Oldie but Goodie: The 2350 BC Middle East Anomaly Evidenced By Micro-debris Fallout, Surface Combustion And Soil Explosion

Abstract of talk by Marie-Agnès Courty
CNRS-CM. Lab. de Science des Sols et Hydrologic, INA P-G, 78850 Grignon, France. email: fedoroff[at]diamant.jouy.inra.dr
Presented at the SIS Conference: Natural Catastrophes during Bronze Age Civilisations (11th-13th July 1997)

Further investigations allow to re-examine the nature, age, causes and effects of the third millennium catastrophe identified from our earlier findings. Test on various late Gird millennium BC archaeological deposit and contemporaneous provides evidence for the regional occurrence in northern Syria of a layer with an uncommon petrographic assemblage, dated at ca. 2350 BC (transition between late Early Dynastic and Early Akkad). It consists of fine send-sized, well sorted spherules of various composition (silica, silicates and fibro-radiated calcite), millimetric fragments of a black, vesicular, amorphous material made of silicates with Mg-Ca carbonate and phosphate inclusions, ovoid micro-aggregates made of densely packed crystals (calcite, gypsum or feldspars) and exogenous angular fragments of a coarse crystallised igneous rock. All these particles are only present in this specific layer and are finely mixed with mud-brick debris or with a burnt surface horizon in the contemporaneous soils. In occupation sequences, the layer displays an uncommon dense packing of sand-sized, very porous aggregates that suggests disintegration of the mud-brick construction by an air blast. In the virgin soil, the burnt horizon contains black soot and graphite, and appears to have been instantaneously fossilised by a rapid and uncommon colluvial wash. Occurrence in a previously recorded thick tephra deposit of particles identical to some of the mysterious layer and resemblance of its original pseudo-sand fabric with t he exploded one of the mysterious layer confirms that the later is contemporaneous with the tephra deposit It has been however impossible to find typical tephra shards in sites located at a few km around the one with the tephra deposit The restricted occurrence of the later suggests that the massive tephra accumulation can no longer be considered as a typical fallout derived from the dispersion of material from a terrestrial volcanic explosion. Analytical investigations in various directions have been unable, so far, to refute or confirm that a cosmic event would have been the cause for production of both the widely distributed mysterious particles and the localised thick tephra. Origin of this mysterious phenomena still remains unsolved.
The excellent stratigraphical correlation between sites that are distant of a few hundred km clearly shows that the instantaneous dust fallout, previously considered as the initiative mechanism to the ca. 2200 yr BC abrupt climate change, occurred more than one hundred years earlier. The loose soil fabric, originally correlated with effects of strong winds and rapid establishment of aridity, can now be re-interpreted and possibly assigned to a violent blow-up. The theory of the Akkad empire collapse has, however, lost its basis. Soil specialists, geochemists and archaeologists should join their effort to solve this problem, and debate the exact nature of the socio cultural echo to this extraordinary event Our study illustrates the exceptional potential of archaeological sites to offer well preserved sedimentary archives of instantaneous phenomena that have shacked past terrestrial environments. It also demonstrates the importance of a high temporal resolution for debating causality of natural catastrophe on societal phenomena. Soil-sedimentary markers are in a way less subjective than historical sources for providing such a precision, although their interpretation might also be controversial, particularly when facing lack of analogues from the past or the present.

  • Casual Visitor

    Please read “THE OBLIQUITY OF THE ECLIPTIC” by George F. Dodwell. This paper IMHO speaks on what has happened during the 2345 BC event. The causes are apparently terrestrial, but even more fantastic then if they were not. The Earth’s obliquity abruptly slipped by 2.5 degrees, which caused prompt global flood due to inertial motion of oceans and climate change over four centuries. Very interesting paper by a highly reputable astronomer, yet one of the ignored ones.

  • Jonny
  • Casual Visitor

    Thank you for the link. I missed that. I cannot comment on Karnak and the archaeological aspect of the topic, but I can say that I have read the discussion on the Answers in Genesis site and it was not convincing to me either. I will comment on the purely mechanical aspect on the possibility of this to have happened. There are two more options to consider and both sides in debate are apparently unaware of that.

    There are 4 axis-of-rotation disturbance modes known to me:

    1. Impacts can disturb rotation of Earth, but as you correctly stated, not that much as Dodwell claimed.
    2. Sun, Moon and planets pull on the equatorial bulge continuously and create precession and other secular changes, but these are continuous. Dodwell claimed a sudden change, so this influence can be ruled out too.
    3. Redistribution of mass can alter rotation rate of an object. During Ice Ages a lot of water piled up near the poles, but it went near the equator when it melted off. This shift slowed the rotation of Earth slightly. However, the ice was not piled up uniformly, but in two large Ice Sheets. Redistribution of such asymmetric load into a more symmetric configuration can plausibly manifest as a sudden slip-up of the entire system into a new regime, as Dodwell claimed, although it could have been a gradual change.
    4. Core and mantle rotate at different rates and even around different axes, which is evident from the fact that magnetic poles are not at the rotational poles. If in a sphere two mayor parts rotate differently, then they surely continuously try to balance each other by exchanging angular momentum by friction. It is (maybe) plausible that sometimes this exchange manifests as a sudden mantle slip-up, instead of a gradual shift.

    Nobody considered the last two mechanisms, so I think that this makes the Dodwell hypothesis plausible too, at least from a purely mechanical standpoint.

    While the magnitude of the initial shift is in dispute because it relies on Karnak only, it appears to me that the evidence for a later oscillation is more solid, since it is based on parallel independent sources.
    Anyway, the Dodwell’s graph of later attenuation of the initial shift is consistent with what can one expect from a gyroscope to do. If kicked, a gyroscope would spontaneously recover its initial rotational axis orientation.

    My point is that this event is at least plausible, if not even partially supported with evidence, which cannot be said for any alternative explanation known to me. Plausibility was also the conclusion of the analysis in the Answers in Genesis article, although they missed the two mechanisms that I mentioned here.

    Your hypothesis about an impact being the cause is also valid, but in the absence of a gaping crater, or a better alternative,
    I give more trust to the Dodwell’s arguments. At least at present. He spent a lifetime gathering evidence, and I respect him for that, even if he was inconclusive.

    The smart question for the end is: What do you think your tree ring data says about Dodwell’s scenario, if anything at all ? (Hints: Higher obliquity would have temporarily yielded harsher climate globally, and sudden change of axis would have surely produced substantial flooding of coastal areas.)

  • Steve Garcia

    Item 3… That was Hapgood’s idea 60 years ago, though I don’t think it was original with him. His mathematician screwed up the numbers, which supported his idea – or at least did not falsify his idea – as calculated. But I found an error in his math guy’s work, which DOES falsify it. That was like 15-20 years ago, and if you ask me what the particulars were, I wouldn’t know without having the book in front of me to refresh my memory.
    Item 4… Core and mantle rotate at different rates? Whoever’s work that is, I’d like to see it. The ability to look downward is so limited, THAT would be a hell of a stretch, given present capabilities. They have only recently found a thin layer at the LAB (lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary) that has electrical characteristics that allows them to map the actual bottom of the lithosphere. They are very busy doing that mapping for the last few years and it continues. It seems to me that they are barely able to map the depth of the core-mantle boundary, much less tell anything about their rotational rates.

    I DO agree that something internal has been causing the magnetic pole wanderings. I honestly do not think it is anything gradualist/stable. For the present I assume that it MUST be tied in with the latest magnetic excursion, tied in with Mono Lake and Laschamp – and instability between the core and the crust. WHAT mechanism that would be, I have ideas but not anything to hang your hat on. And what LAYER/boundary depth the instability exists at, that would be speculation, too.

    Item 2… If a billiard ball were sized up to the diameter of the Earth, the Earth would be slightly more perfectly round than the billiard ball. I have long said that such roundness cannot create the precessions, because that mass – while very large by human standards – is too small AND BALANCED to do the wobbling effect of precession. Something else has to be underlying that phenomenon. From that you can probably tell that I don’t agree with the Milankovitch cycles, either. FAR, FAR too slow and gradual to trigger anything rapid (and by rapid, I mean in less than 10-50,000 years). BOTH are gradualist ‘crowbars’ – reasonable-sounding speculations (but nonsensical, IMHO), using uniformitarian principles to explain catastrophic events and phenomena.

    Which brings us to Item 1. I don’t have Dodwell to read, so I don’t know his particulars. But from my own inquiries I would challenge his math on impacts yes/no disrupting the Earth’s rotation. When quakes that are INTERNAL to the system can cause small rotational changes, it would take a much smaller energy input to cause the same small changes. Depending on velocity, total impactor mass, density, and angle of impact, it should be possible for a change in rotation to come from an impactor. A quake is a slippage or breakage of lithospheric rock that happens at a rate of a few tens of meters per second, at most, and usually along a shear plane (a weak plane). A impactor with the mass of Mars or the Moon would certainly affect the Earth’s rotation. I don’t think anyone would deny that. Thus, the real issue is to find the threshold (minimum) of mass coming in at each velocity that could disrupt the Earth’s rotation. Was the K-T impactor large enough? Perhaps at one angle but not at higher angles. I would think it was, but I am biased in favor of the idea.

    I am TRYING to work on that issue. I have found TWO phenomena that actually make it much easier than is generally thought, for the lithosphere to slip. I was amazed to find ONE. Finding then a SECOND one, I am still working out the numbers and the geometry. It is NOT just a simple issue of looking at total mass. Anyone who shows one formula and with it declares the impossibility, that person doesn’t understand the mechanics of what is going on. There ARE some surprises to it.

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