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the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (Original)

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Carolyn Silver
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« Reply #30 on: July 28, 2008, 09:59:58 pm »

Carolyn Silver
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     Re: the Mid-Atlantic Ridge
« Reply #21 on: February 16, 2007, 10:41:13 pm » Quote Modify 

Unfortunately, I'm still waiting tables at the Olive Garden, but I have hopes that I'll get out of there someday!!

Either that, or I'll work my way up to manager.

Sykes is this Atlantis researcher who had amassed the BIGGEST collection of research and books related to Atlantis. Scientific stuff, mostly!  When he died in the 1980's, he willed the whole kitten kaboodle over to the A.R.E. Association, which has it now, which might explain why they have so many leads!!
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Carolyn Silver
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« Reply #31 on: July 28, 2008, 10:00:15 pm »

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     Re: the Mid-Atlantic Ridge
« Reply #23 on: February 16, 2007, 10:47:46 pm » Quote 

Those Cayce people really want to find Atlantis don't they, I have been Atlantis in the Atlantic camp for a long time. I always thought that just the fact that the ocean was named the Atlantic was a big obvious clue. Along with the Pi Reis map showing it there. The change in wind patterns over the Atlantic which changed the weather in europe. The case of the eels that swim all the way across the Atlantic, well... just to many things to mention.
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Carolyn Silver
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« Reply #32 on: July 28, 2008, 10:00:33 pm »

Carolyn Silver
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« Reply #25 on: February 16, 2007, 11:00:21 pm » Quote Modify 

Quote from: unknown on February 16, 2007, 10:47:46 pm
Those Cayce people really want to find Atlantis don't they, I have been Atlantis in the Atlantic camp for a long time. I always thought that just the fact that the ocean was named the Atlantic was a big obvious clue. Along with the Pi Reis map showing it there. The change in wind patterns over the Atlantic which changed the weather in europe. The case of the eels that swim all the way across the Atlantic, well... just to many things to mention.

They sure do want to find Atlantis, but, if you ask me, they need to spend a lot more time looking to the east of Bimini, not the Caribbean! It had to be the Azores, even in the Azores, they have legends of Atlantis.  One of their lakes is supposed to have remnants of the capital city at the bottom.

As for the P'reis Map, I'll be danged if I could even make head or tail out of the whole thing!  They say it shows an ice free Antarctica, but I don't see it. 
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Carolyn Silver
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« Reply #33 on: July 28, 2008, 10:01:06 pm »

Peter A. Rona,2 Earl E. Davis,3 and Rainer J. Ludwig4

To the few thermal conductivity measurements on sulfides/sulfates reported in the literature, we add 35 new values determined by two different methods for samples cored by Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Leg 158 from the volcanic-hosted active sulfide mound in the TAG hydrothermal field, located in the rift valley of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge near 26°N, 45°W. Thermal conductivity measurements are essential to calculate heat flow and to model sulfide-hosted hydrothermal flow. Fifteen measurements were made on the ship by the half-space method, using a needle probe on seawater-saturated half-rounds of cores of heterogeneous mixtures of sulfide (predominantly pyrite), quartz, and anhydrite breccias. Values range between 6.1 and 10.4 W/(m·K); one measurement on anhydrite produced a value of 5.4 W/(m·K). At the Pacific Geoscience Centre, the divided bar method was used to measure twenty values on minicores extracted from other half-rounds of cores with similar mixed compositions and saturated with distilled water. These values range between 5.0 and 14.9 W/(m·K).

Despite scatter in the data, thermal conductivity values measured by the half-space method are systematically lower than those measured by the divided bar method. Measurements of sediment-hosted sulfides cored by ODP Leg 139 at the Bent Hill site, located at Middle Valley of the Endeavor segment of the northern Juan de Fuca Ridge, exhibited a similar discrepancy of values. Davis and Seeman (1994) and Gröschel-Becker et al. (1994) consider values produced by the half-space method to be systematically low for material with high conductivity because of a lack of calibration standards and the presence of nonlinear system behavior at high thermal conductivities. The TAG sulfides generally exhibit higher conductivities and lower porosities than the Middle Valley sulfides; this is attributable to higher pyrite content and more pore-filling quartz and/or anhydrite in the TAG location. Values of thermal conductivity measured in sulfides at both TAG and Middle Valley are high compared with values of seafloor sediment and basalt, which typically range between 1 and 2 W/(m·K). This marked contrast indicates that seafloor sulfide bodies may act as foci of conductive heat flow in addition to the spectacular convective thermal transfer by black smoker and diffuse venting.

1Herzig, P.M., Humphris, S.E., Miller, D.J., and Zierenberg, R.A. (Eds.), 1998. Proc. ODP, Sci. Results, 158: College Station, TX (Ocean Drilling Program).
2Peter A. Rona, Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences and Department of Geological Sciences, Rutgers University, 71 Dudley Road, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-0521, U.S.A.
3Earl E. Davis, Geological Survey of Canada, Pacific Geoscience Centre, P.O. Box 6000, Sidney, British Columbia V8L 4B2, Canada.
4Rainer J. Ludwig, SOEST, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, U.S.A.
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Carolyn Silver
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« Reply #34 on: July 28, 2008, 10:01:29 pm »

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     Re: the Mid-Atlantic Ridge
« Reply #27 on: February 16, 2007, 11:15:24 pm » Quote 

That Lemmings thing is pretty cool... It never accured to me that they would be trying to get somewhere but it makes sense
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Carolyn Silver
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« Reply #35 on: July 28, 2008, 10:01:45 pm »

Carolyn Silver
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« Reply #28 on: February 16, 2007, 11:26:19 pm » Quote Modify 

They have a memory of land that was once there!  I saw another Azores special that claimed that gulls circle around a particular place in the ocean, too, as if there was once land there and now isn't!  It's Atlantis, baby!!! 
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Carolyn Silver
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« Reply #36 on: July 28, 2008, 10:03:25 pm »

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     Re: the Mid-Atlantic Ridge
« Reply #29 on: February 21, 2007, 03:12:16 am » Quote 

gotta be 
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Carolyn Silver
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« Reply #37 on: July 28, 2008, 10:03:55 pm »


Sea-level changes and the Pleistocene Ice Age

Sea-level has been close to its present level for the past 6000 years, before which it was lower and fluctuating, last achieving its present position about 120,000 years ago. About 15,000-16,000 years ago, sea-level was 130-140 m below its present position. For the past 500,000 years it has been lower than today about 90% of the time.

These major changes coincide with the Ice Age. The last 1.65 million years of geological time -- the “Quaternary” -- is split into the Pleistocene and the Holocene epochs. The latter represents the last 10,000 years when most of the icesheets had melted.

Sea-level falls coincide with periods of glaciation whereas the rises occur during interglacials -- the warmer times between ice advances, like the present day and most of the Holocene.

The onset of the Ice Age began about 40 million years when surface waters in the southern oceans suddenly cooled and the deep ocean basins quickly filled with water ~10°C cooler than before that sank because of its increased density. By about 15 million years ago, the Antarctic Icecap had formed, accelerating production of cold waters. Consequently, siliceous diatom oozes became more abundant in the southern oceans because of increased upwelling that resulted from steeper temperature, and density, gradients.

About 6–5 million years ago, Miocene Epoch, sea-level fell by as much as 50 m, probably associated with expansion of the icecap in Antarctica. Termed the Messinian Event, this might have caused the Mediterranean Sea to dry up over ~1,000 years, producing vast salt deposits, preserved in the sediments of the sea floor.

About 5 million years ago there followed a brief warming trend and sea-level rose again leaving shallow marine sediments inland of modern coastlines around much of the world. Fossil floras and faunas show that climates were generally warmer than today -- Iceland had a temperate climate; southern England was subtropical.

Between 2 and 3 million years ago, ice caps began to form in the northern hemisphere.

During times of glacier growth, areas near glaciers experienced very cold conditions. Regions away from glaciers also experienced varied climates as climatic belts shifted. Because the world ocean temperatures became cooler, there was less evaporation; consequently, much of the world was drier than today. In contrast, some areas that are arid today were much wetter during times of glacial growth. For example, the temperate, sub-tropical and tropical zones were compressed toward the equator by the expanding cold belts – rain that now falls in the Mediterranean fell on the Sahara; the southwestern U.S. was wetter during glacial times because the high-pressure zone over the northern icecap deflected Pacific winter storms southward. Many salt lakes in the western US e.g., Great Salt Lake and Death Valley, were then flooded and greatly expanded.

Information on Quaternary climates comes from many sources – e.g., glacial features and deposits, pollen and sediments on the seafloor. The evidence from terrestrial deposits suggests that Pleistocene glaciation covered 27 million km2 or about three times the present area occupied by ice. The evidence from glacial deposits, mainly tills, in North America suggests at least four main glacial episodes, separated by warmer interglacials when the ice fronts melted back or retreated. In Europe, at least seven advances have been recognized. Part of the problem is that the advancing ice commonly erodes the deposits of earlier glaciations.

In the early 1960’s, Pleistocene ocean-floor sediments were examined for the first time for evidence of ice age climates. They showed that the glacial advances and retreats were far more complex than formerly believed. The evidence from the deep-sea oozes reflects changes in ocean temperatures and ocean water chemistry that can be related to climatic conditions.

The main evidence has come from fossil planktonic foraminifera on the ocean floor. Cores are recovered of the near surface sediments, which are then washed and sieved to concentrate the foraminifera shells = calcium carbonate. Some species are sensitive to warm or cold water, so by examining their distribution in a core, one can determine whether the overlying ocean water was warm or cool. Some species migrate to warmer waters when the ocean surface cools. For example, one species, Globorotalia menardii, is only found near the equator during cool glacial periods, but is found in higher latitudes during warmer interglacial periods.

Other planktonic foraminifera change their coiling direction in response to temperature fluctuations. The Pleistocene species, Globorotalia truncatulinoides coils to the right in water temperatures >10°C, while to the left in water <8-10°. Detailed climatic curves can be reconstructed from coiling ratios.

A widely used method is to measure the ratio of the isotopes 18O to 16O in the CaCO3 of planktonic foraminifera shells. Isotopes: all atoms of an element have the same number of protons in the nucleus, but may have different numbers of neutrons. Those having different numbers of neutrons are isotopes of the element: e.g., oxygen 16, oxygen 18.

The abundance of these two oxygen isotopes is related to the amount of oxygen in seawater when the shell is formed. The exact ratio of these two isotopes reflects the amount of ocean water stored in glacier ice. When water is evaporated from the oceans and precipitated on land to form glaciers, water containing the lighter 16O isotope is more easily evaporated than water containing the heavier 18O isotope. Consequently, Pleistocene glaciers contained more of the lighter isotope, while the oceans became enriched in the heavier isotope. These changes are recorded in the shells of planktonic foraminifera, which take up oxygen in their shells as calcium carbonate = CaCO3.

When the sediments have been dated by radiometric methods - radiocarbon dating and methods that data volcanic ash falls = the chronology of glacial and interglacial periods can be interpreted. Many more glacial/interglacial phases are suggested from the oceans than the records of glacial deposits on land. About 18 glacial expansions are recognized from deep-sea cores, increasing in intensity toward the latter part of the Pleistocene. Tying the sedimentary records from the oceans and land together, correlation, has proved difficult except for the youngest glacial periods . . .
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Carolyn Silver
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« Reply #38 on: July 28, 2008, 10:14:10 pm »

Variability During the Last Ice Age: Dansgaard-Oeschger Events

Abrupt changes did not begin during the Younger Dryas. Throughout the last glacial period (60,000 to 20,000 years ago), abrupt warming and cooling events, called Dansgaard-Oeschger or D-O events occurred in the North Atlantic. Greenland ice core records reveal that during the last glacial, the climate system abruptly shifted into, and then back out of, warm, close-to-interglacial conditions 23 times. Each oscillation consisted of gradual cooling followed by an abrupt warming.

Related to some of the coldest D-O intervals were distinctive events, recorded in North Atlantic marine sediments, of changes in the delivery of icebergs to the ocean and the amount of ice-rafted sand transported southward by the icebergs.

These Heinrich events in the sediment record resulted from changes in ocean circulation and iceberg melting, and were clear indications that cold polar waters extended farther south, carrying ice-rafted material from northern regions ( Bond et al. 1992, Bond & Lotti 1995). The events may have been accompanied by an influx of freshwater into the North Atlantic, through increased melting. Scientists have hypothesized that reduced deepwater formation may have accompanied these dramatic, but temporary, shifts of the Earth's climate. This is currently an area of active research (Maslin et al. 1995).

Cariaco Basin Sediment and GISP2 Ice Core Comparisons

Figure 19a. Abrupt climate events called Dansgaard-Oeschger events are found in Greenland ice cores, and some other locations such as the Cariaco Basin in the Caribbean Sea. Warm (interstadial) events are numbered in the ice core (red). Less negative numbers in the oxygen isotope ratio indicate warmer conditions in Greenland. In the Cariaco Basin sediment cores (green), highly reflective sediment layers indicate light green mud, and signals ocean climate and circulation associated with low plankton productivity. The data are significant because they reveal ocean-wide climate changes occuring within a century or less, altering the temperatures in the far North Atlantic, and the sea surface conditions close to the equator. In both regions, conditions appear to flip back and forth between two different states.

More recently, Bond and colleagues (Bond et al. 2001) have correlated the events in the North Atlantic with changes in solar output (the latter derived from proxy records in ice cores and tree rings). Their conclusion is that small, gradual changes in solar output crossed thresholds in the climate system, and that changes in thermohaline circulation resulted in abrupt shifts in the Earth's climate system.

Like the Younger Dryas, these events have had a hemispheric to global footprint. They were seen in sediment cores off the coast of Africa (Zhao et al. 1995), off the coast of Venezuela (Peterson et al. 2000), in the Arabian Sea (Schulz et al. 1998), and in Hulu Cave in China (Wang et al. 2001). The magnitude of change outside the North Atlantic, and more generally the geographic extent of abrupt change in temperature and precipitation during the last glacial, are currently topics of intense research.
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Carolyn Silver
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« Reply #39 on: July 28, 2008, 10:14:44 pm »

Looking Farther into the Past

Most scientists believe that glacial-interglacial cycles are the result of relatively gradual, periodic changes in the Earth's orbital parameters that influence the seasonal distribution of solar radiation striking the surface of the earth. However, the record clearly shows that the transition between states was anything but gradual. The rapid climate response to the gradual changes in solar radiation is one of the most dramatic examples of abrupt climate change.

Because of its length, multiple data sets, and precision in dating, the Vostok ice core from Antarctica is one of our best records of glacial-interglacial cycling. One of the interesting perspectives from Vostok is the nearly simultaneous changes in temperature, carbon dioxide, and methane through time. The Vostok record also shows the sawtooth character of the glacial-interglacial cycle. Temperature and carbon dioxide decreased in a series of progressively cooler steps towards glacial maximum conditions. Each glacial state ended abruptly with a rapid transition to the full interglacial state marked by the warmest temperatures and highest levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Why the Antarctic region was cold during periods when southern hemisphere solar radiation was high is the subject of current investigation. The evidence suggests that the southern hemisphere cooling was driven by the reduced solar energy in the northern hemisphere. As the northern hemisphere cooled, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere dropped. The drop in concentrations of this radiatively important greenhouse gas then caused cooling in the southern hemisphere.

Figure 20. Because of its length, multiple data sets, and precision in dating, the Vostok ice core from Antarctica is one of our best records of glacial-interglacial cycling. One of the interesting perspectives from Vostok is the nearly simultaneous changes in temperature, carbon dioxide, and methane through time.

Data Links
For more on the GISP2 and GRIP ice core projects and their data, see NOAA Paleoclimatology's Greenland ice core projects page.
The Alley (2000) Greenland snow accumulation and temperature reconstructon can be found on that page as well.
Hulu cave data can be found at Wang et al. 2001
Data from the Cariaco basin off Venezuela include:
Haug et al. 2001 Cariaco Basin Trace Metal Data

Hughen et al 1996 Tropical Atlantic Deglacial Climate Change Data

Hughen et al. 2000 Synchronous Radiocarbon and Climate Shifts During the Last Deglaciation

Lea et al. 2003 Cariaco Basin Foraminiferal Mg/Ca and SST Reconstruction

Peterson et al 2000 Cariaco Basin Reflectance, Bulk Elemental Data

Data from the Vostok ice core can be found at NOAA Paleoclimatology's Vostok Data page.
The North Atlantic record of Heinrich events can be found at Bond et al 1992 Heinrich Event Data, DSDP 609.
The Arabian Sea record of Heinrich events can be found at Schulz et al. 1998 Arabian Sea Stable Isotope and TOC Data
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Carolyn Silver
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« Reply #40 on: July 28, 2008, 10:15:04 pm »

Abrupt Climate Change During Glacial Times
The Younger Dryas

Some of the best-documented events are dramatic, rapid rearrangements of the entire climate system as the earth shifted from glacial (ice age) to interglacial (warm) periods. These events include the prominent Younger Dryas event, as well as the numerous Dansgaard/Oeschger events.

The Younger Dryas was an over 1,000 year long cold period between the last ice age and modern conditions. The Earth's climate abruptly warmed at the end of the last glacial period approximately 14,500 years ago. It then cooled back to glacial conditions over the next 3,000 years. After 1,000 years of conditions comparable to the last glacial climate, the Earth's climate suddenly warmed, with much of the change happening in less than a decade.

Figure 18. Ice core reconstruction of temperature and snow accumulation from Alley 2000.

The Younger Dryas is best known from two sources. Originally, it was described from pollen data, denoting a period when the cold-loving dryas flowers were much more common across much of Europe. It was not until the 1989-1994 U.S. and European projects GISP2 and GRIP drilled their long ice cores in Greenland that scientists could understand the rapidity with which climate changed during the Younger Dryas ( Alley 2000, Cuffey and Clow 1997). As you can see from the GISP2 data (Figure 18), temperatures rapidly rose around 10° C in a very short time around 11,500 B.P. Detailed analysis of the ice cores revealed that most of the increase occurred in less than a decade.

Hulu Cave Record

Figure 19. Comparison of oxygen isotope records in a Greenland ice core (red) and a stalagmite from Hulu Cave, China (blue). The Younger Dryas event is well known as an abrupt cool event in the North Atlantic region (more negative values indicate colder conditions in Greenland). The significance of the Hulu Cave record is that a concident change occured half-way around the world in summer rainfall. More negative values for Hulu Cave are interpreted pimarily as an indicator of more summer monsoon rainfall relative to winter rainfall. Thus the east Asian summer monsoon was weaker during the Younger Dryas when the North Atlantic was cooler. The time 16,000 to 10,000 years before present spans the transition from the glacial to interglacial state.

Unlike some abrupt change events, records of the Younger Dryas can be found from around the globe. The recent stalagmite record from Hulu cave (figure 19) shows that the changes in oxygen isotopes found in Greenland ice are matched in cave deposits in eastern China (Wang et al. 2001).

Records of the Younger Dryas are prominent across most of the northern hemisphere, and some manifestations of the event may spread worldwide. The Younger Dryas has now been even more precisely dated using sediments from the tropical Atlantic off Venezuela ( Hughen et al. 1996, Hughen et al. 2000, Haug et al 2001, Lea et al. 2003).
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Carolyn Silver
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« Reply #41 on: July 28, 2008, 10:16:31 pm »

The Paleo-Indian Catastrophe Connection

The Carolina Bays
By George A. Howard
First Draft 1997

Dover Bay Wetland Restoration Site, Lenoir County, North Carolina

Carolina Bays northwest of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Please see also: Bob Kobres' page

George Washington visits the Carolina Bays

North Carolina's first naturalist, John Lawson, stripped naked with his party in 1709 to cross a swamp he called a "Thick Percoarson" (A New Voyage to Carolina, 1709, Lawson). It may be that Lawson was struggling through what today we call a Carolina Bay. Since Lawson’s time, generations of observers have been frustrated and fascinated by the low, wet pocks in the ground scattered from Delaware to Florida. These shallow, oriented, depressions -- some filled with water and many named as lakes, most in a vegetated wetland state -- are unlike any other natural feature of the American landscape. Subtle when seen from the ground, dramatic unmistakable ellipses when viewed from the air, Carolina Bays define the "front yard" of America.

Yet, the process which created these wonderful features of our environment remains an open question. This paper will investigate the nature of the Carolina Bays, the obscure debate regarding their origin, and reveal new information that demands further study by the scientific community.

A description of characteristics

Carolina Bays (so named for the profusion of Bay trees they support) are first distinctive because of their uniform nature. Unlike virtually any other bodies of water or changes in elevation (Kacrowski), these topographical features follow a reliable and unmistakable pattern. Carolina Bays are circular, typically stretched, elliptical depressions in the ground, oriented along their long axis from the Northwest to the Southeast. As seen in the photo below, they are further characterized by an elevated rim of fine sand surrounding the perimeter and defining a unique interior ecosystem.

Click below to check out a high resolution infrared photo of numerous Carolina Bay's

along the Cape Fear River in Bladen, Columbus and Pender counties, North Carolina.

Though uniform in the broad sense, the Bays are dramatically different in the particulars of their measurements and hydrology. The length of Bays ranges from Lake Waccamaw, N.C., at 7 miles, to depressions only 200 feet long, with a median length of approximately 1/4 mile. The depth of Bays ranges from 0 to 23 feet below the elevation of the surrounding terrain. (Kacrowski). Eyton and Parkhurst detail additional characteristics of Carolina Bays below:

1. The Carolina Bays are ellipses and tend to become more elliptical with increasing size. Many bays, however, lack true bilateral symmetry along either the major or minor axis. The southeast portion of many bays is more pointed than the northwest end and the northeast side bulges slightly more than the southwest side. Known major axis dimensions vary from approximately 200 feet to 7 miles.

2. The Carolina Bays display a marked alignment with northwest-southeast being the preferred orientation. Although there are minor local fluctuations, deviations from the preferred orientation appear to be systematic by latitude (Prouty, 1952).

3. The bays are shallow depressions below the general topographic surface with a maximum depth of about 50 feet. Large bays tend to be deeper than small bays, but the deepest portion of any bay is offset to the southeast from the bay center.

4. Many bays have elevated sandy rims with maximum development to the southeast. Both single and multiple rims occur,

and the inner ridge of a multiple rim is less well developed than the outer rim. Rim heights vary from 0 to 23 feet.

5. Carolina Bays frequently overlap other bays without destroying the morphology of either depression. One or more small bays can be completely contained in a larger bay.

6. Some bays contain lakes, some are boggy, others are either naturally or artificially drained and are farmed, and still others are naturally dry.

7. The stratigraphy beneath the bays is not distorted (Preston and Brown, 1964; Thom, 1970).

8. Bays occur only in unconsolidated sediments. Bays in South Carolina are found on relict marine barrier beaches associated with Pleistocene sea level fluctuations, in dune fields, on stream terraces and sandy portions of backbarrier flats (Thom, 1970). No bays occur on modern river flood plains and beaches. Bays exist on marine terraces as much as 150 feet above sea level in South Carolina but also occur on discontinuous veneers of fluvial gravels on the Piedmont in Virginia (Goodwin and Johnson, 1970).

9. Carolina Bays appear to be equally preserved on terraces of different ages and formational processes.

10. Bays occur in linear arrays, in complex clusters of as many as fourteen bays, as scattered individuals, and in parallel groups aligned along the minor axes 11. Bays are either filled or partly filled with both organic and inorganic materials. The basal unit in some bays is a silt believed to represent loess deposited in water.

12. No new bays appear to be forming although Thom (1970) and Frey (1954) cite evidence for recent enlargement of existing Carolina Bays. Price (1968) states that most bays appear to be getting smaller by infilling.

13. Bays are underlain by carbonate, clastic and crystalline bedrock overlain by variable thicknesses of unconsolidated sediments in which the bays are found.

14. Ghosts of semi-obliterated Carolina Bays appear to represent former bays which were filled after formation by terrestrial sediments and organic materials.

15. Small bays deviate further from the mean orientation per region than large bays do.

16. No variation in the heavy mineral suite was found along a traverse of the major axis of one South Carolina bay, even though samples were taken from the bay floor, bay rim and the adjacent non-bay terrace (Preston and Brown, 1964).

The image above kicked off the Carolina Bay debate in 1933.

The range and number of Carolina Bays are a significant (if crudely catalogued) factor in their description. Bays are identified along the entire range of the Mid-Atlantic Seaboard, from New Jersey to Florida, and increase in frequency to a highest concentration along the border of North and South Carolina.

(Fig2) The "Long Axis" of individual Carolina Bays all converge in a single region.

Estimates of the total number of Bays within this range are from 500,000, to 2.5 million (if faint so-called "ghost" features are included.) Along the highest area of concentration, single counties are pocked with thousands upon thousands of Carolina Bays. Dr. Tom Ross of Pembroke State University is in the process of counting the Bays in Robeson County from Soil and Conservation Service soil maps. Ross's efforts, though still underway, have thus far yielded over 8,800 bays in Robeson County alone. (PC Tom Ross.)

Geomorphic Origin

The precise geomorphologic process responsible for creating these extraordinary features has long been debated, and more than a dozen theories of origin are commonly cited in the Carolina Bay literature:

* Marine theories include sand bar dams across drowned valleys (Glenn, 1895); swales in underwater sand dunes (Glenn, 1895); submarine scour by eddies, currents and undertow (Melton, 1934); progressive lagoon segmentation (Cooke, 1934); gyroscopic eddies (Cooke, 1940; 1954); and fish nests created by the simultaneous waving of fish fins in unison over submarine artesian springs (Grant, 1945). Subaerial hypotheses include artesian spring sapping (Toumey, 1848); peat burning by paleo-Indians (Wells and Boyce, 1953); eolian deflation and/or deposition (Raisz, 1934; Price, 1951, 1958, 1968; and Carson and Hussey, 1962); solution (Johnson, 1936; Lobeck, 1939; Le Grand, 1953; and Shockley and others, 1956); periglacial thaw lakes tWolfe, 1953); wind deflation combined with perched water tables and lake shore erosion at a 90o angle to the prevailing wind (Thom, 1970); artesian spring sapping and eolian deposition (Johnson, 1936); and progressive lagoon segmentation modified by eolian processes stabilized by climatic changes (Price, 1951, 1958, 1968).

In general, however, the debate is properly divided into two camps: those who propose a number of terrestrial mechanisms operating together to form the Bays, and others who conclude that a single encounter with a space borne object best accounts for their unusual characteristics. The fifty odd year exchange between these two groups reveals a fundamental division of geological science and, indeed, other earth and human historical sciences. The question at hand is an old one: Are all earth's features and geological phenomena best explained by slow mechanisms, identifiable today and operating over long periods of time -- or is it reasonable to include dramatic, if seemingly rare, catastrophic events as punctuating factors in earth's evolution? The search for the origin of the Carolina Bays is heavily, and negatively, influenced by this wider dispute.

The Debate Begins

The scientific dispute concerning the origin of Carolina Bays debate began ironically with the arrival of seemingly unrelated science, aerial photography.

In the 1930's, county by county aerial photographs were mandated by the Roosevelt Administration as part of the government's effort to provide stability and assistance to farmers in the Depression. (Savage p.21) When first examined, these photographs revealed to astonished Southern farmers and scientists alike an incredible array of elliptical, repeating patterns in the previously familiar landscape. It is easy to imagine the wonder expressed by the locals at the sight of the magnitude and symmetry of the Carolina Bays viewed from aerial photographs. These were structures that for generations had been regarded only as a peculiar nuisance. Many observers were quick to conclude that the depressions were obviously remnant scars from a collision of a number of bodies with Earth (Savage p. 21).

An article from popular Harpers Weekly was typical of press reports that fired the nation's imagination:

"The comet plunged down with a hiss that shook the mountains, with a crackle that opened the sky. Beneath the down plunging piston of star, compressed air gathered. Its might equaled and then exceeded that of the great star itself. It burst the comet nucleus. It pushed outward a scorching wind that must have shoved the waters upon the European shores, and on land leveled three hundred foot pines, spreading them radially outward like matches in a box. The comet struck, sending debris skyward, curtaining the east, darkening the west. Writhing clouds of steam swirled with writhing clouds of earth. For ten minutes there was a continuous bombardment, and the earth heaved and shook. For 500 miles around the focal spot of 190,000 square miles, the furnace snuffed out every form of life."

"The Comet That Hit The Carolinas" Edna Murrow, Harpers Magazine, 1933

This conclusion is fantastic even today. In the 1930's it was more striking. At the time, scientists were only beginning to come to grips with earth craters and impact evidence. Many geologists of the day were still taught that Meteor Crater in the Arizona desert was the only extant evidence, world-wide, of a large collision ever having taken place. Today, more than 300 craters are cataloged with additional features being regularly discovered.

The Search

Frank A. Melton and William Schriever of the University of Oklahoma were the first to mount an effort to locate conclusive evidence of multiple impacts in the Carolinas. Like William Prouty (the former Chair UNC Department of Geology and life long supporter and contributor to the "extraterrestrial" theory) their research was inconclusive. .

Field surveys were notable for their failure to locate any meteoritic material, or other features traditionally associated with meteor strikes (Ray Kacrowski, 1977, Carolina Bays: A Comparison with Modern Oriented Lakes, p 25-35). The researchers, however, should not be faulted for their lack of determination. Hundreds of Bays were examined in difficult field conditions (Savage) and included detailed magnetometer surveys suggesting buried material in certain locations, but failing to locate samples or produce consistent results .

Obviously, the early "extraterrestrial" researchers had a problem on their hands. Though the Bays strongly suggested a causal link to energy directed from above, the science of the day demanded that at least some hard evidence of "rocks from space" be produced in order for their hypothesis to be accepted as conclusive. This evidence was never produced.

Though early reports of the Bays had caused excitement among the public, which readily accepted the strike hypothesis, other scientists joined to oppose the idea that Bays were anything more than atypical kaarst features, subject to and resulting from commonly recognized aeolian and solution processes (essentially unusual lakes formed by a combination of wind, water and waves.)

Chief among the critics of the collision theory was Douglas A. Johnson, who proposed his own hypothesis which Savage terms the "artesian-solution-lacustrine-aeolian" process. (Savage p. 53) Johnson envisioned a vast series of artesian springs from which water flowed after traveling under great pressure underground from the mountains to the coastal plain. These springs, according to Johnson, would have eroded the marl and unconsolidated sediments through which they flowed. The resulting pool of surface water would, as a result, appear steadily more elongated to the ground observer in response to the migrating source. Johnson then theorized a steady and consistent wind from the Northwest which would further "scallop out" the water body, creating the oriented, elliptical depressions we see today.

Johnson's theory, or variations of it, is still accepted today by most of the scientific community. It was particularly bolstered by what appears to be the last serious investigation of Bay origin, led in 1977 by Ray Kacrowski. In his NASA funded report, "The Carolina Bays: A Comparison with Modern Oriented Lakes," Kacrowski sought to debunk the impactual theory by providing the missing piece of the puzzle: Where in the world are analogous features which exhibit similar characteristics and exist under currently operating geomorphologic influences?

Kacrowski found his similar features in three far flung corners of the Western Hemisphere: East Texas, Chile and the North Slope of Alaska. In each of these regions the researcher and his graduate assistants personally examined wind oriented lakes he postulated were Bays "in the making." Indeed, after returning home to Columbia, he rented a wind machine and proceeded to blow pools of water in a sandbox into faintly "Bay-like" shapes.

This study seems to have concluded the long and difficult dispute over the origin of Carolina Bays. Kacrowski provided the proponents of terrestrial causation with similar features of supposedly similar formation, while the other camp was justifiably exhausted and weakened after years of derision for their failure to have located hard evidence, or even precisely describe the nature of the event which the Bays had intuitively suggested.

Contrary Evidence

Others, however, were never as convinced as the general scientific and academic community that the wind theories of Johnson and Kacrowski had adequately described the geomorphology of Carolina Bays. Henry Savage, in a carefully argued treatise befitting his occupation as a trial lawyer, banker, mayor and naturalist, found very little new in Kacrowski's "evidence" of similar processes forming Bays around the world. His chief objection to Kacrowski's conclusions called into question the researchers claim that other areas are truly analogous to Carolina Bays. In his book, The Mysterious Carolina Bays, he skillfully challenges the reliability of Kacrowski:

"That Kacrowski, the current leader of the wind theorists, found it necessary to journey all but literally to the ends of the earth to view features on harsh landscapes in fierce climes that only faintly resemble Carolina Bays speaks for the uniqueness of the Carolina Bay phenomena, particularly when the striking images brought back from those places are contrasted with Carolina Bays. Even more pertinent questions confronting the wind origin theorists are nearer at hand. How, for example can they account for regional winds being so much more emphatic in their earth sculpturing activities in the border region of the Carolinas than elsewhere in the region? How can they with credibility attribute to winds, notoriously symbolic of instability and vagaries, the creation of beautifully sculptured, almost perfectly elliptical overlapping Bays without semblance of distortion of either? If they are familiar with the tenacity of the root bound earth of Southern ponds, how can they reasonable espouse a wind genesis of the Bays in the face of the knowledge imparted to us by those pollen studies of the paleobotanists."

Savage's points are good ones. It is difficult to understand how the study of Bay origin should suddenly cease, as it did, simply because someone had catalogued faintly similar features, formed in a context which is provably different. Various studies indicate that the environment at the time of Bay formation, broadly 10,000 to 20,000 years BP, hardly resembled the treeless windswept plains of the locales visited by Kacrowski. (The Age and Trophic History of Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina, J. C. STAGER and L. B. CAHOON Department of Biological Sciences, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Kobres PC.) Kacrowski also failed to address numerous additional features unique to Caroina Bays, such as Bays within Bays, and Bays intersecting other Bays.

Fortunately, the search for the origin of Carolina Bays was not completely abandoned following Kacrowski's flawed study and Savage's careful critique.

Robert Kobres, an independent researcher in Athens, Georgia, has studied Carolina Bays for nearly 20 years in conjunction with his larger interest in impact threats from space. His recent, self-published, investigations have profound consequences for Carolina Bay study and demand research by academia as serious, relevant and previously unexamined new information. The essence of Kobres' theory is that the search for "debris," and the comparison of Bays with "traditional" impact craters, falsely and naively assumes that circular craters with extraterrestrial material in them are the only terrestrial evidence of past encounters with objects entering earth's atmosphere.

The last twenty years have seen an explosion of evidence that earth has often encountered objects that profoundly alter our environment (Lewis, Rain of Iron and Ice ). For instance, it is now commonly accepted that an impact with a large object in the Gulf of Mexico caused the extinction of large dinosaurs -- a theory considered bizarre and irresponsible at the time Kacrowski studied the Bays.

Kobres goes a logical step further by assuming that forces associated with incoming bodies, principally intense heat, should also leave visible signatures on the earth. And, finally, that physics does not demand that a "collision" of the bodies need necessarily occur to produce enormous change on earth.

To verify that such encounters are possible outside of the physics lab, we need look no further than the so-called "Tunguska event." On June 30, 1908, in the vicinity of the Tunguska River deep in Siberia, a tremendous explosion instantly leveled 2000 sq. km. of tundra, felling trees by the millions, all left pointing outward from a central area. News accounts of the day told of Londoners being able to read newspapers from the glow of the night sky for days afterward, and seismographs worldwide recording an apparent cataclysm in Siberia. Unfortunately (or fortunately as the case may be) the explosion had occurred in an area so remote, and during a time of such political turmoil, that no researcher pinpointed or even managed to travel to the suspected impact site for more than two decades.

Not until pioneer Russian meteoritic researcher Leonard Kulik managed to gain entry to the inhospitable area in 1927, did anyone but local tribesmen view the devastation and its peculiar nature.

(At the epicenter of the explosion lay not a large crater with a "rock" in it, as might be expected, but nothing more than a number of "neat oval bogs." The Tunguska literature generally mentions the bogs only in passing, since Kulik failed in digs there to locate any evidence of a meteorite and went on to examine other aspects of the explosion. ( Perhaps ironically, Melton and Schriver, around the same time and on the opposite side of the world, were fruitlessly searching their own "neat, oval bogs" for evidence of a meteor, neither apparently having the knowledge of Kulik's efforts, or vice versa.)

It is generally accepted today that the Tunguska event can only be attributed to a rare encounter with a "comet," or incoming body of such a nature that it left no stony or ferrous material, but simply vaporized and scorched the earth below in a rare display of high energy physics.

To explain the Bays, Kobres proposes a similar encounter, albeit of larger proportions and more accurately described as a "near miss." The "Kobres Event" proposes that a "comet," if you like, whipped past the Earth, exchanging enormous energy but not impacting directly to form a typical crater. It is demonstrable that such an encounter would show an intense flash of heat onto the ground below. This heat would have caused moister portions in the Pleistocene landscape to explode into steam, leaving the depressions in the ground that we know today as "Carolina Bays."

Kulik's "neat, oval bogs" in Siberian Russia, are then, to Kobres, logical analogies to the Carolina Bays: the result of intense heat causing the summer melt ponds of the area to explode and leave signature elliptical depressions.

Smoking Guns

Kobres' conclusion would be just another addition to the long list of formation theories had he not uncovered a previously unexamined analogy to the Carolina Bays. Completely absent from the controversy prior to his study is any comparison of so-called "maar" features with "Carolina Bays "

Found all over the world in volcanic areas, maar features are relatively well understood. Geologists consider them the result of a sudden encounter between moist ground and up-welling volcanic heat. In their particulars, Maar features resemble Carolina Bays more neatly than any lakes proposed by Kacrowski.

"Maars" come in groups, some seeming to orient themselves in relation to others, with many (presumably more recent) Maars exhibiting the "rims" previously unique to Bays.

(The Cerro Colorado volcano, a maar feature in the Pinacate Volcanic Field of northern Mexico, presents this author with the clearest "cousin" to a typical Carolina Bay.)

Assuming the lack of any geologically recent volcanic activity on the North American Atlantic Coastal Plain, Kobres believes Maar features to have an analogous, not identical, nature to Carolina Bays. In this formulation, the "Bays" and the "Maars" are both signatures of powerful steam explosions, with the heat having come from different sources.

Put another way, Kobres believes Bays should be considered "top-induced" maars, formed by heat from above, as opposed to "true" Maars, which have volcanic and subterranean origins.

Beaver and Bays

Another line of Kobres' investigation is enlightening, particularly to those puzzled by the seeming "arrangement" of Bays within inter-stream divides.

Large beavers, he supposes, created pools of water that efficiently collected radiant energy from the sky and suddenly exploded into super-heated steam.

The arrangement of Bays in many instances resembles the documented relation of beaver ponds to one another. If such an arrangement of large shallow ponds were visited by a sudden and scorching heat from above, one might conclude that the resulting explosions would leave relatively arranged "craters."

As incredible as this may seem, at first, no portion of this theory is impossible or even improbable. Like mammoth, large saber toothed cats, giant ground sloth and other now extinct Pleistocene mammals, giant beaver were residents of the Bay area in relatively recent times. Skeletons and remains of these enormous beasts are found all over the world, many dating to around the time of Bay formation, which generally coincides with the sudden global climatic transition from the Pleistocene to the Holocene age around 12,000 years ago.

Scientists have long puzzled over the apparent climate shift at this time (Younger Drayas). A relatively mild world of large mammals and abundant resources turned suddenly to a harsh clime as cold as the coldest times of the last Ice Age. The suddenness is most strikingly suggested by the frozen mammoth unearthed in Russia through the years. Some with flowering vegetative remains still in their stomachs.

It is not difficult to conclude in fact that Kobres' may have defined evidence of the event marking the dawn of the modern climatic age -- and the subsequent rise of agricultural man, who had to work harder than his Pleistocene ancestors to ensure a living.

Other Evidence

Additional support for such a hypothesis is available from other reliable sources. I have culled from extensive readings of North Carolina's natural history, what could well be eyewitness accounts of the event itself.

Allow me to pass along the following accounts of legends passed down among Native Americans concerning the origin of the Bay lakes on whose shores they long lived:

Of Lake Mattamuskeet:

".....kneeling at a sacrificial alter, she prayed to the Great Spirit to save the brave and her perishing people. After her invocation, a star fell to the earth, and rain soon followed. Days and days of rain quenched the fire. Great holes burned in the earth by the fire were filled, forming a great inland sea." (Algonquin Indian legend, Touring the Backroads of North Carolina's Upper Coast, p.268)

Of Lake Waccamaw

"The local Indians are known as the "People of the Falling Star," and they believed the lake was created by a falling star, perhaps a great meteorite." (Waccamaw-Siouan Indian legend, Wild Shores, Exploring the Wilderness Areas of Eastern North Carolina. p.150)

It is perfectly reasonable to conclude that if such a cataclysm occurred during a known time of known human habitation on the North American Atlantic Coastal Plain (approximately 10,000 -15,000 BP) legends would be told to relate the horror to future generations.

Kobres and a growing number of other researchers have assembled a variety of accounts from around the globe describing tremendous cataclysms directed from above.

From Chinese silks, to petroglyphs and the Holy Bible, hundreds of legends and holy scripts are easily interpreted as descriptive of comets and their sometimes awful consequences for the environment and humanity. The Carolina Bay event may well have only been one of many significant "impacts," though surely, due to its magnitude, it was the most significant in human memory.

Life in the Bays

In recent years, the geomorphologic debate detailed above has taken a back-seat to studies of the biology and natural wonders of Carolina Bays. (Thomas Ross, Comprehensive Carolina Bay bibliography).

In this sphere of study, the Bays are most notable for their "hydrological" characteristics and the diverse biota it supports. Carolina Bays are literally filled with life. Among the water dependent animal species commonly found in natural Bays are:

Great Blue Herons

Ornate Chorus Frog

Pond Cypress

Spring Pepper

Gopher Frog

Water Beetle

Eastern newt

Tiger Salamander

Mabee's salamander

Clam Shrimp

Red copepods

Dragonfly Nymph

(North Carolina Wild Places, 1997, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission)

Carolina Bays also harbor numerous species adapted both to up and low-land; including white tailed deer, brown bear, bobcats and rattlesnakes. Plant life in the Bays is equally diverse, supporting a number of rare and endangered species, such as Long Leaf Loosestrife and Venus Flytrap .

It is hardly surprising then that the diversity is not limited to the visible world. Researchers at the University of Georgia announced in April, 1997, the discovery of previously unknown bacteria that grow and live in the Bay muck:

"The team determined the DNA sequences of some 35 clones from the Carolina bay samples, which were taken in the mud beneath a shallow layer of water. Of these 35, some 32 were affiliated with five bacterial groups, Proteobacteria (11); Acidobacterium-like bacteria (Cool; Verrucomicrobium-like bacteria (7); gram-positive bacteria (3) and green nonsulfur bacteria (3).

One sequence did not seem to be associated with any major division. The most interesting fact, however, is that none of the clones exhibited an exact match to any of the 16S rDNA sequences deposited in numerous databases. "This suggests that most of the bacteria in Rainbow Bay are novel species," said Lawrence Shimkets, one of the Georgia researchers .

Previously Unknown Bacteria Discovered By University Of Georgia Researchers In Features Called Carolina Bays, University of Georgia Press Release, April 9, 1997

(Anomalous genetic variations have also been identified by recent investigators of the natural characteristics of the Tunguska area.)

Some even go as far as to link theories of extraterrestrial causation with the unique biological features:

"Mac, incidentally, believes that the plant got its name because the seed actually came from Venus. Southeastern North Carolina is dotted with mysterious shallow round craters, most (some ed.) of them water filled called Carolina Bays. Some scientists believe the craters were caused by a meteor. shower long ago, and Mac believes that. "My great, great granddaddy remembers when they fell," he says. He also believes the seeds of the flytrap, a plant with a spacemonsterish look about, arrived on those meteors by way of Venus." When asked if there were flys on Venus for the traps to catch, Mac says, "I guess so. No telling what's there. Nobody ever been there to find out, have they?"

(North Carolina Curiosities, 1990, Jerry Bledsoe, Glope Pequote Press, Second Edition)

Venus flytraps are found in only one location -- worldwide -- within 75 miles of Wilmington, North Carolina. This small region coincides neatly with the central axis of Carolina Bay occurrence .

The Good News

Fortunately, Carolina Bays are protected by one of the nation's strongest environmental statutes, Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. This Act, and subsequent regulatory interpretations, regulates the disposal into, and alteration of, jurisdictional "Waters of the United States."

For the purposes of the law, "Waters," has been interpreted to mean areas which are saturated in the uppermost foot of soil for a portion or all of the growing season (as little as 10 days in North Carolina). Virtually all Carolina Bays meet this criterion, and thus, in their natural vegetated state, are subject to a complex state and federal permitting system.

Federal wetland protection has been an unexpected boon for the conservation, and, particularly, restoration, of Carolina Bays. Because of their vast number and range, Carolina Bays are often unavoidably the subject of agricultural or infrastructure development, particularly highways. This has led to very recent efforts to restore Bays as "wetland mitigation banks." Wetland banks are a new and novel method of dealing with the conflicting societal needs to both develop and protect or restore certain lands.

Wetland banks sell wetland "credits" to off-set and compensate for unavoidable development in wetlands like Carolina Bays. For example, for each acre destroyed by the Department of Transportation in building or widening a road, a credit can be purchased to "mitigate" the loss as required to receive a permit.

North Carolina's first privately permitted mitigation bank is a 2200 acre ditched and drained Carolina Bay, the first phase of which will require the restoration of 690 acres from farm back to forest. Over 200,000 trees of 27 different varieties were planted at this site, and over 20 linear miles of ditches now draining the property were backfilled. The restoration, when complete, will produce approximately 220 federally authorized mitigation credits. Carolina Bays are well suited as wetland banks, they are natural "bathtubs" and the water in them can be more reliably controlled without flooding surrounding lands.

This process clearly improves the environment by requiring that 2 or mores acres are restored for every acre lost. It also allows the development of certain Bays when it has been proven to be absolutely necessary and there are no other reasonable options. This new development for Carolina Bays also offers an opportunity to collect a great deal more scientific data on their natural processes.


I have always maintained a strong interest in the unexplained parts of science and history. Most of the subjects I have encountered, however, do not promise an easy solution. In anthropology, there will always be another missing link, or in archaeology, another hole to dig. But in the small corner of research where Carolina Bays reside there seems plenty of reason to believe a definitive solution could be found at little expense.

Biological assays and efforts to conserve Carolina Bays are numerous (and increasing) but no work is underway to re-evaluate their genesis using modern methods and technologies. Geophysical researchers simply abandoned this line of study in the late 1970's, just before science was armed with some of its best tools. Contrast the last effort to model wind formation theories -- Ray Kacrowski and his 1979 sand-box -- with the computational and graphical modeling programs available to today's university researchers. Or the crude 1950's ink drawings describing the range and orientation of Carolina Bays -- with today's advanced GIS and space based earth sensing equipment.

I firmly believe a properly equipped and modestly funded, multidisciplinary, modern day graduate lab could, if not solve the the problem outright, clearly dismiss one or the other camps of thought.

Given a confident belief that the answers are indeed out there in the sand, we come then to the true shame of the Carolina Bay story: the willingness of the current geophysical research community to tolerate and admit such a profound "mystery" in their midst. I've known respected professional earth scientists to brush off questions about Carolina Bay origin with references to "alien landings" and "giant fish." With prodding, they generally elicit a thin collage of wind and wave theory faintly recalled from their student years. One gets the distinct feeling that the study of Carolina Bay origin is the "crazy aunt in the attic" of the Coastal Plain researcher. And that visiting his dear relative is hardly worth the disturbing consequences.

Perhaps then it is not a lack of equipment, money, or even interest that relegates this subject to a "mystery." The stakes may simply be too high for open-minded research in this field at this time. If it were revealed that these omnipresent features were indeed created suddenly around the time of the most recent extinction and climatic change, the "textbooks" would again need rewriting, and serious preparation and contemplation made for our future protection. It is disturbing to think that today's scientists, more than two hundreds years after the discovery of Carolina Bays, seem more reluctant than ever to step back and contemplate the whole of their mystery.

"Science ... warns me to be careful how I adopt a view which jumps with my preconceptions, and to require stronger evidence for such belief than for one to which I was previously hostile. My business is to teach my aspirations to conform themselves to fact, not to try and make facts harmonize with my aspirations."

--Thomas Huxley, 1860
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Carolyn Silver
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« Reply #42 on: July 28, 2008, 10:18:37 pm »

Comet Phaethon's Ride
by Bob Kobres ~ 1993


A condensed version of this article titled, The Path of a Comet and Phaethon's Ride, was published by The World & I (ISSN 0887-9346) Vol. 10, No. 2 (Feb. 95) pp. 394-405.


In 1927 Franz Xaver Kugler, a Jesuit scholar who had devoted over thirty years to the study of cuneiform astronomical texts, published an essay entitled "The Sibylline Starwar and Phaethon In the Light of Natural History." His tri-decade-plus familiarity with ancient documents of celestial events plus a growing consensus that the crater at Coon Mountain Arizona (Meteor Crater) was in fact produced by a large meteoroid provided the scientific footing for Kugler's assertion that a similarly large impact event in the Mediterranean Sea inspired fire-from-above legends such as Phaethon's ride.

Coincidentally, it was also in 1927 that Leonid Kulik, a Russian Scientist, located the area devastated by the twenty-megaton aerial explosion in 1908 of what was probably a piece of debris long ago separated from the progenitor of the still extant comet, Encke. Kulik's first expedition to the Tunguska region in 1921 had been intriguing but unsuccessful, so the cash poor Soviet Academy was reluctant to fund another hunt. What finally tipped the scales in Kulik's favor was a report prepared by a former head of the Irkutsk Observatory, A.V. Voznesensky. Voznesensky combined the data Kulik had gathered with 1908 seismic data recorded at Irkutsk and concluded that:

. . . it is highly probable that the future investigator of the spot where the Khatanga [Stony Tunguska] meteorite fell will find something very similar to the meteorite crater of Arizona; . . . . The Indians of Arizona still preserve the legend that their ancestors saw a fiery chariot fall from the sky and penetrate the ground at the spot where the crater is; the present-day Tungusi people have a similar legend about a new fiery stone. . . . the search for and investigation of the Khatanga meteorite could prove a very profitable subject of study, particularly if this meteorite turned out to belong to the iron class. (J. Baxter and T. Atkins 1976)

In other words, it was thought possible that a very valuable chunk of nickel-iron might be recovered; this is why Kulik was a bit dumbfounded when he actually found the spot he had sought. The devastation was quite obvious--over two-thousand square kilometers of dense Siberian forest had been scorched and flattened. There was, however, no crater.

Kulik's find revealed that colliding space debris could do a great deal of damage yet leave little long-term detectable evidence to indicate that an impact had occurred. Some implications of this fact were recognized by a few investigators almost immediately. Astronomer C.P. Olivier, writing of Kulik's discovery for Scientific American, stated in the July 1928 issue:

In looking over this account, one has to admit that many accounts of events in old chronicles that have been laughed at as fabrications are far less miraculous than this one, of which we seem to have undoubted confirmation. Fortunately for humanity, this meteoric fall happened in a region where there were no inhabitants precisely in the affected area, but if such a thing could happen in Siberia there is no known reason why the same could not happen in the United States.

Newly discovered impact craters were big news in the early thirties; some large structures had been discovered in Australia (Henbury Craters), and British explorer James Philby was, in 1932, led to find some impressive and actually fairly recent craters in the Arabian Desert (Wabar Craters) by a guide who sang:

From Qariya strikes the sun upon the town;

Blame not the guide that vainly seeks it now,

Since the Destroying Power laid it low,

Sparing nor cotton smock nor silken gown.

That same year geologist Frank A. Melton and physicist William Schriever, both of the University of Oklahoma, finished a lengthy study of the unusual features revealed by the flying camera two years earlier. They reported their findings at a 1932 meeting of the Geological Society of America, and these were published the following year in the Journal of Geology, under the title "The Carolina 'Bays'--Are They Meteorite Scars?" Later that year (1933), Edna Muldrow captured the attention of Harper's Monthly readers with this opening paragraph:

What would happen if a comet should strike the earth? We do not like to dwell on that possibility, it is true; yet such evasion arises mainly because we are human and it is human to shun the unpleasant. So we bolster our sense of security by the assumption that what has not happened will not happen. This assumption is false. The truth is that the earth in the past has collided with heavenly bodies, and the more serious truth is that it may collide again.

After informing readers of Melton and Schriever's work, Muldrow concludes her six and a half page article, "The Comet That Struck The Carolinas," with a rather graphic "if" scenario:

If the disaster of the Carolinas should repeat itself in the vicinity of New York City, all man's handiwork extending over a great oval spreading from Long Island to Ohio, Virginia, and Lake Ontario would be completely annihilated. One-half of the people, one-third of the wealth of the United States would be completely rubbed out. The world's greatest metropolis would lie a smoking ruin, . . . . Only a few broken struts set awry and throwing lengthened shadows across sullen lagoons would survive as reminders of the solid masonry of the city . . . .

In 1937, near-Earth-asteroid Hermes, which could impart much more destructive energy into the biosphere than the global nuclear arsenal is capable of releasing, was observed to have missed Earth by less than seven hours.

By 1940, Harvard Astronomer Fred L. Whipple had adduced comet Encke as a remnant of larger parent body which had been in a short period (around 3.3 years) low inclination (3.6 - 16 degree) orbit for between five and twenty thousand years; a long present spectacle for our ancestors as the comet progressively broke up creating the still active Taurid meteor streams (F.L. Whipple 1940).

Obviously, there was, half a century ago, sufficient rational for academia to take a serious look at the plentiful body of lore which spoke of fire raining destructively from the sky. What happened? Perhaps it was the break in scholarly continuity caused by World War II; maybe the subject became virtually taboo in the wake of the well-publicized flap over the myth based theory of Immanuel Velikovsky. Regardless of why circumstances retarded the academic pursuit of understanding this fascinating and arguably important influence on human social development, recent astronomical evidence emphasizes the need to give this subject proper attention.

An interesting place to start is with an objective look at plausible scenarios which could have inspired legends such as Phaethon. Kugler argued in favor of a Sun-like meteor. A problem with using this type phenomenon to explain the origin of Phaethon's ride is the brevity of prelude to an actual impact with a large meteoroid; the object would become visible only after it entered the atmosphere, seconds before it crashed into earth or water. In several ways a close brush with an active comet provides better source material for Phaethon's ride.

Figure One illustrates the final six hours during a close approach of a comet in an Encke type orbit. In this scenario a Mediterranean view at minus six hours is sunrise and already the comet nucleus appears eleven degrees above the horizon, with a tail, shortened by perspective, pointing upward. For the next several hours the Sun seems to chase the comet as the latter increases its apparent size at an increasing rate. By minus one hour the comet has reached a maximum apparent motion to the west, eighty degrees above the eastern horizon. Here it will appear to stay for the next half hour as, in line with the Sun, the translucent coma seems to double in size. At this point Earth is within the tail of the comet perhaps producing an erie glowing sky with intense aurora and meteor shower phenomena. In the next quarter hour the coma again seems to increase by over one hundred percent as the center of this horrifying spectacle appears to move back to the east by over sixteen degrees. It is during the last fifteen minutes, as the comet reaches it's closest distance to Earth, that damaging impacts with larger fragments from the nucleus are most likely to occur.

Similarities to the Phaethon myth are obvious. The young driver with rays about his head rises early, his father, Helios, according to Lucretius (5: 397-405) and Euripides (see J. Diggle 1970), follows behind ultimately taking control of the reins after Phaethon falls from the chariot. The inexperienced charioteer balks nearly halfway across the sky and is not destined to make it to the west. He travels against the stars (incursent stellis--Ovid, Met. II: 205) before being struck by a thunderous bolt as the Earth catches fire. Helios, in grief, refuses to bring light to the world. A likely allusion to a now recognized secondary phenomenon of large impact events: aerosols blocking or attenuating solar radiation.

It is unfortunate, in terms of expediting a definitive solution, that it is not possible to simply back track the orbit of a suspect comet and thereby show that the object was close enough to Earth to produce such effects on a specific date. The small mass of comets relative to the planets plus the natural 'retro-rocket' phenomenon produced by gases jetting from the solar heated surface of these bodies renders precise calculation of past positions impossible. A credible answer to what actually inspired the Phaethon legend can only come from examining all available evidence.

Figure One also shows that different cultures around the world would witness this hypothetical yet plausible approach of the comet; however, the perspective of disparate observers would not be the same. For instance, at minus one hour for an observer on the Nile delta, the phenomena is hovering overhead, while at the mouth of the Amazon (80 degrees to the west) a disconcerting dawn is breaking. It is therefore encouraging to find stories which seem to support the witnessing of such an event embedded within the native lore of this part of the world:

The sun had risen indeed, and with a glory of the cruel fire about him that not even the eyes of the gods could endure; but he moved not. There he lay on the horizon; and when the deities sent Tlotli, their messenger, to him, with orders that he should go on upon his way, his ominous answer was, that he would never leave that place till he had destroyed and put an end to them all. Then a great fear fell upon some, while others were moved only to anger; and among the latter was one Citli, who immediately strung his bow and advanced against the glittering enemy. By quickly lowering his head the Sun avoided the first arrow shot at him; but the second and third had attained his body in quick succession, when, filled with fury, he seized the last and launched it back upon his assailant. And the brave Citli laid shaft to string nevermore, for the arrow of the sun pierced his forehead.

Then all was dismay in the assembly of the gods, and despair filled their heart, for they saw that they could not prevail against the shining one; . . . (emphasis added) (H.H. Bancroft 1886 Vol. 3 p. 61)

and along the same theme:

. . . According to the Annals of Quauhtitlan, Quetzalcoatl, when driven from Tollan, immolated himself on the shores of the eastern sea, and from his ashes rose birds with shining feathers (symbols of warrior souls mounting to the sun), while his heart became the Morning Star, wandering for eight days in the underworld before it ascended in splendour. In numerous legends Quetzalcoatl is associated with Tezcatlipoca, commonly as an antagonist; and if we may believe one tale, recounted by Mendieta, Tezcatlipoca, defeating Quetzalcoatl in ball- play (a game directly symbolic of the movements of the heavenly orbs), cast him out of the land into the east, where he encountered the sun and was burned. (emphasis added) (H.B. Alexander 1919, 1964 ed., Vol. 11 p. 68)

A strong tradition of "Sun Ages" existed among the people who passed these potentially quite valuable stories to our time; memories that relate the transitions of those eras also seem pregnant with information:

. . . "The Sun of Air," Ehcatonatiuh, closed with a furious wind, which destroyed edifices, uprooted trees, and even moved the rocks. . . . Quetzalcoatl appeared in this third Sun, teaching the way of virtue and the arts of life; but his doctrines failed to take root, so he departed toward the east, promising to return another day. With his departure "the Sun of Air" came to its end, and Tlatonatiuh, "the Sun of Fire," began, so called because it was expected that the next destruction would be by fire. (emphasis added) (ibid, p. 91)

This tradition seems to imply that Quetzalcoatl (the feathered serpent) departed to the east in the last great period of cosmic destruction. A recent palaeoecological study of lakes in the Caribbean region (D.A. Hodell, 1991) reveals a sudden onset of dry conditions about thirty-two hundred years ago, this finding adds to an already robust collection of data which suggest a global perturbation of climate around that time period (1200 - 1000 B.C.E.). It is an intriguing possibility that cultures throughout the world experienced hardships during this era due to a large input of extraterrestrial material.

As Figure Two illustrates, there would, assuming one near approach, have been several close encounters over a two hundred-year period; not all, or even another, of these rendezvous would need to be as near and hence destructive as the one hypothesized above to adversely affect Earth's climate. The reason for this is that the gravity of Earth makes our planet an efficient dust collector and in close proximity to an active comet there is plenty available to form a solar shade in the upper atmosphere which would be disruptive to the climate.

Though definitive dating of protohistoric impact events can only come from careful stratigraphic work, there are some rather strong indicators that a nasty encounter such as suggested here occurred about 1159 B.C.E. This is not an arbitrary date for it marks the beginning of a sharp decline in the annual growth of Irish bog oak which lasted almost two decades and for that reason stands out in the over seven thousand year long dendrochronological record based on this species of tree (see M.G.L. Baillie and M.A.R. Munro 1988). The middle of the twelfth century also, according to widely accepted chronologies based on eclectic sources (such as Egyptian), marks a time period of general discord. A stark specimen of pertinent tie-in is related to chapter ten in the book of Joshua, where perhaps the most widely known mention of helio-halting occurs (Joshua 10: 12-14).

Now in the line just prior to Joshua's ambitious communique to the god of Israel it is stated that:

. . . the Lord cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died; they were more who died with the hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword. (Joshua 10: 11)

Deferring discussion of the specific nature of these "great stones," it is worth noting that this incident is recorded by Sirach, with a somewhat different connotation:

"With hailstones of mighty power He caused war to break violently upon the nation." (Ecclesiasticus 46:6)

after asking:

"Did not the sun go back by his hand? And did not one day become as two?" (Ecclesiasticus 46:4).

These seemingly minor differences should perhaps be more closely examined with regard to Joshua's reported conquests, particularly in light of recent archaeological findings. An especially valuable site for affixing a date to Joshua's campaign is the Canaanite city of Lachish (re: Joshua 10: 31-33), where time marking Egyptian artifacts have been found. Finds at this location are also quite supportive of the scenario espoused in this paper. David Ussishkin, reports in Palestine in the Bronze and Iron Ages (1985 p. 223) that at tell Lachish:

The city of Level VI was razed in a violent destruction accompanied by fire, traces of which could be detected in every spot in which its remains were uncovered. The destruction was apparently complete, and the population liquidated or driven out. Following the catastrophe, the site was abandoned and remained desolate for a long period of time.

Ussishkin dates this devastation at 1150 B.C.E.; he also paints an archaeological picture of a crushingly abrupt end:

The tragic circumstances of the city's destruction were vividly illustrated in the ruins of the Level VI building of Area S. This large public edifice seems to have been turned into living quarters during its final period of use, perhaps occupied by refugees from outside the city who fled their homes in the face of the impending disaster that was eventually to destroy the city. On the floors, sealed beneath the building debris, were found human remains that were studied by Professor Patricia Smith (Ussishkin, 1983; 116, Pl. 25:2). They include a number of bones of an adult female aged 40-50 and of an 8-year-old child, as well as two skeletons, one of a child aged 2-3 years and one of an infant of 6-8 months. Professor Smith reported that according to the position of these skeletons on the floor, 'the child had either been thrown down on its face, or possibly died while crawling along the ground . . . . the infant was thrown or fell onto the ground'. Apparently, these children were trapped and crushed under falling debris while trying to crawl out from under it. According to Professor Smith, the good state of skeletal preservation suggests that they were covered by the debris shortly after death.

Several artifacts directly traceable to Ramses III have been recovered from Level VI; perhaps, in light of a broader view of possible events, the early criticism heaped upon the Egyptian epic poetry of this period was not well-founded. As an example, Wilson, after lambasting the poetic excesses in the Medinet Habu account of the second Libyan war, offers this free translation of the enemy's flight before the Pharaoh:

. . . The pupils of their eyes squinted so that they could not see. The roads were blocked and stopped up before them, while the world was a whirlwind behind them to carry off their people. Their weapons had fallen from their hands, and their hearts knew no rest . . . . They were straggling trembling and sweating. The uraeus-serpent which is upon the head of the Sun of Egypt (Pharaoh) was against them, so that the great heat of (the war-goddess) Sekhmet permeated their hearts and their bones were burned up within their bodies. The stars of the seshed-constellation were frightful in pursuit of them, while the land (of Egypt) was glad and rejoiced at the sight of his valor: Ramses III. (Wilson, J.A. 1928/29 p. 27)

The belief that the Pharaoh magically controlled celestial events is well attested to in Egyptian literature. In fact the personage of these fleshy gods was often directly equated with a cosmic object (see G.A. Wainwright 1938). For instance R.O. Faulkner (1969) translates sections 1454-55 in utterance 570 of the Pyramid Texts:

Do not break up the ground, O you arms of mine which lift up the sky as Shu; my bones are iron and my limbs are the Imperishable Stars.

I am a star which illumines the sky, I mount up to the god that I may be protected, for the sky will not be devoid of me and this earth will not be devoid of me for ever.

It is with this larger than life royal identity that the following Chinese account should be viewed.

King Wan dreamt that he was clothed with the sun and moon. . . . In the first month of spring, on the 6th day, the five planets had a conjunction in Fang. . . . The conjunctions of the five planets in Fang brightens all within the four seas.'

When king Wan was dead, his eldest son Fa ruled in his stead. . . . When he [Fa] was crossing the river at the ford of Mang, in the middle of the stream, a white fish leaped into the king's boat. The king stooped down and took it up. It was 3 cubits long, and under its eyes were red lines which formed the characters--'Chow may be smitten.' The king wrote over them the character for 'dynasty,' and the words disappeared. After this he burned the fish in sacrifice, and announced the event to Heaven. Lo! fire came down from heaven, and rested over Wang uh, gradually floating away into a red bird, with a stalk of grain in its beak.

If this collection of mixed metaphors was the sole record of end times for the Shang dynasty it would lend little help to support the suppositions of this paper; however it is not, and when the unusual boat ride of Fa is considered in context with other Chinese lore speaking of this period (approx. 1150 B.C.E.) it becomes quite intriguing. The above passage comes from The Annals of the Bamboo Book (ch. 4, part 5) and is devoted to King Woo (named Fa) who, with his father King Wan is considered co-founder of the Chow dynasty. From the conjunction of five planets in Fang to the end of the Shang dynasty the Bamboo Book records a span of two decades. This "warring period" (given as 1148-1122 B.C.E. by N. Koss 1979) is the subject of a later historical novel (Feng-Shen Yen-I) which contends that the war between Shang and Chow groups was not caused by human factors but by the predestined investiture of the gods (see S.H. Chang 1990 pp. 169-70). In the Shoo King (book of history) there are several mentions of heaven sending down calamities during this time period. The explanation for these adversities is that heaven was showing displeasure with the Shang ruler, Te-sin (named Show), and it is expressly stated of Fa that:

"Reverently obeying the determinate counsel of Heaven, I pursue my punitive work to the east, . . ." (Shoo King, Part 5, Book 3, p. 7).

In the Great Declaration, also in the Shoo King (Part 5, Book 1, Part 2-8.9), Fa states:

. . . My military prowess is displayed, and I enter his territories, to take the wicked tyrant. My punishment of evil will be shown more glorious than that of T'ang.

The last line has an important connotation, for turning to the scholarly notes of James Legge concerning the Punitive Expedition of Yin (Shoo King, Part 3, Book 4) Legge indicates that:

. . . at last, B.C. 1765, after many misgivings, T'ang took the field against his sovereign. There could be no doubt as to the result. Heaven and earth combined with men to show their detestation of the tyrant. Two suns fought in the sky. The earth shook. Mountains were moved from their strong foundations. Rivers were dried up. Kee was routed, and fled south to Ts'aou, . . .

The known distribution of debris associated with comet Encke makes earlier events, such as alluded to here, quite plausible, however for now this passage serves only to show that a cosmic interpretation of Fa's conquest is not ad hoc. Also, before discussing the interesting aspects of Fa's fish story, it is pertinent to note that the Annals of the Bamboo Book record that in the forty-eighth year of Show's (the Shang tyrant) reign, two suns appeared together and the E goat was seen. Legge notes that this E goat "was a prodigious thing, 'a spirit-like animal,'--variously described." This is almost certainly a reference to the appearance of a comet.

In the Appendix to the Great Declaration there is again mention of Fa crossing what was probably at some point in this legend's history a cosmic river:

As the prince Fa had got to the middle of the stream in his boat, a white fish entered it. The king knelt down and took it up. He then went on the bank, and burned it, in sacrifice to Heaven. All the dukes said, "This is auspicious!"

On the fifth day there was a ball of fire which descended from above, till it came to the king's house, and there dissolved into a crow. Its colour was red . . .

Remarkably, this incredible sounding tale fits well with a Chinese view of a comet approaching as postulated above.

The plain of Honan is about eighty degrees east of the Nile delta so for an observer located in that part of the world the hypothetical comet would have come into view over five hours earlier than it would for a counterpart located in the Mediterranean. Looking at Figure One again, it can be seen that the comet, or "white fish," would appear to move closer to the sun, or "solar barge," throughout the morning. By mid-afternoon (minus 2 to 3 hours) the comet, rapidly growing in apparent size, would seem to be merging with the sun. At minus one hour the fieriest sunset imaginable would begin, followed forty-five minutes later by the dramatically sudden eruption of a "ball of fire" which in the span of fifteen minutes, would have moved the wrong way into the night horizon where it would, in a phoenix like fashion, rise again, rapidly losing apparent size as it sped away from Earth into the star peppered black void perhaps taking on the appearance of a red bird as the object's aspect became smaller and so returned less sunlight to an atmosphere recently loaded with comet dust.

As mentioned above, without detailed groundwork, no definitive conclusion regarding the magnitude or timing of a past impact event can be put forth. It is, however, possible to be relatively secure in asserting that encounters disruptive to the environment have occurred since the end of the Pleistocene some twelve-thousand years ago. Indeed the Younger Dryas cold oscillation, which is contemporary with the Pleistocene/Holocene transition as well as the American and perhaps Euro/Asian megafauna extinction episode, may have been caused by external input. The newly recognized large population of near-Earth-objects provides a sound astronomically based argument for a much higher frequency of impact events than was estimated two decades ago. Also, an improved understanding of phenomena associated with cosmic collisions supplies credibility to certain ancient assertions which had seemed completely illogical. A good example of generally misunderstood lore can be found in Book V of the Sibylline oracles. H.N. Bate (1918) translates lines 298-300:

And then in his anger the immortal God who dwells on high shall hurl from the sky a fiery bolt on the head of the unholy: and summer shall change to winter in that day. (emphasis added)

Bate notes that Book VIII contains a parallel passage with winter being changed to summer--fortunately he did not feel compelled to "correct" the lines above as others have. For example:

And then the imperishable God who dwells in the sky in anger will cast a lightning bolt from heaven against the power of the impious. Instead of winter there will be summer on that day. (emphasis added)

This comes from Old Testament pseudepigrapha (vol. 1) published in 1983. Not only has the passage been rationalized (If God throws down fire it should get hotter, right?), but, a fiery bolt now has become a lightning bolt.

Evidence of impact-induced cold is valuable in gauging how energetic a past fall was. Based on nuclear winter studies, a cosmic collision would need to impart at least the energy equivalent of a thousand megatons TNT into the environment to produce such an effect.

A number of cultures retained stories of impact-induced winter. Most telling of all such lore this author has read are these amazingly informative tales of the Yakuts: [note that the CH in brackets below is printed in the reference as a "c" with a diacritic "v"]

[ch]olbon . . . is said to be "the daughter of the Devil and to have had a tail in the early days". If it approaches the earth, it means destruction, storm and frost, even in the summer; . . .

[ch]olbon, the daughter of the Devil is a beautiful girl . . . she is the bride and the sweetheart of Satan's son-- ürgel (Pleiades). When these two stars come close to one another, it is a bad omen; their eager quivering, their discontinuous panting cause great disasters: storms, blizzards, gales. When they unite, fathom deep snow will fall even in the summer, and all living beings, men, animals and trees will perish . . . " (L. Mandoki, 1968, p. 489)

Both folk memories were recorded by ethnographer V.L. Serosevsky, the first in 1877, the next in 1885. The Yakuts identified Venus as [ch]olbon; however, as a later student of this culture, G.V. Ksenofontov, observed:

"The Yakuts have two words for the "star": sulus and [ch]olbon. The first means simply "star", the second refers to stars that change their place in the sky, sometimes appearing and disappearing. Nowadays, however, it no longer--or very seldom--refers to other planets than Venus and has almost become its name. Yet, as we have seen, in legends also other "[ch]olbons" (i.e. planets) are mentioned. (ibid, p. 490)

What is remarkable about these particular tales is the conjunction of several pieces of information. The lines contend that a comet ([ch]olbon with a tail) came close enough to influence weather on Earth--i.e. deadly storms, frost and deep snow in summer. Also, it is implied that this is most likely to occur if the comet appears close to the Pleiades. In short, these legends accurately describe what can now be inferred from astronomical data on comet Encke and the ring of debris its progenitor strew about the Sun.

Of particular interest with regard to external perturbation of climate is an artifact unearthed in 1934, the Ch'u Silk Manuscript . This document, which dates from 500-400 B.C.E., is primarily astrological in nature. Because several of the characters painted on this silk have no directly traceable descendants translation is difficult, making it preferable to take into account more than a singular attempt at extracting meaning from the text. Pertinent is Jao Tsung-yi's interpretation of lines B. 1-1 to 2-30 which relate irregularities of a "Broom Star" (comet):

Sometimes the sun and moon are not in their constant course. This is called Ying (gaining) and Ch'u (retreating). Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter have . . . and have their own regular way. When the order of the sun, the moon, and the heavenly bodies is disturbed, gaining and retreating . . . and the plants would become erratic . . . ominous happenings. Heaven and earth will cause disasters(?). The T'ien-p'ou star [ ] will tremble and fall down in . . . direction. Then, the mountains and hillocks . . . there will be streams and floods. Such (phenomena) are (seen) in the Po-po [ ]. (Jao Tsung-yi, 1972, pp. 118-119)

A more raw rendering of these lines is provided by Noel Barnard:

. . . (particle) . . . . . . (= verb?) the sun, the moon thence will gain and retreat, and will not obtain its . . . . Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter . . . . (= not?) have . . . . (- their?) regularity. When the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, and the Constellations confuse and . . . . (= muddle?) their movements, the [process of] gaining and retreating . . . . (= becomes muddled?) . . . . [thus] the grasses and the trees will lack regularity [of growth?] . . . . ; . . . . [ . . . . ] . . . . . . . . , Heaven and Earth will . . . . (- verb?). The T'ien-p'ou will be about to move and to descend to its . . . . region. The Hills and the Plains - their . . . . (- verb?) have depth (?) their (?) . . . . ; this is known as . . . . . (N. Barnard, 1973, Part 2, p. 207)

Clearly, in the light of contemporary knowledge, it is not outrageous to suppose that humanity learned to dread comets as a consequence of direct experience with destructive phenomena engendered by actual encounters with the immediate environment of these flamboyant cosmic interlopers (see V. Clube and B. Napier, 1990). Indeed, early attempts to predict this infrequent but periodically recurring phenomenon were quite likely the impetus which led to the widespread and ultimately formalized belief that star positions could directly influence events on Earth. Observed comet phenomena such as fragmentation, where a comet appears to produce one or more offspring, can explain the origin of odd notions like Athena being born fully formed from the head of Zeus. That these objects were feared and worshiped as omnipotent, judgmental gods of the sky is understandable and seems attested to in several ancient texts. For instance in Ezekiel 1:27-28 it is stated that:

. . . upon the throne, a form in human likeness. I saw what might have been brass glowing like fire in a furnace from the waist upwards; and from the waist downwards

I saw what looked like fire with encircling radiance. Like a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day was the sight of that encircling radiance; it was like the appearance of the glory of the Lord.

When I saw this I threw myself on my face, . . . (New English Bible)

A similar description of celestial war-lord can be found in the Drona Parva of the Mahabharata:

Many are the blazing and terrible forms of this God that men speak of and worship in the world. Many also are the names, of truthful import, of this Deity in all the worlds. Those names are founded upon his supremacy, his omnipotence, and his acts . . . [several names and attributes are given]. . . Downwards fiery, and half the body that is auspiciousness is the moon. His auspiciousness is the moon. So also half his soul is fire and half the moon. (P.C. Roy 1973 ed., Vol. 6, pp. 486- 487)

That these stories are rooted in comet lore is suggested by content; for example, in the above-mentioned Parva it is said of the preceptor that:

. . . When Drona, of sure aim, thus proceeded, the earth trembled violently. Fierce winds began to blow, inspiring the (hostile) ranks with fear. Large meteors fell, seemingly issuing out of the sun, blazing fiercely as they fell and foreboding great terrors. (ibid. p. 452)

Drona's offspring was also quite formidable:

. . . the preceptor's son, that slayer of hostile heroes, inspired with mantras a blazing shaft possessed of the effulgence of a smokeless fire, and let it off on all sides, filled with rage. Dense showers of arrows then issued from it in the welkin. Endued with fiery flames, those arrows encompassed Partha on all sides. Meteors flashed down from the firmament. A thick gloom suddenly shrouded the (Pandava) host. All the points of the compass also were enveloped by that darkness . . . Inauspicious winds began to blow. The sun himself no longer gave any heat . . . Clouds roared in the welkin, showering blood . . . The very elements seemed to be perturbed. The sun seemed to turn. The universe, scorched with heat, seemed to be in a fever. The elephants and other creatures of the land, scorched by the energy of that weapon, ran in fright, breathing heavily and desirous of protection against that terrible force. The very waters heated, the creatures residing in that element, O Bharata, became exceedingly uneasy and seemed to burn. (ibid. p. 481)

The form perceived by Ezekiel, as well, seems capable of wreaking havoc on a grand scale:

. . . says the Lord God, my wrath will boil over. In my jealousy and in the heat of my anger I swear that on that day there shall be a great earthquake throughout the land of Israel. The fish in the sea and the birds in the air, the wild animals and all reptiles that move on the ground, all mankind on the face of the earth, all shall be shaken before me. Mountains shall be torn up, the terraced hills collapse, and every wall crash to the ground. I will summon universal terror against Gog, says the Lord God, and his men shall turn their swords against one another. I will bring him to judgement with pestilence and bloodshed; I will pour down teeming rain, hailstones hard as rock, and fire and brimstone, upon him, upon his squadrons, upon the whole concourse of peoples with him. Thus will I prove myself great and holy and make myself known to many nations; they shall know that I am the Lord. (New English Bible, Ezekiel 38:19-23)

To conclude, the above conveys a need for students of the past to begin searching specifically for data which can facilitate an accurate understanding of the effect this long underrated and thus virtually neglected natural phenomenon has had upon human social development.




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Carolyn Silver
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« Reply #43 on: July 28, 2008, 10:19:14 pm »

Why and how did the poles shift ?

What, Where and Why.
Have the poles always been in the actual position, if not where were they?
The poles tend to shift, but this takes 26'000 years and is a very slow process.
When the North and South pole did shift, how can we shift a pole?.
Could the Ice-Cap have destabilized the earth rotation, does it have enough mass to do this?.
Why does the Earth tilt of axis not match the Orbital inclination of the Moon (Difference +/- 18°), then the Earth-Moon combination is a binary system which tends to synchonize their movements.
Has the misalignment of +/- 17° towards actual North of some Maya temples in the Yucatan to do whith a possible pole displacement?
Did the Earth always rotate at the same speed, or did it rotate faster (Days are shorter = more days in a Year), or did it rotate slower (Days are longer = less day in a Year)?.
Why does the center of the ice cap of 10'000 BC show a difference of 12° to 20° towards actual North?.
Could the actual Magnetic pole have been the North pole 12'000 Years ago?.
Could the center of the IceCap of 10'000 BC have been the Nort Pole (Situates on Actual GreenLand)?.
Modifying the Earth rotation speed and angle chages the pole position to, but requires a fair amount of energie, producing however an immediate effect (This is what likly happened anyway, see more in « How did it happen »).
Considerations, what could and what could not happen.
Mammoths have been frozen complete and intact, which gives us a time-scale of 24 hours maximum.
The total mass of the IceCap of 12'000 years ago makes 0.0005 % of the total mass of the Earth, so dont expect this to make any difference.
An colission whith an astriod or comet in the right place and the right angle produces this (un)disired effect, like someone playing billard making the billardball spin by hitting it a particular way.
The Earth is a ball and as such a symetric object which can, in upposite to a toll, spin in any direction.
Because of the gyroscopic effect of its rotation, the Earth will not chanche position by itself without an influance of an external force (Sun, Moon or colision with an object).
The Earth - Moon combination is a binary star system, which stabilizes the rotation, and ihibits such movements as the movements of rotation axis we can observe from other planets of our solar system, who do not have a « sabilizer ».
Earth tilt of axis difference with the orbital inclination of the moon.
We could expect that the Eath tilt of axis would (and probably should) match an angle of 90° with the orbital inclination of the moon, and this due to the stabilization effect of the Moon rotating around the Earth. Then in case of a big difference, the gravitional forces and the tides would probably pull this rotation axis slowly back in its original place anyway.

There could be, of course a difference in this alignment, but not as big as actual. The actual difference is about tha same as the expected difference between the center of the Ice-Cap (Suspected to have been on the center of Greenland e.g. 12° to 17° of to the actual Pole position) and the actual Pole position.

This illustration shows how the tilt of the rotation axis of the Earth could have been changed by an impact of an celestical object, such as an astriod or comet.

This could only have happened at mid summer or at mid winter when the tilt of the Earth rotation axis was in the right angular position. In other words the shift has been taken place in this direction, than in any other case the tilt of the Earth rotation axis would have had an other orientation towards the Moon's. orbital inclination angle as the Earth has today. The same situation repeats mid winter, when the orientation repeats in the opposite direction ( Position of Sun and Earth reversed in the above picture).

Note: the actual angular difference of the orbital inclination of the Moon with the tilt of axis of the Earth is about 18°, and the center of Greenland toward the Nortpole is also +/- 17°, as well was the center of the IceCap 12'000 years ago.

Siberia with it's Frozen Mammoths seem to have had a climat shitft of also around 17° towards north, and this shift must have been so fast that the Mammoths have been frozen instantainiously, then some of then did not finish eating there food or even have digested it, which limits the amount of time the event happened to a few hours, and not days or even weeks.

The present image, showing the Earth seen from the pole, illustrates that indeed a pole mouvement from the center of Greenland towards the actual position, moves Siberia about 1'500 Kms futher north. (And the upposite side further south)

This is the position used by the rest of the prediluvian maps and climat simulation in order to simulate the possible position of the Ice cap.

Could the orientation of some Maya temples be an indication of a pole shift?

This drawing shows a Maya temple with some unusual mis-orientation of 17° towards west, I have used this drawing to see or pole-shift would put the main orientation of most of the elements to an North - South and East - West position. Then an other orientation of the poles gives different results, this depending on the place on Earth. Then some do move their North - South orientation to the West as in other places the orientation goes the in the other direction.

This drawing shows the same temple as above, but with an orientation shift of 17° as the temple would have had before the pole shift had taken place from it's pre-diluvian position on GreenLand to it's actual position.
It could be that the Maya's did build some of their temples on top of older existing temples (It is known that they did indeed do this from time to time).
They would likely have build one or more of their temples on top of much older existing ones and conserved by doing so their original position.
The actual ones are not so old that they could be 12'000 years old. It is very unlikely that the Maya's existed that time, and it is more likely that they did follow up an other pre-existing culture, like the Aztec's picked up their culture and contignued it.

Did the Earth rotate always at the same speed?
This is a strange question, because it not rather likely that the Earth has always been rotating in the same angle and at the same speed, than any modification in the rotating enregy from the outside will modify more or less the roting speed and possibly also the rotating angle.

If hovever the speed and rotation angle gets modified, the pole position and the length af day will change to, and therefore any celestical object with a size of over 1 km and a speed of 10 km /sec or more will cause a significant change of both pole position and day length. This will cause as side effect a change in the number of days in a year to. Then the number of days in a year is the duration of the year divided by the duration of a day, so when a day gets longer, we will get lesser days in year, and on the other hand, a shorter day will give us more days in the year.

We can in fact shift a pole by modifying, adding and subtracting speed vectors in different angles on the existing rotation speed and angle of the Earth. Than even when this does not physicaly shifts the poles, it does shift the center of rotation axis which produces the result anyway. But the change however may take a up to day, this depending on the location (Up to one full rotation) to take effect. This was a quarter of a turn for the place where the Mammoths were, which gave them no more as a maximum of 6 hours left to live.

The impact slows down the rotation speed of the Earth and is therefore in opposite direction to the Earth rotation.

Black: New speed = 462 Ms/sec (Actual)
Blue: Old speed = 481 Ms/sec
Red: Subtracted = 135 Ms/sec
A day was: +/- 23 Hrs, and we had about 380 days in a year.

The impact accelerates the rotation speed of the Earth and is therefore in the same direction as the Earth rotation.

Blue: Old speed = 442 Ms/sec
Black: New speed = 462 Ms/sec (Actual)
Red: Added = 135 Ms/sec
A day was: +/- 25 Hrs, and we had about 349 days in a year.

Table of speed differences and object sizes in order to obtain the above results.

Speed in Km / sec
Size in Km
Estimation of an celestic object hurting the Earth, considering that the density of the object is 8 Kg /dm3 and that 80% of the kinetic energie will be converted into rotation motion of the Earth thereby considering that 50% of the total mass is accelerated by 66% of the additionnel rotation speed and the density of the Earth is 5 Kg /dm3 . The remaining energie will be converted to heat and is transfered to the environnement (probably the ocean water).

The results of this table can be used to search for a crater, then the size of a crater is about 10 times the size of the object.









Note: The total amount of energie needed is 296 X 10 18 Kgm /sec, from which 59 X 10 18 Kgm /sec is converted into heat during the impact and the remaining 237 X 10 18 Kgm /sec is converted into additional rotation speed of the Earth, modifying by doing so the rotation axis of our Earth, and thereby shifting indirectly the poles.

Possible places of impact

To produce the (un)disired effect of the above mentioned poleshift, as mentioned above, must be done by modifying the Earth rotation angle and speed. The Earth must be therefore be hit under an vertical angle of 30° - 60° in one of the following places. Having hit the Earth somewere else would have produced a different effect, and could therefore not mach the actual situation.

Impact is in the same direction as the Earth rotation.
(Duration of a day was 25 Hrs - 349 Days / Year)
Inpact is in opposite direction to the Earth rotation.
(Duration of a day was 23 Hrs - 380 Days / Year)

Bermuda triangle
North -West Pasific Ocean

20N - 40N
60W - 100W
Note: Crater of 500 X 700 Kms at Charleston coast.
40N - 70N
140E - 180E
Note: No visible trace of Impact found

South of Cape Town

20S - 40S
80E - 120E
Note: No visible trace at Australian continent.
40S - 70S
0 - 40W
Note: No visible trace of Impact found

Note: The bermuda region has indeed some craters, and the one at the Charleston coast is one of them. This particular crater seem to match the one of thre object sizes stated in a previous table, than a crater is usually about 10 times the size of the object causing it.

The eliptic shape of the crater could also mean the impact was at an agle of 30° to 60° with the surface, and opened up, due to it size, mass and speed, the whole ocean floor at that place, and possibly ripped open the whole of 60'000 Km continatal plate border lines.

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Carolyn Silver
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Posts: 4611

« Reply #44 on: July 28, 2008, 10:19:37 pm »


Member # 332

  posted 02-03-2006 09:02 AM                       
The idea that the oceans were lower thousands of years ago is not a new one.

In fact, if anything they have raised drastically over the last 10,000 years.

Here's my theory.

Citing Atlantis for a base, it is generally thought of to be in the largest part of the MAR.

In my opinion, prior to 10,000 years ago, a catastrophic event happened which split the MAR from the North Atlantic all the way to the South Atlantic - taking any known land masses with it. It is known that it is "spreading", and the Continental Drift Theory accounts for it. I sort of agree with it, but only AFTER the sudden splitting of the MAR so long ago.

In the Bible it states that the rain came down, and the fountains of the Earth opened up to flood the Earth.

This is a description of what I believe to be the very catastrophic event described in Plato's story of Atlantis when the MAR split open.

"It is not what happens to you in life that matters. It's how you handle what happens to you that counts." Kim

Please contact me by using the PM on the site. I will respond much faster. Thanks! Kim

Posts: 5579 | From: Arkansas...USA | Registered: Jan 2001   
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