Kerr Watch

Elapsed time since Richard Kerr failed to inform his Science readers of the confirmation of nanodiamonds at the YDB: 6 years, 3 months, and 8 days

Recent papers critical of the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis: Daulton and Scott


I have provided some counter points below to the arguments made in the recent publications from Daulton and Scott (regular critics). However, I was particularly disturbed to see that the papers failed to include very significant confirmations of our work, for instance Adronikov 2016. Unlike Tian (2011) and Bement 2014. Daulton claims failure to locate diamonds, but that is no excuse for leading people to believe there have been no recent high-level confirmations of the data from others.

Regardless, there are some obvious shortcoming to the papers and I speak here as a member of the Comet Research Group:

1. NANODIAMONDS. The Daulton et al. paper makes it sound like there is no evidence for nanodiamonds at all, when in fact they admit to the opposite. On page 22, they write, “While there is evidence of cubic nanodiamonds in Late Pleistocene sediments, their presence does not provide evidence of an impact because they have not been linked to impact processes.” The only way they can make that claim is to ignore all of the other evidence that we have such as high-temperature melted spherules and meltglass.

LONSDALEITE. We wrote in Kinzie et al. (2014) that YDB “lonsdaleite-like” particles have all the characteristics of lonsdaleite, but there are too few of them for us to confirm that. We agree with Dalton that these particles are still debatable, and we agree that we misidentified some of them, but not all.

PEAKS IN NANODIAMONDS. Daulton disputes that we have identified peaks in nanodiamonds, but frankly, that is just a nonsensical argument. While it is true that we cannot tell how many nanodiamonds are in the peaks, nevertheless, we know that there are qualitative peaks. Here’s a real world example of why Daulton is wrong. Let’s say that I look out the window onto a pond and I don’t see any ducks. Next day, I look out and there are lots of ducks. There are too many to count, but I know that there are a lot more than zero. The next day the ducks are gone. By definition, there was a peak in ducks on the previous day. The same applies to Daulton’s claim that we don’t have a peak in nanodiamonds. He is simply wrong – the peak has been confirmed by independent groups, including Bement et al. in Oklahoma and in Belgium by Tian et al., who are critics of the YDB hypothesis.

NANODIAMONDS AND IMPACTS. Daulton and others keep repeating “Yes, the diamonds are there but that doesn’t prove there was an impact.” While that is true, technically, there is no other known way to have nanodiamonds appear in sediment except by an impact. To me, to use the same analogy as above, if they look like ducks, they probably are.

2. The Scott et al. paper looked for wildfire evidence in just one area, the Channel Islands in California. They found lots of charcoal and carbon spherules in many strata, and they state on page 11, “Carbonaceous materials from Arlington Canyon do not require extraterrestrial input or ignition, or in some cases preclude such an event,” in contradiction to their press release, which makes it seem like they have completely refuted the YDB hypothesis. Just to be clear, they’re saying that they can’t rule out an extraterrestrial impact. They also argue that the carbonaceous materials indicate low-temperature wildfires which, they assume, precludes extraterrestrial impacts. That assumption just shows their lack of knowledge of impact wildfires, such as those that occurred at Tunguska in 1908, where low-temperature wildfires were triggered beneath the fireball. At Tunguska, the highest temperatures were generated closest to the fireball, and temperatures dropped off exponentially with distance, meaning that at Tunguska and presumably, any other impact event, there are both high-and low-temperature fires.


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  • ron quitoriano

    thanks for posting.
    I’ve recently read the first paper, but hadnt seen the second, ill read it tonite.
    I will admit that most of the mard science is out of my league, on the technicalities, i can make sense of what is being said and understand who the conclusions are being come by.
    I appears to me this latest paper is really just a rehash of of the 2010? paper, and is more about talking about other’s work than adding anything sustantially new to resolve the more vexing questions.

  • SteveGinGTO

    Bit by bit comments here… No overall comment yet.

    Daulton et al includes the paper Cooper A, Turney C, Hughen KA et al. 2015. Abrupt warming events drove Late Pleistocene Holarctic megafaunal turnover. Science 349: 602–606.

    This is written by a bunch of climate scientists who appear to have a stake in proving that “CLIMATE DUNNIT”.
    1 Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and Environment Institute,
    University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia.
    2 Climate Change Research Centre and School of Biological, Earth, and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.
    3 Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA.
    4 Environment Institute and School of Biological Sciences, University of Adelaide,
    Adelaide, Australia.
    5 School of Biological Sciences, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia.
    6 Museum Management Program, National Parks Service, Fort Collins, CO 80525, USA

    The first four are definitely CLIMATE DUNNIT organizations with a vested interest in arguing climate THEN in order to support the climate NOW alarmist claims that they have made a LOT of money on.

    Woods Hole, in particular, has an interesting history of alarmism. In the 1970s they along withe East Anglia University were the loudest screamers about us going into a new ice age. Ten years later they both found their niche reversing field and screaming loudly that instead o an ice age we are at risk of burning up the planet – with the catch being that HUMANS had become the culprits, supposedly changing the climate without Woods Hole or East Anglia ever even showing that such changes CAN be caused by humans, even intentionally.

    My take on Woods Hole is that they are The Boy Who Cried Wolf, never having found an alarm they wouldn’t sound off. They also bought into Wally Broecker’s oceanic conveyor idea which ignores physics. The physics of convection and coriolis effect and the Gulf Stream, putting the entire thing driven by the end resultant, which is putting the cart ahead of the donkey. I.e., they have their cause and effect reversed.

    As to the IDEA of that paper – that WARMING kills – that is straight global warming but in this case is even more brain dead. The climate in the last 50kya until the Holocene varied in Greenland from -55°C which KILLS, up to about -34°C which also kills. Holocene Greenland temps range from about -33°C (current) to -28°C (Holocene Optimum). Eight spikes only came up to the -39°C to -35°C range – colder than ANY time in the Holocene.

    We have to adjust those to temperate zone temps to compare to what we are used to. Those HIGHS represent 2°C to 6°C colder than now in Greenland. The LOWS represent 22°C colder than now. They would need to explain why 2°C colder – versus 22°C – is the dangerous part.

    These authors argue that approaching CURRENT climate is what liked the megafauna – NOT the diving into cold climate.

    How backward can a paper GET something?

    And yet Daulton et al 2016 uses them as a source.

  • SteveGinGTO

    I note that Daulton gets the YDB wrong, listing it on page 2 as 12.9kya instead of the INTCAL13 date of 12.8kya.

  • SteveGinGTO

    On page one, column two, Daulton lists 4 papers (dating from 2010 to 2014) that constrain the YDB to “within two hundred years of 12.9 kya. All of those listed are by his own group.

    He CONVENIENTLY left out Kennett at al 2015, “Bayesian chronological analyses consistent with synchronous age of 12,835–12,735 Cal B.P. for Younger Dryas boundary on four continents”.

    And to BOOT, he is still, it seems, using the INTCAL09 calibration conversion for the YDB listing it at 12.9kya instead of the INTCAL13 date of 12.8kya – which Kennett et al 2015 agrees with.

    Did he get his date from van Hoesel, who messed it up?