Kerr Watch

Number of days writer Richard Kerr has failed to inform his Science readers of the confirmation of nanodiamonds at the YDB: 3 years, 4 months, and 1 day

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April 2014
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The Cosmic Tusk Newsletter


Half a loaf from B612: Asteroid data from nuke blast detectors calls out faulty impact assumptions; older impact data ignored; nothing new

Live updates and edits underway

Press release from B612 Foundation

UPDATE:  B612 Impact Video 4-20-14 H264 from D Josh Rosen on Vimeo.

The Tusk works mightily to avoid speculating about future cosmic impacts at the expense of reporting evidence for such events in the human past, but recent news intervenes once more. Tomorrow the wires will hopefully buzz with the B612 Foundation‘s presentation of sophisticated and occasionally secret nuclear blast detection data revealing that cosmic impacts are far more common than prevailing “models” conclude — 3 to 10 times more common.

I am of two hands here. On the one hand I appreciate the work of the B612 Foundation and hope the new data inspires public interest in their proposed Sentinel Mission. On the other hand it is frustrating to see B612 reveal the underestimation of future risk while ignoring peer-reviewed literature suggesting a similar underestimate is made of impacts in ancient human times.

Ed Lu, Rusty Schweickert and the B612 crowd are to me the boys who cry “wolf” while neglecting to point out the gnawed remains of earlier Canis attack.


Typical of people who propound on the degree of future threat while denying or ignoring published research of past events is impact guru Dr. Alan Harris. Harris, in whom earthlings place great trust, is entirely dismissive of Younger Dryas Boundary research. His presentation below, which I have meant to post for years, is typical:

Denier: Alan Harris dismisses and misrepresents scientists who disagree with him on the effect of asteroids…

In his defense, Harris is elderly, and keeping up with modern discoveries is difficult for that cohort. But that is no excuse for his misrepresentation of the YDB theory. In the 2010 presentation he refers only to the speculative and popular 2005 book by Firestone — while ignoring the peer-reviewed research by 27 scientists in 2007 and dozens more independent scientists in subsequent journal articles.

Yes, to the dismay of his co-authors, Rick Firestone (alone) is partial to a “supernova,” as reported by Harris in Slide 25.  And Rick indeed penned a chapter on the subject in his book. But Harris is also aware that not a single published paper or statement from the sixty plus additional authors supporting an ice age impact claims a “supernova” as the cause. Harris 1, Strawman 0.

Further, his reference to Bill Napier’s “beloved” Taurids [Slide 26] is a condescending, unprofessional remark that reveals the animus Harris and his clique reserve for certain researchers, particularly those who suggest what the clique themselves claim might happen tomorrow — actually happened within the last 13,000 years. I could go on and on, for instance David Morrison and Clark Chapman (of B612!) share Harris’ willful ignorance. I just don’t have the stomach for other characters now.


So. Back to B612. There are two ways to obtain the data for impact estimates: Extrapolation of past events and identification of future threats. B612 is using an instant of the former to justify hundreds of years of the latter. If the foundation were to comprehensively attack the problem of calibrating impact threat they would call for a concurrent investigation of past impacts — well beyond the 11 years the new data provides — to compliment their spacecraft plans.

Such a study would concentrate on geochemical and nano-material analysis of well-dated Holocene samples. For less than $1 million — a pittance compared to the $250 million required for their future-detecting Sentinel — soils and ice could be deliberately analyzed across the recent geological past to identify or refute anomalies published by Firestone, Courty, Mahaney, Andronikov, Paetev, Sharma, Ballard and others since 2007 — they could even vindicate Plato.

The failure of B612 to approach the study of the past with the gimlet eye they reserve for the future is as conspicuous to the Tusk as the shortcomings they will reveal tomorrow.


Younger Dryas Boundary independently identified in Michigan and Alabama lakes; reconfirmed in Netherlands…..and another Cosmic Tusk?!?



Abstract Title:

Late Glacial fire and nitrogen dynamics at lacustrine sites in Alabama and Michigan: evidence of an acid rain event?

is part of the Paper Session:
Paleorecords II. Climate and Environmental History in the Eastern U.S.

scheduled on Tuesday, 4/8/2014 at 10:00 AM.

Click below for author bios:

Joanne P Ballard* – University of Tennessee
Sally P Horn – University of Tennessee
Chad S Lane – Chad Lane, University of North Carolina, Wilmington
Zheng-Hua Li – NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
Steven G Driese – Baylor University
Thomas V Lowell – University of Cincinnati

We analyzed stable nitrogen isotopes, total nitrogen, and macroscopic charcoal in sediments from three lakes in Alabama and Michigan to characterize temporal patterns in nitrogen cycling and explore links between nitrogen, climate, and fire across the late glacial in eastern North America.  We used cores from Cahaba Pond, Alabama, recovered by Delcourt et al. (1983, Ecology), and matched our isotope and charcoal analyses to their pollen stratigraphy.  Cores from Swift and Slack Lakes in Michigan were obtained in 2008.  Thin-section analysis across a 20-cm section from Cahaba Pond that encompasses the Younger Dryas shows a transition from mineral-rich to organic-rich sediments, with loessal silt aggregates. All three lakes recorded roughly coeval nitrogen perturbations at the onset of the Younger Dryas, when a dramatic shift occurred in terrestrial and aquatic vegetation at Cahaba Pond.  All three sites also registered fire events across the late glacial.  We explore the possibility that observed perturbations to the nitrogen cycle are evidence of nitric acid rain.  Such an event could result from nitrate production in the atmosphere due to shock waves from an extraterrestrial event as discussed by Prinn and Fegley (1987, Earth and Planetary Science Letters).  If our nitric acid rain idea is correct, it would lend support to the Firestone extraterrestrial impact hypothesis.  Concentrations of nitrate and ammonium in ice cores, and sudden eutrophication and shifts from alkaliphilous to acidiphilous diatoms in lake sediments, might also support a nitric acid rain event at the onset of the Younger Dryas.


Younger Dryas, Late Glacial, nitrogen, isotopesextraterrestrial, acid, rain, Cahaba Pond, climate, paleofirecharcoal, lake sediments, Slack Lake, Swift Lake



Ussello Horizon – not from new paper below

Quartz melt structures in European coversands may support Younger Dryas extraterrestrial impact hypothesis

The Tell Tale Tusk

#YDB impact confirmed again: Volcanos and Asteroids and Mammoths — Oh My!

My dear Kepler, I wish that we might laugh at the remarkable stupidity of the common herd. What do you have to say about the principal philosophers of this academy who are filled with the stubbornness of an asp and do not want to look at either the planets, the moon or the telescope, even though I have freely and deliberately offered them the opportunity a thousand times? Truly, just as the asp stops its ears, so do these philosophers shut their eyes to the light of truth.

Galileo to Kepler — 1610

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 10.25.49 AM

Press Release from Liverpool John Moores

I have only scanned this new paper and there is a lot in there. Cheers to readers who help sort through.

We report new stratigraphic, tephrochronology and dating results from the Tocuila Mammoth site in the Basin of Mexico. At the site there is evidence for a thin meteorite airburst layer dated between 10,878 and 10,707 cal BC at the onset of the Younger Dryas (YD) cool period. The Upper Toluca Pumice (UTP) tephra marker, caused by a Plinian eruption of the Nevado de Toluca volcano, dated from 10,666 to 10,612 cal BC,is above that layer. The eruption must have caused widespread environmental disruption in the region with evidence of extensive reworking and channelling by the Lake Texcoco shoreline and contributed to the widespread death and/or extinction of megafaunal populations, as suggested by earlier authors, but the new work reinforces the view that both catastrophic events must have caused large environmental disruption in a short time period of around two hundred years. There is no evidence for megafauna (mammoths, sabre toothed cats, camels, bison, glyptodonts) after the UTP volcanic event and subsequent lahars in the Basin of Mexico. — From abstract


Tocuila Mammoths, Basin of Mexico: Late Pleistocenee Early Holocene stratigraphy and the geological context… by George Howard



I was chilling with the family two weeks ago at Atlantis, Bahamas, when to my surprise an additional mammoth tusk entered my life. I got a hush-hush email and photo from a friend and long-time employee telling me that our contractor’s brand new Volvo excavator was at that moment assisting in the excavation of a large mammoth tusk and skull.

I was aware since 2007 that the stream channels Restoration Systems was restoring on the property (to off-set other development in the watershed) had revealed bones of extinct ice age mammals. A camel tooth and other Camelops parts had been found, and subsequent dirt scratching had revealed Toxodon remains  – resulting in Toxodon’s most northerly and only N. American occurrence. Cool!

But at the time funds were apparently not available for further investigation. So outside of asking our operators to keep an eye out, and maintaining a faint interest in perhaps pitchin’ in someday to dig the blue-tarped site myself, (which we had left out of our project easement), the old bones were not my principal interest in the property.

It turns out that researchers had not turned their back on the site. Further excavation was commenced this Spring, apparently led by a private enthusiast who sought the help of our equipment as I lay by the pool. Since we returned I have spoken once to the landowner (RS only owns the mitigation easement) and she is putting me in touch with the researcher.

At this point everything is under wraps, literally and figuratively. The 11-foot long (!) brittle tusk has been plastered as seen in the photo and moved to safe keeping. And the owner and researcher are considering their options while not revealing the location or announcing the discovery at this time.



Ignored but recorded: British Library interviews Baillie

interview figureI’m back — with at least five blogs loaded in my chamber. It is a terrible thing for a blogger to disappear for longish periods, only to re-appear with several posts in quick succession. But I’m not getting paid for this and (somewhat) erratic blogging is better than no blogging at all. (In my defense as well, pressing news on our subject has been scarce).

First up is a wonderful British Library interview with Tusk-adored Mike Baillie. [Listen here] For those unaware, Dr. Baillie is a special figure to catastrophists. He came to our subject with a combination of unquestioned expertise and a fearless intellectual honesty that in science circles makes hen’s teeth look common. His development of the Irish Oak Long Chronology from long-buried bog trees is a universally regarded “mainstream” [I hate that word] contribution to our understanding of paleo-ecology and, thus?, climate.

But rather than using his data to pimp political messages, he used it to tell us the truth: At least five times in ancient history the world’s trees stopped growing. You read that correctly: Trees stopped growing in unison across great swaths of the planet, perhaps all of the planet, since writing was invented. The most narrow [52:00] rings at far flung locations are simultaneous despite centuries to millennia of intervening time.

Mike struggled to resolve his objective findings with uniformitarian, terrestrial explanations, such as mystery volcanoes, but settled convincingly on cosmic impact as the cause largely because of his secondary and subjective investigation of Irish Myth.

He discovered his home country tales of heroic clashes in the sky were actually looking back him from laboratory wood.

There are still holes and unknowns — but the available data show five distinct periods of profound planetary pain from the sky. From Wiki:

Upon examining the tree-ring record, Baillie noticed indications of severe environmental downturns around 2354 BC, 1628 BC, 1159 BC, 208 BC, and AD 540. The evidence suggests that these environmental downturns were wide-ranging catastrophic events; the AD 540 event in particular is attested in tree-ring chronologies from Siberia through Europe and North and South America. This event coincides with the second largest ammonium signal in the Greenland ice in the last two millennia, the largest being in AD 1014, and both these epochs were accompanied by cometary apparitions. Baillie explains the general absence of mainstream historical references to this event by the fact it was described in terms of biblical metaphors since at that time “Christian beliefs included the dogma that nothing that happens in the heavens could have any conceivable effect on the Earth.”[1]

The story of Mike’s intellectual journey is extraordinary and worth an hour of time if this is your kind of thing (or if you care to maintain civilization). He tells it well and the British Library is thanked for making it available to those who will listen.

Mike Baillie Interview” Comets, Catastrophism and Irish Myth by George Howard

A comprehensive, modern Catastrophist Bibliography



William I. Thomson III is a new friend of the Tusk, and a helpful one at that. With great care and obvious patience Bill has developed a tremendously informative and downright fascinating bibliography of Catastrophism. Anyone interested in reading the variety of publications within, and contributors to, our broad subject will appreciate his hard work. The list is filled with today’s journal articles and working hyperlinks where available.

From Abbott, Baillie and Clube, through Yeomans and Zanner, the list below is to my knowledge the most up-to-date compendium of written work concerning our ancient field. Enjoy.

PS. Bill and I are working on a YDB debate-only bib which I hope to post soon.

Celestial Catastrophism Bibliography & Handbook from William I. Thompson III by George Howard

Independent confirmation: Young bucks at same school double-check National Academy member and YDB author Kennett’s nanodiamond claims — found ‘em


 The excavation at Bull Creek, Oklahoma, shows the paleosol — ancient buried soil; the dark black layer in the side of the cliff — that formed during the Younger Dryas. – UCSB


More recently, another group of earth scientists, including UCSB’s Alexander Simms and alumna Hanna Alexander, re-examined the distribution of nanodiamonds in Bull Creek’s sedimentological record to see if they could reproduce the original study’s evidence supporting the YDB hypothesis. Their findings appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

 “We were able to replicate some of their results and we did find nanodiamonds right at the Younger Dryas Boundary,” said Simms, an associate professor in UCSB’s Department of Earth Science.

The paper


UCSB Press Release

University of Oklahoma Press Release

Editor: Jay Melosh

What Killed the Woolly Mammoth? UCSB Professor Finds Evidence to Support Comet Collision


Alex Simms

Alexander R. Simms

Could a comet have been responsible for the extinction of North America’s megafauna — woolly mammoths, giant ground sloths and saber-tooth tigers? UC Santa Barbara’s James Kennett, professor emeritus in the Department of Earth Science, posited that such an extraterrestrial event occurred 12,900 years ago.

Originally published in 2007, Kennett’s controversial Younger Dryas Boundary (YDB) hypothesis suggests that a comet collision precipitated the Younger Dryas period of global cooling, which, in turn, contributed to the extinction of many animals and altered human adaptations. The nanodiamond is one type of material that could result from an extraterrestrial collision, and the presence of nanodiamonds along Bull Creek in the Oklahoma Panhandle lends credence to the YDB hypothesis.

More recently, another group of earth scientists, including UCSB’s Alexander Simms and alumna Hanna Alexander, re-examined the distribution of nanodiamonds in Bull Creek’s sedimentological record to see if they could reproduce the original study’s evidence supporting the YDB hypothesis. Their findings appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

“We were able to replicate some of their results and we did find nanodiamonds right at the Younger Dryas Boundary,” said Simms, an associate professor in UCSB’s Department of Earth Science. “However, we also found a second spike of nanodiamonds more recently in the sedimentary record, sometime within the past 3,000 years.”

The researchers analyzed 49 sediment samples representing different time periods and environmental and climactic settings, and identified high levels of nanodiamonds immediately below and just above YDB deposits and in late-Holocene near-surface deposits.

The late Holocene began at the end of the Pleistocene 11,700 years ago and continues to the present. The researchers found that the presence of nanodiamonds is not caused by environmental setting, soil formation, cultural activities, other climate changes or the amount of time in which the landscape is stable.

The discovery of high concentrations of nanodiamonds from two distinct time periods suggests that whatever process produced the elevated concentrations of nanodiamonds at the onset of the Younger Dryas sediments may have also been active in recent millennia in Bull Creek.

“Nanodiamonds are found in high abundances at the YDB, giving some support to that theory,” Simms said. “However, we did find it at one other site, which may or may not be caused by a smaller but similar event nearby.”

A “recent” meteorite impact did occur near Bull Creek but scientists don’t know exactly when. The fact that the study’s second nanodiamond spike occurred sometime during the past 3,000 years suggests that the distribution of nanodiamonds is not unique to the Younger Dryas.




PNAS: Diamond peak confirmed at YDB — and Bronze Age collapse, perhaps?

Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 11.17.44 PM

 Table 1.

Bement video

Earlier GSA abstract

Co-author spotlight: Andrew S. Madden


PNAS Lexus lane? 46,000 hits!


In 2007, scientists proposed that the start of the Younger Dryas (YD) chronozone (10,900 radiocarbon years ago) and late Pleistocene extinctions resulted from the explosion of a comet in the earths atmosphere. The ET event, as it is known, is purportedly marked by high levels of various materials, including nano-diamonds. Nanodiamonds had previously been reported from the Bull Creek, Oklahoma, area. We investigate this claim here by quantifying the distribution of nanodiamonds in sediments of different periods within the Bull Creek valley. We found high levels of nanodiamonds in YD boundary deposits, supporting the previous claim. A second spike in nanodiamonds during the late Holocene suggests that the distribution of nanodiamonds is not unique to the YD


Quantifying the distribution of nanodiamonds in
pre-Younger Dryas to recent age deposits along Bull Creek, Oklahoma Panhandle, USA
by George Howard