University of Chicago: Nanodiamonds prove cosmic impact responsible for ancient climate change

university of chicago

Press Statement 

Hot thread at WUWT

Microscopic Diamonds Suggest Cosmic Impact Responsible for Major Period of Climate Change

A new study published in The Journal of Geology provides support for the theory that a cosmic impact event over North America some 13,000 years ago caused a major period of climate change known as the Younger Dryas stadial, or “Big Freeze.”

Around 12,800 years ago, a sudden, catastrophic event plunged much of the Earth into a period of cold climatic conditions and drought. This drastic climate change—the Younger Dryas—coincided with the extinction of Pleistocene megafauna, such as the saber-tooth cats and the mastodon, and resulted in major declines in prehistoric human populations, including the termination of the Clovis culture.

With limited evidence, several rival theories have been proposed about the event that sparked this period, such as a collapse of the North American ice sheets, a major volcanic eruption, or a solar flare.

However, in a study published in The Journal of Geology, an international group of scientists analyzing existing and new evidence have determined a cosmic impact event, such as a comet or meteorite, to be the only plausible hypothesis to explain all the unusual occurrences at the onset of the Younger Dryas period.

Researchers from 21 universities in 6 countries believe the key to the mystery of the Big Freeze lies in nanodiamonds scattered across Europe, North America, and portions of South America, in a 50-million-square-kilometer area known as the Younger Dryas Boundary (YDB) field.

Microscopic nanodiamonds, melt-glass, carbon spherules, and other high-temperature materials are found in abundance throughout the YDB field, in a thin layer located only meters from the Earth’s surface. Because these materials formed at temperatures in excess of 2200 degrees Celsius, the fact they are present together so near to the surface suggests they were likely created by a major extraterrestrial impact event.

In addition to providing support for the cosmic impact event hypothesis, the study also offers evidence to reject alternate hypotheses for the formation of the YDB nanodiamonds, such as by wildfires, volcanism, or meteoric flux.

The team’s findings serve to settle the debate about the presence of nanodiamonds in the YDB field and challenge existing paradigms across multiple disciplines, including impact dynamics, archaeology, paleontology, limnology, and palynology.


One of the oldest journals in geology, The Journal of Geology ( has since 1893 promoted the systematic philosophical and fundamental study of geology.

  • Steve Garcia

    I can’t pass this up. It’s just sitting there, begging me to say it.

    So now we’ve got what colleges behind it?

    Harvard? (#2)

    University of Chicago? (#15)

    Stanford Research Institute (Stanford #4)

    There were several rankings. These are on AWRU – “Academic Ranking of World Universities in Natural Sciences and Mathematics – 2014.”

    On the other rankings I found, these colleges ranked way up there, in those, too. Of course.

    And there on the other side you’ve got Mr Levee, “Nic” Pinter from S Illinois (unranked). The best ranking I found for SIU was #189 on US News & World Report of US colleges.

    Vance Holliday at U of Arizona? (#39)

    These people who go around saying that no real scientists would ever sign on to this – WHAT CAN THEY EVEN POSSIBLY BE THINKING?

  • I am in a position to criticize this since I’m the only person who has identified a singular putative ‘pseudocrater’ in the right place to do the job. Everything west of the rockies is suspect, as is the isotope work on the nanodiamonds. They have a ways to go with this yet. I am still quite skeptical, although I admit the nanodiamonds do require some sort of definitive explanation, which has not yet been forthcoming.

  • George Howard

    Amen, Steve.

  • Steve Garcia

    TLE –

    My memory sometimes is short. Could you point me to your “putative pseudo-crater”” and the comment in which you mention it? I need to refresh my memory.

    Have you actually gone through the nanodiamond evidence yourself? I am wending my way through it and have a ways to go.

  • No I can’t Steve. It’s ‘out there’. If you can’t find it, you just aren’t paying attention. What I can point you to is a recent (as in tonight) interesting Arxiv paper looking at some of the larger bodies in the Taurid Complex. Of the objects studied, only one is of a primitive carbonaceous composition. It’s a very detailed spectroscopic study of their composition.

    I have several problems with the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis as of lately. The black mats do not appear to contain much if any charcoal. They claim the isotope analysis indicates a terrestrial composition, but I have not seen that analysis and theory indicates that a carbonaceous impact onto ice or water should yield an extraterrestrial signature. If it was a stony iron impact to get terrestrial isotopic compositions, it would have had to be on either a limestone or hydrocarbon surface as I can’t get enough carbon out of an airburst just from atmospheric carbon dioxide, although I presume that would be possible, and there is no evidence of a global vegetative conflagration. They have not studied nanodiamond formation from atmospheric airbursts using the air as a source of carbon. They just haven’t thought this thing through.

    I agree the sedimentary nanodiamonds present an interesting problem, but I need quantification, not hand waving. They only way I can make everything work for all, with respect to the Younger Dryas, the sedimentary evidence and the hydrological, geological and geomorphological evidence, is a carbonaceous body of less than a kilometer in diameter hitting the ice at the location I have specified, a meltoff and flood into the Superior and Michigan basins, a ozone induced vegetative collapse, and a extraterrestrial sedimentary nanodiamond signature created from extraterrestrial carbon formed directly in the impact. That’s the only way I can explain a pseudo crater and not a real impact crater.

    Without the nanodiamonds the entire exercise is delusional.

  • Steve Garcia

    TLE –

    A little snippy, aren’t we?

    You presented this: “a singular putative ‘pseudocrater’”.

    I am supposed to be able to find something based on THAT vague nothing? And because I can’t, I am “not paying attention”? I am sorry I can’t read your mind.


    I must have missed that class – TLE Mindreading 101 – in school.

  • Steve, it was covered on this blog, on Paul Heinrich’s blog, and on the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis talk pages since Michael Simpson (Skeptical Raptor) has completely shut down editing of the wiki page over there. Those talk pages are archived. Plus is was extensively discussed on Real Climate, the usenet and various geology and astrophysics enthusiast forums. It was a genuinely crackpot hypothesis conjured up to try and make sense of data that has since been refuted. What I am doing here is criticizing the hypothesis. We’re allowed to do that. That’s what scientists do, try and knock down their own hypotheses.

    On the other hand, the fate of early glacial Lake Agassiz is still an unanswered question, and there has been presented moderately well researched Lake Superior acoustic, cores studies, nuclear proxy and paleontological evidence that there was extensive discharge through the eastern route sometime around and after the initial Moorhead drawdown, that does not quite jibe with the known state of the Laurentide ice sheet at that time. Until these questions are resolved I cannot look at the geomorphology of that area and think, wow, what the hell happened here. Clearly it is not an impact crater. It’s clearly some kind of large pseudo crater carved by water and geology.

    So until this sedimentary nanodiamond as impact proxy problem is definitely solved, as well as the Moorhead phase glacial Lake Agassiz drawdown problem, I will continue to criticize both Kennnet’s original hypothesis and their detractors, equally, across the board, in public forums. I’m allowed to do that. I’m a scientist. Your enthusiasm for this subject does not exactly translate into critical thinking on these subjects, but I certainly don’t fault you for that. I just don’t want to get into a discussion with you.

    I’ve got far more pressing problems than this one hypothesis.

  • Cevin Q

    I’m not going to pretend I’m an expert in any of the fields involved, but I am reasonably well read in the archeology of California ,for this time period. It’s clear from the archeology, at several sites, that there was a huge biomass combustion event at the appropriate time horizon.
    From the channel islands through Arizona, the northern plains and Topper in the Carolinas, a carbon layer was deposited on top of existing anthropological materials.
    The fact that a measurable carbon layer was found on the channel islands of California is an almost indisputable piece of evidence.
    Most of coastal southern California is a fire climax biological community. Huge fires happen regularly, and are happening right non, but at no other time in the archeological record has a layer of carbon been deposited.
    The fact that the carbon layer was deposited some 60 miles up wind points to fires of a scope that has not been repeated.
    At sites all across California there is a hiatus of occupation of up to 600 years at the YDB.
    Some of these sites had been occupied for many thousands of years, up to sixty, in the case of Witt.
    Yet suddenly people leave for some reason, in fact at Witt, Clovis culture shows up AFTER this hiatus. What forced these people to leave their ancestral home thousands of miles away?
    At Blackwater draw the carbon layer fills in mammoth tracks, and at topper the layer is physically deposited on top of anthropological material.
    One the biggest stumbling blocks to this discussion, IMO, is the monolithic view of celestial objects. They either have to be comets or asteroids, black or white, but we know that the real world is black and white linked by shades of grey.
    The centaurs, and Jupiter family comets are likely amalgamations of various types of materials, stony, carbonacious and metallic objects in a water and volatile ice matrix. These are the “strengthless” objects that Steve has refered to.
    Combine that notion with Napier and Clubes work, which I read long before Kennett and West proposed thier theory, it’s not a leap to see one of these objects breaking up as it enters an inner solar orbit.
    The most parsimonious explanation is that the really solid objects weren’t of a size large enough to produce a crater, most of the time. If the object was of an appropriate size, or larger and impacted on a two kilometer ice sheet, only a truley enourmous event would leave a crater in the underlying substratum.
    In light of that I am puzzled by boslough’s vehement resistance to the idea, his work has virtually validated the notion of airbursts schorching the surface.

  • The fact that a measurable carbon layer was found on the channel islands of California is an almost indisputable piece of evidence.

    Well your ‘carbon layer’ contains very little actual charcoal, at least west of the Rockies. I suggest you use google scholar, sort by date, and stick with the latest information you can get on this subject.

    Everything you wanted to know about black mats. Now maybe your channel island black mats are different from all the other black mats in the world, but I doubt it. I would throw out EVERYTHING from the channel islands and just focus on the nanodiamonds, because from where it stands now, that’s all you’ve got.

  • Cevin Q



    “Well your ‘carbon layer’ contains very little actual charcoal, at least west of the Rockies. I suggest you use google scholar, sort by date, and stick with the latest information you can get on this subject”

    I was just having a casual conversation with the community, but really?

    Maybe you ought to get a Jstore account and actually read the paper being discussed here.

    You know what, I’ll save you the trouble

    And from said paper.

    “Later, van Hoesel et al. (2012, p. 7652) suggested that NDs in the Netherlands at the Aalsterhut site are “two centuries younger than the diamonds reported by Kennett et al.” (2009b) and therefore are from an unrelated event. They concluded this on the basis of an apparent age discrepancy between the mean age of the ND-rich layer at their site and mean age of the Arlington Canyon site in California. However, they overlooked the fact that the date for the Aalsterhut site fully overlaps those for many other YDB sites, including Murray Springs. To test their hypothesis, we performed Bayesian analysis (Bronk Ramsey 2009) and χ2 testing (Ward and Wilson 1978) on the Arlington Canyon radiocarbon dates. Both methods indicate that the Arlington Canyon radiocarbon dates have nonnormal distribution and thus are unsuitable for averaging (fig. B1). Bayesian analysis is particularly useful in detecting outlier dates (nonnormal distribution), including those that result from the old-wood effect, in which the date for charcoal or wood from a long-lived tree can lead to the erroneous conclusion that the stratum in which the charcoal was found is much older. Bayesian analysis rejected 14 of 16 Arlington Canyon dates as being outliers, consistent with the observation that local tree species have life spans of up to 1300 yr (see “Arlington Canyon, California” in app. B). After adjusting for the old-wood effect, OxCal modeled the YDB age for Arlington Canyon as 12,748 ± 46 cal BP (OxCal, ver. 4.2.3, IntCal-13; Bronk Ramsey 2009). This is statistically identical to the modeled YDB date for Aalsterhut of 12,746 ± 12 cal BP (10,870 ± 15 RCYBP; van Hoesel et al. 2012). These results contradict the hypothesis that the ND-rich layer at Aalsterhut is 200 yr younger than the ND-rich YDB layer at Arlington Canyon. ”

     Arlington canyon is the Channel islands site.

    So, Really?

    This paper presents a very very good argument. It’s up to the detractors to provide the same level of argument.


     It would be helpful if that energy was put into furthering the understanding of what happened rather digging a hole to bury their heads in.

     And this paper only discusses the mechanical evidence of this event, there is a great deal anthropological and archeological evidence that says something extraordinary happened.

    Discovering what it was and how it worked can only add to our understanding of the world we live in.

  • And carbon dating says what about charcoal content?

    I’m not saying that the black mats contain no charcoal, I am saying that the evidence indicates that they were formed over hundreds of years and are comprised primarily of fossilized plant matter exposed to the water table, and none of the data indicates at all that the were created in an instantaneous hot conflagration. That aspect of the hypothesis is dead. You need to move on. Any amount of critical thinking you can add to your arguments would help immensely with your credibility as well.

    Again, what you have is the detection of nanodiamonds in some sediments and in Greenland ice. That’s, and even that is iffy. They could be everywhere, they could move within the sediments and they could be concentrated, and they could be from almost anywhere. You need to move on that and that alone. Everything else is suspect until demonstrated otherwise.

  • Steve Garcia

    TLE: “Steve, it was covered on this blog, on Paul Heinrich’s blog, and on the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis talk pages since Michael Simpson (Skeptical Raptor) has completely shut down editing of the wiki page over there. Those talk pages are archived.”

    And you are too lazy to point someone somewhere, as in a link or URL, as a starting point?

  • Steve Garcia

    Real Climate? You are joking, right? The blog that blocks half the comments coming in? The blog with the thought police?

  • Steve Garcia

    TLE –

    You are going on and on about some pseudo crater that you haven’t even named or pointed to, and none of what you are saying makes any sense until you do.

    * * *
    As to the Lake Agassiz outflow top the east, because of the dating problem with the ice front, even Wally Broecker has given up on that (and it was his idea, long ago), and so has everyone else. Rod Chilton made it part of his book, this screw up on the part of the climate guys. Why are we talking about THAT? It didn’t happen.

    You evidently don’t even remember George and his canyon up in western Ontario that turned out to not be possible (and the image was of another canyon, too).

  • Steve Garcia

    TLE –

    If you think the YDIH proponents are wrapped up in charcoal in any way, you are misled. When Surovell and pals started talking about charcoal, it was clear that they had totally misunderstood everything – all the work on the black layer. That isn’t ME talking. That is Israde, if my memory serves.

    They worked on charcoal because not only did they misunderstand the technical points, they didn’t even know where to take their samples from. They missed by hundreds of meters sideways.

    Oh, and TLE, do you actually think you yourself have any credibility here? You act like a shill for the Daulton Gang. You accept every argument they make – and you (like them) ignore the rebuttals that show they didn’t know their asses from a hole in the ground. And you have a totally different filter for pro-YDIH evidence than you do for the Surovell work. It seems pretty obvious that you are not here as a devil’s advocate, but as a mole.

    Put some of your self-aggrandizing critiquing to work on Surovell’s work, dude. He is the one that doesn’t know what part of the black mat to sample from.

    As to your comments on the black layer, the black layer doesn’t mean sheit compared to the spikes at the bottom of the black layer. You ignore the 1/2″ that counts and talk about the rest of the black layer, which DOESN’T count. At least not yet. Until the spikes in impact materials is worked out, nothing else matters. SOME scientists understand this fundamental point. Surovell doesn’t. And you act here as Surovell’s and Holliday’s lackey.

  • Steve Garcia

    Even the new people to this at understand that SOMETHING big happened on FOUR continents and covering the 50 million sq kms where the black layer is found. It didn’t happen on four continents and on all sorts of different topographical sitings and elevations by being “fossilized plant matter exposed to the water table”.

    But again, the black layer is of not even secondary importance. It is the spikes in impact materials at the bottom of the black layer that has to be worked out first. It’s like the people at WUWT twho got all worked up about the megafauna extinctions, when without fundamental physical evidence at the micro level, none of that can possibly be understood, so the people there are speculating and pontificating and giving opinions, when none of that matters at this point of the investigation. That is like trying to separate animals and plants in to phyla and species, without ever going out and finding out what animals are out there and beginning to sort them out. Making the divisions before enough is known is stupid and WAAAAY premature. SOMEONE has to do the basic level work, so that the later science will have a proper footing.

    This thing may take a century, and we are only 7 years into it, and everyone seems to want final answers, before the facts are even known. What kind of science is THAT?

    And you are leading the charge, TLE, because you are looking in the wrong direction.

  • WUWT vs. RealClimate. Now that’s funny. That alone defines you.

    This is the way I see it. The original hypothesis posits millions of large impacts in a swath across multiple continents burning down everything, which does not seem to be represented by the black mats since they do not appear to be the result of an instantaneous conflagration and does not appear to be able to cause a mass extinction nor reverse the AMOC, whereas I posit a possible largish single strike of a largish embedded Taurid type carbonaceous object on the ice at Lake Nipigon which could indeed cause a flood capable of reversing the AMOC and some sort of short term ozone collapse, as well as the abundant nanodiamonds capable of being transported downstream to Greenland and Europe by winds, and for which there exists a suitable water eroded pseudocrater.

    You’ll just have to excuse me if I don’t believe any of this crap, which I don’t, but I do believe they have found nanodiamonds in terrestrial sediments. Whether or not these nanodiamonds represent impact proxies remains to be seen.

  • Cevin Q

    You know aside from NDs, other materials, for which there is no terrestrial process to account for their creation, such impact glasses, metallic microsphereuals and phyoliths incased in impact glasses.
    Such material have been well defined at other known and studied impact sites.
    By the way, my credibility is if no consequence to the conversation, I am just engaged in an informal discussion of the subject.
    I find it somewhat humorous that you invoke Clube and Napiers work on the Taurid progenitor stream, yet bend it to fit your view, with a discreetly singular large impactor, when their work and the work of others clearly show a stream of debris that is not homogenous in makeup, in either size or composition.
    If you have putatively identified a crater, that is great.
    Given the discontinuity of dates at various sites,
    which do happen to fall in line with each other in variance, might it be more likely that instead of one enourmous impact and conflagration, there was a series of impacts from objects of various sizes and compositions, spread out over time. Some were regionally catastrophic, like your proposed Nipingon event, or locally catastrophic such as Dennis’ proposed “California Melt”.

  • Steve Garcia

    TLE –

    “…millions of large impacts”? And just who said this farcical thing? Or is it all in your delusional imagination that someone said it?

    You keep coming up with assertions that are even sillier than Holliday and his careless science.

    And your Lake Nipigon thing – when was that? As you describe it, any outwash from such an impact at the YDB would have sent water to the Gulf of Mexico, not to the AMOC. You don’t seem to get it that the ice front was too far south to head out the St Lawrence. And if you hinge your thinking on the Mackenzie River route, that one is the silliest thing climate people have ever come up with, that fresh water exiting near Alaska is going to influence the currents of the Atlantic 4000 miles away and many islands in between.

    Hahahaha – if Holliday and the Daulton Gang think anyone has modified their hypothesis, they should take a look at that one. When the St Lawrence idea failed, they went and came up with THAT bozo idea. And dumping water down the Mississippi River to the Gulf via your Lake Nipigon thing is just as wrong headed. You don’t even have any Scablands to show for it, either. The water just seems to have launched itself OVER the ice sheet to the Atlantic, without touching the ground.

    You seem to have an ego the size of Jupiter, wanting the world to notice that YOU, Thomas Lee Elifritz, have solved all the mysteries of the YD, all by your little ol’ lonesome.

    It’s actually kind of sad. . .

  • Steve Garcia

    Cevin Q –

    I am with you. I am just here discussing what I see here and elsewhere. Where the evidence leads, I have some idea, but I also realize that most of what I think is probably wrong. But then, so are most of the conclusions people “in the know” are coming up with. Everyone is looking into a room filled with dense fog and trying to tell everyone what is by the far wall – you can’t tell much from where we are all standing.

    But we can toss ideas into the mix and have fun with it.

    At the same time, the only ones who are doing actual science on it are working to simply get the basics down pat, if they can. And THAT is the right approach. Otherwise they will be speculating forever.

  • Cevin Q

    In different thread, we were discussing meteor/asteroid/comet formation, and was firmly in the accretion camp.
    Which thread was that?, I have something to add to that discussion as my views have changed substantially in the last week.

  • Steve Garcia

    Cevin –

    Try this one:

    It has quiet a bit of that topic.

    You’ve got my interest piqued… I’d like to see what you’e come up with.


  • Atom-Probe Tomography of Meteoritic Nanodiamonds (PDF)

    This should help clear up a few questions.

  • Trent Telenko

    Thomas Lee Elifritz —

    Sckeptics of the YDB impact theory keep having this thing called “reality” rain on their parade.

    In this case, quite literally —

    Four Large Fireball Events over USA
    September 24th, 2014

    Four large unique fireball events were reported to the AMS last night.

    •Event #2305-2014 was seen at approximately 1:11 local time (EDT) in FL and GA.

    •Event #2306-2014 – Over 420 witnesses from IL, IN, MI, OH and WI reported a bright fireball over Michigan around 21:55 local time.

    •Event #2307-2014 – 30 witnesses from TN, AR, AL, IL, MS, MO and KY reported seeing a fireball over Tennessee at approximately 20:30 local time

    •Event #2308-2014 – 42 witnesses in CT, PA, NY, NJ, MA and MD reported seeing a bright fireball in North Easter Pennsylvania near 20:47 local time.

    Proof positive of closely spaced multiple impacts on North America can happen at any time is empirically provided.

    The only questions left at hand are how often and how large, not whether or not they can happen.

  • Here’s the deal, Trent. Can happen is not the same as did happen. What has not been demonstrated yet is whether or not sedimentary nanodiamonds are credible impact proxies, or whether these sedimentary nanodiamonds are terrestrial or extraterrestrial from isotope studies (the links I provided give insight on how that particular problem might just be solved in the near future), whether the sedimentary nanodiamonds detected demonstrate that there was a largish impact in the Younger Dryas era, and on the distant nearly impossible horizon, whether such an impact, if it happened, where that impact occurred, and was it singular or multiple or a catastrophic bombardment (highly unlikely at this point), and was of the type that could change climate or eradicate species.

    Like I said, you guys have a really long ways to go yet. Good luck!

  • Jim Coyle

    Steve: When you are talking about accreation you are referring to the accumulation of debris and pieces until they become solid matter, correct? I know you don’t subscribe to this theory. I’ve read a couple of articles about meteors, asteroids and comets where they’re stating that these particular items have been formed under extreme heat and PSI. How can this be evidence of accreation? This sounds more like planetary destruction debris or could it be leftover debris from burned out stars?

  • Steve Garcia

    Jim –

    Cevin Q and I are discussing this on that other, older comment stream.

    Yes, that is what the accretion hypothesis asserts, that somehow the materials become solid matter. I think I refer to it as, “How did the rocks out there become rocks?”

    When you combine that with the TYPES of rocks, the hypothesis becomes tenuous.

    And, YES, I am arguing that there IS no heat or pressure out there.

    And, yes, I’ve found at least one of those articles that talks about the heat and pressure. The one I found I linked to, and it talked about how BIG a body has to be to generate the deep underground pressures and heat necessary. The size as I remember it was about 3000 km in radius – bigger than the Moon.

    If that is even in the right ballpark, then no accretion of materials on an 18″ or 18 km or 1800 km body can solidify those particular materials.

    A truism of science is that just ONE verified fact can falsify the most beautiful theory. To me, peridotite in meteorites is the one fact that undoes the Accretion Theory. The presence of olivine also undoes it.

    We are asked to believe that all of those solid asteroids out there were accreted by microgravity and melted at high temperatures and squeezed together at 4 million psi that came from nowhere. These are forces that do not exist out there. These are temperatures that don’t exist out there.

    Cevin Q had said: “So I can totally see where you are coming from, these types of crystal had to have formed within a planetary object. So, my question is now, how did the deep crust materials end up in interplanetary space?”

    And I responded with – in which I said,

    “4. Having been somehow removed from deep underground of a planetary body, some peridotite somehow ended up instead inside of and integrally part of an asteroid in space which ended up crashing to Earth.

    Not many mechanisms come to mind, do they? But we all know the obvious one.

    You ask if it can be from an exploding star. I asked that question, too.

    The first thing I addressed was: How FAST does material exit a supernova? (Only a supernova can create the heavier elements above carbon.) It was 30,000 km/sec. About 1/6th the speed of light.

    #2 was: Does it arrive at that speed? Essentially the answer is YES.

    #3 was: How fast do things travel in the Solar System? Speeds were in the low km/sec and low tens of km/sec.

    #4 was: By what mechanism does this material get slowed down? (I assume the rote answer is “The Sun’s gravity captures it all.”

    #5 was: To capture a body, it cannot be going faster than the escape velocity of the body, so was the material going faster than the escape velocity of the Sun? The answer was YES, by MANY magnitudes. Ergo, the Sun’s gravity could NOT have captured the material that was exploded out of supernovas.

    #6 was: If not gravity, what FORCE exists in the Solar System to slow down the supernova material? According to Newton’s Laws, only an unbalanced FORCE can change the inertia of a body.

    #7 was: The supernova material would have crossed the entire Solar System in about 4 hours, by my back-of-the-envelope calculations.

    My interpretation of all of this is that, NO, the asteroids and comets could not be leftover debris from supernovas.

    But now, doesn’t THAT bring up a conundrum? If the material could not have been from supernovas, then where did the material come from?

    OF COURSE, SOMEHOW THIS IS ALL WRONG ON MY PART. The material IS here. The asteroids and comets ARE here. The planets and moons ARE here. I just seem to keep seeing ways that this idea of supernova material cannot be correct, just like I keep on seeing how the accretion model cannot be correct. But so many really smart guys and gals have figured all this out, so somewhere in this is an assumption on my part that isn’t actually correct.

    But I don’t see where it is wrong. Physics is physics. How does ANYTHING slow down something going at 1/6th the speed of light?

    You tell me.

  • Steve Garcia

    OOPS! The wording of #5 there sucks.

    Make the first part read: “#5 was: To capture a body, it cannot be going faster than the escape velocity of the body capturing it.”

  • Steve Garcia

    Trent – I almost missed your comment. NICE GET, DUDE!

    “Proof positive of closely spaced multiple impacts on North America can happen at any time is empirically provided.”

    Skepticism blown out of water. They were all wet, too.

    One verified fact can falsify even the most beautiful and most elegant theory.

  • Steve Garcia

    Trent – I hope there is some video of those objects.

    Before I begin looking into it, I’d like to “predict” (bet) that their paths in the atmosphere were very low angle.

    (Take my word for me not peeking; I am honest if nothing else.)

  • Jim Coyle

    Steve& Trent; I hadn’t heard nor seen anything in the news media about 4 fireballs crossing the US. Amazing! Something like this occurs and no one knows or cares. At first glance I thought that may these were all the same sighting but the time frames and sighting areas say no way. These were 4 seperate entities in a close space and time frame. It would be interesting to be able to track these to their theorectical impacts knowing their approx speed, angle and trajectory. I know these were too small to have come in contact with terra firma but to have an idea where they might have hit if bigger would be interesting. Something like that might wake up the general public into at least thinking about the possibly of celestial impacts, but with no blood and guts no interest.

  • Jim Coyle

    Steve; I realize that the speeds of debris coming from supernovas is way too fast for gravitational capture if they occur in the near space but if they’re from a distant locale would it be possible for them to have been slowed down by repeated passes near other stars, galaxies, collisions with other bodies etc to the point that our sun or any other large body or system could grab it and hold it in orbit until something else pulls it in for a landing? It seems to me (IMHO) it’s that or there were other bodies in our solar system that have been destroyed by whatever means and these belts of debris is all thats left. Bits and pieces just keep coming in all through the system when ever something jostles the dust pan.

  • Steve Garcia

    Jim –

    A valid question about slowing down as they pass by other systems.

    But think of a close pass through another system for a moment. As it approaches that system, the gravity of th star will actually accelerate it first, until it passes, at which time it then will retard the velocity. As I see it, this will be a wash – that the amount of acceleartaion on approach will be equal to the slowdown after passing. To go from 30,000 km/sec down to about 30 km/sec is a 99.9% reduction; I don’t see such passings as adding to or detracting from their velocities.

    Collisions with other bodies at 10% of the speed of light would disintegrate both objects, at a minimum. After disintegration would the particles continue? In some direction, yes – but scattered now in all sorts of directions.

    At the same time, think of it this way: Where did the OTHER solid bodies come from? From other supernovae? From other star systems which (somehow) had captured and accreted bodies which then buried some of it and turned it into solid material and then somehow lost it to outer space again?

    I DO NOT know the answers to all of these, and I am not being coy in admitting my ignorance.

    How the original planets accreted makes sense if one can determine how the supernova materials slowed down enough to stay here. Accreting into large objects makes sense, given enough time. Buried materials with many miles of overburden makes sense, because the weight creates sufficient force and compression to provided elevated temps (as well as high temps from radioactive decay from below from heavy elements in the core). If no overburden exists, where could such forces come from? Accreting into small solid objects does not seem to make sense, due to the lack of gravitational forces and temperatures.

    In short: Solid rocks seem impossible to form in outer space. Ergo, solid rocks must come from planets. Yes? No?

  • Jim Coyle

    Steve; I agree with your ideas. The space rock has to have come from a planetary source, that is the most logical position. As another counter idea, all the universe appears to be spinning in one direction or another. All of this rotation is pulling matter into it self. As the matter accumulates its density intensifies to the point of creating solid objects. Now once the matter has solidified it may possibly funnel out the other side of the spiral dispersing out into another inverse universe. Wild speculation at best, pure BS at worst. I haven’t had my morning coffee so my thought processes aren’t aligned yet.

  • David L. Ulrich

    it made the big leagues — Andrew Collins and the “biblical floor” is going onto TV — interviews with Johan “Han” Kloosterman included.


  • David L. Ulrich

    flood not …. floor (oh damn)

  • Trent Telenko

    >>Here’s the deal, Trent. Can happen is not the same as did happen.

    Here’s the Real Deal TEL —

    We have empirical proof that that not only do multiple simultanious bombardments happen, they happen to every plant in the Solar system to include Earth, in the present life span of most living humans.

    In terms of proven science, we have gone from

    1. “No proof multiple simultanious bombardments ever happened to Earth” through;
    2. “No proof multiple simultanious bombardments ever happened in human history to Earth”; to
    3. “Multiple simultanious bombardments can happen any time on Earth, it is only a question of when and size.”

    …in one night.

    That is lifetimes of change in science being overturned in the blink of an eye.

  • Trent Telenko

    Grrrr….I ment to initial TLE, not TEL.

  • Four small fireballs over a wide area in a period of several hours is empirical proof of … four small fireballs over a wide area in a period of several hours.

    It would be great if you guys could move your enthusiastic catastrophism ruminations over to the speculative catastrophism page so as not to contaminate any discussion of sedimentary nanodiamonds. I suppose that might be too much to ask though, and it’s not my blog. If you don’t like my approach to the evidence then I would be glad to recuse myself of further discussion of it here as I have done elsewhere. The noise level around here is fairly high and I’m a bit hard of hearing right now.

  • Steve Garcia

    TLE –

    Glad to see that from your religious background you keep your thought police mentality on full alert.

    In other words, “Who died and made you king?”

    This is a round robin exercise in appreciating and cogitating. Take off your shoes and relax, dude. You are not the only one allowed to have a thought.

    Chime in, but get off the high horse.

  • Cevin Q

     I found this nifty page on many things Taurids related. 

    This paper confirms that there are swarms of meteors.…23A 

    Is very apropos 

    “Observational evidence is sought that the long-term (10^4 yr) action of a mean motion resonance with Jupiter can produce structure in a meteoroid stream, concentrating meteoroids in a dense swarm. More specifically, predictions tabulated by Asher & Clube of enhanced meteor and fireball activity from a Taurid Complex swarm in the 7:2 resonance are compared with observational data collected in Japan over several decades. The swarm model was proposed for reasons independent of the observations analysed here, and these newly considered data are shown to be consistent with it. This allows increased confidence in the Taurid swarm theory, and more generally could mean that resonant trapping is a dynamical mechanism affecting a significant amount of meteoroidal material in the inner Solar system.” 


    “The structure of the Taurid meteoroid complex is investigated using orbital element measurements from the IAU Meteor Data Center. The complex is found to have been formed during the last about 10 kyr, this time-scale corresponding to a probable late stage in the evolution of the parent object, a giant comet which was apparently captured into a small-perihelion, short-period orbit about 20 kyr ago and which, in an initial highly active phase, gave rise to the material that now broadly constitutes the zodiacal cloud. Models of the evolution of the complex under gravitational perturbations suggest that meteoroids must have originally left the parent object near perihelion, but also allow the possibility that fragmentations have occurred when large disintegration products collided with objects in the asteroid belt. Such a model may be entertained, for example, if the core of the evolved giant comet has previously undergone devolatilization, producing a high degree of fragility in the constituent debris.”


    “Four small fireballs over a wide area in a period of several hours is empirical proof of … four small fireballs over a wide area in a period of several hours.”

     In response to your skepticism about multiple strikes, are you aware of the meteror fields of west Texas and new Mexico,

    On the Odessa field

    “Over 1500 meteorites have been recovered from the surrounding area over the years, the largest of which weighed approximately 300 pounds (135 kg), but excavations in the main crater confirm that there is no meteorite mass underground and probably never has been.”

     I have flown over the New Mexico fields several times and they are impressive, it’s a shame no real work has been done on them, as they are a significant part of the landscape.

  • Right, but Odessa was a small single meteorite that exploded before landing, not a million fragments of a comet stream covering the entire hemisphere.

    Can you tell the difference? I apologize for confronting your beliefs.

  • Steve Garcia

    Just so nobody here thinks that that last statement is even REMOTELY correct:

    Except that even our beloved Vance Holliday wrote this paper (among other sources that say the same thing), “Age and effects of the Odessa meteorite impact, western Texas, USA

    The Odessa meteorite craters (Texas, United States) include a main crater (∼160 m diameter, ∼30 m deep) plus four smaller meteorite craters. The main crater was sampled by coring (to 22 m depth) to better understand its origin and history. Dating by optically stimulated luminescence indicates that it was produced immediately prior to ca. 63.5 ± 4.5 ka. Sediment filling the crater includes impact breccias produced at the time of impact; wind-dominated silts with minor amounts of pond sediments deposited ca. 63.5 ka, probably just after the impact, and ca. 53 ± 2 ka; wind-dominated silt ca. 38 ± 1.7 ka; and playa muds with a wind-blown silt component younger than 36 ka. The environment was arid or semiarid at the time of impact based on characteristics of soils on the surrounding landscape. The impact caused severe damage within 2 km and produced >1000 km/hr winds and thermal pulse. Animals within a 1–1.5-km-diameter area were probably killed. This is only the second well-dated Pleistocene hypervelocity impact crater in North America.

    Busted, dude.

    The meteors DID impact, creating FIVE craters, the largest of which is 168 meters across and was about 100 feet deep originally.

    So much for, “a small single meteorite that exploded before landing.”


    With the largest meteorite about 300 pounds – less than the Chelyabinsk object found UNDER WATER – it might be safe to say that had the Chelyabinsk object not landed in a lake, it would have created at least a small crater. In spite of the semi-large flash/airburst, a crater would have been formed.

    So far all the sources I’ve seen refer to Odessa’s main crater as an “impact.” 168 meters – almost TWO football fields – is hard to rectify with “”exploded before landing”.

    Earth Impact Database listing:

    Crater Name: ODESSA
    Location: Texas, U.S.A.
    Latitude: N 31° 45′
    Longitude: W 102° 29′
    Diameter (km): 0.16
    Age (Ma)*: < 0.0635
    Exposed: Y
    Drilled: Y
    Target Rock**: S
    Bolide Type***: IAB

    There are no "BELIEFS" to it. Not on this side of the debate.

    Meteors/asteroids, we have been finding out, sometimes break up at various points in their lives, though so far we don't know whether all do or not. Some break up in space. Some break up in the atmosphere. No one knows specifically and quantitatively WHY they break up when they do, other than reasonable speculations about their density and material makeup. If they break up in space, we have seen evidence of them stringing out linearly (more or less) along the orbit's path. (But just after breaking up, they seem to form a wider "cloud" of objects – see Schwassmann-Wachmann's breakup) Thus they can be stung out in time, and spatially as well, and if the first in a string hits a planet, others would likely do the same, in somewhat different locations. If later, then the impacts would likely form a tighter pattern. There is nothing magical or mystical or religious about considering any of that. Shoemaker-Levy hit various places in the Jovian atmosphere, and on completely different days. That creates at least one range of such multiples. If Odessa's main body flashed like Chelyabinsk at a low altitude so that five main surviving objects created craters, the difference is only in degree and timing, but the principle is still the same. A large one with many fragments – why would it not be feasible for it to blanket a larger area? That only seems reasonable.

    Since no meteorite was found in the main Odessa crater, it seems reasonable to assume that the (~8-16 meter) body was disintegrated at impact and was ejected with the target material. What would be new about that? If true, this would mean that the 300 pound main meteorite was NOT the main fragment.

    Nothing about the Odessa craters argues one iota against what Cevin Q said. Some of it argues FOR what he said.

    People who go around saying to others, "We have only seen 'THIS much' or 'THIS wide' or 'THIS long' of something" (because we have an incomplete inventory of such things), and who then tell others that ANYTHING outside of what we have found already is not acceptable, even for discussion – holy crap, what narrow and pinched minds. And conclusions doomed to be wrong. Because, folks, the limits of what we find expands ALL the time. Those whose minds reach out a bit beyond those things so far, those are the people who I’d like on my team.

    Someone whose every pronouncement is “No” – have a nice pinch-faced life.

  • Right, as compared to a continental conflagration by millions of comet fragments causing mass extinctions and 1000 year climate changes. Sure.

    Odessa is an utterly ordinary stony iron impact of an exploding nickel iron bolide. Again, I apologize for confronting your beliefs and/or challenging your hypotheses, but that’s what science is and that’s what scientists do.

    The questions remain, are sedimentary nanodiamonds impact nanodiamonds, if so, are they of extraterrestrial origin merely deposited by impacts, or are they created by extraterrestrial materials impacting the earth, or are they derived from terrestrial materials modified by impacts, and are they viable diagnostic proxies of impacts at all? Once all these questions are sorted out, then did an impact occur at the Younger Dryas boundary, and if so, was it singular or the result of some kind of preformed rubble swarm? And finally, if it occurred, was it of the type and magnitude that can cause mass extinctions and global climate change. You are just not getting the complexity of this problem.

  • Steve Garcia

    Your opinion and ours are not going to solve any of this.

    The scientists who are actually doing the work on it are fiding what they find, and some scientists agree with their assessments and some don’t. THEY are in the middle of this and we are all on the sidelines.

    What’s your point? That you disagree with them? And that we do? Like I said, your opinions and ours are not going to decide this.

    That doesn’t mean we can’t discuss it, and we understand that you don’t agree. Big deal. Disagree all you want. That and $4.00 or so will buy a cup of coffee. Nothing you are saying changes anything, but it is a pain in the ass to have you shi**ing on everything others say here. Try something constructive. If that is possible.

    BTW, nothing you said in that comment added one iota to the discussion. There was nothing new in it whatsoever. Stating the obvious contributes nothing. The complexity of this is not beyond us. We diverge to other aspects of it, which we are entitled to do. No one here is over their head on the points you made. Your superiority complex got boring a long time ago.

  • Steve, I’m not bashing everything you say here, but this particular paper and this particular post is about the sedimentary nanodiamonds as they relate to a hypothetical catastrophic Younger Dryas impact, and I have legitimate objections to that hypothesis and a legitimate interest is the hypothesis of sedimentary nanodiamonds as possible impact proxies. Anything else that you bring forth that is not directly related to those two things and are quite obviously wrong, then I will confront that, and reject them quickly, so that the specific discussion of these two things, the sedimentary nanodiamonds and the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis can proceed. This is how science works, sorry. I’m just suggesting that you move other conversations to more relevant posts, but as you say, it’s not my blog and I’m not the boss of you. But this is a public forum (so far), so anything you say here is fair game for rejection, as are different aspects the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis and different aspects of the sedimentary nanodiamonds as impact proxies as well.

  • That does seem to be the pattern here, doesn’t it? Where most discussions quickly diverge off topic into arguments regarding the validity of one person, or another’s views, or pet theories.

    An on-topic scientific discussion, complete with accessible citations to pertinent peer reviewed literature; what a novel idea!

  • Barry Weathersby
  • Cevin Q

    Thanks for the link, it’s a very informative blog.
    It illustrates the mechanics by which orbital influences can shepard objects into clusters and that such things arent alway singular events.

  • Again, while interesting, these clusters are widely separated in time and represent very small objects that have gravitationally perturbed away from their initial impact or breakup (material shedding) positions, and are in no way representative of the hypothesized instantaneous impact of a large cometary debris swarm over large swaths of the Earth. This is the part of the hypothesis that I reject, although I admit that it could happen. I also reject that such an impact would have created a regional firestorm and biological and climatic catastrophe, causing mass extinctions and 1000 year climate changes, since this is not supported by the currently known black mat compositions and analyses, although I admit that it could happen. A singular impact is much more probable, and would more likely leave a intercontinental nanodiamond signature merely by the atmospheric dispersion of the entry and impact plume.

  • Steve said:

    “But think of a close pass through another system for a moment. As it approaches that system, the gravity of th star will actually accelerate it first, until it passes, at which time it then will retard the velocity. As I see it, this will be a wash – that the amount of acceleartaion on approach will be equal to the slowdown after passing. To go from 30,000 km/sec down to about 30 km/sec is a 99.9% reduction; I don’t see such passings as adding to or detracting from their velocities.”

    I think it would work much the same as an orbital assist. We’ve been doing them for several decades. The reason a gravity assist works is because it adds or subtracts from the overall energy of the thing you are using for the assist. A dumb way to look at it is that every time we use Jupiter to speed up a spacecraft, we subtract a bit of its orbital energy, causing it to fall a bit closer to the sun. Stars work the same way, though are much more massive, but orbit the center of the galactic mass. A close pass of a debris cloud will be perturbed to add or subtract energy based on how the mass passes the star in question.

    When a cloud of stuff interacts with a forming cloud, you also have interaction of shock waves surrounding both complexes – the forming star and whatever is inbound. Shock waves slow stuff down and tend to heat them up at least in aerodynamics. And the mass of the infalling cloud is some to many times larger than that of the forming planetary / solar system – which means the primary interaction will be between the two clouds of stuff. Shock waves would be a source of heating the inbound debris cloud.

    All for now. Cheers –

  • Drat: “Larger” should be “more massive.” Cheers –

  • Steve Garcia

    TLE –
    ” But this is a public forum (so far), so anything you say here is fair game for rejection”

    Absolutely. But do you EVER say anything positive?

    “…this particular post is about the sedimentary nanodiamonds as they relate to a hypothetical catastrophic Younger Dryas impact, and I have legitimate objections to that hypothesis and a legitimate interest is [sic] the hypothesis of sedimentary nanodiamonds as possible impact proxies..”

    Specific disagreements with the evidence in the paper then? And other papers with the same sorts of evidence and lab results?

    The lab results? The crytallography? The SEM results?

    Yammreing at us as bystanders is not furthering the cause of the science, anymore than our comments that diverge.

    As to diverging, it is DIFFICULT sometimes to find recent posts that some observations or comments can fit into, and I thinnk you know that to be true, too.

    I’ve only just recently actually discovered that there is an archive here, sorted by months. Don’t ask how I missed it. George had to point me to it. Since then I’ve made some effort to find older posts that my comments will fit into better – but I don’t always follow that path. For one thing, even with the archive it can be tough to find old topics. We do NOT have on comments, and sometimes what is remembered is in comments and not the actual posts. So, it isn’t a perfect world here.

  • Steve Garcia

    […This may come out as a duplicate comment. If so, sorry!….]

    TLE –
    ” But this is a public forum (so far), so anything you say here is fair game for rejection”

    Absolutely. But do you EVER say anything positive?

    “…this particular post is about the sedimentary nanodiamonds as they relate to a hypothetical catastrophic Younger Dryas impact, and I have legitimate objections to that hypothesis and a legitimate interest is [sic] the hypothesis of sedimentary nanodiamonds as possible impact proxies..”

    Specific disagreements with the evidence in the paper then? And other papers with the same sorts of evidence and lab results?

    The lab results? The crytallography? The SEM results?

    Yammering at us as bystanders is not furthering the cause of the science, anymore than our comments that diverge.

    As to diverging, it is DIFFICULT sometimes to find recent posts that some observations or comments can fit into, and I think you know that to be true, too.

    I’ve only just recently actually discovered that there is an archive here, sorted by months. Don’t ask how I missed it. George had to point me to it. Since then I’ve made some effort to find older posts that my comments will fit into better – but I don’t always follow that path. For one thing, even with the archive it can be tough to find old topics. We do NOT have on comments, and sometimes what is remembered is in comments and not the actual posts. So, it isn’t a perfect world here.

  • Steve Garcia

    Dammit! It did! SORRY!

  • Steve Garcia

    agimarc –
    “I think it would work much the same as an orbital assist. We’ve been doing them for several decades. The reason a gravity assist works is because it adds or subtracts from the overall energy of the thing you are using for the assist.”

    Okay, yes, we do that. But remember that to do that we have to send the satellite really close into the center of gravity. In taking about material sweeping through the entire solar system, very little of it comes close to the Sun. There is no gravity boost with material going past Neptune or Saturn or Mars or Earth or Venus, even – and maybe not much even in as far as Mercury (but I wouldn’t swear to that latter). And if I am not mistaken the perigee of an Earth-centered gravity boost path (in our present era) is inside the atmosphere – in which the atmosphere negates the velocity gain and causes such things as bollides.

    I would also ask if Sun grazers (comets) exit faster than they come in. I’ve never seen numbers on them, but I’ve never seen scientist’s comments about them gaining speeds.

    In short, it seems that the vast spherical volume of the solar system would have supernova material pass through without a net velocity gain. With way 98.8% to 99.9% of the total solar system mass in the Sun, it isn’t just the ecliptic/plane of the planets that is involved. The Sun’s gravity is 360°-360°. The odds of gravity boost paths in that volume is pretty small.

  • Steve Garcia

    agimarc –

    “When a cloud of stuff interacts with a forming cloud, you also have interaction of shock waves surrounding both complexes – the forming star and whatever is inbound. Shock waves slow stuff down and tend to heat them up at least in aerodynamics.”

    This is addressing star formation, which I understand precedes the planetary nebula by billions of years. I could be wrong on that, and at this time of night I will pass on looking it up…LOL

    In addition, stars are formed from mostly hydrogen and helium, yes? In talking about the planetary nebula theory and with heavier elements exploded out of supernovae, talking about star formation here is an apples and oranges situation, it would seem. No?

    And to discuss planetary nebula in terms of “a cloud of stuff” being hit by a “cloud of stuff”, my very point is to ask, “How did the cold of stuff get here and achieve the really slow velocities compared to the 30,000 km/sec velocity of matter coming out of a supernova?” A cloud “being here” – I am thinking in terms of BEFORE the could got here, or, if you prefer, in terms of the cloud ARRIVING here in the first place. As in, how did the FIRST cloud arrive? My main issue being the braking necessary to remove 99.99999% of that kinetic energy of 30,000 km/sec.

  • Steve Garcia

    agimarc –

    THANKS for the planetary flyby link! I love that!

    And this – at least slightly – contradicts me: “The second result is even more surprising, that during Earth flybys at least three craft have exhibited a small velocity increase so that the outbound hyperbolic orbits in the Earth system have different energies than the inbound orbits.

    And “Of course, the conservation of the total geocentric energy before and after the flyby is exact in the isolated point mass problem. However, the total geocentric energy on entering the Earth’s sphere of influence as defined in Section. 1, and on leaving it, should be the same, except for terms in the
    geocentric gravitational potential that depend explicitly on the time.
    Instead, for Earth flybys by the Galileo, NEAR, and Rosetta spacecraft, the geocentric orbital energies after the closest approach to Earth were noticeably greater than the orbital energies before closest approach. Further, the changes were much too large for any conventional time-explicit cause, specifically from the Earth’s longitudinal harmonics or the motions of the Moon and Sun. So far, no mechanism, either external or internal to the spacecraft, that could produce these observed net changes in orbital energy has been identified.

    So, I am partly wrong on that gravity boost by Earth not happening. Would I be wrong in guessing that there is a narrow window just above the atmosphere, such that farther out no boost occurs and farther in the object is impaired by the atmosphere? If only three gained velocity, it suggests a small window for this to occur.

    But the opening phrase in the first (first bold) and the first bold in the second, seems to mean others were perhaps thinking the same as I was. The third bold, again, seems to say that the increased geocentric energy – but their logic – shouldn’t be happening, and yet it is. And it can’t yet be explained.


    I’d say that in this, the term “geocentric” could, in viewing the process around the Sun instead of the Earth, could be just as easily applied to heliocentric energy. And if they think that geocentric energy (which I extend to heliocentric energy) logically should be the same incoming and outgoing. And the term “energy” here would seem to be kinetic energy and would seem therefore to be synonymous with velocity.

    At the same time, I’d caution again that this is for close flybys.

  • We’ve been doing planetary flybys for a long time. Cassini did at least two using Venus on its way to Saturn. Reason was that they decided to not use a liquid fueled upper stage in the shuttle to launch it (Centaur) and were short of delta-v.

    The Voyagers used Jupiter flybys on their way out of the solar system. New Horizons which will fly by Pluto next summer used a Jupiter flyby as an assist in 2007.

    Being closest to the center of mass obviously makes the assist work better, but you have to deal with other things like radiation belts, rings and atmospheres if you get too close. Sometimes the flyby is used more to change outbound trajectory than increase velocity. Cheers –

  • I don’t know where the interacting clouds come from. I do know that the clouds that form stars have more than hydrogen / oxygen in them – water, diatoms, dust, for instance. We see them in various stages of collapse.

    If Clube & Napier are correct and a population of comets is distributed by supernovae / gravitational interaction, that cloud of stuff will from time to time interact with the collapsing nebulae that form new stars. When that happens, you get shock waves, which will tend to heat up the inbound material and slow it down.

    We do see shock waves off of supernovae. We also see them associated with star formation. Interaction of one to both will provide a heating mechanism for materials (gas, dust and larger objects) carried in both clouds. Cheers –

  • Steve Garcia

    agimarc –

    I would agree with all that you said at 10:15.

    Matter passing through – would you maybe agree that almost none of it will be affected by close flyby conditions, in a sphere equal to the orbit of Neptune? Especially going at 30,000 km/sec?

  • Steve Garcia

    agimarc –

    The Clube & Napier thing is quite interesting. Their books are too freaking expensive for me, so I may never read them.

    As to the shock waves, even assuming a cloud existed in the solar system, do you think it was “thick enough” to slow down supernova material by 29,970 km/sec? I am interested in your opinion, because I think it would have been far too tenuous a cloud to do more than wave at it as it went by. What do you think?a

    As to the star formation link, what I see us discussing is far later in the evolution of the solar system – not star formation but planetary formation. We seem to be talking about two different phases.

    As to the shock wave link, it opens with this:

    Scientists have captured the blast from a supernova 10,000 light-years away in a cosmic speed trap, clocking the shockwave from the dead star’s explosive end at speeds of nearly 8 miles per second.
    The new measurements of the supernova remnant W44 not only revealed how fast the shockwave is going, but also how much energy is associated with it, researchers with the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan explained in a statement.

    8 miles/sec = about 13 km/sec. What about the other ~29,987 km/sec velocity (and kinetic energy) for the supernova material? These things are cool to be discovering, but not associated with planetary nebulae. Not as far as capturing supernova material is concerned.

  • Steve @ 1015:

    Don’t know enough about the dynamics of a protoplanetary nebula to answer your question. We know they are big. We know they are massive. We don’t know how that mass is distributed. We know that there is a line of demarcation – a shock wave if you will – between the confines of the nebulae, especially as it collapses, and the exterior (Bok Globules). Don’t know what is introduced from outside, but suspect something is. We know when something crosses a shock from high velocity to low velocity, it slows down and heats up. The amount of this is determined entirely by the intensity of the shock.

    When the shuttle reentered, it essentially rode a self-generated shock as it converted energy of motion into heat over the length of a few to several thousand mile long reentry. And the shuttle was a 100 ton vehicle. Shocks may help explain the heating and processing of rocks seen in planetary nebulae, though that would assume a percentage of the mass comes from outside the nebulae. Follow that back far enough in time and you eventually get to which came first, chicken or egg land which I have no answers for.

    We are seeing a lot of stuff but just beginning to understand the interaction. Should be a lot of fun to learn what is going on. Cheers –

  • Steve @ 1024:

    “These things are cool to be discovering, but not associated with planetary nebulae. Not as far as capturing supernova material is concerned.”

    The reason I mention is to try to characterize where the material is coming from and how fast it is traveling. A supernovae will not only blast off the body of the star itself, but some appreciable percentage of what is associated with the start orbiting it. That material has to go someplace and is one source of what Clube and Napier mention as comets the solar system and other objects (star-forming nebulae) encounter as they orbit the center of the galaxy. Cheers –

  • Steve Garcia

    agimarc –

    Yes, that material from a supernova has to go somewhere. And per at least one source it “goes” at an escape velocity of 30,000 km/sec (10% of the speed of light). The process of the nova itself is understood to be the source of the heavier elements (> carbon), and I have no problem with that, because hydrogen fusion and fusion inside stars can only create elements up to a certain molecular weight. I think the supernova premise for those elements is as good of an idea as we can come up with in all of astronomy, I think.

    But when we have all these particles flying out at .10C, they are SO much more than simply material going out into the universe in all directions. First of all, doing the trig, the DENSITY of the particles at the distance of our Sun away from even a reasonably close star is incredibly low – vsatly less than the density of air at sea level.

    Then, for each of those particles to decelerate to the known speed of objects in our solar system means they have to shed 90% of their velocity and 99%+ of their kinetic energy. As I’ve said before, these are particles going so fast that they would be crossing the entire orbit of Neptune in less than 4 hours. HOW can such particles be slowed down so much, in order that they not just keep on going? What puts the brakes on? They end up taking years and centuries to orbit now, versus those 4 HOURS to go across. Where did the energy go? What was the process/”thing” that brought them to a crawl? I can tell you this: It wasn’t gravity from the Sun. Too little force. FAR too little. Newton’s First Law here – “An object at rest or in motion will remain at rest or in motion unless acted upon by an external force.” That is all pretty basic physics.

    So, what was the external force?

    And then also, if gravity wasn’t the force, then the current theory needs a workover. And if so, we don’t have anything even as a starting point. It sounds like such a nice package: Sun is here, particles flying out from a supernova, Sun captures said particles, particles then start aggregating from mutual gravity, then eventually become solid bodies.

    But each step is fraught with physics implausibilities, if not impossibilities.

    It is a house of cards. And each card (step) doesn’t hold water.

  • David L Ulricch

    so how much force would it took to explode a “missing” planet and what would happen to the debris.

    Just a thought.

  • Steve Garcia

    David, just in case you aren’t fully aware of it, according to the mainstream, an exploding planet concept is off the table. I only say that just in case.

    The two issues are separate, really. The planetary nebula morphing into asteroids and planets all at the beginning of the solar system stands or falls on its own. And the exploding planet hypothesis also stands or falls on its own. Remember: There may be a third alternate out there that no one has thought of yet, so both the current ideas may be wrong.

    I highly recommend Tom van Flandern’s book “Dark Matter, Missing Planets and New Comets”. Van Flandern covers a lot of bases and shows all the arguments and evidence for an exploding planet, but at the same time he may be wrong.

    If there was an exploded planet, tow main fallouts from that are:

    1. There is not need for an Oort cloud

    2. The thinking that asteroids and comets (as we find them) are remnants of the very beginning becomes nonsense. If they are fragments of that exploded planet, then they are obviously not nearly as old as the beginning of the planets.

    Personally, I’ve not seen one convincing argument that the exploded planet idea is wrong. All the arguments I’ve heard come down to either as hominem attacks on those espousing it, or argument by appeal to authority (“This is what most scientists think, therefore it is true”).

    Neither makes the idea true or false, but at the same time neither is pertinent, either. Many a time the mainstream of science has been wrong, so the authority argument has no standing. If science has been wrong in the past, science can be wrong in the future. And probably WILL be, in SOME ways. Puffing out pedantic chests and pretending that science will never be wrong again is a laughable premise.

    Insulting attacks on others who think differently is the exact opposite of what science is supposed to stand for, and are idiotic to boot. It’s just a form of bullying, attempting to get the opposition to come into line in order to not feel ridiculed. Anyone thinking that they can buffalo the entire future of any scientific discipline is a delusional and pompous ass – and a fool, to boot. Evidence will eventually win out, and those who use office politics to “win the debate” are incredibly stupid and may even go down in the history of science as the biggest buffoons of all time.

    Science is not a debate, though it IS a discussion. Debate tactics may work elsewhere, but in science it is the evidence that debates, and what it debates is simple ignorance. That MAY take time, and perhaps a lot of time, but in the end facts win out.

    One of the ODD thing s about science is its yearning for certainty and the need to project such certainty to the rest of the world outside of the relevant discipline. Beyond applied science (engineering and making products and equipment and edifices), science is always an uncertain endeavor; all conclusions are tentative. At least they will be for a very long time yet. The UTTER refusal to present conclusions as tentative is a mistake scientists make, and is probably related more to fragile egos than to anything else.

    Pronouncements by scientists should basically be of the form “From all that we know at this time, this is our best assessment of this“. It’s a rare science article in which this is said to the world.

    Even the pro-YDIH scientists should be saying this, instead of arguing that anything is proven. Yes, so far the preponderance of “forensic” evidence on 4 continents points to an impact. But I myself don’t think the case is successfully made yet, though I accept the evidence and the arguments myself. It is not ME they need to persuade.

  • David L Ulricch

    funny you should mention Flandern’s book – its on my coffee table and I was looking at his “limited range of gravity” chapter


  • Steve Garcia


  • Jim Coyle

    David; That’s a hard question. There are so many variables to consider: The size of the planet, the size of the impactor, the speed of the impactor, the angle of impact, whether the impactor is coming at the planet or playing catch up, the compostion of the planet and the impactor, is the impactor one piece or a tight swarm, the age of the planet ( in regards to the thickness of the crust. In general I would say that it would take a very lare impact to destroy a planet but that’s not to say it can’t happen. As for the question of the debris field just look at your solar system. It’s riddled with pock marked planets, moons etc. Also consider the rings around some of the planets and the asteroid belts. These could all be remnants of a planetary destruction. And this doesn’t include all the material that would have been blown clear out of the solar system or consumed in the explosion process.

  • David L Ulrich

    I was looking at the anomalies. Spin of Venus, Spin of Neptune, etc. But into the collision question. I would think the kinetic energy would be just monstrous. Since the speeds we are talking about are based on the speed of light, even a glancing blow would have been something to see. They say the “missing” planet was the size of Jupiter (I think), the debris field would have been something. That being said, if that happened, you would think the earth would be littered with rocks. I don’t think it is.

  • D o u g  C o t t o n  

    While ever you can produce no explanation for the net inflow of thermal energy required to raise the temperature of the Venus surface by 5 degrees during its sunlit hours (as per Hans Jelbring’s paper) then you have no understanding of planetary atmospheric and surface temperatures and the complete picture of all energy flows. I have explained what physics tells us in my book “Why It’s Not Carbon Dioxide After All.” You have not.

  • Jim Coyle

    David; I would think that a vast majority of the planet would have been consumed in the explosion. Also what remained would have been blown out and away from the planets original position. So if the earth had the good fortune to be moving away from the impactor at that time I would think we would escape with minimal damage. We also don’t kow when this planet was destroyed. The earth could have been littered with debris early in it’s formation and has now been remodeled to the point the imapcts are no longer visible. Another point at various times in earths history all the continents have been together creating vast oceans where cosmic impacts could happen and leave no visible scarring. We now are able to identify meteorites as having come from Mars or the moon etc, so maybe in the near future we will be able to identifiy asteroid and or comets by their chemical composition and tell if indeed they came from one body or multiple sources.

  • Jim Coyle

    David: Another concept has just crossd my mind. When the super nova explodes it sends out debris in all directions. The debris field is not perfectly even. There will be “rays or jets” of debris screamimg out into the universe at ungodly speeds.Planet X has the dubious honor of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and is impacted by one of these “jets”. It explodes and the majority of the planetary debri is sent flying or dragged along if you will by the supernova jet out into the universe. This will have slowed down the jet to some extent but it is still screaming along until it’s next encounter with, who Knows. Just like taking a mud ball and hitting it with the stream of a garden hose. The mud explodes and is washed out with the excess water leaving some of the mud more or less in place. I would think that the amount of impact ( degree of glancing or direct) has alot to do with the amount of debris that is left behind. Just another thought for pondering.

  • Steve Garcia

    David –

    I am NOT any expert on such a collision, whatsoever. I can’t even remember the details of what van Flandern argued. MY copy is not on my coffee table; I left it with many other books with my kid when I moved to Mexico 2 years ago, and I haven’t been able to bring it down since then.

    You said, “They say the “missing” planet was the size of Jupiter (I think), the debris field would have been something. That being said, if that happened, you would think the earth would be littered with rocks. I don’t think it is.”

    I remember only a vague thing about the size, but SIZE alone is a tough one, because if it was between Mars (a terrestrial planet) and Jupiter (a gas giant), which one was it? Or was it a hybrid? We only really have reasonable guesses about Jupiter’s solid body. Perhaps we might learn more about Jupiter if we ever decide that one was like Jupiter. But that is like speculation-squeared, isn’t it? SO forget that one. Certainly, if comets and asteroids came from an exploded body, that body had a heterogeneous makeup – ice/water, peridotite, iron, nickel, etc. That might suggest oceans (and continents?) or subsurface water and a varied mineralogy. Or not. Until a LOT of work is done, everything is speculation. But at the same time, one of the real reasons that the nebular theory “won” over the exploded planet is that the main advocate for the latter died and the nebular theory “won” out by default. THAT is no reason to accept one theory over another.

    As to Earth being blasted by debris, there are several points to make. One is that most of the debris from such an explosion would be vaulted at high declination out of the ecliptic, meaning that very little stayed in the ecliptic. Of that “in-plane” debris, a LOT of it would have been swept up by the Sun and by Jupiter. That which wasn’t swept up would be fairly likely to impact a planet, but not necessarily within the time from then to now. The Moon and Mercury and Mars and all the moons of Jupiter certainly are marked by impacts, by the tens of thousands. The fact that Venus and Earth and Jupiter are not can conceivably be at least partially laid to the effects of their atmospheres on incoming bodies, plus erosion on Earth. I seem to recall van Flandern arguing that the many moons in the solar system – including the fewrings of Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune – could simply be objects that were captured. Plausible? It depends on how open-minded the person considering the idea is. Some of the above points are not inconsistent with other thinking by astronomers and geologists. NONE of what I am saying is meant to be conclusive; it is just argument and a few thoughts cobbled together.

  • David L Ulrich

    I also think I’m getting different people mixed up, so the details are getting muddy. I just seems there are too many variables to get any conclusions but the real question is still “what if” Shoemaker had hit something other the Jupiter. I think that should be a clue as to other times when this happened. Even the evidence of Shoemaker is really all gone and if we hadn’t the technology to predict and watch it, we would not be any wiser.

  • Steve Garcia

    David – After SL-9’s previous pass of Jupiter, SL-9 was no longer in a solar-centered orbit. It was captured by Jupiter’s gravitational field and was not capable of hitting any other body – except perhaps one of Jupiter’s moons. It was literally in orbit around Jupiter.

    Could it have been captured by another planet? Yes, but the dynamics and events would have transpired very differently. It may not have broken up; it likely would have broken up into a different number of fragments; it would have had a very different orbit around that planet; it likely would have taken more orbits to spiral into the planet. The latter, though, may not be correct, because I real decades ago that once a very close encounter occurs, the orbit will change such that the likelihood of another close encounter in subsequent orbits is very high.

  • Steve Garcia

    Doug –

    A more temperate, les contentious, and less self-assured attitude would be welcome.

    As to the temperature of the surface of Venus, as simple search shows that NASA says it is 737C, while has this confused passage:
    “The average temperature on Venus is 864 degrees Fahrenheit (462 degrees Celsius). Temperature changes slightly traveling through the atmosphere, growing cooler farther away from the surface. Lead would melt on the surface of the planet, where the temperature is around 872 F (467 C).”

    So, raising “the temperature of the Venus surface by 5 degrees during its sunlit hours” – which one is this based on? (A basic question has to be “Which kinds of degrees?” even, since you don’t specify.

    Which organization understands “the planetary atmospheric and surface temperatures and the complete picture of all energy flows”, when they can’t even agree within a range of 30C?

    And since we don’t understand the complete picture of all energy flows” on Earth, where we measure things continually at thousands of locations, anyone claiming to understand the complete energy flows of a “cloud-covered” planet whose atmosphere makes even one measurement difficult for even rocket scientists is probably claiming a certainty that doesn’t exist.

    So, the average temperature is either 462C, 437 C, or 467C – not even counting that none of them give any range of uncertainty.


  • Steve Garcia

    Jim: “So if the earth had the good fortune to be moving away from the impactor at that time I would think we would escape with minimal damage.”

    This is a real thing that has to be taken into account, where the planets were at a given time.

    It is amazing how many times people present the planets as if they are all lined up on one side of the Sun where something can affect all of them on its path in or out of the solar system. In reality, each planet is just as likely to be on the other side of the solar system, and just as likely to be within one of the 90° quadrants.

    And, like you say, a planet in one of those two quadrants is moving AWAY from any given point.

    If on the other side of the Sun, the Sun will have swept up most/much of the material.

    One thing that might argue against that, though, is that the Moon is highly impacted, and if that impacting is from the same event, then the Earth should have been highly impacted, too.

    Would you more or less agree with that?

  • Steve Garcia

    Jim: “…maybe in the near future we will be able to identifiy asteroid and or comets by their chemical composition and tell if indeed they came from one body or multiple sources.”

    While we should definitely try this, from the evidence so far in meteorites that I know of, if such a planet existed and was large enough to produce peridotite (>=6000 km diameter), then one would expect it to have many sorts of minerals. This would seem to make that a tough matching game.

  • Jim Coyle

    Steve; I do agree more or less with your statement, but the earht may have been hit way more than we realize but due to the active atmosphere above us and at ground level much of the evidence is already lost to atmospheric burn up and landform remodeling. Only the largest remain to be discounted by the mainstream As far as the moon being largely impact covered, we may have been lucky enough to have had the moon in the right place at the right time to shield us from a much greater share of the debris. If this should turn out to be the case we live on the luckiest planet in the universe. Also in regards to moons acne; There is no atmosphere to shield the moon from impacts and to remodel the surface so all the cratering you see is the total sum of all hits it has taken. I believe the same holds true for Mars though it had atmosphere at one time. Now this all speculation of the highest order but at this point that’s all there is. I know that moon and Mars meteorites can be identified by there chem signature so planetary debris I.D. should be a possibility. They just need to figure out a base signature

  • Again, I apologize for interrupting your highly insightful discussion here, that unfortunately I have not had time to read, but, one way to make n-diamonds.!divAbstract

  • Steve Garcia

    As TLE seems to point to this is undercutting the nano-diamonds as evidence idea, it fails on all fronts.

    That abstract says (my emphasis):

    The investigation of carbon allotropes such as graphite, diamond, fullerenes, nanotubes and carbon onion and mechanisms that underlie their mutual phase transformation is a long-standing problem of great fundamental importance. New diamond (n-diamond) is a novel metastable phase of carbon with a face-centered cubic structure, being called “new diamond” because many reflections in its electron diffraction pattern are similar to those of diamond. However, producing n-diamond from raw carbon materials has been so far challenging due to n-diamond’s higher formation energy than that of diamond. Here, we, for the first time, demonstrate a new phase transformation path from nanodiamond to n-diamond via an intermediate carbon onion in the unique process of laser ablation in water, and establish that water plays a crucial role in the formation of n-diamond. When laser irradiates colloidal suspensions of nanodiamonds at ambient pressure and room temperature, nanodiamonds are firstly transformed into carbon onions serving as an intermediate phase, and sequentially carbon onions are transformed into n-diamonds driven by the laser-induced high-temperature and high-pressure from the carbon onion as a nanoscaled temperature and pressure cell upon the process of laser irradiation in liquid. This phase transformation not only gains a new insight into the physical mechanism involved, but also offers one suitable opportunity for breaking controllable pathways between n-diamond and carbon allotropes such as diamond and carbon onion.

    If I read the gist of this,

    1.) This general area of study is an ongoing and still little-known progression, and as such there will be some more – perhaps many further, as yet unknown, developments – that this is far from the last word.

    2.) This is discussing CUBIC forms of nano-diamonds, not the hexagonal forms, which are the ones that are understood to be clear evidence of impacts. Thus this would seem to be irrelevant to impacts. One should always be on the lookout for this obfuscation of cubic and hexagonal when papers or articles talk generically of “nano-diamonds”. All nano-diamonds are not equal, and TLE should know this already.

    In this regard, n-diamonds are not part of the discussion.

    Thus, this particular paper seems to apply to impacts not one whit.

    3.) LASER-produced n-diamonds???? Is TLE suggesting that naturally occurring lasers exist in nature, with which to produce or modify nano-diamonds???? If so, I am left to shake my head in utter wonder at the thought processes involved.

    In toto, this paper seems to have nothing whatsoever to do with impacts or possible impact evidence. Its inclusion of CUBIC nano-diamonds is like obfuscating apples with oranges, as it might be interpreted as applying to impacts.

    To my knowledge, no YDIH proponent is arguing that cubic nano-diamonds are clear evidence of impacts. Back as far as 2008 or 2009 it was the finding of HEXAGONAL nano-diamonds that was the smoking gun.

    General comment on the continuing state of the Daulton Gang:

    It is amazing how often this sad group of 1- or 2-levels-removed scientists (meaning desk jockeys) brings up the generic term “nano-diamonds” and yells and screams about what are cubic nano-diamonds, while they continually ignore the HEXAGONAL nano-diamonds that are the real issue in regards to impacts. With science being a discipline of EXACT terms for clearly unique particles and species and minerals and elements, it is beyond my comprehension how they think they can get away with this verbal slight-of-hand – as if other scientists won’t see right through the subterfuge.

    For TLE to bring in LASER-created n-diamonds (which have in themselves NOTHING to do with impacts) is nonsensical and off-topic. He obviously is trying to tell us that if lasrs in a lab can create something not even associated with impacts, then hexagonal NANO-diamonds being found in impact materials are fully explained by other processes than impacts. Yet nothing in this paper (going by the Abstract) or the lab work included in the study has anything to DO with the creation of hexagonal nano-diamonds.

  • Quoting Bement, Madden et al.

    Initial observation of BC digestion residues identified carbonaceous grains with irregular boundaries and diameters of several hundred nanometers. The lack of expected 2–20-nm grains in our samples prompted us to apply a sample preparation strategy that maximized the possibility for capturing these types of grains. Digestion residues were centrifuged at 1,111 × g for 30 min, with the transmission electron microscope (TEM) grid placed in the bottom of the tube (SI Appendix, section 2.3). This technique yielded carbonaceous grains in the 2–20-nm size. Examination of the crystalline nanoparticles by high-angle annular dark-field imaging (Fig. 1A), high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) (Fig. 1B), electron diffraction (Fig. 1C), and energy dispersive X-ray analysis demonstrated that the particles were consistent with n-diamonds. Fast Fourier transforms of the lattice fringes from HRTEM images (e.g., SI Appendix, Fig. S3.7) exhibited spacings of 2.02–2.08 Å, 1.78–1.85 Å, and 1.03 Å, consistent with n-diamond (e.g., SI Appendix, Table S3.1) (36). X-ray analysis detected only carbon with minor amounts of oxygen from regions of the sample containing the smaller particles sitting on the support film, but hydrogen cannot be detected with this method.

    We did not, however, conclusively identify the cubic form that had previously been identified by Kennett and colleagues(4). We did identify forms consistent with “highly defective” cubic diamonds. Suspected hex diamonds in the BCI deposits were found to be more consistent with graphene/graphane.

    I have no idea what you are arguing here, Steve. Your thinking on these and other subjects is illucid at best. The upshot of the paper I have posted is that there are reversible thermodynamic transformations from nanodiamond and carbon sheet and onion forms, to and from n-diamond, involving water, intense light, and the heat and the energy from impacts. You can make of that what you will. The actual structure and composition of n-diamond is less than clear at this point, What is clear are the normally forbidden spectroscopic reflections that distinguish them from the more commonly accepted forms of diamonds, whether they be cubic, hexagonal, composites of the two forms or otherwise.

  • Steve Garcia

    Nothing in the abstract talked about back and forth from n-diamonds to nano-diamonds. And the nano-diamonds discussed there are cubic, which is a terrestrial nano-diamond.

    Nothing illucid about either of those.

    If you are posting clips from papers, please post a link and/or a paper title and/or year. People should not have to go search for your reference. If you have the paper, give us a link.

  • I’m sorry I have to be so blunt with you Steve, but what you are saying is just plain wrong. Demonstrably wrong. Start here :

    There is not yet any definitive agreement on the structure and composition, nor even the origin of n-diamond. There are many new polymorphs and allotropes of carbon that vary considerably and continuously across the entire spectrum of sp(n) bonding structures, with very little agreement yet on actual structures, all of which may be synthesized in the laboratory, and many of which occur in terrestrial impact craters and in extraterrestrial materials.

    You understanding is out of date.

  • Howdy all – a fun article out of SciAm. Appears we are watching sun grazers in the Beta Pictoris system some 63 LY away. Cheers –

  • Steve Garcia

    TLE –

    As usual, you didn’t address one of the specific points I made, and then you assert that I said or thought something I don’t think.

  • It would be a waste of time trying to address any of your points, whatever they may be. Nanodiamond research, whether they be natural or synthetic, extraterrestrial or terrestrial, sedimentary or meteoritic, is a moving target. If you think you have all the answers, then further discussion is pointless.

  • Jim Coyle

    George; Is there a problem on the tusk? There have been no new postings since 10-24-14. I can’t imagine things are that slow right now.

  • David L Ulrich

    I’m also not getting links to George’s work — it becomes “not available”??????

  • Peter Schulz is in the news again. These things take time.

  • Barry Weathersby
  • George Howard

    I’ll be back this weekend with an explanation….

  • Ok, well, whatever. Thanks for the update. Sorry about the terrible fire. All that papyrus up in flames, what a shame. Anyways, back to the subject at hand.

    Lonsdaleite. Carbon. Diamonds. Breaking Bad.

  • Also, via news article grapevines, anomalously large nanodiamonds from Sutter’s Mill El Dorado meteorite fragments.

  • David L Ulrich

    thought I would throw this out there — the first sentence is a killer —

    ….Rock soil droplets formed by heating most likely came from Stone Age house fires and not from a disastrous cosmic impact 12,900 years ago, according to new research from the University of California, Davis. The study, of soil from Syria, is the latest to discredit the controversial theory that a cosmic impact triggered the Younger Dryas cold period……

    those must have been some house fires —

  • Cevin Q

    I read that this morning and tried to post it to the post on high temp melt products, but it didn’t take.
    Without access to the actual paper , I hesitate to comment, but I will anyway.
    Like you said , that’s some kind of house fire . It spread it’s products of hundreds of square miles and also produced melt glasses. How many house fires would it take to spread materials over such an area.

    And once again the naysayers ignore the very robust astronomical theory behind the break up of the Taurid progenitor. It’s clear from the work of Napier, Clubs and others , that the YDB event wasn’t a discreet single occurance but a series of events spread over a substantial period of time , with various impact or airbursts zones.
    Even supporters of the idea try to shoe horn the event into a single discreet event when the evidence points to multiple events spread of several millennia.

  • Steve Garcia


    I am reading Thomas Kuhn’s papers/articles right now. He is the guy who came up with the term “Paradigm” back in 1962 that is quite famous. (I can post a link if anyone is interested.)

    I am learning a LOT about the mindset of science and its means of progress and its means and reasons for resisting major changes. Facts/data/evidence are only part of the picture. Another part is the way the individual scientists prioritize the evidence – how much weight they give it. And that depends on the somewhat random order they learned things out of text books, which kind of scientist they wanted to be (explorer or lab tech types), how entrenched in the current paradigm each is, and then how threatened feel.

    Make no mistake about it. If/When the YD impact hypothesis is accepted (perhaps as long from now as a generation, after some of the old defenders of the faith die off) the paradigm known as Uniformitarianism will never rule the roost like it has done for about 150 years. It is a true paradigm shift. The seeds of it are all present already. It only needs to have enough people exposed to it. They can’t side with it if they haven’t been made aware of it. Younger minds are more titillated by new ideas; that is the random part of it, to some extent – the earlier they hear about the YDIH the more likely they are to give it a hearing.

    But there is and will be resistance to the idea from several quarters. There is no getting away from that.

    But it is amazing how bizarrely strained the logic of the defenders of the faith can get. HOUSE FIRES? (Even if they had the trees to build with and enough people…ROFLMAO)

    Let’s first mention a few items:

    13,000 – Syria/Dwellings – Civilization – Population – Scoria – Pack hunting on herds

    13,000 —

    13,000 years ago who was living in Syria? Gobleki Tepe (37.223056, 38.9225) is in southeastern Turkey, not far from the Syrian border and 98 miles from Abu Hureyra. It is an archaeological site that has been deemed the oldest human settlement in the world, at 12,000 years ago. So these people are talking about a full millennium earlier than Gobleki Tepe – which in itself is 2,000 years older than Jericho.*** That is a bit rich, to say the least. The Clovis Barrier people resisted pre-Clovis of just a few hundred years, and they resisted for decades. Gobleki Tepe has STONE structures, quite architecturally developed, actually, so in my OWN mind, there had to be a considerable amount of time for that to develop. It is actually more developed than Stonehenge by quite a bit, having raised carvings of animals on its columns. The site is quite extensive, but so far as I know there are no wooden structures. I could be wrong on that, but I am doubtful at this time.

    *** [Wiki] “However, the spring at what would become Jericho was a popular camping ground for Natufian hunter-gatherer groups, who left a scattering of crescent microlith tools behind them. Around 9600 BCE the droughts and cold of the Younger Dryas Stadial had come to an end, making it possible for Natufian groups to extend the duration of their stay, eventually leading to year round habitation and permanent settlement.

    Syria/Dwellings —

    Take in that on Jericho, and then think about 11,000 years BCE – 1,400 years BEFORE it was possible for the Natufians to settle in Jericho. 1400 years is between us and the Visigoths. And what was there 1400 years before the Natufian settlements? Only 4 HUNDRED years earlier they didn’t have settlements, so what kind of dwellings were burning 1,000 years earlier than THAT? It boggles the mind how un-informed researchers can be outside their own little disciplines.

    Abu Hureyra, Syria (included in the study in question, as well as in YDIH team studies) as I said is very conveniently only about 98 miles from Gobleki Tepe. Take a look on Google Earth at the kinds of houses they build in this part of Syria and Turkey (use Google Earth and its Panoramio photos – and try to find wooden structures.) That is pretty much due to the kinds of building materials that are available – sand and dirt to make bricks from. They don’t build much out of wood there, because wood is a high-value commodity. I am betting that wood has been a high-value commodity there since the last ice age ended. There is not much assumption by me on that, but there is a little – I DID go look, just to make sure. I’ve been in Syria and I didn’t see any wooden buildings that I can recall; everything was brick.)

    So maybe the climate was different then? Well, let’s remember that the last main ice age ended about 18,000 years ago and the global temps (according to the ice cores) were pretty much the same at the YD onset as it is now. That implies 5,000 years of warming temps and global climate much like today. All of which adds up to the likelihood that they did not build houses out of wood. It was along the banks of the Euphrates, so they might have had wood. But with the climate like now, one would think they might be a bit dumb to use their wood when there is enough earthen material all around. They certainly don’t now, even though there are occasional trees. Building houses out of wood implies FORESTS, not occasional trees. And even in the farming areas now, what do they build dwellings out of? NOT WOOD.

    So, basically, they are supposed to have burned non-existent dwellings (1,400 years before such things existed), built of materials that people in that region have no history of building with, and in such vast quantities that a black mat was created.

    Right… NOT

    Civilization —

    Just how many houses do they think those people think HAD 13,000 years ago? What was the world population then? It can be very distorting, looking out from a world of 7 billion, to think that people were living in densely populated settlements – but it would also be wrong. As the Genographic Project of the Nat Geo says,

    Taking root around 12,000 years ago, agriculture triggered such a change in society and the way in which people lived that its development has been dubbed the “Neolithic Revolution.” Traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyles, followed by humans since their evolution, were swept aside in favor of permanent settlements and a reliable food supply. Out of agriculture, cities and civilizations grew, and because crops and animals could now be farmed to meet demand, the global population rocketed—from some five million people 10,000 years ago, to more than seven billion today.

    The population of modern Syria, for example is 22.85 million people – 4.5 times the ENTIRE WORLD population at 10,000 years ago, much less 13,000 ya. Note also that according to this source the agricultural revolution – which made the settlements POSSIBLE – did not start until THREE thousand years later. So, according to the anthropologists, settlements didn’t exist for the hunter-gatherers of 13,000 years ago.

    Scoria —

    Now let’s go to scoria. Look up scoria and what you find is that scoria is PUMICE. As in from VOLCANOES. Now, the paper (Thy et al, 2014) doesn’t call it scoria, even though the ARTICLE calls it that. The abstract calls it “siliceous scoria” – which is not correct. Sloppy research, sloppy article to an even higher degree (the journalist didn’t even bother eucating himself enough to use the correct terms). It is NOT scoria, whether siliceous or not. There is no such thing as siliceous scoria.

    [Wiki] “Siliceous rocks are sedimentary rocks that have silica (SiO2) as the principal constituent.

    [Wiki] “Scoria is a highly vesicular, dark colored volcanic rock that may or may not contain crystals (phenocrysts). It is typically dark in color (generally dark brown, black or purplish red), and basaltic or andesitic in composition. Scoria is relatively low in mass as a result of its numerous macroscopic ellipsoidal vesicles, but in contrast to pumice, all scoria has a specific gravity greater than 1, and sinks in water.

    Ted Bunch is the one from our side of the discussion who brought Siliceous scoria-like materials to the discussion, in his 2012 paper. Ted Bunch could tell the difference between actual scoria and siliceous rocks. Thy and his co-researchers evidently didn’t bother looking it up. (I am basing that on the abstract. I can’t tell exactly WHAT they know, because they statee it incorrectly in the abstract – and I don’t have $40 US to plop down for every paper that comes along. I wish I did). Bunch wrote, about his SLOs:

    In addition, three sites (Abu Hureyra, Syria; Melrose, Pennsylvania; and Blackville, South Carolina) display vesicular, high-temperature, siliceous scoria-like objects, or SLOs, that match the spherules geochemically. We compared YDB objects with melt products from a known cosmic impact (Meteor Crater, Arizona) and from the 1945 Trinity nuclear airburst in Socorro, New Mexico, and found that all of these high-energy events produced material that is geochemically and morphologically comparable, including: (i) high-temperature, rapidly quenched microspherules and SLOs; (ii) corundum, mullite, and suessite (Fe3Si), a rare meteoritic mineral that forms under high temperatures; (iii) melted SiO2 glass, or lechatelierite, with flow textures (or schlieren) that form at > 2,200 °C; and (iv) particles with features indicative of high-energy interparticle collisions. These results are inconsistent with anthropogenic, volcanic, authigenic, and cosmic materials, yet consistent with cosmic ejecta, supporting the hypothesis of extraterrestrial airbursts/impacts 12,900 years ago. The wide geographic distribution of SLOs is consistent with multiple impactors.

    Pack hunting of herd animals —

    It shows how weak their entire stance is when they pick what they think is the weakest animal out of the herd of evidence that the YDIH researchers put up. The skpetics target a young animal and try to weed it out of the herad by pack tactics – leaving all the srong animals/arguments/evidence in place and hope that they can convince others by picking holes in the weakest aspects of the research.

    THEN they go to an amenable science journalist (read: someone who can’t actually do science himself) and trumpet their attack as a complete and utter proof that the YDIH in its entirety is bogus. As if yelling louder makes something more correct.

    If they want to attack something, they really need to attack the central evidence, the strongest evidence – and then do their own damned lab work.

    On a scale of 1 to 5, I give this a ZERO. A really LAME idea – really stretching credulity. BURNING BRICK OR STONE HOUSES. I live in one, and I guarantee that it is fireproof – except for the paint. AND IF SUCH HOUSES BURNED, THE CHARRED STONES OR BRICKS WOULD STILL BE VERY APPARENT. You can’t undo overcooking of bricks. Where are the bricks – especially well over 1,000 years before the earliest human settlements in the world?

    Oy vey!!!!

  • Steve Garcia

    Gentlemen –

    I DO apologize that some of my comments are long.

    1. Some skeptics’ thinking is mind-bogglingly uninformed about various topics.

    2. This paper and article are so obviously wrong on several fronts (the history of man, the development of civilization, the world population, the building materials). Not enough people, not enough trees, not enough development…

    3. Is that the best they can do?

  • David L Ulrich

    I think you summed it up fine. I also don’t have the 40 bucks. That amounts to one tank of gas. I’m really disappointed it came from UCD. WOW. And a question about where people lived. This has come out —- just a thought — they say this is only 5000 years old. I’m just not buying this stuff. Grabbing at straws is a good answer.

    And I have Andrew Collins book on Gobleki Tepe. It will take time to read and study. These “so called” fringe guys have their shit together way more then the “paradigm”. Who’s calling who “fringe”. (chuckle).

    I would like to read that news item you have about “paradigm”. Sounds interesting. More of a question of how we got here. And then there is (of very current) these artifacts — the lead crosses of Arizona and Scott Wolter. You talk about the paradigm taking it in the shorts – so to speak (just another example). The reason for this little side note is the “in situ” material — consolidated caliche (hardpan). The historians say it is recent but the geologists (who work with rocks) say otherwise. Go figure.

  • David L Ulrich

    in regards to the webpage about “agriculture”. They don’t show the “solutrean” routes. hummmm…….

  • Steve Garcia

    David –

    Your last paragraph at 11:26am lost me. Can you clarify?

    …Yeah, the “dwellings” thing is so utterly ill-educated it beggars belief – massive burning of human dwellings at a time 1400 years before ANY dwellings existed ANYWHERE. Yoy! Don’t they know anything?

    Andrew Collins probably has a good take on and LOTS of information about Gobleki Tepe. I think it was very convenient for me that Abu Hureyra was so close to it, too! It was so easy to make the comparisons. Having also traveled BY OUR CAR in the middle east – including Turkey and Syria! – I know that, dude, they just don’t HAVE wooden structures there.

    You can’t burn what doesn’t exist yet nor in an area that doesn’t use flammable materials for “dwellings”.

  • Steve Garcia

    The article: “The study concludes that the scoria formed when fires ripped through buildings made of a mix of local soil and straw.”

    Oh, really? Nope. The ratio of straw-to-mud is far too low, below burning threshold for ignition or for propagation of the fire. The fire can neither catch nor migrate from one brick to the next.

    The straw is so buried within the INSULATING brick that oxygen cannot get to enough of the straw materials surface to ignite or stay lit. Only the very small cross-sectional area of any straw extends to the end of any brick. So that straw would have little to no chance to ignite, and then with 99.9% of the straw piece embedded in the dried mud, the lack of available fuel and impossibility of the oxygen to get to the 99.9% straw mass says that the fire goes out or never even starts. Few straw strands touch each other, so how – WITHIN THE DRIED BRICK – does the fire move from one piece of straw to another?

    Wrong on so many counts.

    If they ran lab tests on both ignition and propagation, I will stand corrected, but I don’t think they did. (Like I said, the abstract is all that is available.)

    I will point out again that I have worked several years with industrial kilns and ovens, in the design of them, so I know quite a bit about what it takes to burn and keep burning. I can call in at least one of my old co-designers if I need to.

  • David L Ulrich

    I just put that there as to show the 12.9 barrier theme song is still being used on very current history.

    maybe someday, the song will disappear and we can just deal with “FACTS”.

  • Trent Telenko

    >>“The study concludes that the scoria formed when fires ripped through buildings
    >>made of a mix of local soil and straw.”

    This guy is really saying that the straw _inside_an_Adobe_brick_ caught fire?

    I don’t know who is more stupid here. The guy who wrote it, the people who published it, or the readers who might believe such Horse S***.

    Any 1970’s California primary school student, with the history they taught about building of the Spanish missions, can spot the utter lunacy of that statement.

  • Trent Telenko

    Steve G,

    You need to post your January 8, 2015 at 2:11 am screed above over on Watts Up With That’s post on that article.

  • Steve Garcia

    Trent –

    I can’t say for sure if the guy is actually saying that the straw INSIDE an adobe brick caught fire, but the article ended with mention of the mud and straw brick construction. What other conclusion can we draw without the full paper? SOMEONE put that into the “journalist’s” head.

    Eben funnier than ONE adobe bvrick catching fire, but the amount of carbon in the black layer AND the paper’s authors saying that the fire came from “dwellings” also says that someone thinks that one flaming adobee brick caught the rest of that house and all the others in town on fire.


    Lunacy, indeed. . . That was my point. Thanks for actually reacting to it properly – with incredulity that anyone could be that dumb.

  • Steve Garcia

    Trent –

    We should continue this discussion over at

    The full paper is posted there, too!


    Now to read it so we know what level of lunacy this really is…

  • Barry Weathersby
  • Steve Garcia

    Barry –

    Yeah, if the lightning melts certain minerals in the ash and they are molten as they fall, some should be able to cool and solidify.

    This is literally is a method of making metal balls, even ball bearing balls. They drop molten steel in at the top of a very tall stack. The molten metal balls take on the shape of spheres will deform if there is ANY turbulence or resistance, so what they do is blow DOWNWARD, at a velocity matching the balls downward velocity. They taper the side walls to accelerate the air to match the increasing velocity of the balls – the narrower the side walls, the faster the air moves. The balls solidify on the way down and at the bottom are carried away on conveyors to be sized and inspected. They make ball bearing balls of really close tolerances this way, with no machining, as far as I know. I was really impressed with the ingenuity of the people who thought this up.

    So, if ash clouds clouds can do all of this, too, then they should be able to form glass balls. I know from long ago that storm clouds have down drafts. So the question is: Do ash clouds have down drafts? It seems difficult for the molten glass balls to not encounter dry ash particles, but it doesn’t seem impossible. I wonder if these glass balls are common or rare – or somewhere in between.

  • Barry Weathersby

    Interesting… I know a a pyroclastic density current is gravity driven and creates it’s own downdraft. But at 450 MPH or so I doubt the balls are too uniform.

  • Steve Garcia

    I agree. I don’t think the balls would be uniform in size. As molten who knows what sized blobs they are? But if molten, then surface tension will pull them into a spherical shape, more or less regardless of volume/diameter. The least energy level is what it attempts to achieve.

  • jim coyle

    That is an interesting concept! I have to wonder if the distance the glass has to fall has any bearing on the shaping into spheres. In the steel ball production I’m sure the drop tower is 200 ft +-. So being able to fall thousands of feet not counting up and down drafts the formation may be similar to hail.

  • Steve Garcia

    Yeah, Jim, the tower height is up there pretty good. 200 feet sounds about like what I recall.

    And, yes, in my understanding, the formation is like hail. I assume that most of the ash cloud is rising due to pressure below and the convection. The pressure from below I would think is mostly from the expanding CO2 (which creates/shreds the ash from magma in the first place) as the magma clears the mouth of the volcano and the external holding pressure is removed.

    The only question would be if there are downdrafts. I would guess that they would be higher up in the column, where it is roiling, or above that. A downdraft would be a counter-current, so there would have to be some turbulence in general. Localized? I am guessing that downdrafts are only localized.

    I can’t see this occurring in an updraft, because the weight of the molten glass would be tending to go downward, against the main upward ash flow. Besides turbulence, there would be ash hitting it.

    Raindrops falling are not spherical, though they want to be. The end up looking something like distorted blood cells or cough drops – toroidal near the rim and flattened and sometimes thinner across the middle – then they parachute up and tear. Google “raindrop high speed photo” and look for images, if you want to see what I mean. Example: