Derek S. Allan(1917-) & J. Bernard Delair(1932-) are two British scientists who authored Cataclysm: Compelling Evidence of a Catastrophic World Change, 9,500 BC, which discusses a global catastrophe that affected the planet during the 10th millennium BC. It was originally published as When the Earth Nearly Died (b).
The authors have built upon and refined the catastrophist theories of Velikovsky. Drawing on the details of worldwide myths and recent scientific research they have developed a plausible argument for believing that the Earth was violently impacted by an extraterrestrial event over eleven thousand years ago. They contend that ejecta, of varying sizes, from a supernova in the nearby Vela constellation, entered our solar system resulting in devastation on a planetary scale. The Earth did not escape and the destruction visited on our world is the sobering subject of this book. In 1977, George Michanowsky also referred to the Vela supernova but dated it to 4000 BC and considered its effects to be more visual than physical. Neither Michanowsky nor his book was referred to by Allan & Delair.
The authors boldly challenge accepted Ice Age theory, denying that the usual evidence of glacial damage is correct, as such striations are found in areas that did not have to endure an ice age! This book will no doubt require revision, as our understanding of the past continues to develop, but for the present, it offers an insight into the incredible disasters that could have wiped out our ancestors. Delair wryly commented that “evolution may not be just the survival of the fittest but also the survival of the luckiest.”
I note two things about Cataclysm, first the authors touch on the subject of Atlantis, usually in the context of catastrophism and secondly the Foreward was written by Rand Flem-Ath who is arguably the leading proponent of the idea of Atlantis in Antarctica. Commenting on the destruction of Atlantis they also wrote [p.225] that “we found Plato’s account of the loss of the legendary continent of Atlantis (the empire of Atlas) to be but one recollection of the occurrence of radical worldwide topographical changes some 11,500 years ago initiated by powerful and violent celestial agents.”[014.225] So it would seem that at the very least they were sympathetic to the reality of Atlantis!
Allan & Delair have used scientific evidence to indicate that 9500 BC was the approximate date for their proposed cataclysmic event. The coincidence of this date with the one apparently related to Solon has been seized upon by the more fundamentalist Atlantologists, who insist that Plato’s early date for the destruction of Atlantis is, euphemistically speaking, written in stone.
The authors range over the entire spectrum of catastrophist elements, such as the Deluge, extraterrestrial encounters, bone caves, frozen mammoths and pole shift. Inevitably, they were forced to engage in some speculation, but, if nothing else, this valuable work throws some light on a dark and terrifying period in our planet’s history.
Maurice A. Williams, who has written on several scientific and religious subjects has offered a very positive review(a) of Cataclysm describing it as a ‘must-read’ book. While I concur, I would urge caution.
What fascinates me, is that Richard Firestone and his colleagues, although generally using a different set of evidence have concluded that a global cataclysm took place in the same timeframe as the catastrophe described by Allan & Delair. I wonder if some combination of the two might offer a more robust hypothesis.