Atmospheric Refraction and Lake Monsters

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Science  13 Jul 1979:
Vol. 205, Issue 4402, pp. 183-185
DOI: 10.1126/science.205.4402.183


A survey of reported sightings of lake monster phenomena suggests that many of them may be attributable to atmospheric image distortion. The existence of the necessary conditions (surface temperature inversion and hence strong atmospheric refraction) can be inferred from most of the reports. Under such conditions familiar objects can easily take on unrecognizable form. Two photographs demonstrate the extent of the distortion that can occur.