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, 8 months, and 11 days

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September 2014
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The Cosmic Tusk Newsletter


India and Japan independently report ~552 AD comet


More from Juhl

and Lyenger


Now Playing: Ancient Irish history decoded as cosmic by McCafferty on Smithsonian

newgrange comet

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 .


Big Burn: North American Great Plains fire layer re-proposed by Wisconson



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.

Long-term stabilization of deep soil carbon by fire and burial during early Holocene climate change Erika Marin-Spiotta1, *, Nina T. Chaopricha , Alain F. Plante , Aaron F. Diefendorf , Carsten W. Mueller , A. Stuart Grandy and Joseph A. Mason

Holiday – Meltzer: First abstract thoughts…

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.

Stay tuned…


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 confronts 2013 Denver GSA with the Carolina Bays

Davias calls out “Wind and Wave” formation theory

Michael Davias of 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


DAVIAS, Michael, Stamford, CT 06907,
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.


Baillie: 540 AD climate event likely volcano, not cosmic; seven year glitch discovered in ice cores


The Tusk hates to see a good cosmic climate hypothesis die, but best it be at the hands of a catastrophist scientist and father of said theory. In a continuing demonstration of his intellectual integrity, true ring guru Mike Baillie has lowered the flag on the 540 AD event and recommended volcanoes as a better fit. It’s complicated as hell, but suffice to say that removing seven years from the annual layers of ice cores results in a match between known (but unidentified) volcanic eruptions and tree ring diminution.

There is already a good discussion thread with coauthor Jonny McAneney underway on a previous post. I hope the illuminating commentary there will move to this post so that comments will be available with the paper.

It has been evident for some time that a discrepancy has existed in the first millennium between evidence for volcanoes in Greenland (and now Antarctic) ice cores, when
compared with likely volcanic effects as witnessed by frost damage in American bristlecone pine trees; the offset being of the order of seven years with the ice dates being too old (Baillie, 2008). Here we have shown that remarkably consistent spacing between both the ice acidities and the frost rings allow additional documentation of this widespread offset. It has been possible to reconstruct how the ice cores from Dye3,25GRIP, NGRIP, NEEM, Law Dome and WDC06A are an integrated group, all offset, with only DML apparently retaining independence, and showing less of an effect.

~~From the conclusion

Baillie: 540 AD Climate Event Likely Caused by Volcano by George Howard

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