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The Barisal Guns and Similar Sounds


WITH reference to the letters that have appeared in NATURE on the above subject, I have read with interest that by Mr. G. B. Scott, of the Indian Survey, in your last issue. The question, I think, arises, Are we not dealing, in India at least, with two very different phenomena? Are these sounds like that of heavy ordnance, which are heard occasionally at the base of the Eastern Himalayas and the Garo and Khasi Hill Range1, the same as those longer known and more familiar as the “Barisal Guns”? Mr. Scott's description of the sounds he heard when on board the steamer moored in the narrow channels near the sea, are remarkably like wave action. He says: “Sometimes a single report, at others two, three or more in succession, never near, always distant, but not equally distant. Sometimes the reports would resemble cannon from two rather widely separated opposing forces, at others from different directions but apparently always from the southward, that is, seaward.” This is precisely what one would hear on a still night, when an ocean swell was coming up the Bay of Bengal and breaking all along a low shore with an undulating outline stretching many miles east and west.2 I have been twice round by Barisal in a river steamer, and once by native boat, which took many days; but I was not fortunate enough to hear the sounds.

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  1. 1

    Vide P. A. S. Bengal. Mr. La Touche, of the Geological Survey, p. 201, in "Report on Barisal Guns."

  2. 2

    Vide same Report. Letter by Mr. A. Manson, p. 208.

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GODWIN-AUSTEN, H. The Barisal Guns and Similar Sounds. Nature 53, 247–248 (1896).

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