La trace et les échantillons physiques

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Fig. 11. Dessin de la trace par la gendarmerie

At the end of his observation, Mr. Nicolai went to the place where he thought the observed object had landed on the ground. At that precise location he discovered some unusual traces, clearly seen on the ground of the platform. These traces have now been examined, photographed, sampled, and analyzed in various laboratories.

The traces were located in the large platform at level 1, near the dirt path at he south-east entrance to the property. They were visible on the hardened dirt near the retaining wall, 22 meters away from the tree to the left of which Mr. Nicolai saw the shape at the beginning of the sighting. As early as Friday January 9th, the Draguignan Gendarmerie examined the traces and stated:

Fig. 12. Localisation de la trace

We observe the presence of two concentric circles, the first one 2.20 m in diameter, he second one 2.40 m in diameter. These two circles leave a crown 10 cm wide. On this crown two diametrically opposed sections are visible, about 80 cm long . . . which present black striations similar to abrasion traces.

A drawing was made (Figure 11) and four photographs were taken (Figures 12, 13, 14, 15).

A few days later, the investigator sent by the private group gave a somewhat different version. Instead of two diametrically opposed sections, clearly more marked than the rest of the ring, he observes:

Rather a horseshoe which bears regular striations as if a metal had been dragged over the area . . . over this striated surface perfectly clean, all trace of vegetation has disappeared. (This last observation was incorrect -- Author).

Fig. 13. Localisation de la trace

On February 17, 1981, or 40 days after the sighting, the trace was still visible, probably because of the slight amount of precipitation since January 8 (a single storm shortly after that date) but also because this part of the property is not used often. One could still see an arc-shaped area, lighter than the rest of the terrain. The dirt was heavily compacted there, forming a crust about 1 cm thick. In some places the surface seemed to have been rubbed over a short distance.

Three sampling operations were conducted over this area.

Fig. 15. Vue rapprochée de la trace
Fig. 14. Vue rapprochée de la trace

Table 1 summarizes the characteristics of the four soil samples.

The analysis began at CNES with the visual examination of sample P1 using a binocular enlarging lens. A selection of areas presenting an interesting appearance were later examined under a microscope.

The samples were then forwarded to various laboratories equipped for physical and chemical analysis in an effort to determine the element composition of the P1 and P2 samples, and to identify possible variations between the two samples. It was thought that such systematic comparisons might lead to the discovery of mechanical, thermal or radiation effects correlated with the phenomenon. (Samples Q1 and Q2 were not used at this stage). The following sections present the results of these independent analyses.

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