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

In desperate hole, Pinter grabs another shovel

Nicholas Pinter Nicholas Pinter Nicholas Pinter Nicholas Pinter Nicholas Pinter Nicholas Pinter Nicholas Pinter Nicholas Pinter Nicholas Pinter Nicholas Pinter Nicholas Pinter Nicholas Pinter Nicholas Pinter Nicholas Pinter Nicholas Pinter Nicholas Pinter

Nicholas Pinter

In a recent interview with NBC News anti-YDB jihadi Nick Pinter claimed that “the pro-impact literature is, at this point, fringe science being promoted by a single journal.

This is nonsense — and easily disproven. The critics of the YDB hypothesis have published 10 times in PNAS (see #1 below), whereas the YDB proponents have published only 8 times (see #2 below). Where’s the bias by PNAS, one of the world’s most prestigious journals? There is none.

Also, let’s look at Pinter’s claim that the YDB impact hypothesis is only being argued in a single journal. Besides the 8 papers in PNAS, proponents have published 15 papers in 13 other journals (listed below and in #3). Pinter’s claim is obviously false.

Journals other than PNAS publishing evidence from YDB proponents:

Contemporary Issues in California Archaeology;
Earth and Planetary Science Letters (2);
Journal of Advanced Microscopic Research
Journal of Archaeological Science;
Journal of Cosmology;
Journal of Glaciology;
Journal of Geology;
Journal of Siberian Federal University;
Journal of the Geological Society;
Quaternary International;
Quaternary Science Reviews;
Sedimentary Geology (2);

#1 PNAS con-YDB references:

Haynes (2008) Proc Natl. Acad. Sci. USA; black mat.
Buchanan et al. (2009) Proc Natl. Acad. Sci. USA; no YD population decline.
Marlon et al. (2009) Proc Natl. Acad. Sci. USA; no peak in wildfires.
Surovell et al. (2009) Proc Natl. Acad. Sci. USA; no YDB spherule peaks.
Paquay et al. (2009) Proc Natl. Acad. Sci. USA; no iridium.
Daulton et al. (2010) Proc Natl. Acad. Sci. USA; no diamonds.
Scott et al. (2010); carbon spherules.
Haynes et al. (2010); spherules found in the YDB.
Tian et al. (2011); diamonds found in the YDB
Van Hoesel et al. (2012); diamonds found “near” the YDB.

#2: PNAS pro-YDB references:

Bunch TE, et al. (2012) Very High-Temperature Impact Melt Products as Evidence for Cosmic Airbursts and Impacts 12,900 years ago. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 109: 11066-11067.

Firestone RB, et al. (2007) Evidence for an extraterrestrial impact 12,900 years ago that contributed to the megafaunal extinctions and the Younger Dryas cooling. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 104:16016–16021.

Israde-Alcántara I, et al. (2012) Evidence from Central Mexico supporting the Younger Dryas Extraterrestrial Impact Hypothesis. Proc Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 109, 13, E738-E747.

Kennett DJ, et al. (2009a) Shock-synthesized hexagonal diamonds in Younger Dryas boundary Sediments, Proc Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 106 (31): 12623-12628.

Kennett DJ, et al. (2009b) Nanodiamonds in the Younger Dryas boundary sediment layer. Science 323:94.

LeCompte MA, et al. (2012) Independent evaluation of conflicting microspherule results from different investigations of the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis. Proc Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 106: doi: 10.1073/pnas.1208603109.

Petaev, MI, Huang S, Jacobsen SB, Zindler A. (2013) Large Pt anomaly in the Greenland ice core points to a cataclysm at the onset of Younger Dryas. Proc Natl. Acad. Sci. USA published online before print July 22, 2013, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1303924110.

Wittke JH, et al. (2013) Evidence for Deposition of 10 Million Tonnes of Impact Spherules across Four Continents 12,800 years ago. Proc Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, vol. 110 no. 23 E2088-E2097.

Wu Y, et al. (2013) Origin and provenance of spherules and magnetic grains at the Younger Dryas boundary. Proc Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, published online before print September 5, 2013, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1304059110.

#3 non-PNAS pro-YDB references:

Anderson DG, Goodyear AC, Kennett J, West A. (2011) Multiple lines of evidence for possible Human population decline/settlement reorganization during the early Younger Dryas. Quaternary International 242 (2011) 570-583.

Fayek M, Anovitz LM, Allard LF, Hull S. (2012) Framboidal iron oxide: chondrite-like material from the black mat, Murray Springs, Arizona. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 319-320: 251-258.

Firestone RB, et al. (2010) Analysis of the Younger Dryas Impact Layer. Journal of Siberian Federal University, Engineering & Technologies 1 30-62.

Firestone RB. (2009) The Case for the Younger Dryas Extraterrestrial Impact Event: Mammoth, Megafauna, and Clovis Extinction, 12,900 Years Ago. Journal of Cosmology (journalofcosmology.com)

Jones TL and Kennett DJ. (2012) A Land Impacted? The Younger Dryas Boundary Event in California. Contemporary Issues in California Archaeology, edited by Jones TL and Perry JE, 37–48.

Kennett DJ, et al. (2008) Wildfire and abrupt ecosystem disruption on California’s Northern Channel Islands at the Ållerød–YoungerDryas boundary (13.0–12.9 ka). Quaternary Science Reviews 27 2528–2543.

Kennett, D.J. et al., (2009) Nanodiamonds in the Younger Dryas Boundary Sediment Layer. Science 323: 94.

Kurbatov AV, et al. (2010) Discovery of a nanodiamond-rich layer in the Greenland ice sheet. Journal of Glaciology, 56, 749-759.

Mahaney WC, David Krinsley, Kurt Langworthy, Kris Hart, Volli Kalm, Pierre Tricart and Stephane Schwartz. (2011a) Fired glaciofluvial sediment in the northwestern Andes: Biotic aspects of the Black Mat. Sedimentary Geology. 237, (1-2), pp73-83.

Mahaney WC, et al. (2010a) Evidence from the northwestern Venezuelan Andes for extraterrestrial impact: The black mat enigma. Geomorphology, v. 116, iss. 1-2, p. 48-57.

Mahaney WC, et al. (2013) Weathering Rinds as Mirror Images of Palaeosols: Examples from the Western Alps with correlation to Antarctica and Mars. Journal of the Geological Society 2013, v.170; p833-847.

Mahaney WC, Krinsley D, Kalm V (2010b) Evidence for a cosmogenic origin of fired glaciofluvial beds in the northwestern Andes: Correlation with experimentally heated quartz and feldspar. Sedimentary Geology, v. 231, iss. 1-2, p. 31-40.

Mahaney, WC, et al. (2011b) Notes on the black mat sediment, Mucunuque Catchment, northern Mérida Andes, Venezuela.. Journal of Advanced Microscopic Research, vol. 6, no. 3.

Mahaney WC, et al. (2013, July) New Evidence from a Black Mat Site in the Northern Andes Supporting a Cosmic Impact 12,800 Years Ago The Journal of Geology vol. 121, No. 4 (July 2013), pp. 309-325

Overholt AC, Melott AL. (2013) Cosmogenic nuclide enhancement via deposition from long-period comets as a test of the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 377, 55-61.

Steele J. (2010) Radiocarbon dates as data: quantitative strategies for estimating colonization front speeds and event densities. Journal of Archaeological Science 37/8, p. 2017-2030.

69 Responses

  1. Good job, George –

    Argue with: The facts, ma’am and nothing but the facts.

    The real scientists recognize it all for what it is,

    And now everyone here has a clear link address for reference when the subject comes up again. That should make for efficient debating.

  2. When someone has nothing in science debate, the say “the debate is settled” and “It’s a conspiracy by the new guys, I tell you” right after they get body checked by reality.

  3. I have an acquaintance, that is a geologist that specializes in alluvial soils, and his response to YDB event theory was similar to Pinter’s.
    I found his rejection of the idea to be particularly confusing in light if his work at a yet to be published archeology site of contentious antiquity, in the Mojave desert. He was called in to verify dating through stratigraphy of artifacts still in situ, at a site that has yielded dates in excess of 25k years.
    He even brought up the fact that one of his markers is the YD boundary, and that occupation ceased at the boundry and the site was not re occupied.
    In fact when we had this discussion he was having a beer with a friend of his, who is an astronomer at the same university, and they both soundly rejected the idea.
    Also the discussion became so heated over the idea of what constitutes an asteroid or comet, we had to agree to disagree.

    The astronomer was dead set against the idea that some icy comets are made up of rocky, carbonaceous and or metallic objects. I found it all very vexing.

  4. Cevin –

    The difference between a comet and a meteor? I read a paper from the the 1960s in which the conclusion was that about HALF the meteors had cometary characteristics – so I couldn’t agree with him more. The sterotype about comets being dirty snowballs is a complete oversimplification

  5. Steve,
    Yes the idea that comets are nothing more that dirty snowballs is overly simplified.
    My argument was that comets are composite objects, made up of ice, dust , rocky and metallic elements.
    Some are icier, some are rockier than others, and as they lose material, and eventually breakup from passing through the inner solar sytem, their debris trails give us some asteroids and meteoriods.
    Napier and clubes work on the taurid complex backs up this idea.
    I would bet that many of the near earth asteroids are the cores of dead comets.
    I think that in the case of the taurid progenitor, YDB studies that seem to show traces of different compositional make ups of the impactors, lends creadence to the notion that comets can be made up of a wide variety materials.

  6. Cevin –

    You make a lot of good points.

    Dead comets: The 1960s paper seemed to say that many dead comets became asteroids, especially the Apollos, which as the focus of the paper.

    The different compositions of objects: This is a problem for those who have explained all minor objects in the inner Solar System. Even the fact that most meteors are chondrites vs iron-nickel – how do those different types end up being in the same population? As I’ve said here several times, I don’t easily accept the explanation of agglomerating bodies out of a nebula. There is far too little gravitational force to squeeze attracted particles into solidity. Without the transmutation of elements, the presence of so many elements has to be an unsolved mystery. The processes of creating them all must be quite a bit different yet there they all are, mixed in, alloyed in, and solidly adhered to each other. Agglomerating is a nice pedantic way of passing it all off as having been explained, but I am not buying it. I think it misses the mark from Step 1.

  7. @ Steve Garcia

    “The difference between a comet and a meteor?”

    Recent discoveries are eroding the artificial division between cometary bodies and asteroids; it turns out that they have been mistaken for each other. Just this month the objects 3552 Don Quixote & 3200 Phaethon have been “reclassified”.

    The term is “extinct comets” which is curious enough but considering that objects suspected of being asteroids can “turn” into comets raises some questions in my mind about the mainstream scientific understanding of comets as vapor-driven “dirty snowballs”.

    Another new term is “rock comet”; one would think the existence of a “rock comet” which is described as an object that “becomes so hot that rocks on the surface crack and crumble to dust under the extreme heat” would by definition would help retire the dirty snowball theory of comets.

    Near-Earth asteroid is really a comet: http://phys.org/news/2013-09-near-earth-asteroid-comet.html

    Phaethon confirmed as rock comet by STEREO vision: http://phys.org/news/2013-09-phaethon-comet-stereo-vision.html#nRlv

    I personally find the electric comet theory to be very compelling and not at odds with the scientific observations. The problem I see with modern cosmology is that every time their model of how the universe works runs into something that doesn’t fit, the establishment scientists tack on another convoluted mechanism to overly complex the model in order to explain the observations that weren’t predicted by the base theory.

    The YDB Hypothesis is often attacked because the cosmic event can’t be precisely explained; well modern science is still in the process of explaining cometary bodies. In addition, new evidence that many cosmic bodies explode before actually striking the surface of the earth should have some relevance to the debate.

  8. Having dug a few holes myself, I would venture that you guys are not out of the woods on this thing yet. The most compelling independent evidence is the recent platinum result and Madden’s nanodiamonds. The spherules seem the most suspect. However, Corossol makes the whole thing tie together. I’m just worried that people or the evidence will start demanding a larger catastrophe as I would dearly like my nutty Lake Nipigon – Glacial Lake Agassiz problem to go away. The bigger battle is between Northwest Mackenzie River flows or some sort of overflow to the East through Lake Superior. Most people (the very few that are interested) just shrug and say, who cares, fresh water forcing is fresh water forcing. At the very most, Corossol would be a tipping point. But Nipigon (the Black Sturgeon River basin) would be all hell breaks loose, and I just can’t find any evidence yet that it happened. So good luck with this. As I have indicated, the bottom of the Wilmette bed might be a place to start, but looking at a couple of spherules doesn’t really cut it with me as yet. On the other hand I find the concept of n-diamonds as moderately revealing proxies (for something, impact or otherwise) to be very exciting at the very least.

  9. @R. Harmon –

    “Another new term is “rock comet”; one would think the existence of a “rock comet” which is described as an object that “becomes so hot that rocks on the surface crack and crumble to dust under the extreme heat” would by definition would help retire the dirty snowball theory of comets…”

    That is almost exactly my take on the separation of the two groups – There really is only one main group – minor bodies – and lots of variations. The variations are uncategorized, undiscovered, uncovered, unrecognized, and unknowns that haven’t shown up on the radar yet.

    The problem is that each expansion of knowledge is fought over tooth and nail, with the conservatives (old school) not willing to yield a silly millimeter, for reasons that have nothing to do with the reality, only egos and careers. But, having expanded by that 1mm, they drop back into their “lock step, achtung, that is all there is – there cannot possibly be more” mode again. So, anything outside the then/now currently accepted range is verboten – and if you don’t like it, go find another field of study.

    [r. harmon] “The problem I see with modern cosmology is that every time their model of how the universe works runs into something that doesn’t fit, the establishment scientists tack on another convoluted mechanism to overly complex the model in order to explain the observations that weren’t predicted by the base theory.”

    Well, yes and no. PHYSICS actively is LOOKING for new predicted particles. Astronomy is actively RESISTING new bodies. Geology is actively DENYING anything that is not gradualistic. Those last two are WAAAAY different from physics.

    Physics keeps adding on what I see as simply new effects and declaring them to be particles. But they HAVE to, because it has gotten so mathematical to the exclusion of all else that whatever the equations happen to suggest is accepted as real.

    Astronomy and geology are both like pulling hen’s teeth. They declared long ago what was acceptable reality, and they don’t budge without a monumental battle. I mean, they’ve barely accepted that SL/9 hitting Jupiter NINETEEN YEARS AGO means anything at all for planet Earth. It is amazing that either field has gotten anywhere at all in their 300 years or so. In acceptance of new bodies or new configurations, they are stodgy as hell. Yet they were very open for most of that time to new rocks ON the Earth, so that when new rocks appeared, instead of resisting, they accepted and tried to fit the new types of rocks into the existing population of rocks. But when it comes to rocks falling ot Earth or “falling” around the solar system, they are the opposite. They only accept what already fits in with what they have experienced. I am no stranger to working with what experience teaches us. After all, I am a design engineer, and I rarely would “reinvent the wheel.” There was no need. But little by little engineering has incorporated anything that is shown to work; we live in a changing world with changing technology, so if we don’t adapt and learn, we become obsolete pretty quickly. Still, we DO still retain a LOT of the old technology, within a new and changed reality. New and old have had to both be used and both be fitted together. When new tech comes along, we know enough to not resist new stuff – at the same time being determined to test it out, both in our minds and in reality.

    So, when people resist new evidence, we do not understand. Careers? Heck, careers are MADE by adapting to the new reality. Careers are destroyed/lost/abandoned by hanging on to last decade’s tech, last century’s viewpoints too long. But academia doesn’t seem to understand this. Instead, they dig in their heels and pretend that it was all figured out back in the 1800s and that all they have to do is hold down the fort and pass it on to their students.

    Your point about incorporating the new not predicted things, I don’t really that see myself, not in astronomy and geology, not as it applies to comets and meteors. I see the opposite – that they resist with all their might any suggestion that someone 80 years ago might have been wrong. In terms of protecting the planet (should that ever come to pass in our time) these people should be leading the search to include as many varying types of bodies as possible into the panoply of space bodies, so that we can fully understand newer bodies in the future – hopefully thst we don’t get surprised and then get knocked back to the stone age for our ignorance..

  10. @Steve Garcia

    “Well, yes and no. PHYSICS actively is LOOKING for new predicted particles. Astronomy is actively RESISTING new bodies. Geology is actively DENYING anything that is not gradualistic. Those last two are WAAAAY different from physics.”

    Great points, but again the overarching field is cosmology, all the compartments you list (that are often at bickering odds with each other) fall under cosmology.

    If you take a look at NASA recent video on Voyager leaving the heliosphere you will a sense on how baffled astronomers/astrophysicists are about some of the surprises that aren’t so readily explained or expected.

    NASA’s Voyager 1 is in Interstellar Space: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ddt8xnnGGA

    If a theory can’t predict future findings, it’s probably in need of questioning.

    Meanwhile, the Electric Universe folks were dealing with the Voyager’s interstellar entry in a rather compelling way.

    New Surprises at the Heliospheric Boundary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBsyzYFjpig

  11. >>Geology is actively DENYING anything that is not gradualistic.

    Academic geology, certainly.

    Field geology, like the guys involved in fracking, will go with whatever works for finding their valuable minerals.

    Find a way to make a lot of money turning up minor body impacts, and there will be a huge number of finds very rapidly and to heck with the ivory tower crowd.

  12. >>I mean, they’ve barely accepted that SL/9 hitting Jupiter NINETEEN YEARS AGO means
    >>anything at all for planet Earth.

    Astronomers have a great deal of their careers invested in the current models. Telescope time and tenure tracts are both built around those models.

    A radical shift in theory and the discovery of a new class of objects will utterly upset both.

    Given that academia is a form of government bureaucracy, screwing with budget is the worst sin imaginable.

  13. TLE; I read your post about lake Agassi aand looked up a map and saw a lobe of the lake hanging south into the Dakotas. I’m not sure what held Agassi back in that area but if you look at a relief map of the Minnesota and N & S Dakota border there appears to be a very wide swath of ground that looks like massive washout that goes southeast to the Mississippi River. Could this be your blowout? I would think that all the cold fresh water hitting the gulf of Mexico could push into the gulf stream and possibly disrupt the temps from the south. At the time of Lake Agassi was lake superior open water or covered with ice?

  14. The Lake Agassi map I found at this link —


    Here —

    Is darned impressive in terms of total fresh water volume available to dump in the North Atlantic or Mississippi River valley system.

    I hate to think of the kind of immediate weather changes you would see after that event. Combine that with a major YDB impact blow torch and it is no wonder there were mass extinctions.

  15. Jim and Trent –

    About Lake Agassiz, Rodney Chilton’s Sudden Cold book addresses this. He points out that the hypothesis that Lake Agassiz dumped fresh water all of a sudden was impossible. He discusses academic papers that show that at the time of the YDB the ice sheet was still too far south and could not have emptied into the Atlantic.

    This was Wally Broeker’s collateral hypothesis to the oceanic conveyor. Broeker has since admitted that the Lake Agassiz > St Lawrence dumping was an impossibility as the cause of the YD stadial.

    There are several papers to this extent, shooting down the Lake Agassiz > St Lawrence > Atlantic hypothesis.

    Sine that was an impossibility, others have attempted to salvage the idea by suggesting instead that the dumping went northwest, to the ARCTIC Ocean, via the Mackensie River. Somehow they believe that the fresh water entering thousands of miles away would have the same effect in the Atlantic, which is a ludicrous concept with the flows and many islands in between, but they are bound and determined to keep on trying to keep alive the zombie idea of the fresh water shutdown of the oceanic conveyor.

    As I’ve said many times before, even the idea of the convetive sinking of water being a DRIVER for the Gulf Stream is an untenable idea. The very physics of convection render it far too small a force to draw water from as far away as the beginning of the Gulf Stream. It is also delusional that such convective sinking might draw water from ONLY that direction, In addition, any “sucking” would be omnidirectional – meaning it would suck water from all other directions, too – not just from the southwest.

    What this means is that even the idea that the convetive sinking could be the driver for the Gulf Stream is a wrong concept in the first place. The Lake Agassiz > St Lawrence > Atlantic hypothesis was a corollary of that oceanic conveyor hypothesis. And if the parent concept doesn’t work, the corollary idea is rendered moot. The convective sinking is not the DRIVER; it is the end result. It is the weak remnant of the warm salty water of the Gulf Stream in its last throes. They put the cart before the horse – almost literally. They confused the end result with the actual driving force of the Gulf Stream: The winds and the Coriolis effect of the Earth’s rotation, with the shape of the Eastern Seaboard deflecting the Gulf Stream even more toward Europe..

    The Lake Agassiz hypothesis is null and void in any connection to the YDB.

  16. Also, in regards to marks showing a sudden surge INTO the Great Lakes, research on the ground showed there to be no scabland-like evidence whatsoever in any of the areas for possible sudden draining of Lake Agassiz.

    That area was at the west of Lake Superior, on the eastern side of Minnesota.

    The SD-MN area is on the est side of MN, and as such could have provided no evidence for a sudden emptying of Lake Agassiz nto the Great Lakes.

    Since Lake Agassiz’s normal drainage was down the Mississippi River to its mouth at the Gulf of Mexico, the SD-MN border region would show such drainage – butthat was not sudden. Studies have been done to assess the evidence in the northern Gulf of Mexico to determine a sudden change in that emptying of fresh water, and the results did show a change at that time. But that correlation does not directly imply that the fresh water went in any other specific direction. Thus the Mackensie River outlet work continues.

    Other studies have indicated that a Mackensie River surge would not even have flowed to the east from the mouth of the Mackensie – it would have traveled WEST first.

    So all in all, the more they learn from evidence the farther from reality the Lake Agassiz ice dam failure and fresh water surge into the Atlantic becomes.

  17. An apropos resignation letter from a PhD candidate at a European university:


    One section of his letter includes this:

    (7) Academia: The Violent Land of Giant Egos
    I often wonder if many people in academia come from insecure childhoods where they were never the strongest or the most popular among their peers, and, having studied more than their peers, are now out for revenge. I suspect that yes, since it is the only explanation I can give to explain why certain researchers attack, in the bad way, other researchers’ work. Perhaps the most common manifestation of this is via peer reviews, where these people abuse their anonymity to tell you, in no ambiguous terms, that you are an idiot and that your work isn’t worth a pile of dung. Occasionally, some have the gall to do the same during conferences, though I’ve yet to witness this latter manifestation personally.
    More than once I’ve heard leading researchers in different fields refer to other methods with such beautiful descriptions as “garbage” or “trash”, sometimes even extending these qualifiers to pioneering methods whose only crime is that they are several decades old and which, as scientists, we ought to respect as a man respects his elders. Sometimes, these people will take a break from saying bad things about people in their own fields and turn their attention to other domains – engineering academics, for example, will sometimes make fun of the research done in the humanities, ridiculing it as ludicrous and inconsequential, as if what they did was more important.

  18. Steve; Thanks for the reply. Just goes to show ya that a little knowlege is a dangerous thing. I had a feeling the ice sheets were still too far south to allow for great lakes drainage, but that land pattern in minnesota was sure attractive.

  19. Steve,

    You are not thinking through all the implications for mega-fauna caused by the disappearance of Glacial Lake Agassiz.

    Three words for your consideration: Lake Effect Snow.

    The draining of Glacial Lake Agassiz, by whatever route, would make a major change in North American weather patterns.

    This occurrence in the aftermath of the YDB event would be an additional environmental stress on surviving mega-fauna adapted to this wide spread — as wide spread as Glacial Lake Agassiz — micro-climate pattern.

    Go back and look at that glacial lake map, and think through what it means when you wipe the 25 mile strip of lake effect snow away from the bottom of all that beach front.

    This has zip, zero, nothing to do with sea currents. It may still have a huge effect on mega-fauna extinctions.

  20. I’ve noticed that while many folks have focused a lot of discussion on the mytery of where, or which way the water of lake Agazziz went, I don’hear much focus on the when. If weare going to keep our attention on the YDIH ball, it might behoove us to keep in mind that it was a post-glacial lake. And didn’t form until after the proposed YD impact. In other words, where all that water went is pretty much moot with regards to figuring out where ground zero was.

  21. Trent –

    I had a giggle at this from you:


    You are not thinking through all the implications for mega-fauna caused by the disappearance of Glacial Lake Agassiz.

    Three words for your consideration: Lake Effect Snow.

    I guarantee I know full well about lake effect snow. Anyone who lives in the Great Lakes region knows about it. Well over half of us have experienced its direct effects. As for me, I happened to live for 5 years in the NE corner of Ohio, which extends from about the eastern edge of the city all the way up to and through Erie, PA. It extended only about 10 miles inland in our specific area. I never checked about nearby areas much.

    FYI the name of the zone is “The Snow Belt.”

    Living east off Cleveland we got not only normal lake effect snow, but also the mills and other industry (before the dictates of the Clean Air Act took effect) were putting plenty of aerosols into the air upon which the water vapor could – and DID – nucleate to form snowflakes. The same effect in the summers brought torrential rains which to me are still legendary.

    As to Lake Agassiz, I would point out that the ferocious diabatic winds coming down the ice sheets would not have contained much water vapor and that being so dry and cold, I would wonder how much vapor they could pick up going across the lake.

    I would also point out that the lake as shown in that paper is twice the size I have ever seen it and its centroid is not even quite in the same location as other maps of Lake Agassiz.




  22. I misstated this:

    “As for me, I happened to live for 5 years in the NE corner of Ohio, which extends from about the eastern edge of the city all the way up to and through Erie, PA. It extended only about 10 miles inland in our specific area. I never checked about nearby areas much.”

    I meant to say that the 10 mile band was the snow belt, the people who really got socked by the lake effect snow.

  23. George,

    Calling Pinter a “Jihadi” is simply stupid slander of Moslem terrorists.

    Aside from that, the correct term in English is “jihadist”.

    Why not use “idiot” instead?

    Finally, the correct term is “Holocene Start Impact Event”:


    The missing maximum vertex for the most recent ice age is known as the “Grondine Vertex”.
    In the illustration there is a little rectangular box showing where it should have been.

    The phenomenon was caused by the Holocene Start Impact Event,
    which caused a change in the temperature of the Pacific Current.

  24. So the Earth had a hise?

    That is almost as unfortunate acronym as crew rescue vehice – experimental.

  25. Steve G,

    A hissy is still a hissy.

    Saying clovis man died from a “hissy” (whether spelled HSIE or HISE) is not a good choice for a wider audience.

    “YDB Event” is both more mysterious and more euphonious for the general public.

    Plus it pisses of the Old Guard geologists and astronomers, always a good thing.

    If they are mad anytime the subject comes up. They will blow up their credibility far more effectively than any of the YDB hypothosis supporters can do.

  26. “HISE” sounds like an over-budget telescope. Ed needs to drop it for “YDB Event” because his term has hardly taken off, and it confuses readers of his otherwise largely helpful comments. You are right, Trent, “YDB” does have an appropriately creepy ring to it. It also focuses the subject on the principal source of evidence — the YDB.

  27. Hi George –

    Invoking Hubble for Ed Weiler’s Space Telescope is distracting. My current estimate is that fixing the Ed Weiler Space Telescope is likely to be among the first missions for Orion.

    My second guess in that regard is that no provisions have been made for repair operations, so we’re looking at even more money for a water tank model and special tools.

    Back to the Holocene Start Impact Event:

    One Little Problem with term YDB, is
    the 1,000 years of glacial melt before the YD

    A Second Little Problem with the term YDB:
    It is not known if separate fragment(s) impact(s) was/were involved in the YD drainage of glacial melt water.

    A Third Little Problem with the term YDB:
    Continued use of YDB keeps attention focused on the Atlantic Ocean currents, while the Pacific Ocean currents are ignored and key to the mechanism.

    Since the “Grondine Vertex” actually refers to a temperature minima, perhaps “Grondine Minima” would be a better term for what did not happen in that little box shown above.

    In other words, the “Grondine Minima” does not exist.

    I find that strangely appropriate, but then I have a very unusual sense of humor.

  28. Trent –

    Ed keeps on asserting taht hius HSIE is the correct term, but Dennis is right – only Ed uses that term. Sorry, Ed, but I googled it and nothing came up except your usage of it.

    I myself like “Younger Dryas Onset Event.” That one carries no baggage and no judgment one way or another. Biology has hundreds and hundreds of articles about the Younger Dryas. THEY were the ones that pointed out that something really odd must have happened, though it took a good long time to have more than speculations about it. YDOE doesn’t tie it necessarily to an impact, so it is a term even skeptics of the impact hypothesis can use without conceding anything.

  29. BTW –

    George, if you did it, thanks for changing the Captcha things to numeric. They are WAY easier to read now.

  30. George and Ed and Trent –

    Younger Dryas Boundary isn’t specific enough, since there were TWO YDBs – the onset and the ending. Both are boundaries for the YD.

    [hahahaha – George, as soon as I expressed happiness in the all-numeric Captcha, it gave me one that is all alpha characters… ]

  31. The “black mat” is pretty specific, Steve.

    And as far as naming conventions are concerned, a good, catchy, phrase the low information media and public can latch on to is far more useful than a jargon specific term that is klunky.

    The term of art here is “Cultural cruise missile.” A short snappy description that encapsulates the subject and gets in low under the radar of the “powers that be” and catches on with the public.

    The term “YDB Event” serves that marketing function far better than any of the other terms used on this site to date.

  32. Well Steve,

    Thankfully, it appears that in the future there will be no debate over who originated the term “Holocene Start Impact Event”. There will also be no debate about who it was who first noticed the “Grondine Minima”.

    These will join a few other neo-logisms I have contributed to the English language.

  33. Now made curious by preceding discourse on names of YD period, read up in Wikipedia and found this tidbit, about three (3) DRYAS ages: OLDEST, OLDER, & YOUNGER:

    The Older Dryas was a stadial (cold) period between the Bølling and Allerød oscillations (warmer phases) approximately 14,000 years ago (BP), towards the end of the Pleistocene epoch. The gradual warming since the peak of the last glacial period 22,000 years BP has been interrupted by three cold spells, the Older Dryas having been preceded by the Oldest Dryas and followed by the Younger Dryas

    So, then we should surmise three comet frag bursts, to start each of these, slowing the warming trend?

    BTW, to complete my education, I viewed with pleasure a Dryas octofolia meadow from Svalbard here:


  34. Ed –

    I am just pointing out that it appears that no one else has joined in your terminology.

    ALL the terms being bandied about are accurate enough to suffice. I doubt if it is up to any or all of us here to determine which term will be the one that sticks.

  35. Hermann: “So, then we should surmise three comet frag bursts, to start each of these, slowing the warming trend?”

    As I’ve said before when skeptics pointed out the GRIP/GISP2 D-O events, if an impact ever is shown to be the cause of the YD, then someone eventually HAS to consider that all the other D-O events were, too.

    The degree of O18 variability shown in those ice cores implies climate change far greater – even for those shorter events – than anything suggested in our current “global warming” warnings coming out of computer models.

    The rub is actually why the YD lasted so much longer than the others. Speculation should include a semi-continuing barrage over nearly all of those 1300 years – as wild as that sounds.

    The other rub is the even more rapid recovery from the YD.

    So three questions exist:

    1. What caused the YD?
    2. Why was the YD so sudden?
    3. Why was the YD so severe?
    4. Why did the YD last 1300 years when the others D-O events did not?
    5. Why did the YD end so abruptly and so fully?

    Any correct explanation will need to answer all of those. None of the hypotheses competing with the impact scenario have been shown to be even remotely adequate to answer 2, 3, and 5. The speculations about them have to include (as they do) severity and suddenness that is nowhere in the literature, so they are on even more tenuous ground than the impact scenario. At least an impact scenario can explain the suddenness and severity. That alone doesn’t make it correct, but it has to give it some major primacy in the discussion, even if the gradualists have to swallow their pride to admit it.

  36. Hahaha – I forgot to go back and shcange this sentence:

    “So three questions exist:” Should be

    “So these questions exist:”

  37. Those ice cores are MAJOR evidence that supports both the impact scenario and the multiple impact scenario, as well as that whatever caused one of them caused all of them.

    The alternate hypotheses have to crowbar the ice core evidence into a gradualist meme. In order to do that they have had to invent mechanisms that there really is no evidence for. MUCH less evidence than has now been found for the YDB, actually.

    Wally Broeker’s oceanic conveyor concept has gotten much more air play than most, simply because it gave global warming arguers a mechanism (however weak in its evidence) that could allow them to scare people about the coming boiling oceans (NASA Director James Hansen’s words) and the silly disaster movie “The Day After Tomorrow.”

    But as Rodney Chilton has pointed out, the ice sheet had not withdrawn enough by 12,800 ya for the fresh water to have done what Broeker speculated, nor is there any evidence whatsoever that such a surge ever happened – and such a surge would have had to be a far, far bigger than the flood that caused the Scablands of Washington state. NOWHERE in the Great Lakes-St Lawrence system is anything remotely equal found. There is no scouring of the land at all. It was a nice speculation, but it is a non-starter, actually, because the on-the-ground evidence just wasn’t there.

    So, the only other gradualist hypothesis is that the climate changed on its own – for which there is no evidence of it being the CAUSE nor any mechanism equal to the task.

    The GRIP and GISP2 ice cores clearly imply a HUGE 9°C (16°F) drop in temps at the YD onset and an equally large 9°C (16°F) rise at its end, with both happening instantly in geological terms. To imagine that the climate BY ITSELF can just miraculously change in a heartbeat is to argue completely against gradualism itself – that magic happens, and then reverses itself. It is to deny the very principle of reductionism (that we can understand a whole by breaking it into small pieces and understanding the pieces) and materialism (that matter is the cause of everything we can examine or experience).

    Many are misled by the silly idea that a butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon can create massively large effects, even on a planetary scale. Large effects require large causes. This is specifically why the oceanic conveyor shutdown needs to be abandoned: The forces involved are simply magnitudes too small to do what is suggested.

    When all is said and done, in the manner of Sherlock Holmes, whatever is left must be the facts of the matter. Even if Holmes was imaginary, the mind behind Holmes (Conan Doyle) was not and was a very respected scientific mind. Whatever is left in this case is one or more impacts. Nothing within the planetary system is equal to the task of making THAT big a change on the climate – not to even mention the selective extinctions of 33 megafauna ONLY in North America and (apparently) Northern Siberia.

  38. Steve,
    thanks for the D-O reminder, I am too much of an outsider to remember these details. Amazing diagram on Wikipedia page showing near- periodicity of D-O events at about 45 Ka.

    Your Q&A:

    A: Would black carbon soot from YDB impact fires stay airborne that long?


    3. Why was the YD so severe?
    4. Why did the YD last 1300 years when the
    other D-O events did not?

    Remember Conan Doyle was a prankster (Piltdown Hoax), setting anthropology back decades.

  39. Steve,
    there is really more to what you have been saying than meets the eye (mine, fogged up), if you look at the plot of temperatures based on Greenland ice-cores here:


    I magnified the plot on my screen to get a clearer picture:

    Oldest, Older, & Younger Dryas appear as the last three of the quasi-periodic D-O events beginning 140 Ka BP. As one would expect from quasi-periodic events, periodicity of 1470 year, there is a gradual onset of each cold period, not sudden. How does this square with the narrow black mat?

    The YD cooling appears to have begun as early as 15 Ka BP. It’s a puzzle . .

    Maybe we should picture a debris stream of fragments from a giant precursor comet enter the inner solar system, break up gradually causing some cooling, but every 1470 years the debris stream approaches the Earth’s orbit and causes a bad fire storm?

  40. Imagine if you were to go to a place in the great lakes region that was once under the Laurentide Ice Sheet, and then later, as the LIS retreated, that same location was covered for a while by Lake Agassiz. Now imagine standing in a ditch at that place, and looking at the stratigraphy of the past twenty thousand years or so exposed in front of you. At the bottom you see the clay layer that marks the underbelly of the LIS, and above that, layer of fine sand that was laid down as sediments on the bottom of Lake Agassiz. You realize the the YDB is in that sequence somewhere. And then you notice that at the top of the four inch wide transition layer of particles and fine gravels between them you see a very distinct layer of iron particles rusting out in a very pronounced red line of rust. Do any of ya’ll think it might be important?

  41. Hermann –

    I’ve never been convinced that the Piltdown hoax was a hoax at all – and especially not that Conan Doyle was to blame if it was.

  42. Hermann –

    Don’t be necessarily reading that particular set of graphs as temperature. Those Y-axis labels are Oxygen-18, not temperatures. (I sometimes read them that way, too, but then catch myself.) There is a tie-in with temps, but THOSE graphs are not temps, not directly.

  43. Dennis –

    Your scenario – does it have the deposited gravels in it somewhere? I’ve lived for most of the last 40 years on gravels hundreds of feet thick left by the receding ice sheet, according to the standard paradigm. Those gravels should be in your scenario somewhere, shouldn’t they?

  44. Yeah, at this place those gravels separating the Lake Agassiz bottom sand, and the clays of the LIS are only about four inches thick. The rusting iron particles are at the top of it.

    And actually, it’s not an imaginary place. I’ve been walking, studying it, flying over it, and digging in it for about a week now.

    Sometimes you have to get out of the house and turn over a rock or two.

  45. Hi Steve, Dennis –

    Just as in any other field of scientific inquiry, there is a requirement for accuracy in impact studies.

  46. Dennis said:

    >And then you notice that at the top of the four inch wide transition layer of
    >particles and fine gravels between them you see a very distinct layer of iron
    >particles rusting out in a very pronounced red line of rust. Do any of ya’ll
    >think it might be important?

    If I understand what you are implying here, you think that the rust may be evidence of a iron content meteor?

  47. Yes, depending on wether or not ET chemistry is detected in the specimens I took. But it’s not nessarilly related to the YD event. That layer represents a huge time frame. Any impact during the ice age could have pepered the ice with debris like this that would have settled out as the ice melted.

  48. Most of the meteor signatures to date seem to point to a comet fragment.

    Confirming a seperate iron meteor fragment impact in the same time frame is going to make a lot of academic hacks and certain NASA scientists very unhappy.

    We are then looking at less an impact “event” than an impact “epic” with a spectrum of impact sources.

    The cat will well and truely be among the pigeons, if that is confirmed.

  49. On the timing, tbe only thing that can be said for certain is that this stuff was deposited on that surface as the final layer before the bottom sediments of Lake Agassiz arrived. There remains a huge window of time when they could been deposited on the LIS.

  50. It should also be noted that since the layer of gravels between the clays of the LIS, and the bottom sediments of Lake Agassiz is only four inches thick in this exposure, then if the YD event really did hit the great lakes region, then some part of that layer MUST contain particles and debris fron it, however small that signal might be.

  51. If one goes back to Firestone’s AGU paper, there were fossil bones shown which had been peppered by iron spherules that condensed out from two large separate iron asteroid impacts, both impacts well separated from the Holocene Start Impact Event.

    Some people actually looked for those large iron impact craters at that time, but stopped as scarce geological impact research resources were focused on the HSIE.

    The idea of glacial ice sheets collecting meteorites and leaving them in kames for search has been considered, but the deserts are paying better.

  52. By the way, there are excellent studies of iron spherule condensation from the large iron asteroid impact at Barringer Crater.

  53. Ed,
    according to Sci Am, quoting Firestone et al PNAS 2007, the iron spherules in bones are attributable to the same YDB impact, not as you say from two large separate iron asteroid impacts, both impacts well separated from the Holocene Start Impact Event.

    Some recovered Pleistocene bones of mammoth and bison showed features that were interpreted as direct effects of the explosion – small, 2 to 3 mm in diameter, holes in the bones with a burned halo and magnetic particles with a high content of iron and nickel of unusual isotopic composition penetrated in the bones.


    Are you quoting an earlier AGU paper?

  54. Hermann –

    Yes, that is what Firestone said at the time and covered thoroughly in his book, “The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes”.

    My impression is that Firestone later recognized that the iron spherules were from an earlier event. George and Ed know more about that than I do.

    Yes, at http://www.physics.ncsu.edu/department/news/archive/2010-spring/richard_firestone.html Firestone wrote the following:

    While searching for evidence of the YD impact in Mammoth tusks we found several tusks that were impacted on only one side by high velocity iron particles. Analysis of the particles by ICP/MS and PGAA revealed they were highly enriched in nickel but depleted in titanium, which is similar to iron meteorites but not the YD impact layer. The radiocarbon age of the tusks is 35,000 years indicating that they were from a different impact event. Other evidence suggest that this impact caused earlier extinctions in Beringia. The proposed site of the impact crater is Sithylemenkat Lake in Alaska.

  55. It seems that as late as the AGU Fall Meeting last year Firestone, Bunch, and West were continuing their work on the tusks:


    Firestone’s summary includes this:

    The additional megafaunal bones are estimated to date from between 13 to 40 ka, and radiocarbon dating of samples from these specimens is currently underway.

    The summary ends with:

    These preliminary results suggest that large quantities of melt-quenched impact spherules were deposited across Alaska and western Canada (Beringia) within the last 40 kyr. We propose that they were most likely produced by hypervelocity impact/airburst events in the region during the Late Pleistocene. The presence of geochemically distinct populations indicates that there were at least two such impacts/airbursts into different source rocks.

    One would assume the carbon dating is long done by now, so either the results are out there now or will soon be.

    Though the “geochemically distinct populations” of spherules are different, with the above it is not possible to determine if the two impacts occurred at the same time or different times.


    This one-sided spherule impact evidence does not occur at any other place or time (so far as I know) or in any other kind of bone or tree, one can only suggest that it is a super rare event, and that would suggest to me that the two impacts occurred in the same event. That they both happened in the same region argues in favor of this simultaneity, too. Otherwise one is asked to believe that of all the places in the world spherules have been embedded in tusks, the second impact just happened to hit very close to the first one. It seems much more likely to have been separate impactors during the same event, but into “different source rocks.”

  56. Hi Hermann, Steve –

    One of the general principles I’ve observed through the years is the tendency for researchers
    to lump different impacts together – they can not believe that the Earth has gotten hit that many times separately.

    When Firestone et al. first published at the AGU, they did not think that the iron asteroid impacts were separate from the Holocene Start Impact Event, even though the spherule peppered bones had far different 14C dates. That is not to mention the differences between comet composition and iron asteroid composition.

    At the time, it was a regal pain in the fanny for me personally, and the lack of Cambridge Conference forum as a place for quick review and dissemination for research was missed.

  57. Ed –

    I’ve been with you a long time on multiple hits at fairly frequent intervals. I DO accept being “hit that many times separately.”

    We live in a dangerous inner solar system, in a shooting gallery. As you well know, over 1400 possible known impactors are flying around in our neighborhood, at last count. It’s a real shame, too, because it has set humans back more than once. How much of a setback? How many times? We can only speculate, but there are certainly ruins all over the world that suggest we had achieved some reasonable levels of technology and civilization at least once previously. With the accounts you have noted (including ones we all haven’t seen much of yet), Ed, it is quite clear that some of the impacts were in the time of man.

  58. Hi Steve –

    While maybe you “can only speculate”, there are a number of us who actually have worked and work on determining as accurately as possible exactly what hit, when, where, and the effects of those asteroid and comet impacts.

  59. Ed –

    First of all, you’ve taken my “we can only speculate” out of context. I was addressing speculating about previous levels of civilization – not numbers of impacts or their timing or location.

    But let’s go with your reading of it for a moment…

    Having found what you think are some of them does not mean that you have determined ALL of them nor that some you think are might happen to not be.

    With the information available at this time, can you say there are six or three or twelve or seven? You have SOME evidence of some of them, and the evidence is not only spotty but is up and down. CERTAINLY some of them did happen and they will be nailed down as to when and where. And there may be some on which you have no clue yet.

    So, my statement stands, that “we can only speculate.” There is WAAAY inadequate information at this time to say with certainty that you or anyone knows how many for certain and when and where they hit. You are on the trail of them, but there is a massive amount of work to be done before it is out of the “speculative” realm.

    Keep going. I am not against you. I am just saying that no matter how many you have suspicions about – for good reasons, I am sure – you can’t say that some of them are anything more than speculation.

    Outside of CosmicTusk you probably would have tough time convincing anyone that ANY of them are more than speculation. WE HERE accept your evidence as at the “hypothetical” level. Most others won’t see them as anything more than speculation, as you interpreting the evidence optimistically and one-sidedly.

    Sorry, but that is probably the reality of it at this point. Hell, half the world looks at the YDB event as fantasy, and look at how much evidence there is for THAT. If it takes this long to convince the world of ONE of these, with all of that evidence, how long will it be before we know about how many there were in total?

    So, “speculation”? Yeah, Ed. Sorry.

  60. Actually, Steve, “we” have our own way of communicating outside of the Tusk. And I have no problem with my peers, and evidence.

    I used to keep a list of confirmed and suspected impacts, but no longer do. The last list was publicly published on the Cambridge Conference in about 2003.

    As far as technologies and levels of civilization lost due to impact, we have some rough ideas.

    They do not involve Theosophist race wars.

  61. Steve G,

    I think one of the bigger difference between CT readers and most elsewhere is that we as a group look at Shoemaker-Levie (sp)-Nine and say “There is no reason that can’t happen here.”

    Then we had Chelyabinsk…and our opponents are still on the “It can’t happen here” hymnal.

  62. Trent –

    Exactly. It can happen here. And it has. And it will again.

    The mofos all – literally all – had the idea that no one living would see an impact on a planet in their lifetimes. Then it happened and then afterwards they acted like it hadn’t even happened, once the hubbub died down.

    THREE of the SL-9 fragments were over 1 km across, with blasts as large ad our entire planet – in the gravity of Jupiter, no less, which is about double ours. Ask anyone what a 1-km impactor would do here.

    Ostriches all.

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