Skip to comments.Comet May Have Collided With Earth 13,000 Years Ago(MEXICO)
Posted on 07/15/2012 5:03:34 PM PDT by ForGod'sSake
Central Mexicos Lake Cuitzeo contains melted rock formations and nanodiamonds that suggest a comet impacted Earth around 12,900 years ago, scientists say.
CREDIT: Israde et al. (2012)
New evidence supports the idea that a huge space rock collided with our planet about 13,000 years ago and broke up in Earth's atmosphere, a new study suggests.
This impact would have been powerful enough to melt the ground, and could have killed off many large mammals and humans. It may even have set off a period of unusual cold called the Younger Dryas that began at that time, researchers say.
The idea that Earth experienced an asteroid or comet impact at the start of the Younger Dryas has been controversial, in part because there is no smoking-gun impact crater left behind as with other known events in our planet's past. But researchers say it's common for space rocks to disintegrate in the heat of a planet's atmosphere before they can reach the ground.
The scientists first reported their suspicions about the event in 2007. Now, they say, a new site in Central Mexico's Lake Cuitzeo displays telltale signs of an impact, including melted rock formations called spherules and microscopic diamonds that could only have formed under extreme temperatures.
The researchers, led by Isabel Israde-Alcántara of Mexico's Universidad Michoacana de San Nicólas de Hidalgo, published their findings online March 5 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"If you don't have a crater, you're a little bit lost," said space scientist Ted Bunch of Northern Arizona University, a member of the research team. "Here what we have is something similar to an aerial bomb blast. With these aerial bursts, with time all the evidence is wiped away unless it's buried." [Best Close Encounters of the Comet Kind]
In addition to the Mexican site, the scientists have found signs of an impact in Canada, the United States, Russia, Syria and various sites in Europe. And all of these bits of evidence were found buried in a thin layer of rock that dates to precisely 12,900 years ago.
"If you have an event like this in a 1- or 2-inch layer that dates to exactly the same age over a very large area, and you have high-temperature materials and nanodiamonds in there, the evidence pretty well points to an event that as pretty disastrous," Bunch told SPACE.com.
This wouldn't have been the only aerial impact event ever to hit Earth. Scientists think a space rock exploded over Siberia in 1908, flattening 500,000 acres (2,000 square kilometers) of forest in what's known as the Tunguska event.
If a comet, which would have been traveling at about 30 miles per second, impacted Earth's atmosphere, it would have created a flash of extreme heat reaching about 3,000 to 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit (1,600 to 2,200 degrees Celsius).
In addition to melting the ground, such temperatures would have proven cataclysmic to many kinds of life.
At the same time that the impact may have taken place 12,900 years ago Earth was beginning a mini ice age. It is known that many large animals, such as the mammoth and the saber-toothed cat, did not survive this age. There's even evidence of a population decline in humans living in North America at the time, called the Clovis culture.
The researchers aren't claiming that the comet impact caused the climate changes at the time, but Bunch said such an event would have had a significant effect on Earth's climate.
"We're not going to come out and say it did do it, but it's more than a coincidence that the timing happened exactly the time that a lot of climatic conditions occurred and you had the loss of various species," Bunch said.
Still, the researchers predict some skeptics will remain unconvinced that Earth was hit by space rock during the Younger Dryas.
"There's always going to be theoretical and statistical people who would never believe it even if they were there," Bunch said."I think what we're trying to do is open up a vista there for people to examine the data themselves and make their own conclusions."
Dr. Robert Schoch, who I find to be a fairly credible witness tends to believe massive solar storms from our sun may have been the culprit. I suppose both could have happened and been contributing factors. Me, I dunno...
First article I’ve run across implying possible multiple impacts leading to the Younger Dryas. I may have missed something though ;^)
Shades of Tugunska.....
Who is a dedicated gradualist these days?
Dayum you’re quick on the trigger!!!
It is an interesting article.
Even though it happened 12,900 years ago, it was still Bush’s fault.
From my observations, MOST of the Scientific Community still doggedly hangs onto their uniformitarian dogma; not unlike algore warming. Your mileage may vary...
I find it every bit as true as most Christians use the Bible to justify slavery.
George Bush’s fault.
The Chixalub impact doesn’t sound very gradual. However I’m among those who is leaning toward the theory that the dinosaurs were mostly gone by that bad day anyway.
Yes it is. I ran across it whilst looking for something altogether different. Happens a lot since I get easily sidetracked. :^)
Maybe my brain is waterlogged; I'm not following.
There was a time, not too long ago when all geologists believed in gradualism.
There was a time, not too long ago when slavery was justified by the Bible.
Now most scientists recognize that although most processes are gradual, game changers do happen. This is usually called "punctuated equilibrium".
Now most Bible believers use the Bible to excoriate slavery and racism. This is called. "Biblical Truth".
(Which oddly enough is exactly what they called it when it was being used to justify slavery)...
Since the "experts" can't even look back a few thousand years and reach anything approaching concensus, I don't hold out much hope going back several million.
Honestly it sounds to me like you’re looking for an argument but don’t really have a clue what you’re talking about.
If I didn’t know better I’d say you’re trying to hijack a perfectly good science thread.
Wasn't looking for anything actually but do tend to vent my spleen re the intransigence of MOST of the Scientific Community when the opportunity presents itself. So, sell me a clue.
“If a comet, which would have been traveling at about 30 miles per second, impacted Earth’s atmosphere, it would have created a flash of extreme heat reaching about 3,000 to 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit (1,600 to 2,200 degrees Celsius).”
I bet that’s how we got red hot chili peppers. Aiee! Carramba! (Sic)