Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Europe
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-----------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-----------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Sport 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 


Jesus Martinez, who is leading the investigation
"It's very difficult to identify the origin"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 18 January, 2000, 14:14 GMT
Spaniards dodge mystery ice

ice chunks The falling chunks can weigh as much as 4kg


Chunks of ice as big as basketballs have been plummeting out of Spain's skies in recent days, baffling scientists.

One man in the south of the country narrowly escaped serious injury last week when a 4kg ice ball smashed into his car.

It was at first thought human excrement ejected from aircraft was to blame, then perhaps debris from comets.


ice chunk Will chemical tests prove conclusive?
Now scientists hope chemical analysis will unravel the mystery.

"The most surprised person of all by this phenomenon is me," said geologist Jesus Martinez Frias, who is heading a team of experts investigating the problem.

They have travelled all over Spain collecting and analysing the blocks of ice, over a dozen of which have so far bombarded the country in the last 10 days.

Professor Martinez told the daily El Pais that the chunks appeared to be nearly 100% frozen water but chemical testing should reveal their origin by Friday.

He said the chunks lacked the colouring of jet waste, and were too scattered and infrequent to be pieces of comet tails.

They should also have been large enough to register on radar screens.

Meteorologists have ruled out the weather as a possible explanation.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
Europe Contents

Country profiles
Links to other Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories