Picking up the story where I left off in the last installment: I presented information on the discovery of an inscribed, disk-shaped stone found by Sir Austen Henry Layard while excavating the ruins of the royal palace at Ninevah back in the 1850s. This stone, often referred to as the Planisphere, had cuneiform pictographic markings on it that two research scientists Alan Bond and Mark Hempsell believe they have deciphered by means of computer analysis. According to their interpretation it is a star map that depicts Earth’s encounter with a large asteroid that occurred on the morning of June 29, 3123 BC.
I drew attention to the date: June 29. I have contributed a number of articles describing the great 1908 meteor explosion over Tunguska, Siberia and the significance of the Taurid meteor shower which the Earth crosses in late June-early July every year.
I pointed out that the direction of approach of the Tunguska object and the time of day and year of its arrival (early morning on June 30) made it totally consistent with it being a member of that great meteor stream. And now we find that a 2,700 year old stone disk from the ancient Middle East may very well be copy of a much older record of an encounter with an object that could also be a member of that same meteor system. While we have no proof at this point, the circumstantial case is strong, especially when considering the overall importance of the Taurid meteors to the ancient world.See my article in this publication for November, 2015 to learn more about the link between the Taurids and the universal tradition of the Festival of the Dead.
Bond and Hempsill believe that it is possible to identify the object as an Aten asteroid, one of a class of objects circling the Sun that brings its orbit within the orbit of the Earth. This does not necessarily preclude its ultimate origin as part of the Taurid system. The first Aten asteroid was discovered in 1976 by astronomer Eleanor Helin and there are now 937 known members of this system of celestial objects. More than 100 of them are classed as potentially hazardous. According to the analysis of Bond and Hempsill the object depicted on the Assyrian stone was at least 1 km in diameter, or about 3/5 of a mile. They also believe they know where it struck the Earth.
Since the 19th century geologists have puzzled over an enigmatic land feature near the village of Köfels, in the Austrian Alps. This feature has the appearance of a giant landslide about 3 miles in width and some 1600 feet in thickness. At one point in the mid-20th century it was proposed that this feature was produced by a cosmic impact event but that idea was abandoned because it does not resemble a typical impact crater. Now, the research of Bond and Hempsill suggests that it may indeed be the result of cosmic impact and the object responsible was the very object depicted on the Assyrian Planisphere!
However, their scenario departs from that of a simple, straightforward impact. According to their model the object entered the Earth’s atmosphere at a very low angle to the horizon, about 6 degrees, and first struck the peak of a mountain called Gamskogel just above the town of Längenfelda about 7 miles from the village of Köfels. This grazing impact ignited the object into a giant fireball about 5 miles in diameter.
As the fireball impacted just to the southeast of Kofels it triggered the massive landslide but due to the fact that it was not at this point a solid object it did not leave a conventional crater-form in the aftermath. Hempsill points out a thought-provoking possibility: “Another conclusion can be made from the trajectory. The back plume from the explosion (the mushroom cloud) would be bent over the Mediterranean Sea re-entering the atmosphere over the Levant, Sinai, and Northern Egypt.” The return to Earth of this back plume could have caused considerable havoc over these regions. A much more detailed account of Bond and Hempsill’s research, along with supporting evidence, can be found in their book A Sumerian Observation of the Kofels’ Impact Event.
Hempsill points out a thought-provoking possibility: “Another conclusion can be made from the trajectory. The back plume from the explosion (the mushroom cloud) would be bent over the Mediterranean Sea re-entering the atmosphere over the Levant, Sinai, and Northern Egypt.” The return to Earth of this back plume could have caused considerable havoc over these regions. A much more detailed account of Bond and Hempsill’s research, along with supporting evidence, can be found in their book A Sumerian Observation of the Kofels’ Impact Event.
Is it possible that a cosmic impact event occurred in Europe about 5,100 years ago? Bond and Hempsill make a strong circumstantial case but the idea remains controversial. However, something else should be considered. If you are a regular reader of these articles you may recall what I wrote in a series of articles about the Fall of the Goddess Civilization. I quoted from the work of palaeoecologist Mike Baillie who had studied and written extensively about natural upheavals, their causes and their effects on human society. In his book New Light on the Black Death: The Cosmic Connection, he comments specifically on the date 3195 B.C. (5195 yrs ago)
“This date marks a distinct interruption in the middle of the Neolithic period in Ireland and Britain. The later Neolithic is different from the preceding early Neolithic . . . In the Near East this date pretty much marks the start of literate civilization . . . Overall, 3200 B.C. is not an arbitrary date, it seems to be a major turning point of some sort.”
“A major turning point of some sort.” Something else is worth mentioning here. In that same article I presented information about Otzi, the Iceman, who was found as a frozen, mummified corpse in a glacier in the Italian Alps. Consider this from the work of two Italian scientists, Carlo Baroni, professor of geomorphology at the University of Pisa, and Giuseppe Orombelli, professor of physical geography and environmental sciences at the University of Milan who made extensive studies of Otzi and the circumstance of his entombment in the ice. This is what they wrote, as I previously quoted:
“As widely recognized, the exceptional state of preservation of the Iceman and of his artifacts requires that he was rapidly entombed at the time of his death and remained so until he was discovered . . . Thus, the Iceman reveals that at about 5300 – 5050 cal yr B.P., a rapid climatic change took place, producing a persistent snow cover on previously deglaciated areas . . . This deterioration in climate marks the beginning of Neoglaciation in the Alps.” (Baroni, Carlo & Orombelli, Giuseppe, 1996, The Alpine “Iceman” and Holocene Climatic Change: Quaternary Research, vol. 46, pp. 78 – 83)
So, a “rapid climatic change” took place causing the quick burial of a Neolithic hunter at a point in time indistinguishable from the proposed date for the Kofels asteroid impact! Is it out of the question to conjecture that there may have been a connection between these events? Like all evidence that points to a revised model of ancient history that includes major catastrophes, this too, is controversial. But it is by no means an isolated event as we shall see.
At the December, 2015 meeting of the American Geophysical Union held in San Francisco a presentation was made by Dallas Abbot and her colleagues describing new evidence on the origin of some extremely unusual depositional features on the southern tip of Madagascar Island, just off the east coast of Africa. Dallas Abbot is a research geologist with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University.
In 2006 she and her colleagues first reported on their discovery of giant chevron, or V-shaped deposits on the southern end of the island. These deposits were up to 600 feet thick, were arrayed along, and more or less parallel with, the southern coast and pointed in a northwest direction. If you have access to Google Earth you can see these deposits very clearly if you go to the general area of 25° South latitude by 44° 12 minutes East longitude. (By the way, Google Earth is free and is an amazing research tool, if you haven’t already downloaded it you certainly should, especially if you find these articles of mine interesting.) I have extensively addressed the issue of these chevrons in a response to an online critic. The response can be found here.
At this meeting Abbott presented further evidence that supported her team’s controversial 2006 hypothesis that the chevron deposits were the result of a massive tsunami wave striking southern Madagascar.
The thickness of the deposits and their distance of up to 3 miles inland from the coast required a wave some 500 feet in height as it made landfall! But here is the really interesting thing. A wave this massive could not be generated by any normal undersea earthquake—it could only be the result of a large asteroid or comet impact into the ocean! Needless to say, in 2006 this idea provoked controversy and skepticism on the part of gradualist minded geologists, who argued that the deposits were created by wind. But the evidence seemed pretty strongly in favor of an impact. Within the material composing the chevrons were found deep sea microfossils. Gradualist explanations could not account for their presence. But further—many of these microfossils were found to be fused with iron, nickel and chrome in proportions consistent with impact by a chondritic asteroid.
This seemed to be a very significant clue but the idea of impact generated tsunami, while theoretically plausible, required more comprehensive evidence. The most convincing form this evidence could take would be the existence of an impact crater, much as it took the discovery of the great Chixculub impact crater, buried beneath 3000 feet of limestone on the Yucatan Peninsula, before a cosmic impact was accepted as the dominant cause in the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Does such a crater exist? Well, the answer to that appears to be a qualified yes. There is a suspicious looking feature right where it would need to be to generate a tsunami whose path was consistent with the orientation of the chevrons. The problem is that the feature is on the bottom of the Indian Ocean under 2 miles of water, which makes on site studies rather difficult.
So if this scenario was true— that a cosmic impact into the Indian Ocean generated a massive tsunami on the scale required by the Madagascar chevrons— when did the impact happen? What is the age of the chevrons? Is there other evidence that could confirm or refute such an event? What is known about the suspect feature on the ocean bottom?
Tune in next month.
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