Skip to comments.Did A Comet Cause The Great Flood?
Posted on 11/21/2007 2:17:23 PM PST by blam
Did a Comet Cause the Great Flood?
The universal human myth may be the first example of disaster reporting.
by Scott Carney
The Fenambosy chevrons at the tip of Madagascar. Image courtesy of Dallas Abbott
The serpents tails coil together menacingly. A horn juts sharply from its head. The creature looks as if it might be swimming through a sea of stars. Or is it making its way up a sheer basalt cliff? For Bruce Masse, an environmental archaeologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, there is no confusion as he looks at this ancient petroglyph, scratched into a rock by a Native American shaman. You cant tell me that isnt a comet, he says.
In Masses interpretation, the petroglyph commemorates a comet that streaked across the sky just a few years before Europeans came to this area of New Mexico. But that event is a minor blip compared to what he is really after. Masse believes that he has uncovered evidence that a gigantic comet crashed into the Indian Ocean several thousand years ago and nearly wiped out all life on the planet. Whats more, he thinks that clues about the catastrophe are hiding in plain sight, embedded in the creation stories of cultural groups around the world. His hypothesis depends on a major reinterpretation of many different mythologies and raises questions about how frequently major asteroid impacts occur. What scientists know about such collisions is based mainly on a limited survey of craters around the world and on the moon. Only 185 craters on Earth have been identified, and almost all are on dry land, leaving largely unexamined the 70 percent of the planet covered by water. Even among those on dry land, many of the craters have been recognized only recently. It is possible that Earth has been a target of more meteors and comets than scientists have suspected.
Masses epiphany came while poring over Hawaiian oral histories regarding the goddess Pele and wondering what they might reveal about the lava flows that episodically destroy human settlements and create new tracts of land. He reasoned that even though the stories are often clouded by exaggerations and mystical explanations, many may refer to actual incidents. He tested his hypothesis by cross-checking carbon-14 ages for the lava flows against dates included in royal Hawaiian genealogies. The result: Several flows matched up with the specific reigns associated with them in the oral histories. Other myths, Masse theorizes, hold similar clues.
Masses biggest idea is that some 5,000 years ago, a 3-mile-wide ball of rock and ice swung around the sun and smashed into the ocean off the coast of Madagascar. The ensuing cataclysm sent a series of 600-foot-high tsunamis crashing against the worlds coastlines and injected plumes of superheated water vapor and aerosol particulates into the atmosphere. Within hours, the infusion of heat and moisture blasted its way into jet streams and spawned superhurricanes that pummeled the other side of the planet. For about a week, material ejected into the atmosphere plunged the world into darkness. All told, up to 80 percent of the worlds population may have perished, making it the single most lethal event in history. Why, then, dont we know about it? Masse contends that we do. Almost every culture has a legend about a great flood, andwith a little reading between the linesmany of them mention something like a comet on a collision course with Earth just before the disaster. The Bible describes a deluge for 40 days and 40 nights that created a flood so great that Noah was stuck in his ark for two weeks until the water subsided. In the Gilgamesh Epic, the hero of Mesopotamia saw a pillar of black smoke on the horizon before the sky went dark for a week. Afterward, a cyclone pummeled the Fertile Crescent and caused a massive flood. Myths recounted in indigenous South American cultures also tell of a great flood.
These stories are all exactly what you would expect from the survivors of a celestial impact, Masse says, leafing through 2,000-year-old drawings by Chinese astronomers that show comets of all shapes and sizes. When a comet rounds the sun, oftentimes its tail is still being blown forward by the solar winds so that it actually precedes it. That is why so many descriptions of comets in mythology mention that they are wearing horns. In India, he notes, a celestial fish described as bright as a moonbeam, with a horn on its head, warned of an epic flood that brought on a new age of man.
Among 175 flood myths, Masse found two of particular interest. A Hindu myth describes an alignment of the five bright planets that has happened only once in the last 5,000 years, according to computer simulations, and a Chinese story mentions that the great flood occurred at the end of the reign of Empress Nu Wa. Cross-checking historical records with astronomical data, Masse came up with a date for his event: May 10, 2807 B.C.
On its own, the mythological evidence is weak, as even Masse recognizes. Mythology can help us hypothesize about events that might have occurred, he says, but to prove the reality of them, we have to go beyond myths and search for physical evidence.
In 2004, at a conference of geologists, astronomers, and archaeologists, Masse outlined his evidence for a world-ravaging impact in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Ted Bryant, a geomorphologist at the University of Wollongong in New South Wales, Australia, was intrigued and enlisted the help of Dallas Abbott, an assistant professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University. In 2005, they formed the Holocene Impact Working Group (referring to the geological period covering the last 11,000 years) to seek out the geological signatures of a megatsunami. If a 600-foot-high wave ravages a coastline, it should leave a lot of debris behind. In the case of waves generated by asteroid impacts, the debris they leave in their wake is believed to form gigantic, wedge-shaped sandy structuresknown as chevronsthat are sometimes packed with deep-oceanic microfossils dredged up by the tsunami.
When Abbott began searching satellite images on Google Earth, she saw dozens of chevrons along shorelines and inland in Africa and Asia. The shape and size of these chevrons suggest that they might have been formed by waves emanating from the impact of a comet slamming into the deep ocean off Madagascar. The chevrons in Madagascar associated with the crater were filled with melted microfossils from the bottom of the ocean. There is no explanation for their presence other than a cosmic impact, she says. People are going to have to start taking this theory a lot more seriously. The next step is to perform carbon-14 dating on the fossils to see if they are indeed 5,000 years old.
Meanwhile, Bryant contends that chevrons found (pdf) 4 miles inland from the shore of Madagascar were formed by a wave that traveled 25 miles along the coast, moving almost parallel to the shoreline. Neither erosion nor any other terrestrial process could have caused these formations. The biggest marine landslide ever recorded happened 7,200 years ago off the coast of Norway, and there was a tsunami, but it was a far cry from leaving deposits 200 meters above sea level, Bryant says.
Not everyone is convinced, to say the least. I dont believe the evidence of a crater off Madagascar, and the impetus is on Abbott to prove it, says Jay Melosh, an impact expert at the University of Arizona and an outspoken critic of the theory. To make a case for the impact, Melosh says, Abbott should be finding layers of glassy droplets and fused rock in sea-core samples, the sorts of things we find at all other similar impact sites.
On the other hand, a lot remains unknown about impacts. As recently as 60 years ago, some geologists believed that the Barringer Meteor Crater in Arizonanow considered the prototypical impact scarwas caused by a volcanic explosion, and they regarded impacts as a minor if not inconsequential influence on Earths history. Just 25 years ago, Luis and Walter Alvarez raised eyebrows with their idea that an asteroid collision helped kill off the dinosaurs. So Abbott continues to hunt for evidence that will clinch the idea that Noahs flood was yet another example of extraterrestrial meddling. It is still up to us to prove it, but if we have unequivocal impact ejecta, she says, Melosh is going to have to eat his words.
I think you are correct. and of course a comet can always be steered off its path ever so slighly.
Thanks. I'm familiar with his work.
well the basic problem was that everything that was created was good and how could such a comet be good...but I forgot it is also good to punish evil
As for being unfair, well I for one am not going to arrogantly try to rationalize God's fairness, seeing that He is infinitely perfect and I am a finite created being.
Oh I see your point- that the comet had been set in motion many years before.
Okay, if we believe in miracles, (which I do) He could have diverted the comet had they repented at Noah’s proclamation of righteousness.
I believe we usually choose the harvest we reap.
lol I prefer a very small charge at the Chevron station thank you very much...
Hold onto you hats . . . It's happening again. Beginning in 2008. Click here if you desire to learn more . . . Scroll down. Look for 'something wicked comes this way.' We are all in God's hands. Even though most do not want to admit that the scientific evidence is real. Just like Algore wanting to make a killing on global warming scams.
Happy Thanksgiving Everybody ! . . . Gobble, Gobble.
The old earth folks would say that that is because the surface of the east is geologically older than the west - i.e., the Appalachian are older than the Rockies, with the Canadian shield even older. In Europe, the Alps would be younger, with the Jura older, so you'd be more likely to find impact sites the further you moved north.
Son of Velikovsky.
You did better on post 25.
A new blog topic? I guess the real estate bubble really has officially gone bust, lol.
bookmark for later.
Of course no one should believe an explanation until there is very clear evidence to support it, and even then, the explanation is subject to constant revision as the quality and quantity of information improves.
But where do self-appointed policemen like this jerk Jay Melosh come from? Someone else has put forward an hypothesis that is as yet unproven. So, somehow this Jay Melosh is supposed to be famous because he "debunked" it, but asking the obvious, "where is your evidence"
I have a suggestion for Dr. Melosh. It is an interesting and creative hypothesis. Instead of sitting on his vestigial tail carping at the ideas of others why doesn't he find something useful to do, like see if there is evidence for or against it, or go and find his own problem to work on.
The hypothesis will likely turn out to be wrong, likely on the grounds that most scientific hypotheses turn out to be wrong. But, in the process of collecting evidence you learn a lot of facts and might in addition to finding that this was wrong, find something else that was right, none of which will happen if you sit on your tenured chair and preen your tenured tail feathers.
Of course it is unproven, but I think rather less than more of this Dr Melosh for pointing out the obvious.
"Tard" refers to the ping list members and not to the subject of the thread.
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wow, that’s a great video- haunting.
Carl Sagan, the great wise sage and predictor of Global Cooling, didn't believe in Velikovsky.
“Just a minor point, the Bible says the water didn’t subside for 150 days.”
I wouldn’t consider this being a minor point. What it shows me if they can’t read what is clear how can one accept what they’re saying on something that is not clear?
Interesting take on whether or not a comet could have caused the flood.
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