Catastrophism news

Supernova and Climate

An interesting paper is discussed at ... which is relevant to the SIS membership following the talk by Rupert Holms at our autumn meeting a couple of weeks ago (the video is not yet online). The idea of supernova having catastrophic effects in the historical past was quite popular at one time - as postulated by the likes of LaViolette and Firestone. Rupert Holms theory is in a similar vein - but with a twist.

Greenland Ice Stream

Another article in October's Nature Commmunications - it is discussed at .... It seems that an ice stream, more properly a glacier, retreated during the Younger Dryas episode. This is somewhat peculiar as we are led to believe the Younger Dryas was a return to Ice Age conditions (in Scotland for example) but clearly this could not be so if a glacier on Greenland retreated.

Volcanoes and Egypt

Gary sent in links to this story. So too did Jovan and William. See for example ... the claim is that distant volcanoes triggered environmental change in ancient Egypt leading to the fall of the Ptolemaic dynasty in 38BC. In other words, they are blaming volcanoes that coincided with civil unrest for such political changes as the end of Cleopatra and the beginnings of Roman controlled Egypt - which has to be taken with a pinch of salt. It is guesswork.

Flood of 1014

Tom Whipple in The Times a couple of weeks ago had a piece on the flood of AD1014. I cut it out and came back to it yesterday with a few internet searches. Whipple said that according to medieval chronicler William of Malmesbury 'a wall of water reached an astonishing size such as the memory of many cannot parallel' (which sounds very much like a tsunami wave). In the autumn of 1014 people were drowned far inland, their homes inundated.

Hawaii coral reef

At ... did rapid sea level change drown fossil coral reefs around Hawaii? Recent discoveries suggest there have been episodes of very rapid sea level rise as a result of ice sheet collapse at the end of the Ice Age. This change in sea level was associated with the drowning of coral reefs in Hawaii.


This link has been sent in by both William and Gary. At ... a paper published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters claims that an impact crater in Canada produced the highest temperatures ever recorded on the planet;s surface. There is of course a lot of hype in that headline as this is the only instance energy produced heat has been measured in such a way - and other craters may yield temperature gradients just as high. The reference is to a lake crater inLabrador, 28 km across. It is dated 38 million years ago.

Planet Amnesia

At ... begins by saying, those of use who followed the work of Velikovsky know that as a Freudian psychoanalyst he had a life long interest in a curious human pathology - what was originally called collective amnesia. In 1974 this morphed into cultural amnesia - 'Recollections of a Fallen Sky: Velikovsky and Cultural Amnesia'.

Banded Iron

Gary sent in this link, ... banded iron consists of alternating layers of silica and iron rich bands ...

Phil Silvia

At ... we learn that Phil Silvia, along with Younder Dryas scientists Malcolm Le Compte, have collated field data from Tall al-Hammam, the proposed site of Biblical Sodom (destroyed by fire and brimstone by an avenging angel). The hypothesis is that it was an airburst event - a meteor exploding low in the atmosphere above the Kikkar Plain on the northern side of the Dead Sea.

Bretz and Younger Dryas

Graham Hancock has somehow contrived to associate J Harlen Bretz and the megaflood with the Younger Dryas Boundary Event. He is a former journalist and I suppose sleight of hand is a tool of the trade. He presents his ideas in a non-science language that some people find attractive. His books have sold a lot of copies.