Science: Something in the Air

The atmosphere is full of vibrations that are too feeble to be felt. No one knows where the vibrations come from or what starts them. Last week, backed by $25,000 from the weather-minded U.S. Navy, the Rev. James B. Macelwane, S.J., St. Louis University, a tubby, genial priest who is one of the world's best seismologists, was laying plans to find out.

Father Macelwane discovered the air vibrations ten years ago when testing a colleague's theory that small tremors in the earth (microseisms) are caused by changes in the atmosphere. He built an oversized barometer which makes a wiggly line on a...

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