Briefs, GeoHazards, News

Clickbait “news” exaggerates risk about Pythia’s Oasis

Researchers who published findings on a warm oceanic spring called Pythia’s Oasis discovered along the Cascadia subduction zone have clarified misinformation disseminated in tabloid media about their work. It’s not common for this to happen even thought it’s extremely common for non-scientific sources to mischaracterize scientists’ work.

Anomalies & Strange Objects, News

Viral videos of electric rocks

January 22, 2023 was the height of a wave of social media posts about what people claimed were “electric rocks” found in the DR of Congo. A video showed a close up of someone touching two rocks together and producing a strong electric spark. The clip was widely shared and accumulated millions of views. But it was not as it appeared.

Earth Mysteries, Features, Paranormal Places

Paranormal Vortex Areas

It’s a common claim by paranormalists that there are special places on earth where “energy” whirls are responsible for strange phenomena reported at those locations. They are called paranormal or energy “vortex” areas. The crystallization of the “vortex” idea in this context began with a popular proponent of mysterious subjects who identified twelve equidistant areas around the globe with peculiar characteristics. Since then, the idea of a paranormal vortex has evolved.

Features, Paranormal Places

Devils Hole

Many sites have been given the creepy name of “Devils Hole”. The most famous Hole is in Death Valley, Nevada where a notch in the rock reveals an oasis of ancient groundwater in the otherwise brutally dry desert landscape. The cave opening is unusual, the water level responds to seismic events around the world, the underground passageways are complex and its depth is unknown. The opening in the desert sparked strange thoughts from one of the most disturbed criminal minds of our time, claimed lives, and hosts a rare species.

Earth Mysteries, Features, GeoHazards

Spooky events from the New Madrid earthquakes

A series of giant earthquakes within the continental interior is strange in itself, but other notable phenomena associated with the New Madrid, Missouri quakes of 1811-2 made the events preternaturally awful. In this piece, I explore the scary and weird features that were said to accompany the New Madrid earthquakes.

Earth Mysteries, Features

Sodom and Gomorrah – A geomythological parable

The Bible contains several stories that people have attempted to connect to geological events such as earthquakes or floods. The Biblical context treats these events as supernatural works of God, which puts them in the realm of “spooky geology”. In this post, I’m exploring two geologically-related aspects of the parable of Sodom & Gomorrah.

GeoHazards, News

Sinkhole drains pool in Israel resulting in death

A man enjoying a private pool at a company party in central Israel was sucked into the subsurface when a sinkhole opened up under the pool. The ground collapsed into a void and rapidly drained all the pool water. After a four-hour rescue attempt in the town of Karmei Yosef, the body was later found 15 meters into the hole. Another man sustained minor injuries.

Anomalies & Strange Objects, News

Japan’s “killing stone” splits

The infamous Sessho-seki, a protected boulder in the volcanic area of Mount Nesu in Japan, has split. The break occurred around March 5, 2022. A legend says the stone was the prison of the evil nine-tailed fox demoness Tamamo-no-Mae and that anyone who touched it died. Some people fear that evil has been released into the world. In reality, the stone had been cracked for a while and held by a rope. The rock likely split from natural weathering processes. The area is known for sulfur hot springs and potentially poisonous gases which may have contributed to the “killing stone” myth.

Anomalies & Strange Objects, News

Booming sounds attributed to karst

Some residents of Silver Spring Township in southcentral PA began to experience booming noises days after heavy rain deluged the area in September 2021. Township officials consulted geological experts who concluded that the sounds originated underground but were not related to earthquakes. Instead, the karst system was actively moving the water and debris in the subsurface.

Earth Mysteries, Features

Mystery booms and skyquakes

The world is a noisy place. But some sounds shake you to your foundation. Mystery booms that come out of nowhere and have indiscernible sources scare people and leave them wondering, “What just happened?” Every week, we find a few reports of “mystery booms” in the news. People report a surprising, loud noise that shakes their house and rattles their windows. This is not a new phenomenon. Reports of such sounds can be traced back through news accounts from over a century ago.

Earth Mysteries, News

Peabody’s booming earthquake swarm

Residents of Peabody have been experiencing booming sounds that rattle their houses and nerves. A public meeting was held to explain to residents that 3 earthquakes were recorded (below magnitude 2) in the area and this swarm of small quakes is causing the disturbance.

Alternative Geology, Features

Going to Hell: Geology of the “underworld”

In the past and even today, some believe that you can get to Hell via a portal or entrance from earth. There are countless tales of trips to the underworld made by mythical persons. There continue to be legends about gates to hell around the world that we might access today. Join me for a tour of Hell mouths.

GeoHazards, News

Fireball “mud volcano” in Caspian Sea

On July 4, news started circulating about a huge explosion in the Caspian Sea in Azerbaijan captured on video. The first information was relayed by the state oil company, SOCAR, to the Russian news agency saying the explosion was real and probably caused by a “mud volcano”.

Earth Mysteries, Features, Paranormal Places

Oracle of Delphi: Snake Death Gas or God’s Breath

The colorful and dramatic accounts of the Oracle of Delphi in Greece spanning many centuries appear to be strongly related to the geological setting and seismic activity of the locale. The cultural and geologic history is long and complex. Over time, people have speculated on the explanation as being supernatural, psychic, geological, or a hoax. It took a multidisciplinary effort to reach the most probable proposed explanation we have so far, but there are still many details we’ll never know.

Briefs, GeoHazards

Fillmore underground fire

A thermal anomaly in Fillmore, California emits gases and heat that can burn the vegetation. A form of spontaneous combustion, the underground fire is difficult to extinguish.

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