folder Filed in Hiawatha Crater
Whither Hiawatha?
Top Science story in 2018 receives zero attention or follow-up in 2019
event January 17, 2020 comment 0 Comments

Fourteen months ago the Tusk could not have been happier. Science Magazine not only addressed the Younger Dryas Hypothesis for the first time in a decade, but did so in a lavish, well-written article. The article accompanied the announcement of what seemed could be the long sought ‘smoking gun’ of the YDIH: A massive crater dating to the start of the Younger Dryas.

The astounding discovery of 22-mile wide geologically (and perhaps historically) recent crater immediately went worldwide. Hundreds and hundreds of articles reported the discovery of the “Hiawatha Crater”, mostly drive-by quick takes and rewrites of press releases, but attention nonetheless. Two months later Science named the discovery of Hiawatha crater a top ten runner-up breakthrough discovery of 2018.

Then? Crickets. And I don’t mean the kind crickets that keep you up at night, I mean the kind of crickets you find dead on the basement floor, behind the washing machine.

No follow-up from Science, no science communicators suggesting how the recent crater could be properly dated, no NatGeo on the scene, no TV whatsoever. No “enterprise” articles from the dwindling band of science reporters (now entirely consumed by AGW). No NetFlix.

The challenge to find a large and recent impact crater has appropriately dogged the YDIH and provided cover for its critics since the beginning in 2007. But recall, it took fourteen years for the dinosaur killer’s crater to be found in the Yucatan. And so, to the Comet Research Group, and anyone not ideologically opposed to studying recent impacts, it seemed just a matter of time. Early last year with the discovery of Hiawatha it seemed that time may have been up.

Not long after the impact crater was revealed, it became clear the authors of the study believed the impact could be as recent as the start of the Younger Dryas, ~12,877 years ago. In support of this conclusion, they repeatedly noted the ice above the crater floor was missing ~100,000 years of stratigraphy, and those layers that remained appeared only ten thousand years old.

That’s a pretty good profile for a suspect for the Younger Dryas Impact crater, and in keeping with over 100 previously peer-reviewed papers confirming evidence for an impact at that time. (Apparently the reviewers of the journal article disagreed, and struck more than twenty mentions of the #YDIH before publication.)

But here is the interesting part to the Tusk. There is no disputing the impact is within the last three million years. Yes, the Tusk would like to see it date to ~12,822, but even if the very oldest years of that date range were confirmed,  the Hiawatha Impact should indeed constitute a paleoclimate and anthropological revolution in our understanding of the Pleistocene. Put another way, if the least interesting accepted fact about this impact is true, it should capture the attention of every science communicator on earth.

Humans witnessed and endured the traumatic effects of a collision so violent it left behind a bowl of molten rock larger than Paris.

But, alas, further investigation and public attention were not to be. While fortunate to surface briefly, the subject of the Hiawatha Crater has disappeared, if it could be deemed to ever be visible.

Let’s unpack why. The reason no one addresses the Hiawatha Crater is that the discovery does not fit the political narrative. The Younger Dryas is a political tool, not a scientific investigation. Paleoclimate and ice investigations are only helpful to bureaucracies and communicators if they fuel AGW politics. God forbid a grant seeker undermine the consensus that all climate is earth-local.

Fortunately the AGW narrative is, in an elegant sense, self-destructive. As more and more data is collected and attention is paid to past climate to demonstrate we are at fault, and poking the climate bear, the true origin of abrupt climate change — cosmic impact — will become just as obvious as it did in late 2018.

I don’t believe in conspiracies. I do believe in common, multi-disciplinary, inconveniences. The YDIH is immensely inconvenient in the context of 90% of reported earth and paleo-human science. The Hiawatha Crater also has the potential to improve our understanding of the earth, regardless of when in the last three million years it occurred.

The fact that it happened and nothing is said gives us the cold comfort the impact is recent.