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Think Tank - The Fires of Canneto di Caronia
(Working Papers)

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A Shade Tree Physics Online Publication

Installed 9 April 2004. Latest update 16 Feb 2016.

This document, or portions thereof, may be copied freely for non-profit/non-commercial purposes.

This page was started on 9 April 2004 and contains excerpts from e-mails from other researchers and parties interested in the fires of Canneto di Caronia. Entries (some of which occurred prior to 9 April) are presented in chronological order.

Readers having information that answers questions asked below or information that helps make the picture clearer are encouraged to forward them to Robert Fritzius at fritzius@bellsouth.net who will play the role of moderator. Personal comments and discussion not directly relevant to the Caronia events will usually not be included. Contributors who wish to remain anonymous may do so. Email addresses of contributors will not be shared without permission.

12 March 2004 - Nicholas Hawkins to Robert Fritzius - Caronia events
I went there last week, but did not find anything significant or manage to see the hit points. Will probably go again in 10 days, better briefed. Let me know anything you want me to look for, but I am physically past rock climbing; and there is not much but rock in Sicily

There are two Caronia's [Cannetos?]

  - the village on the top of the "cliffs" (in fact, steeply rising rock, not vertical)

  - the very small village, mostly one street wide, on the beach.
   (this is on a shelf in the rock made by centuries or erosion, about 1 meter above
    the sea. Note that the Mediterranean is non-tidal)

    Some fishing boats on sand, mostly pleasure boats

The electric railway runs at the bottom of the rock, and there are no houses south of it until you get up into the hills. Wired for 100 kvac, probably runs at less.

Coast is erosional

On most of the coast there is no space for a road or railway. The highway and the railroad go along a shelf cut in the rock, or in tunnels or even on pillars built in the sea.

I have two queries you might be able to help with -

1. Is there anyone you know who could tell me how to get samples of the air for mass spectroscopy?

2. What is the Italian name of the Italian Electro-technical Institute?
(Home in Milan of GianFranco Allegra)

12 March 2004 - Fritzius to Hawkins - Re: Caronia events
I'd like to know if Canneto di Caronia is (or is not) in the middle of an old volcano (flank eruptive center?). The seaside of the thing would be open. There's a semi-circular road that encircles the village (average diameter of its path is about five nautical miles). Looks like it could be a rim road.

I have attached a section of a topo map of Messina province on which I have colored the Canneto encircling road in red.

What kind of structure is the cliff? It would be great to get some photos of it. A really good topo map of the Canneto area would be helpful. Center of town plus minus ten miles.

Will put out some feelers on the air sampling. I'd bet some of the investigative teams who have been there have been doing that.

13 March 2004 - Fritzius to Hawkins - Re: Caronia events
The Turin-based National Electrotechnical Institute "Galileo Ferraris" (Instituto Elettrotecnico Nazionale, IEN) carries out research in the fields of metrology, physics and technology of materials and innovation technologies.


Strada delle Cacce, 91
Turin, IT, 10135
telephone + 39 011346384

15 March 2004 - Fritzius to Hawkins - Re: Caronia events
As a follow on to our earlier discussion, and some more web research I made some additions to the web page. I created a schematic cross section thru the sea level village (where the fires were reported), extending up the steep hill (or whatever it is.)

Based on an aerial photo (if its really of our "village") I'd guess that the hairpin road, just south of the new highway, is the access road to the village on top of the steep hill. The red line on the photo corresponds to the cross section.

If you don't mind, I put a note to the Sicilians, to give you a hand when you get back there. Stranger things might happen. If "telegraphing" your arrival is problematic I'll remove the appropriate parts.

"The Canefield of Caronia" is the one near the query volcano.

"Canefield" is "Canneto" in Italian.

I'd like to know a lot more about that "query volcano." How big is it? What is the distance to its center from the seaside village? and on and on.

The Sto Stefano di Camastra should be about two miles east of Canneto di Caronia.

15 March 2004 - Hawkins to Fritzius - Re: Caronia events
The hills [along the coast] are very chaotic so it is difficult to generalize about the gradients; but the mean gradient on the slopes from Caronia Marina [up] to Caronia [the main center of population] is less than 45 degrees. The road zig-zags up it. At Caronia Marina, there is no flat ground more than 10 meters back from the railway. A line from the railway to the hilltop would give about the gradient I estimated from Caronia Marina.

16 March 2004 - Fritzius to Hawkins - Re: Caronia events
At St. Stephano there is a museum. In the museum there is a painting or some kind of artwork that shows some (fierce?)* warriors sinking into the ground. To me that is suggestive them being victims of earthquake liquefaction. You might check on earthquake lore in the area.
*The phrase may have been "five warriors".

There are two fault lines which criss cross at Mt. Etna. One fault line is oriented SSW-NNE and the other is oriented SE-NW approximately. Best I can tell this latter fault line intersects the north coast of Sicily in the region of Canneto.

One of the pages that are linked to from the article: A Canneto di Caronia (ME) http://www.guidasicilia.it/ita/main/news/index.jsp?IDNews=10413
[Link needs updating. 15 Feb 2016]
is accompanied by a map of Sicily that shows seismic hot spots. There is a hot spot apparently in the north coast area a little west of Caronia. Seems to be St. Stephens... and Palermo. The article says that an updated map (Italy including Sicily) is to be published on the 20th of March.


22 March 2004 - Hawkins to Fritzius - Caronia
Does anyone have a list of all the Caronia incidents?

6 April 2004 - Noname Noway to Fritzius - re: spontaneous fires
Greetings, it appears, both logically and from similar observations, that the fires are caused by induced electric currents. I think it would be simple enough to put a few coils in town and monitor them for fluctuations (couple them to a packet radio for remote monitoring, magnetically insulated, of course). I watched 2 telephone line transformers across the street from each other begin to glow and then catch fire through magnetic field fluctuations. There was a period of about 1 minute 30 seconds between thermal discharges and it went on all night.

Why these events are highly localized is also typical. Ground fields mount up until a transference or transduction can occur or they just move away or subside. Usually, it there are clouds around it may induce a lightning strike but the fields mount anyway, clouds or no. Magnetic field focusing may occur in an object having any field coil properties, as each item listed had, transducing the magnetic charge into heat and then fire. They could grid the town with ground stakes to trap the charge to safer spots but I doubt if they will ever get rid of them. It would be fun to map the geomagnetics of the town. I am sure you would find some very dense fields, fields much larger than you would suppose.

6 April 2004 - Fritzius to Hawkins - Methane detector
With the return of the inhabitants of Canneto the fires started up again.

If you have time before you leave you might consider trying to beg, borrow or steal a portable methane detector.

Here's a line to one page that offers something you could use.

Bascom-Turner Natural Gas and Methane Detectors

More links later if I can find some.

I'd really l like to know the geological details of that steep hill and the part of it that is under the flaming village.

06 Apr 2004 - Craig Renner to Fritzius - The Fires of Canneto di Caronia
I find this subject fascinating and I cannot believe the mainstream press has only one article concerning this most important matter.

07 Apr 2004 - Noway to Fritzius - re: spontaneous fires
Hello again, I understand some geophysicists are on the scene and have set up a monitoring system for magnetic flux and electromagnetic spectrum mapping. We should get a good view of the mag fields of the town. I am looking forward to seeing it. The monitors are both mobile and stationary and may even capture an event. They are using some expensive equipment which I think is overkill. I prefer to use cheap, cheap, cheap and give it to the locals to have fun with. Small science is better than boss science.

By the way, if the power cord to the lamp WAS plugged in it probably wouldn't have caught fire. The motors would have even if plugged in because the field coils are isolated from ground through the switch. I think it is magnetic flux rather than electromagnetic, these are not hot dogs left in the microwave oven too long. Also, the mapping should be carried out to sea to see if the village is just the tip of the 'iceberg'.

09 Apr 2004 - Robin van Spaandonk to Fritzius - Canneto di Caronia
Do you happen to know if anyone has thought to measure x-rays or gamma-rays? (Such radiation would among other things cause water to separate into hydrogen and oxygen resulting in fires in water pipes).

9 April 2004 - Jeroen Goulooze to Fritzius - "...in the fall of 2004"?
I think you made a slght error. You probably mean 2003 instead of 2004 because that would be in the future:)

17 Feb 2004 - Author's Notes The author speculates that the Etna volcanic ash episode took place in the fall of 2004.

9 April 2004 - Fritzius to Goulooze
Thanks much!! Will fix.

09 Apr 2004 - Blake M. Wylie to Fritzius - Sicilian Fires
(I saw an AP story today about how they [the fires at Canneto di Caronia] are still going on:
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=572&e=7&u=/nm/life_italy_fires_dc [Link needs update. 15 Feb 2016]

Don't know if you've seen this before, but I used to live in Alabama, and something similar happened in a town there in the 50's. I found a story about it here: http://www.prairieghosts.com/al_fire.html. It's a ghost site (paranormal), but it's the only place I could find it on the web.

[The article describes unexplained fires which repeatedly broke out inside dwellings when members of the same family were present. Well written.]

(Continued in Part 2.)

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