The DART mission

At https://phys.org/news/2020-03-powerful-ion-nasa-dart-mission.html ... we have a report on NASAs DART mission which is designed to intercept a possible asteroid strike on Earth at an ill defined point of time in the future. Although it is a back seat mission a trial is due to begin in 2021 in order to test the NASA Evolutionary Exenon Thruster ion engine. A small asteroid has been chose as the target - 6.3 million miles away.

Koppie Loskop

The image below is a hill in South Africa with exposed strata from before and after the Permian extinction event (in geological terminology, a Member of the Balfour Formation). The upper part contains layers deposited after the extinction event 252 million years ago. According to new research the mass extinction played out differently and at different times on land and in the sea, as a result of redating a fossil bed in South Africa and another in Australia. Obviously, logic would demand that if there was a global catastrophe this could not be so.

Waim

This story is at various blogs and web sites as well as media outlets. Mind you it has got buried underneath the wall to wall news stories on coronavirus but you can read about it at https://phys.org/news/2020-03-artifacts-guinea-neolithic-period.html ... which is derived from https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aay4573 (Science Advances). Agriculture of a kind developed in some parts of New Guinea at least as far back as 7000 years ago - and possibly even further back in time if it is an extension of jungle clearing and the favouring of particular plants.

Hallstatt Plateau

According to the post at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hallstatt_plateau ... the Hallstatt Plateau is a term used in archaeology that refers to a flat area in radiocarbon dating (as opposed to calendar dates). The C4 methodology is said to be hampered by this huge plateau - the point where the calibration curve swings away from raw carbon dating. This concerns C14 dates clustering around 2450BP (before present), which always calibrate between 800 and 450BC, no matter the measurement precision involved in the laboratory.

Coprolites in Tar Pits

A research study found fossilised rodent matter in the La Brea Tar Pits in California. In fact, hundreds of fossilised pellets which were C14 dated to at least 50,000 years ago. In other words, to the extremities of the dating methodology - which could mean they were older or that they date shortly before the terminus of the methodology (40,000 years ago in old money). The coprolites (the term for fossilised excrement) will be analysed to find out what the rodents were eating which in turn may give a clue to the climate at the time.

Comet Atlas Getting Bigger

At https://spaceweather.com/ (24th March 2020) ... the size of comet Atlas - nobody knows how big the icy core of the comet is but its atmosphere is huge. New images from amateur astronomers around the world show that Atlas's gaseous envelope has ballooned in diameter to 720,000 km (about half as wide as the Sun).

 

Fine Tuning Radiocarbon Dates

An article in Science Advances (March 18th 2020) is interesting - see https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/12/eaaz1096 .. and https://phys.org/news/2020-03-fine-tuning-radiocarbon-dating-rewrite-anc... ... which promises much but delivers little. Radiocarbon dating was invented in the late 1940s and after improvements over the years it remains the standard method for dating artifacts in archaeology and other disciplines.

Bone Circle

This seems to have been published in the journal Antiquity but various media outlets have spread the news. For example www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/51930545 ... and www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-03/uoe-mbc031220.php ... circles made of the remains of mammoths are fairly common in the Ukaraine and the western Russian plain. Some 70 are known about. The latest one has been dated 20,000 years ago (the height of the Late Glacial Maximum). The bones are said to have an origin in animal graveyards - but little information of these graveyards is supplied.

Lightning in a stone circle

Robert sent in  this link - see image below ...

Japanese Earthquake

At https://phys.org/news/2020-03-shifts-deep-geologic-magnified-great.html .... reference to the earthquake and tsunani that struck Japan back in 2011. It was the 4th most powerful sisnce modern record keeping began, generating tsunami waves that reached as high as 125 feet in height. It was responsible for a large loss of life - 20,000 souls. The earthquake is thought to have occurred in a subduction zone (btween two plates). Hundreds of square feet of sea floor luched horizontally by 160 feet it is calculated. Thrusting upwards by 33 feet.