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Joining The Dots

I have now published my new book, Joining The Dots, which offers a fresh look at the Atlantis mystery. I have addressed the critical questions of when, where and who, using Plato's own words, tempered with some critical thinking and a modicum of common sense.


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August 18, 2014, 8:37 am

 

 

 

 

An Evaluation of the Geological Evidence Presented By ”Gateway to Atlantis” for Terminal Pleistocene Catastrophe

by Paul Heinrich

The book “Gateway to Atlantis”, Collins (2000a), proposed that Atlantis originally lay in Hispanola, specifically Cuba with “other islands” associated with it being the “…island chains of Bahamas and Caribbean…”. A significant part of his arguments involved Atlantis having been destroyed by a cataclysmic comet impact “…sometime around 8600-8500 BC…”. Collins (2000a) argued in Chapters 21 and 22 that this cataclysmic comet impact ravaged Eastern Coast of the United States and possibly created two large craters on the ocean floor of the western North Atlantic. He claimed that this impact resulted in the destruction of Atlantis.

Being interested in both Holocene and Quaternary impact structures, i.e. Heinrich (2003a, 2003b), I decided that it would be interesting to evaluate this hypothesis. Because the task involved in completely researching and evaluating the “evidence” provided in Chapters 21 and 22 was quite large, and given the wildly subjective nature of interpreting oral history (from which innumerable, contradictory interpretations can be made) I focused only on the “hard” geologic evidence. The hard evidence that Collins (2000a) offered for his hypothesis for a terminal Pleistocene cosmic catastrophe consisted mainly of the “Carolina Bays”, two alleged North Atlantic “deep Sea impacts”; a handful of pollen sites, the “muck” deposits in Alaska, and a Mississippi River glacial meltwater pulse reported by Emiliani et al. (1975).

Carolina Bays

Interpretations of the age and origin of the Carolina Bays played a very important role in the arguments of Collins (2000a) for a terminal Pleistocene comet impact along the East Coast of the United States. The importance of the Carolina Bays in the arguments of Collins (2000a) can be seen in the review of a lecture that Andrew Collins presented in the “Mysteries of the Past” lecture series in the 2000 “Questing Conference”. A web page that was part of his web site in May 2004, Collins (2000b), stated:

“Yet the destruction of Atlantis, and its `other islands’, identified as the island chains of the Bahamas and Caribbean, would appear to have begun some 500 years earlier. Sometime around 8600-8500 BC there came out of the north-eastern sky a brilliant object – a comet perhaps 100,000 times greater than the one which detonated above the tundra forests of Tunguska, Siberia, in June 1908. It passed low overhead the United States before disintegrating into millions of tiny fragments like some unimaginable millennial firework. The air shock-waves caused by the detonation and impact of these tiny pieces of the comet nucleus peppered the coastal plain, causing an estimated 500,000 elliptical craters, ranging in size from just a few hundred metres to 11 kilometres in length. Known as the Carolina Bays they extend from New Jersey down to Florida and can be found in six separate states – the greatest concentration being in the Carolinas. Each blast was like a mini nuclear explosion which caused spruce forests to be laid flat in great fan-like patterns. Two larger fragments of the comet struck the Atlantic Ocean north of Puerto Rico and east of Florida. The immense tsunami waves created by this event would have drowned the Bahamas and Caribbean, all but destroying its primitive culture and wiping out megafauna such as the giant sloth. Those who did survive reached the American mainland carrying with them a memory of this great cataclysm.”

First, I found that both Muck (1977) and Collins (2000a) present a completely inaccurate depiction of the distribution of Carolina Bays as shown in Figure 1. Compilation of the distribution of Carolina Bays, as mapped by primary sources, demonstrated that the oval distribution of Carolina Bays shown by Muck (1977) and Collins (2000a) are completely wrong. Instead of these oval distributions, the Carolina Bays lie within coast-wise belts within the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal plains. They are found from southern New Jersey, a large part of Delaware, and easternmost Maryland southwest along the Atlantic coast into southern Georgia and north central Florida (Kaczorowski 1977, May and Warne 1999). Additional Carolina Bays, locally called “Grady Ponds”, are found in southeast corners of Alabama and Mississippi within the Gulf of Mexico coastal plain (Otvos 1967, May and Warne 1999) (Figure 1). Neither Muck (1977) nor Collins (2000a) provide any documented evidence to support the inland occurrence of Carolina Bays as mapped in their figures.

In his figure, Collins (2000a) conflated the distribution of Carolina Bays along the coast together with a hypothesized concentration of meteorites inland of the coast, which was first interpreted by Nininger (1939) as coming from the disintegration of the meteorite that created the Carolina Bays. As shown in Figure 1 of Prouty (1952), the area inland of the Atlantic coastal plain illustrated by Collins (2000a) as containing Carolina Bays actually consists of Nininger’s (1939) hypothetical area of “abundant meteorites”, which lacks any Carolina Bays. Furthermore, more recent and detailed compilation of meteorite locations (Figure 2) demonstrated this hypothesized region of concentrated meteorites does not exist. Recent mapping of the distribution of meteorites showed that the distribution of meteorites within the Southeastern United States is random, without any apparent concentrations, contrary to what Nininger (1939) hypothesized. In addition, the meteorites found within the area of the hypothesized concentration of meteorites consist of a diverse mixture of stoney, stoney-iron, and iron meteorites that all differ in composition from each other to a degree that it is impossible for them to have come from the same parent body. Overall, there is a lack of any evidence for an inland concentration of meteorites associated with the Carolina Bays. As a result, the inland part of the oval mapped by Collins (2000a) for the distribution of Carolina Bays is a completely imaginary feature. Similarly, the distribution of Carolina Bays by Muck (1977), as shown in Figure 1, is completely wrong.

Similarly, neither Muck (1977) nor Collins (2000a) presented any hard evidence of Carolina Bays being found in the offshore areas that their figures indicate as containing Carolina Bays. There is simply no evidence that Carolina Bays occur as shown in their figures within the submerged surface of the continental shelves along the Atlantic Coast. The southeast edges of the distribution ellipses, which lie seaward of the continental shelf, are certainly imaginary. Thus, the offshore and inland distribution of Carolina Bays is based upon imagination, rather than any real evidence. Because of its imaginary nature, the oval distribution of Carolina Bays offers absolutely no evidence of an impact origin. Furthermore, the distribution of Carolina Bays along the Gulf of Mexico and northwestward into New Jersey, which Collins (2000a) conveniently ignored, remains unexplained by the impact hypothesis.

Another major problem for Collins (2000a) in using the Carolina Bays as evidence for a comet impact about 10,500-10,600 BP (8,500-8.600 BC), is the age of these features as indicated by radiocarbon dating, Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) dating, and palynology. When the data from these techniques is considered as a whole, it is quite clear that the assignment of a terminal Pleistocene age to the Carolina Bays by Collins (2000a) and other catastrophists is soundly refuted. Although he discussed this data, Collins (2000a) grossly misinterpreted them and completely ignored how they contradict his ideas.

In case of radiocarbon dates, Collins (2000a), using radiocarbon dates found in Savage (1982), acknowledged that radiocarbon dates ranging between “…c. 70,000 years and 6,000 years BP…” and “…between 18,460 and 8,355 BP.” had been obtained from samples taken from the sediments filling Carolina Bays. In citing these dates, neither author seemed to have grasped a fundamental principle of geology that in order for the sediments filling a specific Carolina Bay to have accumulated within it, the Carolina Bay must have existed prior to the deposition of that sediment. If a Carolina Bay contains a layer of sediment that accumulated within it around 18,500 radiocarbon years BP that is clear and irrefutable evidence that this Carolina Bay is at least 18,500 (radiocarbon) years old.

Figure 3 illustrates a collection of radiocarbon dates yielded by samples collected from the sediments filling various Carolina Bays. Figure 3 clearly shows that there exists numerous radiocarbon dates, largely ignored by Collins (2000a), that predate the proposed timing of his terminal Pleistocene catastrophe by tens of thousands of years. These dates clearly show that the Carolina Bays are older than the terminal Pleistocene catastrophe proposed by Collins (2000a) by tens of thousands of years. Regardless of the existence of younger radiocarbon dates, the numerous radiocarbon dates older than 10,500-10,600 BP (8,500-8.600 BC) shown in Figure 3 are clear evidence that these landforms are older than proposed by Collins (2000a).

In interpreting the dates in Figure 3., a person needs to understand that the radiocarbon dates reported from Carolina Bays are minimum dates. They just represent periods of time during which conditions within and individual Carolina Bay was favorable for the preservation of organic matter. There were times when sediments accumulated within the Carolina Bays, but the organic matter was not preserved. There were times that the glacial sea level dropped to the point that many Carolina Bays dried out because of lowered ground water tables within coastal regions. During these times, older sediments within them was deflated by eolian processes and older organic matter destroyed by oxidization and weathering of the lake sediments. As a result, it is highly unlikely that organic matter dating to the exact origin of any Carolina Bay would have been preserved. Thus, the dates seen in Figure 3 are minimum dates and that the actual age of the Carolina Bays is, in fact, older than any of these dates indicate.

The Carolina Bays are so old that some samples of organic material from the sediments filling Carolina Bays have found to be older than the useful limits of radiocarbon dating. This is demonstrated by the several greater than dates illustrated in Figure 3. These radiocarbon dates, especially since they are minimum dates, clearly show that the Carolina Bays are tens of thousands of years older than 10,500-10,600 BP (8,500-8.600 BC) as argued by Collins (2000a).

In Chapter 22, “End of the Ice Age”, Collins (2000a) made vague complains about the use of radiocarbon dates calibrated to calendar years. His complaint includes the obligatory, for many alternative archaeologists, and unsubstantiated comment that some sort of dark “academic bias” is somehow at work in how radiocarbon dates are calibrated / interpreted in their transformation into calendar years.

Because these and many finite radiocarbon dates demonstrate that the age of sediments filling the Carolina Bays are more than 2,000 years older then the age proposed by Collins (2000a), it is impossible for problems with the calibration of radiocarbon dates to explain why these dates completely contradict his ideas. The difference between calendar dates and radiocarbon dates is simply not enough to make many of the radiocarbon dates shown in Figure 3, either younger or contemporaneous with the 10,500-10,600 BP (8,500-8.600 BC) date for the formation of the Carolina Bays. Thus, the disputing of older radiocarbon dates on the basis of problems with radiocarbon calibration only demonstrates a fundamental ignorance of radiocarbon dating on the part of the people, who make such arguments.

Finally, Collins (2000a) failed to understand that the average, “10,500” years ago, of five radiocarbon dates given by Kaczorowski (1977) provided by Savage (1982) is a scientifically meaningless number. Individual dates from layers of sediment within a Carolina Bay specifically indicate the age of each of these layers and the oldest of these dates obviously provides only a minimum age of the Carolina Bay containing them. Averaging them together produces a date that is scientifically meaningless. Averaging these radiocarbon dates is like averaging the date when five randomly chosen states entered the United States of America (USA), and claiming that this average date is the date at which the USA was created. That Savage (1982) thought his average of radiocarbon had some sort of importance and Collins (2000a) accepted this average as having any scientific validity showed a fundamental ignorance of the part of all of them concerning how radiocarbon dates are interpreted. If anything, it appears to be a pseudo-scientific attempt by Savage (1982) to deliberately distort, in a favorable way, data that contradicted his interpretation of the origin of the Carolina Bays.

In terms of Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) dating of the Carolina Bays, Ivester et al. (2002) wrote about a Carolina Bay called “Flamingo Bay”:

” In the upper Coastal Plain, dates from Flamingo Bay indicate the rim was active at 108.7 ± 10.9 ka BP and again at 40.3 ± 4.0 ka BP. The nearby Bay-40 had an actively forming sand rim at 77.9 ± 7.6 ka BP. Near the confluence of the Wateree and Congaree Rivers in the middle Coastal Plain, an eolian sand sheet was dated to 74.3 ± 7.1 ka BP.”

About Carolina Bays in general, Ivester et al. (2004a) wrote:

“Luminescence and radiocarbon dating of inland dunes and Carolina bay rims indicate activity during multiple phases over the past 100,000 years. Some bays have evolved through phases of activity and inactivity over tens of thousands of years, as evidenced both by multiple rims along a single bay and by multiple ages within single rims.”

and

” Both dunes and bays were active during the Wisconsin glaciation, with ages tending to fall between 15,000 and 40,000 years BP, and near the isotope stage 5/stage 4 boundary 70,000 to 80,000 years BP.”

These OSL dates and others shown in Figure 3, which lack any problems with calibration, as in case of radiocarbon dating, substantiate the radiocarbon dating. In fact, they show that as indicated by some greater than radiocarbon dates, Carolina Bays are even much older than 50,000 years. In fact, it appears that the Carolina Bays are as much as ten times the age proposed by Collins (2000a). As in case of the radiocarbon dates, multiple periods of reworking and modification of the sand rims have reset the luminescence “clocks”. As a result, many of the OSL dates represent not the actual age of the Carolina Bays, but rather document multiple periods of eolian and lacustrine modification of the rim of these bays over the last 70,000 to over 100,000 years (Ivester et al. 2004a, 1004b). Regardless, the OSL dating of the sandy rims of Carolina Bays further refute the contention by Collins (2000a) that these landforms are only 10,500-10,600 years old. Because OSL dates do not need to be calibrated in order to convert OSL years to calendar years, it is impossible to use the calibration issue, which Collins (2000a) used to discard out-of-hand radiocarbon dates inconveniently contradicting his ideas, to discredit the above OSL dates.

The sequence of pollen spectra recovered from cores taken from various Carolina Bays have long refuted the terminal Pleistocene age proposed by Collins (2000a) and other catastrophists for these landforms. For example, years before Collins (2000a) was published, Frey (1953, 1955) and Whitehead (1964, 1981) documented the presence of full glacial pollen zones within the sediments filling Carolina Bays. These thick sediments containing pollen characteristic of full glacial conditions filling a Carolina Bay could only have accumulated within in them if they had existed prior to the catastrophe, which Collins (2000a) claimed ended the Pleistocene. Had the Carolina Bays been formed by a catastrophic event, which abruptly ended the Pleistocene and devastated local floras, they would have been created too late for sediments containing pollen characteristic of full glacial environments to have accumulated in them. The radiocarbon dates reported by Frey (1953, 1955) and Whitehead (1964, 1981) for the Carolina Bays, which they studied demonstrated that the sediments containing full glacial pollen. Thus the Carolina Bays filled by these sediments predates the date proposed by Collins (2000a).

After Collins (2000a) was published, Brook et al. (2001) published a detailed analysis of pollen recovered from cores from Big Bay within central South Carolina that on the basis of radiocarbon dates and palynology soundly refuted a terminal Pleistocene age for the Carolina Bays. In cores from Big Bay, Brook et al. (2001) found well-defined zones consisting of distinct pollen assemblages indicative of the accumulation of sediments from Holocene interglacial epoch, through the Wisconsinan glacial epoch, back into Oxygen Isotope Stage 5, 75,000 to 134,000 years BP. Thus, Big Bay existed as far back as 75,000 years BP. This period of time was tens of thousands of years prior to the date of Carolina Bay formation argued by Collins (2000a) and Collins (2000b). Their pollen interpretations are supported by radiocarbon dates of organic material, which are illustrated in Figure 3, derived from dating organic material from the cores that Brook et al. (2001) studied.

From the above discussion it is clear that there exists an abundance of evidence, which clearly demonstrates that Carolina Bays are far to old by tens of thousands of years to had been created about 8500 – 8600 BC (10,500 – 10,600 BP) as proposed by Collins (2000a). It is revealing that a significant amount of this data was published well before Collins (2000a). He was either unaware of this data or choose to dismiss them out of hand because it contradicted his theories about the formation of the Carolina Bays.

In addition, Brooks et al. (1996, 2001), Grant et al. (1998), and Ivester et al. (2002, 2003, 2004b) have clearly demonstrated that the shape and size of the Carolina Bays have been repeatedly modified at various periods in time by lacustrine and eolian processes during the last 100,000 to 120,000 years. In the case of Big Bay, a Carolina Bay in South Carolina, Ivester et al. (2003) found, using OSL dating, that the dozen or more concentric sand rims within Big Bay were not created simultaneously as argued by Collins (2000a) and other catastrophists. Instead Ivester et al. (2003) found that these sand rims became progressively younger towards the center of the bay. The four OSL dates reported from selected rims by Ivester et al. (2003), i.e. 35,660±2600; 25,210±1900; 11,160±900; and 2,150±300 years BP, demonstrate that Big Bay has shrunk over the last 36,000 years by 1.6 miles (1 km). These rims were not found to be composed impact ejecta, but rather “are composed of both shoreface and eolian deposits” (Ivester et al. 2004a). As a result of the OSL dating of the rims of numerous Carolina Bays, Ivester et al (2004b) concluded:

“The optical dating results indicate that present-day bay morphology is not the result of a single event, catastrophic formation, but rather they have evolved through multiple phases of activity and inactivity over tens of thousands of years. This is evidenced both by multiple rims of differing ages along the same bay, and by multiple ages within single rims.”

Thus it is quite clear that the current elliptical shape of the Carolina Bays reflects not their original shape, but rather the result of tens of thousands of years of modification by lacustrine and eolian processes. As a result it is impossible, and quite unscientific, to use either their current elliptical shape or orientation to infer the original process, which created the Carolina Bays as practiced by and Collins (2000a) and others. As noted above this long history of repeated modification also proves that they are far too old to have been formed when Collins (2000a) and other catastrophists argued they formed.

Another major problem with the arguments made by Collins (2000b) and Collins (2000a) for an impact origin of the Carolina Bays is that research, i.e. May and Warne (1999), provided a “suitable terrestrial mechanism” by which these depressions were produced. The paper by May and Warne (1999) contradicted the claim by Collins (2000a) that “geologists now feel that the Carolina Bays might also be the result of aerial detonations produced by a “disintegrating comet nucleus”.

Finally, Collins (2000a) speculated that the Carolina Bays might have created by “shock waves” resulting from the “aerial detonation” of a “disintegrating comet nucleus”. However, Collins (2000a) failed to explain, in terms of a detailed a physical model, how a “disintegrating comet nucleus” can producing “shock waves” capable of forming craters the size of the Carolina Bays. Lacking a detailed physical model, a main argument for such an origin was a comparison, which he falsely claimed to be “favorable”, between “funneled-shaped depression” a few meters deep found at the Tunguska impact site to non-funnel-shaped and shallow Carolina Bays that are 100s of meters to kilometers wide. It is quite possible that the funnel-shaped depressions at the Tunguska impact site consisted of thermokarst developed in local permafrost as the result of the local stripping of vegetation by the blast and resulting warming of the ground within the area of the blast.

Deep Sea Craters

In support of the impact origin of the Carolina Bays, Collins (2000a) repeatedly referred to two very large, alleged impact craters, which Muck (1977) illustrated as existing in the Atlantic Ocean. The locations and size of these craters are illustrated by Muck (1977) only with a crude sketch and by Collins (2000a) with a figured with an inconsistent scale. As a result, the location and size of these alleged craters shown in Figure 1 are approximate and limited by the lack of accuracy in both of the source illustrations. Despite this problem, it is quite clear that the craters proposed by Muck (1977) are both of enormous size, at least of 320 to 480 km (200 to 300 miles) in maximum length. Individually, these craters far exceed the size, as shown in Figure 1, the Chixulub Impact Crater, which is associated with the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary and the global extinction of dinosaurs and other organisms.

Concerning these two alleged impact craters, Collins (2000a) stated:

“..to my knowledge no geologist or astronomer has ever embraced Otto Muck’s claim regarding the origins of the two deep elliptical holes in the West Atlantic Basin. This surprises me, for their shape and north-west orientation hint clearly at an association with the Carolina Bay event.”

Looking at maps and publications available to geologists or astronomers prior to the publication of Collins (2000a), there should not exist any surprise that neither conventional geologist nor astronomer had embraced Muck’s “two deep elliptical holes in the West Atlantic Basin” as impact craters. First, the formation of craters with lengths as much as 200 to 300 km (120 to 180 miles) would certainly have created well-defined magnetic and gravity anomalies as discussed by Pilkington and Grieve (1992). As illustrated by the free air gravity maps of the North Atlantic by Rabinowitz and Young (1990), which was published over ten years before Collins (2000a), and later maps, such anomalies are completely absent from the areas mapped as craters by Muck (1977) and Collins (2000a). In fact, later maps show that the original magnetic striping created by sea-floor spreading is undisturbed in these areas.

Second, Tucholke (1986) published a map of depth to basement for the western North Atlantic Ocean 14 years before Collins (2000a). This map clearly showed the presence of well-defined fracture patterns of oceanic crust unmodified by impact processes within the location of the alleged impact craters of by Muck (1977) and Collins (2000a). Sea floor mapping by Muller and Roest (1992) furthered confirmed the lack of any disturbance of primary sea-floor fracture patterns in the areas mapped as impact craters by Muck (1977) and Collins (2000a). These fractures include a fracture large enough to have been mapped and formally named the “Nares Fracture Valley” by Tucholke (1986) that crosses one of the craters mapped by Collins (2000a) and Muck (1977). The undisturbed nature of local and regional sea floor fracture patterns completely disproves the existence of the two large craters proposed by Muck (1977) and Collins (2000a).

Finally, the “Bathymetry of the North Atlantic Ocean”, Tucholke et al. (1986), which was available more than 14 years before Collins (2000a), showed that the two deep elliptical holes, which Muck (1977) speculated as being impact craters are cartographic artifacts. One of the two deep elliptical holes illustrated by Muck (1977) and Collins (2000a) is actually an irregular-shaped area in the North Atlantic called the “Nares Deep”. This area lacks any distinct crater morphology. This deep elliptical hole of Muck (1977) is nothing more than a cartographic artifact created by the way in which mapmakers contoured the limited data available in 1977. Tucholke et al. (1986) also demonstrated that the second deep elliptical hole illustrated by Muck (1977) and Collins (2000a) is completely imaginary. It is nothing more than another cartographic artifact, which Muck (1977) identified as a crater, solely on its outline.

The creation of even one crater with a maximum diameter of 320 to 480 km (200 to 300 miles) would have blanketed the surrounding Atlantic Ocean over 800 km (490 miles) away from the rim with a thick layer of impact eject. However, none of numerous cores that have been taken from the western Atlantic Ocean have shown any evidence of this ejecta layer. Given the complete lack of any credible evidence, even including the two alleged “deep elliptical holes in the West Atlantic Basin” mapped by Muck (1977), it is not surprising that conventional geologists and astronomers ignored these alleged impact craters as proposed by Muck (1977). At this point, the available data can only be interpreted as indicating that both of these alleged impact craters existed only in the imagination of Muck (1977).

Near the end of Chapter 21, Collins (2000a) commented that the formation of these impact craters “would have made quite a mess of any low-lying island landmasses located the North Atlantic Ocean”. What Collins (2000a) overlooked is that the creation of even one crater with a maximum diameter of 320 to 480 km (200 to 300 miles) on land would have resulted in global extinction level event on the scale experienced at the Cretaceous-Tertiary, even Permian-Triassic boundaries. On land, a hypothetical impactor with a similar composition to a stoney meteorite, would have been a 25 to 30 km (15 to 24 miles) size asteroid. This asteroid would have been larger in size than the 17.5 km (10.6 mile) in diameter asteroid that created the Chixulub Impact Crater. The formation of a similar size crater in the deep sea would have required a larger asteroid or comet.

The impact of even a single 25 km diameter asteroid or equivalent size comet would not have simply “made quite a mess” of low-lying islands such as Cuba and Hispanola. Such an impact, and more so in case of two of them, would have obliterated anything and anyone on these islands and adjacent parts of North and South America. As determined from Marcus et al. (2004) and Collins et al. (2004), the formation of the closest crater would have created thermal radiation capable of igniting clothing; newspaper, wooden buildings, and grass and causing third degree burns over the body of people standing in the open in Cuba and Hispanola. In addition, the same impact would have subjected within both Cuba and Hispanola to an earthquake of 10.7 magnitude on the Richter Scale; an air blast with a velocity of 335 to 552 meters per second (750 to 1235 miles per hour); and a blanket of ejecta ranging in thickness from 4 to 15 meters (13 to 50 ft) thick. Just about every building, bridge, or structure would have been leveled long before 200 m high (660 ft) tsunamis obliterated everything on the surface of these islands and along a significant portion of the shorelines of the northern Atlantic Ocean. Despite massive destruction that the impacts proposed by Muck (1977) would have caused, evidence of such massive destruction having occurred within Cuba, Hispanola, and along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico during Late Pleistocene is completely absent. It is simply impossible for the cataclysmic asteroid or comet impacts needed to have created the impact craters illustrated by Muck (1977) have occurred and not left a shred of recognizable evidence of an extinction level event greater than the one that wiped out the dinosaurs.

In fairness, Collins (2000c) did recognize that the impacts proposed by Muck (1977) would have resulted in catastrophic tsunamis when he stated:

The latest theories regarding their formation feature the fragmentation of a comet into literally millions of pieces which impacted a wide area, including a large part of the Atlantic Ocean off the United States, sometime between 8500 and 9000 BC. Such an event would have caused super-tsunami waves that would have engulfed the low-lying regions of the Bahamas and Caribbean killing everything in their path.”

However, neither Collins (2000a) nor Collins (2000c) provided a single shred of hard physical evidence of this “super-tsunamis”, which would have been far worse then the tsunamis generated by the Chixulub Impact, having “engulfed” the low-lying regions of the eastern seaboard of North America, the Bahamas, and Caribbean. It is physically impossible for the “super-tsunamis” to have occurred as proposed and not have left behind a single shred of recognizable evidence. Collins (2000a) is both deluding himself and fooling his readers when he claimed these tsunamis would have “receded to leave the landscape hardly altered”. For example, in cores of coastal lakes from which pollen records extending into the Pleistocene have been recovered, should be evidence of either of the deposits or environmental devastation which such “super-tsunamis” would have left behind as happened with the early Holocene Storrega tsunamis. In addition, such “super-tsunamis” would have reshaped the sandy coastal plains to the point of largely obliterating older, pre-existing landforms such as the Carolina Bays, beach ridges, and fluvial terraces. In the above quote, Collins (2000c) proposed “super-tsunamis” that were powerful enough to devastate and destroy an entire civilization, but by some unexplained magic failed to leave behind any physical evidence of having occurred.

Finally, while discussing these alleged craters, Collins (2000a) speculated that Barringer (Meteor) Crater in Coconino county, Arizona as either related to his hypothetical impact event that created the Carolina Bays or having been formed about 20,000 years ago. Sutton (1984, 1985), published 15 to 16 years before Collins (2000a), had already soundly refuted the inference by Collins (2000a) that Native Americans could have witnessed the meteorite impact that created Barringer (Meteor) Crater. Sutton (1984, 1985) dated Barringer Crater using Thermoluminescence (TL) dating techniques on impact breccia superheated at the moment of impact as having been formed between 47,000 to 52,800 years ago. Thus Barringer Crater was neither witnessed by Native Americans nor was associated with any terminal Pleistocene impact event. Given that TL dating does not suffer the problems of radiocarbon dating and does not need to be calibrated, the calibration of such dates is a nonexistent issue.

Hibben’s Glacial Muck of Alaska

At the end of Chapter 21, “Cosmic Pinball”, Collins (2000a) quotes from “Lost American”, Hibben (1946), about the “glacial muck” of Alaska to support and dramatize his interpretation of the catastrophic origin of the Carolina Bays. The quote, like much of Hibben (1946), talked dramatically of torn and twisted remains of bison, mammoths, other animals, and trees being piled together in the “glacial muck” of Alaska and of: “The evidences of violence there are as obvious as in the horror camps of Germany.”

The so-called glacial “muck” of Alaska is a favorite, to the point of being cliché, piece of evidence for terminal Pleistocene catastrophism, including Deloria (1997), Hapgood (1970), Velikovsky (1955), and Allan and Delair (1995). In addition to Hibben (1946), many catastrophists often cite Rainey (1940) and Hibben (1942), which contain similar descriptions of “glacial muck” within Alaska as evidence of their catastrophic scenarios. For example Allan and Delair (1995) stated:

“In Alaska, for example, thick frozen deposits of volcanic ash, silts, sands, boulders, lenticles and ribbons of unmelted ice, and countless relics of late Pleistocene animals and plants lie jumbled together in no discernible order. This amazing deposit, usually referred to as ‘muck’, has been described by Dr Rainey as containing: ‘… enormous numbers of frozen bones of extinct animals, such as mammoth, mastodon, super bison and horse, as well as brush, stumps, moss and freshwater molluscs (281)’.”

In the half century between when Hibben (1946) was published and the publication of Collins (2000a) dozens of papers and monographs have been published about the Quaternary deposits, which Hibben (1942, 1946) and Rainey (1940) designated as “muck”. When examining this research, i.e. Pewe (1955, 1975a, 1975b, 1989); Westgate et al. (1990); and Guthrie (1990), a person finds that the so-called “glacial muck” as described by Hibben (1942, 1946) and Rainey (1940) exists only in their and various catastrophists’ imaginations. These Quaternary deposits simply do not consist of “thick frozen deposits of volcanic ash, silts, sands, boulders, lenticles and ribbons of unmelted ice, and countless relics of late Pleistocene animals and plants lie jumbled together in no discernible order” as described by Collins (2000c) and Velikovsky (1955) and other catastrophists.

Instead, as described in numerous publications, i.e. Pewe (1955, 1975a, 1975b, 1989), Westgate et al. (1990), and Guthrie (1990), which published and distributed to libraries long before Collins (2000a), a person finds an ordered, layer-cake sequence of strata. Figures 20 and 29 of Pewe (1975), Figure 4 of Pewe et al. (1997), and the measured section of Westgate et al. (1990) show that the so-called “glacial muck” of the Alaska area consists of seven well-defined geologic layers. These layers in total are only 10 to 20 m (33 to 66 ft) thick at the thickest. Layers such as the Ready Bullion Formation, Engineer Loess, Goldstream Formation, Gold Hill Loess, and the Fairbanks Loess, consist either of silt that is either wind-blown silt called “loess” or colluvium moved down-hill by slopewash or solifluction. Other layers, i.e. the Dawson Cut and Eva Formations, contain buried, in situ forests that are rooted in “fossil” soils. The basal strata consist of stream gravels, i.e. the Tanana Formation, Fox Gravel, and Cripple Gravel. The contacts between these geologic layers are persistent, observable contacts that are often associated with forest beds, ice-wedge casts, and buried soils that demonstrate that periods of thousands to tens of thousands years occurred between the accumulation of individual layers. The loesses also contain numerous buried soils, paleosols, which formed during long periods of time during which no accumulation of loess occurred. Thus, the strata comprising the “glacial muck” of Collins (2000a) formed not during a single catastrophic event, but accumulated episodically over a period of two to three million years. The youngest of the loess layers actually postdates his proposed terminal Pleistocene catastrophe being only 7,000 to 8,000 years old (Pewe 1955, 1975a, 1975b, 1989, Pewe et al. 1997, Westgate et al. 1990, Muhs et al. 2003).

In addition, Rainey (1940) and Hibbens (1942, 1946) were wrong in their descriptions of plant and animal fossils occurring randomly together throughout the strata they called “glacial muck”. For example, the presence of subfossil trees within these deposits is typically limited to one of three in situ buried forests. As shown in Pewe (1975a:figure 29), these buried forests occur at the top of the Fox Gravel, the Gold Hill Loess, and the Goldstream Loess. Each of these forest beds consist of the in situ stumps of mature trees rooted in buried soils developed in the top of each of these units (Pewe 1975a, 1975b, 1989). The youngest forest bed dates to the last interglacial, about 125,000 years ago as documented by Pewe et al. (1997). It and the strata beneath it are far too old to be related to any terminal Pleistocene catastrophe. The oldest forest bed, the Dawson Cut Forest Bed, has been found to be almost 2 million years old by Westgate et al. (2003). Therefore both forest beds are far too old to be related to the terminal Pleistocene catastrophe proposed by Collins (2000a). These trees consist of the in situ trunk and fallen trunks of forests buried in place by colluvial deposits or solifluction lobes. Finally, a careful reading of Pewe (1975a) and Guthrie (1990) would demonstrate that the claims by Rainey (1940) and Hibben (1942, 1946) about the abundance of fossil bones and how they are distributed are grossly exaggerated and quite inaccurate.

The so-called “muck”, which Rainey (1940) and Hibben (1942, 1946) described consists largely of the deposits of thermokarst, landslides, and debris and mudflows created by the melting of the permafrost and the slumping of oversteepened slopes. These deposits consist of relatively thin, discontinuous surficial layers blanketing the well-stratified loess, slopewash, alluvial, and colluvial deposits that actually contain the mummified remains of mammoths and other mammals (Pewe 1975a). Similar beds are sometimes found within the Quaternary units, but they are far too thin, discontinuous, scattered, and rare to have been created by a single event. These beds represent the deposits of prehistoric debris and mudflows and the periodic development of thermokarst during the accumulation of these deposits.

The numerous papers and books published about the Quaternary deposits of Alaska in 54 years between when Hibben (1946) and Collins (2000a) demonstrate that the dramatic descriptions a person can read in Hibbens (1946) are unsupported by any hard evidence. The research discussed above has demonstrated that these descriptions consisted entirely of the “geopoetry” of the type seen in disaster movies such as “Volcano”, “10.5” and the “Day After Tomorrow”. Although the comments of Hibben (1946), which are quoted by Collins (2000a) are as entertaining as seeing lava flow down Whilshire Boulevard and New York being fast frozen by catastrophic climate change, they have proved to be as scientifically bankrupt as the events depicted in such movies.

Even in the few years since Collins (2000a) was published, papers and books, demonstrating the scientifically bankrupt nature of both the physical descriptions and interpretations of Hibben (1942, 1946) concerning Alaskan sediments, which alternative archaeologists and catastrophists typically lump together as “muck”, continued to be published. The most notable of these is a collections of papers, i.e. Berger (2003), Matheus et al. (2003), Matthews et al. (2003), Rutter et al. (2003), Westgate et al. (2003), which appeared in the July 2003 issue, vol. 60, no. 1, of Quaternary Research and Muhs et al. (2003). These papers further document that these deposits are the result, not of a single catastrophic event, but were rather created by the interaction of the gradual and periodic accumulation of loess, periodic development of soils, and their periodic modification by colluviation and solifluction. These papers contain numerous radiocarbon, Optically Stimulated Luminescence, and other dates, demonstrating that the so-called “Alaskan muck” periodically accumulated over a period of hundreds of thousands of years to over three million years in places.

Finally, Collins’ (2000a) comments about “Alaskan muck” completely lack any extended discussion of the papers, i.e. Pewe (1955, 1975a, 1975b, 1989), Pewe et al. (1997), Westgate et al. (1990), and Guthrie (1990), published about the loess and other Quaternary deposits, which Hibbens (1942, 1946) included in his “muck”. Despite these papers being readily available in the scientific literature and the significant evidence they contain regarding the origin of so-called “Alaskan muck, and having been published years before Collins (2000a), he made no mention of them. At the least, Collins (2000a) failed miserably in his research by completely overlooking over a half century of research, which have totally refuted the catastrophic interpretations made by Hibben (1942, 1946).

Mississippi Meltwater Events

In Chapter 22, “End of the Ice Age”, Collins (2000a) argued that research by Emiliani et al. (1975) and Emiliani (1976) provided evidence that linked the “termination of the glacial age and inundation of low-lying regions of the Bahamas and Caribbean, with, quite literally, the drowning of Atlantis”. Collins (2000a) noted that Emiliani et al. (1975) identified a period of meltwater outpouring down the Mississippi River, which they interpreted to be a period of rapid ice melting and sea-level rise dated at 11,600 radiocarbon years BP. Despite being dated at 11,600 radiocarbon years BP by Emiliani et al. (1975), Collins (2000a) argued that this period of vastly increased flow of meltwater down the Mississippi River corresponded to his proposed catastrophic impact and planetary catastrophe at 10,500-10,600 BP (8,500-8.600 BC). They argued that this period of “progressive outpouring of ice meltwater” into the Gulf of Mexico represented a period of time 200 to 300 years after his proposed catastrophic impact during which the “sudden emergence of a warmer climate” caused ice sheets to melt, and sea levels to abruptly rise. He argued that it was these rising sea levels that abruptly drown low-lying coastal areas and “whole island land masses” in the Bahamas and Caribbean.

As shown in Figure 4, research conducted in the last 29 years, since Emiliani et al. (1975) was published, has rendered all of Collins (2000a) arguments moot. Unfortunately, this later research, as summarized by Aharon (2003), has shown that the DeSoto Canyon core studied by Emiliani et al. (1975) accumulated too slowly and was too bioturbated and too far from the Mississippi River to preserved an accurate record of Mississippi River meltwater pulses and spikes. The extremely poor preservation of the paleoenvironmental record by the sediments of this core resulted in Emiliani et al. (1975) grossly misinterpreting the number, chronology, and significance of meltwater pulses and events that occurred along the Mississippi River. As a result, the arguments of Collins (2000a) are based on interpretations of Emiliani et al. (1975), which has been fatally distorted by the extremely poor recording and preservation of the meltwater signature within the core from which the data came.

As shown in Figure 4, it is now known that the first of five significant outpourings, pulses, of glacial meltwater came down the Mississippi River between 14,000 and 16,000 radiocarbon years BP. During this period, it is quite clear that this was the first and only time that the meltwater came directly from the front of the Laurentide Ice Sheet. This is indicated by the presence of a high proportion of fine quartz found in sediments, which accumulated during this interval (Brown and Kennett 1998, Aharon 2003). The meltwater was derived from the melting of the Laurentide Ice Sheet as it retreated as the result of climatic warming. Because this meltwater pulse and associated retreat of the Laurentide Ice Sheet and climatic warming occurred 3,400 to 5,400 years later before Collins (2000a) claimed that his catastrophic impact occurred, it is obviously impossible that this hypothetical catastrophe was responsible in any way for either starting or causing them.

After a pause in the gulfward flood of meltwater down the Mississippi, three shorter pulses of meltward, separated by shorter pauses in meltwater flow occurred down the Mississippi River. 4, These meltwater pulses occurred at 13,200 to 13,600; 12,500 to 12,900; and 11,200 to 11,250 radiocarbon years BP (Figure 4) (Aharon 2003). Unlike the previous meltwater pulse, the sediments being brought down the Mississippi River and deposited in the Gulf of Mexico indicate that these meltwater pulses are not coming directly from the ice sheet. Rather, the sediments show that the water is coming from large proglacial lakes, which have developed in front of the Laurentide Ice Sheet as it has retreated northward (Brown and Kennett 1998). Because of these proglacial lakes, the pauses in meltwater flow down the Mississippi River are not related to climatic change. Rather they are the result of switching between drainages of the St. Lawrence, Hudson, and Mississippi rivers as different proglacial lake outlets were blocked and unblocked by shifting ice lobes, erosion, and isostatic uplift (Licciardi et al. 1999). After about 14,000 radiocarbon years BP because of the proglacial lakes and their shifting outlets, the rate at which the ice sheet is melting ceases to be the main factor in determining the amount of meltwater coming down the Mississippi River (Brown and Kennett 1998, Aharon 2003). Therefore, it is impossible after about 14,000 radiocarbon years BP for either Emiliani et al. (1975) or Collins (2000a) to make any inferences about climatic change simply based upon whether or not meltwater was flowing down the Mississippi River. The simplistic connection between climate change and Mississippi meltwater floods made by Collins (2000a) had been refuted even before he published it.

Between 10,000 to 11,200 radiocarbon years BP, there was a cessation of meltwater flow down the Mississippi River during a period called the “Cessation Event” (Figure 4) (Leventer et al. 1982, Flower and Kennett 1990, Marchitto and Wei 1995, Aharon 2003). In a complete refutation of the arguments of Collins (2000a), there is no flow of meltwater down the Mississippi River either at or 200 to 300 years after his alleged cosmic catastrophe. Melting at the margin of the ice sheet still generated huge amounts of glacial meltwater. However, instead of flowing down the Mississippi River and into the Gulf of Mexico, it emptied out of proglacial lakes in front of the Laurentide ice sheet into the North Atlantic via the St. Lawrence River. Therefore, climate was not a significant factor determining the lack of meltwater flowing down the Mississippi River. Thus, the latest research shows that the meltwater evidence used by Collins (2000a) used to link the “termination of the glacial age and inundation of low-lying regions of the Bahamas and Caribbean, with, quite literally, the drowning of Atlantis” exists only in his imagination.

It is not until 10,000 radiocarbon years BP, 400 to 500 years after the alleged cosmic impact, that a final pulse of meltwater flow down the Mississippi River started. This final pulse of final meltwater flooding occurred not because of pure climatic change and associated rapid melting of the Luarentide ice sheet as Collins (2000a) interpreted Emiliani et al. (1975). Rather, it occurred because isostatic rebound opened outlets of proglacial lakes draining into the Mississippi River. For the next 1,000 years, until 8,900 radiocarbon years BP, meltwater flooded down the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico. At that time, the edge of the Laurentide ice sheet retreated far enough north that meltwater could empty into either the St. Lawrence or Hudson rivers or, by 8,200 radiocarbon years BP, Arctic Ocean (Licciardi et al. 1999).

As illustrated in Figure 4, Poole and Wright (1999) have delineated the occurrence of Holocene freshwater pulses from the Mississippi River. These pulses are clearly not of glacial origin. Likely they represent period of large-scale and frequent annual floods within the Mississippi Alluvial Valley. Although not as dramatic as comet and meteorite impacts, these periods of increased flooding within the Mississippi River Valley might have had catastrophic effects on the Native Americans occupying it at the times they occurred.

Finally, the timing of the global catastrophe of Collins (2000a) also failed to match any of the global meltwater events that have been found and dated in Fairbanks (1989, 1990), Clark et al. (1996, 2004), and other published papers (Figure 4). His global catastrophe occurs some 6,400 to 6,500 years after a period of rapid sea level rise and meltwater pulse, which started about 17,000 radiocarbon years BP (Clark et al. 2004). This meltwater pulse likely represents the first major period of ice sheet melting the start of the transition between glacial and post-glacial climates thousands of years before the cosmic catastrophe proposed by Collins (2000a). A second period of rapid sea level rise and meltwater pulse, called “mwp-1A”, started about 12,200 radiocarbon years BP and ended about 11,700 radiocarbon years BP. Thus, it started about 1,600 to 1,700 years before and ended 1,100 to 1,200 years before his cosmic catastrophe. Given impacts of any sort, no matter how large, can not cause climatic change before they hit, it is impossible to use either of these meltwater events and the start of the climatic transition between the glacial and post-glacial climates as evidence of such an event. The last major global meltwater pulse, called “mwp-1B”, occurred from 7,000 to 10,000 radiocarbon years BP and peaked at 9,500 radiocarbon years BP (Fairbridge 1989, 1990). This makes it too young to be associated with the cosmic catastrophe proposed by Collins (2000a).

Pollen

In Chapter 22, Collins (2000a) interpreted the analyses of prehistoric pollen by Wright et al. (1963) and Ogden et al. (1967) as documenting a rapid period of climate change which was unusual and unique enough that it can only be explained by major comet or meteorite impact occurring at the “end of glaciation . In case of Kirchner Marsh, Minnesota discussed by Wright et al (1963), the formation of the kettle hole containing Kirshner Marsh during the retreat of the Laurentide Ice Sheet is clear evidence of the active, ongoing transition from glacial to post-glacial climate having started long before 13,270 radiocarbon years BP. This is over 2,000 years before a period of rapid climate change after 10,300 radiocarbon years BP, which is misrepresented by Collins (2000a) as being the entire period of change from glacial to post-glacial climate. After the formation of the kettle hole by deglaciation the continuation of active change from glacial to post-glacial climate is seen in the change from Spruce-Cyperaceae pollen zone, through the Spruce-ash, Spruce-Artemisia, Birch-alder, and Pine pollen zones and finally to Elm-oak pollen zone sometime after 10,230 radiocarbon years BP. In the case of Ogden et al. (1967), he concluded from the examination of numerous radiocarbon-dated Midwest pollen profiles that the spruce decline occurred about 10,000 radiocarbon years BP. This date is some 600 years after Collins (2000a) proposed his catastrophic impact occurred. It is clear from looking at the pollen data from the sites discussed in Ogden et al. (1976) that the transition from glacial to post-glacial climate started thousands of years before either the alleged catastrophic impacts and the period of abrupt climate change discussed by Ogden (1967). Examining these reference cited by Collins (2000a) it is quite clear that the period of abrupt, regional climate change after 10,300 radiocarbon years does not represent the entire transition from glacial to post-glacial climate as Collins (2000a) falsely claimed in Chapter 22. Instead, it is a brief period of rapid climate change that occurred about 5,700 years after the transition from glacial to post-glacial climate started. This distinction is important, because is quite impossible for the climate change that ended the last ice age to have started in response to his proposed catastrophic impact thousands of years before it happened.

In his discussion of Wright et al. (1963) and Ogden et al. (1967), Collins (2000a) falsely assumed that this single period of rapid climate warming was unique for the Pleistocene. Apparently he was unaware that throughout the last 125,000 years conventional geologists and paleoclimatologists have discovered numerous periods of rapid, hemispheric-wide, climatic change which are comparable to those he used as evidence of a cosmic catastrophe. Called “Dansgaard (Oeschger) events”, 24 of these periods have occurred during the last glacial period, of which 16 of these occurred between 25,000 to 60,000 years ago. During a Dansgaard (Oeschger) event, which irregularly occurred approximately every 1500-2000a years, temperature increase by up to 8-10° centigrade over the period of a few decades (Broecker et al. 1985, Dansgaard et al. 1993, Stocker 1998). Thus, the rapid period of climatic warming used by Collins (2000a) is not unique as he claimed it to be. In fact, it is just one of many warming events, which have occurred throughout the last 125,000 years. It and other similar magnitude warming events are simply far too common to be credibly explained by extremely rare catastrophic processes such as meteorite or comet impacts.

As illustrated in Figure 4, Jacobson et al. (1987) demonstrated that the period of rapid climatic warming discussed by Wright et al. (1963) and Ogden et al. (1967) was not unique even for the period of climatic transition from glacial to post-glacial climates. Jacobson et al. (1987) found not one period of rapid, synchronous climate warming as claimed by Collins (2000a), but actually three periods of rapid, synchronous climatic warming having occurred during the transition from glacial to post-glacial climates (Figure 4). In this study, Jacobson et al. (1987) did a detailed analysis of the pollen records from 18 sites, characterized by continuous core, very closely spaced samples and numerous radiocarbon dates, covering southeastern and northeastern North America. He found that during the deglaciation of North America abrupt changes in vegetation, reflecting rapid, and synchronous changes in climate, occurred about 10,000, 12,300, and 13,500 radiocarbon years BP. Although noticeable in northeastern North America, the periods of synchronous climate change at 12,300 and 13,500 radiocarbon years BP were most pronounce in southeastern North America. In contrast, although noticeable in southeastern North America, the period of synchronous climate change at 10,000 radiocarbon years BP was most pronounce in northeastern North America. The number and frequency of these periods of climatic warming and the complete lack of any evidence, i.e. craters and ejecta, for a meteorite or comet impact associated with them discredit meteorite or comet impacts as a practical explanation for them. In contrast there are numerous climatic models that can explain these periods of climatic warming to varying degrees. In this case, either a meteorite or comet impact is simple-minded explanation for an event caused by the complex interaction of several processes. Broecker et al. 1988, Broecker 1998, Dansgaard et al. 1998, Stocker (1998), Alley et al. (2003), Sima et al. (2004), and many, many other published papers have discussed these processes and their interaction in great detail.

The timing of the periods of rapid and synchronous climatic warming delineated by Jacobson et al. (1987) also pose a significant problem for Collins (2000a). As determined by Jacobson et al. (1987) none of these periods, as in the case of the Mississippi River meltwater pulses and global meltwater events, are synchronous with the 10,500-10,600 BP (8,500-8.600 BC) date proposed by Collins (2000a) for his catastrophic impact. The two oldest periods predate the time of his proposed comet impact, respectively, by 2,900 to 3,000 and 1,700 to 1,800 years. They both show that the transition from glacial to post-glacial climate, including periods of rapid and synchronous change, was already taking place before the comet impact proposed by Collins (2000a) even occurred. The last period of rapid and synchronous climatic change occurred 400 to 500 years after his alleged impact. In the case of this period climatic change, it does not make any scientific sense why the effects a catastrophic impact, larger in size than the impact that wiped out the dinosaurs as illustrated by Collins (2000a), should take hundreds of years to occur.

Other Climatic Data

Collins (2000a) cited Broecker et al. (1960) as evidence of abrupt climate change about 11,000 radiocarbon years BP. However, Broecker et al. (1960) fails to provide any evidence for his cosmic catastrophic. Eleven thousand radiocarbon years BP has been demonstrated to a very significant period of abrupt climatic cooling, which was the start of the “Younger Dryas” (Broecker et al. 1988, Broecker 1998, Flower and Kennett 1990, Sima et al. 2004). Although it was one the most significant periods of abrupt climate change during the last deglaciation, it fails to provide any evidence for a global catastrophe envisioned by Collins (2000a) as it occured 500 to 600 years before the proposed date for this global catastrophe and it was a period of rapid climatic cooling, not warming as he proposed. It occurs at the wrong time and represents climatic change in the wrong direction to be part of his proposed cosmic catastrophe. That Collins (2000a) confused the start of the Younger Dryas, a period of abrupt climatic cooling with its end, a period of abrupt climatic warming, 1,000 years later, in his discussions demonstrated a remarkable lack of knowledge of the timing of Pleistocene events on the part of Collins (2000a). This mistake is like arguing that the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and the London Blitz in World War II were contemporaneous and claiming that they are part of the same event.

Conclusions

In a detailed examination of the geologic evidence offered by Collins (2000a) for a catastrophic meteorite or comet impact about 10,500-10,600 BP (8,500-8.600 BC), I found that none of the observations or data provide convincing evidence for such an event. In the case of the Carolina Bays, there is overwhelming evidence that these features formed tens of thousands of years before 10,500-10,600 BP. Thus it is impossible that these features could have been formed at the time proposed by Collins (2000a). Also there exists a lack of any credible evidence indicating that some sort of impact related process produced them given that their morphology has been modified by tens of thousands of years of lacustrine and eolian processes. The deep sea craters cited by Collins (2000a) as evidence lack any convincing evidence of either their formation or existence to the point of being imaginary features. Similarly, the catastrophic interpretations of the so-called Alaskan muck by Hibben (1942, 1946) represent antiquated and obsolete research that has been complete refuted by research published in the decades since his papers and book were published. What is now known about the character and chronology of Mississippi River and global meltwater pulses contradicts Collins (2000a) interpretations to the point of refuting them. In fact the timing of meltwater pulses show that the transition from glacial to post-glacial climates started thousands of years before the date of his proposed impact and impossible to have been the result of it. Although rapid periods of synchronous warming have occurred during the transition from glacial to post-glacial climates, they were common features of paleoclimate during the last 125,000 years. They were far too common to be explained by invoking relatively rare large-magnitude comet or meteorite impact. The timing of these events is inconsistent with a meteorite or comet impact about 10,500-10,600 BP. Furthermore, as does the data on meltwater pulses, palynologic and other paleoclimatic evidence clearly demonstrates that the transition from glacial to post-glacial climates started thousands of years before 10,500-10,600 BP. In summary, none of the examined geologic evidence provided any evidence for the cosmic catastrophe provided postulated by Collins (2000a). When the latest research was examined, it directly contradicts his ideas concerning a terminal Pleistocene catastrophic impact.

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