Chris Moore, Andy Ivester and other skeptics of sudden bay formation recently published a beautiful poster detailing their findings and discussing their conclusions. I was impressed and disappointed. Impressed to see thoughtful research into the bay phenomena, disappointed that it ignored our previous published work determining that at least one (and presumably many more) Carolina bays were never lakes.
Here is their poster:
Download (PDF, 2.89MB)
And below is an excerpt from our abstract concerning the nature of the sands in the eponymous “Howard Bay,” and below that our 2007 Acapulco AGU Carolina Bay poster.
Point is, to refute our conclusion that bays formed suddenly by invoking long-lived “lakes,” Moore and Ivestor need to disprove that, 1) Howard Bay is indeed a Carolina bay formed like all others; and/or 2) It was never a lake.
If our poster helped reignite the terrestrial versus or ET causation debate, then the poster’s conclusions should be addressed directly. It seems the best way would be for Moore, Ivestor and team to core Howard Bay themselves and prove a lake once lived there.
Further analyses of samples in complete core sequences reveal that, unlike typical, peat-rich Carolina Bays, Howard Bay essentially lacks peat, diatoms, pollen, or other organic materials, suggesting that this Bay never stored water for any sustained length of time. Furthermore, several trenches confirm that the deepest part of the Bay is filled with >6 m of cross-bedded eolian sand with no evidence of lacustrine sedimentation. This evidence calls into question prevailing hypotheses (a) that all Bays were lakes and ponds in the past and that their shapes were formed by wave action, or (b) that groundwater movement led to subsidence that formed the Bay….
Patrick McCafferty, Irish history savant and co-author and collaborator of Mike Baillie’s, stars tonight in a Smithsonian Channel documentary concerning the mysterious history of Ireland in the 6th century AD. McCafferty with the assistance of another Tusk favorite, Dallas Abbott, decodes the available information and concludes that Halley’s comet was responsible for the island’s conversion to Christianity during this tumultuous period.
I apologize for the late notice, but perhaps the show will be available for streaming for folks who miss it. An excellent trailer for the documentary can be viewed here (unusually, it does not allow embedding here in my page). Some other info can be found here and here.
The show will replay this Friday, July 11 at 5:00 pm .
A paper this week from the University of Wisconsin announces a predictable conclusion to readers of the Tusk: The transition from the Pleistocene to the Holocene is characterized by soil signatures of fire on a continental scale. The author’s geochemical analysis is helpful and welcome, but my children would have a pretty good shot at guessing what happened in olden days by simply looking at the photo above — Looks like there was a big fire, dad.
Equally obvious to me (perhaps not the kids) is the conspicuous absence of any citation to the Firestone papers. It would seem that multiple major journal publications providing much more detailed evidence of frightful temperatures and horrendous fires within the period of Marin-Spiotta et al.’s own study of the same region would merit a reference in support of their hypothesis. But alas and for shame it does not.
Download (PDF, 1004KB)
Sorry, been at camp in the mountains this weekend, here is the paper:
It appears from the abstract and email chatter that Meltzer and Holiday have embarrassed themselves again here. Long time deniers of an ice age American catastrophe, I suspect their tone and attention to detail will match co-author Vance Holiday’s shrill and poorly composed 2011 submission to the Tusk.
I have seen a devastating graphic conflicting their findings, and heard tell of a response paper well underway. But instead of attempting a substantive response here let me stick my neck out with a social science take.
The claim that 27 out of 29 sites were misdated and\or misinterpreted by over 50 researchers in dozens of papers and many labs is half-too-cute. Colleagues of Meltzer and Holiday, like YDB co-authors Goodyear, Bement and Daniels — not to mention Stafford — have poured over data and draft after draft of papers supportive of the YDB dates and endorsed them all as good science.
That many people can be wrong (many more are now, or this blog would not be) but that many established scientists are unlikely to put their careers at risk to make easily identified errors when providing controversial data.
The people who do put their reputations at risk are those who lose their reputations if established understandings of history are incorrect (with regard to impacts or otherwise). Holiday and Meltzer know the story of Ales Hrdlicka. Their very own field was viciously opposed by this detestable and bitter man just eighty years ago, who insisted the early data supporting the presence of Ice Age humans in North America were wrong — ALL wrong! — just like they do today.
American paleo-archeology has a tendency to produce very determined — and fearful — opponents to new data. It must have something to do with the paucity of artifacts and evidence they are forced to accept. If you spend thirty years studying evidence that could fit in a dump trunk a lot of personal id is invested in their interpretation. That makes it even more painful to accept change — and it shows by their overreach here.
According to the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis (YDIH), ∼12,800 calendar years before present, North America experienced an extraterrestrial impact that triggered the Younger Dryas and devastated human populations and biotic communities on this continent and elsewhere. This supposed event is reportedly marked by multiple impact indicators, but critics have challenged this evidence, and considerable controversy now surrounds the YDIH. Proponents of the YDIH state that a key test of the hypothesis is whether those indicators are isochronous and securely dated to the Younger Dryas onset. They are not. We have examined the age basis of the supposed Younger Dryas boundary layer at the 29 sites and regions in North and South America, Europe, and the Middle East in which proponents report its occurrence. Several of the sites lack any age control, others have radiometric ages that are chronologically irrelevant, nearly a dozen have ages inferred by statistically and chronologically flawed age–depth interpolations, and in several the ages directly on the supposed impact layer are older or younger than ∼12,800 calendar years ago. Only 3 of the 29 sites fall within the temporal window of the YD onset as defined by YDIH proponents. The YDIH fails the critical chronological test of an isochronous event at the YD onset, which, coupled with the many published concerns about the extraterrestrial origin of the purported impact markers, renders the YDIH unsupported. There is no reason or compelling evidence to accept the claim that a cosmic impact occurred ∼12,800 y ago and caused the Younger Dryas.
Davias calls out “Wind and Wave” formation theory
Michael Davias of Cintos.org presented another astonishing Carolina Bay poster at the October, 2013, Denver meeting of the Geological Society of America. My apologies to bay fans for not posting this earlier. Here is the direct download from GSA.
I speculate that the robustly repetitive Carolina bays may have been generated between 780 ka and 140 ka during a catastrophic mass-transport and deposition of high purity quartz particles, materialized as a surficial blanket of sand, spread chaotically over an antecedent terrain. The bays may be imperfections generated within the blanket while the sand was in a state of liquefaction, and preserved at lockup as a densely compacted stratum.
Davias, from the 2013 poster
CAROLINA BAYS AND AEOLIAN DUNES: PLAYING NICE IN THE SANDBOX?
The juxtaposition and interplay between elliptical Carolina bay basins and accompanying aeolian dune structures has been previously recognized across the USA’s Atlantic Coastal Plain. Recent advances in 3D terrain visualization using LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) remote sensing technology allows for new insight into the nature of the bays’ enigmatic elliptical circumferential rims and their spatial relationships with unambiguous aeolian sheets. In support of a survey to discover and elucidate the full geographic range of Carolina bay landforms, 500,000 km2 of hsv-hinted (hue-saturation-value) Digital Elevation Maps have been produced using publically accessible LiDAR data. Using examples from the survey’s geospatial database of over 40,000 bays, I share some observations about bay-dune relationships that appear pervasively in the data. Instances of “secondary rims” are seen, where robust wave-like repetitions of bay rim structures are found rippling away from a Carolina bay’s primary rim. Also of interest are bay planforms that have remained intact while the surrounding landscape has been resurfaced with extensive parabolic and longitudinal dune topography, differentiated from others where classic aeolian landforms have encroached into bay basins; intriguingly, cases exist where both outcomes are seen in close proximity. An established hypothesis holds that bay basins and their closed rims were generated by glacial-era katabatic winds passing perpendicular to the bay’s major axis, yet inspection of classic wind-blown dunes in the vicinity of bays document long-term resultant sand drift directions which fail to correlate, perhaps suggesting entirely independent mechanisms were responsible for their presence in these topographies. Detailed examination of these spatial relationships may illuminate Carolina bay geomorphology research and guide future OSL dating and chemical analysis activities to relevant locales.
CAROLINA BAYS AND AEOLIAN DUNES: PLAYING NICE IN THE SANDBOX? by George Howard