Skip to comments.Aboriginal folklore leads to meteorite crater
Posted on 01/12/2010 9:59:26 AM PST by Palter
SYDNEY: An Australian Aboriginal 'Dreaming' story has helped experts uncover a meteorite impact crater in the outback of the Northern Territory.
Duane Hamacher, an astrophysicist studying Aboriginal astronomy at Sydney's Macquarie University, used Google Maps to search for the signs of impact craters in areas related to Aboriginal stories of stars or stones falling from the sky.
One story, from the folklore of the Arrernte people, is about a star falling to Earth at a site called Puka. This led to a search on Google Maps of Palm Valley, about 130 km southwest of Alice Springs. Here Hamacher discovered what looked like a crater, which he confirmed with surveys in the field in September 2009.
The crater is 280 m in diameter and about 30 m deep. Magnetic and gravitational data collected from the site show the crater is bowl-shaped below the surface and was likely caused by a meteorite a few metres in diameter.
"There is no other way to explain this than as a cosmic impact," said Hamacher. "It couldn't have been erosion and there is no volcanic activity in the area."
Macquarie University co-worker, Craig O'Neill, added that a tiny amount of 'shocked quartz' had also been found at the site. "These were very rare, but only form if a rock has experienced a shock blast like that from a nuclear bomb or meteorite impact," he said.
The research is described in papers Hamacher is preparing for submission to the journals Archaeoastronomy and Meteoritics and Planetary Science.
Despite the link to the Dreaming story, weathering and the absence of meteorite fragments suggest that the crater is millions of years old and humans could not possibly have witnessed the event, Hamacher said.
Another crater at Gosse's Bluff, 170 km west of Alice Springs, is 140 million years old, and is also the subject of an Arrernte Dreaming story about a "cosmic baby" which fell to Earth.
Instead, Hamacher thinks Arrernte Aborigines may have learned to recognise craters from more recent impacts and then deduced the origin of the Palm Valley and Gosse's Bluff craters. One more recent example of craters created by an impact are the Henbury craters, 70 km from Palm Valley and just 4,000 years old.
He noted that his theory is speculation and the presence of the Palm Valley crater near to the origin of the Arrernte story could simply be a coincidence.
Hamacher's comparison of known craters and Aboriginal stories about cosmic impacts have not yet uncovered conclusive evidence that meteorite impacts have been witnessed and incorporated into oral tradition.
But he has found documented evidence of the Henbury craters being referred to as "chindu china waru chingi yabu" by Aboriginal elders, which he said roughly translates as "Sun walk fire devil rock".
The Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory notes in its 2002 management plan for the Henbury craters, that it is aware of related mythologies, but cannot share them, because they are considered sacred and secret by the Aboriginal custodians of the site.
Hamacher said that he thinks it is possible that a direct link will be found and that further research into Dreaming stories could help uncover new meteorite impact sites. He hopes to return to the area to talk to Aboriginal elders about their stories.
Researchers are using Aboriginal dreaming stories and Google Maps to find new meteorite impact craters.
Gosse's Bluff, Australia This formation was correctly identified as a meteor impact crater by Aborigine mythology. courtesy of Google Maps
bump. very nteresting
So the aborigines had UFO stories!
So the aborigines had UFO stories!
Also reminds me of a book which explained that the abo dreamtime stories function as mnemonic devices for remembering routes across the desert.
These meteors must have been observed falling by the natives, so that means our methods for dating the earth are flawed.
Thanks for posting. I love stuff like this, especially with the Bible, ie the hunt to confirm objectively what G_d has written.
Abstract: More than 85 percent of Australian terrestrial genera with a body mass exceeding 44 kilograms became extinct in the Late Pleistocene. Although most were marsupials, the list includes the large, flightless mihirung Genyornis newtoni. More than 700 dates on Genyornis eggshells from three different climate regions document the continuous presence of Genyornis from more than 100,000 years ago until their sudden disappearance 50,000 years ago, about the same time that humans arrived in Australia. Simultaneous extinction of Genyornis at all sites during an interval of modest climate change implies that human impact, not climate, was responsible. [1/8/99 Pleistocene Extinction of Genyornis newtoni: Human Impact on Australian Megafauna (Gifford H. Miller, John W. Magee, Beverly J. Johnson, Marilyn L. Fogel, Nigel A. Spooner, Malcolm T. McCulloch, Linda K. Ayliffe, Science, Volume 283, Number 5399 Issue of 8 Jan 1999, pp. 205 - 208 )]In Horus, a journal published by the late David Griffard, vol II no 1 (1985), Barry Fell was interviewed. Alas, DG went down in a private plane after the seventh issue. Among other things:
In the middle of Australia there is a group of three or four meteorite craters called the Henley craters. They're like the Arizona meteorite crater -- not so big, but there are several of them -- and, like in Arizona, the land was scattered with pieces of iron meteorite. I think the [inaudible] dating very slow growing desert plants. They believe that the date is about 5000 years ago -- the formation of the craters. The Aboriginal name for this area is the "Place Where The Sun Walked on the Earth" -- they must have seen it!
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Sounds like an effective con game to get funding.
Whoops, and thanks Tijeras_Slim!
Fascinating. But I don’t understand the need for secrecy. Any governmental agency that espouses the need for secrecy always send up a red flag for me.
Humans have been in Australia for at least 40,000 years. Some estimate that as long as 70,000 years.
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