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

Pic of the Day: Davias and Perigee Zero stun planet with Carolina Bay image


Update#1:  Larger image now linked to small above;)

Mike Davias brought some attention today to one of the Tusk’s favorite subjects: Carolina Bays. His wonderful LIDAR image of the bays — above and first revealed here on the Tusk — was selected as today’s Goddard Space Flight Center Earth Science Picture of the Day.  Applause!

These enigmatic features have long puzzled me, along with every other sentient being who has bothered to take a close look at them.  While not surely created simultaneously from above, the bays still manage to defy conventional explanations despite many tortured efforts to explain them away.  The contention that these features are nothing more than ghosts of old lakes is ridiculous.  I have worked very, very intimately with these lands — and these suckers are not simply old ponds.

For one, our team cored a bay in this photo. “Howard Bay,” as it were. Howard Bay was never a lake.  All the way to the bottom throughout the feature there is not one scintilla of organic material.   All pure sand.  How could it be that a lake once existed there but no lucustrine evidence remains?  (I’ll dig up some of the old data and post later).

Furthermore, the standing explanation, elucidated by Dr. Andrew Ivester (before returning to work in his father’s auto parts business) does not stand to reason.  Ivester claims the bays were simple lakes formed on-again off-again through the recent ice-ages.

CORRECTION: Dr. Ivester contacted me and neiher he nor his father work in the auto parts business.  My bad and faulty memory from a brief chat we had in ’06 or so in Savannah, GA, at Southeastern GSA conference.  Back to our regularly scheduled blog…

On the basis of 45 OSL dates from and sedimentological analyses of rims of Carolina bays in Georgia and South Carolina, Ivester et al. (2007) concluded that a single Carolina bay was actively modified between 12,000 to 50,000 BP; 60,000 to 80,000 BP; a
nd 120,000 to 140,000 BP. His conclusions is collaborated by the OSL dating done by Brooks et al. (1996, 2001), Grant et al. (1998), and Ivester et al. (2002, 2003, 2004b) on other Carolina Bays and the fact not all Carolina Bays are as perfectly aligned as they are claimed to be. In any one location, the orientation of their long axes varies by 10 to 15 degrees as discussed in Johnson (1942), Kacrovowski (1977), and Carver and Brooks (1989). Plate 3 of Kacrovowski (1977) also shows the long axes of Carolina bays becomes, at best, distinctly bimodal and exhibits two greatly divergent directions and, at worst, completely random and lacking any preferred direction within the northernmost part of their distribution, i.e., Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties, Maryland. Wiki on bays

How the hell then did the bays retain their symmetrical organization through these distinct climatic ages?  Would we not see some genetic and temporal relationship between bays of one age versus those formed in another?  How exactly did winds conspire to form bays of the same alignment from one age to the next?

There are problems with a simultaneous creation mechanism as well.  With the exception of nanodiamonds galore, there is little evidence of a cosmic interaction.  If something did happen suddenly, it was of a nature we do not yet fully understand.

But waving off the ET hypothesis with an admonishment that all is known — and there is nothing here to see — is simply not an option for the Tusk. I wish Davias and many others well in their effort to unlock the truth.  And I look forward to sharing every twist and turn with you here.

  • Steve Garcia

    There we go again: I meant to type in “preview,” not “review.”

  • Steve said:

    “Lack of a spell checker and a review capability here kind of sucks.”

    If you compose a comment in ‘Windows Live Writer’, you can get around that all too common problem. In ‘Live Writer’, simply edit your comments in ‘Edit’ mode. Then switch to ‘Source’ mode, and Copy & Paste the source code into the comment block of your choice.

  • "And this argument is put forth with NO convincing evidence whatsoever that in the present – anywhere on Earth – that such winds do what is asked of them. There is no p[lace on Earth where they can show that wind vortices or eddy currents scour such ellipses into the ground. It is obvious that near Point Barrow, Alaska (which is where those “aligned lakes” are located) has only a few weeks a year when the ground is not completely frozen, but somehow the wind came consistently from one direction and in some sort of dust-devil, elongated cyclonic manner was able to carve out elliptical lake beds. So the author dreams up speculative magical winds and aligns them in some hocus pocus way that suits his arguments, and actually believes that his fantastic (literally) past history is science."

    As a matter of fact, no one has ever even made ‘bays’ form in the lab with vortices under controlled atmospheric conditions. There is not one shred of experimental data that indicates the Bays could have formed by Aeolian processes.

    Although, there are easily repeatable experiments that show how how ejecta consisting of a slushy mixture of water, and ice, can do it.

    Uniformitarian/Gradualist assumptive reasoning is no substitute for real experimental data.

  • Hermann Burchard

    The Point Barrow lakes are much less regular elliptic in shape. Similar structures all along the Siberian coast. Look at the Lena River Delta, its Western part, near 73.3,124.5. The prevalent N-S orientation could be related to soil deposition??

  • Terry Egolf

    Re: Pt. Barrow and Siberian Potholes

    The density of these features suggests that they are related to the bedrock. They are so close together, you would think an explosive or impulsive process would have had a fratricidal effect on earlier features. But each is clearly incised into the ground. The Alaskan lakes clearly appear to have been elongated by glacial movement toward the coastline. The long axes of these features more-or-less align with the slope of the terrain. The Siberian lakes are interesting because the GE photography preserves the bathymetry. Those look like flooded karst features rather than impact craters. Any idea what the underlying bedrock is in these areas?

    In any case, they are dramatic surface features that don’t seem to forming anywhere else in the world today.

  • chicken little
    if anyone find out what they think they learned here, scream please!

  • Hermann Burchard

    climate disasters, likely caused by Earth’s orbit meeting the Taurid debris stream (comet Encke progenitor), in turn did lead to historical disasters:
    1. Fall of West Rome from Goths etc invasions
    2. Viking raids & Carolingian collapse
    3. Black Death, end of Yuan Dynasty
    4. Thirty Years War (Wars of Religion?)

    All these have been chewed over for years. Michael Bailey most recently wrote the key book on the Black Death story. Prof Richard Muller, Berkeley, long ago had chart “Climate & History.”

  • Steve Garcia

    Dennis: “If you compose a comment in ‘Windows Live Writer’, you can get around that all too common problem. In ‘Live Writer’, simply edit your comments in ‘Edit’ mode.”

    Workarounds, schmerkarounds, Dennis – everyone knows we can do workarounds. We shouldn’t have to do that. Blogs exist for people’s typing in on them. Blogs should facilitate that process, not require people to go ex post bloggo in order to get their comments to not look illiterate.

    It also does not have any easily-used formatting. And the html tags – I have never once gotten the URL one to work. It is like working on a retarded DOS 3.1 system.

  • Steve Garcia

    Hermann – Yeah, I saw that about the Alaskan elliptical lakes. Lots of them didn’t seem to have any alignment or ellipticity at all.

    And I asked the same question you bring up about soil deposition, about the CBs, if I understand your point. I frame it in terms of general topographical slope, so it may be different, but somewhat related. But even if the general slope or soil characteristics orient more or less properly, it wouldn’t account for all of the individual ones being aligned – SOME of them would align considerably differently.

    Rio Cuarto being an acknowledged impact site, it would seem to be the one that the CBs should be compared with, as far as alignments go. In a rudimentary examination of Rio Cuarto, the orientations varied nearly 30°, which is comparable to the CBs. This would seem to argue for an impact origin for the CBs, too. Other features are admittedly different, especially the depth of the RC craters, which are scores of feet deep, approaching 100 feet at least, based on photos I’ve seen.

    I thought Firestone’s group suggested a reasonably viable hypothesis of the CBs as secondary impacts of ice ejecta. But I can’t buy into it without someone dealing well with the consistencies of the ellipses. I am trying to word this properly to get my thoughts across, and it is not easy:

    Finding some magical combination of low velocity level that would produce un-disintegrated and possibly un-melted ejecta could perhaps give the results seen on the ground on the CBs. Any explanation that covers the coastal plain CBs also needs to be translatable to the ones on the Great Plains.

    With 19+ ideas out there, it is clear that people are floundering in trying to explain the CBs. What that usually would tell me is that we don’t have all the pieces of the puzzle identified yet. The missing pieces might be currently unknown processes (perhaps subterranean). I do not think it is because known processes are simply being misinterpreted in the way they are being assembled into a whole concept – if adequate information existed, someone would have put it together already. Some very good minds have tried to explain these, and if all the needed info was out there, it would have been solved by now.

    That is why out of the box – and Occam’s Razor – explanations are fine. They may lead to someone having an “Aha!” moment.

    So far, no brass ring…

  • chicken little

    herman I know what it says. so thank you anyway.
    what I want to know is what it doesn’t say!
    like why did they only measure to 2500 years, when they say there are trees 5000 and 6 000 years old in America?
    though most of the oldest trees appear to be either 2500 to say 3200/3500 years old. I sure wonder why those ages?
    why did they use the magic number of around 2500?
    no I am concerned with what it doesn’t say!
    since recorded history says the world stop turning or reverse 2800 and 3200 years ago and no one has explained how many tons of pressure it takes to stop the world from turning and then what the effects of that much pressure would be on the surface of such a event. … why didn’t they count to ten thousand? 12000 etc why?
    and why not tell us what the trees show of just about 2770 and 3200 years ! and really might have been something 2000 years ago. but that would take a lot of explaining and well I don’t see well and MY FINGERS HATE TO TYPE!
    why those magic numbers of 2500? they couldn’t find older tree? … they couldn’t peice ages of trees rings together to make a history? or maybe it is not as exact a science as they would hope we all might believe?
    especially since they are using carbon dating to age some of those puppies..

  • Hermann Burchard

    tree rings have yielded amazing detail on climate of long ago, see Michael Baillie’s books (sorry, his name misspelt last time).
    About “the world stop turning or reverse 2800 and 3200 years ago,” is that some Velikovskian baloney (sorry)? In his period fall the Trojan War, Homer, and King David. It’s a dark age of history, but still, much is known from archeology. The Philistines whom King David fought are part of the Sea People.

  • One of the “Most Geologists agree” explanations I’ve heard for the features like Point Barrow, and other similar places in the far north, is that those thousands depressions you see are related to arctic wetlands, such as river deltas, and permafrost conditions. Annual thawing, and re-freezing of the upper surface is credited by many for the formation of the thousands of small depressions in the permafrost that become small lakes for a short time in the summer.

    Kotzebue, Alaska at 66.896250, -162.590803 is home to the Red Dog Mine. It’s a wonderful place. If you don’t mind freezing in the long winter, and being eaten by swarms of very large mosquitoes, and biting flies in the short summer. The pennensula it sits on, and the river delta east of there, on the mainland side of the sound, is a clear example of that process.

    If you spend a year up there, and see the process at work. The explanation almost fits. But I could never quite get comfortable with the question of why so manu of the ones in the far North, near Point Barrow are perfect ovals, all oriented the same way.

    It’s clear the permafrost is only part of the story. Something else happened up there too.

  • Steve Garcia

    Dennis –

    That is the issue, the orientation. That is the stumper, there just as with the CBs.

    That and the ellipticity. Look at the Beaufort Sea coastal area (at 69°15N, 133°30W) and you’ll see the same kind of ponds/lakes, but there they are all a jumble, both in shape and in orientation.

    The same thing is happening at all these places – EXCEPT orientation and ellipticity. As at the CBs. But it appears the ellipticity and orientated-ness might be the only things they have in common with the CBs. But I only say maybe. What is seen on GE can fool you. It does not appear likely, but:

    A friend thought he’d seen some strange and apparently ancient canals and landform markings on the Louisiana coast and all up and down the Atlantic coast from SC to Maine. We thought they were ancient because we could find no account of them being built by modern man and the total miles of canals was mind-boggling, so the Indians could not have dug them. I had to admit that he had found something very remarkable looking, so I pitched in and wow, did it look like he’d discovered something weird right under our noses. Because the narrow parallel-type canals he’d found often had no outlet at the downstream end, it appeared that they were built to funnel fresh water in upstream of the mouths of their adjacent rivers, for some kind of agriculture. Only after putting much effort into these did I find out that they were mosquito abatement drainage ditches. The lack of outlets at the seward end was because decades after digging them, they filled them in and blocked them off. Why? The canals had changed the ecosystem and the indigenous plants and animals had been replaced by others, so they found ways to keep the mosquitos down, even with the canals closed off.

    It never occurred to me that there might have been a second step to making them the way they are now.

    Another type of canal looked on GE like some sort of hieroglyphics. After discovering the mosquito ditches, I was determined to find a recent explanation. These features were the weirdest looking things on GE, I swear. I eventually found that they were muskrat nests.

    Still a THIRD type of canal was all along the LA coast, in particular – very WIDE and often very long canals. Some were 500 feet wide and 40 to 1020 miles long. 500 feet being almost 2 football fields LONG, these seemed like so much volume of digging that it was superhuman. We could see also lot of complicated patterns, mostly straight, but some quite circular. Those I found out were made by the oil companies for their exploration drilling barges. That seemed to be ruled out by a flaw in our thinking. But, one more time, an extra piece of information suddenly made them all explainable.

    Google Earth simply made us misinterpret what we were seeing. The facts at our disposal could not be assembled into a coherent modern explanation – not until one extra fact was added to each type. And then each mystery was solved.

    That experience taught me to not trust what I see on GE. GE can be a good pointer, but relying on what we see on GE made us waste a lot time. I would seriously advise, Dennis, that you go to those sites, and the sooner the better. You do need to make sure what you are seeing isn’t just an artifact of the 3D terrain and/or elevation rendering programs in GE.

    The oriented lakes in Alaska are REAL, though. Pilots actually use them for getting their bearings. And the CBs are real. But we – everybody, really – are missing some vital bit of information. It may come to pass that the CBs’ orientation and ellipticity and the Alaskan orientation/ellipticity have the same cause, perhaps some effect at a later date. That is sort of what Douglas Johnson’s “complex theory” was asserting – but he was not able to attribute them to just two steps. He ended up with at least four. That level of complexity seems unreal to most people, though. Johnson’s complexity theory was the last effort at explaining them in the academic literature until Firestone’s group came along in about 2004. That was about the 1950s. An ET explanation had already been thrown into the mix by 1933, and since it implied some sort of catastrophe, the uniformitarians had to come up with a better explanation. So Johnson was putting patches on patches upon patches in order to squeeze the CBs into the post-Noachic thinking. I totally do not think he succeeded. Yet, to science, one of their own had pronounced it solved. They had found a speculation they could use, even if it had gaping holes in it. They were able to pretend the CBs were explained. That is really all they wanted.

  • Terry Egolf

    Anyone here have access to ESRI’s ArcGIS applications or something similar? Steve’s comments reiterate an idea that needs investigation, and that is the relationship of CB orientation to the lay of the land. ArcGIS has a slope analysis tool that can create a vector field showing ground slope for drainage basins.

    If nothing else, we could rule out that CB orientation was related to general ground slope, and thus modification by retreating sea level.

    After informing Emil Silvestru of these features, he basically said a similar thing–unless you can make ground observations of these features, and completely characterize their surface and subsurface structures and composition, they are nothing more than interesting aerial imagery.

  • Steve Garcia

    Terry –

    I actually do not think the slope is it. Even if the general slope of the land is one direction, the slope at each individual bay/lake could not align the same in all those micro/mini-locations. Yes, falsifying the idea does rule out the idea, though. So as an exercise, yes it would be useful.

    My youngest son is an urban planner who does have access to ArcGIS. He uses it in his work. I can ask him to do this. Is there a best output image format to display it? I am not trying to get a publishable paper out of this (not that I can), but just something to look at and see if it is worth pursuing. Do you agree? (I may not be able to get him to do it, either.)

    If the elevations are in 1- or 2-foot increments, I think the bays would show up, but I have no idea what resolution the elevation data would be in.

  • Steve said:

    “That experience taught me to not trust what I see on GE. GE can be a good pointer, but relying on what we see on GE made us waste a lot time. I would seriously advise, Dennis, that you go to those sites, and the sooner the better. You do need to make sure what you are seeing isn’t just an artifact of the 3D terrain and/or elevation rendering programs in GE.”

    Thanks Steve,

    In fact, As far as Kotzebue, and Point Barrow, are concerned, I have been there. Back in the ’90s, I used to work for a company out of Spokane, Washington called Garco Building Systems. They specialize in industrial-scale pre-fabricated steel buildings, and structures. They ship to, and erect, structures at remote locations all over the world. We built, and installed, a large ore storage facility for the Red Dog Mine, near Kotzebue, Alaska. We also put up structures at Point Barrow.

    The point I was raising is that the excepted explanation for the thousands of small lakes up there being the result of the interaction of arctic wetlands, and permafrost, only accounts for the smaller, irregular shaped, ones. It’s my belief that something else caused the large, semi uniform, NW – SE oriented oval, or ‘Carolina Bay’ type structures. Because permafrost conditions were clearly not involved in the formation of the ones in the Southeastern US.

  • George Howard

    Been to Point Barrow as well, twice. Co-Del with congressional members both times. Anyway, those frost lakes, and bays, have zero in common.

  • Steve Garcia

    George and Dennis –

    Thanks for the info George, but can you say say why not? I would rather not deal with them if they are intrinsically different and off topic.


  • That place up north can be confusing. There are countless frost lake features, caused by a process related to the interaction of permafrost, and Arctic wetlands. And the Carolina Bays very clearly have nothing to do with such a process.

    But I don’t believe the oriented, oval, ‘Bay-like’ features in the far north were formed by that same process. I think something else happened up there, in addition to the wetland/permafrost process that forms the countless, random, little ‘frost lakes’.

    I think the ‘Bays’ up there were formed by some as yet undescribed process. And that they may be related to the same process that formed the ones down south.

  • Steve Garcia

    Dennis –

    Yes, I would have to agree with you, intuitively. Thanks for the info that the lakes in general are caused by some interaction of permafrost and wetlands. I would ask – have they identified the mechanism?

    That is re the un-oriented ones. That is what I read you to say before. And it makes sense intuitively.

    I do have one argument with you about your assertion that the oriented lakes must have had some different mechanism. But one dangling characteristic would be that the oriented ones seem to be in exactly the same kind of topography as the non-oriented ones elsewhere (not to mention some small amount of mixing of the two). A prima facie argument could easily be made that, since the general conditions are the same, the non-oriented and oriented lakes must have the same basic cause, with the oriented ones being a special case. I’ve brought that up before. If you look at the “river delta” locations and spread of the lakes (both types), at both Lena and Pt Barrow (both oriented) the field extremities are remarkably similar to each other and to the Beaufort Sea (non-oriented) areas.

    That one oriented lake locale would be like a non-oriented lake locale could be seen as a coincidence, though I’d be skeptical of arguing an ET origin. (I’d LIKE it to be ET, but won’t leave my critical faculties at home or fudge my reasoning to get that result.) That TWO oriented fields on opposite sides of the Arctic Ocean are like a non-oriented field at the same latitude and along an Arctic Ocean coast AND by/at a river delta – that points me toward a terrestrial origin for those oriented lakes.

    I will repeat that I do agree with Hermann and you about them all having a different cause than the CBs.

  • Terry Egolf


    I received something called a Geomatics certificate from a community college a few years ago when I had a plan to switch careers and get into GIS. Never worked out. But we were trained for two years on ArcGIS products, and one project we completed was a drainage basin analysis. A series of tools we used produced an area slope map whose resolution was a function of the elevation data density. I believe the data was extracted from a DEM. The end product was a drainage basin model with computed stream beds and basin divides. You could evaluate the fidelity of the model by comparing the locations of the computed stream beds with where they actually exist on aerial photography.

    That was with ArcGIS 2.9. There are probably much more robust tools available now that are easier to use. Your son would likely be familiar with them or be able to obtain them if his company is licensed for that kind of support with ESRI.

    As for publishing a paper, why not?


  • Steve said,

    "Yes, I would have to agree with you, intuitively. Thanks for the info that the lakes in general are caused by some interaction of permafrost and wetlands. I would ask – have they identified the mechanism?"

    Yes they have. That kind of terrain is called "Thermokarst Topography".  And it’s caused by local melting of ground ice and the subsequent settling of the ground.

    Here’s a couple of good links

    Thermokarst from the March 2004 issue of EU(RO)CK 

    And there is some good info on Permafrost in a page on

  • Hermann Burchard

    Ready to bet Bob Kobres, aka “abob” or even “bobk” on his UGA webpages, would have some interesting, trenchant commentary to above discussions. He is, to me, the grandfather of recent interest in CBs. But, alas, from his Olympian heights, he probably doesn’t even notice this blog.

    Bob’s recent email:

  • No altitude involved, Hermann–just waiting for actual field work to resolve some of the issues about features such as the C-Bays. I’m pretty sure that beaver had a strong presence where C-Bays are now found and that an external event gave their ponds a too regular form but whether the event caused steam explosions due to heat and overpressure or simply desiccated the area–I don’t know. The coordinates below, plugged into Google Earth, will show some impressive contemporary beaver activity.



    The beaver is Nature’s archetype ecosystem engineer; its clear-cutting and dam building activities dramatically alter the structure, function, and chemistry of wetlands. Research done by Drs. Justin P. Wright, Jones and Alex Flecker has shown that between one third to one half of vascular plant species in riparian areas in New York State’s Central Adirondack Mountains depend on beaver-created habitats. When beaver make dams, they create a wetland while simultaneously destroying the streamside environment. Few plant species can live in both habitats; at the local scale, beaver engineering eliminates one set of plant species and replaces it with another. At the landscape scale, however, beaver markedly enhance plant biodiversity by increasing habitat diversity.

    Future research in Chile’s Tierra del Fuego region, where beaver were introduced in the 1950’s, will shed light on how exotic ecosystem engineers affect plant diversity. The study will provide a contrast to the Adirondacks, where beaver have been making habitat for plants for thousands of years. Prior to beaver introduction, species in Tierra del Fuego had no history of beaver-induced riparian disturbance. Will beaver create a biological “desert” because there are no native plant species that can adapt to beaver wetlands? Will exotic wetland species invade the areas? Or will formerly rare native wetland species flourish in response to the wealth of new habitat created by beaver?

    Patagonia—On a crisp spring morning, park ranger Ricardo Cid is leading me toward a stream in the Laguna Parrillar National Reserve. At the southern tip of mainland Chile, fifty kilometres south of the city of Punta Arenas, nearby Lake Parrillar is the glimmering centrepiece of this 180-square-kilometre park. The lake is flanked by snowcapped mountains, marshes, and dense woods. Deep in these woods, rangers uncovered a threat to southern Chile’s ecosystem last year: six very large beavers, the descendants of rodents brought here decades ago from Canada. “It’s our worst fear,” Cid tells me. “Six may not be a big number, but they are like canaries in a mineshaft.”

    Beavers aren’t native to South America. Sixty years ago, breeders imported twenty-five male-female pairs from Canada to the Argentine side of Tierra del Fuego island with the idea of raising them for fur. The beavers were freed into the wild and, unfettered by nat­ural predators, began reproducing. Soon they were swimming across the Beagle Channel and colonizing other islands. There are now an estimated 100,000 beavers in Tierra del Fuego, including 61,000 on Chile’s islands in the region. Until recently, they remained offshore, separated by the Strait of Magellan.

    Each lake is usually formed by just two beavers. They chop down trees with their razor-sharp teeth and use them to dam rivers.

    They do this to protect themselves from possible predators – even if there aren’t any – and to give them easier access to food, primarily tree bark and other vegetation.

    Now, if you consider that there are estimated to be up to 250,000 beavers on the island, you begin to get an idea of the environmental havoc being wreaked here by the world’s second-largest rodent (the capybara is number one).

    Yet beavers are not native to South America. Around 50 of them were introduced here from Canada in the 1940s. Argentina’s then military rulers hoped that they would multiply and create a fur industry – in earlier centuries beaver pelts were among the most valuable in the world.

    TIERRA DEL FUEGO, Argentina (CNN) — A stealthy invader from the north is wiping out large areas of native forest on Tierra del Fuego, an island at the southern tip of South America.

    The invader, the North American beaver, has proliferated from only a few pairs 50 years ago to at least 100,000 today.

    The Argentinean government imported the original beavers to raise on commercial fur farms. When the project failed, the beavers were released. They quickly spread across the island.

    They have since chewed their way through river valleys and stream beds, felling the trees they need for food and building dams, which create even greater damage.

    Over the last century, exotic species have dramatically altered Tierra del Fuego’s terrestrial and freshwater environments. Introduced beaver populations have expanded rapidly in the absence of top predators, causing extensive damage to forests and altering natural water flows.


    Hermann Burchard to Bob, George, Leroy, E, Dennis, Rich, Bill
    show details 1:54 PM (6 hours ago)

    just posted on Cosmic Tusk an invitation, sort of, for you to comment on
    Carolina Bays discussion, including Point Barrow, Alaska, and Lena River
    Delta cheap imitations:

    Ready to bet Bob Kobres, aka “abob” or even “bobk” on his UGA
    webpages, would have some interesting, trenchant commentary to above
    discussions. He is, to me, the grandfather of recent interest in CBs. But,
    alas, from his Olympian heights, he probably doesn’t even notice this
    blog. Bob’s recent email:

    Sorry! But I had felt the need to disturb your peace..

    NOTE: Below copy of 1991 Bob’s letter to Eugene Shoemaker, of some
    historical interest (underneath my signature), concerning his familiar
    boiled beavers (not mentioned by that later name).

    Hermann G W Burchard
    Prof Appl Maths Emer
    Oklahoma State University
    Stillwater OK 74078-1058

    – – – –

    April 11, 1991
    Dr. Eugene M. Shoemaker
    U.S. Geological Survey
    2255 North Gemini Drive
    Flagstaff, Arizona 86001

    Dear Dr. Shoemaker:

    Enclosed is another barrage of Carolina Bay information. “A Re-evaluation
    of the Extraterrestrial Origin of the Carolina Bays” (1975) is a research
    paper I learned of only recently; the authors make several valid points.
    Unfortunately, they evoked “Tunguska craters” (following W.K. Hartman’s
    “Moons and Planets” 1973) to illustrate the geomorphic results of low
    altitude shock waves which they believe sculpted the Carolina Bays.
    Though more recent investigators attribute the Tunguska depressions to
    permafrost melt, this does not negate the premise of Eyton and Parkhurst
    that the Bays were formed by fragments of Tunguska like stuff coupling
    energy to the ground in a blast wave fashion.

    Disregarding dynamics, the energy to bring a volume of permafrost through
    the transition to a liquid state sufficient to cause slump or compaction
    is about 1/7 of what it would take to bring an equal volume of wet sandy
    soil to a steamy explosive state. I suspect, however, that wet soil would
    absorb radiant and mechanical heat from a blast more efficiently than
    could frozen ground, and so would respond more violently to a given blast
    type energy input.

    The physical common denominator of areas where bays are found seems to be
    wet plastic soil. I believe it was the abrupt phase change of water to
    steam that excavated these shallow features. This would occur in three
    steps with intervals determined by the impactor’s terminal flare height.
    Step one is the arrival of radiant energy from the phase change which
    produced the terminal volatilization of the impactor. This would elevate
    the wet soil temperature to a degree dependent upon radiant energy yield,
    the pulse width or duration of liberation, and radial distance from the
    source. Step two is the arrival of a blast or over-pressure wave (the
    interval between S1 and S2 increasing with terminal flare height). Step 3
    is the arrival of the ballistic wave which, if steps 1 and 2 were within
    limits (the terminal flare was low enough to produce an explosive phase
    change in wet soil) would disperse soil elevated in the steam explosion.

    Assuming this three step process would yield a bay like structure the
    remaining problem is getting the terminal flare of the impactor to occur
    close enough to the ground. I believe this trick could be accomplished by
    a comet like mass density object of sufficiently large mass and low impact
    velocity. The paper by Levin and Bronshten (“The Tunguska Event and
    Meteors with Terminal Flares,” included) seems to allow such arrivals.

    I am curious to know if you think the above a feasible scenario. In the
    midst of preparing this packet I received correspondence from Leroy
    Ellenberger indicating that he had written to you of Gault’s idea that the
    Bays could be formed by ejecta from a glacial impact. This would seem a
    needless complication if large terminal flares can occur within a few
    kilometers of Earth’s surface.

    Sincerely, Robert E. Kobres

  • Terry Egolf


    Can you define ‘flare” as Robert uses it in his letter? Is it a thermal phenomenon, as in a road flare lighting off, or is it an aerodynamic one, like an aircraft flaring out its approach when landing? Somewhat confusing and the context doesn’t give many clues as to how he is using he word.


  • Hermann Burchard

    Did you notice the 1991 date of Bob’s letter to Gene Shoemaker?

    This was an amazing THREE YEARS before comet S-L 9 impacts on planet Jupiter. This event awakened a lot of people.

    Not only were these guys way ahead of the rest of us but ahead of Mother Nature, or, of a pointer to humankind by God’s Finger.

    It was a full ten years later that I wrote to Benny Peiser about the 4th century climate catastrophe, likely of ultimate Taurid causation (because of coincidence with 365 tsunami that destroyed Alexandria) leading to the Visigoth invasion. Michael Baillie later found Northern oak tree ring confirmation of over a decade of very bad weather including 365. The Danube was so “swollen from the incessant rains” several miles wide (Edward Gibbon) that the Goths needed help from the Roman army to cross over, bribing them anyway they could. Emperor Valens was killed at Adrianople in 378, his army annihilated. This was recorded as the end of the Roman Empire by St Jerome. He had escaped to Jerusalem, while St Augustine went back to his native Hippo (he was an ethnic Berber). — Sorry, getting off Carolina Bay context in my amazement about the historically significant 1991 date of Bob’s letter.

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