Catastrophism news

More co2 in the air and ocean 56 million years ago

The boundary event is the same as in yesterday's post, the transition from the Palaeocene to the Eocene, but the date is slightly different - 56 million years ago rather than 55 million years ago (but what's a million years in uniformitarian geochronology - a sliver of time equivalent to the thickness of a cat's whisker).

Comet Strike!

At ... this story has the title, 'first ever evidence of a comet striking the Earth' - and the event is dated 28 million years ago, leaving evidence behind in the Sahara desert. We may note the date safely shifts the event away from human memory - unlike the less popular idea that something similar happened at the Younger Dryas Boundary, a mere 13,000 years ago.

Little Ice Age - what caused it?

At ... a new study by climate scientists at the University of Berne in Switzerland has been looking at the Little Ice Age. In classic terms this is a tale of two halves - divided by a reprieve during the 16th century (the Tudor Period) when grown up men wore pantie hose - right up to their bloomers. In contrast, it must have been cold in the 17th century as grown up men wore thick trousers and long coats and balanced tall hats on their heads.

1258AD and All That

Last year there were three posts on 1258 - two in August and one in September. This came about after archaeologists, trying to interpret mass burials at Spitalfields in London, realised they dated prior to the Black Death, in the 14th century, and the Great Famine of 1315-7 - best explained in an article in Current Archaeology - see It was then surmised they date to 1258, when there was a prominent sulphite spike in ice cores and a nearby narrow growth tree ring event.

Younger Dryas Boundary Event ... state of play

We seem to have had a spate of papers favourable to the idea of a Yonger Dryas boundary event that involved bombardment by meteors or comet fragments - see the latest offering at ... where a paper published by PNAS, once again, is available to download or read online. It is 19 pages of pdf in length. PNAS is the US equivalent of the Royal Society.

Dragon's Blood

At ... Cinnabar, a powdered mineral pigment, is also known as 'Dragon's Blood'. Now, if dragons were seen to emit red dust, as in a passing comet, might the origins of the worldwide search for red ochre and cinnabar derive from something seen in the sky, globally.

Beowulf - in the Times and Independent

Both The Times and the Independent newspapers have posted pieces on the Beowulf connection with Danish excavations at Lejre, 23 miles west of Copenhagen. See for example

Platinum elements in meteor fragments

At ... some images of fragments of the Chelyabinsk meteor which seem to show the object had been involved with a previous encounter of some kind, and perhaps it had strayed too close the Sun. Russian geologist presented the evidence to a conference in Florence - evidence of an interior melting process. The team also found platinum group elements in the crust of the meteorite - and these have recently been implicated as evidence of an extraterrestrial object at the Younger Dryas 'boundary' event. Interesting times.

Those Redwoods and 1739AD

The post on Giant Redwoods on August 24th included the information of a narrow growth tree ring event at 1739AD that could not be attributed to a known volcano. Now we discover that the event is also confirmed in European oak dendrochronologies 1740-42 (a three year climatic downturn). It turns out that 1740 is the coldest year on the Central England Temperature record (which goes back to 1659). It was the last major demographic crisis of the pre-industrial world. In Ireland it is estimated around 300,000 people died of starvation in those three years.

Gobekli Tepe and Sirius

At ... we have an update on Gobekli Tepe, which consists of around 20 circular enclosures. Each is surrounded by a ring of T shaped stone pillars some of which are decorated with fierce looking animals. Two more stone megaliths stand parallel to each other at the centre of each ring.