Monday, September 18, 2006

Mystery Bumps, part 2

Here's my hypothesis about the origin of the Mystery Bumps: Lightning strike.

Some of the reasons I suspect this:

1. The rocks and gravel are reddened on their surfaces, and some look recently fractured.

2. There's nothing at all about them that looks like they were dug or burrowed; they appear to have risen up from below. I can see how this could happen with a lightning strike on wet ground that is comprised of porous carbonate gravel, vaporizing water and puffing up the soil like popcorn.

3. I haven't come up with any other good hypothesis.

I'd love to hear from anyone who might know more about this. The only things I have found online about related phenomena discuss the fulgurites formed by lightning strikes sand. This is not sand, these carbonate rocks don't melt when heated, they crumble. So I wouldn't expect to find fulgurites here.


At 8:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


That's an interesting theory! When did these mounds appeared & do you have recollections of thunderstorms close to, but before, that time?

I've found fulgurites by (stupidely!) rushing down to the beach after close strikes.

Do you have chipmunks there? When I lived in New Jersey, I would sometimes find seemingly inexplicable mounds in the yard. I finally video-taped the culprits in the act. They come up out of their burrows, push up "construction" debris, and purposefully fill back in the connection to the burrow. Very clever little squirrels! I miss not having them my current home range.

At 9:52 PM, Blogger Bill Pulliam said...

I can't say when they appeared; this isn't an area I check out in detail regularly. But I'm pretty sure itis since spring.

We have had a very lightning-filled year. There are many lightning-killed trees from this spring and summer around.

We have chipmunks, but only in the woods. This is a barren spot. There is no sign of any burrowing activity anywhere nearby.


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