Clarifying note: The Tusk, not Dr. Burchard, suggested the name Crater Burchard for this feature. And yes, I know. Craters are named for nearby geographic features, not people.
The always smug but relatively well informed Paul Heinrich had a post on the Meteorite-list serve today disputing the cosmic origin of circular features identified by Hermann Burchard in the South China Sea and posted last month on the Cosmic Tusk. Paul is one of those guys that doesn’t sleep well if someone is still up having some fun. But nonetheless he is a fine scientist and always willing to dig deep in the literature and his own extensive knowledge base to dispute claims he finds thinly supported.
I’ll leave it to the crowd to sort through Heinrich’s criticisms, but they seem solid. However, I have to take issue with his claim that common folks using Google Earth to poke around for craters is simply “dubious” and cannot contribute to the search for craters. The world is a big place and crowd sourcing is a valid approach for citizens to scientists. A few meteor wrongs, or Google crater that are truly center-pivot irrigation, do not stress the system so badly that it deters professional research.
I have a feeling that if Heinrich falsely believed he had stumbled upon a previously un-noted math proof, Dr. Burchard would graciously walk him back. In fact I know he would.