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 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, on 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).
Martin Sweatman brought further evidence to bear on this debate in an article(i) on the Graham Hancock website. This focuses on the investigations at Hall’s Cave in Texas described in a paper by Sun et al, where the team concluded that the trace elements found there could indicate a volcanic rather than an impact as the cause of the Younger Dryas cooling! Sweatman disagrees with their conclusions claiming that there seems to be an element of selectivity in choosing data, leading to a wrong conclusion.
2019 also gave us a paper that included an extensive bibliography and overview of the YDIH debate(k).
In 2020, the eminent geologist James Lawrence Powell published Deadly Voyager , which offered further support to the YDIH. This book was instrumental in changing the negative stance of a number of ardent sceptics including Michael Shermer(j).
In 2022 Powell concluded a paper reviewing the YDIH debates with the following
“Finally, we can now assess Sweatman’s suggestion that the YDIH may be ready for promotion from hypothesis to the status of theory. If we combine the definitions of “theory” from the National Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, it would read something like this:
‘A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment. It refers to a comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature that is supported by a vast body of evidence. One of the most useful properties of scientific theories is that they can be used to make predictions about natural events or phenomena that have not yet been observed.’
Those who have read this article and Sweatman’s have the information to decide whether the YDIH meets this definition. In this author’s opinion, there is a strong case that it does. Moreover, it should not be forgotten that no other single theory can explain the YD and its associated effects.”(l)
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.”(n) Schoch’s wide-ranging critique has been refuted by the Comet Research Group.(o)
In 2012, Jennifer Marlon et al published a paper, now made available by Marlon on the Academia website, in which they present “arguments and evidence against the hypothesis that a large impact or airburst caused a significant abrupt climate change, extinction event, and termination of the Clovis culture at 12.9 ka. It should be noted that there is not one single Younger Dryas (YD) impact hypothesis but several that conflict with one another regarding many significant details.”(m)
>Scienceopen.com is a website offering “A peer-reviewed open-access journal collection covering all aspects of airbursts and impacts on Earth by comets and asteroids”. October 2023 brought the publication of five papers on the subject(p).<
(k) YDIH: Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis | Thongchai Thailand (tambonthongchai.com)
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 further claims that although the legends of Phaeton and Typhon are usually treated as referring to different events that they are records of the same encounter with a comet in the late 13th century BC(c). He further suggested that “Surt, Sekhmet, Typhon, Phaeton, Wormwood, Anat and others are the various names of the comet, seen under different skies, at a time when many civilizations were already well established and thriving.”
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 ombes’ was named in his honour.
(a) http://www.astrosurf.com/macombes/index.html (French) *
Trevor Palmer (1944- ) is an English Professor of Biology now living in Scotland. Apart from his day job of enzymology and the study of genetic disorders, which led to an interest in evolution, which in turn brought him to research catastrophism, he has written several books on these subjects, including >Controversy Catastrophism and Evolution <Perilous Planet Earth , which places today’s “concern about the threat to Earth from asteroids and comets within a historical context.” He devotes two chapters of this comprehensive work to the subject of Atlantis, in which he reviews (chap.13) some of the late 19th and early 20th century theories as well as more recent developments (chap.28) exposing many of the weaknesses in the arguments on offer.
>A lecture with the same title as the book was delivered to the Society for Interdisciplinary Studies (SIS) in September 2004 and is now available online(m).<
While Palmer does not express any personal views on the subject, it is noteworthy that he wrote an introduction to the 2005 Barnes & Noble edition of Lewis Spence’s The History of Atlantis. After a brief look at Spence’s life, Palmer gives an overview of the principal strands of Atlantology today and concluded that many of the issues debated 80 years ago are still unresolved and for that reason, Spence’s book continues to be worth studying.
Palmer wrote a short paper(a) in 1987 in which he was cautiously sceptical of the Atlantis story, particularly the possibility that it was destroyed during the Late Pleistocene era, with which I concur. He also touched on the subject of the Carolina Bays, apparently adding support to the now-discredited idea that they were created by wind action. I expect that he may have modified his views by now. However, the US Geological Survey is now (2021) identifying the bays as ‘relict thermokarst lakes’.(h)
Palmer presented a paper entitled Catastrophes: The Diluvial Evidence at the Society for Interdisciplinary Studies (SIS) Silver Jubilee Conference in September 1999.(i) He also addressed the SIS in 2004 on the background to his book published the previous year(d).
Palmer published two similar papers in 2010(b) and 2012(e) on the history of catastrophism and the ensuing debates from the time of Velikovsky until the present, when catastrophism has greater acceptance and which now offers a variety of competing ideas regarding the number, source, date and consequences of specific catastrophes.
In the second paper delivered to the Quantavolution Conference on Naxos, he offers the interesting observation that “In science, unlike religion, the great revelations lie in the future; the coming generations are the authorities, and the pupil is greater than the master if he has the gift to see things anew.”
Palmer has also written a 2018 review(c) of Perilous Planet Earth in light of developments since it was first published.
In 2009, Palmer published an interesting paper on the Black Sea and its dramatic connection with the Mediterranean (9,400 years ago) and how it may have influenced the creation of flood myths in the region(l). “The various groups currently investigating the area are agreed that cataclysmic flooding took place during the Late Pleistocene, but remain divided about whether similar floods also occurred during the Holocene. Eye-witness accounts of catastrophic floods in the Black Sea basin at either time could have been passed on to future generations, eventually giving rise to the later Mesopotamian legend of Uta-napishtim and, subsequently, the Biblical story of Noah. However, in the absence of any direct evidence of cultural transmission, that can presently only be regarded as plausible speculation.”
Palmer and Gunnar Heinsohn have been debating Heinsohn’s claim that our chronology of the 1st millennium AD is deeply flawed, on the Q-Mag website(f). Palmer has also written a lengthy paper supporting his views on the matter(g).
In addition, Palmer has also examined the ancient Greek and Roman historians “to test whether they present a picture of the past consistent with that revealed by archaeology, particularly inscriptions indicating sequences and timescales, and also to see the extent to which they support, or otherwise, the orthodox chronology and a number of representative alternative chronologies.” He concluded that there was ‘general accuracy’(j). He subsequently expanded on this paper to include a review of the chronology of the 1st millennium AD(k).
(a) See Archive 3026
R. Cedric Leonard (1934-2022)* was from Oklahoma and has worked as an electronic technician, initially in the U.S. Navy and later in private industry, from which he retired in 1990. He studied Comparative Religion, Sanskrit and Classical Greek and has a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Oklahoma. He is also self-taught in Egyptian, Canaanite and Phoenician inscriptions. He has also speculated on the possibility of the Phoenician alphabet having its origins in Atlantis and the possibility of a connection with the Glozel Tablets(c).
His Sanskrit studies led him to investigate stories of the Vimanas or ancient Hindu flying machines. He has produced several booksand scientific papers on the subject of Atlantis and ancient India. He has also written on the existence of UFOs in ancient Egypt(d), Mesopotamia(h) and the Bible, particularly the Book of Ezekiel(e). He has also produced a paper(f) about archaeological mysteries in general.
He located Atlantis along The Mid-Atlantic Ridge and offered geological, mythological, linguistic as well as paleontological evidence to support this idea and for its destruction following worldwide catastrophes around 10,000 BC. He also wrote a paper(g) on the asteroid/comet impact around the same time, which created the Carolina Bays and its possible connection with the destruction of Atlantis. This encounter was brought to the notice of a wider audience by Richard Firestone and his colleagues in their book, The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes.
Before retirement, Leonard supported Posnansky‘s early date for Tiwanaku citing a number of astronomers who endorsed his chronology. “Between 1927 and 1930 Prof. Posnansky’s conclusions were studied intensively by a number of authorities. Dr. Hans Ludendorff (Director of the Astronomical Observatory of Potsdam), Friedrich Becker of the Specula Vaticana, Prof. Arnold Kohlschutter (astronomer at Bonn University), and Rolf Müller (astronomer of the Institute of Astrophysics at Potsdam) verified the accuracy of Posnansky’s calculations and vouched for the reliability of his conclusions.
The conventional practice of dating Tiahuanacu as beginning c. 200 A.D. and collapsing c. 1000 A.D. started with Wendell Bennett’s excavations, which turned up numerous examples of pottery, small statues and other artifacts. Since it is common for later arrivals to be awed by massive ruins (sometimes attributing their origin to supernatural beings, thus replicating the “sacred” images on their own pottery and textiles), I think it is a mistake to fuse the two cultures into one, implying that the later arrivals were the same people who built the original ruins. I believe Bennett and his successors are all guilty of such an error” (i).
Leonard recognised that his belief in prehistoric flying machines may lead some readers to dismiss his carefully thought-out theory on Atlantis, but he is adamant that both existed. Nevertheless, it is fair to say that Leonard is one of the few writers on the subject who has produced original material to support the idea of Atlantis’ existence.
Some of Leonard’s work can be found plagiarised on the Internet, most blatantly by the artist, Charles Alexander Moffat(b).
>I have only just discovered that Leonard died on Jan 17, 2022.<
(h) See: Archive 2881
Richard Firestone together with his co-authors Allen West and Simon Warwick-Smith has written one of the most impressive accounts of a cosmic collision that led to the extinction in North America of large mammals such as the mammoth and sabre-toothed tiger and the concurrent disappearance of the Clovis people at the end of the last Ice Age.
Before what has become known as the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis (YDIH) was formulated, Firestone and William Topping speculated that North America was impacted by intense cosmic rays from a supernova in a 2001 paper entitled Terrestrial Evidence of a Nuclear Catastrophe in Paleoindian Times(l).
The YDIH also offers a credible explanation for the Carolina Bays. However, they propose that this collision had catastrophic global consequences. The three scientists are prepared to consider the possibility that Plato’s Atlantis story, however garbled, is related to the same episode[0110.328].
Since the publication of their book, some evidence(a)(k) has emerged that would appear to conflict with their core thesis. This criticism appears to be gaining support according to a May 2011 report(b)(d). However, in September 2012 it was reported that further intensive investigation has revealed flaws in the evidence gathering of Firestone’s critics(f). The interdisciplinary team of scientists from seven U.S. institutions concluded that “a disregard of three critical protocols, including sorting samples by size, explains why a group challenging the theory of a North American meteor-impact event some 12,900 years ago failed to find iron- and silica-rich magnetic particles in the sites they investigated.”
Strong resistance to the Firestone claims continued into 2013 when the Royal Holloway and the Sandia National Laboratories along with 13 other universities across the United States and Europe mounted further challenges(g).
The waters were muddied further when it was revealed that Allen West formerly known as Allen Whitt, who was convicted in California of posing as a state-licensed geologist(b) and fined $4,500! He legally changed his name in 2006. His respected co-authors were apparently unaware of his history and as a consequence of West’s central role in the data gathering, the hypothesis is considered by some to be tainted. This may be a case of shooting the messenger instead of the message, a view discussed at length on the Internet(e). A spirited defence of both West in particular and the theory of the team, in general, has also been written(c) and should be read in order to get a more balanced view of this particular controversy.
The core debate has rumbled on ever since. In July 2015 the University of California, Santa Barbara, released the results(h) of research, led by James Kennett, which again supported the impact theory and “has narrowed the date to a 100-year range, sometime between 12,835 and 12,735 years ago.”
The battle has continued, apparently inconclusively, with more papers being published by all sides. July 2018 saw an update of the controversy published on the Science News website(i), with no sign of the war ending.
Nevertheless, in late 2019, further evidence emerged that appears supportive of Firestone’s theory. Where previously nanodiamonds were an important feature in the presentation of his ideas the latest studies focus on platinum as an important marker(j).
2019 also gave us a paper that included an extensive bibliography and overview of the YDIH debate(m).
Inspiration resulting from an interview with Firestone led Kevin Curran to a study that ended with the publication of Fall of a Thousand Suns, in which he investigates the effect of extraterrestrial encounters on the development of early religious beliefs.
(m) YDIH: Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis | Thongchai Thailand (tambonthongchai.com)
Over the past twenty years, he has been investigating the possible existence of ancient advanced civilisations. He has written three books on the subject of pre-history. His volume on Atlantis has been well received as an example of how the subject should be researched. Although Collins initially thought that Antarctica had been home to Atlantis, he eventually concluded that Cuba was its location and provided a wealth of evidence to support this view in his book, Gateway to Atlantis. David Rohl wrote a sympathetic Introduction for the book and repeated and expanded on his expressed views at a subsequent lecture(h).
What did surprise Collins, was that following the publication of his carefully-argued ‘Gateway’ was that most responses to his book indicated that the dominant theory regarding the location of Atlantis favoured Antarctica!(ac)
Collins also wrote of why his chosen Cuba is a better candidate for the location of Atlantis than the Bahamas(r). He seems to have been reluctant to exclude the Bahamas completely from the Atlantis story. In an article in Atlantis Rising magazine(z), he commented “There is no question that if the Bahamian landmass did once support a prehistoric culture, then it was also present on Cuba as well”.
Collins has recently written another controversial book, on the place of the constellation Cygnus in prehistoric consciousness. Arising from this study, it appears that the position of the Cygnus stars correlates more accurately with the Giza pyramids than those of Orion, which was proposed some years ago by Robert Bauval. Incredibly, a fifteen-year-old Canadian boy has produced a comparable theory(e) involving Mayan cities and a star map. The site proposed by him has now been identified, by people who personally know the location, as either an abandoned cornfield or a marijuana crop(f). In 2018, Gustavo Muniz posted a number of videos on YouTube suggesting an Orion connection with a site in the Amazon Basin(i)!
However, Collins has not been completely seduced by Bauval’s discovery and prudently remarks that the correlation may just be a coincidence. Jason Colavito has written a brief critique(b) of this book.
In 2002 Collins teamed up with Chris Ogilvie-Herald to write Tutankhamun . It is a great read involving as it does, unexplained deaths, political intrigue and possible blackmail. Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon are also accused of looting some of the treasures from Tutankhamun’s tomb. However, for me, the core weakness in this book is that it is dependent on a claim that the plunder taken by Carter and Carnavon had included papyrus documents, the contents of which allegedly contained material that was still deemed politically sensitive even three thousand years later! Without the papyrus, there is no book.
In 2007, he wrote an article(q) for Alternate Perceptions Magazine reviewing the comet impact theory of Richard Firestone et al and its possible implication for his Atlantis theory.
In 2005, Collins published The Cygnus Mysteryin which he explored the significance of the Cygnus constellation in the ancient cultures of America, Egypt and Britain. (a condensed version of the book is available online(s)). Furthermore, in August 2013 he published a paper(c) with Rodney Hale suggesting that the Göbekli Tepe site is probably aligned with the star Deneb in the Cygnus constellation. This idea has now been expanded on in Collins’ 2014 book, Göbekli Tepe: Genesis of the Gods, although his treatment has been heavily criticised as pseudoscience(g).
In a recent paper(t), Andrew Collins disputed Bauval‘s Orion Correlation Theory and instead offered evidence that the alignment of the three principal Giza pyramids matches more closely the ‘wing’ stars of the Cygnus constellation than the ‘belt’ of Orion! Greg Little offered some rather lukewarm support for Collins’ alternative to the OCT(u).
Nevertheless, Little & Collins teamed up as co-authors of Denisovan Origins  in 2019, a literary bromance that has led to another joint offering, Origins of the Gods due for publication in 2022, in which the authors explore “how our ancestors used shamanic rituals at sacred sites to create portals for communication with non-human intelligences”. If that does not sufficiently whet your appetite, the news that the well-known convicted fraudster Erich von Däniken has written the Foreword should clinch it for you.
Collins has made some dramatic claims regarding the significance of Cygnus including the proposal that “The veneration of Cygnus as a bird associated with cosmic life and death goes back 17,000 years to when the constellation occupied pole position in the northern night sky” and perhaps even more extreme, the idea that “Cygnus is at the root of all the world’s religions.”
Collins continues with the Cygnus-Giza connection in a subsequent offering Beneath the Pyramids. This book reveals the tunnels and chambers beneath the Giza pyramids and their possible connection with the “Hall of Records” predicted by Edgar Cayce to be located there and due for discovery.
In a paper(d), co-authored with Rodney Hale, published in April 2016, Collins returned to the theory of a Cygnus-Giza correlation based on a master plan that they claim can now be demonstrated mathematically.
Collins has now moved on to new ground with his Lightquest, in which he attempts to offer a new explanation for the UFO phenomena. He claims that what has been described as UFOs are “the product of sentient light forms and light intelligences that co-exist with humanity, and have done so since time immemorial.”
Nevertheless, Collins returns to the subject of Atlantis with a new book, Atlantis in the Caribbean, which is a revised version of Gateway to Atlantis. In it, he follows some of Otto Muck’s ideas and “Explains how Atlantis was destroyed by a comet, the same comet that formed the mysterious Carolina Bays“.
Collins, who proposes Cuba as one of the legendary Hesperides and also the location of Atlantis, has offered a critical response to Emilio Spedicato‘s Hispaniola theory in both Gateway to Atlantis and its revised version Atlantis in the Caribbean, which can be read online(ad).
When the Denisovans were recently identified as an extinct species of hominid, related to the Neanderthals It did not take long for speculative history enthusiasts to jump on board this new bandwagon. Andrew Collins has now published The Cygnus Key, in which he claims to present “compelling evidence showing that the earliest origins of human culture, religion, and technology derive from the Denisovans, the true creators of the lost civilization long known to exist but never before proved.” Jason Colavito also presents a critique of this latest ‘Cygnus’ book in a two-part(m)(n) offering.
While the first Denisovan remains were found in Siberia, now there is evidence that they were also the earliest hominins on the Tibetan Plateau(j).
Before the identification of the Denisovans, Colin Wilson had claimed that the Neanderthals “were the civilising force behind Atlantis”! One cannot help wondering if another early hominid species is discovered, which is quite possible, will they also be claimed as the progenitors of Plato’s lost civilisation?
In this new book Collins also “explains how the stars of Cygnus coincided with the turning point of the heavens at the moment the Denisovan legacy was handed to the first human societies in southern Siberia some 45,000 years ago, catalyzing beliefs in swan ancestry and an understanding of Cygnus as the source of cosmic creation.” Hmm.
Collins and chartered engineer, Rodney Hale have studied the Gunung Padang site in Indonesia, which has generated claims of antiquity greater than that of Göbekli Tepe in Turkey. While their investigation raised a number of minor matters, they were unable to endorse the rather extreme dates suggested until more convincing data is available(x).
>Collins and Hale have also co-authored a paper on the possible astronomical significance of images on what is known as Pillar 43 or sometimes the ‘Vulture Stone’ at Göbekli Tepe(af). This is not the first such suggestion, but their new interpretation should be considered.<
In June 2019, Collins published a two-part article(l) on the Ancient Origins website, in which he explores the possibility of Giza’s Great Pyramid having sound technology incorporated into its construction and that “its Dead-end passage function as an infrasound generator?”
Later in 2019, Collins had his 1996 book, From the Ashes of Angels, banned in Turkey(p), it is not clear yet if he is personally banned as well. Apparently, it all stems from some perceived support that Collins gave to the Kurdish cause in ‘Ashes’! I hope he refrains from mentioning the Armenians. A YouTube video from Collins offers his account of the episode(y).
Collins has seemingly made peace with the Turkish authorities as he is now planning a tour of Karahan Tepe later in 2022(ab). This link has some interesting images.
Andrew Collins maintains a useful website(a) that has plenty of information on his books and lectures. He also offers an extended section relating to his Atlantis theories(o). Nevertheless, he does seem to have retained his interest in metaphysical subjects, which is where he started.
>An article on Graham Hancock’s website offers a rebuttal of a series of Collins’ claims(ae).<
Collins is now a regular contributor to Ancient Origins. His website lists the articles published there so far(aa).
(z) Atlantis Rising magazine #37 http://pdfarchive.info/index.php?pages/At
Catastrophism today is the name given to a school of thought that supports the idea that the history of the Earth has been punctuated by natural events such as floods, fires and asteroid strikes that have caused widespread if not global devastation and that some of these events occurred within the memory of man and are recorded in worldwide mythologies.
“Gradualists explained geological features as the result of slowly acting processes such as erosion, while catastrophists argued that Earth had been shaped mainly by a series of violent events or catastrophes, whether over a relatively short time (6,000 to 10,000 years) or over many millions of years. In the early nineteenth century, gradualism seemed to win out completely over catastrophism, but in the late twentieth century scientists discovered that catastrophic events have also played a major role in Earth’s history.” (p)
Britannica defines catastrophism, as a “doctrine that explains the differences in fossil forms encountered in successive stratigraphic levels as being the product of repeated cataclysmic occurrences and repeated new creations. This doctrine generally is associated with the great French naturalist Baron Georges Cuvier (1769–1832). One 20th-century expansion on Cuvier’s views, in effect, a neocatastrophic school, attempts to explain geologic history as a sequence of rhythms or pulsations of mountain building, transgression and regression of the seas, and evolution and extinction of living organisms.”(q)
Worryingly, it is now more generally accepted that further catastrophes will occur as a result of future cometary/asteroidal strikes. Nigel Cawthorne has decided to cheer us up with his book, Doomsday , which lists 50 possible global catastrophes on the future horizon!
One such close encounter, around 2800 BC, was considered by the Christian catastrophist, Donald W. Patten, to have generated the Deluge of Noah(j) and was the source of the flood legends found around the world! Patten nominates Mars as the intruder(l), an idea also advocated by Elsar Orkan, who, however, proposes a date of around 8000 BC for this encounter.
Some readers may think that the subject has no direct connection with Plato’s Atlantis, however, his text refers to a number of catastrophic events that clearly brought devastation to Athens, Atlantis and beyond. The Flood of Deucalion and earlier inundations, Phaeton and other cosmic encounters, plus conflagrations and earthquakes all point to periods of great instability in the early prehistory of the Aegean region and quite probably much further afield.
Jürgen Spanuth devotes chapter 4 of his Atlantis of the North to an examination of “the natural catastrophes of the 13th century BC” that deals with Phaeton and the blizzard of floods, earthquakes and eruptions that beset the Eastern Mediterranean at the end of the 2nd millennium BC. Some of these matters have been recently expanded upon by Nur & Cline(f)(g) and endorsed by Stavros Papamarinopoulos[0750.73].
August 2013 saw studies published(h) that pointed the finger at climate change as the cause of the widespread political instability in that region during the second millennium BC.
Claude Schaeffer, a celebrated French archaeologist, declared in 1948 that on at least five occasions during the Bronze Age the Middle East had been subjected to widespread catastrophic destruction as a result of natural events rather than human activity.
Immanuel Velikovsky is arguably the best known of the 20th-century catastrophists, who published two books in the 1950’s that provoked widespread controversy that continues today. There is an interesting albeit sceptical review of catastrophism in the last century by Patrick Moore & Bob Forrest in Chapter 14 of More Things in Heaven and Earth(k).
Paul Dunbavin, the author of Towers of Atlantis , has published a paper(n), highly critical of Velikovsky’s work. Dunbavin has researched the evidence for a number of pole shifts that are not dependent on what he describes as the “naïve astronomy” of Velikovsky.
In 1964, the Belgian mathematician René Gallant (1908-1985)(image left) published Bombarded Earth which dealt in great detail with the consequences of meteorite impacts on the earth. Gallant, perhaps because of his amateur status as a geologist, never received the attention he deserved.
More recently Allan & Delair produced another book that identified 9500 BC as the date of a global catastrophe following an encounter with a comet. Their conclusions are at variance with Velikovsky’s, particularly regarding dates. Professor Mike Baillie of Queens University, Belfast is a well-known dendrochronologist who has recently entered the debate with his book, Exodus to Arthur which adds evidence from his discipline to support the theory of cometary or asteroidal impacts with the Earth. Unfortunately, his work is confined to the last 4,500 years and so casts no further light on the 9,500 BC date apart from offering support for the possibility of extraterrestrial impacts.
However, Richard Firestone and his co-authors have researched an impact ‘Event’ that occurred 13,000 years ago and caused devastation in North America including the creation of the hundreds of thousands of Carolina Bays and some of the outbursts of Lake Missoula. Like Baillie, they claim that a memory of this event has been preserved in the folktales of many North-American Indians. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the latest developments in catastrophist research.
The destruction of Atlantis has been linked to a number of possible catastrophic events including earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods and asteroid strikes. Plato’s account cites a flood as the immediate cause of the disappearance of Atlantis. In the 18th century, Giovanni Carli was probably the first to link a cometary encounter with the Earth as the cause of Atlantis’ demise. This idea has been supported by numerous writers ever since, with Emilio Spedicato being one of its leading exponents today.
There are numerous sites on the Internet relating to catastrophism of which one(a) can be recommended as a good starting point for further study. Andy Blackard has listed(b) events connected with global upheavals around 3200 and 2000 BC. An Australian archaeologist, Peter Jupp, is the creator of the Ancient Destructions website(e) which deals with a number of historical mysteries including, Baalbek and Antarctica.
A more recent book by Robert Argod postulates that many of these historical catastrophes were caused by an irregular series of accelerated tectonic movements, although he does not offer a credible mechanism to explain the triggering of such upheavals. Is it possible that the strikes by or near misses with extraterrestrial objects, proposed by so many, generated the tectonic shifts proposed by Argod?
Professor Trevor Palmer has written a comprehensive history of catastrophes and catastrophism from the earliest times and its relevance today. His Perilous Planet Earth includes a couple of chapters in which he reviews Atlantis theories in the context of catastrophism.
Dr Michel-Alain Combes has a PhD in astronomy from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris VI). He has an extensive website(i) dealing with catastrophism, which translates quite well.
2012 was been promoted as the date of the next worldwide catastrophe based on a highly questionable interpretation of the Mayan calendar. New Age gurus were promising a change in global consciousness, whatever that means. If interested. you can read more of this nonsense online(c) or consider a more balanced view(d).
A huge catastrophist bibliography (2010) is available online(m) with a 2020 update now available(o).
(i) http://www.astrosurf.com/macombes/index.html (French)
The Carolina Bays are named after the bay trees found growing in many of the 500,000 mysterious oval-shaped depressions, principally located in the eastern states of North America. In Maryland, the bays are called Maryland basins. In Mississippi and Alabama, they’re called Grady Ponds. In Kansas and Nebraska, they’re called Rainwater basins. In Texas, they’re called Salinas (because they often contain salty water).
>Michael Tuomey (1805-1857) was the Irish-born State Geologist of South Carolina (1844-1847) and first State Geologist of Alalbama (1848-1857). He is credited with being the first to note the distinctive geomorphic features of the bays in a 1848 Report on the Geology of South Carolina (aa).
Allan & Delair have pointed out[014.254] in reference to the time of their creation “the Carolina bays of the eastern United States, the smaller but otherwise closely similar ‘bays’ of Holland, and the aligned ‘lakes’ of north-eastern Siberia, Alaska, northern Yukon and north-eastern Bolivia were apparently produced then.”<
Their characteristics have been presented as evidence of impact damage from a comet or asteroid. As early as 1933 Edna Muldrow published a seven-page article in Harper’s Monthly(r) putting forward the idea of a comet colliding with our planet and creating the ‘Bays’. This was probably inspired by a paper by geology professor Frank A. Melton and physics professor William Schiever presented at the 1932 Annual Conference of the Geological Society of America(s).
This view is hotly disputed, as is the idea that they are of relatively recent origin at the beginning of the Holocene. Emilio Spedicato is one proponent who considers that a relatively recent impact to have been a contributory fact to the ending of the last Ice Age leading to the demise of Atlantis.
A more mundane explanation has been recently offered by Jon Pelletier, assistant professor of geosciences at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He has just published a paper on a series of uniformly shaped and oriented lakes on the North Slope of Alaska. Pelletier has offered a credible ‘thaw slumping’ rationalisation for their annual growth. However, I have not seen his expla, George A. Howard concluded a paper(x) on the Bays with the following “Given a confident belief that the answers are indeed out there in the sand, we come then to the true shame of the Carolina Bay story: the willingness of the current geophysical research community to tolerate and admit such a profound “mystery” in their midst. I’ve known respected professional earth scientists to brush off questions about Carolina Bays origin with references to “alien landings” and “giant fish.” With prodding, they generally elicit a thin collage of wind and wave theory faintly recalled from their student years. One gets the distinct feeling that the study of Carolina Bay origin is the ‘crazy aunt in the attic’ of the Coastal Plain researcher. And that visiting his dear relative is hardly worth the disturbing consequences.”
The cometary explanation was given additional support in 2007, when a team of researchers from Oregon University outlined evidence that included the Carolinas, for the disintegration of a comet over Eastern Canada around 10900 BC. They claim that apart from the initiation of the Younger Dryas period, it caused widespread destruction across North America and also led to the disappearance of the Clovis culture. Further evidence supporting this view(b) was advanced by other academics in 2008.
A paper by Jennifer Marion completely denies that there was any Holocene Impact that “caused a significant abrupt climate change, extinction event, and termination of the Clovis culture at 12.9 ka.” (v)
Nevertheless, there is also evidence from optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating that the bays were formed 80,000 -100,000 years BP, which conflicts with the YD date! My layman’s view is that after 80,000 years I would expect the bays to be much more eroded than they appear to be.
A more recent paper(e) by Antonio Zamora offers an important new concept, namely that the ‘bays’ were created by a meteorite striking the Laurentide Ice Sheet that existed in the Great Lakes region, during the last Ice Age, which in turn produced an enormous hail of ice ejecta which rained down on the eastern seaboard of what is now the United States. In his conclusion, he claims “that the new model of slow-velocity impacts from ice ejecta resulting from a meteorite impact on the Laurentide ice sheet explains many of the characteristics of the Carolina Bays, including the lack of shock metamorphism and meteorite fragments.” Zamora has also published an impressive LiDAR image of a section of the bays, which is best viewed on a large screen(o).
Zamora has also published in 2012 an ebook entitled Meteorite Cluster Impacts (f), and in his 2015 book, Solving the Mystery of the Carolina Bays , he expands on his theory that the ‘Bays’ were created as a result of an extraterrestrial impact with the Laurentide Ice Sheet. He describes in great detail the mathematical basis for his views.
Zamora has now had a new paper on the ‘Bays’ published in the peer-reviewed journal, Geomorphology(i), which may help to rekindle discussion on the subject. Although, in my opinion, they are not directly related to the Atlantis narrative, the existence of the Carolina Bays provides very obvious evidence of our catastrophic past.
Ralph Ellis believes that Zamora’s ‘blocks of ice’ ejecta created by the impact should be thought of instead as being more akin to softer ‘slushballs’(g)(h). Ellis noted that the inspiration for his papers relating to the Bays came from the work of geologist Michael Davias(t). Davias and his friend Tim Harris have been advocating the idea that Michigan’s Saginaw Bay holds evidence of an impact(u).
Robert W. Felix, an American architect totally rejects the ice ejecta theory, principally because the Laurentide Ice Sheet (LIS) should have disappeared before the creation of the Carolina Bays(l). However, conventional wisdom dates the decline of the LIS to around 9,600 BC(m), coincidental with the arrival of the Carolina Bats! Felix contends in one of his books  that the Bays were formed by millions of gigantic explosions in the sky, explosions triggered by a magnetic reversal!
The serial sceptic, Paul Heinrich, claims(d) that there is dating evidence, which indicates varying dates for the creation of different Carolina Bays. The most recent popular work to discuss comprehensively, the origin as well as the conflicting dating evidence for the Carolinas, is The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes by Firestone, West and Warwick-Smith. This is an important book that is primarily concerned with a cosmic catastrophe that wiped out the North American mammoth along with other large animals at the same time that the Clovis People disappeared 13,000 years ago. This was also the time of the colder Younger Dryas period.
When the Russian investigator Leonard Kulik studied the Tunguska River area, over which a meteor/asteroid exploded in 1908, he discovered several neat oval bog holes that might offer support for either the impact theory or more improbably the theories of Pelletier.
Now, over a century after the Tunguska event, an Italian research team has concluded that it was an asteroid that struck the earth and that nearby Lake Cheko is the impact crater(c). However, this theory was debunked in 2017 by “researchers led by Denis Rogozin, from the Institute of Biophysics at the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, carried out their own analysis and concluded that lake sediments were at least 280 to 390 years old, ‘significantly older than the 1908 Tunguska Event.’
And in a new study published May 2 in the journal Doklady Earth Sciences, Rogozin and colleagues presented more evidence to refute the idea Lake Cheko is the Tunguska asteroid’s impact site.”(z)
In 2013 Gernot Spielvogel co-authored Sonnenbomben in which it is suggested that the Tunguska event was caused by a solar plasma ‘bomb’! Even Nikola Tesla was blamed by some as the perpetrator of the Tunguska event(n).
However, although the impact theory does appear to have widespread support, there appears to be a move to look at a natural earthbound explanation. The U.S. Geological Survey is now identifying the Bays as ‘relict thermokarst lakes’(q).
Such suggestions have been excluded by Paul-Jürgen Hahn who is adamant that the bays were the result of a cometary impact with the Sargasso Sea and was also linked to the Atlantis story and the Pyramids and Sphinx! He gives the date of the impact as “12 March 9,337 BC (Greg.), 10:19 true local time in South Carolina, respectively 09:27 Bahamas time.”(y)
A 2020 article reviews the theories relating to the origin of the bays as well as the extraordinary biodiversity to be found within the bays(p).
Nevertheless, various other theories are still under investigation, including serious consideration of the possibility of an alien spaceship explosion!(j)
Charles O’Dale, a Canadian researcher who has studied impact craters across Canada also ventured south to investigate the Carolina Bays. In a 2022 paper, he includes a number of excerpts from a range of other commentators that highlight the principal details relating to the Bays that are still in contention ninety years after their first discovery(w).
(a) See: Archive 2042
(g) https://independent.academia.edu/ralphellis4 see (h)
(r) The Comet that Struck the Carolinas Harper’s Monthly No.168, 1933. p 87
(aa) https://archive.org/details/reportongeologyo00tuom/page/144/mode/2up [p.143-144] *
Atlantis of the North  was the third book written by Dr Jürgen Spanuth on the subject of Atlantis. His first book published in German, led to court action by Spanuth after being labelled ‘a peddler of lies’. The matter ended when his detractors, ten professors, admitted that their objections to his work were groundless.
Spanuth’s book controversially locates Atlantis in the North Sea near Helgoland and attributes its destruction to the consequences of widespread natural catastrophes that the world experienced in the 13th century BC. These disasters led to large-scale migrations, one of which was from Scandinavia into the Mediterranean where Spanuth insists that the migrants were known as the ‘Sea Peoples’, or as he calls them ‘North Sea Peoples’ and portrayed on the walls of the temple of Medinet Habu. He claims that there is considerable agreement between Plato’s Atlantis story and the carvings at Medinet Habu.
Furthermore, Spanuth identifies a cometary impact with the Earth as the cause of these upheavals. He claims that this impact is preserved in mythology as Phaëton by the Greeks and others as Typhon, Sekhmet, Anat, and Tistrya etc. Incidentally, the Carolina Bays visible today have been linked with this event.
It has been pointed out that much of the material used by Spanuth seems to have been drawn from the research archives of the Nazi Ahnenerbe-SS. The result is a closely argued work that is worth reading, however unacceptable the Heligoland location is now seen.
In 2015, Spanuth entered the world of controversy again when The Mystery of Atlantis Unravelled was published by Amazon’s self-publishing department, CreateSpace, with a new title The Mystery of Atlantis and the author’s name changed to ‘John Lock’! This is simply a badly scanned copy, blatant plagiarism and possibly breach of copyright as Spanuth only died in the 1998!
Gateway to Atlantis  by Andrew Collins is one of the better books on the subject. It is a fully indexed and referenced work that clearly indicates the effort and depth of research that went into producing it.
Collins was originally inclined to believe that the Antarctic had been the home to Atlantis but has gradually come to focus his attention on the Caribbean. He has trawled the classical writers for any possible reference to Atlantis and has concluded that all their considerable evidence points to the Atlantic and in particular the Caribbean as the location of Atlantis.
In order to explain the sudden destruction of Atlantis, Collins discusses the possibility of some kind of cometary or asteroidal impact being the culprit. He is inclined to see the Carolina Bays as remnants of this collision. His conclusions are closely mirrored by the views of Emilio Spedicato. More details can be found on Collin’s website(a).
>Another sceptic, Paul Heinrich, has also offered a critical review of ‘Gateway’ with particular reference to geological evidence offered by Collins(c). Collins and before him Otto Muck and later Hancock viewed the Carolina Bays as evidence of a possible civilisation destroying impact. Heinrich took a different view when he concluded that “In a detailed examination of the geologic evidence offered by Collins 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.” My problem is that Heinrich’s very ancient date for the ‘bays’ raises the question of how they are not eroded to a greater extent!<