Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Giant chunks of ice falling mysteriously from the sky? Just another day in Oakland...

It's been raining for weeks and weeks here in the Bay Area, and lately the precipitation has taken a rather disturbing turn. It seems a large chunk of ice recently fell to earth in Oakland's scenic Bushrod Park, less than a mile from my house. By large, I mean over 200 pounds. No ordinary hail, to say the least. According to this Oakland Tribune story, such mysterious ice falls have been recorded the world over. Some ostensible experts claim that pieces of ice on this scale form on aircraft, and tend to break off as they're preparing to land. So that's one possibility, especially since the Oakland airport isn't too far from where the marauding cube dug its two-foot wide crater. Though the article also helpfully notes that similar impacts were being recorded well before the invention of aircraft.

Just for speculative kicks, one can't help but wonder what else might it be...a miniature comet, spillage from a celestial cocktail hour, debris from a secretive, high-impact version of curling? Beyond the eminently sensible and equally dull aircraft hypothesis, the scientific community doesn't seem to have many answers. "I don't like to claim that anything is absolutely impossible, but this comes awfully close," one expert on hail told Science magazine.

Reassuring words indeed. While our nation's scientists continue to seek the source of our enigmatic frozen adversary, I'm going to go price some titanium roofing.

Ice Update, April 14:

It seems that disconcertingly large pieces of ice continue to plummet earthwards here in California, with another chunk landing on the gymnasium of Loma Linda University in San Bernardino County, way down there in SoCal. Read all about it...if you dare. Of course you dare.


Blogger Christopher said...

Giant chunks of ice are amazing and odd. The stories you have here are fascinating, but I didn't see any entry on the red rains in India:
It's very interesting to read the whole Wikipedia article. I just posted an article about it myself and I think it's very intriguing:

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