Tree falls in forest and one hand claps: Science press picks up Mexican Black Mat study

This just in from Popular Science, link here.

Massive Extraterrestrial Rock Hit Earth 13 Millennia Ago, According to Nano-Evidence

About 13,000 years ago, a chunk of a comet or asteroid hurtled into the atmosphere at a shallow angle, superheating the atmosphere around it as it careened toward the surface. The air grew hot enough to ignite plant material and melt rock below the object’s flight path. Within a few microseconds, atmospheric oxygen was consumed and the freed carbon atoms condensed into nanodiamond crystals.

An air shock followed several seconds later, lofting these nanodiamonds and other carbon particles into the atmosphere, spreading them around. Mega mammals starved, unable to forage on the scorched earth, and human populations dwindled. The shock on the atmosphere was enough to lower global temperatures for a thousand years.

This is according to a new study of ancient Mexican nanodiamonds, and it’s another salvo in a longstanding ancient-climate dispute. The study bolsters the controversial argument that an asteroid impact might have chilled the planet during the Younger Dryas, an abrupt and very short cold interval that started about 12,900 years back.

Paleo-climatologists have been arguing about the genesis of this period for half a decade now. Some hypothesize it was the result of collapsing North American ice sheets, which disrupted the heat conveyor of the North Atlantic. Others argue it was because melting ice changed the landscape, which in turn changed the jet stream. And another theory, first posed in 2007, holds that something hit the Earth and set North America on fire. This theory was proposed after a study of ancient sediments in multiple sites, in which geologists noticed an organic-rich layer of material called a “black mat.” Later, researchers led by University of Oregon archaeologist Douglas Kennett found high concentrations of nanodiamonds — a material associated with high-temperature collisions of material.

The theory soon drew a firestorm of criticism, with a concurrent paper dismissing the nanodiamond results as a false positive. The nanodiamond theory was all but ignored by mid-2011 after many groups of scientists could neither corroborate nor replicate the results. Now comes Isabel Israde-Alcántara et al., writing in the same journal that published the nanodiamond refutation.

This time, the researchers studied a different location — a lake in central Mexico instead of Greenland — and used a different set of techniques to take their measurements. The team studied a 10-centimeter-thick, carbon-rich layer dating to 12,900 years ago, which contained nanodiamonds, carbon spherules and other material. Israde-Alcántara and colleagues at the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicólas de Hidalgo in Mexico and the U.S. Geological Survey report their results in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The sediment layer came from a a 27-meter-long core sample drilled from Lake Cuitzeo as part of a paleoclimate study. The team focused on several microparticles they attribute to widespread burning — such as carbon particulates — and nanodiamonds, which they measured using even more precise techniques than Kennett et al. two years ago.

These particles can’t be explained by any terrestrial mechanisms, the authors say. They rule out a rain shower of cosmic particles; wildfires; volcanism; human-related activities; and even particle misidentification (like finding fool’s nanodiamonds). They say a cosmic impact is the only viable hypothesis.

This is surely not the last word on this subject, however. We will stay on top of the nanodiamond hunt.

  • E.P. Grondine

    TLE –

    There were equids and camelids as well.

    Perhaps it has to do with more than the population size you mentioned. Something to do with fat storage, migration ranges, ability to function on different types of food. Or perhaps on how migration was programmed in their brains – its cold, go south, not “its the time of year to go north.”

    Buffalo are quite tasty, so how does human predation figure into it?

    But then man will eat about any animal that’s edible.

    So many questions as to what species extincted, and which carried on.

    Which peoples, and where are easier, and may provide more clues.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Dennis, the problems are simply what hits, comet and asteroid, how big of a hazard it represents, and what to do about.

    As I’ve stated to you before, it is nothing personal. It simply that from what I’ve seen of him Morrison is simply so incompetent as to pose a menace to the public’s safety and well being.
    My opinion is that perhaps if Morrison had concentrated
    more on his work and less on politicking…

    We’ve all been wrong before; its what you do next that is telling.
    Your own behavior here is
    telling as well…

  • Yup! There you go some more.

    As I said before Ed, you’re so fixated on Morrison that you are incapable of making an on topic reply that’s specific to the topic of this thread.

    As for my behavior:

    In your own behavior since the very first post in this thread you have left no room for any other conclusion but that you are a raving lunatic. And I’m not willing to pretend for even the slightest second fraction of a second that you’re not dumber than a box of rocks; much less that yours is the only opinion, or that you are the sole unquestionable authority in the field of impact research. In fact since you have demonstrated the reading comprehension skills of a five year old. And undeniable delusions of grandeur in your unwillingness to consider the expertise of anyone else in the field, regardless of their academic standing. And the fact that you quickly invalidate the comments of anyone who will have the audacity to express an opinion of their own. I remain convinced that you are too feeble minded and stupid to do anything more than pretend to knowledge that you don’t really possess at all. In short, I remain convinced that you are somewhere between feeble minded senility, and clinically insane.

    I also remain convinced that you are too feeble minded and stupid to actually read and comprehend the new paper that’s the specific topic of this thread, and say something on-topic, and intelligent  about the new data that was presented in Evidence from central Mexico supporting the Younger Dryas extraterrestrial impact hypothesis

  • photo of typical air burst geoablation glaze on hard bedrock at top of Mount Helix park, E San Diego: Rich Murray 2012.03.15

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    Date: Thu, Mar 15, 2012 at 7:57 PM
    Subject: typical air burst geoablation glaze on hard bedrock at top of Mount Helix park, E San Diego: Rich Murray 2012.03.15
    To: Rich Murray

    Mount Helix public park with white cross and outdoor concrete theater from about 1925 — excellent access via helical road with parking lot and portapotty, about 2.2 km SE of roads 8 and 125, with similar mounts 1.5 km further SE — in fact, probably all the mountains for a very long ways have the same evidence — so I’m just alerting the alert to some nice obvious low hanging fruit…

    Mount Helix is .419 km el, .250 km above road 125 at .169 km el about 1 km to W, so it is quite prominent, and has spectacular views.

    32.766969 -116.983481 .415 km el.

    1.5 m rock just to N of 1 m rock, both pink hard crystalline rock (granite?) with surface glaze a few mm thick that is redbrown and rough (like the surface of a brick) — a white ballpoint pen provides the scale — entirely typical of uneroded glazes on broken and rounded tumbled rocks and blocks at altitudes that preclude water erosion, suggesting the possibility of early Holocene surface melting and glazing by a very hot high pressure and density gas jet from an air burst, as simulated at Sandia Labs in recent years by Mark Boslough — the first of 17 photos I took in my first visit to the site from 3 to 4 pm, Tuesday, March 13, 2012 — I collected a few pounds of samples, to donate to anyone who can properly study the melts and glazes.

    HTC Incredible 3G phone 7 Mpx cam, 1.491 MB jpg,
    3264X1952 px, clear blue sky, 3 pm, 4 hours before sunset.

    Google Earth view is 2010.08.23, about 10 AM.

    Mt. Helix Park Foundation
    4901 Mt. Helix Drive
    La Mesa, CA 91941
    Tracey Stotz 619-741-4363
    binannual newsletter, From the Top
    total 2011 income $ 140,522

    some choice informed creative comments from 202 re
    blog article New evidence supporting extraterrestrial impact at the
    start of the Younger Dryas: Rich Murray 2012.03.13

    10 m broken rock hill with black glazes, W of Rancho Alegre Road, S of
    Coyote Trail, W of Hwy 14, S of Santa Fe, New Mexico, tour of 50
    photos 1 MB size each via DropBox: Rich Murray 2011.07.28 2011.08.03
    photos 3-5 of 50

    Rich Murray,
    MA Boston University Graduate School 1967 psychology,
    BS MIT 1964 history and physics,
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