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No. 131: SEP-OCT 2000

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A Brobdingnagian Geode

Any rock-and-mineral shop will happily sell you piece of a geode that has been sliced like a cantaloupe and nicely polished to reveal its beautiful crystal line interior. You may have to pay hundreds of dollars for half of a melon-sized geode. If so, what is a geode 26 feet long worth -- one that can shelter several people within its cavity?

Such a geode was just a rumor among rock collectors until recently, when J. Garcia-Guinea, a geologist from Madrid's National Museum of Natural Sciences, followed up the leads. Sure enough, some 4 kilometers from Almeria, in north-eastern Spain, he found a veritable crystal cave. Inside, the giant geode is lined with near-perfect, transparent crystals of gypsum, some of which are 11 feet long.

(Anonymous; "Giant Crystal Cave Discovered," BBC Homepage, June 12, 2000. Cr. D. Phelps. Holden, Constance; "Brobdingnagian Crystals," Science, 288:2127, 2000.)

Comment. The Spanish geode merits headlines for its size, but geodes also offer grist to the anomalist. In particular, we refer to geodes found near Niota. Illinois, that are filled with solid tar or liquid bitumen. When the latter are broken open, the petroleum squirts out violently. There are no oil deposits within 25 miles, so the presence of oil-filled, pressurized geodes is a puzzle. See ESA5 in Neglected Geological Anomalies.

The Almeria geode's cavity is big enough (8 x 1.7 meters) for humans to enter.

From Science Frontiers #131, SEP-OCT 2000. � 2000 William R. Corliss

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