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Mysterious hill where objects defy gravity

Thursday October 17 2019

Kyamwilu hill on Machakos-Kangundo Road

Motorists marvel at the magic at Kyamwilu hill on Machakos-Kangundo Road where water flows uphill against the force of gravity on August 25, 2019. PHOTO | PIUS MAUNDU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

LILLIAN MUTAVI
By LILLIAN MUTAVI
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At Kyamwilu hill, about 12 kilometres from Machakos town along the Machakos-Kangundo road, lies a mysterious hill where objects defy gravity.

The phenomenon has baffled both residents and visitors, attracting curious onlookers to the site.

For instance, if you pour water on the road it moves upwards instead of the opposite direction as one might expect. Gravity hills occur in many parts of the world, including the United State.

GRAVITATIONAL PULL

Experts say the gravitational pull of such hills is uneven, i.e. the force at the bottom is weaker than higher up causing objects to move up the slope.

Gravity, scholars say, is not uniform everywhere on earth. Areas closer to the equator experience a slightly weaker gravitational pull than those farther away.

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According to an article in ScienceAlert, gravity hills are found across the world including Confusion Hill in California and Magnetic Hill in Canada.

Mr Emannuel Ruto, a geologist, said that uneven gravity pulls have been reported in other places in the country such as Mai Mahiu.

Kyamwilu hill

Motorists marvel at the magic at Kyamwilu hill on Machakos-Kangundo Road where water flows uphill against the force of gravity on August 25, 2019. PHOTO | PIUS MAUNDU | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Motorists have complained of their vehicles tending to be pulled downhill as they accelerate uphill. Other scholars attribute the existence of gravity hills to an optical illusion. According to this explanation, the lay of the land and the surrounding landscape create an optical illusion, thus making people confuse the downside of the hill for the upside.

At Kyamwilu hill, locals charge tourists a fee to demonstrate the phenomenon.

TOURISTS

The demonstration includes pouring water on tarmac and setting a car in parking. The water and car begin moving uphill.

Mr Victor Muniafu, the Machakos chief tourism officer, said the county plans to build a tourism centre at the spot.

“We will put up a tourist centre with different activities that will benefit residents,” Mr Muniafu said.

The facility will have a rest area, restaurants and toilets so that people enjoy the scenery.

He said the county did not have data on how many people visit the site. A report by the Machakos County Assembly Committee on Culture observed that the devolved government had done nothing to enhance the site. The committee said that no revenue was collected from tourists who visited the place.

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