RE: A 2350 BC Middle Eastern cosmic blast?

From: Glenn Morton (
Date: Thu May 16 2002 - 09:25:14 EDT

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    Mike wrote:

    >-----Original Message-----
    >From: []
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 15, 2002 5:05 PM

    >You wrote: Cosmic events don't dump tephra in a localized region. Indeed,
    >they don't
    >dump tephra at all. Tephra is a volcanic ash and has little to do with
    >meteors or cosmic phenomenon.
    >I'm no geologist. But the person whose article I quoted from is.
    >Do you have
    >any idea what may have created the "layer with an uncommon petrographic
    >assemblage, dated at ca. 2350 BC" to which she refers?

    There are two possibilities. First, I would begin by doubting that correct
    identification of tephra has taken place. If it is really a localized tephra
    deposit, then I would then think of an oil well drilled out in the deepwater
    Gulf of Mexico. The well unexpectedly found volcanic ash instead of sand at
    a horizon of interest. The Gulf of Mexico is known for not having volcanic
    deposits in it. Yet here was a localized deposit of tephra--ash. My first
    reaction to hearing the news was: Where in the H... was the volcano? It
    seems that the age of this particular ashbed was about 600,000 years, which
    was coincident with the Yellowstone lacolith. At that time, a huge area of
    Yellowstone simply fell into the magma and ash was deposited around the
    Mississippi drainage area. Subsequent rainfall and erosion washed it down
    the Mississippi into a sub-sea fan which was being deposited. That was what
    was drilled and it was a localized tephra. It also had sharp glass shards in
    it after having been transported 1000 miles from Yellowstone.

    Thus, given that it actually is tephra, I would look for a small volcanic
    eruption up in the Turkish or Iranian mountains whose ash was then washed
    down the rivers, deposited near the channel and now, that is the only
    remaining remnant of the ash.

    >Courty says, "It consists of fine send-sized, well sorted spherules of
    >various composition (silica, silicates and fibro-radiated calcite),
    >millimetric fragments of a black, vesicular, amorphous material made of
    >silicates with Mg-Ca carbonate and phosphate inclusions, ovoid
    >micro-aggregates made of densely packed crystals (calcite, gypsum or
    >feldspars) and exogenous angular fragments of a coarse
    >crystallised igneous

    Gypsum is not a volcanic mineral and neither is calcite. Gypsum and calcite
    are found in evaporative environments. To find fragments of igneous rock in
    the Euphrates and Tigris drainage areas is not unusual. The area where the
    Euphrates begins is volcanic terretory.

    All these particles are only present in this specific layer and are
    >finely mixed with mud-brick debris or with a burnt surface horizon in the
    >contemporaneous soils. In occupation sequences, the layer displays an
    >uncommon dense packing of sand-sized, very porous aggregates that suggests
    >disintegration of the mud-brick construction by an air blast.

    An air-blast would spread the mud-hut brick material laterally and would not
    necessarily compact it. I would call your attention to those films of houses
    being blown down in nuclear blasts. They are anything but compacted.

    >the virgin
    >soil, the burnt horizon contains black soot and graphite, and
    >appears to have
    >been instantaneously fossilised by a rapid and uncommon colluvial wash."

    Colluvial wash does not fossilise things. It covers things.

    >She says that, "the mysterious layer confirms that the later is
    >contemporaneous with the tephra deposit." And she says that, "The
    >occurrence of the later [mysterious layer] suggests that the
    >massive tephra
    >accumulation can no longer be considered as a typical fallout derived from
    >the dispersion of material from a terrestrial volcanic explosion."

    I disagree. It can be consistent with it under the scenario I saw in the

    >If this layer is nothing more than volcanic ash as you seem to
    >say, why does
    >she say that, "Analytical investigations in various directions have been
    >unable, so far, to refute ... that a cosmic event would have been
    >the cause
    >for production of both the widely distributed mysterious particles and the
    >localised thick tephra."? If this layer is nothing more than
    >volcanic ash as
    >you seem to believe, why does she say that, the "origin of this mysterious
    >phenomena still remains unsolved."?

    I don't have to explain why she says what she says. Ask her. She is
    absolutely wrong. But I would hazard a guess why she says what she does.
    The site is a Velikovskian site.
    Velikovsky beleived that planets careened around the solar system like
    billiad balls after the break. This of course is totally contrary to the
    laws of physics, but never mind, Velikovsky knows better than Newton. If
    you depend on sites like this for your information, you will be depending
    upon people who don't give a flip about facts, reality or history. They are
    exactly like the YECs in that they have decided what the answer is--Venus
    flew by the earth as did Saturn--and caused the demise of ancient
    civilizations. They then find 'mysteries' which they claim can't be fit
    into modern views and then complain that modern science won't take them
    seriously or that scientists are hopelessly biased. It is the classic
    symptoms of pseudoscience.

    Now knowing that they are Velikovskian, I would seriously doubt they
    actually know what a tephra is. After all, they noted gypsum among the
    particles and gypsum simply isn't from volcanos OR comets or asteroids.

    >If this layer is nothing more than volcanic ash as you seem to
    >suggest, why
    >does she say, "Soil specialists, geochemists and archaeologists
    >should join
    >their effort to solve this problem, and debate the exact nature of
    >the socio
    >cultural echo to this extraordinary event"?

    Somehow, I get the feeling that you won't care or like what I am saying
    about your favorite paper du jour. The appeal for all these specialists to
    'solve this problem' sounds so much like the pseudoscientific claims of YECs
    who think we should solve the problem of the bombardier beetle or should
    solve the problem of volcanic deposits at the mouth of the Grand canyon.
    You are depending upon a pseudoscience site for your info. Doing that
    brings self-delusion. Beleive me I know. I did it for 20 years.

    >Of course, it was the 2350 BC date that caught my attention. The same date
    >both the recent tree ring studies and Bible chronology suggests for Noah's
    >flood. Not to mention that as yet undated crater-like formation in
    >Iraq, which some say appears to have been caused by a meteor
    >impact at about
    >the same time. With such things in mind, it certainly seems to me
    >that we now
    >have good reason to believe that Noah's flood may have been caused by some
    >"mysterious phenomena," to use Courtny's words, in about 2350 BC.

    Courtney doesn't have much credibility with me (gypsum with tephra?).
    Getting information from a Velikovskian site is about as risky as getting
    information from a YEC site. It might be true, but then it has a higher
    probability of being a collection of mis-understanding, mistakes and

    Sadly, from your reaction here, I suspect you will continue to claim she is
    correct and possibly start claiming that I am ignoring the 'facts' of this
    supposed 'major mystery'. I have seen this reaction many times before.


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