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Topper Site Supports Theory of Extraterrestrial Impact 12,900 Years Ago

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Desiree
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« on: September 22, 2012, 07:44:26 pm »

Topper Site Supports Theory of Extraterrestrial Impact 12,900 Years Ago




A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has tried to answer the question: did a massive comet explode over Canada 12,900 years ago, wiping out both beast and man in North America and propelling the Earth back into an Ice age?

An artistic expression of how a large impact might have looked (Carsten Egestal Thuesen / GEUS)

That’s a question that has been hotly debated by scientists since 2007, with the Topper archaeological site, located on the Savannah River in western Allendale County, South Carolina, right in the middle of the comet impact controversy. The new study provides further evidence that it may not be such a far-fetched notion.

In 2007, archaeologists led by Dr Richard Firestone of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found spherules of metals and nano-sized diamonds in a layer of sediment dating 12,900 years ago at 10 of 12 archaeological sites. The mix of particles is thought to be the result of an extraterrestrial object, such as a comet or meteorite, exploding in the Earth’s atmosphere. Among the sites examined was the Topper, one of the most pristine sites in the United States for research on Clovis, one of the earliest ancient peoples.

“This independent study is yet another example of how the Topper site with its various interdisciplinary studies has connected ancient human archaeology with significant studies of the Pleistocene,” said Dr Albert Goodyear, an archaeologist with University of South Carolina and co-author on the new study. “It’s both exciting and gratifying.”

Younger-Dryas is what scientists refer to as the period of extreme cooling that began around 12,900 years ago and lasted 1,300 years. While that brief Ice age has been well-documented – occurring during a period of progressive solar warming after the last Ice age – the reasons for it have long remained unclear.

Dr Firestone’s team presented a provocative theory: that a major impact event – perhaps a comet – was the catalyst. His copious sampling and detailed analysis of sediments at a layer in the earth dated to 12,900 years ago, also called the Younger-Dryas Boundary (YDB), provided evidence of micro-particles, such as iron, silica, iridium and nano-diamonds. The particles are believed to be consistent with a massive impact that could have killed off the Clovis people and the large North American animals of the day. Thirty-six species, including the mastodon, mammoth and saber-toothed tiger, went extinct.

Dr Malcolm LeCompte, a research associate professor at Elizabeth City State University and lead author of the new study, began independent study in 2008 using and further refining Dr Firestone’s sampling and sorting methods at two sites common to the three studies: Blackwater Draw in New Mexico and Topper. He also took samples at Paw Paw Cove in Maryland.

At each site he found the same microscopic spherules, which are the diameter of a human hair and distinct in appearance. He describes their look as tiny black ball bearings with a marred surface pattern that resulted from being crystalized in a molten state and then rapidly cooled. The investigation also confirmed that the spherules were not of cosmic origin but were formed from earth materials due to an extreme impact.
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« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2012, 07:45:15 pm »



Left: Dr Tariq Ghaffar of the Public Broadcasting System’s Time Team America excavating pedestals capped by debitage at the Topper archeological site (Albert Goodyear / Meg Galliard). Right: spherules picked from the YDB layer at the Topper site (Topper), the Blackwater Draw site (BWD-D and BWD-D/C), and the Paw Paw Cove site (PPC) (Malcolm A. LeCompte et al)
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« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2012, 07:45:49 pm »

“What we had at Topper and nowhere else were pieces of manufacturing debris from stone tool making by the Clovis people. Topper was an active and ancient quarry at the time,” Dr LeCompte said. “Al Goodyear was instrumental in our approach to getting samples at Topper.”

Dr Goodyear showed Dr LeCompte where the Clovis level was in order to accurately guide his sampling of sediments for the Younger Dryas Boundary layer. He advised him to sample around Clovis artifacts and then to carefully lift them to test the sediment directly underneath.

“If debris was raining down from the atmosphere, the artifacts should have acted as a shield preventing spherules from accumulating in the layer underneath. It turns out it really worked!” Dr Goodyear said. “There were up to 30 times more spherules at and just above the Clovis surface than beneath the artifacts.”

Dr LeCompte said the finding is “critical and what makes the paper and study so exciting. The other sites didn’t have artifacts because they weren’t tool-making quarries like Topper.”

“While the comet hypothesis and its possible impact on Clovis people isn’t resolved,” Dr Goodyear said. “This independent study lends greater credibility to the claim that a major impact event happened at the Younger Dryas Boundary 12,900 years ago.”

“The so-called extra-terrestrial impact hypothesis adds to the mystery of what happened at the YDB with its sudden and unexplained reversion to an ice age climate, the rapid and seemingly simultaneous loss of many Pleistocene animals, such as mammoths and mastodons, as well as the demise of what archaeologists call the Clovis culture,” Dr Goodyear said. “There’s always more to learn about the past, and Topper continues to function as a portal to these fascinating mysteries.”

_______

Bibliographic information: Malcolm A. LeCompte et al. Independent evaluation of conflicting microspherule results from different investigations of the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis. PNAS, published online before print September 17, 2012; doi: 10.1073/pnas.1208603109

http://www.sci-news.com/archaeology/article00599.html
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« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2012, 07:46:55 pm »

Topper site in middle of comet controversy

September 18, 2012 by Peggy Binette Topper site in middle of comet controversy Enlarge (Phys.org)—Did a massive comet explode over Canada 12,900 years ago, wiping out both beast and man in North America and propelling the earth back into an ice age? Ads by Google Tesla GPU Workstations - 8 Tesla C2070 GPUs in one quiet Workstation platform - www.velocitymicro.com/hpc That's a question that has been hotly debated by scientists since 2007, with the University of South Carolina's Topper archaeological site right in the middle of the comet impact controversy. However, a new study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) provides further evidence that it may not be such a far-fetched notion. Albert Goodyear, an archaeologist in USC's College of Arts and Sciences, is a co-author on the study that upholds a 2007 PNAS study by Richard Firestone, a staff scientist at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Firestone found concentrations of spherules (micro-sized balls) of metals and nano-sized diamonds in a layer of sediment dating 12,900 years ago at 10 of 12 archaeological sites that his team examined. The mix of particles is thought to be the result of an extraterrestrial object, such as a comet or meteorite, exploding in the earth's atmosphere. Among the sites examined was USC's Topper, one of the most pristine U.S. sites for research on Clovis, one of the earliest ancient peoples. "This independent study is yet another example of how the Topper site with its various interdisciplinary studies has connected ancient human archaeology with significant studies of the Pleistocene," said Goodyear, who began excavating Clovis artifacts in 1984 at the Topper site in Allendale, S.C. "It's both exciting and gratifying." Younger-Dryas is what scientists refer to as the period of extreme cooling that began around 12,900 years ago and lasted 1,300 years. While that brief ice age has been well-documented – occurring during a period of progressive solar warming after the last ice age – the reasons for it have long remained unclear. The extreme rapid cooling that took place can be likened to the 2004 sci-fi blockbuster movie "The Day After Tomorrow."

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-09-topper-site-middle-comet-controversy.html#jCp
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« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2012, 07:47:33 pm »

Firestone's team presented a provocative theory: that a major impact event – perhaps a comet – was the catalyst. His copious sampling and detailed analysis of sediments at a layer in the earth dated to 12,900 years ago, also called the Younger-Dryas Boundary (YDB), provided evidence of micro-particles, such as iron, silica, iridium and nano-diamonds. The particles are believed to be consistent with a massive impact that could have killed off the Clovis people and the large North American animals of the day. Thirty-six species, including the mastodon, mammoth and saber-toothed tiger, went extinct. The scientific community is rarely quick to accept new theories. Firestone's theory and support for it dominated the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union and other gatherings of Paleoindian archaeologists in 2007 and 2008. However, a 2009 study led by University of Wyoming researcher Todd Surovell failed to replicate Firestone's findings at seven Clovis sites, slowing interest and research progress to a glacial pace. This new PNAS study refutes Surovell's findings with its lack of reported evidence. "Surovell's work was in vain because he didn't replicate the protocol. We missed it too at first. It seems easy, but unless you follow the protocol rigorously, you will fail to detect these spherules. There are so many factors that can disrupt the process. Where Surovell found no spherules, we found hundreds to thousands," said Malcolm LeCompte, a research associate professor at Elizabeth City State University and lead author of the newly released PNAS article. LeCompte began his independent study in 2008 using and further refining Firestone's sampling and sorting methods at two sites common to the three studies: Blackwater Draw in New Mexico and Topper. He also took samples at Paw Paw Cove in Maryland, a site common to Surovell's study. At each site he found the same microscopic spherules, which are the diameter of a human hair and distinct in appearance. He describes their look as tiny black ball bearings with a marred surface pattern that resulted from being crystalized in a molten state and then rapidly cooled. His investigation also confirmed that the spherules were not of cosmic origin but were formed from earth materials due to an extreme impact. LeCompte said it was Topper and Goodyear's collaboration, however, that yielded the most exciting results. "What we had at Topper and nowhere else were pieces of manufacturing debris from stone tool making by the Clovis people. Topper was an active and ancient quarry at the time," LeCompte said. "Al Goodyear was instrumental in our approach to getting samples at Topper." Goodyear showed LeCompte where the Clovis level was in order to accurately guide his sampling of sediments for the Younger Dryas Boundary layer. He advised him to sample around Clovis artifacts and then to carefully lift them to test the sediment directly underneath. "If debris was raining down from the atmosphere, the artifacts should have acted as a shield preventing spherules from accumulating in the layer underneath. It turns out it really worked!" Goodyear said. "There were up to 30 times more spherules at and just above the Clovis surface than beneath the artifacts." LeCompte said the finding is "critical and what makes the paper and study so exciting. The other sites didn't have artifacts because they weren't tool-making quarries like Topper." While the comet hypothesis and its possible impact on Clovis people isn't resolved, Goodyear said this independent study clarifies why the Surovell team couldn't replicate the Firestone findings and lends greater credibility to the claim that a major impact event happened at the Younger Dryas Boundary 12,900 years ago. "The so-called extra-terrestrial impact hypothesis adds to the mystery of what happened at the YDB with its sudden and unexplained reversion to an ice age climate, the rapid and seemingly simultaneous loss of many Pleistocene animals, such as mammoths and mastodons, as well as the demise of what archaeologists call the Clovis culture," Goodyear said. "There's always more to learn about the past, and Topper continues to function as a portal to these fascinating mysteries." The Topper story Albert Goodyear, who conducts research through the University of South Carolina's S.C. Institute of Anthropology and Archaeology, began excavating Clovis artifacts along the Savannah River in Allendale County in 1984. It quickly became one of the most documented and well-known Clovis sites in the United States. In 1998, with the hope of finding evidence of a pre-Clovis culture earlier than the accepted 13,100 years, Goodyear began focused excavations on a site called Topper, located on the property of the Clariant Corp. His efforts paid off. Goodyear unearthed small tools such as scrapers and blades made of the local chert that he believed to be tools of an ice age culture back some 16,000 years or more. His findings, as well as similar ones yielded at other pre-Clovis sites in North America, sparked great change and debate in the scientific community. Goodyear reasoned that if Clovis and later peoples used the chert quarry along the Savannah River, the quarry could have been used by even earlier cultures. Acting on a hunch in 2004, Goodyear dug even deeper into the Pleistocene terrace and found more artifacts of a pre-Clovis type buried in a layer of sediment stained with charcoal deposits. Radiocarbon dates of the burnt plant remains yielded ages of 50,000 years, which suggested man was in South Carolina long before the last ice age. Goodyear's findings not only captured international media attention, but it has put the archaeology field in flux, opening scientific minds to the possibility of an even earlier pre-Clovis occupation of the Americas. Since 2004, Goodyear has continued his Clovis and pre-Clovis excavations at Topper. With support of Clariant Corp. and SCANA, plus numerous individual donors, an expansive shelter and viewing deck now sit above the dig site to allow Goodyear and his team of graduate students and public volunteers to dig free from the heat and rain and to protect what may be the most significant early-man dig in America.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-09-topper-site-middle-comet-controversy.html#jCp
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« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2012, 07:47:58 pm »

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« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2012, 07:49:01 pm »

The Topper timeline
1998 Goodyear and his team dig to a meter below the Clovis level and encounter unusual stone tools up to 2 meters below the surface.
1999 Team of outside geologists visit Topper site and propose a thorough geological study of the location.
2000 Geological study done is by consultants; ice age sediment is confirmed for pre-Clovis artifacts.
2001 Geologists revisit Topper and obtain ancient plant remains deep in the Pleistocene terrace. Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dates sediment above ice-age strata show pre-Clovis is at least older than 14,000 years.
2002 Geologists find new profile showing ancient sediment lying between Clovis and pre-Clovis, confirming the age of ice age sediment layer between 16,000 – 20,000 years. 2003 Archaeologists continue to excavate pre-Clovis artifacts above the Pleistocene terrace. New and significant Clovis artifacts are found.
2004 Goodyear discovers major Clovis occupation on the hillside. Additionally, radiocarbon dates for sediment associated with pre-Clovis artifacts come back at 50,000 years.
2005 "Clovis in the Southeast" conference held in Columbia, S.C., with tours of Topper and Big Pine Tree sites.
2006 The 3,500-square-foot roofed structure is built over pre-Clovis excavations.
2007 Firestone study about a possible Clovis comet is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, including evidence from Clovis age sediments from Topper.
2008 PBS "Time Team America" spends a week at Topper filming for an hour-long television special devoted to Topper. 2008 SCETV broadcast of "Finding Clovis," a public television presentation of Topper Clovis.
2009 PBS "Time Team America" program airs.
2011 Topper and Big Pine Tree included in a study of post-Clovis Paleoindian decline/reorganization that is published in the journal "Quaternary International." 2011 The first permanent exhibit of Topper artifacts installed at the University of South Carolina Salkehatchie.
2012 Independent study of micro-spherules related to an extra-terrestrial impact hypothesis is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences using Clovis-age sediments from Topper that confirm the original 2007 Firestone study.
2013 The pre-Clovis occupation of Topper will be presented in October at the international conference on the peopling of the Americas, titled "Paleoamerican Odyssey," in Santa Fe, N.M. www.paleoamericanodyssey.com/ Journal reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences search and more info website

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-09-topper-site-middle-comet-controversy.html#jCp
« Last Edit: September 22, 2012, 07:53:53 pm by Desiree » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2012, 07:50:10 pm »

Public release date: 17-Sep-2012
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Contact: Jim Barlow
jebarlow@uoregon.edu
541-346-3481
University of Oregon
Challengers to Clovis-age impact theory missed key protocols, new study finds
University of Oregon psychologist was on the team, which confirmed the presence of magnetic particles

EUGENE, Ore. -- (Sept. 18, 2012) -- An interdisciplinary team of scientists from seven U.S. institutions says a disregard of three critical protocols, including sorting samples by size, explains why a group challenging the theory of a North American meteor-impact event some 12,900 years ago failed to find iron- and silica-rich magnetic particles in the sites they investigated.

Not separating samples of the materials into like-sized groupings made for an avoidable layer of difficulty, said co-author Edward K. Vogel, a professor of psychology at the University of Oregon.

The new independent analysis -- published this week in the online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences -- did, in fact, isolate large quantities of the "microspherules" at the involved sites where the challengers previously reported none. Lead author Malcolm A. LeCompte, an astrophysicist at Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina, said the findings support the climate-altering cosmic impact, but his team stopped short of declaring this as proof of the event.

The Clovis-age cosmic-impact theory was proposed in 2007 by a 26-member team led by Richard B. Firestone. That team included University of Oregon archaeologists Douglas J. Kennett and Jon M. Erlandson. While other groups have found corroborating evidence of a potential cosmic event, other groups reported difficulties doing so. One group, led by Todd A Surovell of the University of Wyoming, did not find any microspherule evidence at five of seven sites they tested, including two previously studied locations where Firestone reported large numbers of microspherules.

"In investigating the two common sites and a third tested only by Surovell's team, we found spherules in equal or greater abundance than did the Firestone team, and the reported enhancement was in strata dated to about 13,000 years before the present," LeCompte said. "What we've done is provide evidence that is consistent with an impact, but we don't think it proves the impact. We think there's a mystery contained in the Younger Dryas strata, and that we've provided some validation to the original research by Firestone's group."

The particles in question, the team concluded, are terrestrial as was claimed by the Firestone group, and not of meteoric origin as claimed by other challengers including Surovell's group, and are similar to metamorphic material in Earth's crust. That determination was made using electron microscopy and spectroscopy.

"These spherules have evidence of very high-temperature melting and very rapid cooling, which is characteristic of debris ejected from an impact," LeCompte said. Speherules would have melted at temperatures approaching 2,000 degrees Celsius (more than 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit), he added. Cosmic materials, including the some microspherules, regularly fall to earth from space due to meteorite ablation, but the spherules found in soils dating to 13,000 years ago are much different, he added. Other researchers had suggested that these spherules were deposited by a cosmic rain or resulted through slow, terrestrial processes occurring under ambient conditions.

LeCompte and some key collaborators wondered why Surovell didn't find any spherules, and that led them to Vogel. Many of the spherules investigated were tiny, ranging in size from 20 to 50 micrometers (microns); about the diameter of a human hair.

"The inherent difficulty in finding these small, relatively rare magnetic microspherules suggested there may be inherent limitations in human faculties that needed to be addressed, and that's how and why we sought out UO Professor Ed Vogel. His research into human cognitive capabilities proved so important in understanding both why the search was so difficult and why size-sorting was effective and important in making it easier," LeCompte said.

Vogel specializes in the ability of people to find specific items amid multiple distractions.

"A visual search is a very error-prone process," Vogel said. "This was a case of looking at millions of particles from which you are hoping to find something that might be present much less than 0.1 percent of the time." Size-sorting, he said, is vital because it is easier to find a target item with a characteristic shape and color when all of the many more-distracting objects are very similar. "It is a slow, tedious process to examine such quantities of materials with the human eyes when object sizes are extremely dissimilar."

"Science is only as good as the humans who conduct it, and this study shows how the minds of researchers can operate in some surprising ways," said Kimberly Andrews Espy, UO vice president for research and innovation, and dean of the graduate school. "Dr. Vogel's excellent work, which illustrates the importance of understanding how the human mind processes information and the consequences it can have beyond making everyday computations, reflects the University of Oregon's strengths in interdisciplinary research."

LeCompte described Surovell's study "as possibly the most damning of the reports that had challenged the original theory."

"Todd had worked very hard and couldn't find the spherules, but I think he made some fatal errors that need to be pointed out," LeCompte said. "It is instructive in that we initially made the same mistake and came to the same erroneous conclusion, but then we corrected our mistake. I would say this is a case of a missed opportunity due to their deviations from the protocol."

Two other critical protocol deviations not followed by the challengers involved the amounts of material examined and the use of microscopy techniques specified in Firestone's original research. Another two minor aspects of the protocol also were not repeated, reported LeCompte's team, which, in addition to Vogel, included an archaeologist, two materials scientists, a botanist, a periglacial geographer and an aerospace engineer.

LeCompte's team -- using the protocols of Firestone's group and electron microscopy -- additionally studied a quarry site in Topper, S.C., where Clovis-age people had made stone tools. After removing chert debris associated with tool making in soil at the depth of the Clovis occupation, LeCompte said, researchers observed virtually no spherules below it, while in soil just above the chert fragments they found a spike in the number of telltale spherules.

Further above that level, he noted, the soil layers were essentially "a dead zone" somewhat analogous to the K-T boundary, or "tombstone layer," from an extinction event that occurred 65 million years ago. At Topper, the dead zone showed almost no trace of human habitation for perhaps as long as 1,000 years duration.

"This suggests that something very dramatic happened," LeCompte said.

"The effects of such an impact would have been catastrophic on a global scale," said co-author Barrett Rock, a botanist at the University of New Hampshire. "On the order of 36 ice-age species became extinct, and the Clovis human culture eventually lost. All of this in response to dramatic changes in the vegetation at the base of the faunal food chain."

###

Co-authors on the PNAS paper with LeCompte, Vogel and Rock were Albert C. Goodyear of the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of South Carolina; Mark N. Demitroff of the Department of Geography at the University of Delaware; Dale Batchelor and Charles Mooney of the Analytical Instrumentation Facility at North Carolina State University; and Alfred W. Seidel of Seidel Research in North Carolina.

About the University of Oregon

The University of Oregon is among the 108 institutions chosen from 4,633 U.S. universities for top-tier designation of "Very High Research Activity" in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The UO also is one of two Pacific Northwest members of the Association of American Universities.

Sources: Edward Vogel, professor of psychology, 541-346-4905, vogel@uoregon.edu, and Malcolm A. LeCompte, research director, Center of Excellence in Remote Sensing Education and Research, Elizabeth City State University, 252-335-3807, lecomptem@mail.ecsu.edu

Links:

Vogel faculty page: http://psychweb.uoregon.edu/people/vogel-edward

Malcolm A. LeCompte webpage: http://nia.ecsu.edu/sp/staff/lecompte/cv.html

Barrett Rock faculty page: http://www.eos.unh.edu/Faculty/Rock

Follow UO Science on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/UniversityOfOregonScience

Note: The University of Oregon is equipped with an on-campus television studio with satellite uplink capacity, and a radio studio with an ISDN phone line for broadcast-quality radio interviews. Call the Media Contact above to begin the process.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-09/uoo-ctc091712.php
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This power came forth out of the Atlantic Ocean. But afterwards there occurred violent earthquakes and floods; and in a single day and night of misfortune all your warlike men in a body sank into the earth, and the island of Atlantis in like manner disappeared in the depths of the sea.
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« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2012, 06:41:09 am »

ALL VERY NICE,

But What About the
"QUARTERNARY - LAKE - BURST " ( dd 8.000 )
that occured AFTER this DRYAS-Artefact founds ?

PS , is Dr Greg Little, still fond of discovering Atlantis at Cuba ?

Sincerely,
"BlueHue "dd 12 Oct.2012 from Amsterdam/ Holland
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Atlantis in,"historical-Perspective"
=Known-World,Oikumene=Now,Yemen>Surat-89

This Egyptian,INDIAN-Ocean trade-Empire was
ruled by-CEO-Queen Tiy

PLATO wrote (GREEK!)" ATHE " Now,Aden= Solomon's/OFIR, in Herodotus-Araby-Map

ATLANTIS-Dialogue=Satire,on Athens-Trade boycott(of Darius2,413bc)
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