Comet Storm

12 Apr 2011

One man writing down what he thinks might have happened at the end of the Pleistocene - Dennis Cox, April 2011, at ... It all began as a hobby, hunting for meteorites, a popular pastime in the States as they fetch worthwhile sums of money, aided by his military training in assessing battle and blast damage from bombs etc (using aerial photography). He applied the same technique in his search for meteorites, finding evidence of blast on the ground - impact geology. Uniformitarianism, he came to learn, did not work when it came to events involving catastrophic explosions. In fact, most scientists completely ignored the possibility of sudden and abrupt geological changes - or a role for cosmic objects in the history of our planet. 

Cox goes on to quote Firestone et al, Clube and Napier, and the 2010 Bill Napier paper, 'Palaeolithic extinctions and the Taurid complex'. The disintegration of proto-comet Encke may have give rise to a number of meteor storms - and it is that which brought Cox to his present understanding. He claims the Younger Dryas boundary event was caused by a cluster of small fragments - after a comet, or a comet fragment, exploded. It shed a huge amount of material but what was more important, atmospheric air bursts created blast damage on the ground, as yet unrecognised by consensus scientists who were not looking for such. While this appears at first to be something of a re-run of Moe Mandelkehr's perception of an event in 2300BC, and there are distinct similarities, that is apparently accidental as there is no indication he has read anything written by Mandelkehr and neither is he conversant with SIS.

Impact research is an infant science - and funding is limited, he says. He makes the point that if there had been no eye witness testimony of the 1908 Tunguska event conventional science would have denied an extra-terrestrial cause for Tunguska. Cox says there is no reason to think it was an isolated event, or even a particularly big one on the grand scale of time. He then quotes a paper by Mark Boslough on impact thrust which is an attempt to understand and simulate such an event as Tunguska. He said simulations suggest a strong coupling of thermal radiation as the blast struck the ground with efficient ablation of the resulting melt by the high velocity shear flow. Cox then says that uniformitarianism assumes that only terrestrial volcanism can produce pyroclastic rock formations - which includes deposits of sheet ignimbrites (even when no vector-magma chamber can be found in association with ignimbrites).