Home Page Science Frontiers

No. 100: Jul-Aug 1995

Issue Contents

Other pages

Other Interesting Sites












Superhail: agglomerates of two or three stones
December 24, 1993. North Yorkshire. The following description comes from the British journal: Weather.

"Some hail fell in a slight to moderate shower which lasted a couple of minutes around 0900 GMT on Christmas Eve. The hailstones were roughly spherical in shape, with a diameter of 4 to 8 mm, and translucent, with a faint, crystalline structure radiating from their centres. There were also some agglomerates of two or three stones and, unusually, a few contained four to as many as eight stones in an irregular but planar arrangement, with the larger ones tending towards a hexagonal conformation and dimensions of approximately 15 x 12 x 6 mm."

(Cinderey, Mike; "Unusual Hail -- 24 December 1993," Weather, 50:194, 1995.)

Comment. That snowflakes may agglomerate in large pancake-like aggregations has often been observed (GWP2 in our catalog: Tornados, Dark Days, etc.*), but this is the first time we have heard of hail being welded together in flat, hexagonal configurations. What draws the separate hailstones together into the same hexagonal geometry displayed by snowflakes?

*Described here.

From Science Frontiers #100, JUL-AUG 1995. 1995-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987