Catastrophism news

Fireballs and Ice Age

Sent in by Gary - at ... here we are back at the Younger Dryas boundary event. If nothing else these guys are persistent. Every time mainstream gives them a kicking up they pop with another major paper. This times it is a barrage of fireballs as a comet fragmented and disintegrated in the atmosphere, creating a series of rapidly descending meteors that they claim torched a considerable part of the landscape. Geochemcal and isotopic markers have left behind a lot of evidence of their passing.

Plankton Dispersal

Dating the 100,000 year Ice Age cycle depends on oxygen isotope changes in plankton shells taken from the sediment cores of the ocean bottoms. At ... we learn about a study published in the journal Nature Communications (January 4th 2018) that found that the age of plankton and the strength and direction of currents are key to how they are dispersed in the oceans - more so than water temperature, salinity, and nutrient availability.

Impact Site

At ... geologists exploring volcanic rocks on the Isle of Skye have exposed a meteorite impact zone - containing rare minerals with an origin in outer space. Some of them are known from the Stardust mission to Comet Wild2 and other bits seem to belong to the actual meteorite itself. A 2m thick ejecta layer confirms the impact - date way back to the Paeolocene era (60 million years ago) and nary a thunderbolt in sight. See the journal Geology (2017) DOI:10.1130/G39452.1

Alaska Muck

An article to stir the blood of all those people impressed by Velikovsky's book 'Earth in Upheaval' published back in the 1950s. Impacted related microspherules in Late Pleistocene Alaska and Yukon muck deposits signify recurrent episodes of catastrophic emplacement (of the muck deposits as well as the microspherules). This may be explained by encounters with cometary debris in earth crossing orbits (such as the Taurid complex), generated by the fragmentation of a large comet with the inner solar system.

Chicxulub and Cordillera

Researchers extracted cores from the Chicxulub crater recently - see ... It measures 110 miles across (180km) and is situated in Mexico's Yucatan peninsular. An object 6 miles across is thought to have crashed into the Earth - and brought the dinosaur age to a close. The research was focused on taking samples from the peak ring (under 50 feet of water). Holes were drilled into the sea floor to as far as 4380 feet deep.

Killer Floods

William sent in this link to Nova films. This one is about Killer Floods - go to .. for the moment only a trailer of the movie is available but Gary has forwarded a link to a You Tube video on the programme - go to

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.