The Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis (YDIH) is based on the claim that around 12,800 years ago the Earth had an encounter with a very large asteroid or comet that broke up in an airburst over North America and of which some fragments possibly hit the ground directly(a).
Many effects that have been linked with this event with varying levels of enthusiasm including a suggested association with the demise of Atlantis. Elsewhere, megafaunal extinctions, cataclysmic floods, the disappearance of the Clovis people and the creation of the Carolina Bays(g), have all been proposed as consequences of this episode.
In 2006, Richard Firestone, Allen West & Simon Warwick-Smith published the foundations of the YDIH in The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes . A year later the hypothesis had a more public airing at the American Geophysical Union Press Conference, Acapulco, Mexico, May 23(d). This was followed the same year by the publication of a formal paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America(f).
Since then volumes have been written on the subject, both pro and con(c).
A 2014 paper(h) entitled Nanodiamond-Rich Layer Across Three Continents Consistent with Major Cosmic Impact at 12,800 Cal BP by Charles R. Kinzie et al., has developed further the idea of this event being associated with the Younger Dryas. In a similar vein is an article(f) from Megan Gannon.
December 2014 saw Graham Hancock raising the issue of a cometary cause for the Younger Dryas and its possible association with ancient Egypt(e).
Kevin A. & Patrick J. Casey are the American authors of a series of papers currently available on the academia.edu website(a), which are concerned with a globally catastrophic event that occurred 13,000 years ago. providing them with a title of ’13K Theory’. The kernel of their theory is that originally the Earth had two moons that at some later point collided, producing our current Moon, while the remnant of the second one eventually exploded over North America kick-starting what we refer to as the cooler Younger Dryas period.
They claim that this event wiped out megafauna, altered the Earth’s axis and created our mountains, the Earth being generally flat before the dramatic episode! They are adamant that it was not a comet or asteroid that caused the devastation, and so clash with the work of Richard Firestone and his colleagues.
Their final paper is entitled Atlantis Revisited(b), in which they nominate Rockall as being ‘by far’ the most likely location of Atlantis. They also claim that the war between the Atlanteans and the Greeks took place before the 13K Event. Enjoy.
John M. Jensen Jnr. is an independent researcher living in Florida, who has published two books on ancient civilisations and catastrophism. He has explored in depth some of the subjects touched on here. His first book was Ancient Canal Builders (a) , which explores the extensive ancient canal network on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States and Mexico. His second offering is Earth Epochs (b) in which he recounts pre-historic global catastrophes, including the Younger Dryas Event of 12,900 YBP,what he calls the Last Great Cataclysm of 5,000 YBP and the Earth Axial Tilt of 3448 YBP. Both books can be downloaded for free.
Jensen does mention Atlantis, but without dealing with the matter in any depth, it seems to me that he does accept its reality. I do not agree with all his ideas but I think his work should be read, including his blogs (c) .
Archaeoastronomy is a relatively new scientific discipline, which as the name implies combines archaeology and astronomy, particularly in the study of ancient megalithic monuments and their possible alignment with various celestial bodies.
Arguably the most famous example is Stonehenge, but our globe is littered with ancient monuments incorporating solar, lunar or astral alignments. Not all are as impressive or accessible as Stonehenge, Callanish or Newgrange but in remote places such as Nabta Playa or Fajada Butte (see Hadingham[1308.152]).
The subject was initially considered by some to be a ‘fringe’ topic, but in 1999 Clive Ruggles was appointed Professor of Archaeoastronomy at the University of Leicester(a) and is the author of the encyclopedic Ancient Astronomy.
The University of Maryland has had a Center for Archaeoastronomy since 1978(c).
The subject has never been central to Atlantis studies, but has hovered in the background, with writers such a Egerton Sykes(b) and Graham Hancock who employed aspects of the discipline in their publications.
Giulio Magli (1964- ) is an Italian archaeaostronomer with a website in English(e) dedicated to the application of the discipline in Egypt. In 2013, Magli proposed that aspects of the Göbleki Tepe site are related to the recent appearance of Sirius in the night sky around 9300 BC(f) . Andrew Collins and Rodney Hale argue against this interpretation(g) , which is perhaps understandable as they support a linkage with the Cygnus constellation. A 2004 paper by Magli, on precessional effects in ancient astronomy(h) , has recently been applied by Lenie Reedijk to her contention that the Maltese temples were oriented to Sirius.
A further application of the discipline was employed by Martin Sweatman and Dimitrios Tsikritsis who used it to interpret the carved symbols at Göbekli Tepe. In a 2017 paper(d) they concluded that the pillars there were used to record meteor showers and cometary encounters. They believe that one such encounter involved the explosion or impact of part of Encke’s Comet around 13,000 years ago, which triggered the Younger Dryas Event that kick-started the Neolithic Revolution.*Scientists who have worked on the site responded critically (i), which in turn evoked further comments from Sweatman and Tsikritsis(j).*
Sweatman later expanded their theory in his book Prehistory Decoded .
Archaeoastronomy is one of only a few dozen words with four consecutive vowels.
(j) https://www.academia.edu/33931844/MORE_THAN_A_VULTURE_A_RESPONSE_TO_SWEATMAN_AND_TSIKRITSIS (See end of paper)*
Randall Carlson is an architect, geomythologist and catastrophist. He is the founder of Sacred Geometry International(a). Carlson also features in Graham Hancock‘s newest book, The Magicians of the Gods. Hancock’s book focuses on the cometary impact in the 11th millennium BC, proposed by Richard Firestone et al. nearly a decade ago.
(b) See Archive 2720
Dr Michel-Alain Combes (1942- ) is a French amateur astronomer with a PhD in astronomy from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris VI). For forty years he has studied impact catastrophism and published his views in his book, La Terre Bombardée (The Bombarded Earth). His extensive website(a) endeavours to combine history, myth and science and includes a reference to Atlantis, as well as a kind mention of this site. His book can also be read on his site (French).
Combes delivered a paper in English(b) to a 2008 Conference in Paris entitled; The Apocalypse of the Year 10,000 BC – Myth or Reality? It has been proposed that this event may have created the Carolina Bays and destroyed Atlantis as proposed by Otto Muck.
Furthermore, it has also been linked to the onset of the mini ice age known as the Younger Dryas as described by Firestone, West and Warwick-Smith in their book The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes.
In 1992, Asteroid ‘3446 Combes’ was named in his honour.
(a) http://www.astrosurf.com/macombes/index.html (French)
Klimasturz(e) is a word, coined by Rutger Sernander (1866-1944) a Swedish botanist and archaeologist, meaning a ‘plunge’ in climate that leads to major or minor ice ages. It is a term used by some writers to describe a rapid climate deterioration such as the Younger Dryas.
Immanuel Velikovsky entitled chapter 11 of his Earth in Upheaval ‘Klimasturz’ as it is concerned with evidence of rapid climate changes resulting from the global catastrophes that he claims occurred in both the 15th and 8th centuries BC.
Younger Dryas also known as Dryas III was a mini Ice Age that lasted from around 10,700 BC until around 9600 BC. It is named after a wildflower called Dryas octopetala that flourished during this relatively short period. In Ireland the period is known as the Nahanagan Stadial and in Britain as the Loch Lomond Stadial. For about thirteen hundred years the glaciers had been slowly retreating until within a short timespan temperatures dropped and they began to advance again. The cause of this cooling is not absolutely clear. One view is that a sudden release into the North Atlantic of vast quantities of fresh water that had been contained by huge ice dams is assumed to have closed down the Gulf Stream, resulting in a twelve hundred year lowering of global temperatures. There is evidence that the change only took one or two decades. The same threat is said to exist today with the possibility of the melting of the Greenland ice cap.
A recent application of archaeoastronomy by Martin Sweatman and Dimitrios Tsikritsis led them to conclude that the carved symbols at Göbekli Tepe recorded an encounter involving the explosion or impact of part of Encke’s Comet around 13,000 years ago, which triggered the Younger Dryas Event that provided the impetus for the Neolithic Revolution. Sweatman later expanded their work in his book Prehistory Decoded  and in an article on the Ancient Origins website(k).
Kevin A. & Patrick J. Casey maintain that a globally catastrophic event occurred 13,000 years ago(j). The kernel of their theory is that originally the Earth had two moons that at some later point collided, producing our current Moon, while the remnant of the second one eventually exploded over North America kick-starting what we refer to as the cooler Younger Dryas period. They are adamant that it was not a comet or asteroid that caused the devastation, and so clash with the work of Richard Firestone and his colleagues.
In 2015, a paper constraining the impact date to within 100 years using Bayesian statistical analyses, now proposed as 12,835 -12,735 years ago(h).
Coincidentally, Emilio Spedicato independently arrived at the conclusion that it was a cometary impact in the North Atlantic that was responsible for the Younger Dryas. Subsequently, when temperatures rose again it resulted in the flooding of vast areas of low-lying landmasses that in Spedicato’s opinion included Atlantis, which he locates in Hispaniola.
Conflicting evidence regarding the possibility of the Younger Dryas being caused by such an impact is impartially outlined on the internet(a).
The November 2013 issue of the BBC Focus magazine (p.30) had a brief article on the impact theory, noting that the northern hemisphere saw a drop of as much as 15°C around 11,000BC. In the absence of a suitable impact crater of the right age, there is still much scientific scepticism(b).
However, in early 2017, further possible evidence of an impact at the start of the Younger Dryas was offered by a team led by Christopher Moore of the University of South Carolina, when they identified a distinct layer of platinum in the soil that coincided with the start of YD. Commenting on this anomaly Moore noted that “Platinum is very rare in the Earth’s crust, but it is common in asteroids and comets.”(e) In 2019, Moore published further data(m) supporting the extraterrestrial impact theory, based on studies carried out on sediments, which date back 20,000 years, from White Pond Lake, situated in southern Kershaw County, South Carolina. “Other examples of excessive platinum grains have been found across Europe, western Asia, Chile, South Africa and North America.” (n)
In early 2018, two papers were published online(i), reinforcing the YD impact theory and adding evidence that the event resulted in a conflagration that “may have consumed ?10 million km2, or ?9% of Earth’s terrestrial biomass.” Related to this is a paper by Andrew Collins that draws attention to the ‘Usselo horizon’, a charcoal-rich layer of between 1 and 8 inches, found on all continents, indicating widespread fires, now dated to 12,900 years ago(l).
Ice cores from Greenland indicate a further cooling period circa 6200 BC that may be related to the abandonment of many Neolithic settlements during this period. Other periods of abrupt climate change have been identified from 3800 BC to 3500 BC and 2800 BC to 2000 BC.
The fact that Plato’s apparent date for the demise of Atlantis, circa 9600 BC, roughly corresponds with the current, best estimate for the date of the Younger Dryas is interesting but unfortunately not conclusive proof of any direct connection. In the absence of any supportive archaeological evidence, a linkage between Atlantis and the Younger Dryas will have to remain a matter of faith rather than fact. Interesting but inconclusive.
Recent discoveries in northern Sudan of dozens of skeletons, the majority of whom were apparently killed by flint-tipped arrows, have led to the suggestion(c) they were the result of food shortages resulting from the Younger Dryas that in turn led to warfare over diminished food availability.
I note that Robert Schoch claims that there is no evidence to support the Younger Dryas impact theory, instead he believes that “it was most likely due to reduced solar activity at that time, a solar shut-down.”(o) Schoch’s wide-ranging critique has been refuted by the Comet Research Group.(p)
Turkey is the preferred location of Atlantis according to authors Peter James and Eberhard Zangger. In his book James asserts that Plato took the idea for Atlantis from the city of Tantalis, which was located in what is today the Province of Manisa in Western Turkey, just north-east of the ancient port of Smyrna (today’s Izmir). Zangger also opts for Turkey but favours ancient Troy as the original Atlantis.
Coincidentally, Çatal Hüyük, one of the world’s oldest cities, is located in Turkey just over 200 km south of the capital Ankara. Like Atlantis, Çatal Hüyük also had a bull cult and a Great Mother Goddess reminiscent of ancient Malta. After decades of work, excavations are continuing on the site(a). Mysteriously, this early city of some seven thousand people apparently abandoned their homes around 5600-6000 BC. They were not the only settlement to be abandoned around this period. Cyprus, Palestine and Syria and more famously Jericho all provide evidence of abandonment at the same time.
Ian Wilson has pointed out that following the Younger Dryas mini Ice Age of around 9000 BC a further mini Ice age occurred between 6200 BC and 5800 BC, a period that coincides with this unexplained desertion of Çatal Hüyük and elsewhere.
However exciting Çatal Hüyük may be, its antiquity would appear to have been overshadowed by the discoveries made at Göbekli Tepe where the site has been dated to 9600BC. Also noteworthy is Asikli Höyük which is 1,000 years older than the Çatal Hüyük settlement on the Konya plain and as the earliest village settlement founded in the Cappadocia region, the site is no less important(b).
(a) See: https://web.archive.org/web/20180212032433/http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/september-2011/article/latest-find-at-world-s-largest-neolithic-settlement-a-harbinger-of-surprises-yet-to-come
Graham Hancock the well-known investigator of prehistoric mysteries has never discussed the Atlantis enigma in depth. In fact, he once remarked on BBC Television that he avoids using the word ‘Atlantis’ in his books because “because most people when they hear the word Atlantis immediately think that they’re dealing with the lunatic fringe”.
Furthermore, he emphasises the potential value of myths as transmitters of historical facts, albeit distorted.
*In his tome on civilisations submerged at the end of the last Ice Age, Fingerprints of the Gods [275.462] he briefly discusses the subject of Atlantis. He accepted that the Atlantic was not harbouring any lost continent, although he was seeking a continental-sized home for his vanished civilisation. Similarly, in an earlier work, The Sign and the Seal [678.319], he also clearly discounted the Atlantic as the home of Atlantis. At this point, he appeared to be considering the Antarctic location proposed by the Flem-Aths.
His book, Underworld  was published in 2002 and was followed by a TV programme, Flooded Kingdoms of the Ice Age, which was based on it. The latter evoked a highly critical review(s) by N.C. Flemming, who has written widely on maritime matters including sea level changes and sunken cities . Hancock wrote an equally strong response(r) to this.*
Hancock maintains an interesting website(a) that is regularly updated with contributions from a wide range of contributors. His bestselling Fingerprints of the Gods is now available online(b).
The other side of the coin is that Hancock’s evidence supporting his theories has been heavily criticised as flawed(g) and misleadingly presented(h).
Jason Colavito has written(c) a critical review of Hancock’s work and his recent advocacy “for ayahuasca, a South American hallucinogen. Since taking the drug for his 2005 book Supernatural, Hancock has supported the concept that mind-altering substances give their users access to a spirit world where one can commune directly with the ‘gods’.”
In April 2015, Hancock was due to engage in debate Zahi Hawass on the subject of their conflicting views of ancient history. However, when Hawass saw that Hancock included an image of Robert Bauval in his presentation, he refused to continue with the arranged format(d)(t).
In September 2015, Hancock published his latest book, Magicians of the Gods, which worryingly sounds like a von Däniken book title! Already, he is trailing this publication with teasers, such as a claim that he has finally identified the ‘smoking gun’ that demonstrates that a cometary impact destroyed an advanced civilisation in the Antarctic 12,800 years ago(e) Shortly after the initial report was published, Hancock had to correct errors in it(f), the principal one being that the impact site was the North American ice cap NOT Antarctica. An interview with Hancock shortly before the publication of ‘Magicians’(n) is online as is also a review of the book itself(o).
Hancock also climbed aboard the Gobekli Tepe bandwagon, incorporating it along with Noah’s Ark and Atlantis into one narrative(p).
Hancock’s book also engages in scaremongering, with a sales-boosting prediction that an asteroid impact is possible in 2030, when the Earth once again enters the orbit of the remains of Encke’s Comet!
Jason Colavitos’s critical review of ‘Magicians‘ is now online(j). A more favourable evaluation of his book is now available from Dr. Jon Epstein of Greensboro College, who expresses some interesting views on the closed mindedness of many academics(k). Epstein’s review prompted further comments from Colavito(l). Following correspondence between Epstein and Colavito, additional claims of academic conspiracy to block Hancock have emerged.
Hancock recently received the endorsement of the South African Professor of Philosophy, Bert Olivier, which swiftly produced a response from Colavito(q).
Hancock’s next book, America Before, published in April 2019, proposes that North America was inhabited 130,000 years ago and was home to an advanced civilisation which was destroyed by a cometary impact at the end of the Younger Dryas period, around 10,000 BC.
*When asked what he meant by ‘advanced’ Hancock revealed(u) that “I think we’re talking about a civilization – more than 12,000 years ago – which was as advanced as our civilization was, say in the late 18th century or early 19th century. In other words, they could navigate the world, they could explore the world, they could measure the world accurately, they had precise astronomy, they could create beautiful maps that were accurate in terms of latitude and longitude. That kind of level of civilization.” *
(o) See: Archive 2904