Although this is the second day of June, near the summit of the 1100-metre high Trafelberg, gusts of wind blow umbrellas inside out and a sharp rain is scudding into the faces of the few hardy people who’ve ventured outside.
Among them is Alfred Kramer, an Austrian electronics engineer, who is explaining the function of dozens of molehill like mounds of gravel, linked by spokes of tubes to raised hubs, within a security fenced enclosure.
There are, at a variety of mostly isolated locations on earth, more than 40 sites using similar equipment, as puzzling to the uninitiated as Prince Henry the Navigator’s compass rose, with which the infrasound arrays at first glance look alike, must have appeared in the fifteenth century.
This complex is in Austria, not 90 minutes from the heart of its capital Vienna, in a range of limestone hills that extend south of the city, near the bucolic village of Muggendorf.
And as Kramer is explaining, to a news crew from the Austrian national broadcaster ORF, the strange pipe arrays are test beds for a relatively obscure technology that is part of a global system to detect nuclear explosions.