Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Mystery in Pennsylvania?

I have been working on a new story for my collection of "Marienstadt" stories that involves the East Branch dam of the Clarion River. The dam was built in 1952 and my Dad worked on it. When I was growing up it was a frequent destination for picnics and recreation. As I worked on the story I decided I wanted to see it from the air so, as I always do, I went to Google Earth and had a fine time flying over the reservoir there. I'm a fan of Google Earth and frequently entertain myself by zooming over interesting places -- which is how I found this:

This is an aerial view of land north of Emporium, PA and south of Smethport and Port Allegheny. It is a heavily wooded area and if you go to the regular map there is nothing marked there - nothing, not even roads. There are some forestry service roads but that is all. I added the yellow squiggly lines to emphasize the contours of the area.

When you zoom in really close there are some wide waterways with churning white water visible:

There is also this misty white area right next to one of the waterways. What are these things?

I asked my friend Ray and he said when he looks on his topographical maps he cannot find anything at all. He suggested it might be a Marcellus shale site which is possible but when I zoom way in I see no buildings or vehicles of any sort.

When I was working on my story about the Kinzua Viaduct I used Google Earth to zoom in on that and, as you can see below, you can see the fallen towers laying on the floor of the valley very clearly.

So what is this mysterious site in central Pennsylvania? Was it built by Martians? Hmmmmm, nothing as interesting as a good mystery. I'm open to suggestions!

Thanks for reading.  


  1. Hmmm, I don't know how much quarrying was done in Pennsylvania. I wonder if anyone knows about that.

  2. Rick Buerk from St. Marys sent me a message on Facebook and said he thinks they are old strip mines that have filled in with water which certainly sounds plausible. He said he used to swim there. He also thinks the white area is the site of an old "wire burning" operation though I'm not sure what that is.

    Thanks, Rick!!!


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