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Every now and then, there’s a new idea that sees the light of day and captures whole communities of researchers.
One of these new ideas is the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis. The Younger Dryas is the period between 12,900 to 11,700 years BP. During this period, the temperatures in Greenland suddenly started to drop.
It is now hypothesized that this could have been caused by a meteorite impact, the Clovis meteorite. The crater itself is named the Hiawatha Impact Crater.
Some researchers even believe that this Clovis meteorite was the cause for the disappearance of certain ancient civilizations. We studied this topic thoroughly and determined why this hypothesis is very unlikely.
Why? Because the hypothesis is flawed, suggestive, assumptive, and not even supported by any data. The patterns do not correlate in any logical way. We will offer an explanation in this analytical article.
Recent radar scans showed an anomaly in the bedrock beneath the ice sheet of Northwest Greenland. The shape of the anomaly is roughly circular and it is massive, approximately 30 km in diameter.
Taking samples of the impact crater itself was impossible due to the massive ice sheet. That is why the researchers have chosen to take samples at the edge of the ice. Over the years, meltwater from the base of the glacier had deposited sediments. When sampled, these materials contained signs of an impact with “shocked” quartz grains having deformed crystal lattices and glassy grains that may represent flash-melted rock.
It is not unthinkable that the researchers are misguided by circumstances. Some scientists are eager to prematurely present a new discovery. Circular bedrocks are not uncommon and shocked quartz is formed all over the Earth due to countless small meteor impacts. Their “proof” might appear to be compelling, but because it is indirect, it is not conclusive.
If the researchers have found the cause for the sudden Younger Dryas temperature drop, it should be supported by other data, and that appears not to be the case.
World Map with Meteor Impact Craters
The Younger Dryas Period
It is generally believed that the Younger Dryas period coincides with the end of the last ice age. That is indeed true. If we look at the data from Antarctica, whether it is from Dome-C or from Vostok, they both tell the same story; the last ice age ended around 12,000 years ago.
To postulate that the Younger Dryas relates to a meteor impact is short-sighted. That conclusion was reached by a lack of insight. If the researchers who stake this claim had done more research, they would have come to another conclusion.
But the internet seems to be teeming with impatient people who like to “adopt” new ideas now and then. Maybe is it because they are desperately looking for answers that mainstream science obviously prefers to neglect. The real truth is covered up with tons of nonsense that inevitably gets generated by alternative researchers as well as by mainstream scientists.
The Hiawatha Impact Crater on Greenland is believed to have been formed in the Pleistocene epoch between 2.6 million and 11,700 years ago. This is not at all certain. But if we assume that this is correct, the crater can be dated at around 1.3 million years ±1.3 million years (smile). So that can indeed be some 12,000 years ago, but also 2.6 million years ago. That is the time frame we are actually dealing with, and that is adopted as an academic “fact”.
Temperatures in Antarctica Started to Drop 1800 Years BEFORE the Younger Dryas
Antarctica and Greenland Have Two Major Things in Common
Besides having a massive ice sheet, Antarctica and Greenland have one other thing in common, namely an aquatic conveyor belt washing their shores. Solar energy collected around the equator is being transported to areas that lack energy.
This is not something mystical, it is simply one of the consequences of the thermodynamic principles. From places where energy is abundant, it will be transported to areas where there is a shortage. This basic law or principle is the only reason why the Gulf Stream is running. Warm waters in the Gulf Stream cool as they flow north into the North Atlantic, then sink and loop south towards Antarctica as part of an aquatic conveyor belt.
The main driver of the Gulf Stream is the Sun. When the Sun goes into hibernation for a period of time, the Gulf Stream will slow down. This is visible in the ice cores. We do not have to look for any outlandish ideas for events like the Younger Dryas cooling.
Yes, large meteor impacts can be the cause of sudden temperature drops. But such notions must be accompanied by dust concentrations in the atmosphere, and that is not the case.
Why a Meteor Impact is Very Unlikely
Multiple Similar Temperature Dips Over the Last 100 Millennia
The Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis would be much more credible if there was only one major temperature dip over the last 100,000 years. But, as we have shown, that is obviously not the case.
The ice cores from Greenland show that there were many more similarly-sized temperature drops. In Fig. 4 we show there were twenty (!) similarly-sized sudden temperature drops. And what was the cause?
If the Younger Dryas had been caused by a meteor of 1.5 km in diameter, it follows that the other dips must have been caused by twenty similarly-sized impacts as well. Everyone understands immediately how unlikely that is.
That twenty of such large meteorites have slammed into the earth within 100,000 years and within the same region is of course not very likely. The likelihood of the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis to be correct or even remotely true is not supported by direct evidence and it is not supported by the ice core data. It is not supported by any means of logic.
We find it very strange that a scientific research team has been eager to publish such a dubious theory just to gain attention. We wonder how much public money was spent on this research.
Climate in Greenland – The Milankovitch Cycles
“As for the idea that a crater may have formed within the last couple of million years, it’s quite unlikely. Such strikes are rare in general, and asteroids barreling into the Earth are far more likely to land somewhere in an ocean. It would be at least a hundred times less likely that it could have happened so recently as to have affected the Younger Dryas.”
Clark Chapman, Planetary scientist, Southwest Research Institute
Climate in Greenland – Dust Concentrations
The Most Likely Cause for Climate Variability: Changes in Oceanic Circulations
The most likely candidate seems to be the changes in ocean circulation, i.e. changes in the Gulf Stream behavior. The Gulf Stream is propelled by the energy from the Sun and is, as we already explained, a direct cause of the 2nd law of thermodynamics. In simple words, energy flows from hot to cold, not vice versa.
Where there is an abundance of energy, it flows “by design” to places where there is a lack of energy. Both poles receive much less energy than the equator. The oceans are the medium that transports this surplus energy to places where there is less.
When the Sun goes into hibernation for a period of time, this causes a shock in the energy transport to the poles. This then is the most likely cause of the dips that we witness in the ice core data of Greenland.
The “scientists” who came up with this new Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis do not contribute to real scientific research. They are mere sensationalists. It has certainly put them into the academic spotlight, and maybe this is even good for their careers. However, it is a pity that there are now a lot of alternative researchers who are confused and relate this new hypothesis to certain ancient “lost” civilizations and “extinction events”.
The Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis has no supportive data whatsoever.
© 2015 – by Mario Buildreps et al.
Proofreading and editing: J.B.