Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Research Team Says Extraterrestrial Impact To Blame For Ice Age Extinctions (More)
Eureka Alert ^ | Northern Arizona University - Lisa Nelson

Posted on 09/25/2007 12:58:19 PM PDT by blam

Contact: Lisa Nelson
Lisa.Nelson@nau.edu
928-523-6123
Northern Arizona University

Research team says extraterrestrial impact to blame for Ice Age extinctions

A colorized scanning electron microscope image of a glassy carbon sphere that contains evidence of extraterrestrial impact. The sphere measures about .012 inches in width.

What caused the extinction of mammoths and the decline of Stone Age people about 13,000 years ago remains hotly debated. Overhunting by Paleoindians, climate change and disease lead the list of probable causes. But an idea once considered a little out there is now hitting closer to home.

A team of international researchers, including two Northern Arizona University geologists, reports evidence that a comet or low-density object barreling toward Earth exploded in the upper atmosphere and triggered a devastating swath of destruction that wiped out most of the large animals, their habitat and humans of that period.

“The detonation either fried them or compressed them because of the shock wave,” said Ted Bunch, NAU adjunct professor of geology and former NASA researcher who specializes in impact craters. “It was a mini nuclear winter.”

Ted Bunch of the Northern Arizona University geology department is a member of an international team that has found evidence of an extraterrestrial impact that may have wiped out the...

Bunch and Jim Wittke, a geologic materials analyst at NAU, are co-authors of the paper, which fingers an extraterrestrial impact 12,900 years ago for the mass extinctions at the end of the Ice Age. The paper was just released online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research team includes several members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and researchers from Hungary and the Netherlands.

No one has found a giant crater in the Earth that could attest to such a cataclysmic impact 13,000 years ago, but the research team offers evidence of a comet, two and a half to three miles in diameter, that detonated 30 to 60 miles above the earth, triggering a massive shockwave, firestorms and a subsequent drastic cooling effect across most of North America and northern Europe.

“The comet may have broken up into smaller pieces as it neared the Earth and then these pieces detonated in various places above two continents,” Bunch said.

The evidence for multiple detonations comes from a four-inch-thick “black mat” of carbon-rich material that appears as far north as Canada, Greenland and Europe to as far south as the Channel Islands off the coast of California and eastward to the Carolinas. Two sites exist in Arizona at Murray Springs and Lehner Ranch, both near Sierra Vista.

Evidence of mammoths and other megafauna and early human hunters, known as the Clovis culture, are found beneath the black mat but are missing entirely within or above it. This led the research team to conclude an extraterrestrial impact wiped out many of the inhabitants of the Late Pleistocene. Bunch notes that some animals may have survived in protected niches.

The black mat was formed by ponding of water and algal blooms and contains carbon, soot and glassy carbon—remnants of burned materials. Some of these remnants are extraterrestrial in nature. For example, the research team has identified fullerenes, spherical carbon cages resembling a soccer ball, which are formed in shock events outside the Earth’s atmosphere. Trapped inside the fullerenes is a concentration of helium 3 that is many times greater than what is found in the Earth’s atmosphere.

The black mat also has turned up nanodiamonds, which are formed in the interstellar medium outside the solar system, by or by a high-explosive detonation.

“Either these things came in with the impactor or they were made during impact detonation. We have no other explanation for their presence,” Bunch said.

The magnitude of the detonations would have been huge.

“A hydrogen bomb is the equivalent of about 100 to 1,000 megatons,” Bunch said. “The detonations we’re talking about would be about 10 million megatons. That’s larger than the simultaneous detonation of all the world’s nuclear bombs past and present.”

The research team believes the detonations destabilized a vast ice sheet, known as the Laurentide Ice Sheet, that covered most of what was then Canada and the northern United States. Heat from the detonation and firestorms would have melted much of the ice sheet, releasing water vapor into the atmosphere.

“The result was rapid cooling of about eight degrees over the next 100 years,” Bunch said. The melting of the ice sheet and subsequent climate change would explain the water-based nature of the black mat.

Catastrophic extraterrestrial impacts are not new. Scientists theorize a much larger asteroid impact annihilated the dinosaurs and about 85 percent of the Earth’s biomass about 65 million years ago. The most recent incident, known as the Tunguska event, occurred in 1908 in Russia. The Tunguska explosion was an airburst of a comet or meteorite estimated at 10-15-megatons that destroyed tens of millions of trees across more than 800 square miles.

Bunch says impact airbursts may be more common than previously thought with possibly two or three such events having occurred over the last 100,000 years. And more are sure to follow.

### NOTE: The work by an international team of researchers that points to a comet or low-density asteroid as the cause of the massive Ice Age extinctions has attracted widespread attention. The National Geographic Channel, which was on campus in May to film Northern Arizona University’s Ted Bunch and Jim Wittke, will air a documentary on the research on Sunday, Oct. 7, at 10 p.m. EST. Discover magazine cited Bunch in an article on “The Great American Extinction” that appeared in the August issue.


TOPICS: Science
KEYWORDS: anothertheory; catastrophism; clovis; clovisimpact; comet; extraterrestrial; godsgravesglyphs; iceage; impact; theory; theoryoftheweek; thisweekstheory
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-57 next last

1 posted on 09/25/2007 12:58:22 PM PDT by blam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

GGG Ping.


2 posted on 09/25/2007 12:58:53 PM PDT by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam
The research team believes the detonations destabilized a vast ice sheet, known as the Laurentide Ice Sheet, that covered most of what was then Canada and the northern United States. Heat from the detonation and firestorms would have melted much of the ice sheet, releasing water vapor into the atmosphere.

“The result was rapid cooling of about eight degrees over the next 100 years,” Bunch said. The melting of the ice sheet and subsequent climate change would explain the water-based nature of the black mat.

The Laurentide Ice Sheet, IIRC, was about a mile thick. The heat from the detonation and the firestorms were sufficient to melt this? Really?

And then the temperature dropped eight degrees over the next 100 years? Which resulted in a lot of water, but did not contribute to a recovery of the Ice Sheet?

3 posted on 09/25/2007 1:06:22 PM PDT by ClearCase_guy (The broken wall, the burning roof and tower. And Agamemnon dead.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam

Bump for later.


4 posted on 09/25/2007 1:07:00 PM PDT by Paul Ross (Ronald Reagan-1987:"We are always willing to be trade partners but never trade patsies.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam
Ted Bunch of the Northern Arizona University geology department is a member of an international team that has found evidence of an extraterrestrial impact that may have wiped out the...

...or may not have ...
5 posted on 09/25/2007 1:07:20 PM PDT by pyx (Rule#1.The LEFT lies.Rule#2.See Rule#1. IF THE LEFT CONTROLS THE LANGUAGE, IT CONTROLS THE ARGUMENT.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam

Title 14, Section 1211 of the Code of Federal Regulations, implemented on July 16 1969, make it illegal for U.S. citizens to have any contact with extraterrestrials or their vehicles.


6 posted on 09/25/2007 1:10:43 PM PDT by tumblindice (Hi there! I'm John Carter of Barsoom, Mars. You may remember me from such movies as `The Ant-Men of)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam
“A hydrogen bomb is the equivalent of about 100 to 1,000 megatons,” Bunch said. “The detonations we’re talking about would be about 10 million megatons. That’s larger than the simultaneous detonation of all the world’s nuclear bombs past and present.”

and we're worried about global warming.....................

7 posted on 09/25/2007 1:11:16 PM PDT by Red Badger (ALL that CARBON in ALL that oil & coal was once in the atmosphere. We're just putting it back!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam
Come home to mama.


8 posted on 09/25/2007 1:11:39 PM PDT by COUNTrecount
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: tumblindice

Are you for real?..............


9 posted on 09/25/2007 1:12:29 PM PDT by Red Badger (ALL that CARBON in ALL that oil & coal was once in the atmosphere. We're just putting it back!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: blam

A bout of global warming killed the little beasties. :)


10 posted on 09/25/2007 1:12:59 PM PDT by lilylangtree (Veni, Vidi, Vici)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam

Oh, no, maybe they were nuked by the Martians! /s


11 posted on 09/25/2007 1:13:08 PM PDT by penowa
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: pyx

they apparently have found the extraterrerstrially-formed microscopic structures in the relevant soil layer...such an event would most definitely kill ‘some stuff.’


12 posted on 09/25/2007 1:13:37 PM PDT by WoofDog123
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

I’m computer generated, ignore me. :-)


13 posted on 09/25/2007 1:15:21 PM PDT by tumblindice
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: blam
“A hydrogen bomb is the equivalent of about 100 to 1,000 megatons,”

Ignoramus. Nobody builds 'em bigger than about 20 and most are smaller than about 1.

14 posted on 09/25/2007 1:16:01 PM PDT by 17th Miss Regt
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam

Interesting hypothesis...still some holes that need to be filled with something else other than speculation.


15 posted on 09/25/2007 1:16:10 PM PDT by crazyhorse691 (The faithful will keep their heads down, their powder dry and hammer at the enemies flanks.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam
It's a cookbook!!


16 posted on 09/25/2007 1:16:56 PM PDT by Dumpster Baby ("Hope somebody finds me before the rats do .....")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: WoofDog123
they apparently have found the extraterrerstrially-formed microscopic structures in the relevant soil layer...such an event would most definitely kill ‘some stuff.’

Grass ? A couple of dandelions ? A few earth-worms ?
17 posted on 09/25/2007 1:17:25 PM PDT by pyx (Rule#1.The LEFT lies.Rule#2.See Rule#1. IF THE LEFT CONTROLS THE LANGUAGE, IT CONTROLS THE ARGUMENT.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: crazyhorse691
Interesting hypothesis...still some holes that need to be filled with something else other than speculation.

Research grants?

18 posted on 09/25/2007 1:18:37 PM PDT by SlowBoat407 (Free commerce is the only just way to redistribute wealth.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: blam

You mean it’s not George Bush’s fault?


19 posted on 09/25/2007 1:18:41 PM PDT by WayneS (Follow the 2nd Amendment; Repeal the 16th.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: tumblindice

Oh you mean, is the cite real?
Here you go
http://www.themidwaysighting.com/E_XP-1.html
(cue spooky music)


20 posted on 09/25/2007 1:18:49 PM PDT by tumblindice
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-57 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson