SUNDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2002
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Now wells form spontaneously in Kerala

[ SUNDAY, AUGUST 05, 2001 09:55:13 PM ]
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Even as scientists are yet to reach any definite conclusion about the cause of the 'red rain' and caving in of wells in Kerala, stranger pehnomena like sudden formation of wells and unusual falling of leaves of plants and trees have been reported from the state.

In the last couple of months about 175 cases of "well collpase" have been recorded from across the state, baffling the people and experts alike.

In what could be the exact opposite, two cases of natural well-formation have been reported from Kasargode and Thrissur districts, creating panic among the people.

Villagers of Vellimon in Kollam were witness to a strange spectacle when leaves of plants and trees in half-a-hectare stretch suddenly started falling in strong wind and drizzle in the morning.

The mystery over `scarlet rain', experienced in parts of central Kerala recently, deepened further as experts from the Centre for Earth Science Studies (CESS), distanced themselves from their earlier hypothesis that the phenonmenon could have been caused by dust thrown off by a meteor burst.

They claimed on Saturday that the sample analysis of coloured rain showed the presence of fungal spores.

By its own admission, the "tentative conclusions" leave unanswered questions like what could have produced the huge quantity of spores and how they got injected into the clouds.

The chemical analyses of the samples showed the presence of carbon, silicon, calcium, magnesium, aluminum, iron, sodium and pottassium besides significant trace quantities (in parts per million) of phosphurus, titanium, chromium, manganese, copper and nickel.

The CESS has discounted the possibility of the well-collpase having any link with seismic activity as feared by the people.

"Bad construction of wells coupled with hydrographic pressures caused by above-normal rains" were cited as main reasons for the well-collapse.

Taking the general apprehension into account, the state government had, however, sought central help for an in-depth examination of the phenomenon.

The people of Arimbur village were taken by surprise when land slipped and a well emerged at the courtyard of one Thanikkal Jose on Saturday. The well is 22 ft deep with muddy water at the bottom.

A similar case has been reported from the homestead of one Sivadas of Kumbala in Kasargode district.

What apparently makes people apprehensive is that many parts of the state experienced mild tremors last year. Before and after the tremors, unusual waves were found in wells in some places, which experts termed as a phenomenon called 'seismic seiches' which has nothing to do with an impending earthquake.

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