Blast from past: YD team member diciplined by Golden State geo board in 2002

I have nothing but an iPhone until later tomorrow. So this post is necessarily brief.

Allen West has taken a hit to his credibility (and to some extent the Tusk’s) from charges by Younger Dryas Hypothesis critics ranging from professional misconduct to falsifying lab results.

As an advocate of Allen’s and someone who has spent years watching him personally sacrifice with no financial gain from this subject, I am probably as surprised as anyone these charges have emerged.

There is surely some truth here — but more than a little spin.

For one Allen never claimed he was any more credentialed than he was — the first time I spoke with him he claimed only a philosophy doctorate from an obscure school in Nebraska. That said, it is hard to find out someone you know once went by different name.

I am in touch with Allen and hope to have more to say soon.

Comet Theory Comes Crashing to Earth
An elegant archaeological hypothesis, under fire for results that can’t be replicated, may ultimately come undone.
By Rex Dalton

Even though they can’t replicate their work, the authors of a controversial scientific theory about a comet impact that caused the Clovis catastrophe refuse to give in to their many critics. (Wikimedia Commons)

It seemed like such an elegant answer to an age-old mystery: the disappearance of what are arguably North America’s first people. A speeding comet nearly 13,000 years ago was the culprit, the theory goes, spraying ice and rocks across the continent, killing the Clovis people and the mammoths they fed on, and plunging the region into a deep chill. The idea so captivated the public that three movies describing the catastrophe were produced.

But now, four years after the purportedly supportive evidence was reported, a host of scientific authorities systematically have made the case that the comet theory is “bogus.” Researchers from multiple scientific fields are calling the theory one of the most misguided ideas in the history of modern archaeology, which begs for an independent review so an accurate record is reflected in the literature.
“It is an impossible scenario,” says Mark Boslough, a physicist at Sandia Laboratory in Albuquerque, N.M., where he taps the world’s fastest computers for nuclear bomb experiments to study such impacts. His computations show the debris from such a comet couldn’t cover the proposed impact field. In March, a “requiem” for the theory even was published by a group that included leading specialists from archaeology to botany.

Yet, the scientists who described the alleged impact in a hallowed U.S. scientific journal refuse to consider the critics’ evidence — insisting they are correct, even though no one can replicate their work: the hallmark of credibility in the scientific world.
The primary authors of the theory are an unusual mix: James Kennett, a virtual father of marine geology from the University of California, Santa Barbara; Richard Firestone, a physicist at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in California; and Allen West, an unknown academic from the mining industry who lives in Dewey, Ariz.
“We are under a lot of duress,” said Kennett. “It has been quite painful.” So much so, that team members call their critics’ work “biased,” “nonsense” and “screwed up.”

Such intransigence has been seen before in other cases of grand scientific claims. Sometimes those theories were based on data irregularities. Other times, the proponents succumbed to self-delusion. But typically, advocates become so invested in their ideas they can’t publicly acknowledge error.

A new look at the comet claim suggests all of these phenomena may be in play, apparently creating a peculiar bond of desperation as the theory came under increasing attack. Indeed, the team’s established scientists are so wedded to the theory they have opted to ignore the fact their colleague “Allen West” isn’t exactly who he says he is.

West is Allen Whitt — who, in 2002, was fined by California and convicted for masquerading as a state-licensed geologist when he charged small-town officials fat fees for water studies. After completing probation in 2003 in San Bernardino County, he began work on the comet theory, legally adopting his new name in 2006 as he promoted it in a popular book. Only when questioned by this reporter last year did his co-authors learn his original identity and legal history. Since then, they have not disclosed it to the scientific community.

West’s history — and new concerns about study results he was integrally involved in — raise intriguing questions about the veracity of the comet claim. His background is likely to create more doubts about the theory. And the controversy — because it involves the politically sensitive issue of a climate shift — is potentially more broadly damaging, authorities suggest.
“It does feed distrust in science,” says Wallace Broecker, a geochemist at Columbia University and an international dean of climate research. “Those who don’t believe in human-produced global warming grab onto it.”

West is at the nexus of almost all the evidence for the original comet claims. His fieldwork is described in the 2006 book he authored with Firestone, The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes.

To show the comet’s deadly plume, West collected various sediment samples from 25 archaeology sites across the United States. He used a magnet to find iron flecks reportedly from the comet, scooped up carbon spherules reflecting subsequent fires, and argued that high concentrations of such material at particular sedimentary levels supported their theory.

The team has argued a 4-kilometer comet tumbled into ice sheets 12,900 years ago, leading to the so-called Younger Dryas, when the temperature cooled for more than a thousand years.

The flying debris appeared to answer questions about the Clovis peoples’ disappearance that had defied prior explanation. The supposed remnants of the comet hadn’t received intense scrutiny by researchers previously probing sediments at archaeology sites. And water from melted ice flowing into the oceans could explain the precipitous temperature drop.

But all these claims have been sharply disputed in a series of scientific articles over the last 18 months. Examples include:
University of Wyoming archaeologist Todd Surovell and his colleagues couldn’t find increased magnetic spherules representing cosmic debris at seven Clovis sites. Nicholas Pinter and his colleagues at Southern Illinois University Carbondale argue the carbon spherules are organic residue of fungus or arthropod excrement. And Tyrone Daulton of Washington University in St. Louis and his colleagues reported that supposed nanodiamonds formed by the impact were misidentified.

Speaking of the various reports, Surovell said, “We all built a critical mass of data suggesting there was a serious problem.”
Now, Boslough and colleagues have conducted new analysis of purported comet debris samples that raises even more troubling credibility questions.

On March 25, Boslough reported that radio-carbon dating of a carbon spherule sample shows it is only about 200 years old — an “irregularity” that indicates is it not from the alleged 12,900-year-old impact time.

This means that a sample from a layer purporting to show a high concentration of spherules at the inception of the Younger Dryas actually only was about as old as the Declaration of Independence.

About two years ago, as his doubts on the theory were building, Boslough contacted West to secure carbon spherule samples for analysis. West sent him 16 spherules, purportedly from the Younger Dryas boundary sediment layer at an archaeology site called Gainey in Michigan — a location with the highest spherule count of studied locations.

Boslough subsequently forwarded the unopened package of spherules to the National Science Foundation-funded radio-carbon laboratory at the University of Arizona in Tucson. There, a dating specialist randomly selected a spherule — the one ultimately found to be about 200 years old. Boslough reported these results at an American Geophysical Union conference in Santa Fe, N.M.
Afterward, Boslough said: “I don’t think there is any reason to accept what West reported. I have a serious problem with everything from him.”

Did someone salt a sediment layer to increase the spherule count? Or did the 200-year-old sample inadvertently get mixed in somehow? Boslough says he can’t provide an answer, but there was some form of “contamination.”
But an answer is needed, he said: “I wouldn’t sweep it under the rug.”

After his presentation, West wrote Boslough that he believed that the questioned sample somehow got mixed naturally over time into a lower sediment layer. Both Kennett and Firestone agreed.

But Vance Holliday, a University of Arizona archaeologist who has studied Clovis sites for 30 years, found this explanation nonsensical. Such mixing of spherules from different eras could invalidate any conclusion that higher spherule counts represented evidence of a comet impact.

“I suspect something very odd is going on,” adds Holliday, who also has become a critic of the comet theory.
After the theory was first announced in 2007 in Acapulco, Mexico, Holliday had attempted to collaborate with Kennett to test the idea. But Kennett effectively blocked publication of the study last year after the results didn’t support the comet theory.
And those results were blindly analyzed by an independent reviewer selected by Kennett himself. That independent reviewer was none other than Walter Alvarez — an esteemed University of California, Berkeley, geologist and son of Luis Alvarez, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist who first proposed an asteroid struck the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico about 65 million years ago, wiping out the world’s dinosaurs and most life.

The Holliday-Kennett study has never been presented publicly. The results were obtained independent of the two authors. Holliday then agreed to discuss events; Kennett also answered questions about the study but didn’t reach the same conclusions as his colleague.

For decades, Holliday has studied a Clovis site at Lubbock Lake Landmark State Historical Park in Texas, just east of the original location where the Clovis people’s distinctive fluted projectile points were first discovered in New Mexico. After a visit there in the summer of 2007, Holliday examined sediments from an exposed section that included the signature of the inception of the Younger Dryas. He then took samples from six sedimentary layers within a 35-centimeter section encompassing the Younger Dryas.

The study then worked like this: Based on analyses of the layers, both Kennett and Holliday sent to Alvarez their predictions on which layer reflected the geochemical characteristics for the beginning of the Younger Dryas. But neither Kennett nor Alvarez knew the order of the sediment layers; not knowing this order would add credibility to their conclusions.

In a surprise, Kennett’s analysis included sedimentary counts for what he called nanodiamonds — which his group says were produced by the enormous energy from comet explosion.

Holliday accurately predicted what layer was associated with the Younger Dryas boundary. But Kennett did not. Kennett’s selected nanodiamond-rich layer was 25 centimeters above the Younger Dryas boundary — meaning it was about 1,000 years younger than the claimed impact time. To Alvarez, this indicated a comet-impact hypothesis was incorrect.

After considerable behind-the-scenes arguing, Holliday said, Kennett ultimately complained last summer that the study was “fundamentally flawed” and wouldn’t allow him to publish his results. Now, Kennett says, he is continuing to analyze the data.
“It is very peculiar,” Holliday said. “They propose an idea, a study contradicts it, then they criticize the scientists or the work.”
Both Kennett and Columbia’s Broecker, are elected members of the prestigious U.S. National Academy of Science; near age peers, they are also old friends. Years ago, Broecker noted, Kennett published seminal discoveries on ancient climate shifts by studying cores drilled deep into the ocean floor.

Speaking graciously of Kennett, Broecker lauded his friend’s early climate studies as extremely important. But when the comet theory came along, Broecker immediately was highly skeptical. Kennett repeatedly called him to lobby for the comet until Broecker cut him off saying he didn’t want to hear about the theory anymore.

“It is all wrong,” said Broecker, if not “very likely total nonsense. But he never gives up on an idea.”
Kennett seems fixated on the Younger Dryas, Broecker added, “He won’t listen to anyone. It’s almost like a religion to him.”
Acknowledging the dispute, Kennett said, “I know he thinks I’m wrong; maybe he’ll change his mind someday.”

About 20 years ago, Broecker noted Kennett had proposed a similarly wayward theory that a burst of methane from the ocean floor — sometimes called “a methane gun” — warmed the climate, ending the Younger Dyras.

“He pushed the methane-gun theory for years,” said Broecker. “He predicted an enormous methane peak would be reflected in ice-core records. But there wasn’t one; it was a ridiculous idea to begin with.”
Then he switched to the beginning of the Younger Dryas, Broecker added, “He was determined to make a splash; it blinded his judgment.”

Ironically, he may be making a different type of impact with his odd-couple collaboration with West.

West has no formal appointment at an academic institution. He has said he obtained a doctorate from a Bible college, but he won’t describe it further. Firestone said West has told him he has no scientific doctorate but is self-taught. West’s Arizona attorney refers to him in writing as: “A retired geophysicist who has had a long and distinguished career.”

In the early 1990s, a new-age business West was involved in Sedona, Ariz., failed, and his well-drilling company went bankrupt. Then he ran afoul of California law in small Mojave Desert towns in a scheme with two other men, with court records saying they collected fees up to $39,500 for questionable groundwater reports.

He originally was charged with two felonies for falsely representing himself as a state-licensed geologist but agreed to a no contest plea to a single misdemeanor of false advertising as part of plea bargain in which state records say he was fined $4,500. Two other men in the scam also were sanctioned.

Acknowledging he made a mistake, West has sought to downplay the 9-year-old conviction. And last September, after his impact theory colleagues learned of it, he went back to court in Victorville, Calif., convincing a judge to void the old plea.
After earlier denying any impropriety with his Younger Dryas work, West declined a recent interview request. Last month, he wrote a letter charging it was “highly prejudicial and distorted” to bring up his legal past in the context of his current studies. He is a member of “a group of two dozen dedicated scientists performing cutting-edge, although controversial, research,” he wrote.

Initially last year, Kennett was speechless when confronted with West’s history. He and Firestone learned of it because of this reporter’s questions. Since then, he has continued to collaborate and publish research with West. Within weeks of learning of West’s background, Kennett pushed for news coverage last September of an article contending nanodiamonds in Greenland supported their comet theory. But the article didn’t sway critics.

Today, Kennett won’t discuss West’s criminal past at all — saying West is “wonderful, an absolutely remarkable researcher.” Firestone acknowledges West “did some strange things” but continues to defend that his work is above reproach.
Among the theory’s critics, there are decidedly differing opinions.

“This is so far beyond the pale — outside of normal experiences in conducting science — you can’t ignore it,” Southern Illiois’ Pinter said. Asked if he would collaborate with West, he said, “I would run screaming away.”

And the three years and research dollars spent on the claim leave a bitter memory for some. “My response is not publishable,” said Pinter.

Some academic institution needs to thoroughly examine the issue and answer the obvious questions that abound, critics say. Several said they already would have reported the events to administrators at their respective universities.
UCSB is the most likely institution to conduct a review, since Kennett used an NSF grant there on comet studies. But this will mean questioning an esteemed faculty member — Kennett — who is seen as having helped put the campus on the international scientific map.

Among those who believe a formal inquiry should be initiated to determine if there was any misconduct is Jeffrey Severinghaus, an isotopic chemist at the University of California, San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography. An inquiry is the first level of such scrutiny; an investigation that could lead to sanctions would follow if the inquiry finds evidence of impropriety. Such probes have sniffed out questionable data from cases such as the rejected cold fusion claim and the false Korean assertion of cloning human embryos from stem cells.

“Wow,” said Severinghaus upon hearing of the latest developments in the comet theory, which he initially doubted because of his earlier ice-core studies. “It certainly sounds like there is sufficient evidence to justify an initial inquiry.”
Asked if he would seek such a move, he said, “Absolutely. It is really important to maintain the public trust in science. That means if there is a bad apple, it is rooted out and exposed.”

Bruce Hanley, UCSB’s director of research compliance, declined to be interviewed, although in an email he wrote that UCSB “is extremely interested in maintaining a high level of integrity” in research, and has a formal process for review of “unacceptable research practices.” Such a review is done confidentially.

Meanwhile, the next stop for the comet proponents’ road show is Bern, Switzerland. In July, they are scheduled to present research to a major international conference that studies the last 2.5 million years, the quaternary.
With many leading impact scientists in Europe equally skeptical of the theory, their welcome may be as icy as that period often was.

  • Paul Repstock

    As an appology for my casual attitude, I confess that I use Cosmic Tusk as an escape from the real world. I offer you the coolest video I’ve ever seen.

    For any who care here is the ‘real world’, the one we have to deal with on a daily basis.

  • Steve Garcia


    The problem with this type of study is that we are always looking through the wrong end of the telescope. Even events as recent as 13,000 years are very dim. And current computer simulations are no better than an ‘Artists reconstruction’. At present we cannot even reconstruct recent human history.

    We build ‘Castles in the sky’ of fancy theories, with the most fragile of evidence.

    And this is how it should be – as long as we don’t take them too literally or take ourselves too seriously, or identify our egos with them too much. We SHOULD be trying to have a construct in our minds as to what happened. But we should also be aware that we are probably wrong, in much of the detail and in much of the connections. We need to understand that we are working with incomplete info. I don’t even say “data,” because the data is only a little bit more reliable than the framework we try to plug it into. Data has to have some framework within which to make sense of it. Data tells nothing, without a framework. Data is limited by the sensors we use, and those are set up within our mental framework – even intended to give what we want the data to give us. Some would argue that thermometers, e.g., are completely objective. But look at global warming, where they argue that 0.8C over a century is significant, yet 99% of the people can’t tell the difference between 25°C and 25.8°C, so a mountain is made of a molehill, just on the tree-hugging and industry-hating propensities of a handful of insiders.

    Arkies extrapolate enormous of “facts” about ancient cultures, based on artifacts from graves and stone structures – which is like someone in the future telling all about our culture from skyscrapers and cemeteries. And that is such a ludicrous proposal – yet we accept the arkies’ POVs, time and time again, as valid and true.

    Geologists, ditto. So many assumptions, much of it based on uniformitarianism thinking and avoidance of Noah’s Flood.

    Astronomers, ditto. So many assumptions, much of it based on the Doppler effect. Yet, read astronomer Halton Arp sometime. Without the Doppler interpretation, there is no such things as black holes, nor a Big Bang.

    They are all doing their best, within what they believe the overall truth of the matter is. I do not doubt that. But they are also like the person who sees things that aren’t there – we should say to them, “Now, now, we know that is what you think you saw, and we believe that you yourself believe it” – as we all slide to the far end of the bench… Yet we don’t do that for scientists in these extrapolative disciplines. To have guesses as to the overall picture, that is natural. But to believe that only several decades or a few centuries into these we will really have the truth of the big picture, well that is pretty deluded.

    I myself don’t have the truth of the matter, either. I have my own guesses, as does everyone who visits CT. But they are only guesses. If I were to come back in 200 years and see what I suggested, I would laugh at myself. I suggest that the arkies, geologists and astronomers would do the same.

    In the meantime, I take every one of their theories with a grain of salt, while trying to glean some bits out of what they have studied that can fit together with other bits. A collection of gleaned bits does not make a theory – for them or for me. Not IMHO. In time, enough bits will be collected to do so. But that time is not now.

    So, Paul, yes, I agree – it is as though we are looking through the wrong end of the telescope. But unlike the bulk of the Creationist side (as an example), it is still incumbent upon us to go out and try to identify those bits and try to make sense of it – out of the facts we collect – and to not accept as gospel all that is said in translated (and mistranslated) holy volumes. The Bible (especially the florid King James) is only one of many accounts from indigenous tribes around the world. That it was compiled along trade routes made it seem more important, while those trade routes were important. We have no imperative to accept one indigenous account over any others, and to do so blinds us, culturally, historically, and scientifically. Both science and religion are attempts to understand the universe around us. Both are piecemeal and incomplete. Both have something to add to the discussion, but neither has it all. Heck, together they don’t have it all. One deals in quantified bits, and one deals in qualities of bits of recorded tales (some put down in writing long after the fact). Both are like the blind men and the elephant, as Dennis has talked about.

    Our cultural history (in which I include science) is rife with people positing interpretations without adequate information. I suppose it will always be so. Fortunately, others come along and are skeptical of an existing interpretation and try to improve on it. Over time – a long time – we will get better and better understanding of our past and our universe.

    But that time is not now.

  • Paul Repstock

    Steve; next time you want to posta book, I can recomend a good publisher..:)

    I have to appologise for my casual attitude here. I use The Tusk as an escape from the “Real World”. I offer the coolest video I’ve ever seen as compensation.

    If anyone wonders; this is my ‘real world’, the one we have to deal with every day.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Really bad summary, Steve.

    One of the key problems with our current geology, biology, history, anthropology, climate, planetology, archaeology, etc. is that they did not take and do not take into account impact. The “debate” over comet impact and asteroid impact in particular leaves a large number of peoples’ lives at risk.

    Thus this is not an academic debate done for entertainment.
    And the level of proof is not “well, it could be.”

    Paul, while what you say is definitely true for many people, you are overgeneralizing.

    I am still waiting for a public denial by Morrison of Muller’s “Nemesis Hypothesis”,
    and serious adjustment upward of NASA’s impact hazard estimates.

  • "I do my best to ignore Grondine. He is not reliable. For more than a decade he has consistently written that I favor the Nemesis hypotheses, and he sticks to this unfounded belief no matter how many times I correct him. He used to show up at scientific meetings to ask weird questions, but he doesn’t seem to travel any more. As you note, however, his rejections by scientists have no effect on his vast self-confidence. I have no idea who he refers to as “some people from Arizona”. He has had run-Ins with my colleagues from California, Colorado, and New Mexico more than Arizona. But it doesn’t matter, as we all now ignore him."

    ~David Morrison

    He didn’t author the Nemesis Hypothesis. And he says your claims are unfounded. Since when did the senior scientist at the NASA Astrobiology Institute, NASA Ames Research Center, become responsible to provide an answer to your lies? 

    Since you think the nemesis hypothesis is such a heinous thing to be supportive of, the burden of proof is on you to provide proof of such scandalous heresy.

  • Paul Repstock

    Steve; next time you want to posta book, I can recomend a good

    I have to appologise for my casual attitude here. I use The Tusk as an escape from the “Real World”. I offer the coolest video I’ve ever seen as compensation.
    It may have some relevance to the ‘Nemisis’??

    If anyone wonders; this is my ‘real world’, the one we have to deal with every day. I’ve always been facinated with astronomy and orbiting bodies, I just recognise that they are beyond my influence.

  • Paul Repstock

    Am I blocked from this site?

  • Paul Repstock

    I guess not??

    Cool video which may be relevant to “the Nemisis”.
    Watch it in full screen if you can.

  • Hermann Burchard

    My GH [above] in comments here is only supported feebly by one out of four (4) distinguished commenters (Paul), the other three knowledgable gentlemen ignoring it (in favor of their engaging in ad hominem diatribes against their fellow ET impact students).

    I think GH is a pretty neat not to say sensational hypothesis, and by no means deserving to be ignored or even ridiculed (never mind my status as an amateur glaciologist – I am still an experienced scientist).

    One of the strongest arguments in favor of GH is that none of the online sources which I have consulted give the slightest hint for why each of the three glacial lakes should have had a torrential, catastrophic discharge causing huge channel excavations. There are also numerous other channels left as scabs all over the Northern Midwestern States, including SW of Saginaw Bay and the famous, spectacular Finger Lakes in upstate NY.

    Are you guys are not a fine bunch of ET cosmic cometary and asteroidal terrestrial impact enthusiastic students who don’t need a job, and think this is a spectator sport??

  • Paul Repstock

    Herm; I didn’t intend ridicule, my “feebleness” is a result of preocupation with the ‘Real World’, I use CT as an escape. ( ).

    Don’t worry about the other guys and their issues.

    Have you ever tried any gold panning? Think about ‘arrested rotation’???

  • Hermann Burchard

    No gold panning, pure desk job life experience. As a penniless student, I went to work in a vinegar factory. They also made pickles and sauerkraut.

    Tried to make sense of your, remarks, but not sure how the PRISM MAG link relates.

    Paul J. Rebstock Sr., 81, had an uncle was a Karl May illustrator. He has a magnificent picture of Kara Ben Nemsi. This is Karl May’s Arabized self in his novel “The Slave Caravane,” “autobiographical” (fake, KM never traveled outside his home state of Saxony).

    If you suffer from arrested rotation then probably you are having some health problems, sorry to hear.

  • Hermann Burchard

    Here is some great information on CRATER HUNTER, that confirms likely megafloods at YDR impact time:

  • Paul Repstock

    Thanks HB; A little help tracking down venerable ancestors is always helpful. This is definitly related. As to making up stuff, what can you expect from someone whose name means ‘grapevine’.lol The family tree itself was quite creatively (extensivly) altered to allow certain predecessors to manufacture uniforms for the German Army and not get paid with sarin gas.

    As to the gold panning: I love being obscure..:) My point was, if a large incoming body 10+ G tonnes struck the earth counter rotation (think Chicx…) the impact would certainly pause the Eastward rotation of the planet. Now if you can find evidence of simultaneous tsunami/floods on the Western Coasts of the four main continents???? ..we would have enough to announce a theory..:)

  • Hermann Burchard

    Karl May was the only one about whom I wrote, above, that he made stuff up. He was a prolific author of novels . . most of my ancestors were Ashkenazi or Sephardic but we changed our name to a common ancient German one going back to one of Charlemagne’s courtiers. This way, we avoided the sarin. There was a law that four generations of baptismal records among your ancestors made you legally Aryan.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi Dennis –

    Morrison is only responsible for his own statements.

    Morrison presented the “Nemesis” injection mechanism as “the standard paradigm”, while it is not.

    Morrison making that assertion is well documented.

    The “Nemsis” paradigm was also used in the NASA impact hazard estimates which Morrison co-authored, and there is a big difference between ELE’s at the rate of 1 per 100 million years versus ELE’s at the rate of 1 per 26 million years, which is in fact what the data shows.

    Thus it is necessary for Morrison to make a public statement on Muller’s injection mechanism and Clube and Napier’s, and to publicly point out the earlier seriously low underestimates in the NASA impact hazard estimates.

    All that Morrison has to do is to make a public denial that the “Nemesis” hypothesis is not “the standard paradigm”, which should not be too hard for him to do as the WISE data has shown that “Nemesis” does not exist.

    The possible existence of “Tyche” is another question, and an open one. My guess is that chaotic cyclicality is the accumuation of planetary gravitational perturbations instead, but it certainly does not hurt to look.

    Theoretically, since Huntress awarded the impact problem to JPL, Morrison in his role in astrobiology at Ames has a responsibility to issue a formal statement on the rate of ELE’s as part of his job description.

    In my view, Morrison’s job description includes formally addressing the rate of impacts on Mars, and the effects of impacts there, including what (asteroid or comet) hit there, and when.

    I reported on impact forums, and generally raised “strange” questions about what NASA was doing to handle the COMETARY impact hazard and protect the lives, health, and safety of the people of this nation. You can find links to that reportage here.

    Morrison knows damn well that I’ve had a stroke.

    Dennis, as I’ve told you before, I do not know if what you have found are impact structures, and if so when they occured. All I personally directly work with are the archaeological record (such as the PIDB study cited here) and the First Peoples’ oral histories, and some knowledge of scaling laws. They lead me to be sceptical of your own hypotheses concerning the dating of the features you are studying.

    Dennis, you need to understand that serious public impact studies only began 30 years ago, and the field is under development. Thus I have been wrong before, and reserve the right to be wrong both now and in the future.

  • One final note about David Morrison et al before I go back to lurking on the sidelines.

    I find it sad that skeptical scientists of such caliber tend to get smothered in ad hominem invalidation here on the Tusk, instead of their concerns, or objections, being answered respectfully with real data.

    It is no wonder that none of the actual planetary scientists involved in the YD debate, from either side of the isle seem to be interested in participating in these discussions on the Tusk.

    If the YD impact hypothesis has any validity at all, it can withstand the criticisism from scientists like Dave Morrison. And become stronger in the process. The proper way to deal with them is to dig up enough data to convince even the staunchest skeptic. And you don’t do that by running them down with ad hominem. Especially senseless, invalidating, off topic, ad hominem that has it’s foundation in a falsehood.

    You do it my stuffing good, sound, data in their face until all their concerns are answered. And they no longer have reason to doubt.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi Hermann –

    Thanks for the additional geological data.

    But it seems to me you have left out of your statement of the GH the discharge of that glacial lake out west that the Assiniboine (Nakota now) remembered. If Dennis had not grafittied that post, then perhaps information on the western maritime tool kit distribution would have nailed that discharge down more tightly, and the search area for that impact point could have been narrowed.

    It needs to be noted that what led to the earlier discharges of the glacial lakes during earlier ice ages is an open question, and it is not likely to have been impact, but more likely simply overfilling and/or seismic activity. That observed cyclicality most likely explains some palaeo-climatologists reluctance to consider impact as a release mechanism at the YD.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi Dennis –

    A friend once noted to me that what we find most irritating in others is what we find irritating in ourselves.

    The moderation of Benny Peiser is what made the Cambridge Conference so useful a tool for impact research. Thus some behaviors were discouraged. A good part of the discussion goes on with only major formal results published here at the Tusk. You may have noticed that those involved in those studies will not publicly reply to you here at the Tusk.

    If your own hypotheses have any validity, they will survive my scepticism and examination by others.
    And you won’t gain anything by ad hominem attacks on me, nor from ad hominem attacks on the First Peoples. Perhaps you may want to spend time collecting more data, instead of lurking here. I certainly have other uses for my time than dealing with your nonsense.

    As far as Morrison goes, he did pioneering work on impact, when the KT impact was widely viewed as a one off. But later Morrison made a serious mistake, and he still has not acknowledged it. That mistake has endangered human lives.

    Thus the damage to Morrison’s reputation is his own work as well, and as long as he does not publicly correct those earlier impact hazard estimates, there is a serious error in your assertion as to the calibre of his later work.

    Dennis, you act as though science was conducted in some kind of mystic realm, instead of here in the real world.

    You know better. As I have given you links to Morrison’s mistakes several times earlier, your repetition of the claim that I am liar is simply wrong, and you should know that. But then I’m sceptical of the timing and cause of your features.

    People believe what they want to believe.

  • In point of fact I can’t find anything in the literature where Morrison said something favoring the Nemesis Hypothesis. Since you say you’ve given us links to his mistakes many times over, what links? And in what thread?

    He denies your claim that he favors the NH. And he says he has corrected you many times. Yet you persist.

    One of you is telling a bald faced lie. If the liar is David Morrison, then you will post the full text of the document that exposes his lie for all the honest world to read. Preferably with the text in question highlighted.

  • Paul Repstock

    Well, all bickering aside, we should get some concrete physical evidence during the Elinin transit in mid September. Given our relative impotence in the face of these threats the wait will be interesting. Aparently most astronomic groups feel the same. If there is nothing one can do, just prepare for the ride. I would suggest that a two month survival kit would be a reasonable investment, beyond that the goal posts are moved anyay.

    Did nobody find that video I posted interesting? I thought that gravity lens was very cool.

  • Steve Garcia

    Dennis –

    Basically, Dude, you’re an asshole. You dislike Ed intensely, and you latch onto any reason to call him a liar. Right now that situation is “He-said, he said,” and you assume Ed is the liar. And then you demand that Ed prove his side, but don’t ask Morrison to.

    One of these days, grow the hell up. You and Ed are both intelligent people, and you two should be able to come to some peaceful coexistence. You are of course, all pissed off because Ed isn’t signing onto your Y-D connection with your Google Earth findings. He keeps asking YOU to put up or shut up on the dating, and you don’t do any of “the work,” as you call it, to back up your assertions.

    Why don’t you FINALLY, actually DO something about Ed’s request, which has been out there for probably a year or more. Every time he asks, you divert attention to something else. And then the next post off you go again, asserting Y-D. I haven’t said squat about it yet, but I do agree with Ed: Put up or shut yer yap. You think you and your Google artifacts are facts, and that we should all be going, “WOW! That Dennis! He’s such a smart Dude! He’s going to have his name in all the geology textbooks!” And when Ed simply does what scientists do, when someone makes a claim – he says, “Where’s the beef?”

    And your fragile ego can’t take it.

    Grow the hell up, ya little weenie.


  • Damn, I guess you joined the Ed cult too, Steve. He doesn’t have any real date either to confirm what he assumes to interpret from Oral tradition of native peoples. Nor has he ever done any real science.
    “Myths tell us how the ancients perceived the universe, not necessarily how the universe really worked”~Pib Burns
    It didn’t work for Velikovsky either.
    But I did talk about a date for the craterfields in southwest Montana, and Northern Nevada. Both of them date to the early Holocene.
    And since I think Ed’s subjective interpretation of Native American oral traditions belongs on the same shelf with Velikovsky. I really don’t give a rip for Eds opinion of my work. Or yours for that matter.

  • Hermann Burchard


    Looked at the video, comet ELENIN transit later this year? Halfway between us and the sun, .45AU. Are we really supposed to worry about a slight shadowing for a couple of hours? Am looking into EM rations now . . ?’^)

  • Paul Repstock

    LOL Herman; I really try not to sweat those things hich are totally beyond intervention. But, on the other other hand, I really like to eat. That may explain some of my 25 extra pounds..:)

    I really enjoyed the little ‘flip’ in the aspect of that stargroup or whatever it was. Elinin is supposed to cross the eliptic less than .25 Au infront of us, and nobody seems to kno if she is pulling a train. Very little is known about this object??

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi Dennis –

    For Morrison’s endorsement of Muller, see here:

    Although Morrison earlier states that the impact rate is random (it is demonstrably not random), later in the piece he has no problem with the Nemesis hypothesis, and weakly praises it.

    What is interesting is that Morrison has his own impact estimate based on the cratering history of the Moon, but the Moon is part of a 2 body system.

    In other words, the Earth probably swept up impactors that otherwise would have hit the Moon.

    I hope that Morrison’s future work with the impact history of Mars will finally point him in the right direction.

  • Steve Garcia

    A bit off the present topic…
    Morrison (from Ed’s link in the previous comment):

    Finally, we should realize that only a small fraction of the space around Earth is being monitored today…

    This makes no sense at all. The only place they need to be looking is in the plane of the planets. Any high declination object is so unlikely to hit the Earth as to be effectively impossible, certainly as compared to objects in the ecliptic.

    All they have to do is focus in the plane of the planets. That will find 99.999% of the ones that pose a threat.

    Why do I argue this?

    1. ALL objects revolving around the Sun travel in ellipses with the Sun at one focus.

    2. Item 1. is modified only by those effected by Jupiter – and other planets less so.

    3. Any elliptical orbit that is tilted out of the ecliptic has only two points at which the object crosses the Earth’s orbital plane.

    4. Any object whose elliptical orbit crosses the Earth’s orbital plane at some distance other than 1 AU is no threat to the Earth.

    5. Even for objects whose orbits cross our orbital plane at 1 AU can only be a problem if they do it while the Earth is at that one place in its orbit.

    6. At 1 AU, 1 angular degree is about 811,000 miles. That is slightly farther than far we travel in one day.

    7. Rough calculation: If we assume the Earth’s sphere of influence is half a million miles (which I think is too large by a factor of two or so) as a given, then that is about 5/8ths of 1 degree, in each direction, or 1.25 degrees in both directions.

    8. An NEO, thus, has to cross IN OUR PLANE within 1.25 degrees out of 360, which is about 00.35%, or 1 in about 288. Since it also passes out of the inner solar system again, on its way it passes our orbit again. So, make that 2 in 288, or 1 in 144.

    9. That was for high orbit NEOs that cross AT 1 AU, and that is just the timing factor. Few of the high orbit ones will cross at our orbit, just by the nature of their orbits having the Sun at one focus. Most of them cross at ONE point only – as they swoop up or down across the ecliptic, as the reach perihelion “on the far side of the Sun.” But depending on the orbit, the Earth just might BE on that other side of the Sun at that time.

    10. But given all that, we can ask how many NEOs drop up or down through the ecliptic AT 1 AU? Given the nature of comets, if their perihelia are at 1 AU, then their orbits are quite rounded (low ellipticity). That says to me short-period comets, and we know them already. It is the long-period ones we have to look at. And the only place to look is in the ecliptic.

    11. As to asteroids, they are, almost by definition, within or close to the ecliptic. Those ARE worth finding and keeping track of.

    12. As to meteors, are they the random rogue micro-planets we all think they are? Being an exploding planet advocate, I think not. But either way, once they are up and out of the plane of the planets, their orbits have to cross ours at 1 AU – otherwise they are not risk to us. But since I do think they are remnants of an exploded planet, I would predict that most within the ecliptic have been swept up by planets, leaving mostly high or low orbits, which are not a threat worth worrying about.

    13. I do not know exactly how astronomers account for high orbit objects of any kind, other than Pluto, which is declared to have passed too close to Neptune (above or below Neptune’s orbital plane) and whiplashed around and up (or down). While this may have happened to Pluto, to imagine that being a common occurrence for a microplanet seems unlikely in the extreme, not on a large scale. The conditions have to be nearly perfect, or else the object will impact or nothing much will happen.

    12. Eclipses are predictable purely by the fact that the Moon has to have 0° declination in order for the shadow of the Moon or the Sun to fall upon the other. I argue that the same reasoning must hold true for NEOs threatening the Earth. It seems a straightforward proposition to me, that an impact can only happen when an object crosses the ecliptic at 1 AU, and THEN it can happen only about every 2 out of 288 of those times.

    Anyway, the chance of a high (or low) orbit object hitting the Earth seems completely negligible. Those are my reasons for thinking that way. They should be focusing ALL their efforts on the ecliptic, and all of that effort looking OUT. That seems a completely manageable task for them.

  • Paul Repstock

    Steve; My head agrees with you.
    My gut says that inspite of the tiny period of Man’s cognisance we have witnessed quite a numer of impacts and near misses.
    Do you buy lottery tickets??

    Also, do you ever play pool? Not all shots have the intended consequences.

    I’m a very lucky person, but I’ve learned not to take it for granted.

    That said, I’m much more concerned with the activities here on earth.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi Steve –

    IMO, your search strategy is weak.

    Asteroids we can find, and they will likely make passes close enough for detection before they could impact, and generally along the plane of our solar system.

    But once you understand that Long Period Comets and dead comet fragments form the bulk of the impact hazard, the search strategy changes significantly. As near as I know, they can come from any direction.

    As near as I know, the detection limit right now for Long Period Comets is 270 days. For dead comet fragments we might be lucky and get 3 days warning now, when what we need is at least 3 days warning with certainty – in other words the global ATLAS system, which would also be great for teaching student NEO astronomers.

    In my opinion, the key to getting that system in place is in getting Administrator Bolden to fire Ed Weiler. Until the folks at NASA with ultimately responsibility for dealing with the impact hazard realize that their pay is linked to their performance, this mess will continue.

    With my stroke damage, I’ll have to rely on others to go into the details of NEO search strategies with you – arcs, points, CCDs, optics, luminance, light frequencies, weather, etc.

  • Paul Repstock

    With respect Ed, I don’t critisize the effort or intent to detect incoming bodies. However, for even moderate sized space junk (1 mile diameter, or about 3-5 billion tons), the knowlege would be irrelevant at this time. People cannot stop the impact or divert it. At the best we might be able to calculate an impact site. For many, being directly at ‘ground zero’ might be preferable.

    Perhaps at some future time we may have the power to deal with comets and astroids. Certainly, the mole holes of the elite and the government seem to be a poor alternative.

  • About NEOs.
    The URL below shows the graphical representation of all the orbiting objects NASA has detected for the previous 30 years added to the graphic as they are discovered. This is one of my favorite vids. There is color coding for each of the objects identifying them as asteroid or comet or earth orbit crossing. As the video continues and the numbers of objects increase in waves as our instruments detect them, I am astounded at just how much stuff is orbiting out there. I have seen mass numbers suggested for the amount of mass orbiting just in the main asteroid belt to be one tenth of the earth’s mass. Then there is all the stuff not staying just in the asteroid belt. Check out the vid in full screen 1080p!

  • Paul Repstock

    Thanks ‘Yam’, cool video indeed.The rate of discovery is astonishing, but I suppose typical. Once you know what you are looking for things become obvious. The video might benifit from stressing that the only real change is the amount of man made objects.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi Paul –

    “However, for even moderate sized space junk (1 mile diameter, or about 3-5 billion tons), the knowlege would be irrelevant at this time. People cannot stop the impact or divert it. At the best we might be able to calculate an impact site. For many, being directly at ‘ground zero’ might be preferable.”


    This problem has been analyzed by multiple teams of nuclear physicists.

    The latest public statement was made earlier this year. I’ll try to find you an online link to it, but in the meantime you’ll just have to take my word that that public presentation exists.

  • chicken little
    and this one just as wrong as the last ones !

    but after all maybe men didn’t
    ‘cover up” Gobleiki tepe”
    maybe God covered it up. wow !
    just to preserve it!

    maybe ‘for such a time as this!’

    just maybe he did it in these events yet to be explained not 8000 or 10000 or 12000 years ago but 2800 or 3200 years ago . and or maybe he did it that way just to see how crazy man’s crazy imagination could get before they figured it out ! to think of all those people who went to hell just because they wanted too.
    But hey really they decieved themselves , He didn’t even have to help them..

    they did it all by their lonesome!

    eating from that tree of human” Logic”, human ‘experience’ and thus “Knowledge” this is the very definitions God gives us for his definitions and concept of ‘death’.
    so really man has been worshipping their own imaginations. sad hum!
    and yep they pulled these special kind of fantasy consensus ‘science”s strait out of their wild unfettered and enhanced imaginations.
    them baby bloomers , it must have been Imaginations enhanced and inspired only by the stuff they were smoking to
    “free up their minds”,
    so YD ,it is their own special brand of herbal reality !

  • Steve Garcia

    @E.P. Grondine June 3, 2011 at 2:41 pm:

    …As near as I know, they can come from any direction.

    But the ones that are not in the plane of the planets cannot actually BE a threat. Infinitesimally less than objects in the ecliptic, yes – several magnitudes less.

    The seearch shoould not even be wasting time LOOKING for high orbit objects, since they can only impact Earth IF – and that is a huge “if” – they come “down” right on our orbit. The ones IN our plane are the ones that can hit us.

    In fact, if we want to push objects out of harms way, I have always thought the best place to put them is UP (or DOWN), not to the side. If we only push them sideways in our plane, then they can come back to haunt us later. As long as they stay in our plane, the risk is very much higher. Ones whose orbits cross our plane somewhere inside or outside our orbit CAN NOT hit us, period. It is a geometric impossibility.

    I disagree on this point, Ed, if that was why you said my search was “weak.” We need to spend the time looking for things that can hit us, not just things that are close. And things out of our plane can only hit us much, much less likely.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi Steve –

    While it is true that the planes of the orbits have to intersect for the orbits to intersect, that does not mean that the planes of the orbits have to be identical.

    Speeding up and slow down
    potential impactors, as well as diverting them to the sides, have been considered.

    By the way, some earlier impacts have been of debris chains and dust loads, and thus do not yield to point source solutions.

    Damn but I’m tired.

  • E.P. Grondine

    CL –

    Once again, there were no “Allegewi”.

    I am not a spiritual guide, and rely on others for that. What I can tell you is that everything you have written here finds no confirmation among them.

  • Hermann Burchard

    they pulled these special kind of fantasy consensus ‘science”s strait out of their wild unfettered and enhanced imaginations.

    Sorry Chicken, I must second E.P. here (as elsewhere). As a scientist myself, I can attest to the fact that EMPIRICAL SCIENCE (so-called because based on experience, empirical* observation and description of plain facts) is our best effort to reflect in human language the realities of the Universe, of unknown origin. The so-called Big Bang theory is not entirely trustworthy, there is Inflation and the Bubble Universe, and any cosmologies have been drawn into question by Immanuel Kant in his famous Antinomies of Reason. The origin of the Universe simply is a subject matter we can not really investigate by EMPIRICAL SCIENCE.

    – – –
    *) Empirical is from the Greek word equivalent to Latin-based experience

  • Paul Repstock

    The scariest thing for me is that I understand much of the pseudo scientific claptrap in the paper posted by our resident ‘Tower of Babble’. I even recognize some of the citations it contains.

    The random scatter of evidence chains seem to afford opportunities for the cherry picked support of almost any “Theory”, yet few seem willing to admit that ‘their scenario’, is infact nothing more than a thin theory.

    As foolish as Chicken Little’s ‘God Concept’ appears, it has as much relevance as any of the scientific publications, if only because it is not possible to empirically refute the claims.

    We all, and myself in particular, suffer from a humility deficit. There are so many variables and so many unknowns in the chain of events we are trying to decipher, that the least error could place our theories outside the margins of the probability chart. Perhaps we would all be better employed taking a page from the great thinkers of the past. That is to be competent and patient observers of events, rather than clever children seeking patterns in tea leaves.

  • Barry Weathersby

    CL…at the risk of repeating myself, allegwi is a slight mispelling of the French word, allegue. Prounced the same, it means pretend or made up. The Frenchman who made it up is still laughing his ass off at you.

    I’m not an atheist and all the word implies today… I consider myself a respectful agnostic. But I can look at the evidence and see your version of a creator isn’t necessesary. And I still think you are possibly a Joseph Smith enthusiast and therefore insane.

    I read this site for the science, not the opinions of nutjobs.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi BW –

    CL’s source for “Allegewi” is a frontiersman who combind “Talegewi” from Delaware, with “Alle/ghenny” to get “Allegewi”.

    You can’t break through these kind of delusional frameworks. See “Combating Cult Mind Control” from Steve Hassan. As long as con men can use these gambits to separate fools from their money, we’ll continue to have to deal with victims like CL. Their spiritual theft is worse.

    Paul, “the problem” is the source of the 14C and 10BEe, combined with a complete lack of funds to look for “the crater”, as though there was only one.

    Firestone and LaViolette both hypothesize sources for the
    protons and neutrons separate from the impacts. In this paper, La Violette expounds a global pattern from a 14C sample of 1 from 1 location.

    Until NASA Administrator Bolden fires Ed Weiler, you can expect all research on recent historical impacts to struggle along.

  • Paul Repstock

    Ed and everyone else: please take my intemperate comments in the spirit of debate, and understand that people like Steve and myself enjoy the advantaged position of having nothing to loose by expounding any idea we may have at the moment. We have no professional qualifications to defend, we have no peers to compete against, and we don’t even need to be consistent in our arguments except to maintain credibility on this blog.

    Ed, if the various theories were tabled and I was required to choose, my inclination would be to tick, “all of the above”. It would appear that over the long term our little home has been subjected to every imaginable catastrophy, and probably some we can’t imagine. The tricky part for all the professionals is to sort the time line. I see that task as being similar to playing ’52 pick-up’ and sort into suits at the same time, all done in the dark. A task likely to keep many scientists busy for the remainder of Man’s existence on Earth.

  • chicken little

    for those of you who did get it.
    the new theory/ aka reality wouldn’t be west boys . but north by north west.. over the north pole, crashing into central asia someplace like Göbekli Tepe the pot belly/womb of the world. which science-tism by consensus has said Gobekli tepe was covered up by humans 10000 years ago. any one want to put some money on it that it was covered up by a wave 2800 or 3200 years ago..ROTF. don’t bet against me because I already won.
    as far as Ollie/ Alleg and the brazilian traced Elis-ani lineage,
    AKA in other places and cultures as Eleusean mysteries , Elesippus and Elishah . you all better do a lot more digging, because Alleg it had nothing to do with a french man..

  • chicken little

    Oh I just thought of another name.. also Elisippo( the horse people of Elis
    and a few more names I can’t think of.
    these names, words and concepts with ancient connections ( ‘ancient’ just means pre -turtle island/ pre- the disconnect).
    ask any native if they know of an ancient religion about hell and heaven and our journey there … with an unknown mysterious ‘purifying’ drink! ask any native american if they know what the drink would have been , and all of them will tell you exactly what it is even almost every ingredient.

  • E.P. Grondine

    CL –

    The thought came to me that you should stay away from everything except sweats until your mind clears.

    Please try to find some spiritual guidance, and stop forcing yourself on those here.

  • George Howard

    Chicken, if you get much more difficult to read and follow by the casual reader, or recklessly provocative to the regulars, I am going to take action — and digital feathers will fly.

  • George Howard