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

I was fortunate to attend the YDB session in San Francisco at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union.  With a young family and a growing business it is tough — and selfish —  to pull away to the West Coast to play scientist two weeks before Christmas.  But I did.  And I appreciate the patience of my family and my co-workers.

When I began this post (and this blog) I thought my first contribution would be to re-cap the entire AGU session.   But it became too long for an inaugural post — and too short for the information at hand. So I will instead re-cap the session in a serial format with perhaps four or more posts covering each of the ten presentations, more or less paired pro and con, as presented in San Fransisco. One other thing before proceeding, I dislike writing tedious narrative of this type, recounting presentations, and I am no good at it.  It makes for a tough first assignment for the Cosmic Tusk and I appreciate your patience with my pen.

Here now is the Part I Re-Cap, concerning the presentations by Drs. Wallace Broecker and Allen West:

It was a pleasure to see the YDB Session at AGU packed with interested young scientists and a number of old bulls — pro and con. I figure there were over 200 geeks crammed into the oral presentation at the Moscone Center West.  The lucky few witnessed powerful, multi-disciplinary and independent presentations of new and old evidence supporting the YDB hypothesis, an effective refutation of the recent Surovell and the Gill papers (as far as a comet is concerned), and some decidedly lackluster presentations from important critics.

The eminent dean of abrupt climate change, Wally Broecker, was the lead speaker from the skeptic camp.  Disappointingly, Dr. Broecker chose not to address the YDB hypothesis until he closed.  Instead, he gave a rather ad-hoc and rambling recap of the state of YD trigger science and the many unknowns therein.  The sole reference to a comet was in his closing remarks, which were accompanied by a slide where ‘Comet’ was listed as one of four proposed YD triggers — with a slash through it.   The slide was black text on stark white background saying (links added for off-site fun):

But, what was the YD trigger?

1)  Heinrich Ice Armada

2) Spontaneous Shutdown

3)  Flood [SLASH]

4)  Comet [SLASH]

Slide from Wallace Broecker, 2009 Fall AGU

His dismissal lasted less than 45 seconds and included the following statements, “I never believed it,” “The original evidence has been pared down to only the nanodiamonds,” and,  “If it happened it just ‘pre-triggered’ something that would have happened by itself.”

I thought Dr. Broecker’s dismissal was a little brusque for someone of his stature and accomplishment.  The evidence has certainly not been “pared down” to only nanodiamonds (as soon after was demonstrated by several researchers).  Posing the event as a “pre-trigger” seemed like a “Plan B” for his own body of work in case the evidence for an ET event continues to pile up.  And stating that he “never believed it” is predictable for a detective (metaphorically) who may have dedicated his career to investigating a murder, never realizing it was perhaps a visiting relative who pulled the trigger.

(Incidentally, I spoke with Wallace afterward and he was just as nice as he could be. Which was surprising given the gruff goat I’d just seen on the podium.  It turns out he maintains a strong interest in the origin of the Carolina bays, even suggesting to a nearby student that he study the subject.)

George Howard and Wally Broecker

Allen West, the deductive and affable principle publishing researcher of the YDB event (along with James Kennett) followed Broecker.   His presentation began with a typically matter-of-fact recitation and augmentation of the catalog of evidence worldwide for a sudden ET interaction at the Younger Dryas Boundary, including a well reasoned discussion of the nanodiamonds as marker evidence, and a critique of the Surovell and Gil papers — widely touted in 2009 as having discredited evidence for the Clovis Comet.

It was a careful, comprehensive — and devastatingly effective — presentation of old and new evidence pointing to a catastrophic ET event as the trigger for the YD.  As you might expect, it was also a bit embarrassing. The contrast with Broecker was stark and telling.  The perception in the room was of an old bull being gored on PowerPoint by entirely new lines of evidence which were unfamiliar to the old bull.

West agreed with Broecker that the nanodiamonds were the most important evidence.  He revealed they have now been found on 3 continents at 21 sites within discreet YD stratigraphy — not above, not below.   He then noted that identical diamonds are found at the KT Boundary and appropriate stratigraphy at the Tunguska site, and those diamonds are accepted as evidence formed from an impact, suggesting that the YD research is being held to a higher standard.

He then listed other researchers’ alternative explanations for the formation of the nanodiamonds, notably slow cosmic accretion and wildfires.  In response, he showed TEM’s of the carbon spherules infused with nanodiamonds, and asked:  If slow accretion were responsible for their presence on earth, how could they be found inside carbon spherules of a terrestrial origin?  And if they are formed by wildfires, why did they not burn up as would be expected, given the combustion of diamonds at wildfire temps when oxygen is present?  West proposed that only impact could produce the hex-diamonds because impact is the only natural process that produces the three necessary condition, high temps, high or low pressures and hypoxic (zero oxygen) conditions.

Perhaps most important and revealing was West’s stepwise explanation of Surovell’s failure to find the impact markers at the YD, and similar shortcomings identified by Gill.

Surovell’s sampling frequency was shown by West to be ~1000 times less sensitive to the evidence than the work of Firestone, et al and subsequent papers, and thus fatally flawed as refutation.  It appears that Surovell sampled the stratigraphy within a 10-28 cm band.  Whereas West’s evidence was obtained by sampling the wall in .5 to 2cm. band just below the black mat, a more discreet protocol with a higher temporal resolution.  West estimated that  Surovell was looking at one thousand years of dirt per sample, while the YD samples covered a fraction of that time.  The YD team is looking for one dirty blanket in pile of layers by testing blanket by blanket.  The Surovell team just grabbed them all up and declared them all clean. [I am all ears for a better analogy:]

West then proceeded to commend the Gill paper (ESA, August 2009) as a good faith effort also, but also reveal it as fatally flawed as regards the event.  Ironically, Gill’s failure was quite the opposite of Surovell’s.  Where Surovell tested 1000x more material than needed, Gill sampled 1000x too little.  The YD team’s protocol would require sampling 1000 grams of sediment where you would expect to find 390 cosmic spherules.  Gill, however, sampled only one gram and found nothing — as math would indicate is likely — even if West’s reports were accurate.

He continued on, as fairness would demand, to report the findings of other independent researchers whose evidence supports the YD hypothesis.  West began by showing a striking photo of YD Black Mat stratigraphy — in Pennsylvania.  As far as I know it was the first presentation of the black-layer in the eastern US.  Within this layer, identified and investigated by Demitroff and Lecompte, nearly 10,000 spherules per kilogram are being found, the highest yet recorded at any site.  (The Tusk will work to obtain a photo.)  He showed TEMs of a veritable zoo of Aluminosilicate Spherules , nano and micro-tektites, and suspected impact glass found only in the layer, not above or below it, and formed at temperatures of 1500 to 1800 C.  Well above temperatures reached in wildfires.

West stressed the melted glass and spherules were formed from melted terrestrial clay or shale.  This is important.  As West said,

“This is absolutely terrestrial geochemistry, there is no hint of ET material.  So the best explanation is this is impact material.  So we think this refutes ET accretion. We dont see any ET signature at all.  And the temperatures required to produce this are extreme, to melt this well beyond any wildfire”

— Allen West, AGU Fall Meeting, 2009

West returned to his big blue world map and pointed to the work of Marie Agnes Courty, a French soil scientist, and probably one of the few people who have spent as much time as West looking at dirt in transmission microscopes.  M. Courty presented very similar evidence as West in three far flung corners of the earth — specifically the Caspian Sea, the coast of Peru, and Atlantic Coast of France.  As West recounted, her findings — as excerpted from her abstract below — were a stunning multi-continent confirmation that something quite extraordinary happened at 12,900bp:

“The three sequences display one remarkable layer of exogenous air-transported microdebris that is part of a complex time series of recurrent fine dust/wildfire events. The sharp debris-rich microfacies and its association to ashes derived from calcination of the local vegetation suggest instantaneous deposition synchronous to a high intensity wildfire. The debris assemblage comprises microtektite-like glassy spherules, partly devitrified glass shards, unmelted to partly melted sedimentary and igneous clasts, terrestrial native metals, and carbonaceous components. The later occur as grape-clustered polymers, vitrified graphitic carbon, amorphous carbon spherules with a honeycomb pattern, and green carbon fibres with recrystallized quartz and metal blebs. Evidence for high temperature formation from a heterogeneous melt with solid debris and volatile components derived from carbonaceous precursors supports an impact origin from an ejecta plume. The association of debris deposition to total firing would trace a high energy airburst with surface effects of the fireball. In contrast, microfacies and debris composition of the recurrent fine dust/wildfire events would trace a series of a low energy airburst.”

— Field-Analytical approach of land-sea records for elucidating the Younger Dryas Boundary syndrome T. Ge1; M. M. COURTY2; F. Guichard3 1. Geoarcheology, INRAP, Pessac, France. 2. Prehistory -IPHES-ICREA, CNRS-MNHN, Tarragona, Spain. 3. Paleoocenography, CNRS-CEA UVSQ, Gif-sur-Yvette, France.

I will let that speak for itself, for the time being.

West closed by noting this type of exotic terrestrial impact flash-trash has been identified by his team at nine sites (6 sites in NA, 2 Europe, 1 Syria), and at ten sites by 3rd party independents (7 sites NA,  1 site SA, 1 site Europe, 1 site Syria).  For a total of nineteen sites on four continents where a synchronous discreet layer has been found showing evidence of a widely dispersed hell.

Feel like the science press at AGU didn’t give you the whole story — or worse, no story at all when there was one?  So did I.  That’s why I started The Tusk. There is plenty going on in this field which is either unreported or largely distorted and ill-formed when it is reported.  I am going to do what I can to change that.

Stayed tuned….more presentations and posters from AGU on the way.

3 Responses

  1. exact Carolina Bay crater locations, RB Firestone, A West, et al, two YD reviews, 2008 June, 2009 Nov, also 3 upcoming abstracts: Rich Murray
    Saturday, November 14, 2009

    http://ie.lbl.gov/mammoth/mammoth.html Firestone paper links

    37 pages
    Firestone, R.B.; West, A.; Revay Zs.; Hagstrum J.T.; Belgya T.;
    Que Hee S.S.; and Smith, A.R. (2008)
    Analysis of the Younger Dryas Impact Layer,
    100 years since Tunguska phenomenon: past, present, and future,
    June 26-28, Moscow, in press. 54 references

    R.B. Firestone 1,
    A. West 2,
    Zs. Revay 3,
    J. T. Hagstrum 4,
    T. Belgya 3,
    S.S. Que Hee 5,
    and A.R. Smith 1
    1 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, Ca 94720,
    [ #43 Henderson, G.M.; Hall, B.L.; Smith, A.; & Robinson, L.F.
    (2006) Chem. Geol. 226, 298-308 ]
    2 GeoScience Consulting, Box 1636, Dewey, Arizona 86327,
    3 Institute for Isotope and Surface Chemistry,
    P.O. Box 77, H-1525 Budapest, Hungary,
    4 U.S. Geological Survey, 345 Middlefield Road MS 937,
    Menlo Park, CA 94025,
    5 University of California, Los Angeles, ICP-MS Facility,
    Los Angeles, CA 90095


    We have uncovered a thin layer of magnetic grains and
    microspherules, carbon spherules, and glass-like carbon at
    nine sites across North America, a site in Belgium, and
    throughout the rims of 16 Carolina Bays.
    It is consistent with the ejecta layer from an impact event and
    has been dated to 12.9 ka BP coinciding with the onset of
    Younger Dryas (YD) cooling and widespread megafaunal
    extinctions in North America.
    At many locations the impact layer is directly below a black mat
    marking the sudden disappearance of the megafauna and Clovis
    The distribution pattern of the Younger Dryas boundary (YDB)
    ejecta layer is consistent with an impact near the Great Lakes
    that deposited terrestrial-like ejecta near the impact site and
    unusual, titanium-rich projectile-like ejecta further away.
    High water content associated with the ejecta, up to 28 at.%
    hydrogen (H), suggests the impact occurred over the Laurentide
    Ice Sheet.
    YDB microspherules and magnetic grains are highly enriched in
    Magnetic grains from several sites are enriched in iridium (Ir), up
    to 117 ppb.
    The TiO2/FeO, K/Th, TiO2/Zr, Al2O3/FeO+MgO, CaO/Al2O3,
    REE/chondrite, FeO/MnO ratios and SiO2, Na2O, K2O, Cr2O3,
    Ni, Co, U, Th and other trace element abundances are inconsistent
    with all terrestrial and extraterrestrial (ET) sources except for
    KREEP, a lunar igneous rock rich in potassium (K), rare-earth
    elements (REE), phosphorus (P), and other incompatible elements
    including U and Th.
    Normal Fe, Ti, and 238U/235U isotopic abundances were found
    in the magnetic grains, but 234U was enriched over equilibrium
    values by 50% in Murray Springs and by 130% in Belgium.
    40K abundance is enriched by up to 100% in YDB sediments and
    Clovis chert artifacts.
    Highly vesicular carbon spherules containing nanodiamonds,
    glass-like carbon, charcoal and soot found in large quantities in
    the YDB layer are consistent with an impact followed by intense
    Four holes in the Great Lakes, some deeper than Death Valley,
    are proposed as possible craters produced by the airburst
    breakup of a loosely aggregated projectile.

    from Table 2:

    Blackwater Draw, NM—– 34.27564N 103.32633W
    Chobot, AB, CAN——— 52.99521N 114.71773W
    Gainey, MI—————– 42.93978N,, 83.72111W
    Murray Springs, AZ ——–31.57103N 110.17814W
    Wally’s Beach, AB——— 49.34183N 113.15440W
    Topper, SC — T-1——— 33.00554N,, 81.49001W
    Topper, SC — T-2——— 33.00545N,, 81.49056W

    Daisy Cave, CA———– 34.04207N 120.32009W
    Lake Hind, MB, CAN—– 49.43970N 100.69783W
    Lommel, BELGIUM——- 51.23580N,,,,, 5.26403E
    Morley drumlin, AB——– 51.14853N, 114.93546W

    CAROLINA BAYS: (with paleosol beneath)
    Blackville, SC — T13——- 33.36120N 81.30440W
    Myrtle Beach, SC — M31– 33.83776N 78.69565W
    Lk Mattamuskeet — LM—- 35.51865N 76.267917W
    Howard Bay, NC — HB—- 34.81417N 78.84753W
    [ http://ie.lbl.gov/mammoth/PP43A_10.pdf ] poster 1.07 MB

    CAROLINA BAYS: (no paleosol reached)
    Myrtle Beach, SC — M33– 33.81883N 78.74181W
    Myrtle Beach, SC — M24– 33.83118N 78.72379W
    Myrtle Beach, SC — M32– 33.84034N 78.70906W
    Salters Lake, NC — B14— 34.70992N 78.62043W
    Lumberton, NC — L33—– 34.75566N 79.10870W
    Lumberton, NC — L28—– 34.77766N 79.05008W
    Lumberton, NC — L31—– 34.78117N 79.04774W
    Lumberton, NC — L32—– 34.79324N 79.01871W
    Moore Cty, NC — MC1— 35.30104N 78. 84753W
    Sewell, NC — FS3——— 34.95800N 78.70280W
    Lake Phelps — LP———- 35.78412N 76.434383W

    I looked all these up with Google Earth and Maps.
    In many cases, many craters overlap complexly, so it
    is not clear which is the one studied.
    It is always easy to find many more in each cluster.

    http://journalofcosmology.com/Extinction105.html 20 pages
    Firestone, R. B., 2009,
    The Case for the Younger Dryas Extraterrestrial Impact Event:
    Mammoth, Megafauna, and Clovis Extinction, 12,900 Years Ago.
    Journal of Cosmology. vol. 2, pp. 256-285. 67 references


    The onset of >1000 years of Younger Dryas cooling, broad-scale
    extinctions, and the disappearance of the Clovis culture in North
    America simultaneously occurred 12,900 years ago followed
    immediately by the appearance of a carbon-rich black layer at
    many locations.
    In situ bones of extinct megafauna and Clovis tools occur only
    beneath this black layer and not within or above it.
    At the base of the black mat at 9 Clovis-age sites in North
    America and a site in Belgium numerous extraterrestrial impact
    markers were found including magnetic grains highly enriched in
    iridium, magnetic microspherules, vesicular carbon spherules
    enriched in cubic, hexagonal, and n-type nanodiamonds,
    glass-like carbon containing Fullerenes and nanodiamonds,
    charcoal, soot, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
    The same impact markers were found mixed throughout the
    sediments of 15 Carolina Bays, elliptical depressions along the
    Atlantic coast, whose parallel major axes point towards either
    the Great Lakes or Hudson Bay. The magnetic grains and
    spherules have an unusual Fe/Ti composition similar to lunar
    Procellarum KREEP Terrane and the organic constituents are
    enriched in 14C leading to radiocarbon dates often well into
    the future.
    These characteristics are inconsistent with known meteorites
    and suggest that the impact was by a previous unobserved,
    possibly extrasolar body.
    The concentration of impact markers peaks near the Great Lakes
    and their unusually high water content suggests that a 4.6 km-wide
    comet fragmented and exploded over the Laurentide Ice Sheet
    creating numerous craters that now persist at the bottom of the
    Great Lakes.
    The coincidence of this impact, the onset of Younger Dryas
    cooling, extinction of the megafauna, and the appearance of a
    black mat strongly suggests that all these events are directly
    These results have unleashed an avalanche of controversy
    which I will address in this paper.

    Keywords: Younger Dryas, Extinctions, Extraterrestrial Impacts,
    Black Mat, Clovis, Mammoth, Megafauna

    “West also investigated sediment from 15 Carolina Bays,
    elliptical depressions found along the Atlantic coast from
    New England to Florida (Eyton and Parkhurst, 1975),
    whose parallel major axes point towards either the
    Great Lakes or Hudson Bay as seen in Fig. 3.
    Similar bays have tentatively been identified in Texas,
    New Mexico, Kansas, and Nebraska (Kuzilla, 1988)
    although they are far less common in this region.
    Their major axes also point towards the Great Lakes.
    The formation of the Carolina Bays was originally ascribed
    to meteor impacts (Melton and Schriever, 1933) but when
    no meteorites were found they were variously ascribed
    to marine, eolian, or other terrestrial processes.

    West found abundant microspherules, carbon spherules,
    glass-like carbon, charcoal, Fullerenes, and soot throughout
    the Carolina Bays but not beneath them as shown in Fig. 4.
    Outside of the Bays these markers were only found only
    in the YDB layer as in other Clovis-age sites.”

    “Figure 3. The Carolina Bays are >>500,000 elliptical,
    shallow lakes, wetlands, and depressions, up to >>10 km long,
    with parallel major axes (see inset) pointing toward the
    Great Lakes or Hudson Bay.
    Similar features found in fewer numbers in the plains states
    also point towards the Great Lakes.
    These bays were not apparent topographical features
    until the advent of aerial photography.”

    This figure shows nice color LIDAR typographic images
    of 8 craters, 0.5 to 4 km wide.
    I used Ctr + in Windows Vista to expand the NA map, counting
    18 elliiptical craters in the Great Plains:
    Texas 4
    New Mexico 3
    Colorado 2
    Kansas 4
    Nebraska 5.

    It’s not easy to locate the LIDAR craters on the photo images
    of Google Maps and Earth, but I’ve had a lot of practice with
    these states and all over Earth this year, including brief visits to
    many craters in New Mexico and Kauai.
    I managed to find Salt Lake, NM, and Coyote Lake, TX.
    The features are often complex enough to make assigning a
    size fairly arbitrary.

    Nice maps and typo maps and tourist info are available free on:

    Salt Lake, New Mexico 34.079932 -103.089600,
    1.177 km lowest crater elevation, NEE axis, EES rim el 1.215,
    N edge el 1.183, ~10×3.7, E from center 7 km to Texas and
    18 km to Coyote Lake (another LIDAR image), much white
    deposits, N of Rd 235ew, just S of Rd 88 S Roosevelt Road 10,
    24 km E of 206ns, 26 km EES of Portales, striking “comb” of
    many parallel ditches running into lake from E side

    Little Salt Lake is 7 km W of center, el 1.183, 3.6 wide, E comb,
    very similar and obviously connected

    Coyote Lake, Texas 34.102105 -102.872902 1.162 site N 1.200
    15 km SW of Muleshoe, size 5.7×4.3, E comb, W of Rd 214 ns

    Baileyboro Lake 34.0045 -102.8206 1.155 site SW 1.186
    no comb, size 2

    Upper White Lake 33.9426 -102.7678 1.129 site W 1.171
    S,E comb, size 1.8, 2 km W of Rd 214ns

    just 1 km NE is a double crater, 1.129 site W 1.169,
    S,E comb, 1.6×1.3, just W of Rd 214ns

    then just N is Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge, same size,
    with a .24 wide flat round dark crater 1.667 site W 1.170

    just E across Rt 214ns is Upper Pauls Lake, complex 2 km size,
    1.129 site W 1.147

    33.860831 -101.449100 1.038 site W 1.125
    NNE 15×8, 29 km SSE of craters by Rd 214ns,
    10 km W of Rd 385ns, 15 km SW of Littlefield on Rd 84nwse,
    comb on whole E side

    Returning to New Mexico, Lane Salt Lake, similar to Salt Lake
    33.465718 -103.608318 1.265 site 1.300 size 10×4 NE
    90 km SW of Salt Lake, E comb

    34.038716 -103.350290, el 1.266, site about 1.269, .16 wide,
    W of 206ns, just S of S Roosevelt Rd 15, dark

    34.026073 -103.399379 1.278 site 1.283 size .76,
    extends to SW

    34.026338 -103.437950 1.279 site 1.287,
    cut by Rd 235ew size 1.5

    WSNM 32.755610 -106.413363 1.186 site S 1.210 68×33 km
    White Sands National Monument, gypsum sand

    Howard Bay, NC — HB—- 34.81417 -78.84753
    [ Wet center marked in blue on Google Maps Terrain,
    named Pages Lake .7x.2, with Mines Creek NW to SE
    at both ends, but built over on Google Earth,
    34.815274 -783014 .030 is lowest point,
    just SW of Rd 87, is 13.7 km W of Marshy Bay,
    which is NW of Bladen Lakes State Forest.
    site W .044 N .044 E creek .010 S .043 all at 1.3 radius,
    Rd 87 cuts NW across NE half, farms completely hide crater,
    steep bare brown red rise to NWSE ridge from .030 to .044
    from .090 to 1.17 radius must be NE rim.
    Many local farm roads provide convenient access
    across crater interior. ]

    [ http://ie.lbl.gov/mammoth/PP43A_10.pdf ] poster 1.07 MB

    R. Kobres 1,
    G. A. Howard 2 ( [email protected]orationsystems.com ),
    A.West 3 ,
    R. B. Firestone 4,
    J. P. Kennett 5,
    D. Kimbel 2,
    W. Newell 2
    1 U. of Georgia, Athens, GA, 30602,
    2 Restoration Systems, L.L.C., Raleigh, NC 27604,
    3 GeoScience Consulting, Dewey, Arizona 86327,
    4 Lawrence Berkeley National Lab Berkeley, CA 94720,
    5 Dept. of Earth Sciences, U. of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106.

    Surface Vertical Exaggeration = 7x
    Scale: 250 meters
    Bay is 2.6 km long

    The Carolina Bays are a group of up to 500,000 lakes and
    wetlands stretching from Florida to New Jersey
    along the Atlantic Ocean.
    They are up to11 km in length and about 15 meters in depth.
    The elliptical shapes, overlapping rims (Fig.1, left), and common
    orientation towards the Great Lakes region have generated many
    hypotheses about how the Bays formed.
    Extraterrestrial Impact.
    This hypothesis was developed by Melton and Schriever (1933)
    and expanded by Prouty, (1934) and Eyton and Parkhurst(1970),
    who proposed that a meteorite or comet exploded above the
    Great Lakes, producing no primary crater.
    The secondary fragments and/orshock wave from that blast
    formed rough, shallow craters on the Atlantic Coast, and,
    over time, wind and water altered those craters to form the
    Carolina Bays.
    The Impact Hypothesis accounts fo rthe orientation of Bays,
    overlapping raised rims, and the fact that they do not appear
    to be forming today.
    However, there are problems:
    (a) reported Bay ages vary by tens of thousands of years; and
    (b) no one has found impact material in the Bays, such as
    shocked quartz or other ET markers.
    This hypothesis was offered in various versions
    first by Raisz (1934) and others, whosuggested that wind
    created deflation basins or parabolic dunes, which later
    filled to become lakes that evolved into Carolina Bays.
    Johnson (1942) proposed that springs or groundwater
    dissolution of soluble minerals caused subsidence, which formed
    water-filled depressions that became the Bays.
    Kaczorowski (1976) formulated what has become one of the
    prevailing views, suggesting that strong ice-age winds blew
    across irregular lakes, generating powerful eddy-currents.
    Those currents gradually reshaped the lakes into oriented,
    elliptical Carolina Bays, whose long axes were perpendicular
    to the prevailing wind direction.
    The rims were built from wind-transported sand that
    accumulated from the dry lake beds during droughts.
    While this overall hypothesis clarifies many Bay features,
    it has several key weaknesses.
    The theory can not explain:
    (a)how wind and water could create up to four layers of
    stacked Bays with overlapping Bay rims, as seen in Fig.1; and
    (b) why modern severe wind and water action, such as occurs
    during hurricanes, does not produce or reshape Bays
    on the Coastal Plain today.
    Because of the above questions, the Bay controversy has
    remained unresolved for more than 80 years.
    In this investigation, we tested these various hypotheses by
    examining Howard Bay, which is located about 2km north of
    the town of Duartin, Bladen County, North Carolina.
    Nine suites of samples were extracted along the 2.6-km long axis
    of Howard Bay using a combination of trenching and coring with
    an AMS Soil Core Sampler.
    Maximum depths varied from about 2 to10 meters.
    ET Markers.
    Analysis of the samples reveals an assemblage of abundant
    carbon spherules (Fig.2), magneticgrains, microspherules,
    glass-like carbon, and iridium, typical of the12.9-ka YDB
    impact layer found at many other non-bay sites
    across North America.
    The impact layer conforms to the bottom of the basin
    (dark blue on the core symbols), suggesting that the markers
    began to be deposited immediately or soon after the Bay formed.
    Fig.3 shows the results from Core #11 near the center of
    Howard Bay, where carbon spherules are found from
    nearly the surface down to about 7.5 meters deep.
    Glass-like carbon abundances (not shown) followed
    a similar pattern.
    Iridium (15 ppb) was found at the lowest level of the basin.
    Silt and Clay.
    Trenching shows that theBay is filled with >6m of cross-bedded
    eolian sand (Fig.4) with no evidence of lacustrine sedimentation.
    As a further test, sediment from Core #11 was analyzed with
    Standard ASTM sieves, and the results are shown in Fig.3.
    The top1 meter averaged about 14% silt and clay, and from
    about 1 to 9 meters, there is 0.3% to 6% silt and clay,
    values consistent with eolian deposition.
    There is typically less than a few percent of any particles
    larger than medium sand.
    Analysis reveals that, unlike typical, peat-rich Carolina Bays,
    Howard Bay essentially lacks peat, diatoms, pollen, and other
    organic materials, and it also lacks substantial silt and clay.
    That suggests this Bay never held water for a sustained
    length of time.
    Furthermore, the presence of extensive eolian sand calls
    into question prevailing hypotheses
    (a) that all Bays were lakes and ponds in the past and that
    their shapes were formed by wave action, and
    (b) that ground water movement led to subsidence that
    formed the Bay.
    In addition, the presence of impact markers, including high
    concentrations of iridium in a layer just above the basal
    sediments of this Bay, supports the impact hypothesis
    for Bay formation.
    The age of Howard Bay appears consistent with and
    not older than the YD impact event;
    however, our research did not address the reported anomalous
    ages of other Bays, a question which remains unresolved.
    1. Melton, F.A. & Scriever, W. (1933) J. Geol. 41, 52-56.
    2. Prouty, W.F. (1952) Bulletin of the GSA, Vol. 63, 167-224..
    3. Eyton, J.R. & J.I. Parkhurst (1975)
    Dept. of Geography Paper No. 9, U. of Illinois.
    4. Raisz, (1934) J. Geol., Vol. 42:839-848
    5. Johnson, D.W. (1942) The Origin of the Carolina Bays.
    Columbia University Press, New York.
    6. Kaczorowski, R.T. (1976) The Carolina Bays:
    a comparison with modern oriented lakes,
    PhD thesis, University of South Carolina, Columbia.
    Base image courtesy of James M. Salmons,
    President, GeoDataCorp.,
    104 E Horton St., Zebulon, NC 27597,
    919-269-5744 http://www.GeoDataMapping.com ]

    [ Fig. 1 is a LIDAR elevation image of Marshy Bay,
    Google Maps and Earth give fine natural color view,
    resolution .001 km, size 3.3×1.8 km, el .033 km,
    4 km E of Cedar Creek Road ns, Rd 53ns,
    30 km E of Hwy 95ns, 40 km SE of Fayetteville,
    NW of or part of Bladen Lakes State Forest,
    90 km NW of the coast at Wilmington ]
    with Little Singletary Lake [ North Carolina 28399 ]
    and Horseshoe Lake
    to the lower L and lower R, all oriented NW. ]

    One side in the debate has conceded a major point to their critics,
    while presenting more evidence for many other major points.

    AGU Fall Meeting 2009
    ID# PP31D-1389
    Location: Poster Hall (Moscone South)
    Time of Presentation: Dec 16 8:00 AM – 12:20 PM

    The platinum group metals in Younger Dryas Horizons
    are terrestrial
    Y. Wu 1; E. Wikes 1; J. Kennett 2; A. West 3; M. Sharma 1
    1. Dept of Earth Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
    2. Department of Earth Sciences,
    University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA.
    3. GeoScience Consulting, Dewey, AZ, USA.

    The Younger Dryas (YD) event, which began 12,900 years ago,
    was a period of abrupt and rapid cooling in the
    Northern Hemisphere whose primary cause remains unclear.
    The prevalent postulated mechanism is a temporary shutdown
    of the thermohaline circulation following the breakup of an ice
    dam in North America.
    Firestone et al. (2007) proposed that the cooling was triggered
    by multiple cometary airbursts and/or impacts that engendered
    enormous environmental changes and disrupted the thermohaline
    The evidence in support for this hypothesis is a black layer in
    North America and in Europe marking the YD boundary
    containing charcoal, soot, carbon spherules and glass-like carbon
    suggesting extensive and intense forest fires.
    This layer is also enriched in magnetic grains high in iridium,
    magnetic microspherules, fullerenes containing extraterrestrial
    He-3, and nanodiamonds.
    Whereas the nanodiamonds could be produced in an impact or
    arrive with the impactor, the cometary burst/impact hypothesis
    remains highly controversial as the YD horizon lacks important
    impact markers such as craters, breccias, tektites and
    shocked minerals.
    Firestone et al. (2007) contend that bulk of Ir found at the YD
    boundary is associated with magnetic grains.
    The key issue is whether this Ir is meteorite derived.
    We used Ir and Os concentrations and Os isotopes to
    investigate the provenance of the platinum group metals in the
    YD horizon.
    The bulk sediment samples from a number of North American
    YD sites (Blackwater Draw, Murray Springs, Gainey,
    Sheriden Cave, and Myrtle Beach) and a site in Europe (Lommel)
    do not show any traces of meteorite derived Os and Ir.
    The [Os] = 2 to 45 pg/g in these sediments and the 187Os/188Os
    ratios are similar to the upper continental crustal values (~1.3),
    much higher than those in meteorites (0.13).
    Higher [Os] is observed in Blackwater Draw (= 194 pg/g).
    However, the Os/Ir ratio in Blackwater Draw is 5
    (not 1 as expected for a meteorite) and
    187Os/188Os ratio = 1.35, which remains constant above and
    below the YD horizon.
    Kennett et al. (2009) report 200 ppb of nanodiamonds and
    about 4 ppb of Ir in bulk sediments from Murray Springs.
    Since chondritic meteorites contain approximately 400 ppm
    of presolar nanodiamonds and about 500 ppb of osmium,
    simple mixing requires that the YD horizon at Murray Springs
    should contain about 250 pg/g of Os.
    However, the observed Os concentration of YD horizon at
    Murray Springs is only 45 pg/g and the 187Os/188Os ratio is 1.66.
    These observations suggest that if there was an impact that
    produced the nanodiamonds and dispersed them,
    it did not provide Os (and Ir) to the Murray Springs and other
    North American sites.
    We have so far separated and analyzed magnetic grains from
    Gainey and Lommel and find their [Os] and 187Os/188Os
    ratios consistent with a terrestrial origin.
    The [Os] of microspherules analyzed so far are too low to be
    derived from meteorites.
    Our analyses therefore do not support an extraterrestrial origin of
    the platinum metals in YD horizons from North America and Europe.
    Contact Information: Yingzhe Wu, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA 03755

    AGU Fall Meeting 2009
    ID# PP31D-1392
    Location: Poster Hall (Moscone South)
    Time of Presentation: Dec 16 8:00 AM – 12:20 PM

    Nanodiamonds and Carbon Spherules from Tunguska, the K/T
    Boundary, and the Younger Dryas Boundary Layer
    J. H. Wittke 1; T. E. Bunch 1; A. West 2; J. Kennett 3;
    D. J. Kennett 4; G. A. Howard 5
    1. Dept. of Geology, Northern Arizona Univ., Flagstaff, AZ, USA.
    2. GeoScience Consulting, Dewey, AZ, USA.
    3. Dept. of Earth Science and Marine Science Institute,
    Univ. of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA.
    4. Dept. of Anthropology, Univ. of Oregon, Eugene, OR, USA.
    5. Restoration Systems, LLC, Raleigh, NC, USA.

    More than a dozen markers, including nanodiamonds (NDs) and
    carbon spherules (CS), occur in a sedimentary layer marking the
    onset of the Younger Dryas (YD) cooling episode at ~12.9 ka.
    This boundary layer, called the YDB, has been found at nearly
    forty locations across North America, Europe, and Asia,
    although not all markers are present at any given site.
    Firestone et al. (2007) and Kennett et al. (2008, 2009)
    proposed that these markers resulted from a cosmic
    impact/airburst and impact-related biomass burning.
    Here we report features common to the YDB event, the
    Cretaceous-Tertiary (K/T) impact, and the Tunguska airburst
    of 1908.
    In sediments attributed to each event, we and other
    researchers have recovered NDs either inside or closely
    associated with CS, which appear to be the high-temperature
    by-products of biomass burning.
    CS range in diameter from about 500 nanometers to
    4 millimeters with a mean of ~100 microns,
    and they typically contain NDs, including lonsdaleite
    (hexagonal diamonds), in the interior matrix and in the crust.
    To date, CS and NDs have been found in the K/T layer
    in the United States, Spain, and New Zealand.
    Similarly, CS and NDs have been found in the YDB layer
    in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Belgium,
    the Netherlands, Germany, and France.
    Thus far, every site examined contains NDs and/or CS in the
    K/T and YDB layers; conversely, we have yet to detect CS
    associated with NDs in any non-YDB sediments tested.
    Five allotropes of NDs have been identified in association with
    CS: cubic diamonds, lonsdaleite, n-diamonds, p-diamonds,
    and i-carbon, which are differentiated by slight variations
    in their crystalline structure.
    All allotropes have been identified using scanning electron
    microscopy (SEM), high-resolution electron microscopy (HREM),
    and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) with confirmation
    by selected area diffraction (SAED).
    Lonsdaleite is found on Earth only in three instances:
    (1) in the laboratory, where it is produced by shock synthesis
    under a high-temperature-high-pressure regime
    (~1000°C to 1700°C at 15 GPa) or by carbon vapor deposition
    (CVD) under a very-high-temperature-low-pressure regime
    (~13,000°C at 300 Torr) (Maruyama et al., 1993);
    (2) after arrival on Earth inside extraterrestrial material; and
    (3) as a result of high-temperature cosmic impact/airbursts.
    Lonsdaleite associated with CS has been found in sediments
    only at the K/T, the YDB, and Tunguska, consistent with the
    hypothesis that all three events have cosmic origins,
    although the nature of the impactors may have been different.
    Contact Information: James H. Wittke,
    Flagstaff, Arizona, USA, 86011-4099

    AGU Fall Meeting 2009
    ID# PP33B-08
    Location: 2006 (Moscone West)
    Time of Presentation: Dec 16 3:04 PM – 3:16 PM

    Testing Younger Dryas ET Impact (YDB) Evidence
    at Hall’s Cave, Texas
    T. W. Stafford 1; E. Lundelius 2; J. Kennett 3; D. J. Kennett 4;
    A. West 5; W. S. Wolbach 6
    1. Stafford Research, Inc., Lafayette, CO, USA.
    2. Dept. of Geological Sciences, Univ. of Texas, Austin, TX, USA.
    3. Dept. of Earth Science & Marine Science Institute,
    Univ. of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA.
    4. Dept. of Anthropology, Univ. of Oregon, Eugene, OR, USA.
    5. GeoScience Consulting, Dewey, AZ, USA.
    6. Dept. of Chemistry, DePaul Univ., Chicago, IL, USA.

    Hall’s Cave, Kerrville County Texas, 167 km WSW of Austin,
    provides a unique opportunity for testing the presence of a
    chronostratigraphic datum (YDB layer) containing rare and
    exotic proxies, including nanodiamonds, aciniform soot, and
    magnetic spherules, the origins of which remain controversial,
    but possibly derive from a cosmic impact ~12,900 CAL BP.
    The karst-collapse cave in Cretaceous limestone on the
    Edwards Plateau contains ? 3.7 m of stratified clays grading to
    clayey silts recording continuous deposition from 16 ka RC yr
    to present.
    The cave’s small catchment area and mode of deposition were
    constant, and the stratigraphy is well dated based on 162
    AMS 14C dates from individual vertebrate fossils, snails,
    charcoal, and sediment chemical fractions.
    The cave sequence contains an abundant small animal vertebrate
    fossil record, exhibiting biostratigraphic changes, and the timing
    of the late Pleistocene megafaunal extinction is consistent with
    that elsewhere in North America.
    At 151 cm below datum is the extremely sharp, smooth contact
    separating lower, dusky red (2.5YR3/2) clays below from
    overlying dark reddish brown (5YR3/3) clays (forming a
    20-cm-thick dark layer) and dating to 13,000 CAL BP,
    at or close to the age of the YDB datum elsewhere.
    This appears to be the most distinctive lithologic change of the
    deglacial sequence.
    Sediments at or within 10 cm of this contact contain the local
    extinction of 4 species of bats, the local extinction of the prairie dog
    (Cynomys sp.) and perhaps other burrowing mammals in response
    to decrease in soil thickness, and the uppermost occurrence of 6
    late Pleistocene megafaunal taxa that, although rare in the cave,
    do not extend younger than 12.9 ka.
    We collected and analyzed sediments at high resolution above
    and below the distinct lithologic contact at 151 cm.
    The red clays from 151 to 153 cm and immediately preceding the
    lithologic contact contain an abundance of nanodiamonds
    (5 different allotropes), aciniform soot at 2400 ppm, magnetic
    spherules, and carbon spherules, all of which we interpret as
    evidence for a unique chronostratigraphic marker (YDB)
    in the Western Hemisphere.
    Because the age of this horizon is ~ 13,000 CAL BP, we
    interpret the age of the event as the beginning of the
    Younger Dryas cooling.
    Regional soil erosion began ~15,000 CAL BP and continued
    until 7000 CAL BP, but dating suggests that there is no
    discontinuity or hiatus in deposition, and thus, the exotic materials
    in that layer are not considered to be erosional accumulations.
    Future analyses include sub-centimeter sampling over the
    YD boundary, quantification of nanodiamonds and other
    event-proxies within 1000 yr of the boundary and in sediments
    several 1000 years older and younger, continued refinement of
    the AMS 14C record to determine within 50 yr the location of
    12,900 CAL BP datum and high resolution analysis
    of small animal biostratigraphy.
    Contact Information: Thomas W. Stafford,
    Lafayette, Colorado 80026

    [ 30.135347 -99.537902 M. Jennifer Cooke et al, 2003 Oct,
    study of Hall’s Cave, 4 p ]

    For most of these craters, white minerals are striking.
    Analysis of elements and isotopes should prove any evidence
    of ET origin, and indicate temperatures and pressures
    of deposition onto target rocks from steam explosions
    of ice comet fragments.

    The shared level of minimal erosion indicates
    a shared early Holocene origin.

    Amateurs should be encouraged to contribute observations
    and samples.

    Scientists can organize a center for analyzing samples at a
    modest profit, while freely sharing data and research.

    Websites, online journals, videos, magazines, books, and
    movies can generate reasonable profits in the service of science.

    The emerging insights into a past universal truama will lead
    to a increased shared sense of community in our human family.

    It is necessary to assess any future risks.

    nanodiamond evidence for 12,900 BP Clovis extinction impact,
    Santa Rosa Island, discussion on Scientific American website,
    Carolina Bay type craters east of Las Vegas, NM:
    Rich Murray 2009.09.15
    Friday, July 24, 2009

    widespread Carolina Bay type craters from Clovis comet
    12,900 Ya BP? — 0.7 M long NS crater with fractured
    red sandstone on SW rim, CR C 53A, 20 miles E of
    Las Vegas, NM: Rich Murray 2009.06.08
    Monday, June 8, 2009

    For Google Earth, here are the Windows/Linux keyboard
    commands that make it easy to “fly” easily,
    creating an intuitive 3D grasp of the landscape — my laptop
    runs at 1 GHZ with a graphics card, Windows Vista, Chrome,
    and 3 GB RAM:

    Full screen mode: F11
    Lat/Long grid: Ctrl L
    Slow movement down: add Alt before other keys
    Zoom in, out: PgUp, PgDn keys
    Move left, right, forward, back: arrow keys
    Tilt view up, down: Shift down arrow, up arrow
    Rotate view in circle clockwise, counterclockwise:
    Shift right arrow, left arrow
    Tilt up towards horizon, down towards directly below:
    Shift down arrow, up arrow
    Stop, start movement: space bar
    Look in any direction: Ctrl, left mouse button and drag
    New placemark: Ctrl Shift P
    To delete or rewrite a placemark title,
    right click it and select Properties.
    Reset view to north as forward: n
    Reset tilt to top-down view: u
    Select Tools to select Web to return to your other screens.

    It’s easy to look down about 45 degrees while moving straight
    ahead in any direction at an eye elevation of 1-200 km,
    scanning a straight strip half-way around the world,
    stopping to placemark, examine, and measure any features.


    Requirements: a 3D video card with updated drivers is necessary.
    World Wind has been tested on Nvidia, ATI/AMD, and Intel
    platforms using Windows, MacOS 10.4, and Fedora Core 6.

    WW gives exact altitudes and ocean depths.
    WW images omit human features and give good resolution
    from above 30 km.


    Keyboard controls:
    Pan: arrow keys
    Rotate LR: A,D keys
    Tilt forward down, back up: W,S keys
    Zoom down, up: 7 or Home, 1 or End
    Stop: space bar or 5.
    Position info: F10
    Crosshairs: F9
    Boundaries: F5
    Placenames: F6
    Lat/Long Lines: F7
    Planet Axis: F8
    Dynamic Layers: F1

    Rich Murray, MA
    Boston University Graduate School 1967 psychology,
    BS MIT 1964, history and physics,
    1943 Otowi Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505
    505-501-2298 [email protected]


    http://RMForAll.blogspot.com new primary archive

    group with 142 members, 1,588 posts in a public archive


    participant, Santa Fe Complex http://www.sfcomplex.org

  2. 4 years late on commenting on this, sorry…

    Wally Broeker:

    The sole reference to a comet was in his closing remarks, which were accompanied by a slide where ‘Comet’ was listed as one of four proposed YD triggers — with a slash through it. The slide was black text on stark white background saying (links added for off-site fun):

    But, what was the YD trigger?

    1) Heinrich Ice Armada

    2) Spontaneous Shutdown

    3) Flood [SLASH]

    4) Comet [SLASH]

    Slide from Wallace Broecker, 2009 Fall AGU

    His dismissal lasted less than 45 seconds and included the following statements, “I never believed it,” “The original evidence has been pared down to only the nanodiamonds,” and, ”If it happened it just ‘pre-triggered’ something that would have happened by itself.”

    I thought Dr. Broecker’s dismissal was a little brusque for someone of his stature and accomplishment. The evidence has certainly not been “pared down” to only nanodiamonds (as soon after was demonstrated by several researchers).

    Broeker, being the father of the oceanic conveyor hypothesis, is the last person on Eearth who is going to sign onto a hypothesis that puts his in the round file of history. No one wants late in his career to be witness to his life’s work being flushed down the toilet. He has more reason than anyone on the planet to resist the YD impact hypothesis.

    The “Spontaneous Shutdown” on the slide, then, was his baby.

    The Heinrich Ice Armada is ALSO his.

    Also his is the earlier idea of the ice dam failure and big flood water surging down the St Lawrence. This has since been dispelled (see Rodney’s book) and Broeker, to his credit, admitted that it didn’t happen. THAT is why he slashed out “Flood.” But he is still clinging to the hope that the Heinrich Ice Armada will win the day.

    In sports terms, Broeker is the manager for the team facing the YDB team. He will be the last person to give up. Paraphrasing Charlton Heston, you will have to peel the oceanic conveyor shutdown out of his cold dead fingers.

    If that is the way he wants it, fine.

    I need to get back on that Heinrich Event work I was doing…

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