Monday, June 11, 2012

Was the Deluge 12,900 Years Ago?

Another interesting post from Science Daily, a completely secular and pro-evolution website, about the possible cause of an odd climate shift they estimate occurred about 12,900 years ago.   About that time earth's climate, in particular the Northern Hemisphere, shifted into a thousand year-long cooling period called the "Younger Dryas."   Here is what the article says about it.....
"This episode occurred at or close to the time of major extinction of the North American megafauna, including mammoths and giant ground sloths; and the disappearance of the prehistoric and widely distributed Clovis culture."
The article says that they have found evidence for a potential cosmic cause for the sudden shift - our planet's collision with a swarm of cometary or meteoric bodies.   They found melt-glass like that produced at impact craters around the world which date from the same period.  Such glass as they put it...
"are indicative of high-energy cosmic airbursts/impacts, bolstering the contention that these events induced the beginning of the Younger Dryas. That time was a major departure in biotic, human and climate history."
 The authors note that such melt-glass has been found in Arizona, Venezuela, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Germany, and Syria.        While they emphasize the heat and fires associated with impacts or air-bursts, it is easy to see how such an epic event could also trigger the most massive flooding mankind has ever seen.    Here is how it could have gone down....

Comets are basically space ice-bergs with some rocks mixed in.   Imagine dozens or even hundreds of them, each the size of a small city, hurtling into the atmosphere at once.  Wait, don't imagine it.  Here is some video which ends with shots from when Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 collided with Jupiter.   Consider that Earth is to Jupiter as a dime is to a dinner plate in diameter, and it is clear that each of those fragments at the end of the video produced a disturbance the size of the entire earth.

They would mostly vaporize through friction with the atmosphere, leaving an additional sea of water vapor in a hotter atmosphere.   The hard parts that hit the ground would produce intense heat, producing fires across continents.  The hard parts that hit the water would vaporize a lot more water and send it skyward.  The heat and the fires would evaporate more water in the immediate aftermath of the blazes.    Within days though, the particulate matter from the fires would begin to block sunlight from reaching earth, if the debris from the comet was not already doing so.  Atmospheric temperatures would then plunge globally.    Warm air can hold much more moisture than cold air can.

Take a hotter than normal atmosphere that was super-loaded with moisture and then radically reduce its moisture carrying capacity by quickly cooling it, and the planet's atmosphere drops the moisture.     When I say "super-loaded" I mean that even the extended carrying capacity of a temporarily warmer atmosphere was exceeded and the water began forming liquid drops, but the rising hot air from the fires and impacts held them aloft when they otherwise would have fallen, much like Summer rain drops tend to be larger than Winter ones.

I had previously noted this article from the same source which analyzed the DNA of a number of types of animals both living and dead.   They expected to find a loss of species diversity from whatever the heck happened to earth 12,900 years ago.    What they found was more dominant was a loss in genetic diversity.    That would be consistent with most types of animals surviving, but only a few members of each type.

I don't know that the Younger Dryas event was the aftermath of the Deluge.   I do find it interesting that a globally devastating event occurred at the beginning of human civilization.   The article notes that human culture changed in the fertile crescent after the event from hunter-gather to agriculture in settled villages.   In other words, right after this calamity, people began living in a much more civilized fashion.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

More on the younger Dryas Event at:

9:08 AM, June 12, 2012  

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