Kerr Watch

Elapsed time since Richard Kerr failed to inform his Science readers of the confirmation of nanodiamonds at the YDB: 6 years, 4 months, and 6 days

Tusk Exclusive: Vance Holliday provides informal critique of the Younger Dryas Boundary theory

Vance Holliday and others in this email exchange have kindly allowed me to post their chatter to the Tusk.

I will clean it up later. But for now – here you go…..

On 9/24/2010 2:38 PM, Vance Holliday wrote:

Richard:

All I asked was why is it that when us skeptics can’t reproduce

data or confirm hypothesis for The Impact Team we are accused of slipshod

science or incompetence, yet The Impact team seems to always find what

they are looking for???  Has anyone on The Impact Team critically looked

at their own data? Questioned their hypothesis? Isn’t that was science

is about?

And are we really expected to believe that Vance Haynes can’t

find the Black Mat???

I guess I could just as easily say to you “Fortunately science

is not based on opinions but instead on measurements. Dozens of scientists

bringing unique skills to the subject have provided an enormous amount of

experimental data providing no support for the idea of an impact at the

onset of the YDB. A few, highly biased scientists threw together some

slipshod experiments to support their hypothesis.”

I must confess to growing very weary of unsubstantiated

accusations of incompetence, slipshod science, and bias toward everyone

who doesn’t buy or who presents data contrary to the YD Impact

Hypothesis. All of the people who tested the hypothesis and came up

wanting or those who tried to reproduce the data are just trying to figure

out what is going on. I know many of them. All are highly respected in

their various fields. None had any biases or agendas that I am aware of.

What is your basis for calling them “highly biased”? On what basis do

you decide that their experiments are “slipshod”?  Because their data

don’t confirm yours???

Like most of the skeptics (I am guessing), I don’t actually care

whether there was an impact or not. I just want to know one way or another

because a lot of my work deals with the late Pleistocene/early Holocene.

But good science requires that new ideas be questioned and tested.

Apparently we are all supposed to uncritically buy everything we are told

by The Impact Team.

You repeatedly asked me to explain that long list of apparent

contradictions. I don’t have to. When proposing a new hypothesis,

especially an “outrageous hypothesis,” the burden of proof is on your

team to explain inconsistencies. So far it seems that most of you have

decided to simply accuse all skeptics of not knowing what we are doing

rather questioning your own work.

But I’ll address a couple of your questions that I know something about.

How else do you explain how Haynes found enormous concentrations

of iridium in the metallic fraction that he reported peaked at the YDB,

higher concentrations than we reported, yet he dismissed as somehow

unrelated?

That is easy. I’ll let Vance answer using his own words from his

Reply in PNAS. You should read it, too (or is he also under suspicion?).

We consider our iridium analytical results of 64 ppb and 31 ppb to not be

anomalous because they are less than the 72 ppb for magnetics from the

modern stream bed.

So, is Vance’s Ir data from the stratigraphic section “good science”

while his data from the modern arroyo channel is “slipshod”???

See: Reply to Firestone et al.: No confirmation of impact at the lower

Younger Dryas boundary at Murray Springs, AZ PNAS 2010 107 (26) E106;

published ahead of print June 8, 2010,

How do you explain why according to Stafford’s and Waters’

radiocarbon dating the Clovis people simultaneously disappeared in both

North and South America at the onset of the YD?

Three answers. First, Clovis people didn’t do that. Five sites

(Mu Spgs, Sheridan Cave, Mill Iron, Lehner, Jake Bluff) out of their

“top 25″ (20%) from their Table 1 are less than 12.9k  Second, there was

no Clovis occupation of South America. Third, their dating is not the last

word on the age range of Clovis.  It is their estimate based on their

selection criteria of available bone. It is good work but a lot of us

think the age range is longer and that they excluded some very good dates

from some very good sites.

See: Comment on “Redefining the Age of Clovis: Implications for the

Peopling of the Americas” Gary Haynes, David G. Anderson, C. Reid Ferring,

Stuart J. Fiedel, Donald K. Grayson, C. Vance Haynes, Jr., Vance T.

Holliday, Bruce B. Huckell, Marcel Kornfeld, David J. Meltzer, Julie

Morrow, Todd Surovell, Nicole M. Waguespack, Peter Wigand, and Robert M.

Yohe, II 20 July 2007 317: 320 [DOI: 10.1126/science.1141960] (in

Technical Comments)

Why are the enormous deep holes in the Great Lakes that radiate

perpendicular to the mid Continent rift not possible evidence of the

missing craters?

First, you should ask a structural geologist about this.

Otherwise, in reference to the “holes,” I saw that you suggest that

“deep holes” beneath four of the Great Lakes could represent impact

craters (in  Journal of Siberian Federal University: Engineering &

Technologies Firestone et al. 2010). You dismiss the possibility these

holes were the result of glacial erosion, citing the latest edition of

Dawson’s Acadian Geology, a book published more than a century ago

(Dawson 1891)!  Evidently, you believe subsequent generations of glacial

and Quaternary geologists working in the Great Lakes failed to notice the

holes’ extraterrestrial origin. Yet, if these holes were caused by an

impact 12,900 years ago (and you provide no evidence the holes are that

old), it is curious that the impacts produced elongated craters at

different orientations, yet each one parallel to local ice flow in the

up-ice end of its lake basin. Well, at least the latest edition of Dawson,

1891, was used!

The interesting thing is that all of the detractors have set

themselves up for infamy in the history of science as the truth comes out.

Really??? Is that how science works?  The losing side of a

scientific debate ends up in “infamy”?  Wow. I wish I was told that in

graduate school. I would have gone into the aluminum siding business.

I’d like to present my own questions and comments to you, based

on quotes directly from some of your papers. Over the past year or two, as

I have gone back to the Firestone, West, and Warwick-Smith book Cosmic

Catastrophe and the 2007 Firestone et al paper in PNAS (the only two

comprehensive statements on the YD Impact hypothesis; neither of which was

peer-reviewed). I’ve come across what are best described as

“interesting” comments or assertions:

COSMIC CATASTROPHE

When I first came across The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes: Flood,

Fire, and Famine in the History of Civilization I casually flipped through

it and kept coming across comments that I knew to be misstatements if not

grossly in error. Quote clearly, “facts” were fitted into preconceived

ideas. For example, my own research on playas was completely misstated and

what was purported to be my conclusions was essentially the opposite of

what I said! They state (P 216) that because I had a suite of radiocarbon

dates from “the underlying formation” (i.e., from below the fill in

the playa basins, which they mistakenly refer to as “salty salinas”),

then these depressions must have formed at about the same time as the

Carolina Bays (according to their discussion elsewhere, at about 12.9ka)

and they must have been formed by the impact Event. The problem with this

interpretation (as well as interpretations of the Bays – see below) is

that my dates were from the playa fills, which is very clear throughout

the paper, and therefore the depressions must be older than 12.9k. How

could something so clear and straightforward be so stunningly

misrepresented???

The dating of the Carolina Bays was largely ignored or misstated

(p. 127). One minute on the internet turned up three GSA abstracts with

OSL dates clearly showing that the sand rims around some Bays date to

between 15,000 and 40,000 years BP  and betw 70,000 and 80,000 years BP.

Some were rims active “during multiple phases over  the past 100,000

years” (Ivester et al, 2004, GSA Abstracts).

But also on p. 127 of The Book, the following statement is

presented: “All of the evidence fits our theory that the rims and bays

formed all at the same instant [i.e., by an “extraterrestrial event”

at around 12.9k]. In support of that, Ivester and coworkers (2003) dated

two bay rims to 11,300 and 12,630 years ago using OSL… We used the same

technique to date two levels of…Bay rim sand… the [OSL) Dating

Laboratory at the University of Washington reported that the ‘highest

age (11,400+/-6100 years) is close to the age of Clovis…’”

This passage contains so much misleading and misunderstood

information that it is hard to know how to start sorting it out.

Luminescence dating produces ages in calendar years, so OSL dates of

11,300 an 12,630 are too young for the “Event” at 12.9k. The mean of

the date determined by the Impact Team at UW is far too young for the

“Event” but moreover, absolutely meaningless given that the standard

deviation is over 50% of the mean age!  But the grossest distortion is the

reference to the work of Ivester et al. In that paper they clearly state

that they are looking at multiple rims formed around some Bays. “Four

concentric rims along the margin of one Bay… selected for dating have

ages of 35,660+ or -2600; 25,210+ or -1900; 11,160+ or -900; and 2,150+ or

-300 years ago…The trend of younger sand rims toward the bay center

indicates that the bay has shrunk in area over the last 36,000 years… An

additional date of 20,390+ or -1600 years documents eolian reworking of

sediment associated with an adjacent bay to the southwest. Another new

luminescence date from the Carolina bay rim bordering Arabia Bay in

southern Georgia shows the rim was active 12,630+ or -1000 years ago.

These dates indicate bay rims were periodically active well after the

maximum advance of the Wisconsin ice sheet.”  A rather remarkable

twisting of words. The dates cited by Ivester et al clearly do not pertain

to the initial formation of any Bay.

The Paleoindian archaeological record in the southeastern U.S. is

described as “well dated” (p. 113). Further (also on p. 113), Al

Goodyear is quoted as saying “…I’m noticing a big drop in the

incidence of spear points dating from right after that time” (13,000

years ago).

This was a surprise because that is flatly not the case. There is

almost no good stratigraphic or radiocarbon record for Clovis and its

variants in the Southeast. Look at any paper or book on the topic. The

artifact style Goodyear was referring to (Redstone) has no numerical age

control at all! Al thinks that it is post-Clovis but it is not dated (Al

told me that last year!).

On to the Blackwater Draw site (Clovis site) in New Mexico. A

visit to the site includes the following description (p. 73):

“18 inches” above the “Event” zone is a ledge “jammed with

spears, tools, and bone.”

I’ve spent a lot of time at the Clovis site, much of it involving

stratigraphic work. There is no  such “ledge.”

And this assertion (also on p. 73): “Eight radiocarbon dates

indicated that no humans had visited Blackwater Draw for more than 1000

years.”

There is simply no evidence for this whatsoever. What dates? From

where??? The considerable work at the site by my colleague C.V. Haynes,

and many others, apparently was ignored.

After simply paging through the book and seeing all this

misrepresentation of scientific data and scientific fact, and wholesale

distortion of the work of others, my skepticism began to emerge!

But there’s more! The Firestone et al paper in PNAS, 2007,

contains equally distorted statements.

p.16017:  “Ten Clovis and equivalent-age sites were selected because of

their long-established archeological and paleontological significance,

and, hence, most are well documented and dated by previous researchers.”

In fact, very few of these sites could be considered to have

“long-established archeological and paleontological significance.”

The Clovis site and Murray Springs are arguably the only two.

Morley has no archaeological or paleontological significance

Topper, neither the archaeology nor the geology of the Clovis level has

been published; little has

been published on any aspect of the site.

Daisey Cave is an important archaeological site, but as indicated in the

SI, was not occupied

before 11.5ka

Gainey is probably an important site, but is poorly published.

Chobot is very poorly published

Lake Hind has minimal archaeological significance, no paleontological

significance, and is poorly

known.

P. 16019: “The YDB at the 10 Clovis- and equivalent-age sites has been

well dated to 12.9 ka. “

This is a key point because the hypothesis fundamentally rests on

a demonstration that the layers in question  with the purported impact

markers are all of exactly the same age, or at least as close to

“exactly” as modern numerical dating methods (chiefly radiocarbon) can

get.  But in fact few of the layers are “well dated to 12.9 ka.” (This

is clearly indicated in the SI to the PNAS paper). The North American

sites are:

Murray Springs, AZ

Blackwater Draw, NM     No dates directly linked to sampled section

Daisey Cave, CA

Wally’s Beach, Alberta          “None of the Paleoindian points

recovered was in situ and therefore it is not possible to directly link

the points with the [dated] faunal remains” (Kooyman et al. 2001, 687).

Gainey, MI                        No Black Mat, no dates, no obvious

indication of a 12.9ka level

Topper, SC                        No BM and no dates

Chobbot, Alberta                 No dates

Lake Hind, Manitoba

Morley, Alberta                  No dates

15 Carolina Bays                 No dates

Several of these sites are “dated” by presence of Clovis artifacts,

but that provides no precise indication of the 12.9ka level because the

Clovis occupation was at least several centuries. So using the archaeology

as an age indicator, given the necessity for precise dating, is circular

reasoning.

Five of the nine sites (over 50%) have no numerical age control whatsoever

or no direct numerical age control on the YDB layers; no age control of

any kind is reported for the 15 Carolina Bays (0%).

p. 16017: “Each of the 10 Clovis-age sites displays a YDB layer (average

thickness of 3 cm).”

This is impossible to verify because sampling intervals and

stratigraphic descriptions have never been provided. The comment that the

average thickness of the “YDB layer” is 3 cm is significant in light

of subsequent critiques of sampling by others.

p. 16017:  “We further suggest that the catastrophic effects of this ET

event and associated biomass burning led to abrupt YD cooling, contributed

to the late Pleistocene megafaunal extinction, promoted human cultural

changes, and led to immediate decline in some post-Clovis human

populations.”

The extinction issue is very complicated and in fact no recently

published data shows a synchronous extinction. At the recent AMQUA

meetings, Russ Graham and Tom Stafford (who has also co-authored with some

of the Impact proponents) presented a paper with the latest radiocarbon

dates showing that most fauna was gone by 12.9k and that some mammoth

survived after 12.9. And there is also the work of Gill (2010, Science)

showing that mammoth and other herbivores in the Midwest were on the

decline long before 12.9k (and that work followed other work in the

Northeast showing the same thing).

Moreover, the reference to post-Clovis human population decline is

based on a two-page paper on Redstone artifacts which, as indicated above,

are presumed to be post-Clovis in age (Goodyear, 2006). As noted above,

Redstone is not dated at all.

p. 16018:  “Charcoal displays peaks in the YDB at eight of nine

Clovis-age sites and is present in 15 of 15 Bays, reaching peaks in four

Bays with paleosols.”

And from the Supplemental Information:  “The Bays have poorly

stratified, sandy, elevated rims (up to 7 m) that often are higher to the

southeast. All of the Bay rims examined were found to have, throughout

their entire 1.5- to 5-m sandy rims, a typical assemblage of YDB markers

(magnetic grains, magnetic microspherules, Ir, charcoal, soot, glass-like

carbon, nanodiamonds, carbon spherules, and fullerenes with 3 He).”

The sandy Bay rims are described as “poorly stratified” and

yet some have “buried paleosols.” Which is it? And all Bay rims

sampled have YDB markers throughout, including, presumably, the buried

soils? What does that mean? The Bay rims can’t be used as evidence if

they contain no discrete impact marker layer. The comment suggests that

YDB markers can be found outside of discrete contexts, negating their

significance.

p. 16019: “At Murray Springs, Haynes… first reported the presence of

glass-like or ‘vitreous’ carbon in the black mat. In addition, he

chemically analyzed the black mat layer, concluding that it most likely

resulted from the decomposition of charred wood and/or a prolonged algal

bloom, both of which could result from event-related processes (e.g.,

climate change and biomass burning). Some black mats have no algal

component, only charcoal.”

Haynes clearly describes the black mat as an algal layer (and this

is so stated in the SI to the 2007 PNAS paper). How does an algal bloom

result from “event-related processes”?  Algal blooms occur all the

time on the Earth’s surface and almost all in the absence of any

extraterrestrial event.

p. 16020: “if multiple 2-km objects struck the 2-km-thick Laurentide Ice

Sheet at <30°, they may have left negligible traces after deglaciation…

[perhaps]  limited to enigmatic depressions or disturbances in the

Canadian Shield (e.g., under the Great Lakes or Hudson Bay)”

An obvious flaw with that speculation is that by 12,900 years ago

only the Lake Superior basin was still under glacial ice, a fact

well-known and very well documented for decades!

16021: “For humans, major adaptive shifts are evident at 12.9 ka, along

with an inferred population decline, as subsistence strategies changed

because of dramatic  ecological change and the extinction, reduction, and

displacement of key prey species.”

I and other Paleoindian specialists are very familiar with the

North American literature so this was news to us. But sometimes you

don’t see what you are not looking for, so several of us delved in to

the Paleoindian literature so see if these claims have any merit

(discussed below). As noted above, this notion was initially based on

Paleoindian artifact data from the Southeast U.S. This was a surprise

because there is almost no good stratigraphic or radiocarbon record for

Paleoindian archaeology in that region. Much of our work has been on the

Great Plains, which has the best dated regional stratigraphic record of

Paleoindian occupation in North America, so we decided to test the

hypothesis with data from the Great Plains. We see no evidence of any sort

of occupation hiatus at 12.9ka. The end of the Clovis point style tells us

nothing about an impact, and in any case the style persists after 12.9ka.

Arguments that stratified sites with a post-Clovis occupation hiatus

misstate the archaeological and geological records. At sites with multiple

Paleoindian occupations, “sterile” layers between occupation zones are

the norm, whether they separate Clovis from Folsom zones, Folsom from

other Folsom occupations, or any combination of occupations you care to

mention. Moreover, out of >150 Paleoindian sites we looked at in the

literature, over two-thirds are single occupation sites. So whether they

are Clovis, Folsom or late Paleoindian features, there is no occupation

above. Absence of a post-Clovis occupation is not a mysterious

“hiatus,” it is the norm at most Paleoindian sites.

Another general question about the data from impact markers in the

PNAS paper: Why the multiple peaks among the various indicators? E.g.,

double carbon spherule and double charcoal peaks at Chobot; the magnetic

grain and spherule peak higher than the main carbon spherule peak at

Chobot; two Iridium peaks and one carbon spherue peak mathing neither IR

peak at Lake Hind; and a variety of spikes that don’t match up at

Topper. How exactly did that happen? A single “event” should sprinkle

its traces across the continent at the same time (the proponents make this

point over and over). Yet they rarely occur together in the sites. I know

of no sedimentological or weathering process that could so discretely

vertically sort the various indicators.

.

So, please explain to me again;  who is producing slipshod

science?

Vance Holliday

Vance T. Holliday   http://www.argonaut.arizona.edu/

School of Anthropology & Department of Geosciences

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

At 11:20 AM 9/15/2010, rbfirestone wrote:

Vance:

Thanks for your opinion.  Fortunately science is not based on opinions but

instead on measurements.  Dozens of scientists bringing unique skills to

the subject have provided an enormous amount of experimental data

supporting an impact at the onset of the YDB.  A few, highly biased

scientists threw together some slipshod experiments that still basically

supported the earlier work but yet were interpreted as proof that nothing

happened.  How else do you explain how Haynes found enormous

concentrations of iridium in the metallic fraction that he reported peaked

at the YDB, higher concentrations than we reported, yet he dismissed as

somehow unrelated?  How do you explain that when Kurbatov et al found a

massive peak of nanodiamonds at the YDB in Greenland ice it doesn’t count

yet when Daulton et al found nothing in Scott’s samples it is somehow

meaningful?  How do you explain why Pinter is allowed to make outrageous

claims that the magnetic spherules are normal cosmic dust when nobody ever

finds these spherules elsewhere in sediment, the generally accepted influx

of cosmic dust is too low to account for a significant concentration in

sediment, and the composition of the YDB metallic spherules is not the

same as cosmic dust?   How do you explain why, according to Haynes, there

are no fossils of extinct mammoths and megafauna within or above the black

mat and it is as if all were gone in an instant?  How do you explain why

according to Stafford’s and Waters’ radiocarbon dating the Clovis people

simultaneously disappeared in both North and South America at the onset of

the YD?  How do you explain why Bill Napier’s comet impact theories, which

can be buttressed by strong evidence of a major increase in recent

impacts, can be wrong while Mark Boslough’s suggestion that large impacts,

including presumably the K-T, never happen could be correct?  Why are the

enormous deep holes in the Great Lakes that radiate perpendicular to the

midContinent rift not possible evidence of the missing craters?  Why are

Pete Schultz’s expermental evidence that high velocity impacts into ice

don’t necessarily produce craters wrong and Boslough’s theories right?

How do you explain the evidence of high-temperature burning in Greenland

ice, highest in over 100,000 years, and the high concentrations of soot in

the YDB layer not seen since the K-T?  The absence of evidence in the

detractors of the YD impact papers is not evidence of absence, especially

when there is a wealth of positive evidence from all kinds of places.  The

interesting thing is that all of the detractors have set themselves up for

infamy in the history of science as the truth comes out.  More data is

about to emerge from sites around the world.

Regards,

Rick Firestone

PS.  I do agree with the bottled water sentiments.  Our conspicuous

consumption of Earth’s resources needs to stop.

“The money Americans spend on bottled water could pay for bringing fresh

water to all the people in the world who need it.”   —  Lester Brown,

Earth Policy Institute

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

On 9/15/2010 10:30 AM, Vance Holliday wrote:

Gentlemen:  Several weeks ago Mark Boslough forwarded comments on the

“YDB” and Vance Haynes sampling at Murray Springs. Whoo boy… Poor old

Vance Haynes, stumbling and bumbling around a site he worked on for over

40 years and he couldn’t find the Black Mat! But when Allen West came

out they went right to the section/samples Allen needed. Good thing he got

Vance straightened out!!

I guess the older we get the less we know about our sites. In my case

I’ve been working on the archaeology and geology at Lubbock Lake in

Texas since the 70s. When I sampled for the YDB I submitted identical

blind splits to both Todd Surovell and to Doug and Jim Kennett. When

results came back from Kennett’s lab that were at odds with what they

expected, the immediate response was that I mislabeled the bag and/or

missampled the section and/or didn’t understand the stratigraphy. Poor,

poor, pitiful me… Well obviously someone with no experience at the site

needs to straighten me out.

I am so glad that The Impact Team regularly and routinely finds exactly

what it wants to find when it samples, and never makes mistakes.

Apparently the rest of us routinely and regularly get it wrong in the

field and in the lab. How exactly does that work???

Vance Holliday

Professor of Anthropology & Geosciences

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

From: “Boslough, Mark B” <mbboslo@sandia.gov>

Date: Tue, 31 Aug 2010 14:54:39 -0600

Subject: Firestone responds

Y’all might be interested in Firestone’s reaction to the latest.

Mark

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

From: Richard Firestone [ mailto:rbfirestone@lbl.gov]

Sent: Tuesday, August 31, 2010 12:56 PM

To: Hermann Burchard

Subject: Re: CORRECTION: was Re: Fw: Re: Impact hypothesis loses its

sparkle

Hermann:

Haynes didn’t know exactly where the YD impact layer is since it is mm’s

thick and not exactly at the base of the black mat due to turbation of the

horizon after the event.  Haynes did however see even higher levels of Ir

than we reported in the magnetic fraction which confirmed out work.

Daulton et al isolated microcharcoal aggragates at Murray Springs,

whatever those are, and not the carbon spherules that contain the

nanodiamonds.  It is not clear where they got the Arlington samples since

they communicated with nobody associated with the original paper and just

went fishing for data.  Examining only two specimens of whatever they

found for nanodiamonds was insufficient because only 1 in 10 of carbon

spherules were expected to contain them.  Kennett’s  nanodiamond analysis

from many sites including those reported by Daulton and Kurbatov’s results

from Greenland are unambiguous proof of their presence in the YD impact

layer.  Daulton’s negative result proves nothing except that they couldn’t

find their way to the YD impact layer.  I’ve attached a copy of the

Kurbatov paper.

Rick

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

On Tue, Aug 31, 2010 at 10:49 AM, Hermann Burchard

< burchar@math.okstate.edu > wrote:

Leroy,

attached please find PDF copy of the Daulton-Pinter-Scott paper from

PNAS on nanodiamonds.  There is the footnote mentioned by Rick Firestone:

“This article is a PNAS Direct Submission.”

About peer-review, there is the note under the title:

“Edited by Mark H. Thiemens, University of California at San

Diego, La Jolla, CA, and approved July 27, 2010 (received for review

March 24, 2010)”

Also, his comment regarding difficulties with obtaining correct samples

from the site at Murray Springs, AZ is interesting.  The authors state

they relied on Haynes et al for dating their samples “from the base of

black mat sediment layer at the same locality and stratum.”

Hermann

On Tue, 31 Aug 2010, Leroy Ellenberger wrote:

CORRECTION: Contrary to my previous email, Firestone informs me that

Daulton’s PNAS paper was peer reviewed.  I apologize for this error.

CLE

“The money Americans spend on bottled water could pay for bringing fresh

water to all the people in the world who need it.”

Lester Brown, Earth Policy Institute

“The money Americans spend on bottled water could pay for bringing fresh water to all the people in the world who need it.”

Lester Brown, Earth Policy Institute

Vance T. Holliday   http://www.argonaut.arizona.edu/

School of Anthropology & Department of Geosciences

University of Arizona

Office in Anthropology:

P.O. Box 210030  (U.S. Mail)

1009 E. South Campus Drive (Overnight delivery)

Tucson AZ  85721-0030

office    520-621-4734

dept      520-621-2585

fax       520-621-2088

Vance:

I’ll take something positive from what you said.  It is fine to be skeptical as long as you leave open the possibility that we are right, which you did.

Haynes showed convincingly that no megafauna fossils exist within or above the black mat.  He argues that this was due to a sudden, catastrophic event.  It is difficult to know what other contributing events may have occurred during the short period of Clovis occupation before the YD.

Stafford and Waters showed that Clovis-age occupation ended nearly simultaneously in North and South America 12,900 years ago.  That says nothing about who or what disappeared.  The people may well have survived beyond this point but it is clear that they stopped hunting megafauna then.  There is certainly a problem with the lack of data, data selection, and radiocarbon dating methods.  Many may not realize that Stafford and Waters used their own radiocarbon calibration methods, not INTCAL which would have given different results.  My opinion is that nobody can do radiocarbon dating to better than 100-200 years, 13 kyr ago, due to the many uncertainties in the radiocarbon record for different locations and experimental problems.

Rick Firestone

“The money Americans spend on bottled water could pay for bringing fresh water to all the people in the world who need it.”
Lester Brown, Earth Policy Institute

Vance T. Holliday   http://www.argonaut.arizona.edu/
School of Anthropology & Department of Geosciences
University of Arizona

Office in Anthropology:
P.O. Box 210030  (U.S. Mail)
1009 E. South Campus Drive (Overnight delivery)
Tucson AZ  85721-0030
office  520-621-4734
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  • As an autodidact, and a relative new comer to this debate, and who came into it with no preconceived notions, I read every thing I can get my hands on from everyone on both sides. I have boundless respect for the work of all of the people in this thread. And from the outside of the box I get a vastly different perspective. But, as a consequence of the disagreement, it’s been the damnedest learning curve of a lifetime.

    Since the opinions of so many brilliant, and learned, people seem to be completely at odds, an outsider is forced to read every paper with a critical eye to what the individual researcher has demonstrated as empirical fact, and what is speculation, or merely assumed. And all will agree that there is much assumption in the Earth sciences. And precious little empirical data. There is also a distinct pattern to the assumptive stuff.

    From outside the box, when you objectively break it into two piles like that, you quickly see that the discord isn’t in the data. For the most part, the work is good. What data there is, is sound. The discord is in the opinions, and speculations, of the researchers. Some of whom seem like blind scholars studying an elephant they can’t even imagine. And the elephant is in the room with them. The question becomes: What’s with the blinders?

    Early on, I noticed a common, and frustrating, pattern to many answers when I would ask a question about an anomalous landform. I would be asking for empirical information, and instead, I would get something like, “Well, most geologists agree that_____”, or words to that effect. That’s the point where my compulsive curiosity would kick in with the question: Why? Show me the data.

    Questioning every geophysical assumption like that always takes me down a rabbit hole of inter-assumptive reasoning. If we follow the chain of unquestioned assumptions, earlier-similar, to earlier-similar, we always come to the foundation assumption that; ‘The present is the key to the past’. In this case, it very clearly isn’t.

    We have the burned bones of the corpses of extinct species, along with volumes of other data, that tell us that the worst natural catastrophe in 65 million years happened only a few thousand years ago. And we have no hope of ever understanding just exactly what happened, if our thinking is founded on the assumptive belief that catastrophic events of such magnitude cannot happen at all.

    My questions to all of the authors of this thread, on both sides of the debate are: How deeply invested are your thoughts, careers, and the science you do, in the unquestioned assumption that the standard 19th century uniformitarian model is correct?

    What if it isn’t?

  • Steve Garcia

    I feel your pain. I hear you asking for replies from the scientists here, not the other self-taught folks. I hope you don’t mind me pitching in with a “Hear! Hear!”

    In general, what you are experiencing is similar to what goes on in several of the sciences touched by uniformitarianism. It is amazing how that single idea – “Only processes observed in the present will be allowed consideration in our discussions.”

    It is, of course, true that in normal times what happens in front of us every day – or can be seen to be acting as we watch/measure – should be the normal basis for our thinking. Yet “modern times” are not always the same; they do not all have the same overriding issues to deal with.

    One of the main issues of the mid-1800s was the religious folks and Noah’s Flood. I don’t need to say more about that; we all know about that issue. But it does go deeper than that. It wasn’t just necessary to WIN that argument, not for the scientists – then or for many decades on into their future. We do tend to overlook how religion permeated every corner of life at that time. Scientist were shackled by it at every turn – almost having to ask permission to present their arguments if those papers stepped on clerical feet. In the end, they had to try to trample religion – to make sure that it was dead for good.

    In our times, we tend to think that, yes, they did win. Yes, science DID bury religion.

    But in their hyperventilating about it, they framed everything in terms of a paradigm which excluded REAL facts. Where those facts disagreed with the anti-religious “REAL” science – or where those facts threatened to sound like Noah’s Flood – scientists pulled out their viciousness and trampled on facts, not just religion.

    It is not going to change any time soon, not any more easily than the Clovis barrier came down. As long as the established paradigm has breath in it, they will take pot shots at the Y-D Impact Event.

    Since the opinions of so many brilliant, and learned, people seem to be completely at odds, an outsider is forced to read every paper with a critical eye to what the individual researcher has demonstrated as empirical fact, and what is speculation, or merely assumed. And all will agree that there is much assumption in the Earth sciences. And precious little empirical data. There is also a distinct pattern to the assumptive stuff.

    From outside the box, when you objectively break it into two piles like that, you quickly see that the discord isn’t in the data. For the most part, the work is good. What data there is, is sound. The discord is in the opinions, and speculations, of the researchers. Some of whom seem like blind scholars studying an elephant they can’t even imagine. And the elephant is in the room with them. The question becomes: What’s with the blinders?

    I tend to classify sciences into a variety of levels, with the hard sciences that can run experiments in labs at the top and fields like archeology, paleontology and psychology at the bottom. That comes from over 40 years of observations and a LOT of reading and absorbing – and, like you, witnessing a lot of “assumptive stuff” and speculation, in several fields. But geology and astronomy are ones fairly far down my list, too. It is hard to run experiments when your field is literally across the galaxy or a few million years in the past. I don’t deny that they are doing the best they can. But like you, I have seen that they do it with one eye looking behind them, wondering if they are going to get yelled at, and with their ear to the ground, wondering if they, like religion, were going to get trampled in the stampede of anti-heretical attack dogs.

    Early on, I noticed a common, and frustrating, pattern to many answers when I would ask a question about an anomalous landform. I would be asking for empirical information, and instead, I would get something like, “Well, most geologists agree that_____”, or words to that effect.

    Science is REALLY big on consensus. They sometimes put on airs about how individualistic it all is – how there is all this infighting among themselves for ascendancy of their differing hypotheses. But most of the time it is like arguing over the difference in shades of blue. Other colors aren’t welcome in the mix. It seems to be a really cloistered and blindered ivory tower they all inhabit. I agree. Stepping on toes is not allowed in them – especially the interpretive sciences (which are the ones I have way down my list). It is not dissimilar to the Olympics, where most events are timed or measured directly, and outside of breaking rules, the fastest, highest or farthest wins – but then there are the events that are judged. Many observers would just as soon those events not even BE in the Olympics, because subjectivity is KNOWN to rule the judges. They even have to have scoring rules that compensate for biases and subjectivity – and downright errors by judges.

    In fields like astronomy, geology, srchaeology and paleontology there are biases galor. Once entrenched, a principle is REALLY hard to overcome. The Y-D Impact Event scientists are facing that, and they are doing a really good job of it. It reminds me of the Dillehay group down at Monte Verde, who took TWENTY years before they invited other arkies to see what they had. Evidently, they knew EXACTLY what they were up against. More than a few arkies lost funding when butting heads with the Clovis barrier.

    Firestone and Kennett et al, they didn’t follow that slow, gradualism approach to their subject matter. And they are suffering the slings and arrows because of that “impatience,” if I may tease them a bit.

    But I am damned glad they’ve done it this way. 20 years to wait is a LONG time, and I am not getting any younger. I want to see what they find, and I am enjoying the slugfest.

    That’s the point where my compulsive curiosity would kick in with the question: Why? Show me the data.

    Hey, all they have to do is pop in a few links to papers.

    Questioning every geophysical assumption like that always takes me down a rabbit hole of inter-assumptive reasoning. If we follow the chain of unquestioned assumptions, earlier-similar, to earlier-similar, we always come to the foundation assumption that; ‘The present is the key to the past’. In this case, it very clearly isn’t./blockquote>

    Science doesn’t admit new ideas readily. Everyone laughs at most of those in the 1800s at their quaint, pedestrian and simplistic concepts. So much of what they concluded then in geology and archeology is still with us, though. They had their revolution, which gained them seemingly limitless time within which to explain everything. It was an easy blow-off of any new evidence – “Well, with enough time, erosion or weathering or subsidence or swamps will turn anything into what we see today.” That general answer was their catch-all.

    But since then, with Tunguska, with rocks that really DO fall out of the sky, with Gene Shoemaker, thank God we don’t still have people telling us Barringer isn’t volcanic. Oh, did I use the Lord’s name in vain there? Throw ME out! And SL-9 was the seminal event of a lifetime. They had to finally admit that comets DO hit planets.

    The present is just the first semester of a long and arduous education about what has actually happened – punctuating the gradualism and uniformitarianism. No, they don’t happen often – but when they DO, nasty things happen to the life forms on Earth.

    Now, is THIS the actual event that Firestone et al think it is? Well, with all the evidence suggesting that it IS, of course they should be teasing out the premise and searching for evidence. And it is altogether correct for others to be challenging them on it. If it is sound science, that will prove out.

    We have the burned bones of the corpses of extinct species, along with volumes of other data, that tell us that the worst natural catastrophe in 65 million years happened only a few thousand years ago. And we have no hope of ever understanding just exactly what happened, if our thinking is founded on the assumptive belief that catastrophic events of such magnitude cannot happen at all.

    Be glad you are witnessing this happening. I am. Even though bit of it does go over my head, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

    As to the general uniformitarian POV, it never WAS correct. Even the ice ages — the evidence they point at presently as evidence for glaciers everywhere are the same facts that prior to the 1840s were interpreted as evidence of Noah’s Flood. Meaning that the evidence can be read both ways. There are serious, serious flaws in the interpretation of ice ages. Louis Agassiz was studying the Swiss glaciers right at the end of the Little Ice Age, when the glaciers were at their peak. There had been about 450 years of very cold climate, and the concept of an ice age was not that tough of a sell.

    Coal formation? Oil formation? There are other explanations – ones that don’t get into the text books.

    Once ONE Holocene event passes muster, then uniformitarianism will need to be seriously modified – or discarded.

  • Be glad you are witnessing this happening. I am. Even though bit of it does go over my head, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

    Actually, I am having the time of my life. But this whole thing brings more to light than just the unrecoverable flaws of the uniformitarian model. It also shines a light on the failings of the whole peer review system.

    I have to confess to being a bit hypocritical on that point though. As anyone whose followed this from Clube & Napier’s work in the ’80s knows, there is a minefield of crackpot catastrophe theories out there. And the only way for an independent researcher to make any sense of it all, is to stick to refereed literature. And never mind the popular press.

    But even that doesn’t quite work as well as it should. Because somewhere along the line the peer review system ceased to be about verification as empirical fact. And has become something else. So that well done works are commonly denied publishing on the basis of whether or not they agree with the standard view. Truth often has nothing to do with it. And any work which threatens to completely overturn the standard view on any given subject has almost no chance of getting published. Revelation of new, empirical fact often seems to take second place to maintaining a “standard model”, or status quo.

    But the Internet is a way to make up for that. For example, I’ve cataloged hundreds of structures in the American southwest that indicate that, while his orbital dynamics don’t fit the Taurid complex. (We can’t get an icy moon of one of the gas giants as the point of origin for the Taurid progenitor.) It can be shown that E.M. Drobyshevski’s theories about the explosive chemistry of icy bodies still hold up. And there are quite literally too many of the non-standard, two bowl craters he describes to count, in west Texas, and New Mexico.

    I may not live long enough to see any of it in refereed literature. But I can make the data, and galleries of image maps freely available online. This might be the best way anyway. Since we are talking about an event more violent than anything ever imagined before, much less studied, there are no words in any language to properly describe much of what I see. But I’ve found that the old, and simple, tried and true, primate method of point, and grunt, seems to be working pretty good.

    So I’ve decided to simply put everything I find online. And to the let the whole world do the peer review part. I hope I’m not being too naïve in hoping that the truth only needs to be brought out into the light in order to flourish.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Unfortunately, Dennis, when Dr. Peiser took the Cambridge Conference over to Global Warming Scepticism, we lost our immediate peer review system. And with Eugene Shoemaker’s death, we lost a lot of our focus and funding through the USGS.

    Fortunately, we now have the Tusk.
    A Planetary Protection Office will be set up soon, and reviewing the impact history of the Earth may provide a focus and funding.

    My thinking is that if there had of been more money available, many who were trying to verify Firestone et al’s data would have been properly trained, and not have made gross mistakes in their sampling techniques.

  • Hi Ed,

    The thing that will bolster the impact theory more than anything else is verifiable planetary scarring. The rock specimens that will do that, are already in the hands of qualified researchers.

    It’s only a question of getting the proper tests run.

    At the present time, if you find a location where the surface has been flash melted, and blown around, by an airburst event, you are going to run into uniformitarian assumptive reasoning right from the gate. Because geologists of the past assumed without question that only terrestrial volcanism can melt the rocks of the Earth.

    As a result, everywhere you find formations of airburst melt, they will have long since been mis-defined as volcanogenic. And if we ask where’s the vent? we typically hear something like, “It could take generations to to find the volcanic vent, and magma chambers those materials came from”. Or words to that effect. Or that “such materials typically cover the vent they came from.

    Balderdash! Flood basalts yes. Such lava flows slowly. But ‘Tuff’ doesn’t. Any materials produced in an explosive eruption, and emplaced in a pyroclastic flow, had to have left the vent at hundreds of miles per hour. To cover the vent they came from, they’d have to turn around, and come back. Howzat?

    From ground level, a pyroclastic density current of airburst melt is indistinguishable from ordinary volcanic tuff. But the motive force for a volcanic density current is gravity pulling the high velocity materials down a slope. It doesn’t work on flat ground.

    There is no provision in the standard model for it. But the motive force for airburst melt is atmospheric pressure, pushing the geo-ablative melt from behind, like the froth, and foam, on a storm tossed beach. In both cases the materials are in atmospheric suspension while in motion. And the differences in motive force result in distinctly different forms in the patterns of movement, and flow. And those patterns of movement become frozen in time at the moment of emplacement.

    The truth becomes written in stone.

    This means that we can scope out geologically young airburst melt in good satellite imagery with a very high degree of confidence. The final test has to be in the chemistry though. And it is going to be something our Grandparents would never have thought to test for. The key here is going to be in the isotopes. And Horton Newsom, at UNM assures me that “a siderophile element enrichment (Ni, Co, Cr, etc.) will be an important piece of evidence supporting an air burst origin”.

    But, while we are looking at the isotopic mix, we need to get a better handle on the Geo-chronology. Much of our assumptions in that area are due to using observed erosion rates in our estimates. No geologist of the past could have imagined such a thing as a geo-ablative airburst storm that can melt, and ablate, a terrain like wax under a high pressure blowtorch. Nor could they ever have imagined that such an event can produce more mass movement in seconds than normal hydrologic forces of weather could in many millions of yeas. With the unfortunate result that some of the youngest terrains on the continent are assumed to be the oldest.

    If the state of the science of geochronology is expressed by the USGS then consider this:

    I tried to download the USGS’s geo-chronological database. What I got was a huge spreadsheet, in MS Excel format, that you could printout, and cover a wall with. And with more than 90% of the cells left empty. To explain the empty cells, they included a disclaimer that none of the “anomalous” data had been included in the database. They didn’t include any explanation of what they consider anomalous, or why. And without free access to the whole dataset, warts, and all, I remain to be convinced of the validity of any of it.

    And there are no entries for anywhere on the continent in the ‘Age Since Melt’ column.

    I am told that they only test the K/Ar ratio if an impact event is suspected. That a “full suite of impact markers” should first be presented. And that test would not be reliable if the specimen is more than 30,000 or 40,000 years old. So it is rarely done.

    In the geophysical world according to me, if a specimen came from central Mexico, the American southwest, or the Great Lakes region, and your eyes, and instincts, tell you it was recently melted, or burnt, never mind what your Grandpa thought; it probably was. Detailed isotopic analysis, and age since melt, should be the first tests you do. Especially if the material is in pristine, unweathered, condition on the surface, and you’re having a hard time identifying a volcanic system to take the blame.

  • E.P. Grondine

    “The only question is getting proper tests run on it”

    Hi Dennis –

    Like I said before, since Eugene Shoemaker’s passing, USGS impact research has lacked a focus and funding.

    There may be only one question for you, but there are many more questions than one for others here.

    Some of us have been waiting for more than 5 years for the USGS cores from the Carolinas.

    I will close this little note by mentioning again that the scale of the hypothesized impact you investigating is far larger than that for the YD as remembered by the First Peoples, and does not agree with their apparent survivals.

    IMO, you are working with a previously unsuspected impact, but hopefully we’ll learn for certain soon. My guess is that the same holds true for the Carolina Bays and mid-west bays and the hypothesized Saginaw impact.

    Watch out and make certain not to elide unrelated impacts

  • Hi Ed,

    If we can ever get the chemistry, and geo-chronology untangled, we should see that the Taurid airburst storms have been a reoccurring disaster for millennia since the main event. And that multiple airburst, geo-ablative impact storms are the common rule. Not the exception. They have happened many times, all over the world. And the Taurids aren’t through with us.

    I think you have a better handle on the oral traditions of America’s first peoples than anyone alive. But the better I understand the nature of the energies, and geomorphology of these events, the more I think the oral traditions are all from people who were a safe distance away, well over the horizon.

    They describe the objects flying over head like the gods are throwing thunderbolts. And they describe the after effects. But we don’t hear any accounts of anyone being blinded, or roasted alive by the flash of light. In those oral traditions of the first peoples, I don’t hear any mention of the radiant flash. Although, I can show you numerous glacial ridges flash melted, and blown over to the north, and northwest. Like sheets, and runnels, of melted wax on the side of a candle. Along with compelling evidence that the glaciers among those ridges were evaporated instantly. We hear rock described as “red hot”. But that’s only 700 to 900 degrees F. The atmospheric conditions that got them that hot would have been thousands of degrees, not just hundreds. There are many mountain ranges in Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado which did get their tops blown off like that recently by airburst storms. But thanks to the energies involved, watching such a geo-ablative airburst first hand, without eye protection, will have the same consequences for your eyes as watching a very large nuclear blast. The retinal damage will be total, and permanent. If you live, you will spend the rest of your life talking about the last thing you ever saw.

    So in those survivor stories we don’t really hear any eye witness accounts of an airburst of sufficient power to blow the top off a mountain. Only the accounts of people who went into an area soon after the event, and recognized the geologic changes. The oral accounts still hold up. But not as direct eye witness accounts.

    And if those oral traditions go all the way back to before the ‘main event’ 12,900 YA, and the original tellers were makers of Clovis points, Why did they change to a completely different flint knapping technology? And why don’t any of those stories describe the switch? Or the cultural, or technological, imperative to do so?

  • E.P. Grondine

    Yes Dennis, only battle survivors write war stories. The dead tell no tales.

    Thus the distribution of impact survivors must limit the YD blasts. We know of survivors in upstate NY, and at Big Bone Lick south of Cincinatti for example.

    The geological data of the event you’re investigating would seem to preclude those survivals, even at those distances. That’s why I think you are dealing with data from a far earlier event.

    I can’t comment fully on meso-american survivors yet, but it appears they existed as well.

    My guess as far as the switch from Clovis tech, the game changed. The peoples do tell us about the disappearance of species, though it is very difficult to sort those accounts out from their explanations for fossils. As it takes time to knap Clovis, if it was not needed, other less time consuming point tech may have been used instead.

  • How are you defining ‘survivors’, when we can’t even say yet with certainty who the victims were?

    A healthy human can walk from one side of this continent to the other in a single year. As for time it takes for resettling on foot; my great, great, great grandfather did so, over the Oregon trail, with a pregnant wife, and 8 kids in tow. A human family could easily move from anywhere in the areas of survivability into the most blasted areas of the total extinction zones in a single season. Especially a family of the most successful hunter-gathers since primates first came down out of the trees.

    I have yet to hear anyone who can convincingly nail down the geochronology to a resolution of better than +/- 100 years. So I don’t see enough resolution in the archeological data, or the geochronology, to believe that anyone can tell the whether chief Farts-In-His-Tent actually survived an impact storm with a little singed hair, or was just the first person to hike back into an area with his family and find the ashes, and roasted remains of the former inhabitants.

    The world is only now starting to wake up to the realization that airburst events can, and commonly do, produce significant planetary scarring. And the first specimens of actual airburst melt are only now finding their way into labs that are capable of wringing the truth out of them. We do have the technology to define an accurate set of marker criteria to differentiate between airburst melt, and its volcanogenic cousin. And I am no longer the only one reading the blast effected materials of the impact zones. There are others on the trail now much better qualified to study those materials than I am.

    The empirical truth is written in stone, in intricate detail, in the isotope mix, detailed chemistry, and emplacement motions, of the easily identifiable blast effected materials of the event. That’s where the final word is. It’s in the rocks of the actual impact zones, and quantifiable data. And not where we think ‘survivors’ may have been.

    Over the next decade, the mystery of the Younger Dryas impact storms, their chronology, and most of the details will be almost completely worked out. And when the whole world has come to understand exactly what happened, it will be a testament to the resiliency of life itself that the final remaining mystery will be how anything at all could possibly have survived in North America.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi Dennis –

    You’ve got it, but just a little skewed. The survivors have to survive the impact event first.
    Geochronology of 100 years should be adequate to determine if your features are YD related or related to another event. Glad to hear that there are more people working on impact geology, and I hope they get sufficient funding. My current working guess is that your formation is related to an event other than the YD, and the Bays are related to the separate Saginaw event. But I have been wrong before, and retain the right to be wrong both now and in the future. That is simply my best esttimate.

    The YD victims are roughly defined by quarry abandonment, and reduced tool production.

    For later repopulations, there has to be a viable ecology producing food, and enough population pressure in the original refuges to encourage movement away to the newly inhabitable niches. Or the original refuges become uninhabitable due to climate change.

    The eastern peoples did not generally fart in tents; they farted in wikewa, very easily constructed bark shelters. The name of a chief would most likely have reflected his clan status, such as “Farts like Buffalo” or “Farts like Water Panther”.

  • Steve Garcia

    Dennis –

    Just beginning to catch up on your exchange with Ed here, and one thing you said took my head to something that is probably not related. (I will give it maybe a 2% possibility…)

    …At the present time, if you find a location where the surface has been flash melted, and blown around, by an airburst event…

    This brings to mind the vitrified forts of Scotland (also Germany, France and Czech) which have no known explanation and a lot of half-bake ideas, one of which is that it was done by fires in ). Even at Urquhart Castle, the commonly photographed castle on Loch Ness, is built on the site of an earlier fort that was vitrified.

    … Well I was GOING to point at these and laugh at the possible similarities. Then I did a basic Wikipedia/Google Earth look-see.

    Dennis, you are going to want to see these, if you don’t already know about them.

    They look for all the world like smaller versions of your ignimbrite site at Benavides. Those I could get clear images of have the same alignment. In this case it is SW-SE.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/33314128@N06/5063471268/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/33314128@N06/5062861359/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/33314128@N06/5063471916/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/33314128@N06/5062862101/

    I may or may not have found something for you. And I may or may not have – with you – come up with a possible explanation for the “vitrified forts” of Europe.

    The one thing about these is the fact that at least some of them show stone construction. At least that is the reports as I know them. But they are done without mortar, so there is at least SOME chance that the stone was vitrified and cracked as well. On that point I can only speculate without seeing them.

    Take a look at these images and see what you think. The first one I opened was the one at Cowdenknowes, and I immediately saw a similarity with Benavides.

    My impression is that the force of the burst was not straight down (like Benavides seems to be), but was directed toward the NE. I can imagine a flow of the molten rock. It would be good to see the site, to observe if the vitrification has a horizontal component to the melt.

    I may be jumping the gun on this, but it LOOKS related.

  • Great to get a perspective of the issues from the non believers. I have difficulty with much of what Dr. Holliday has to say, but perhaps that is my bias. I believe that the work done by Dr. Firestone, Dr. Kennett and Dr. West and the twenty three other scientists that wrote the original paper will be proven as correct. Even though these things take time, it will happen. Consider the case of Dr. Harlan Bretz who had to wait nearly forty years until the Eastern Washington Scablands were shown as explained by most of his ideas. The problem I have is: why the other main theory, that of the North Atlantic slowing or shutting down as cause for the Younger Dryas receives such little attention? The theory, much like Dr. Martin’s theory of Clovis man having a great deal with the demise of the Ice Age mammals should be put to rest and quickly!

  • No, requiring empirical, quantifiable, data is not skewed thinking at all. The impact zones can be positively identified with absolute certainty. It not a case of them being difficult to detect. The blast effected materials of the event are only a few thousand years old. They are only difficult to accept, and acknowledge. And only then if your thinking is still stuck in the 19th century assumption that major geologic catastrophes don’t happen.

    The problem has been that the nature of the event, and the level of devastation was inconceivable until SL-9 gave us a wakeup call. The idea that impact events of such magnitude could happen at all was not even considered until then. And folks are still struggling with the idea that airbursts are capable of producing significant geomorphology. But once you toss the outdated, and worthless, 19th century, uniformitarian assumptive geophysical model, and start your critical thinking from square one, assuming nothing, and questioning everything, it’s not hard to work out what happened at all. The problem is one of a failed, time worn, assumptive, model, not failed scientists. The impact zones are in pristine condition after less than thirteen thousand years. Given an appropriately catastrophic model to work from, It’s not even a difficult problem. We already have the science to work out exactly what happened in a very short time.

    Exactly ‘when’ it happened remains a little problematic but ‘what’ happened does not need to remain a mystery.

    +/- 100 years is not enough resolution to make the call of whether, or not any given location was continuously occupied before, during, and after, the events of the YD. A hiatus in human activity could last a generation, and the gap would be impossible to detect. And no one can say they can map the movements of human populations that far back with enough resolution to figure out who were ‘survivors’ (no one in the impact zones), who were only witnesses from a survivable distance, or who were replacement populations.

    The actual impact zones, the isotopes, petrology, geochemistry, and the measurable levels of devastation at those places will tell us where people could have survived. not the other way around. And surmising where we think people were that may have survived the event is not how we will identify, or define, the impact zones.

    Archeology, or Mythology, are not the scientific disciplines with the precision tools to figure this one out. All they provide are clues.

  • Steve Garcia

    @Dennis Cox October 6th, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Ed,

    I think you have a better handle on the oral traditions of America’s first peoples than anyone alive.

    Hahahaha – I give Ed a lot of grief over this kind of stuff. Velikovsky was (at least among) the first to read indigenous accounts of events in the sky and taking them at face value. Ed disregards Velikovsky as an idiot, yet when I asked Ed what he thought of this and that in Velikovsky’s books, Ed told me he had never read them. He says that he doesn’t have to, since he’s heard all about it all from Leroy Ellenberger. I don’t accept that.

    Velikovsky led the way in interdisciplinary efforts to understand the past. He came up with wrong answers, but when we look at what was fully accepted as fact in 1950, when Worlds in Collision came out, a whole LOT of other people were wrong about a whole LOT of things.

    For one thing, it was not until Gene Shoemaker that they even accepted Barringer as an impact. How STUPID could they be?

    Velikovsky was not the only one who made mistakes in interpreting what happened and when. The first one rarely gets it right. (And don’t forget that Einstein thought his work was pretty solid. Velikovsky was, after all at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Studies, and VERY few people ever qualify to be there. With three doctorates, I can’t imagine why anyone would ever want him around. Velikovsky’s book was on Einstein’s desk – OPEN – when he died.)

    Geologists, archeologists and astronomers owe a lot to Velikovsky for having the balls to cross lines and to actually listen to the voices of the past. NO ONE did that then; indigenous people were just a bunch of mumbo-jumbo believers who were scared of their sahdows and who thought the planets were gods, after all.

    Catastrophism is far ahead because of Velikovsky’s work. People are stealing his ideas and methods left and right, and none of them DARES to admit it or credit him. To do so might end their careers. Shoemaker-Levy 9 showed them that catastrophes DO happen in historical times. If the Internet existed in 1950, this entire web site CosmicTusk.com would have been laughed out of town.

    I don’t think Venus or Mars was whizzing around near the Earth’s orbit. But something sure as hell was happening. Velikovsky took a stab at it.

    People are still taking stabs at it. But it took a half a century. It ain’t easy being ahead of your time.

    It may be a long time before we can fully understand what happened in the pre-historical and historical past. But at least we are listening to the past – finally.

  • I tried to read Velikovsky’s Worlds In Collision. I couldn’t get past the introduction before my balderdash alarms started going off.

    If he deserves any credit for the state of things today, it isn’t for being even close to the truth. it is for the questions that were raised in the process of showing that he was full of crap. And he has had no influence on my thinking. As I see it, he wasn’t the first to question uniformitarian thought either.

    Harlan Bretz gets that credit for showing the right way to go about it, not Velikovsky. Bretz started with the ground, and mass movement. He knew that he could state as empirical fact that a given rock had been moved from its original location. Every rock that he could see had moved was one of his empirical facts. He new that the sum total of all of those mass movements could be used to accurately describe a major catastrophe in minute detail. And he didn’t give a damn for assumptive uniformitarianism. The foundation of his thinking was based on those empirical facts of observable mass movement.

    Velikovsky had it too good, he sold a lot of books in spite of his glaring errors. His critics were right. He was full of crap. But he was swimming in publicity. People were buying his book for no other reason than to see what all the fuss was about.

    Harlan Bretz on the other hand, was exactly right. But he went up against the high priests of the church of the grand uniformitarian confabulation, and he lost. His punishment was much more brutal. They simply ignored, and forgot him for forty years. When he was told that his theory had been confirmed he is said to have remarked that his only regret was that he had outlived all his detractors, and couldn’t gloat properly.

    As for me, my thinking is also founded on observable mass movement. But being semi retired, and poor as a church mouse, gives me a certain freedom that Bretz didn’t enjoy. I have no funding to loose. I have no concern for the consequences of those observations to the uniformitarian confabulation. And thanks to the internet, I have no intention of being ignored, or forgotten.

  • E.P. Grondine

    “Archeology, or Mythology, are not the scientific disciplines with the precision tools to figure this one out. All they provide are clues.”

    Right. And when you have limited resources, you use what clues you can cheaply get to limit the expensive search. Frankly, I found it amazing that any memory survived 13,000 years.

    That said, mt DNA distributions are useful for tracking population movements.

    And impacts explain a lot of “mythology”. And they can be used to date oral proto-histories.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi Rod –

    “The problem I have is: why the other main theory, that of the North Atlantic slowing or shutting down as cause for the Younger Dryas receives such little attention?”

    Probably because the North Pacific very-paleo climate data set is so weak.

    One reason for that may be the petroleum deposits in the region.

    I suppose we’ll have to wait for cores from there as well. Is there any good location for ice cores?

  • Ed Grondine said,

    And impacts explain a lot of “mythology”. And they can be used to date oral proto-histories.

    Hi Ed

    You are exactly right. And it wasn’t my intent to devalue anyone’s work. Since the blast effected materials of the event are only a few thousand years old, it is going to be possible to work out the mass movements, and geomorphology, to the same level of detail as the mass movements in the ‘Channeled Scablands’, of eastern Washington, that were caused by the mega-floods from glacial lake Missoula. In other words, we have the tools to work out exactly what happened to the ground in the impact zones, and in extraordinary detail. But for all the geologic detail that can be achieved, it’s still only part of the story.

    I can take radar data, and make a digital elevation map that is accurate to a meter per pixel. I can even plug ground penetrating radar, seismic, and aeromagnetic data into it for a 3d image of the geomorphology. But without colors in the image, it’s only a cold, and sterile simulation. I can show how to map the mass movements in the impact zones at such a level of detail that a map of the impact zones can be read like a dance chart.

    When we add the mega-faunal extinctions into the drama, our picture begins to take on life, and color. And understanding which habitats were only damaged, which were completely sterilized, and which areas on the continent were survivable, will go a long way to clearing up questions of why some species made it through, and others didn’t. But without the human element, that story remains just as sterile.

    But perhaps the most significant questions that will remain after we have worked out all those geomorphological, and zoological, details are the human ones. The impact storms of the Taurids weren’t just disasters of biblical proportions. Those impact storms, and their after effects, were the very catastrophes our ancestors remembered. Those weren’t just children’s bedtime stories, or religious myth. Mega-floods, and 40 days, and 40 nights of torrential rains over an entire hemisphere are an expected consequence of instantly evaporating a few thousand cubic miles of water, or ice directly into the atmosphere.

    I’ve been privileged to witness two fairly large fireballs in my lifetime. (both of them during Taurid meteor showers) One of them in ’79 in northern B.C flew all the way across the sky in about 5 or 6 seconds, before disappearing over the horizon. And it dipped down low enough into the atmosphere we heard some of the sonic booms from fragments as it broke up.

    If I were to try to describe it to someone who had never conceived of the spectacle of a very fast meteor breaking up in the atmosphere, I would be completely at a loss for words. My discription would be reduced to metaphor. And a few thousand years ago, it might go something like this: Imagine a large, horse drawn, chariot filled with flammable materials. Now imagine lighting the chariot on fire, and smacking the horses on the butt at the same time. As the panicking horses drag the blazing chariot in the wind, you begin to get some idea what that thing looked like. The picture becomes complete when you imagine that blazing chariot being pulled across the sky.

    The thing is, even though I knew exactly what that thing was, it remains the single most astounding thing I have ever seen. Today, we all know what those things are. I can only imagine the profound effect something like that would have on someone a few thousand years ago.

    When we look at those legends from the realization that they are metaphorical descriptions of actual events, they can tell us much about what life was like back then.

    This was the quintessential human drama. The survivors who lived through those times lived through the most trying times any humans have ever faced. The Archeologists can describe the lives of those people who disappeared. They left no writing. Their stories died with them. So it’s people like you, studying the legends, and oral traditions, of the people who lived through those times, and who never quit talking about it, that give a human voice to the drama. Your work is every bit as important as anything we can dig up with a trowel.

    As for funding, I don’t see where that should remain a problem. Zahi Hawass, in Egypt demonstrates a good model for popularizing good science. His example makes it clear that good field work can make for darned interesting TV. And the success of shows like ‘Meteorite Men’ make it clear that the public can’t get enough of impact science.

    I’ve got a great big catalogue of impact structures, in some of the damnedest terrains on Earth, to get things rolling. A science reality show like that with a brand spankin’ new, undocumented, impact crater, or geo-ablative airburst structure, in every episode would probably do well. Especially if it is also doing revolutionary, paradigm shifting, science.

  • Hi Ed (and others): Ed in answer to your questions first. I do not believe there is anywhere in the North Pacific nor its surrounding able to provid anything approaching the Greenland proxy. There are of course glaciers on the very high mountains, such as Mt. Logan etc., but I do not think they are appropriate for what is being investigated here. Secondly, you are correct of course, there is just not the amount of work done in the North Pacific that has been done in the North Atlantic. This is not that surprising really. Though a lot of moderation to the west coast of North America is provided by the Kuro Siwo current and also being next to such a large body of water, there has not been any association to the initiating of short-term climate shifts such as the Younger Dryas. I think that it is imperative that all the proponents pay more attention to the North Atlantic as cause for the Younger Dryas and other short-term cold intervals through the Holocene. There are just so many weakness with the North Atlantic shutdown hypothesis. Dr. Carl Wunsch, a prominent oceanographer, has questioned the too widely accepted idea of the thermohaline circulation and its perceived role in initiating climate change. Among the problems with the theory are: 1) The climate changes taking place at the the beginning of the Younger Dryas stadial, apart form being so very rapid (not likely then ocean induced), are much too extensive to be caused by such a limited area of the globe as the North Atlantic). 2) The basis of the whole premise of ocean circulation slowing or cessation is based upon a number of marine ocean cores that are fraught with problems. This limits there being time constrained adequately. Also, the conclusions rendered are based upon the marine cores being in areas where the desired deep water picture is not at all clear. 3) And too, after many years of searching and trying to fit the adequate amount of freshwater to the whole scenario of slowng of ocean circulation as induced by a freshwater cap, the search has been unsuccessful. 4)Finally, the other most obvious problem, concerns the two so called radionuclides (indicating increases in the cosmic flux that can be due to ocean circulation slowing or cessation, or alternatively can be the result of production in the Earth’s atmosphere; this because of decreases in incoming radiation (for whatever reason.) The increases are simply too large to be the result of ocean circulation interruption. Add to this the thus far unexplained gradual decrease in carbon 14 and beryllium 10 decreases part way through the Younger Dryas, and you have another problem. I do think by empasizing the shortcomings of the North Atlantic ocean circluation theory there will be greater acceptance forthcoming for the cosmic theory as discussed here.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi Dennis, Rod –

    Dennis, while NOVA did well with its Greenland ice core special, I think you are being too optimistic about the pace of advances in impact geology. Consider the state of studies of even the largest impact structures some 30 years after the Alvarez’s work. It is more likely that the spread will be slow at first, as techniques become more widespread. Consider the current state of sampling the YD strata, for example. Gradually, smaller impacts will become a part of standard geology.

    I can no longer do the kind of detailed analysis your structure would require, but please estimate the IR burning and blinding zones and blast death zone (1.8 or 1.6 atmospheres) for your hypothesis.

    I think you’re dealing with an earlier impact.

    Rod, timing the MacKenzie River outflows are the key. Dennis says they can be done to 100 years accuracy, and with 14C that should be possible. The Canadian and Provincial Governments have shown leadership in impact studies, and I hope it will continue.

    Climate is a global system, and until that North Pacific data comes in, we won’t have any way of narrowing the hypothesis.

  • M. Edwards

    E.P. Grondine writes:

    “Consider the state of studies of even the largest impact structures some 30 years after the Alvarez’s work.”

    What do you (or others) consider to be the best near term studies that could be done to accelerate the understanding of this period of the Earth’s history? Thirty years is a long time to wait.

  • Hermann Burchard

    Rod, Ed,
    the North Atlantic slowing down i.e. thermo-haline circulation theory (?) has always set off my balderdash alarm, to quote Dennis Cox (Velikovianism seemed to me as it did to him). This relates to both of Benny Peiser’s interests, climate & catastrophism, and there was quite a discussion of this topic on CCNet: Empirical buoy data about slowing of N Atlantic gyre were proven faulty or misinterpreted. But the main point of critique is the gyre results from Earth polar axis spin, drawing on and sapping it of its angular kinetic or rotational energy, by equatorial current and trade winds pushing water into the Caribean Sea, bound to exit through the Florida Strait. The N Pacific gyre is exactly homologous, with the Japan current going North and the Alaska current South, chilling Californians. My immigrant English is poor, but would it be Ok to say that the thermo-haline theory was a cock-eyed idea from the start because the guys promoting it consistently ignored the energy transfer from Earth’s angular kinetic energy? The heat transfer by Gulf Stream to Europe is an entirely separate issue probably depending as it does on how warm the Gulf of Mexico gets. It was pointed out this refers to surface waters as the deep Gulf is cold. The Gulf was cooler in 2010 than in 2009 (consult NOAA data).

  • 30 years is way too long to wait. I, for one, have no intention of doing so. Geologically speaking, it’s not a tough problem folks. It’s only been a few thousand years. And the geomorphology of the event is still exposed, undisturbed, on the surface. The problem with recognizing the airburst geomorphology of the event, is with a failed, 19th century uniformitarian geophysical model that’s gone unquestioned for far too long.

    I know Ed thinks I’m looking at an older event. He may be right. I have no confidence in the state of the science of geochronology. I am content to work out what happens to the ground in one of these events, leaving the question of when it happened to others. But for the record, the materials I am studying come in an almost endless variety. What they all have in common, is that they are all in perfectly pristine condition, undisturbed, and on the surface. Whatever else these blast effected materials are, geologically old, they ain’t.

    And since I can’t figure out how anything in Central Mexico, Southwest Texas, or the Great Lakes region could have survived, I really like it for a prime suspect, in the megafaunal extinctions.

    If academia chooses to drag their feet for so long, chasing butterflies, comparing notes, and and exhausting every conceivable non-catastrophic, uniformitarian assumptive possibility, before simply looking at the ground, and recognizing that the pristine blast effected materials of the event are right under their feet, they will find me waiting at the finish line, happily saying, ‘I told you so!’

    Sometimes I get reminded of the Wizard of Oz, frantically trying to cover himself while shouting into the microphone “Pay no attention to the old man behind the curtain!” But Toto just won’t go away.

    It was no empty boast when I said I’d like to present a new, undocumented crater a week. If I leave out the geo-ablative airburst structures, and melt, and I concentrate on just the normal craters, there are more than 200 in that catalogue averaging the size of the Odessa crater, in Texas.

    No bluff, no boast, somebody might want to check me on that.

    Empirical demonstrable facts:

    Airburst events come in all sizes. And they can happen at any altitude. Large ones are much more common than has been assumed. Multiple airburst events are the rule, not the exception.

    Large geo-ablative airburst storms can, and do, produce significant planetary scarring.

    Sir Charles Lyell was terribly, wrong. The present is not the key to the past at all. The comfortable conditions we have enjoyed on this world during “recorded history” give us no clue of how dangerous this solar system can be. But understanding what happened in the past might be the key to surviving in the future.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hello M., Hermann, Dennis –

    I’ve only been at this for 13 years, and I can only imagine how those who have been at it for 30 or more years must feel right now.

    When I started Brown and Showmaker were alive, and I thought everything would be in place within a year or two. October 15, 2010 now approaches, and I am so worn out I can not even get drunk.

    M., the most important thing they could do is send me personally large amounts of money. The larger the amount, the better.

    Joking aside, the most important thing is to get that impact mega-tsunami core data out. Why? Because some of those impacts were recent, and the denial of recent impacts is the psychological barrier that needs to be breeched, and breeched immediately.

    Psychologically, the public can handle the YD event, as it was remote at 13,000 years ago, but the Great Atlantic Impact Mega-Tsunami, at 3,000 years ago, is much too recent for them.

    Further, those cores have a record over a long period of time. Thus we’ll get some kind of handle both on the impactor flux, and significant tectonic activity.

    Second comes field studies of isotopes at known large impact craters, to find out what kind of asteroids or comet fragments hit.

    Hermann, what I’m trying to tell you is that prior to the YD event, there may not have been an Alaska current. That’s what the anthropological data is indicating, MBG (my best guess).

    Dennis, once again, you have to estimate the kill zone for each of those impacts as precisely as you can based on the surviving ground data.

    It doesn’t matter what you can demonstrate, Dennis, if A)no one can hear you or B) no one will listen to your demonstration.

  • Dennis, once again, you have to estimate the kill zone for each of those impacts as precisely as you can based on the surviving ground data.

    It doesn’t matter what you can demonstrate, Dennis, if A)no one can hear you or B) no one will listen to your demonstration.

    That’s Cassandra’s curse. She could see the truth. But she couldn’t share it.

    I’m not willing to settle for that. And if the stats on my blog page are any indicator, I don’t have to. People are listening. But more importantly, they are looking where I am pointing, with open eyes, and minds.

    But in your use of the words “each of those impacts” you’ve expressed a fundamental misconception in the distribution of the fragments. And the actual nature of the event. The misconception comes from the ‘standard’ impact model. And it’s one that almost everyone still shares. You’re still thinking from the assumption of single bolide impact. You have to think plural. Have you seen images of SW-3, or comet Linear, taken soon after their respective breakups? If you have, then you’ve a good idea of the fragment distribution, and particle density in the clusters. Except you need to scale it up. Linear, and SW-3 are just little puppies. Bring the debris streams of gravel, and ice, into the atmosphere at a low angle, and about 30 km/sec. And you begin to get the picture the distribution of the blast effected materials on the ground in the impact zones describe.

    Surviving ground data isn’t a problem. The environment is one of the most arid on Earth. After only a few thousand years, the materials are pristine. But trying to determine the kill zone for a single fragment is like trying to determine which pellet in a shotgun round was the fatal one.

    The zone of total devastation, and maximum geo-ablation, in north central Mexico, and West Texas, covers more than 50,000 square miles. And it produced well over 350,000 cubic miles of geo-ablative airburst melt. Whenever it happened, it would have left a horizon in sedimentary strata, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in 65 million years. Was it the YD event? You tell me.

  • Yes, thirty years is far too long to wait. There may well be another impact in the meanwhile. Then though there will not be much satisfaction in us telling others I told you so! I am afraid to say that some of the stick in the mud scientists are so narrow minded they will never see the light (of the comet that is). Hermann, I agree that the so called Thermohailne circulation (THC) is really an unrealistic solution that will not stand up to scrutiny much longer. Certainly there is no denying the warming in northwestern Europe is primarily the result of a huge amount of warm water moved north via various means (Gulf Stream predominately). However, as to the preceived role of a THC this will as Isaid soon be proved as false. Also E.P. There are a number of studies, most from along the coast of B.C. and California that do show the Younger Dryas as a cold event. I can if you wish provide you with references. Unlike the ENSO and other features like to Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO, I really do not think that the ocean can be looked to as the main factor in intiating the Younger Dryas and a number of other climate shifts since. “The answer my friends is blowing in the wind” or more correctly the atmosphere!

  • Hi Dennis: Yes, progress is very slow for many to see that the Younger Dryas and many other events since, are much better explained by the Victor Clube/ Bill Napier cosmic shower scenario. Perservere!

  • M. Edwards

    E.P. Grondine writes:

    “…the most important thing is to get that impact mega-tsunami core data out. Why? Because some of those impacts were recent, and the denial of recent impacts is the psychological barrier that needs to be breeched, and breeched immediately.”

    Is this core data you mention collected and awaiting publication?

    In asking about what studies would be most useful in the near term, I was thinking in terms of the debate going on as reflected by the collected email in the parent post. It seems the skeptics of impact-terminated Clovis era theory are not going to change their minds without some significant new information.

    This “black mat” layer seems key. Has there been work done to understand why it appears in some locations and not others? Is there a map showing where it is and isn’t? If the existence of the mat layer could be correlated with local topology (maybe the material was washed away from sloped areas) or local forest coverage, or basins, or distance to the theorized impact area, that would be interesting. And are there competing theories to explain the widespread coverage of such an unusual layer in the stratigraphy?

    I’ve only recently heard about this whole theory and debate, and I’m curious to hear what those involved feel ought to be the next steps.

  • Hermann Burchard

    Ed,
    the Alaska current is the same water as the Japan current, just chilled after heating up Juneau and surrounds. Both currents have been around as long as the Pacific Ocean, at least 250M yrs.

  • E.P. Grondine

    M. –

    From what local informants told me, the cores were collected in the Carolinas around 2003.

    You are right in terms of the current YD debate. (With this damned stroke I do make mistakes like that, and it is frustrating. Please forgive my typos and grammatical lapses as well.)

    Funding is need so that members of Firestone’s team can teach other archaeological teams how to identify, sample, and process the YD layer. Doing this is not a trivial task.

    We need to get a good pattern for the distribution of impactites, so that we can try to identify the locations of some of the bigger hits.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi Hermann –

    I thought that by “Alaska Current” you were referring to the flow between the Bering Straits. What I’m trying to say is that current was far less intense before the YD event.

    “Sorry about that.” E. Latela

  • George Howard

    I think this gentleman has the cores: http://core.ecu.edu/geology/riggs/home.html

    I’ll call Stan and see what he says.

  • E.P. Grondine

    M. –

    This comment form does not let me extend or correct my earlier replies, so here are my attempts at some answers to your other questions. There is no bi-continental distribution map that I am aware of.

    There are no other mechanisms except for massive impact, because of the unique markers and the combination of them. Some of the other hypothesis offered are accumulations of annual depositions of space dust (doesn’t work, particularly for Greenland) and regional wild fires during a drought (doesn’t work, as it offers no explanation of the unique space markers).

    The best explanation for the inability of other teams to find the YD impact layer is that it is quite difficult to do: it is not a trivial task, and it is going to have to be taught. 14C dating problems…

    In my own area the competing hypothesis is that the peoples’ memories of the YD are simply explanations for fossils, which does nothing to explain the extra-ordinary details so carefully remembered, nor the physical evidence of impact, nor the distributions of peoples and artifacts.

    I would like to add that the entire concept of recent impacts initially profoundly disrupts the coherency of most people’s world views. I think that the proper term here is cognitive dissonance, and if you’ve been in the field for any length of time you get used to seeing it, which does not make it any easier to deal with. As a matter of fact, dealing with it can be very frustrating, and maintaining one’s composure is very taxing when faced with irrational behaviors repeated again and again and again.

    On a personal level, people’s religious views are often shaken as they incorporate impact events into them, and that is true for people whose religion is “science” as well. For example, in the space community, those whose religion is the “gospel” of manned Mars flight have great difficulty in accepting new space priorities.

    On a professional scientific level, many people have much of their careers invested in some particular paradigms and hypothesis, and are unable handle the new data that disturbs those hypothesis and paradigms. We can look back to the demonstration of the KT impact events and see multiple examples of this.

    While ultimately the data wins, those in the impact community hope that the demonstration of the impact hazard will not involve the massive loss of lives.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi George –

    Thanks. That will be a relief if he does – I was told that the USGS took them. You know how to contact Dallas and the other members of the impact mega-tsunami team

  • M. Edwards

    E.P. Grondine writes:

    “The best explanation for the inability of other teams to find the YD impact layer is that it is quite difficult to do: it is not a trivial task, and it is going to have to be taught. 14C dating problems…”

    At sites with a “black mat” layer, it would appear to be easy. What if the theory proponents and skeptics worked together to collect samples at the same locations with exactly the same preparation, divide them up and have different labs do the expensive lab work? I’ll try to move this thread to the recent post of Vance Holliday’s thoughts.

    Is the dating of the “black mat” layers at different locations universally accepted to be the same date? And the North Carolina cores you mention, what evidence do they contain? Thanks for answering all my questions!

  • To M. Edwards: This seems like a very logical and sensible approach. But can it happen? Science has, and probably always was, very much like religion where two or more groups become so ensconced in their own beliefs that they cannot and will not work together. PROVE ME WRONG PLEASE!

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi M. –

    “At sites with a “black mat” layer, it would appear to be easy.”

    It’s not, and that’s the point. The layer is not that thick in the first place, and thin at some sites, and conforms to what was the existing YD ground level. Depth will vary as well; I’ve seen mention of using long period geiger counts to try to identify it from among the strata.

    “What if the theory proponents and skeptics worked together to collect samples at the same locations with exactly the same preparation, divide them up and have different labs do the expensive lab work?”

    That’s not a pretty good plan, in as much as the sampling technique is going to have to be taught. One major problem is that few labs actually know how to handle and prepare the samples. So that will have to be taught as well. Funding will have to be found for this.

    The situation appears to me to be similar to those of the early days of carbon dating. In sum, the work is duplicable, but those doing the work have to know exactly how.

    “Is the dating of the “black mat” layers at different locations universally accepted to be the same date?”

    The problem of neutron release (14C dating) during this time period is what involved Firestone in this problem in the first place. The calibration charts are pretty well corrected now, except for significant regional variations.

    “And the North Carolina cores you mention, what evidence do they contain?”

    staggering

  • E.P. Grondine

    That should read “That’s a pretty good plan”, instead of “That’s not a pretty good plan”.

    “Sorry about that” – E. Latela
    “f******g stroke” – E.P. Grondine

  • Steve Garcia

    Dennis, you said

    If he deserves any credit for the state of things today, it isn’t for being even close to the truth. it is for the questions that were raised in the process of showing that he was full of crap.

    That is exactly my point. He ran the gauntlet, and he got the bruises.

    If he deserves any credit for the state of things today, it isn’t for being even close to the truth. It is for the questions that were raised in the process of showing that he was full of crap. And he has had no influence on my thinking. As I see it, he wasn’t the first to question uniformitarian thought either.

    It is for the questions that were raised in the process of showing that he was full of crap.

    After saying this:

    I tried to read Velikovsky’s Worlds In Collision. I couldn’t get past the introduction before my balderdash alarms started going off

    you can’t have a valid opinion. Your opinion on something you’ve not read – what kind of opinion is that?

    I read him to the end, simply because I wanted to see what else factual he would bring in. I don’t agree with his Venus fly-by or Mars near miss, either. I thought he drew the wrong conclusions in trying to make sense of it. But like I said before, how much ELSE from 1950 has been proven wrong? 75%? Only 50%? Don’t forget, they were telling people the temperature on Venus was about 200°F. Them saying he was wrong and not acknowledging their own ignorance – the Velikovsky Affair was the darkest moment in science in the 1900s.

    But he brought in geological stuff. He brought in indigenous peoples’ accounts. He was one of the first – but, as you say, not the first – to consider that indigenous people were not idiots. He gave them credit for having brains. If you’ve read Ed’s book, he does what Velikovsky did, but Ed does it more thoroughly.

    Velikovsky also brought in electromagnetism as something to consider in astronomy. Einstein thought enough of his points to keep encouraging him. Read The Einstein-Velikovsky Correspondence at http://www.varchive.org/cor/einstein/index.htm. I am not trying to sell you on Velikovsky. I am only saying you need to inform yourself before stating an opinion.

    Toward that end, I would suggest you read “Earth In Upheaval.” That is the one with the goodies you will like. That is the first of his books I got hold of, and it gave a LOT of good catastrophic evidence, right off the bat – stuff people are all presenting to this day. Velikovsky didn’t invent any of it. But he put it together well.

    I am not a shill for Velikovsky. But don’t go putting down something you haven’t even read. That is what I told Ed, and I will say it here, too.

  • Steve Garcia

    Dennis –

    Your spiel about Bretz is all well and good. He was proven out in the end.

    You talk about him and his stones that he could point to where they came from.

    Now let’s look at the erratic boulders all over Europe and NA. Uniformitarianism doesn’t explain those, either. Boulders perched on tops of mountains, where no glaciers could have possibly put them. Glaciers, rivers of ice, reside in the bottoms of valleys, not on the crests between valleys.

    Velikovsky was one among several who pointed these out. No one to this day can explain them, except that the gradualists still point at glaciers, walk away and consider the issue solved. But, of course it is not solved.

    So now we have these rocks all over the world, and no one has yet figured it out. We don’t have an erratic boulder hero like Bretz yet. There is too much evidence for one man to look at and assess by himself. And, like Velikovsky’s, it is too complicated, compound and complex.

    Firestone et al’s work with the Y-D impact event is much more complicated than what Bretz was working with. In the scablands one man could walk them and pick out the evidence. Because it is complicated, they can’t see a clear path to a conclusion yet – not as far as the mechanisms that occurred. They are stumbling a bit, and they are getting hammered a bit on all the ones that aren’t quite supported by the evidence yet.

    The Y-D team is at least not getting ignored. They are getting treatment somewhat between Velikovsky and Bretz. They aren’t getting ignored, but they are being attacked and treated like numbskulls by sarcastic people like Holliday, although most aren’t laughing at them. At least not yet.

    It is all a continuum, from before Velikovsky, through Hapgood, through Gene Shoemaker, now including Firestone and Kennett et al. You can point at some of what has gone on and say someone didn’t get it all correct. But science is not a single step and then done; it takes the work of people over decades and decades. You want to leave out Velikovsky, when you haven’t even read him. Does he get even 25% of it right? No. But his effort is part of the overall effort.

    As to Velikovsky getting attention because of his book, do you not think part of the slamming of Firestone’s work isn’t because he wrote his book? He made it more popular, and some people can’t stand that. The same thing happened on a larger scale in 1950.

    BTW, yes, Shapely’s power play against Velikovsky helped V’s book sales – but it was already #1 on the NY Times Best Sellers List before Shapely pulled his crap.

  • Steve Garcia

    Hermann –

    I read with interest your points about the THC. I’ve pointed out in private emails to Rod some time ago that the oceanic conveyor consistently leaves out the Gulf of Mexico, which is the very source of the heat in the Gulf Stream.

    I had the same first impression you did. I first heard about it from Woods Hole. I will not forget that Woods Hole and East Anglia were the big proponents in the 1970s that we were going into a new ice age. I will also not forget that they are also some of the big proponents of global warming (speaking of Benny Peiser). Jumping from one extreme to the other is not my idea of responsible science.

    My first reaction was more “The Sky Is Falling” science. When the movie “The Day After Tomorrow” came out using the THC failure as the mechanism for the over-the-top silliness in the movie, I was pretty angry with Woods Hole.

    When they can explain what happens to the heat building up in the Gulf of Mexico, and why that heat isn’t carried north by the Coreolis effect, then I will sign on.

    When they explain how suction (from the sinking cold water) east of Iceland is supposed to suck water from near the Bahamas, while not sucking water in from around, say Ireland,Scotland and Norway – then I will sign on. (If you don’t get my point, cut several slashes/holes in a soda straw some time and then try to suck soda out of a glass. You will see that the openings in the straw make a sucking sound, while there isn’t enough pressure differential down at the bottom of the straw to push the soda up the straw.) Suction/vacuum takes from the easiest path, just like electricity does. And the sinking water off Iceland cannot suck water from 4,000 miles away, not when there is water in all directions much closer.

    The sinking water? That is the END resultant – not the causative mechanism – of the Gulf Stream. They have put the cart before the horse. They have it completely backward, not being able to tell a cause from an effect.

  • Damn, I get it from all sides. But since when is deciding that I don’t want to read the rest of it, after reading the intro, not a valid opinion? I have read enough excerpts from the book, and reviews from brilliant minds, all brighter than me, both pro, and con, to make up my mind. The decision not to read it was not taken lightly.

    I haven’t been having any problem at all finding conclusive evidence on my own of major, geologially recent, catastrophic geology. Or that Sir Charles Lyell was clueless about geology, and geomorphology. Or that the uniformitarin geophysical model is useless. Anyone with open eyes, and mind, can do that.

    Bottom line is that Worlds in Collision is science fiction. Whats worse, it’s fiction, and conjecture, that pretends to be fact. It’s on my bookshelf now beside Erich von Däniken’s books. I don’t want to read them either. I have no need to color my thinking with failed ideas. And I do not have the time, or inclination to sort historical fact from fantasy.

    There was a time when false prophets were stoned to death. In the 21st century we’re a little more civilized. We simply ignor, and forget, them.

    Since my own brand spankin’ new approach is based simply on studying verifiable mass movements of blast effected materials, and those mass movements as empirical fact, I don’t need to. The truth is written in stone.

    In the process of learning to read that truth, understanding Velicovskianism, and debating the merits of same, is not a required subject.

  • Hi again Steve: I wonder if I might jump in here and recommend (did so at my blog here at Cosmic Tusk) The papers by Dr. Carl Wunsch re: The THC. His views are I think accurate re the so called great conveyor that Dr. Broecker (horrows that he did so) made popular.I think that even with the waters that do move north via the Gulf Stream and other rather helter skelter means of delivering heat to the North Atlantic, that at the Younger Dryas as I speculate (it must be said ir was a guess on my part) that with the extremely thick dust veil and large amount of nitrogen dioxide destruction, supposedly as effective in blocking incoming solar radiation, that the Gulf of Mexico and western tropical Atlantic would not have nearly so much heat available to move north via the Gulf Stream etc. See the section (Sudden Cold) on the Orca Basin experiencing as much as a six degrees Celsius cooling during the Younger Dryas. And quickly, I did think that Dr. Velikovsky’s book was fascinating, even though I now see there was not as much fact in it as I thought when I read it.