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.

Download the PDF file .

  • Steve Garcia

    That looks like a very useful source.

    I noticed some anonymous author attributions. If I can be of a little assistance, this one:

    Anon. (2012-03-16) ― The Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis Revisited,‖ In a blog “A Catastrophe of Comets,” [Online:] http://craterhunter.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/the-younger-dryas-impact-hypothesis-revisited/

    Would appear to be Dennis Cox as author, since it is on his blog and no other author is mentioned.

    Also the previous one is also on Dennis’ blog and thus is almost certainly Dennis’:

    r.] Anon. (2011B) ― “A Different Kind of Climate catastrophe”
    In a blog “A Catastrophe of Comets,” [Online:] https://craterhunter.wordpress.com/a-different-kind-of-climate-catastrophe/

    Perhaps three is some reason why William has not assigned authorship.

  • William Thompson

    Steve Garcia’s suggestions have been incorporated into the latest version of the bibliography. Thank You.

  • George Howard

    On Scribd I can “re-upload” up to six revisions I think, then I am happy to post another “first” and start over. We can have a rolling update from time to time.


  • Guilty as charged Steve, and thanks. But since writing those two articles I’ve been able to go to the places I wrote about, and spend a little time on the ground there. I’ll be doing a re-write of both of them after I’ve gotten some lab results back on the samples that were collected.

  • Steve Garcia

    Thanks all, for agreeing, and I only pointed it out so that Dennis would have the credit he deserves.

    And, Dennis, I do again applaud your field work, and I look forward to your updates.

  • Hi

    Congratulations Dennis.

    best regards

  • E.P. Grondine

    There are no entries for any of the Cambridge Conference materials.

    But then you must know that.

  • William Thompson


    The Second Cambridge Conference Proceedings, not all individual papers, is included:

    Peiser, Benny J., Trevor Palmer, and Mark E. Bailey – Editors – (1998) Natural Catastrophes During Bronze Age Civilisations: Archaeological, Geological, Astronomical and Cultural Perspectives, Proceedings of the Second Society for Interdisciplinary Studies (SIS) Cambridge Conference, 11-13 July 1997, British Archaeological Reports (BAR) 728, Archaeopress, Oxford, ISBN 086054916X [Available as a PDF document.] [I own a hard and PDF copy. See Abstract Below. The Introduction and the list of papers and abstracts of most papers are online: http://www.sis-group.org.uk/cambproc.htm , Cited in Palmer (2003), p. 119. See Abstract below:]
    Abstract: Research in the field of neo-catastrophism and impact cratering has quickened its pace since the early 1980s. An increasing number of astronomers have suggested that a series of cosmic disasters punctuated the earth in prehistoric times. Scholars such as Victor Clube, Bill Napier, Mark Bailey, Sir Fred Hoyle and Duncan Steel claim that a more ‘active’ sky might have caused major cultural changes of Bronze Age civilisations, belief systems and religious rituals. Can the astronomical evidence brought forward by these astronomers be substantiated by the historical, archaeological and climatological records? End

    I may add more if time allows.

  • Personally I don’t think there are any Catastrophists more dedicated than me, and yet not even a mention. Very disappointed given the following I’m building up. I’ve written two books and have another one on the way (“Extraterrestrial Desert Sands). Even if you disagree with my theories, I would have thought my work was worthy of a mention.

    So much for “A comprehensive, modern Catastrophist Bibliography.”


    Gary Gilligan


  • E.P.Grondine

    Hi Bill –

    Personally, I deal with comet and asteroid impacts, not “catastrophism”.

    That noted, I think that you will need to go back and read the Cambridge Conference archives to complete your bibliography.

  • George Howard

    Welcome to the jungle @gary

  • E.P. Grondine

    Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

  • Barry Weathersby
  • Steve Garcia

    Thanks for the link, Barry, but when I read the article, and the paper linked off that, there doesn’t seem to be much there but speculations and caveat words. Compared to, say, the forensics of the YDB folks, this is all very vague and has no substance. Richard Feynman would have a cow at “science” like that, if he was still alive. It is all interesting, but no substance.

    There is a principle in science that, “Correlation does not equal causation.” Trying to tie two 35Mya “cycles” together, when either one might be off by 10-20% and when there is no means of falsifying the conjecture is nothing more than guessing. I am sure the paper got the researcher a little closer to tenure, but it has no teeth.

    Even the Abstract begins with mealy-mouth words:

    “Although statistical evidence is not overwhelming, possible support for an approximately 35 million year periodicity in the crater record on Earth could indicate a nonrandom underlying enhancement of meteorite impacts at regular intervals.”

    “Not overwhelming” could mean anything from no support to moderate support.

    “Possible support” means even less.

    “Approximate 35 million year periodicity” means they saw two 35MYa numbers and are speculating on some tie-in between them – but they don’t even speculate on what mechanism in the galactic periods might affect meteors within the inner solar system – and how that applies to the Earth itself, as opposed to, say, Venus or Mars. All they do is use the numbers to suggest. Are they somehow suggesting that more meteors materialize? That they take aim on terrestrial planets better when certain galactic plane effects exist?

    They even admit:

    “Recent analyses of the crater data usually find that a period of about 35 MYr is most consistent with the data, although the statistical evidence is weak and disappears completely when the look elsewhere effect is taken into account.”

    In terms of the “nonrandom underlying enhancement of meteorite impacts at regular intervals,” the gravitational variations inherent at such vast distances within the galaxy due to wanderings up and down from the galactic plane are incredibly small. Anyone who has ever done sine and cosine calculations on very small angles knows that the sine or cosine values for these angles change so little as to be insignificant. Add to that the fact that such vertical components as are discussed cannot be projected back to the inner solar system as significant increases in the very weak force we call gravity. A tiny wobble in the orbit of Jupiter would be able to create many more magnitudes of effects than the gravity coming from the galaxy’s masses. A passing other meteor would have more effect.

    I would argue that all of this is just playing with numbers/statistics and hearken to Mark Twain again: “There are three kinds of lies – lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

    In addition, a variation of just a few hundred thousand years in either 35 Myr cycle or both (well within the uncertainty of both) would negate even whatever correlation the author was trying to establish.

    As well, the article is a mish-mash of nothings, speculations, and using big words to sound like science.

    That is my two cents. No offense meant, Barry.

  • Steve Garcia

    BTW, One of the founders of the Royal Society in England, Robert Hooke (the equal to and intense opponent of Newton and his ego on many fronts), was adamant that the Royal Society focus ONLY on such science as could be shown and proved through empirical and experimental means.

    I date the start of real science from the foundation of the Royal Society – methodical and consistent and quantifiable analyses. Prior to that scientific thought was a mix of experiment and philosophy. The philosophical part was a carry over from Aristotle’s and Plato’s time, when experiment had mostly not even been thought of. As we all know, following Aristotle held back science for 2000 years. All of his work was reasonable-sounding but misleading in many critical ways.

    Reasonable-sounding is not in itself science. It is only guesses, no matter how reasonable those guesses are. It only becomes science when experiments are derived from the reasoning and then are tested and not proven wrong (falsified).

    That was Hooke’s insistence, but the very philosophical Newton sabotaged that premise almost from day one. Newton was into religion and alchemy and all sorts of things. Hooke died not long after and his work was mainly lost, and his enemy Newton made sure Hooke got little to no credit for much of his findings. There was no such thing then as peer review; that is what the Royal Society eventually led to, with the lectures and presentations before the Society. But Hooke had Newton fighting him tooth and nail, and Newton as a posthumous reviewer left Hooke’s legacy in tatters.

    As famous as Newton is for gravity, here we are 350 years later and still don’t have any idea what gravity is. Newton recognized the lack at the time and hoped that later generations would fix the problem. They have not. Hooke would find that unacceptable. I do, too.

  • Dennis; I have a ? for you if you are out there. Is there a physical difference in craters if they are airburst or solid impact created? The answer could possibly help me out with a theory I’m working on. Also, Did you get the pics I sent you 2 weeks ago? If not let me know and I will try again to send them off.

  • There most deffinately must be. What we haven’t proven yet though, is what the planetary scarring of an ablative airburst should be expected to look like. The simulations done at Sandia indicate that we are looking for places where the fireball reached all the way to the ground with temps hot enough to melt silcate rock, and with sustained supersonic winds at those temps ablating the surface for twenty seconds or more. There are plenty of “pseudoexplosion structures” in the southwest to compile a rather long suspect list.
    Most of those I’ve visited have a lot of geomorphology that looks suspiciously volcanic, although volcanism has been ruled out there. So the trick will be to be to find something in the make up of those rocks that could only have happened during a very large ablative airburst.

  • Steve Garcia

    Dennis –

    In your visits to the suspect locations, have you grabbed any samples of the suspicious materials that you can run by a geologist or two? His feedback should be worth something, even as a first impression. It might help to inform him first who has ruled out vulcanism, so that he doesn’t go off in that direction – or that he has reason to think in other directions, too.

    While I myself agree with you that ablation is a strong candidate, I’d personally phrase my opinion as less than “could only have….”

    My own main caveat about ablation is that I don’t see how the radiant heat could only go so far down the slopes and not also melt the surrounding flat terrain. The heat energy density should not drop off that rapidly, so I am not sure what to make of that. The only mechanism I can envision would be a ball of heat traveling essentially horizontal low over the terrain and right through the upper portions of the peaks. I know, that sound silly, but it seems odd that only the peaks (from what I saw a while ago) are melted while the lower slopes and flat terrain are not. So, basically, though I think you have ALMOST got it, I think there might be more to it, a complication.

  • Steve; I saw a graphic showing the exact thing you are describing. A fireball is coming in at an extremely low flat trajectory as it passes over peaks and other higher terrain it melts these structures with it’s intense heat and blows off the melt in the direction of travel. From what I understand when the airburst occurs it travels more or less on the same angle as the incoming object. I would guess that that the shallower the angle the more surface area is impacted. Conversely the steeper the angle the less surface area is effected but a deeper crater is excavated?

  • Steve, the radiant heat is only part of it. Since the simulations show winds scouring the surface for a good long time with rotational speeds in the vortices exceeding supersonic, then the wind itself
    can be expected to move around an awful lot of loose material, and never mind if it got melted first.

  • Steve Garcia

    Dennis – What you describe seems eminently probable, I agree. But do you see melt at the flat ground level? As I recall I did not see any.

  • Steve Garcia

    Jim –

    Cool! Interesting. Do you recall where you saw that graphic? (It wasn’t in a sci-fi movie, was it? . . . hahah)

  • Steve; No sci-fi movie, sorry! Don’t have time for movies,besides the popcorn is too expensive. I believe it was on a TV program (same thing) about cosmic impacts and why they aren’t a big problem. Just not enough of them to worry about. But what I described is what they said has happened before. When it comes on again (and it will) I’ll try to get more info for desemenation.

  • Steve; In my browings I came across an article by Prof Ron Jahnke about the Indiana Sand Islands. As I was reading through this I found that the vast sand areas across Indiana into Illinois were laid down before the Kankakee Torrent. Also the sand composition is almost exclusively Lake Michigan sand not Saginaw sand. At the time (14-20,00yrs ago)this sand was supposedly laid down the area was supposed to have been under the ice sheets. Could this be a sign of Lake Michigan impacts. On a couple of relief maps of Indiana I’ve noticed that there appears to be an area in extreme Northwest Indiana that looks like flowage markings coming out of Lake Michigan and heading south along the Ill-Ind border. Just another tidbit to think on.

  • Steve Garcia

    Jim –

    Can you point me to the Indian relief map that shows that? Did you actually mean a relief map? They don’t show much on the ones I find.

    I have seen the IL bedrock geology map, and it shows a flow pattern to the WEST of the IN-IL border, quite wide. That was the first thing that pointed me to the Kankakee Outwash/Torrent. That “flow” pattern must actually lie under the Indiana sand islands, so it must also predate them. How it all fits I don’t know. There is insufficient evidence at this time to attempt explanations, even though I’ve speculated before, like a fool. Patterns will do that to your mind – as you try to make sense of what you are seeing. That pattern certainly aligns well, though, with the Kankakee Outwash, the Union City drumlin field, and the proposed Saginaw Bay impact, as well as the centroid of the Michigan Basin.

    Yes, I was clear in my head that the Indiana sand islands are sand that matches Lake Michigan sand. While it may be a stretch, though, that doesn’t mean that the Lake Michigan sand is necessarily native to Lake Michigan. I am non-geologically familiar with the sands around the bottom end of Lake Michigan. My son even works right on the edge of the Indiana Dunes, only a few hundred yards from the shore. What the sand’s history is might be very different in the eyes of a gradualist and myself. Their assumptions I leave as open questions.

  • Interesting article at Space.com about how thermal cycling may be a more important mechanism for breaking up chondritic asteroids than impacts. If accurate, there are a lot more rubble piles out there than currently thought, and the intact bodies are either too large or newly introduced (Jupiter gravity capture of comets). Cheers –


  • Steve; I found the relief maps by going on Internet explorer and typing Indiana relief maps. You will get a couple of choices, But look throughthe bunch and see if you can find the ones Grafic leftovers, Shutterstock 162 or Arid ocean. theses names are ghosted over the maps themselves. If you find one look in the extreme Northwest corner ofthe state and you will see an area of the Valparaiso Morraine that appears to have been washout or overrun. Most of the flowage seems to have gone straight south or slightly west into Illinois. The image from shutterstock is quite dramatic as it shows all the Morraines from the huron and Erie lobes of the galciers and their outflows. My thought (speculation) on the Lake Michigan sand is that if there was an impact in the lake there would have been a tsunami of sorts that could have overwashed the morraine and flooded down state Indiana. Also as you mentioned the lake Michigan sand may not have come from Lake Michigan originally but from the the Sasginaw Impact that laid ejecta over the lake area. just another thought. Also Dr Jahnke mentioned specifically that the Sand Islands sand was not from the Saginaw flows but from lake Michigan. The proposed time frames for each event are fairly close together, maybe they are connected.

  • chicken little


    makes you wonder at what elevation the water level once was ? water level was most definitely higher some time in the past !! wonder what changed ? 😛

  • Steve Garcia

    Jim –

    Thanks for those relief maps.

    You being an Illinoisan, I don’t think I have to explain to you that, even though those patterns are obviously connected with Lake Michigan, the prevailing winds do NOT go in that direction (toward the SW), so, whatever the coloration represents, it is not wind-blown.

  • Steve; I realize that the wind does usually go to the southwest but I believe that at one time there was a great deal of water spilled over the valpo morraine. That section in the NE corner of Indiana appears to have had the top washed off and from Chicago Heights,Ill to around Valparaiso,Ind the Morraine is spread out to over 17 miles wide. When looking at the same style map of Michigan you’ll see the flow pattern coming out of the Saginaw Bay Area and going south behind the Valparaiso Morraine across Ind. You will also see a clear channel due east into Lake Michigan through the Valpo Morraine. I’m of the opinion that the Kankakee Torrent also went into lake Michigan and probably drained out the south west corner of Lake Michigan into Ill and Ind. How’s that for speculation? Ones speculation is someone elses thought spark.

  • Trent Telenko


    You may want to put this up as a separate post:

    Blast Sensors Detect More Asteroid Strikes Than Expected

    Short story — there have been 26 one-kiloton plus asteroid impact blasts detected by the world wide nuclear blast detectors since 2001.

    The hard scientific data about the rate of asteroid impacts on Earth for the last 13 years pretty much shoots down every single impact model I have seen, by orders of magnitude.

  • Steve Garcia

    Trent – My posted comment on that article’s web page:

    “It is good that we have this data, though by itself it tells us little that is of any use at this time.

    “…The fact that none of these asteroid impacts shown in the video was detected in advance is proof that the only thing preventing a catastrophe from a ‘city-killer’-sized asteroid is blind luck.”

    Not true at all. The atmosphere burns up over 90% of each large incoming objects such as the Chelyabinsk meteor. This means that we have a miraculously effective defense system – and it is all natural.

    A 1-kt explosion is not a city killer.

    The stated kilotonnage of any object depends on what moment they are talking about. With 90% energy losses between the time of atmospheric entry and the airburst, are they talking about 1-kt when it explodes or when it entered the atmosphere. The best info I have on Chelyabinsk is that the 500-kt of the “explosion” (actually it was a final disintegration due to the atmospheric resistance and turbulance) was using the original size, not the size at explosion. Deducting 90%, that was a 50-kt explosion. The 1-kt objects probably started out as 10-kt – about 1/50th of Chelyabinsk.

    In addition, even Chelyabinsk one exploded well over 25-km in the air, so the effects on the ground were minimal, especially in terms of “city killer.” Broken windows? Oh my! People cut by glass is not even remotely a city killer.

    So if what is left of a 500-kt incomer explodes at >20 km up, these 1-kt things don’t really tell us anything whatsoever about city-killers. That is only one data point. Perhaps it is good that they realize that THAT sized meteor is more frequent, but ANY kind of curve (steep, shallow, moderate) can be speculated on from that information, which means basically they’ve learned nothing about city killers.

    Most people with their imaginations get all hyped up about any kind of “end of the World” scenarios. We can credit at least some of that to religion and “End Times” silliness. Those people seem to have deaeth wishes and hopes that they will be part of some really big catastrophe. However, they really do NOT want to be part of such an event. Not anymore than they want to be apart of a nuclear war.

    But their is all “death-wishful thinking”. The reality is that if a 500-kt made it intact to the ground it would be close to a city killer, at least a small city. That would mean starting out as a 5-megaton object.

    The Earth’s atmosphere is like a force field in its results. In that regard, I’d point people to the fact that nearly all observed incoming objects arrive at a low entry angle (probably something to do with the size of the Earth’s gravity well versus the direct Earth target size needed for a steep angle entry), meaning that the object spends a LOT of time in the atmosphere, and for each second within the atmosphere massive amounts of potentially explosive energy are being shed through the process called “ablation.” The rock melts and flows off as droplets, which then vaporize (the bright trail we see). Each bit ablated makes for less energy left to do damage on the ground or in a low airburst.

    Those 1-kt explosions were all WAAAAY up in the atmosphere, where they couldn’t do any damage. 20 meter objects like Chelyabinsk are not city killers. Even the 1908 Tunguska object would not have killed a city, even though it knocked down a lot of trees. Tunguska was probably about three times as wide as Chelyabinsk. It also was absorbed by the Earth’s atmosphere – it never made it to the ground. This should tell people that it does take a rather large object to become any threat to cities. We almost certainly would detect a 60-meter object before it arrives – even if we presently cannot do anything about it.

    But even if we don’t detect an object, the atmosphere is massively shrinking every one of the buggers. The actual risk is much smaller than the popular press would have us believe.

  • Steve Garcia

    I would highlight this portion of that:
    So if what is left of a 500-kt incomer explodes at >20 km up, these 1-kt things don’t really tell us anything whatsoever about city-killers. That is only one data point. Perhaps it is good that they realize that THAT sized meteor is more frequent, but ANY kind of curve (steep, shallow, moderate) can be speculated on from that information, which means basically they’ve learned nothing about city killers.

  • George Howard

    Got it now. Very interesting.

  • Trent Telenko

    New instruments have discovered a series of Dwarf planets in the Oort cloud and Kuiper (sp?) belt.

    See the link —


  • Folks might note that if the Chelyabinsk object hadn’t come in at such an oblique angle, and instead came down more vertically, it would have penetrated more deeply into the atmosphere before exploding. Had it done so, It brought more than enough violence with it to be a city killer.

  • Steve Garcia

    Trent –

    Thanks for this, but not exactly for the reason one might expect. I love that you keep finding these things. When I find holes in their presentation/interpretations, don’t think I am critiquing you.

    I went into this – reading the article – expecting to find something fishy. I did.

    The article states,

    2012 VP113’s closest orbit point to the Sun brings it to about 80 times the distance of Earth from the Sun, a measurement referred to as an astronomical unit or AU. For context, the rocky planets and asteroids exist at distances ranging between .39 and 4.2 AU. Gas giants are found between 5 and 30 AU, and the Kuiper belt (composed of thousands of icy objects, including Pluto) ranges from 30 to 50 AU. In our solar system there is a distinct edge at 50 AU. Only Sedna was known to stay significantly beyond this outer boundary at 76 AU for its entire orbit.
    “The search for these distant inner Oort cloud objects beyond Sedna and 2012 VP113 should continue, as they could tell us a lot about how our Solar System formed and evolved,” says Sheppard.”

    Wiki has this to say about the “hypothesized” Oort Cloud:

    “The Oort cloud is thought to occupy a vast space from somewhere between 2,000 and 5,000 AU (0.03 and 0.08 ly) to as far as 50,000 AU (0.79 ly) from the Sun.”

    Wiki on the Kuiper Belt:
    “The Kuiper belt is a region of the Solar System beyond the planets, extending from the orbit of Neptune (at 30 AU) to approximately 50 AU from the Sun.”

    Okay, now I don’t know about the rest of you, but don’t you think it is much more likely that the object is an outer Kuiper Belt object than to shift the inner edge of the Oort Cloud inward by 1,920 AUs?

    So, this is NOT an Oort cloud object; it is being INTERPRETED by those scientists as an Oort Cloud object. I think it shows how strained the Oort Cloud idea is, that they have to claim something essentially at the orbit of Sedna is imagined to be Oort rather than Kuiper. They never claimed Sedna was an Oort cloud object before. So why is this object at about Sedna’s distance miraculously part of the Oort cloud and not a member of the Kuiper belt? They all KNOW that nothing has been found in the Oort Cloud region, so they find something an inch outside the Kuiper Belt and claim it is Oort. BAD SCIENCE. That is like saying my neighborhood outside Chicago is in Los Angeles or Honk Kong.

    In every one of these papers/articles where they find something new, it seems obligatory that they assert this:

    “[This new discovery] could tell us a lot about how our Solar System formed and evolved.”

    We should take three things away from such assertions:

    1.) They are still floundering about the formation of the solar system.

    2.) They feel they have to crowbar every new thing into the current hypothesis. Instead of perhaps widening the current concept.

    3.) They have to give the public (whose taxes pay for the vast majority of astronomical costs) the idea that progress is made and that the final answer is just around the corner. (“So, please, please, PLEASE give us more funding! We are almost there! We can’t stop now!”)

    “From the amount of sky searched, Sheppard and Trujillo determine that about 900 objects with orbits like Sedna and 2012 VP113 and sizes larger than 1000 km may exist and that the total population of the inner Oort cloud is likely bigger than that of the Kuiper Belt and main asteroid belt.”

    So, rather than just stopping there, they think that two data points is sufficient to extrapolate the number of objects out there near Sedna and 1012 VP113. Wow. Bad science. There is no reason whatsoever to think that the regions which include Sedna and 1012 VP113 are typically populated regions.

    Also, they also assert something about the Oort cloud, after cheating on the very location of the Oort cloud by those 1,920 AUs. (They should also at least point out that the hypothesized “inner Oort cloud” – disc-shaped – is different from the hypothesized “outer Oort cloud” – spherical.)

    …Just bloody pathetic… All of it. We are all dumber now.

  • Steve Garcia

    Dennis –

    I agree in part about Chelyabinsk and the angle point you make. I was trying to include that without specifically saying it. At the same time, more and more I am convinced that low angles are so much the norm that we should expect essentially all incomers to come in shallow.

    Why? ALL video so far shows low angle. Add to that cross-sectional area of the Earth’s gravity well, compared to the size of target Earth itself. The gravity well is hundreds of times bigger, so we should expect that most objects have to spiral in, not take direct paths down toward the surface. Spiraling in should logically mean lower angle entries.

    Correct me if I am wrong. This all seems to make perfect sense to me, but I might be overlooking something. Your input/feedback/take is appreciated.

  • Steve Garcia

    Dennis –

    Yes, if the original 500 kt of Chelyabinsk exploded/disintegrated near ground level, it would have been a city killer. But I have to ask those here who know how to calculate it how much steeper the heat curve/ablation rate is when coming more directly through the atmosphere. I know the heat buildup has a steeper gradient if the angle is greater, so that would make ablation occur faster. With that steeper gradient being directly proportional to shrinking the object and the shorter time in the atmosphere being inversely proportional, we have one factor tending toward a larger explosion sooner (higher), while the other tends to have the explosion later (lower). What the results would be is uncertain without calculations.

    This all would go a long way to explaining something to me: How do ANY objects make it to the ground without burning up entirely? The VAST majority do not make it to the ground. What is it exactly that happens that allows the very few meteorites lying on the surface to survive? There probably is a boiler plate explanation for this, but I have not run across it yet. To me it is a matter of once factor overbalancing the other. But how it works exactly I don’t have a clear handle on yet.

  • Trent Telenko

    Steve G,

    There is a 1950 AU gap between the Kuiper Belt definition and the Oort Cloud Definition.

    That sounds like time for a new theory.

  • Steve Garcia

    Trent –

    That is my point. But nothing in the paper or article suggested that any new concepts of the two belts was being overtly proposed. They just slipped in the massive shrinkage of the inner Oort Cloud…

    I sometimes wonder if science editors EVER actually read WTF they are covering with their minds alert at all.

  • Appears the geologists are finally starting to characterize some of the impacts during the Late Heavy Bombardment. The first one estimated at 23 – 36 mi in diameter. There are others. Cheers –


  • Trent Telenko

    Science Daily is reporting the same article —

    “Scientists reconstruct ancient impact that dwarfs dinosaur-extinction blast”

    Date: April 9, 2014

    Source:American Geophysical Union

    Picture this: A massive asteroid almost as wide as Rhode Island and about three to five times larger than the rock thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs slams into Earth. The collision punches a crater into the planet’s crust that’s nearly 500 kilometers (about 300 miles) across: greater than the distance from Washington, D.C. to New York City, and up to two and a half times larger in diameter than the hole formed by the dinosaur-killing asteroid

    Article link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140409125851.htm

  • Trent Telenko

    Interesting, two other article links popped out of that Sci-daily one that will be of interest here:

    1. Tiny ‘spherules’ reveal details about Earth’s asteroid impacts

    Date:April 25, 2012

    Source:Purdue University

    Researchers are learning details about asteroid impacts going back to the Earth’s early history by using a new method for extracting precise information from tiny “spherules” embedded in layers of rock.


    Key ‘graph:

    “Impact craters are the most obvious indication of asteroid impacts, but craters on Earth are quickly obscured or destroyed by surface weathering and tectonic processes,” Johnson said. “However, the spherule layers, if preserved in the geologic record, provide information about an impact even when the source crater cannot be found.”

    2. New evidence ancient asteroid caused global firestorm on Earth

    Date:March 27, 2013

    Source:University of Colorado at Boulder

    A new look at conditions after a Manhattan-sized asteroid slammed into a region of Mexico in the dinosaur days indicates the event could have triggered a global firestorm that would have burned every twig, bush and tree on Earth and led to the extinction of 80 percent of all Earth’s species, says a new study.


    Key ‘graphs:

    The conditions leading to the global firestorm were set up by the vaporization of rock following the impact, which condensed into sand-grain-sized spheres as they rose above the atmosphere. As the ejected material re-entered Earth’s atmosphere, it dumped enough heat in the upper atmosphere to trigger an infrared “heat pulse” so hot it caused the sky to glow red for several hours, even though part of the radiation was blocked from Earth by the falling material, he said.
    But there was enough infrared radiation from the upper atmosphere that reached Earth’s surface to create searing conditions that likely ignited tinder, including dead leaves and pine needles. If a person was on Earth back then, it would have been like sitting in a broiler oven for two or three hours, said Robertson.

  • Trent Telenko

    One more media report from the UK Daily Mail on this South African Late Heavy Bombardment impact, with more figures and graphs-


  • Steve Garcia

    All of that is still gradualism’s concocted history of Earth – lots of stuff happening early on, but everything settled down and then nothing has happened anywhere near the time of man. 3.26 billion years ago the Earth was still working out its atmosphere, if I recall… Okay, it was 2.45 billion years ago. So all the stuff about killing off life forms is bogus!

    “The asteroid impact could have wiped out a large percentage of the planet’s lifeforms, vacating niches that the survivors evolved to fill.”

    Huh? With no oxygen, which life forms is the article talking about? Do they ever research beyond their noses? Do they even know what Google is?

    Anyone who knows squat about the formation of the planet knows this stuff.

    (Guys, I don’t go out LOOKING for these contradictions. They just come up and bite me in the butt.)

  • E.P. Grrondine

    Hi Steve –

    Google cyanobacteria.

    You may also want to read McSween’s book on meteorites and their parent bodies before moving on to current research on solar system formation.

    Aside from that there is a new podcast series called The Stelle Experience that you may find of use in sorting out your own Stelle experience.

  • Steve Garcia

    I see no relevance to what happened to cyanobacteria 3.26 billion years ago. If the ones that survived were part of the evolution of life, they were, and if they weren’t they weren’t. It’s not like megafauna died off or anything. Whatever happened back then we can’t change, nor does our thinking that we know something about that long ago change anything that happened. As to a big impactor then, we all expected that to be the case, anyway, didn’t we?

    Objects flying around the solar system now and in the recent past are relevant, because they can tell us what might happen in the near future. I fail to see that there is any importance to us today about something that happened to the planet 800 million years after it formed. Events that happened then may or may not have had something to do with the very beginning of macroorganisms – so what? None of it will ever be able to be proven to have relevance to us. If it killed off 90% of the microorganisms on Earth, so what? The ones that survived are the ones that were able to take opart in life as we know it, including humans. The ones that died? What difference does it make?

    What happened happened. If it helped sentient life to occur 3.359 billion years later, I’d love to hear someone claim to show the connection(s). No, actually, I wouldn’t want to. Because they will have nothing but suppositions and guesses. It’s not science if that is all they have.

    I think that the article panders to the gradualist meme that all impacts of any size were deep eons ago. Stuff that long ago – who cares?

    Now, if they were doing it with the idea of understanding the beginnings of life, maybe that means something. But that isn’t the angle they took. But even if they did, it would all be supposition on top of the past suppositions, like the lightning bolt in the scummy pond deal (which has been refuted long ago). They had pretty much gotten nowhere in over half a century with that one, and they mostly gave up 20-30 years ago.

  • Steve Garcia

    Oh, in addition, the cyanobacteia causing oxygen thing was another 800 million years later, so that has no bearing on that impact article. I know we sometimes mush together long ago time periods in our minds, but 800 million years difference is 800 million years. There was no contemporary-ness to the two things. It isn’t like cause and effect could be called up on tying these together.