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No. 135: MAY-JUN 2001

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Kisses From Heaven

The Hershey kind, that is. And these hailstones really do resemble this favorite candy. There was more than a bagful of them; they came down in a fusillade of millions, as related by A. Wills.

A neatly sculpted conical hailstone. One of millions that recently fell in Wales. Were they aerodynamically shaped?

During a recent hailstorm in Wales, I was surprised to see that all the hailstones were conical. Each one had an apex angle of about 75�, with a flat or slightly curved base about 4 millimeters across. What caused this? Is this shape common, and is its similarity to an Apollo re-entry capsule coincidental? (Wills, A.; "Hail Capsules," New Scientist, p. 121, March 24, 2001.)

Comments. Actually, conical hail is more common than you might think. See GWP in Tornados, Dark Days... for many examples. How conical hail forms in such prodigious quantities and in such geometric perfection in the maelstroms of violent storms is unknown.

The morphological similarity to the Apollo reentry vehicle is almost certainly coincidental. Droplets of liquid rock that reenter the earth's atmosphere are molded into buttons, spheres, and other shapes to create tektites. We do not know of any conical tektites.

From Science Frontiers #135, MAY-JUN 2001. � 2001 William R. Corliss

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