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Mima mound mystery solved

By Liji Varghese | Last Updated: Monday, December 9, 2013 - 16:46

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: Scientists claim to have solved the mystery behind Mima mounds - the enormous, natural bubble wrap like geological anomalies bulging out of the ground.

These natural mounds composed of loose, unstratified, often gravelly sediment are the most common in North America.

Researchers, until now, have been unsuccessful in figuring the exact reason behind the formation of these moulds.

Initially, Mima mounds were thought to be Native American burial sites. Since no skeletons or grave relics were ever found inside, experts went on to suggest other hypotheses like earthquakes, glaciers and floods as the cause.

According to the latest study, pocket gophers - tiny burrowing animals – are the reason behind the circular hillocks that cover great swathes of land.

Researchers used a computer program to analyse the role of gophers in formation of the mounds.

They found that gophers, in order to stay dry moved the earth upward and this phenomenon repeated over hundreds of years by generations of gophers led to the formation of the mounds.

“The computer model results looked exactly similar to the mounds in every way”, lead researcher Dr Manny Gabet, of San Jose State University was quoted as saying to a leading website.

Mima mounds are found in every continent except Antarctica, and subterranean mammals like moles, could be responsible for the formation of the unique landscape, the researcher said.

First Published: Monday, December 9, 2013 - 16:46
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