Kerr Watch

Elapsed time since Richard Kerr failed to inform his Science readers of the confirmation of nanodiamonds at the YDB: 6 years, 2 months, and 1 day

Abstract: van Hoesel and Company discredit evidence they provide

Here is an abstract of a curious study from our Dutch skeptics. They call into question the presence of shocked quartz in the YDB despite the YDB “team” itself never making such claims. (Independent forensic support for the YDB hypothesis by our hero Mahaney did make such a claim for the Venezuelan deposits).


The Younger Dryas impact hypothesis suggests that multiple airbursts or extraterrestrial impacts occurring at the end of the Allerød interstadial resulted in the Younger Dryas cold period. So far, no reproducible, diagnostic evidence has, however, been reported. Quartz grains containing planar deformation features (known as shocked quartz grains), are considered a reliable indicator for the occurrence of an extraterrestrial impact when found in a geological setting. Although alleged shocked quartz grains have been reported at a possible Allerød-Younger Dryas boundary layer in Venezuela, the identification of shocked quartz in this layer is ambiguous. To test whether shocked quartz is indeed present in the proposed impact layer, we investigated the quartz fraction of multiple Allerød-Younger Dryas boundary layers from Europe and North America, where proposed impact markers have been reported. Grains were analyzed using a combination of light and electron microscopy techniques. All samples contained a variable amount of quartz grains with (sub)planar microstructures, often tectonic deformation lamellae. A total of one quartz grain containing planar deformation features was found in our samples. This shocked quartz grain comes from the Usselo palaeosol at Geldrop Aalsterhut, the Netherlands. Scanning electron microscopy cathodoluminescence imaging and transmission electron microscopy imaging, however, show that the planar deformation features in this grain are healed and thus likely to be older than the Allerød-Younger Dryas boundary. We suggest that this grain was possibly eroded from an older crater or distal ejecta layer and later redeposited in the European sandbelt. The single shocked quartz grain at this moment thus cannot be used to support the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis.


  • Steve Garcia

    George –

    I LIKE the way you post negative papers as well as positive ones. Honesty. And not shying away from challenges.

    I missed this post when you put it up. NO idea how I did that.

    From the Abstract:
    “…To test whether shocked quartz is indeed present in the proposed impact layer, we investigated the quartz fraction of multiple Allerod-Younger Dryas boundary layers from Europe and North America, where proposed impact markers have been reported…”

    Oh, REALLY?


    “…we investigated . . .where proposed impact markers have been reported…”

    On page 1, van Hoesel mentions Gelstrop-Aalsterhut. The only pro-YDB paper that mentions Geldrop-Aalsterhut is “Nanodiamond-Rich Layer across Three Continents Consistent with Major Cosmic Impact at 12,800 Cal BP”. Here:

    That is the ONLY non-van-Hoesel “hit” on Google scholar for “Gedrop-Allsterhut Dryas”. SHE mentinos shoicked quartz and Geldrop-Aalsterhut in several “hits” – but no other hits came up regarding the impact hypothesis. Just hers and that ONE. And that one?

    In that Kinzie et al paper “quartz” is mentioned exactly 4 times.

    Mention #1:

    Difficulties in Identifying NDs The extraction process detailed in this contribution yields a residue that contains amorphous carbon, resistant minerals, and NDs, when present, but there are technical difficulties in fully characterizing this material. For example, the protocol does not remove minor amounts of non-ND crystals, including quartz, rutile, and zircon. Typically…

    NO shocked quartz claims THERE!

    2nd mention:

    EDS. . . Because this analysis encompasses nanocrystals, eh grid film (3-nm thick), and surrounding amorphous carbon, the elementary percentages for the nanoparticles are inexact but are dominantly carbon. When other mineral grains were encountered, e.g., quartz, rutile, and zircon, they ere easily identifiable with EDS. Another STEM image…

    NO shocked quartz claims there, either!

    3rd mention of quartz:

    We found abundant graphene but no NDs and no melt-glass containing high-temperature, melted quartz. Furthermore, some YDB NDs are found up to ~5 m below the surface, but not in the intervening layers…

    NO shocked quartz mentioned there, either! Melted quartz is specifically mentioned – but only to say that they did NOT find any!

    Okay, Anneliese, you’ve got ONE more try! Let’s see what is there…

    Mention #4 of “quartz” is the lamest of all:

    [A reference:] “Peng [et al]… 2001… Nano-crystals of c-diamond, n-diamond and i-carbon grown in carbon-ion implanted fused quartz” Int. Mod. Phys. B 15:3107-3123″

    That’s it, folks.

    NOT ONE calaim of shocked quartz. ANYWHERE associated with Geldrop-Aalsterhut and the YDB team – IN ANY PAPER. But that doesn’t stop van Hoesel from LYING about it.

    Van Hoesel’s straw man “shocked quartz” issue is a dead horse. A DEAD STRAW MAN.

    She literally characterized the YDB team as having found “shocked quartz” at a site and no such shocked quartz was ever even INFERRED.

    It is AMAZING how mendacious these YDB skeptics are. They have NO intention of actually addressing the lab results of the YDB team.

    THEY MAKE STUFF UP, and then accuse the YDB tam of not finding whatever STUFF the skeptics made up.

    Hey, Annaliese! They didn’t find vanilla ice cream, either. Are you going to write that one up, too? Telling the world that the YDB team didn’t find the vanilla ice cream that they said was there

  • Trent Telenko

    Steve G,

    You seem to be having a grand time over at Watts Up With What using the stuff you posted above.

  • Steve Garcia

    Trent –

    Actually, the skeptics are sometimes doing lab tests now, but it sure took them a long time to get around to it. But even then, most of the results/arguments are still something like, “Well, there are other possibilities for that marker”. That would be okay, as long as in one paper they would address ALL of the markers, because it is the SUITE that is the strongest argument. It is the TOTALITY of the markers all at the same moment in time that makes the single biggest argument. They aren’t all the same everywhere? Why would nayone expect that? That some are n-diamonds and in other places cubic, and in other places hexagonal or rounded lonsdaelite or lonsdaelite-like carbon forms such as graphane and graphene – how exactly does that weaken the overall argument, the panoply of evidence? One would EXPECT that the effects would vary, since the energy to MOVE the markers should be commensurate with the energy to form them, so different forms SHOULD be being found, if the markers are spread so far. All of this suggests strongly and supports strongly something UNIQUE.

    No single site has all the markers. That has been said from the original paper from Firestone in 2007. But taken together in TIME – if not space/geography – the markers are what they are. For skeptics to diss the idea they themslevs have to come up with WHY it is “just a coincidence” that all these things show up exactly at the time when, as Kinzie’s paper in March stated on page 3, “The GISP2 platinum peak is coeval with the abrupt onset (~1.5 yr) of the atmospheric changes that mark the YD climatic episode in the North Greenland Ice Core Project (NGRIP) ice core at 12,896 BP (Steffenson et al. 2008). The discovery of such an unequivocal impact proxy at the YD onset in the Greenland record was predicted by the YDB impact hypothesis when it was orginally introduced (Firestone et al. 2007).

    Time after time, the timing is fixed in a very short window, and that window keeps being the exact time of the Younger Dryas onset – which is sometimes stated as the very top level of the Usselo horizon. Either way, it means the same thing: The YDB.

  • Steve Garcia

    The real levl of skepticism is found in the Surovell et al. (2009) paper.

    Kinzie et al 2015 states that:

    “Surovell et al. (2009) found no YDB peaks in magnetic spherules, whereas LeComte et al. (2012) found large, well-defined YDB spherule peaks at sites common to the study by Surovell et al.”

    LeComte DEMOLISHED Surovell’s study and everyone assocaited with it.

    Every time they publish, the skeptics have run to one of their science journalist bosom buddies with arm-waving histrionics about how wrong the YDB 26 (sometimes more) co-authors’ work is – all of whom, evidently aren’t doing their homework, according to the Daulton Gang.

    So let us make sure that Surovell’s the co-authors are equally slimed by Surovell’s failure to follow protocols. Those failures shine light on the work of:

    *** Vance Holliday, Departments of Anthropology and Geosciences, University of Arizona

    *** Joseph A. M. Gingerich, Department of Anthropology, University of Wyoming

    *** Caroline Ketron, Department of Anthropology, University of Wyoming

    *** C. Vance Haynes, J [ ! ! ! ], Departments of Anthropology and Geosciences, University of Arizona

    *** Ilene Hilman, Department of Anthropology, University of Wyoming

    *** Daniel P. Wagner, Geo-Sci Consultants, Inc. , 4410 Van Buren Street, University Park, MD

    *** Eileen Johnson, Museum of Texas Tech University

    *** Philippe Claeys, Department of Geology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

    Why did I just list those folks? They should check what quality of work is being done with their name listed as co-authors.

    When LeComte finds “large, well-defined YDB spherule peaks at sites common to the study by Surovell et al”, then the “ET AL.” should be held accountable, too. Even if it is just in a blog comment.

  • Steve Garcia

    The more I look at the Kinzie paper, the more impresssed I am with it. It leaves no stone unturned within its purview. It lists and addresses the criticisms of the skeptics, one by one, and shows how each criticism is rebutted – even if that rebuttal is only partial.

    Though the paper is arguing one side of the issue, it does not shy away from spelling out what ALL of the skeptics’ points have been, pairing each with the appropriate rebuttal. Most of those rebuttals were already done, and Kinzie puts them all – criticisms and rebuttals – out there for the world to see, all in one place.

    The YDB team does not quite bat 1.000 (100% to those who don’t know baseball), but it come s pretty damned close.

    Hahaha – Kinzie even manages to RE-INCLUDE George’s Carolina bays into the fray. Good for Kinzie for that!

    If anyone’s interest in supporting the YDIH might have been flagging, I recommend the Kinsie et al paper, posted by George back in March. It didn’t seem to me to garner and public fanfare, but it should have.

    The Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis is alive and kicking.