Exploring abrupt climate change induced by comets and asteroids during human history

Half a loaf from B612: Asteroid data from nuke blast detectors calls out faulty impact assumptions; older impact data ignored; nothing new

Restored from the library fire 1/1/20

Live updates and edits underway

Press release from B612 Foundation

UPDATE:  B612 Impact Video 4-20-14 H264 from D Josh Rosen on Vimeo.

The Tusk works mightily to avoid speculating about future cosmic impacts at the expense of reporting evidence for such events in the human past, but recent news intervenes once more. Tomorrow the wires will hopefully buzz with the B612 Foundation‘s presentation of sophisticated and occasionally secret nuclear blast detection data revealing that cosmic impacts are far more common than prevailing “models” conclude — 3 to 10 times more common.

I am of two hands here. On the one hand I appreciate the work of the B612 Foundation and hope the new data inspires public interest in their proposed Sentinel Mission. On the other hand it is frustrating to see B612 reveal the underestimation of future risk while ignoring peer-reviewed literature suggesting a similar underestimate is made of impacts in ancient human times.

Ed Lu, Rusty Schweickert and the B612 crowd are to me the boys who cry “wolf” while neglecting to point out the gnawed remains of earlier Canis attack.


Typical of people who propound on the degree of future threat while denying or ignoring published research of past events is impact guru Dr. Alan Harris. Harris, in whom earthlings place great trust, is entirely dismissive of Younger Dryas Boundary research. His presentation below, which I have meant to post for years, is typical:

In his defense, Harris is elderly, and keeping up with modern discoveries is difficult for that cohort. But that is no excuse for his misrepresentation of the YDB theory. In the 2010 presentation he refers only to the speculative and popular 2005 book by Firestone — while ignoring the peer-reviewed research by 27 scientists in 2007 and dozens more independent scientists in subsequent journal articles.

Yes, to the dismay of his co-authors, Rick Firestone (alone) is partial to a “supernova,” as reported by Harris in Slide 25.  And Rick indeed penned a chapter on the subject in his book. But Harris is also aware that not a single published paper or statement from the sixty plus additional authors supporting an ice age impact claims a “supernova” as the cause. Harris 1, Strawman 0.

Further, his reference to Bill Napier’s “beloved” Taurids [Slide 26] is a condescending, unprofessional remark that reveals the animus Harris and his clique reserve for certain researchers, particularly those who suggest what the clique themselves claim might happen tomorrow — actually happened within the last 13,000 years. I could go on and on, for instance David Morrison and Clark Chapman (of B612!) share Harris’ willful ignorance. I just don’t have the stomach for other characters now.


So. Back to B612. There are two ways to obtain the data for impact estimates: Extrapolation of past events and identification of future threats. B612 is using an instant of the former to justify hundreds of years of the latter. If the Foundation were to comprehensively attack the problem of calibrating impact threat they would call for a concurrent investigation of past impacts — well beyond the 11 years the new data provides — to compliment their spacecraft plans.

Such a study would concentrate on geochemical and nano-material analysis of well-dated Holocene samples. For less than $1 million — a pittance compared to the $250 million required for their future-detecting Sentinel — soils and ice could be deliberately analyzed across the recent geological past to identify or refute anomalies published by Firestone, Courty, Mahaney, Andronikov, Paetev, Sharma, Ballard and others since 2007 — they could even vindicate Plato.

The failure of B612 to approach the study of the past with the gimlet eye they reserve for the future is as conspicuous to the Tusk as the shortcomings they will reveal tomorrow.


29 Responses

  1. Good points, George, about the B612 overlooking the Holocene.

    For one thing, if the 11 year record from infrasound is typical for a decade or so, then there have been over 2000 of that sized events in the last millennia and over 20,000 since civilization began – with them not having done any damage. Not at those sizes.

    That SHOULD bring, then, a “So what?” from everyone listening. Why? Because that size has been a minimal threat. Over the course of history since 10,000 BCE almost all cities were generally smaller than what is now a medium-sized British farm. A FARMER was as much at risk as what passed for cities. A city-killer in Roman times didn’t have to be much – unless it hit directly on Rome or Constantinople.

    So when we talk about THOSE city-killers in the present, we are talking about taking out a neighborhood in Brooklyn or Reno.

    Today’s city-killers are going to have to be truly big. Cities cover hundreds of square miles. A well-placed TunguskaX2 would do Chelyabinsk a whole lot more damage than the 2013 event did. YES, the odds ARE small for one to serendipitously directly hit a city. Any city.

    But the most LIKELY of city-killers are not the direct hits, they are going to be the ocean impacts – that take out not ONE city but two or three entire coastlines of cities.

    That will be like playing horseshoes with hand grenades – ringers aren’t necessary. And that is – what? – 1000 times more likely? 10,000? 100,000?

    When the likelihood is that much higher, why is ANYONE talking about direct city hits?

    People all in a tizzy over rising sea levels from global warming have no idea what an ocean impact sea level rise is like – even after Sumatra and Japan and their tsunamis. Even an ocean impact that ONLY does equivalent damage to each location – we have to look at hundreds of coastal cities with the tens and hundreds of billions of dollars worth of damage in each.

    If the Japan tsunami had been only twice as high (about 15 meters that was), some of those towns that still exist would be gone. Period. For each additional 10 meters of tsunami run-up above that, figure on wiping out an additional 20-50 cities.

    So, when B612 starts talking about saving cities, if they aren’t talking about ocean impacts, IMHO they are missing the boat.

  2. The evidence for larger impacts from the HSIE on comes from the archaeological and geological data, along with written records for the later periods, and proto-historical materials for the period preceding that.

    I need to point out that when Morrison made his initial estimate based on lunar data, it was daring and bold.

    The problem ensued when he did not revise that estimate to account for new data.

  3. Steve, you have to remember that in our insutrial age, not only do we have a denser population, we also have nuclear power plants and chemical plants.

    We came a hair’s breadth from a nuclear catastrophe at Chelyabinsk.

  4. Steve G,

    They didn’t _overlook_ the Tusk.

    It simply was not in their interest to mention it.

    They avoided the Holocene evidence for a reason…to limit the opposition to their $250 million telescope fundraising effort because the Tusk wacks far too many scientific/academic tree houses.

    View them as co-belligerent in the transmission of the “punctuated catastrophism in human times” meme.

  5. Sorry for all the typos and poor sentences. As always, check back frequently for improved writing;)

  6. Hi George –

    You have to remember that this NASA is the same one that needlessly lost $10 billion in spacecraft and 14 crew in recent years. It is dominated by manned Mars flight “enthusiasts”, who hold manned Mars flight as their scientific “religion”.

    They view using public funds to deal with the impact hazard as somehow taking “their” money.

    Morrison and Harris do not acknowledge impact by comets or comet fragments, and this is acceptable to these manned Mars flight enthusiasts.

    That is why they are attacking the ARM so viciously.

    The flanking movement I planned in the year 2000 was frustrated by David Childress, who I hope finally enjoys the success he so richly deserves.

  7. Funding for geological studies here on Earth may now be available through the NSF or USGS. It is not B612’s purpose.

    When Sentinel goes into operation its IR sensors will definitively image the potential impactor population.

    For background on B612, see:

    By the way, posting to the Tusk comments section does not make anyone an impact specialist.

  8. The fundamental place to show the inadequacy of Morrison and Harris’s earlier and current estimates is their failure to acknowledge the 26 million year stochastic periodicity of ELEs, first pointed out by Clube and Napier.

  9. Finally, it is going to take discovery of some of the larger astroblemes from the HSIE to end this argument.

    IMO, The most efficient use of research funds for performing that task is simply to give them to me to distribute.

  10. These guys are focused entirely on asteroids. It is their business model. Yet it is only half (or less?) of the problem. Amazing hole in the ability to complete threat analysis. Cheers –

  11. Hi agimarc –

    You nailed it in a sentence.

    As near as I can determine, Harris’s denial of cometary impact threat lies in his dislike of nuclear weapons.

    It is ironic, as the only way not to use nuclear charges is early detection. And in my view, the use of necessary nuclear charges for planetary protection when absolutely required will have to be under international control.

  12. EP – Asteroids ARE their business model. It is what they propose to commercially capture / mitigate. Their connections to the US NEO folks who are with few exceptions all asteroid people.

    Tough to use a nuke on a rubble pile. Nukes in space won’t be under international control. They will be under individual nation or perhaps treaty control. We have 4, maybe 5 nations today that can go it alone and I don’t see any of them giving up the individual finger on the proverbial button. Cheers –

  13. George,

    This should be its own post, but I’ll drop it here as the closest one I can find on the site —

    Asteroids are NOT the building blocks of planets – they were MADE by planets, claims study

    Scientists at Purdue University in Indiana present new asteroid theory

    They say asteroids may have formed during the collision of protoplanets

    Such planetary embryos combined to create the terrestrial planets

    Previously it was thought asteroids formed before the protoplanets and provided the building blocks in the early solar system

    But now scientists say 90% of meteorites were likely created at the same time as Earth

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2911926/Asteroids-NOT-building-blocks-planets-planets-claims-study.html#ixzz3Ov5jldp3
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook


  14. This is from the link above —


    In the early solar system, collision speeds were much lower than they are now.

    The planetary embryos were no larger than Earth’s moon and their collisions were relatively gentle, occurring at a speed of a few miles per second.

    For the most part, impacts at this speed would blast rock into broken fragments, but not melt it, allowing for the formation of asteroids with chondrules on them.

    Chondrules have long been a puzzling feature of meteorites and, if they weren’t observable in meteorites, scientists would likely never have predicted their existence.

    ‘Chondrules are incredibly abundant and so they must be telling us something important about what conditions were like in the early solar system when the planets were forming,’ Dr Minton said.

    ‘We think collisions were common in the early solar system and that planets are built out of the collisions between smaller bodies, so an impact theory for the origin of chondrules fits well with what we know of how planets formed.’

    If confirmed, this theory would give us a new understanding of our beginnings in the solar system – and suggest that most meteorites do not represent a time before Earth was born.

  15. Trent – (another long comment. I hope I don’t lose you…)

    Yeah, I caught that article, at a different site.

    Some of what they are saying ties in with my points more than previous ideas did. Hopefully this will bring the subject up for discussion more than in the past.

    I don’t think they are on solid ground, though. Why? “The planetary embryos were no larger than Earth’s moon and their collisions were relatively gentle, occurring at a speed of a few miles per second.” When relatively gentle is “a few miles per second, that takes some putting into perspective.

    ONE km/sec = 3600 km/hr. That is about 2200 miles per hour.

    [Wiki] “Muzzle velocities range from approximately 120 m/s (390 ft/s) to 370 m/s (1,200 ft/s) in black powder muskets, to more than 1,200 m/s (3,900 ft/s) in modern rifles with high-performance cartridges such as the .220 Swift and .204 Ruger, all the way to 1,700 m/s (5,600 ft/s) for tank guns firing kinetic energy penetrator ammunition.

    So, what is the purpose of bullets? To penetrate and tear through materials and bodies.

    A few km/sec” – what do they mean by that? Comets travel at up to 70 km/sec, and common asteroids at about 30 km/sec, down to Chelyabinsk, which was deemed to have entered the atmosphere at about 19 km/sec. So let’s assume, then, that “a few km/sec” means what we think it does – maybe 3 to 6 km/sec or so.

    3 km/sec is 3,000 m/sec. Where does that rank vs bullet speeds? Well, the HIGHEST value given on Wiki is 1,700 m/sec for “kinetic penetrator shells”. So, even only 3 km/sec is 75% higher that. We are above the range of the really, REALLY serious military shells.

    To penetrate a material, its “ultimate strength” (technical term) has to be exceeded. The more in excess of that ultimate strength the penetration is, the higher the impact and shattering is that occurs. If 1,700 m/sec is enough to penetrate materials, then 3.000 m/sec being 75% more, means serious disruption of the structure of the material being penetrated. (In machine dsign, if we saw a value 175% of the ultimate strength we would expect the thing to fail IMMEDIATELY. The crystalline structure would simply come apart, likely at a fracture plane. And THAT assumes no existing weak planes in the lattice. Otherwise it would fail even faster than “immediately”.) Even man-made high-strength steel alloys with high quality control would fail. THAT is why “kinetic energy penetrator ammunition” exists – to defeat high-strength materials. And few naturally forming materials are equal to man-made high-strength allows.

    So all this is telling us that ONLY 3 km/sec is still a velocity that will destroy what it impacts.

    Now take two objects the size of basketballs or cars and run them into each other at the velocity of “kinetic energy penetrator” shells. What do we get? DAMAGE. BIG damage.

    When they next say “For the most part, impacts at this speed would blast rock into broken fragments, but not melt it, allowing for the formation of asteroids with chondrules on them,” well, NO.

    That sentence is a contradiction in terms. “Blasting rock into broken fragments” – how exactly is that supposed to “allow them to form“? The researchers are dreaming. The objects have just been blasted into fragments. Those fragments do not just sit there and ooze into each other. The fragments go FLYING AWAY. (If you’ve ever seen a material failure in a tensile or compression testing machine, you would understand this. Even if the force is slowly applied, when the materials fail, they go BANG!!!! If the fragment velocities (from the other fragments) happen to be below escape velocity, they will eventually return to kiss up against each other. But in coming back together there is no reason that they should “allow them to form” a larger body. There IS no forming.

    This is a nice try, and in the right direction, but their own words contradict the principles that they present.

    Two equally sized objects colliding at 3,000 m/sec would exceed the ultimate strength of the materials each is made of. The two would destroy each other (since the resultant impact craters would be 20 times bigger than each one is).

    A smaller object hitting a larger one would ALSO shatter material OUT of the side of the larger one, if not break the larger one in pieces (depending on possible fractures, relative sizes, densities, etc.). Even if a larger body not previously fractured would likely get fractured from such an impact.

    But even if not broken up, the larger body would lose more material than it gains. The scaling laws indicate that the crater from an impact is 20 times the diameter of the impactor. That holds pretty much true for asteroids and comets as well as it does for moons and planets. And the crater is also about 10 times as deep. That larger object has material ejected equal to about 250 times the volume of the impactor, by my spreadsheet calculations. Exactly HOW is that supposed to help FORM a larger object? NOOOO. Each crater that we see on some asteroids – each one was made by an object only 5% the size of that crater. If it gets hit by enough of those impactors, there would be nothing left of the larger body but fragments, gone off into space. The whole thinking is backward.

    They are KIND OF thinking in the right direction, but they didn’t get it right, IMHO.

    The astronomers have been right to be puzzled about if chondrules for a long time. And the reason they don’t have it right yet is that their fundamental thinking direction is wrong. When ANY material has its ultimate strength exceeded, the material FAILS to stay intact. For forming to occur, the velocities would have to be FAR less than solar system velocities – like a few SCORES of meters per second

    Bullets are designed to destroy things, and the single most important factor in that is their velocity. A bullet going 10 miles an hour may hurt, but it doesn’t blow its target apart. But one going 1700 or 1800 m/sec WILL blow its target apart.

    So, we should expect that if materials science is correct (and I assure you that it is), then at 3000 m/sec or 6000 m /sec (“a few kilometers per second”) the impact will most assuredly blast the target AND the impactor to smithereens – at least if the two objects are made anything like the Allende meteorite (which has LOADS of chondrules). These researchers fudged on their velocities, because they knew they were balancing destruction versus the velocities known to exist in the solar system. They don’t even eplain how the proto-objects even GOT that slow, either.

    (None of this, of course, even addresses metallic meteoroids, either. Where did that metal come from? Super novas? How did it smelt itself?)

    I DO agree 100% with their last sentence that you quoted – “most meteorites do not represent a time before Earth was born”.

    The idea that in looking at asteroids and comets we are supposed to be looking at the very earliest materials in the solar system is, I have long contended, simply something made up as reasonable-sounding, based on their planetary nebula theory. It isn’t based in what forces are possible to create the objects we see. The forces they invoke end up being too high, the pressures too low, and the temperatures too low. It is kind of funny that the astronomers don’t understand materials.

    Not to beat a dead horse, but these researchers did not seem to address the toughest materials to explain in meteors – the peridotite. Maybe they will tackle that later.

  16. Steve; Thanks for explaining your view on planetary collisions. In the past your have expounded on this subject but I was not able to fully grasp the ideas. With your current explanation Now it’s making much more sense. you’ve cleared a general fog in my brain on this subject. Things just take longer with dense cranial matter.

  17. Yeah, Jim. Thanks for the feedback. Maybe I am starting to get better at spelling out what points I am making.

    I am not saying I am right, but if I am wrong I wouldn’t mind someone telling me where my errors are. (And if I am wrong, they ARE MY errors.) I’ve found that sometimes reasonable explanations can be wrong. Theirs, mine, anybody’s.

    As Richard Feynman says in his 1964 lecture on YouTube on the Scientific Method,

    “In general, we look for a new law by the following process:

    First, we guess it (audience laughter)… No, don’t laugh. That’s really true.

    Then we compute the consequences of the guess, to see what, if this is right, if this law we guess is right, to see what it would imply.

    And then we compare the computation results to nature, or we say compare to experiment or experience – compare it directly with observations to see if it works.

    If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It doesn’t make any difference how beautiful your guess is. It doesn’t matter how smart you are, or who made the guess, or what his name is… If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong.

    That’s all there is to it.”

    But their hypotheses seem to have overlooked some real-world physics, so I question it in the best way I can. Based a good deal on that experience, I simply believe that their “law” would not agree with experiment.

    But if they ARE wrong, do I know what is right? It doesn’t matter. I don’t HAVE TO come up with a hypothesis with which to replace theirs. Some people insist that I DO, but I don’t. Their proposed law stands or falls on its own merit. My THINKING on it has nothing to do with their proposed law’s success. Science is not a debate club. “Science” means it has to match up with reality, with experience, with experiment. No amount of words can make a wrong law correct, nor make a correct law wrong.

    I DO assert that I’ve run enough experiments myself that I have an idea of what principles apply and which ideas contradict those principles. As an engineer, one of the major job functions is to weed out bad ideas before we spend time and money and effort to check them out – or apply them in a real-world situation, only to watch them fail.

  18. Steve; I read an article over at Malaga Bay about viscosity. In it there was a section on skipping stones. In it they said that one needed to maintain an angle of approx. 20 degrees to maintain continueous skipping and at least 25mph based on the size of the stone. They also had a video of a cross section of a tank while skipping a stone on the water. As the stone comes in it creates a splash considerably larger and deeper than the actual stone. I’m wondering if a low angle impact on water can skip repeatedly over long distances before loosing momentum. I would assume that at the general speeds they come in it would be quite feasible for skipping to occur. I still haven’t tried to go on Google earth and align the four 34mya impacts. I’ve a bad case of the lack ofs, Lack of time, lack of skill, lack of sleep, and lack of ambition which is combination of all of the above. I haven’t even taken more pics of my meteor maybe as requested for verification. Just can’t get the ball rolling after the holidays.

  19. Steve; I forgot to add on that last post that I also wanted to consider that concept of an impactor skipping across the Laurentian ice sheet creating multiple hits and weakening the ice sheet in general causing massive destruction and melting (Kankakee Torrent?)

  20. Jim –

    I am doubtful of your speculation about the skipping and the Kankakee torrent. The Kankakee torrent was essentially at the very edge of the ice sheet (and then extending even further to the south and west) – what seems to me to be an unlikely location to be involved in any skipping. (If you recall, I favor a scenario in which the impactor breaks off and pushes a good chunk of the edge of the ice sheet. But I DO think it likely that the angle of 25° is probably a good angle to create this sort of event. (Note that the Chelyabinsk object came in at about 20°, and so did Tunguska – neither one far from that 25° that you found.)

    As to skipping itself, there may be an analog on the Pampas in Argentina, the Rio Cuarto craters. At least early on they were considered to maybe be skipping. I haven’t heard much about them in a while, and got the impression that the skipping aspect was not pursued to any real conclusion. Yet the LOOK like something skipped. No meteors were found inside their sometimes quite long craters, so perhaps the meteors skipped and are now located somewhere down the debris field – probably in fragments. There are are about 10 acknowledged to be impacts; they are on the impact database, accepted as impacts. In addition, I found hundreds of basically identical scars on the landscape SSW of the accepted 10, most of them directly in line with those 10.

    So, to address your “multiple skip” question, did the Rio Cuarto event perhaps create the ones downfield? It is a valid question maybe, but something about the consistent ratio of the elliptical scars that says “No” to me. Why? I expect that each skip (like stones on water) entails less velocity, which to me would change the nature of secondary and tertiary skips. This, I posit, would make the ratio of length-to-width change considerably. But that doesn’t hold true as I see them. Don’t take my word for it, but check them out yourself. And researchers may find that I am wrong. That is, IF they are multiple skips.

    I tend to see them all as primary impact craters at this time.

    Skipping on the surface of an ice sheet does sound alike it is possible.

    Skipping off the top of the atmosphere is something that NASA considers a possibility, if needed, to remove some velocity from a returning space vehicle. I recall looking this up back in 2013 and reading that they have not ever actually DONE this yet, however. There is a very narrow range of low-angle entry that allows this, in theory. I can’t recall the number.

    If the atmosphere can be skipped off, and if solid ground can be (assumed also), then it seems entirely probable that skipping on an ice sheet is also possible. And then certainly on the ocean’s surface, too.

    One more thing: When skipping stones on water, it has always been my impression that each skip tilts the stone a bit, giving the next skip different skipping parameters. Right or wrong, my impression has always been that the tilt made the stone have a higher tilt – making the skip more difficult. Adding that to the braking that the slip does, it means that the stone soon fails to meet the 20° and 25-mph parameters needed.

  21. Steve; I went back to the Malaga Bay site and looked at the aeroelasticity thread where the stone skipping is at. I looked at the video again and observed that the angle of the stone–disc did not appear to change but that was only one skip. As momentum decreases maybe the angle does change, I think it should. I threw that idea out there as a “could be”. I would think that the incoming velocity would be so great that if one were to hit on the ice and skip it would probably make its next strike somewhere in N.E. Canada or the Atlantic depending on the angle of approach.

  22. Steve I just read an article about the Cape York Meteorite. In it the authors say they have dated the meteorite’s fall to about 10,000 years ago. Close enough for a good chin rub I would think

  23. Jim –

    In picturing an object coming in at low angle and hitting the ice, I am reminded of a movie about a true story of World War II, where some British pilots were tasked with taking out three dams in Germany. The really cool part was where they had to come in low over one reservoir and drop a bomb to skip it over the surface of the water and whack against the face of the dam. They practiced it several times to get it right. The bomb needed to be shaped round, and when it touched the surface of the water, the bomb started spinning, then quickly bounced, then came down and did that again, before it came to rest against the dam and started to sink. That is what they were aiming for. The plan and shape developed as they saw what happened as the bomb skipped off the water.

    As far as I know the movie portrayed all of that more or less correctly.

    So I will go on record as thinking that skipping would be secondary to the vertical spinning brought on by the braking action of the water on the bottom surface of the object.

    You’ve got my brain working (a dangerous thing…)

    From my sizable experience with skipping rocks (with many failures to my credit!), I would think that there are several factors for rock skipping:

    1. The degree of spinning of the rock horizontally is THE major factor in the skipping. That spin has one side spinning forward and the opposite side spinning back toward the thrower. The forward spinning side has the greatest rock surface velocity; the backward spinning side has the least absolute rock surface velocity.
    2. The rock does NOT have its leading edge angled down.
    3. The correct SIDE be the one that contacts the water. (Left or Right)
    4. Angle the rock SIDEWAYS just a little bit, to get the correct contact with the surface of the water – on ONLY ONE SIDE. For me, the way I spin it, that is the right side.
    5. When done right, the contacting side of the rock’s bottom surface has the spin back TOWARD the thrower. This gives the LOWEST delta-V at contact, thus imparting the least amount of friction between the bottom face and the water surface.
    6. I think that optimally the absolute velocity of the rock’s bottom contact surface (on only that one side) should be zero or even possibly slightly negative. (The higher the spin rate, for me, the better skipping I got, so I THINK that a negative absolute velocity at the point of contact is best. This might actually propel the rock forward a bit more.
    7.The more delta-V between the water surface and the contact area on the rock, the more likely it is to fail.

    In the end, though, I think that it is unlikely that the rock skipping is a good analog for a meteor. Reason? Skipping rocks are DEFINITELY best if they are flat. Flatter is better. Meteors I don’t think are often very flat.

  24. Jim –

    I went there and ran through that. A good post to check out, but nothing really useful about ice sheets that I could see. Maybe in one of the 20 or so links. That would take time. Maybe later. THANKS!

    The guy makes a big deal arguing it seems that internal mechanical failures are bogus. (If I got his point). I know that their WOULD be slippages at the crystalline level with ANY load or warming at all – whether measurable or not by humans on the surface or with satellites. It all really happens at the crystalline level. I would disagree with him, in his hammering on about avalanches, slow or not. A visible avalanche is just a macro version of what goes on all the time at the crystalline level. There is very little cohesion or adhesion along any and all crystalline fault planes – which is pretty much all the ice. The ice WANTS to flow, if it is given a delta in either terrain gradient or thickness gradient.

    To me, the terrain gradient is THE important factor.

    The problem with the ice sheets moving idea is that they apparently ignore the terrain gradient and think that on flat ground or rough ground or even with hills in the way that the thickness gradient is the only factor and is sufficient. At least I myself do not agree with them, if that is what they think. If they want to show me that the terrain gradient is not important, I am all ears.

    And the ice has internal SHEAR (look up shear on Wiki, to get a sense of what it means) – but only when their are unbalanced forces and insufficient friction to prevent such movement.

    Like air will flow from higher pressure to lower pressure, so will ice flow internally from higher pressure to lower pressure, too, and that pressure comes from the forces present. And the only force acting is gravity, which is a straight-down force. That straight-down force has to somehow be translated into horizontal delta-P if the ice is to move laterally. In mountain valleys, no problem. On flat ground, big problem. The same formulas apply, but the numbers come out WAAAAY different.


  25. This is from the same (above) WUWT article, link —



    The JPL website contains more information about the discoveries of various space survey projects;

    “WISE was launched into a low-Earth orbit in December 2009, and surveyed the full sky in four infrared wavelength bands (3.4, 4.6, 12 and 22 µm) with a 40 cm (16 in) diameter infrared telescope until the frozen hydrogen cooling the telescope was depleted in September 2010. Throughout this time, NEOWISE searched the WISE data for moving objects. Starting in October 2010, the mission was renamed NEOWISE, and the survey continued for an additional four months using the two shortest wavelength detectors. The spacecraft was placed into hibernation in February 2011, after completing its search of the inner solar system.

    Recently, NEOWISE has been brought out of hibernation to learn more about the population of near-Earth objects and comets that could pose an impact hazard to the Earth. A three-year survey in the 3.4 and 4.6 µm infrared bands began in December 2013 in which NEOWISE will rapidly characterize near-Earth objects (NEOs) and obtain accurate measurements of their diameters and albedos (how much light an object reflects). NEOWISE is equally sensitive to both light-colored asteroids and the optically dark objects that are difficult for ground-based observers to discover and characterize. Just six days after the restart of the survey, NEOWISE discovered its first potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroid, 2013 YP139.


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