columbian burial site? Theory #1 . Some Mexican archeologists insist it is a post-Columbian artifact that somehow "filtered" down into a Pre-columbian site. Given that the head was retrieved from beneath three floors of stone and Indian cement, this theory seems questionable. Theory #2 . The head is truly of Roman origin and was transported to Precolum-bian Mexico from Southeast Asia by Chinese or Hindu voyagers. Theory 3. The author of the present article, R.H . Hristov, favors a Viking origin. The cap on the head and even the physiognomy have Norse overtones. The chronology is ... , too, for the Vikings were exploring North America's east coast in the 11th century. Did they venture as far south as Mexico? Hristov points out: "It is well known that in this area very significant political-cultural perturbations occurred among the autochthonous civilizations between the 10th and 13th centuries AD. These were produced by a small group of white immigrants with beards who came from the Atlantic Ocean." (Hristov, Romeo H.; "The Little 'Roman' Head of Calixtlahuaja, Mexico: Some Reflections," NEARA Journal, 28:68, 1994. NEARA = New England Antiquities Research Association.) From Science Frontiers #96, NOV-DEC 1994 . 1994-2000 William R. Corliss ...
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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 52: Jul-Aug 1987 Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues Last Issue Next Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Contents Archaeology Costa rica's neglected stone spheres The calico debate, plus a little editorializing Astronomy Small icy comets and cosmic gaia Carbon in a new comet Meteorites also transport organic payloads Supernova confusion and mysteries "COMPACT STRUCTURES": WHAT NEXT? Biology Nose news Checklist of apparently unknown animals New vertebrate depth record Aggressive mimicry Parasites control snail behavior Geology Do large meteors/comets come in cycles? Complexities of the inner earth Geophysics Concentrated source of lightning in cloud More carolina waterguns More moodus sounds Inside a texas tornado Ship enveloped by false radar echo Psychology Dowsing skeptics converted Do dreams reflect a biological state? ...
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... Nan Madol Nan Madol has never been "lost" as the title of this item implies, but this fantastic complex of 92 artificial islets sees few tourists. Located on Pohnpei (formerly spelled "Ponape") in Micronesia, Nan Madol lacks the well-publicized glamour of the Pyramids and Chichen Itza. If Nan Madol is not glamourous, it is certainly incongruous. Who would expect such huge stone structures to rise in the middle of nowhere? William Ayres, a University of Oregon anthropologist sponsored by the National Geographic Society, has been a recent researcher at Nan Madol. In an interview, Ayres described Nan Madol in these terms: "To withstand time and the sea, the artificial platforms were built in a staggeringly laborious process. Multiton basalt columns, formed by volcanic activity, were ... then filled with coral rubble to form a dry surface several feet above high-tide level. Radiocarbon testing finds signs of human habitation at Nan Madol as early as A.D . 500, and the megalithic construction was completed by about 1500." Besides incongruity and a certain bizarreness, Nan Madol does pose several problems: How were the huge, very heavy prismatic columns of basalt quarried and transported? Why was Nan Madol built at all? Why about 1400 AD did the inhabitants stop building their massive ocean-going canoes and begin a decline? (Hanley, Charles J., "Oregon Anthropologist Unravels Story of Lost City of Pacific," The Oregonian, February 3, 1986. Cr. D.A . Dispenza.) Comment. An associated question asks why the builders ...
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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 77: Sep-Oct 1991 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects A Paper Trail From Asia To The Americas Stone beaters used in making bark paper from Mesoamerica (left) and Southeast Asia (right) The Mayan codices were made from bark paper as opposed to ordinary paper. To make bark paper, one first takes the inner layer of bark, or bast, from a tree. This material is then thinned, widened, and made flexible by soaking it in water and beating it. The final product retains much of the bark's structure with its interconnecting fibers. Ordinary paper today is also made of wood fibers, but the original fiber interconnections are destroyed in the pulping process. The manufacture ... bark paper requires characteristic grooved beaters, specimens of which have been found in both Mesoamerica and Southeast Asia. Were bark paper and the tools required to make it invented independently on both sides of the Pacific, or were they transported across the Pacific by early navigators? If the latter, the flow was probably from Asia to America because the paper-making tools first appeared in Southeast Asia 4-5000 years ago and in Mesoamerica only 2500 years ago. Even so, trans-Pacific voyages 2500 years ago are definitely not part of acceptable archeology. Anthropologist P. Tolstoy, swimming against the mainstream, has surveyed the manufacturing technology of both bark paper and ordinary paper on a worldwide basis. He identified some 300 variable features in the process, 140 uses of the final products, and 100 ...
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