Scientists Baffled by 150,000-Year-Old Pipes in China

by Sankalan Baidya
Scientists Baffled by 150,000-Year-Old Pipes in China

Scientists have named them as Oopart – the 150,000-year-old pipes found in China. Oopart stands for out of place artifact and there is absolutely no scarcity of Oopart in our world. In Quinghai province of China, close to Mount Baigong are 3 caves that have been found to be filled with pipes that have been dated by Beijing Institute of Geology to be 150,000 years old, says’s Brian Dunning.

Upon inspection (investigation started in 2002) scientists have found that the pipes not only lead to a nearby salt-water lake but are also present on the lake shore as well as on the lake bed. These iron rods are available in various sizes and some of them are smaller than a standard toothpick.

Carbon dating was not used for dating those pipes. The scientists used a technique known as thermoluminescence. This technique determines the duration for which a particular crystalline mineral was exposed to heat or sunlight. Weirdly enough, the area where these pipes have been discovered was previously known to have been inhabited for only last 30,000 years and that within this timeline, the only humans known to have inhabited the place were people with nomadic lifestyle and hence, the possibility of those people leaving behind pipes is quite out of the scene.

So, how did the pipes come? Who made them? What are the 150,000-year-old pipes made of? Of these three questions only the last one has been properly and partially answered. The pipes were examined and according to the local Delingha government’s publicity department, the 92% of the pipes composed of calcium oxide, ferric oxide and silicon oxide while the remaining 8% could not be identified.

The identified portions of the pipes can be easily explained by modern science at our disposal. Iron, after a long time of interaction with sandstones lead to the production of calcium oxide and silicon oxide. This fact alone is enough to increase the intensity of mystery because it screams out loud that the iron pipes have been out there for very very long time, says Liu Shaolin – the engineer who was given the task of analyzing the pipes.

What’s ever weirder is that the pipes lead to a salt-water lake but there is a nearby twin lake that contains freshwater. Adding to the mystery further is the fact that some of these pipes have been found to be highly radioactive as observed by Zheng Jiandong – a geology research fellow from China Earthquake Administration and reported the same to People’s Daily (a newspaper run by the state) in 2007.

Several theories have been proposed to answer the question ‘how did the pipes come and who made them?’ One possiblity, according to Yang Ji – a research fellow at Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, is that the pyramids and the pipes are works of extraterrestrial intelligent beings but he also mentions that this theory will require a scientific proof.

Yet another theory that was put forward was that prehistoric men were behind the creation of the pipes and unfortunately, the techniques they deployed were long lost to humans who later inhabited the place during the recorded ancient history.

The third possibility that was put forward was an attempt to give the credit to Mother Nature. Jiandong – the guy from China Earthquake Administration says that 150,000 years ago iron-rich magma came up from the depths of Earth, which forced the iron into the fissures where the iron solidified and the pipes were created.

There is a fourth theory which goes on to claim that the pipes are nothing but fossilized tree roots. In 2003, the Xinmin Weekly reported that during the analysis of the pipes, plant matter was found along with things that looked like tree rings. This claim by Xinmin Weekly actually hinged on a geological theory which stated that under proper temperature and right set of chemical reactions, tree roots are capable of undergoing what is known as diagenesis. Diagenesis the method transformation of soil into rock. The theory also suggests that post-diagenesis, a right set of chemical reactions can also lead to iron formations. However, the legitimacy of this theory is questionable.

The fifth and final theory that attempted to explain the prehistoric 150,000-year-old pipes is that iron sediments were washed off into the fissures during floods and the pipes were formed. This fifth theory is actually a part of the iron-rich magma theory with the only difference being that instead of the magma pushing the iron into the fissures, it was the floods that did the hard labor.

Sources: 1, 2

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