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July 12, 2005 09:08PM
Jul 11, 2005 6:06 pm US/Pacific

Unexplained Hot Spot Heats Up Ground in SoCal

Tony Russomanno

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(CBS 5) In Southern California, a unique and still unexplained hot spot the size of two football fields is producing temperatures above 400 degrees at the surface, and has started at least one brush fire.

The geologic mystery is 15 miles north of Santa Barbara, in the Dick Smith Wilderness area, deep within the Los Padres National Forest. The hot spot was discovered by fire crews putting out a fire last summer, and the source of the fire was traced to intense heat from the ground itself.

USGS hydrologist Dr. Robert Mariner hiked out to the hot spot, and found temperatures of 583 degrees Fahrenheit in fumerals -- or steam vents -- about ten or eleven feet down. That's hot enough to ignite wood, and it defied common knowledge.

"There's just no reason to have temperatures in fumerals that hot, unless you are dealing with a volcano," said Mariner.

Mariner says it's definitely not a volcano. But one theory is that a recent landslide exposed a unique combination of rocks to the air, triggering a chemical reaction.

"We kind of suspect it's a confluence of minerals and that got broken up just right to get the reaction going," said Mariner.

Mariner says the reaction might have been expected to consume itself by now and cool off, but that hasn't happened. So far, it might be easier to explain this as a portal to hell, than any other known geologic feature.

The Martians Have Landed :-)

Wizard 648July 12, 2005 09:08PM

Re: The Martians Have Landed :-)

Wizard 390July 12, 2005 09:48PM

Re: The Martians Have Landed :-)

jobe 378July 13, 2005 06:49PM

Re: The Martians Have Landed :-)

Wizard 791July 13, 2005 09:01PM

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