4 Feb 2013

C Warren Hunt, of http://eearthk.com fame, has a book that you can buy at www.polarpublishing.com, 'The Environment of Violence: readings of cataclysms cast in stone' Calgary, 1989, and in the section on drumlins he has some interesting ideas. He describes them as mounds of fluvial deposits, sand and gravel and stones, sometimes stratified and sorted, and in the consensus geological view, moulded by glacial ice. In Canada there are huge fields of drumlins, sometimes occurring side by side and they can extend for distances up to 1 and 2 km in length, arranged in parallel orientation. This arrangement of the drumlins, in the view of Hunt, is so perfect only a massive water flow could have produced them. They are assumed to be formed by water flow beneath an ice sheet. However, John Shea of Queens University (Canada) is reputed to have blamed catastrophic floodwaters as the agency. He doesn't say where all the water came from but his assumption appears to be it was subglacial meltwater as indicated in the mainstream model. Hunt disagrees. He makes a calculation and claims it would taken much more water than what melts under ice sheets - but doesn't take into consideration periodic warmings and coolings of the climate. It would require virtually the ice sheet itself to melt - and perhaps it did. Hunt's theory, in this book at least, is the ice melted as a result of comet impact or because of a Tunguska like airburst, generating lots of heat. He doesn't calculate how long that heat would last and why it didn't freeze over again but it is interesting that his book predates the Firestone et al Younger Dryas boundary event, minus the geology of the YDB people and only having the evidence of rapidly melting ice - in his opinion. We may note that a movement at the poles would create the conditions for the melting of an ice sheet - with a new ice sheet building up elsewhere.

He claims his calculations also imply the so called Scablands in western North America have a similar origin - a melting ice sheet rather than a breach of a glacial lake of water that had formed after the Ice Age. There is not a lot of difference, geologically, as both theories involve a lot of water flooding and gouging out the surface layers leaving behind the famous scab like appearance when seen at a distance. The flood waters have also produced mounded gravel bars on the eastern Washington side and ice rafted or water borne erratics as far downstream as the Willamette Valley in NW Oregon.