The ancient practice of water divining is still used across the world to locate water sources. Forty years ago, we wondered whether it might actually work
“DOWSING achieves new credence” ran a headline in the 8 February 1979 edition of New Scientist. The art of dowsing, or water divining, dates from at least the 16th century. It involves holding a forked twig, traditionally of hazel, and walking up and down until the twig dips sharply in the hands. This only happens, it is said, when areas rich in minerals or with fast-flowing water lie just beneath the surface.
Our article reported results from two Soviet geologists who found dowsing “extremely useful in pinpointing several metal ore deposits”. …
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