Tails Of A Recent Comet: The Role Cometary Jets Play In Crustal Formation

Abstract of poster presentation by Milton Zysman(1) and Frank Wallace(2)

  1. 176 Major Street, Toronto, Ontario M5S 2L3, Canada
  2. Toronto, Canada
Presented at the SIS Conference: Natural Catastrophes during Bronze Age Civilisations (11th-13th July 1997)

Drain away the Earth's oceans and a global pattern of continental and undersea mountain ridges appears. Adjacent to these ridge systems, are layers of silt and clay so thick that they fill the gaps between the ridges, creating extensive plateaus. Ranging across the Earth's higher latitudes are thousands of tiny replicas of these ridges called eskers and drumlins. These swarms run up hills and across streams in roughly parallel discontinuous strands for hundreds of kilometres. Preserved by encapsulation in the ice and snow of our last ice age, eskers, drumlins and their related structures will be the major focus of this paper. We contend that the greater and lesser ridge systems alike, including the water and sediment that fill them, are cometary debris. These ridges, which lie directly upon older ridges, are free of fossils, show no signs of organisation by hydraulic processes and the cements necessary for their conversion to rock could not be provided from earthly sources. These ridges can be traced to a stream of "jets" of disintegrating materials emanating from shifting surfaces on a comet's nucleus. A band of these jets, captured in planetary orbit, will deposit its debris in a manner perpendicular to the Earth's surface - a unique configuration that is consistent with the manner in which comets discharge in the plane of their orbit. The jet will land in two distinct phases. Jet particles able to resist planetary atmosphere (sand, gravel and boulders), will compact and concretize into their classic ridge pattern. The water and lighter materials, diverted by winds and post-depositional mobilisation, will flow and become inter-ridge basins. We contend that the establishment of the ridge complexes found on Earth are therefore consistent with the earth's encounter with cometary tails, sections of which get captured in the Earth's orbit before descending in swarms.


MILTON ZYSMAN was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1936. He graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.A. in 1958 and an M.B. in 1962. A founding member of the Canadian Society for Interdisciplinary Studies, Mr Zysman has run an engineering firm in Toronto for 30 years. In 1990, he published and edited Catastrophism 2000.