New Paper: Younger Dryas Boundary impact date constrained within 100 years



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Paper below in response to ham-handed 2014 attack from Meltzer – Holliday

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Bayesian chronological analyses consistent with synchronous age of 12,835–12,735 Cal B.P. for Younger Dryas boundary on four continents


A cosmic impact event at ∼12,800 Cal B.P. formed the Younger Dryas boundary (YDB) layer, containing peak abundances in multiple, high-temperature, impact-related proxies, including spherules, melt glass, and nanodiamonds. Bayesian statistical analyses of 354 dates from 23 sedimentary sequences over four continents established a modeled YDB age range of 12,835 Cal B.P. to 12,735 Cal B.P., supporting synchroneity of the YDB layer at high probability (95%). This range overlaps that of a platinum peak recorded in the Greenland Ice Sheet and of the onset of the Younger Dryas climate episode in six key records, suggesting a causal connection between the impact event and the Younger Dryas. Due to its rarity and distinctive characteristics, the YDB layer is proposed as a widespread correlation datum.


The Younger Dryas impact hypothesis posits that a cosmic impact across much of the Northern Hemisphere deposited the Younger Dryas boundary (YDB) layer, containing peak abundances in a variable assemblage of proxies, including magnetic and glassy impact-related spherules, high-temperature minerals and melt glass, nanodiamonds, carbon spherules, aciniform carbon, platinum, and osmium. Bayesian chronological modeling was applied to 354 dates from 23 stratigraphic sections in 12 countries on four continents to establish a modeled YDB age range for this event of 12,835–12,735 Cal B.P. at 95% probability. This range overlaps that of a peak in extraterrestrial platinum in the Greenland Ice Sheet and of the earliest age of the Younger Dryas climate episode in six proxy records, suggesting a causal connection between the YDB impact event and the Younger Dryas. Two statistical tests indicate that both modeled and unmodeled ages in the 30 records are consistent with synchronous deposition of the YDB layer within the limits of dating uncertainty (∼100 y). The widespread distribution of the YDB layer suggests that it may serve as a datum layer.


  • David L Ulrich

    this came across the facebook by Ralph Ellis (noted researcher on the bible mysteries, etc)

    he has taken a step in the direction of “explanations of the ice ages”.

    I would start a new thread on this one. Link is below. I notified him of the link at this site. I’m sure he is looking for input…..

  • Steve Garcia

    David –

    Yes, Ralph Ellis is a bit of a friend of mine. He and I even went out to an Indian mound together several years ago. A very astute researcher (if a bit focused on the religious aspects).

    And, in beginning to read the link, I DO recall seeing something Ralph had out about the Milankovitch cycles and ice ages, this same subject. He is totally not the first to try to invoke the Milankovitch cycles, and all of them suffer from the same problems – TIME and too much gradualism.

    I WILL go on record as saying that with a 100,000 year cycle (which means very, VERY slow and gradual changes to the underlying causes), the Milankovitch cycles cannot be the cause of short term ice ages. Especially they cannot explain the suddenness of either the YD onset or ending, nor the relatively fast ending to the Last Glacial Maximum at about 22,000 ya. Uber slow changes cannot cause rapid results. The concept of “tipping points” is a fine and dandy concept for climate in general, but even on a scale of decades, tipping points is only a hypothetical mental concept, never shown to be a real thing. In global warming they are invoked a lot, but with nothing behind them but mental images.

    Ralph also loses me when he asserts anthropogenic global warming caused by industrial CO2 emissions. The science behind that claim is simply not well done and speculative, at best. I began looking into that well over 10 years ago and I was shocked at how BAD the science was. So, I agree with the well-respected scientist Dyson Freeman, that the science is crap.

    The Greenland ice cores do not show slow and gradual changes, but extremely sudden and severe changes. Now, I don’t accept the ice cores from those few locations as representative of the whole world as most do, but they DO show that some essentially instantaneous changes occurred about ten times in the last 50,000 years. That is only HALF of a Milankovitch cycle. Half of a cycle cannot necessarily even cause the full spectrum of effects – and yet the full spectrum of effects happened about 10 times! No, Milankovitch cycles are inadequate to explain such things.

    (In addition I will argue that 99.99999999999999999999999999% of the energy received by the Earth comes from the Sun, so why would the super-gradual changes in the tilt of the solar equatorial plane relative to the galactic center, or the extremely tenuous changes in the already tenuous density of various parts of the galaxy make any difference to our climate on the degree that the planet actually experiences? They argue for galaxy-wide influences in our tiny neighborhood, which as self-contained as you can get – like all individual star systems. It is what is happening LOCALLY that matters.)

    Invoking super slow processes to try to explain rapid changes is merely gradualists trying to fit the YD and other sudden changes into a gradualist meme. What ELSE can one expect from them? Once one abandons gradualism as the ONLY reality, all sorts of things become much more clear. Yes, gradualism operates most of the time, but when a catastrophe strikes gradualistic thinking simply fails to deal with what happens.

    Think of it like a human body and a bullet. The body has all of its processes that go on, second by second, for years and years, and the changes that occur can be studied by biologists and doctors. Now, when a bullet enters the body at something like 2200 ft/sec, it does things that simply aren’t covered in biology, and if someone tries to explain the wound effects by normal bodily processes, well, of course that is not going to give adequate answers.

  • David L Ulrich

    Like that analogy

  • I’m sorry to interrupt all of your pontificating but just a little heads up.

    2015 TB145

    I guess all this demonstrates is that something like this is possible, a highly eccentric, highly inclined burnt out carbon and volatile rich cometary fragment, of the order of several hundred or more meters across. Onto the ice sheet that would be a bad scene. Into the ocean I don’t even want to think about it.

    Still waiting on those nanodiamonds. I think I’ll be waiting a while.

  • Steve Garcia

    Hmmmm… I am putting this comment here because it relates to dating.

    For those who haven’t run across it, there is a terrific magazine named Mammoth Trumpet, put out by a group of academics called the Center for the Study of the First Americans. For those who maybe want to peruse their archives (up to the year 2013 at this moment), the link is at

    The archives go back to 1984-1985 (Volume 1), with four issues a year (but sometimes more). All of them up to that time are available as pdf files.

    I am reading something on Carbon 14 from 2001, Volume 16,, Number 2.

    It is about Carbon 14 dating and how it sometimes seems to REALLY be off the mark. There is an article by none other than Richard Firestone, with Topping, and is entitled “Terrestrial Evidence of a Nuclear Catastrophe in Paleoindian Times”, starting on page 9.

    There is also an article preceding that one, titled “Carbon, and Radiocarbon dating: A Primer”, on pp 7-9.

    On page 8, this is said:

    Some troubling results
    Radiocarbon dates for Pleistocene remains in northeastern North America, according to scientists Richard Firestone and William Topping, are younger – as much as 10,000 years younger – that for those in the western part of the country. Dating by other methods like thermoluminescence (TL), geoarchaeology, and sedimentation suggests that many radiocarbon dates are grossly in error. For example, materials from the Gainey site in Michigan, radiocarbon dated to 2880 yr B.P. give an age by TL of 12,440 yr. B.P. [77% too young…] Archaeologists Robson Bonnichsen and Richard Will report in Ice Age Peoples (1999) that, of 13 Paleoindian sites in northeastern North America, more than half yielded radiocarbon dates of Holocene age, dates regarded as too young by site investigators…

    …For nearly half a century radiocarbon dating has been an indispensable tool of archarologists, anthropologists, geologists. Chronologies of human migration, fauna extinctions, even glacial movements have been based on the dating of evidentiary carboniferous materials. Fiestone and Topping contend that radiocarbon dates for sites in North America are suspect, the result of a late-Pleistocene cosmic ray bombardment that created vast amounts of radiocarbon and therby reset the clock by which radiocarbon dating measures the passage of time. The closer to the Great Lakes, the center of the purported nuclear catastrophe, the greater the probability of error – amounting ni some cases to many thousands of years. Firestone and Topping’s theory challenges the chronology that underpins many theories. Consequently, it casts doubt on many theories themselves…

    Although Firetone and Topping find supporting evidence in such diverse sources as marine sediments and Greenland ice cores, they base their theory principally on analysis of radioactive isotopes of uranium, plutonium, aad beryllium in samples drawn from across North america. (Isotope analysis is the stock in trade of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Firestone’s home base.) They find abnormal depletion of 235U and elevated levels of 239Pu, both conditions especially pronounced at sites hear the Great Lakes. The only phenomenon capable of creating such imbalances, they argue, is massive neutron bombardment, probably from a supernova. [emphasis in the original]…

    They conclude that radiocarbon dates for these altered materials inevitably make the materials appear younger than they actually are.

    This is pertinent to the YDIH in more ways than one. First, according to Richard Firestone in his 2005 book “The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes”, he got going on the YDIH orginally because of strange anomalous C14 dates in the 30,000-40,000 ya range. He also was THE main driver of all of the early YD impact hypothesis, even when his supernova conjecture was dropped in favor of the impact event possibility.

    Secondly, ANYTHING having to do with C14 dating can cast a light (or confusion) on the dating of any or all of the YD C14 evidence. That 12,440 date just above here, for example, is just 360 years younger than the YDIH evidence as shown in THIS post on CosmicTusk.

    If some dates test out at thousands of years younger, then the whole C14 dating method may not be reliable for ANY dates. Hopefully NOT.

    This caught my eye especially because some C14 dates may show dates far too young, IN GENERAL, without anyone suspecting that they are not dating artifacts or bones as much as 77% too young.

    It is strange that the 2880 date is somewhat close to the ages we currently have for such sites as Stonehenge and the Giza pyramids, while the 12,440 age is so close to the YDIH evidence date of 12,800 ya. Especially when Göbekli Tepe is in some tests dated at 11,600 ya, and MOST especially when geologist Robert Schoch says that the date given for Giza’s Great Sphynx is at least 5,000 years older and perhaps much older than that. The Sphynx and the Sphynx Temple are considered the oldest things on the Giza plateau, no matter what date happens to be given at present.

    I am going to read the entire Firestone-Topping article within the next day. If any of it adds to the pertinence of the subject, I will add it in a comment.

  • Steve Garcia

    In one specific (and to me, terrific) way, this article and this subject shine new light on something that has stumped me.

    Specifically IN Michigan – the place where Firestone said the C14 readings seemed to be most in eror – there have been found bones of mammoths and other now extinct animals. They are only found up to a certain almost straight line across the Lower Peninsula, called the Mason-Quimby Line.

    Hahaha – the main reason I am stumped is because many dates for bones south of the the Mason-Quimby Line is because I want the Saginaw impact to be at 12,800 ya, but the mammoth and other bones seem to show that Michigan was unaffected by anything like an impact at that time.

    IF, however, the dates are wrong, it is possible that the inmpact DID happen and THEN animals started moving into the area swept clean of ice by the impact – swept clean right up to the Mason-Quimby Line. Michael Davias, especially, puts the impact IN Saginaw Bay, and interprets the evidence to show that the impact threw ejecta out to the Carolina bay arc, on the eastern seaboard. (He now puts the date at 780,000 ya, concurrent with the dates given by the AA Tektite field, in and offshore of SE Asia. I am hoping to show at some point that that date is not correct.)

    If the quartz sand materials in and draped over the CBs came from Saginaw Bay (something no one hsa been able to do yet), then the ice MUST have been somewhat thinner than many think, but also Davias says the impact also removed the sand material – meaning that the impactor obliterated the ice, and ALSO was able to remove material from BELOW the ice sheet. If so, then the Mason-Quimby line would represent not just the forward edge of the Laurentian ice sheet in Michigan, but perhaps the very edge of the crater in the ice.

    There are SOME geomorphological features in Michigan that ARE dated to the 13 kya time period, one of which is the evidence of the Kanakee Outwash. Some are not.

    But in addition, there is the VERY curious geological structure known as the Michigan Basin, about which I’ve talked here from time to time. It is most certainly is not currently dated to the time window near the YD. Some aspects of the Michigan Basin, though, DO point to the possibility, though.

    (The whole Lower Peninsula area is VERY peculiar, geologically speaking. And I DO mean the whole peninsula.)

    So, these Firestone-Topping findings and interpretations may make resolvable for me something that I didn’t know could possibly be resolved. Basically, if the dates aren’t so solid, THEN WHAT? Does it work FOR me? Or perhaps in the opposite direction?

    And the AMOUNT/DEGREE of possible mis-dating opens up a WHOLE lot of possibilities that did not seem likely yesterday, for me..

    I have to work on all of that…

  • ralph ellis

    Thanks Ulrich. I have also written this article, on the Younger Dryas period.

  • ralph ellis


    Just to be clear, I have never asserted that CO2 causes warming. I have been 100% agaiinst that ever since 2002, when I found out there had been no global warming since 1998 (now 18 years).


  • ralph ellis

    >>Greenland cores do not show slow gradual changes.

    And neither do they in my Ice Age analysis. Because the Interglacial warming is assisted by very strong dust-albedo feedbacks, the warming is very rapid. The Ice Core record shows just a few thousand years, and that is entirely possible with albedo feedbacks (but not with CO2 feedbacks).