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Laurentide Strike Discussed on Radio, TV

A possible impact in the Laurentide ice sheet in northeastern North America some 13,000 years ago is the subject of a new National Geographic special. Called “Mammoth Mystery,” the show ran yesterday and will replay multiple times this week. A clip from the show is available online. This is the impact (discussed in these pages in late May) that is implicated, some believe, in the extinction of the mammoth and mastodon, with presumably devastating effects on local human populations.

A press conference on this event is now available on YouTube, while National Public Radio’s Science Friday show offers its coverage here. The paper is Firestone et al., “Evidence for an extraterrestrial impact 12,900 years ago that contributed to the megafaunal extinctions and the Younger Dryas,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10.1073/pnas.0706977104 (27 September, 2007). Abstract online.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Adam October 9, 2007, 4:21

    Hi Paul

    That was a major event in human history I suspect, the basis of the Atlantis legend (but sexed up by Plato), and probably the trigger of persistent agriculture in the Old World. Agriculture had been experimented with for millennia, but no one really settled down until after that event. Not much afterwards Europe was awash in arrowheads – the Tanged Point Technocomplex – thus the pressures of the climate change had pushed the populace into war, perhaps the first real war of history.

  • andy October 9, 2007, 4:28

    Not sure the Atlantis myth has much to do with this: a more local and recent event to the time the Atlantis myth arose was the eruption of Santorini, which may have been responsible for the collapse of Minoan civilisation.

  • David October 9, 2007, 14:18

    Ironic reading this just after reading about the shutting-down of the Arecibo planetary radar,

  • Administrator October 9, 2007, 14:43

    David, I couldn’t agree more!

  • andy December 12, 2007, 8:01

    BBC: Great beasts peppered from space – “Startling evidence has been found which shows mammoth and other great beasts from the last ice age were blasted with material that came from space.”

  • ljk July 3, 2008, 12:02

    Exploding Asteroid Theory Strengthened By New Evidence
    Located In Ohio, Indiana

    Science Daily 7/3/08

    Geological evidence found in Ohio and Indiana in recent weeks
    is strengthening the case to attribute what happened 12,900
    years ago in North America — when the end of the last Ice Age
    unexpectedly turned into a phase of extinction for animals and
    humans ­ to a cataclysmic comet or asteroid explosion over the
    top of Canada.

    “The timing attached to this theory of about 12,900 years ago is
    consistent with the known disappearances in North America of
    the wooly mammoth population and the first distinct human
    society to inhabit the continent, known as the Clovis civilization.

    At that time, climatic history suggests the Ice Age should have
    been drawing to a close, but a rapid change known as the
    Younger Dryas event, instead ushered in another 1,300 years
    of glacial conditions. A cataclysmic explosion consistent with
    West’s theory would have the potential to create the kind of
    atmospheric turmoil necessary to produce such conditions.

    Full article here:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080702160950.htm