Science: The Palmdale Bulge

Located some 35 miles north of downtown Los Angeles at the edge of the Mojave Desert, Palmdale (pop. 13,500), Calif., is a sleepy town where the loudest sounds are usually the whistling of desert winds and the popping noise of exhausts as teen-age dragsters race their cars. But Palmdale has been lifted, quite literally, out of obscurity. Scientists have recently discovered that it is in the center of a 120-mile-long, kidney-shaped area of land that rose as much as ten inches in the early 1960s. The phenomenon has earned the desert town a dubious...