Victor Clube & Bill Napier are two British Astronomers, who published The Cosmic Serpent . in 1982, which was later revised as The Cosmic Winter ,>which was also the title of a lecture given by Clube(b).<
They have promoted what became known as ‘Coherent Catastrophism’, which envisions encounters between our Earth and large comets, events that are recorded in ancient history and mythology. They claim, for example, that the biblical Exodus story contains an early reference to Halley’s Comet! Among other encounters, they date the story of Phaëton, mentioned by Plato, to 1369 BC and also discuss catastrophic close encounters with Encke’s Comet or a proto-Encke.
Although Clube & Napier do not refer to Atlantis, from time to time, some commentators have claimed some connection between the demise of Atlantis and encounters with comets named and unnamed.
Philip R. “Pib” Burns has an extensive overview(a) of Clube and Napier’s work on his excellent website.>It is argued by some that Clube & Napier should have given greater recognition to the theories of Immanuel Velikovsky(c).<
Mammoths existed as a number of species in many parts of Eurasia and the Americas and were the ancestors of today’s elephants, part of the fauna of Plato’s Atlantis. Mammoths existed for around 5 million years until their extinction over 10,000 years ago, apart, apparently, from a small population on Wrangel Island in Siberia(d), which appears to have lasted until possibly as late as 1700 BC. An intensive study of mammoth remains on Alaska’s St. Paul Island, which was once part of the Beringia landbridge has revealed that they finally died out there 5,600 years ago(e). “The St. Paul mammoth demise is now one of the best-dated prehistoric extinctions,” the researchers report today (August 1, 2016) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The remains of mammoths were probably not studied scientifically until early in the 19th century, with individual specimens such as the ‘Adams’ and the ‘Berezovka’ receiving great attention(c).
However, it was not until the 20th century that mammoths began to slowly enter the pages of the Atlantis story. Both John Cogan and Wolter Smit have used the mammoth evidence to support their belief that Atlantis was destroyed by an asteroid strike which caused a sudden Pole Shift and consequent freezing of the mammoths.
Ludwik Zajdler believed that there was evidence of a collision between the Earth and Halley’s Comet in 9570 BC and that this caused a 30° alteration to the axis of the earth resulting in the sudden freezing of the Siberian mammoths.
Then Antarctica was also nominated by the Flem-Aths as the home of Atlantis, before its destruction, caused by a Pole Shift. However, in their scenario, this was caused by the movement of the Earth’s entire crust as a result of an excessive build-up of ice at the poles!
Theosophists have seized on the sudden demise of the very many mammoth remains discovered in Siberia and Alaska as vindication of Blavatsky’s Atlantis claims.(a)
R. Cedric Leonard has also reviewed the matter of the apparently instant death of many mammoths bodies discovered and the date of their end and posed the rhetorical question “Can it be merely coincidence that this is the very date (circa 10.000 BC) indicated by Plato for the floods and seismic disturbances which led to the sinking of Atlantis and the destruction of its empire?” (b)
>Beverly Jaegers (1935- ) has written on a variety of subjects for Atlantis Rising and Hera magazines among others. In AR #22 she wrote of the various theories put forward to explain the mystery of the frozen mammoths but concluded that “Finally, it must be restated that little evidence exists for any of these events as a direct cause of giant mammoths expiring on their feet as suddenly as they must have done to freeze so quickly and so perfectly as to be still fresh millennia later. Although many prehistoric animal populations may have been affected by mass kills, these are fossils, and only the largest, frozen in such an apparently lightning-like moment of time, remain to tantalize the theorist. No single piece of this fascinating scientific puzzle yet covers all the gaps. None answers all the questions.”(f) She also wrote a paper on the possibility of cloning mammoths(g).<
(f) Atlantis Rising magazine #22 At – PDF Archive *
Charles A. Rogers is the author of a fully illustrated paper(a) in which he locates the city of Atlantis on the Tunisian River Triton, which led from Chott el Jerid (formerly Lake Tritonis?) to the Gulf of Gabes. He dates the demise of Atlantis to 1404 BC based on a possible connection with a close encounter with Phäeton, which in turn he identifies as what was later to be known as Halley’s Comet. He also combines all this with the eruption of Thera that generated a tsunami, which ran across the Mediterranean to the Gulf of Gabes and destroyed the city of Atlantis and in Egypt wiped out the Pharoah and his men during the biblical Exodus. There seems to be too many coincidences required here.
With regard to the location of Atlantis, the satellite imagery used by Rogers is, in my view, not very convincing and although I am sympathetic to the existence of Atlantis in that region, I think only investigation on the ground will offer real evidence.
The Trojan War, at first sight, may appear to have little to do with the story of Atlantis except that some recent commentators have endeavoured to claim that the war with Atlantis was just a retelling of the Trojan War. The leading proponent of the idea is Eberhard Zangger in his 1992 book The Flood from Heaven and later in a paper(l) published in the Oxford Journal of Archaeology. He also argues that survivors of the War became the Sea Peoples, while Frank Joseph contends that the conflict between the Egyptians and the Sea Peoples was part of the Trojan War[108.11].
>In an article on the Atlantisforschung website reviewing Zangger’s theory the following paragraph is offered – “What similarities did the Trojan War and the war between Greece and Atlantis have? In both cases, the individual kingdoms in Greece formed a unified army. According to Homer, Greek ships went to the Trojan War in 1186 – according to Plato, Atlantis ruled over 1200 ships. The contingents and weapons are identical (archer, javelin thrower, discus thrower, chariot, bronze weapon, shield). The decisive battle took place overseas on both occasions. In a long period of siege came plague and betrayal. (There is not a word in Plato about a siege or epidemics and treason, dV) In both cases, Greece won the victory. After the Greek forces withdrew, earthquakes and floods struck Greece.“(t)<
Steven Sora asserts that the Atlantean war recorded by Plato is a distortion of the Trojan War and contentiously claims that Troy was located on the Iberian Peninsula rather than the more generally accepted Hissarlik in Turkey. Another radical claim is that Troy had been located in Bosnia-Herzegovina or adjacent Croatia, the former by Roberto Salinas Price in 1985, while more recently the latter is promoted by Vedran Sinožic.
Others have located the War in the North Sea or the Baltic. Of these, Iman Wilkens is arguably the best-known advocate of an English location for Troy since 1990. In 2018, Gerard Janssen has added further support for Wilkens’ theory(k).
However. controversy has surrounded various aspects of the War since the earliest times. Strabo(a) tells us that Aristotle dismissed the matter of the Achaean wall as an invention, a matter that is treated at length by Classics Professor Timothy W. Boyd(b). In fact, the entire account has been the subject of continual criticism. A more nuanced approach to the reality or otherwise of the ‘War’ is offered by Petros Koutoupis(j).
The reality of the Trojan War as related by Homer has been debated for well over a century. There is a view that much of what he wrote was fictional, but that the ancient Greeks accepted this, but at the same time they possessed a historical account of the war that varied considerably from Homer’s account(f).
Over 130 quotations from the Illiad and Odyssey have been identified in Plato’s writings, suggesting the possibility of him having adopted some of Homer’s nautical data, which may account for Plato’s Atlantean fleet having 1200 ships which might have been a rounding up of Homer’s 1186 ships in the Achaean fleet!
Like so many other early historical events, the Trojan War has also generated its fair share of nutty ideas, such as Hans-Peny Hirmenech’s wild suggestion that the rows of standing stones at Carnac marked the tombs of Atlantean soldiers who fought in the Trojan War! Arthur Louis Joquel II proposed that the War was fought between two groups of refugees from the Gobi desert, while Jacques de Mahieu maintained that refugees from Troy fled to America after the War where they are now identified as the Olmecs! In November 2017, an Italian naval archaeologist, Francesco Tiboni, claimed(h). that the Trojan Horse was in reality a ship. This is blamed on the mistranslation of one word in Homer.
In August 2021 it was claimed that remnants of the Trojan Horse had been found. While excavating at the Hisarlik site of Troy, Turkish archaeologists discovered dozens of planks as well as beams up to 15-metre-long.
“The two archaeologists leading the excavation, Boston University professors Christine Morris and Chris Wilson, say that they have a “high level of confidence” that the structure is indeed linked to the legendary horse. They say that all the tests performed up to now have only confirmed their theory.”(o)
“The carbon dating tests and other analyses have all suggested that the wooden pieces and other artefacts date from the 12th or 11th centuries B.C.,” says Professor Morris. “This matches the dates cited for the Trojan War, by many ancient historians like Eratosthenes or Proclus. The assembly of the work also matches the description made by many sources. I don’t want to sound overconfident, but I’m pretty certain that we found the real thing!”
It was not a complete surprise when a few days later Jason Colavito revealed that the story was just a recycled 2014 hoax, which “seven years later, The Greek Reporter picked up the story from a Greek-language website. From there, the Jerusalem Post and International Business Times, both of which have large sections devoted to lightly rewritten clickbait, repeated the story nearly verbatim without checking the facts.”(p)
Various attempts have been made to determine the exact date of the ten-year war, using astronomical dating relating to eclipses noted by Homer. In the 1920s, astronomers Carl Schoch and Paul Neugebauer put the sack of Troy at close to 1190 BC. According to Eratosthenes, the conflict lasted from 1193 to 1184 BC(m).
An interesting side issue was recorded by Isocrates, who noted that “while they with the combined strength of Hellas found it difficult to take Troy after a siege which lasted ten years, he, on the other hand, in less than as many days, and with a small expedition, easily took the city by storm. After this, he put to death to a man all the princes of the tribes who dwelt along the shores of both continents; and these he could never have destroyed had he not first conquered their armies. When he had done these things, he set up the Pillars of Heracles, as they are called, to be a trophy of victory over the barbarians, a monument to his own valor and the perils he had surmounted, and to mark the bounds of the territory of the Hellenes.” (To Philip. 5.112) This reinforced the idea that there had been more than one location for the Pillars of Herakles.
In the 1920s, astronomers Carl Schoch and Paul Neugebauer put the sack of Troy at close to 1190 BC.(q)
In 2008, Constantino Baikouzis and Marcelo O. Magnasco proposed 1178 BC as the date of the eclipse that coincided with the return of Odysseus, ten years after the War(a). Stuart L. Harris published a paper on the Migration & Diffusion website in 2017(g), in which he endorsed the 1190 BC date for the end of the Trojan War.
Nikos Kokkinos, one of Peter James’ co-authors of Centuries of Darkness, published a paper in 2009 questioning the accepted date for the ending of the Trojan War of 1183 BC,(r) put forward by Eratosthenes.
New dating of the end of the Trojan War has been presented by Stavros Papamarinopoulos et al. in a paper(c) now available on the Academia.edu website. Working with astronomical data relating to eclipses in the 2nd millennium BC, they have calculated the ending of the War to have taken place in 1218 BC and Odysseus’ return in 1207 BC.
What is noteworthy is that virtually all the recent studies of the eclipse data are in agreement that the Trojan War ended near the end of the 13th century BC, which in turn can be linked to archaeological evidence at the Hissarlik site. Perhaps even more important is the 1218 BC date for the Trojan War recorded on the Parian Marble, reinforcing the Papamarinoupolos date.
A 2012 paper by Rodger C. Young & Andrew E. Steinmann added further support for the 1218 BC Trojan War date(s).
Eric Cline has suggested that an earlier date is a possibility, as “scholars are now agreed that even within Homer’s Iliad there are accounts of warriors and events from centuries predating the traditional setting of the Trojan War in 1250 BC” [1005.40].
However, an even more radical redating has been strongly advocated by a number of commentators(d)(e) and not without good reason.
(d) Archive 2401
(n) Atlantis, Volume 10 No. 3, March 1957
(p) Newsletter Vol. 19 • Issue 7 • August 15, 2021
Ludwik Zajdler (1905-1985) was a Polish astronomer who published Atlantyda in Warsaw in 1963. In 1966 it was translated into Russian by leading atlantologist Nicolai Zhirov. It is widely quoted on the Internet that the 3rd Polish 1972 edition had a print run of 30,000 copies, which is unbelievably spectacular. However, this report goes on to claim that this number equals the total number of all books on Atlantis published in the USA and UK during the previous twenty years, which also seems questionable.
Zajdler divided his book into three sections, Atlantis in myth, Atlantis in history and the date and cause of its destruction. The author believed that there was evidence of a collision between the Earth and Halley’s Comet in 9570 BC and that this caused a 30° alteration to the axis of the earth resulting in the sudden freezing of the Siberian mammoths.
Zhirov noted[458.378] Zajdler had identified some remarkable similarities between the ancient Egyptian and Mayan calendars, which led him to conclude that they had to have a common origin that he assumed to have been Atlantis.
Zajdler also had a fascination with sundials and timekeeping, which led to him write Dzieje zegara (The History of the Clock).
Professor Michal Kamienski (1879-1973) was a Polish astronomer at the University of Cracow who claimed that astronomical research could be used to reveal a more exact date for various landmark events in ancient history. As a result of his investigations, in 1957, he proposed(a) that a part of Halley’s Comet fell into the Gulf of Mexico in 9546 BC or 9540 BC and was responsible for the destruction of Atlantis.
>In 1950, he wrote a paper in support of the moon capture theories of Hoerbiger and the Swedish phyiscist Hannes Alfvén (1908-1995).(b)<
In 1971, Comet Wolf was renamed Comet Wolf-Kamienski in his honour.
(b) Atlantean Research, Vol.2 No.6 Feb/March, 1950<
Col. Alexander Pavlovitch Braghine (1878-1942) is well known for his book+ on Atlantis, which he considers to have been the original homeland of many of the tribes of South America. He attributes the destruction of Atlantis to the consequences of at least one close encounter between Earth and Halley’s Comet, during the Holocene period, on 7th June 4015 BC. He maintains that this intrusion upset the orbits of Earth and Venus causing worldwide destruction. Many of Braghine’s catastrophist ideas are to be found in Immanuel Velikovsky’s later books without any reference to him. Braghine on the other hand was quite willing to acknowledge any use by him of other writers’ work. Some have explained Velikovsky’s omission as being the result of perceived racism on the part of Braghine.
Braghine in his The Shadow of Atlantis mentions a tribe of white-skinned ‘Indians’ called Paria in a region of Venezuela called Atlan. He claims that their legends refer to them having an original homeland beyond the ocean that had been destroyed in a terrible cataclysm. However, I have been unable to find any other reference to this tribe apart from that of Frank Joseph who locates it in the Apure region between the Orinoco River and its tributary, the Apure. Braghine’s work was also published in French. A few years earlier Richard O. Marsh published White Indians of Darien + in which he recounted his meeting with ‘white Indians’ in the remote jungles of Panama. However, claims of encounters with white Indians in Amazonia go back as far as the 16th century(a). When I saw some old photos(b) of these ‘white’ children, I was immediately struck by the fact that many were squinting and appeared to be suffering from albinism, although this has been denied(c).
Sprague de Camp lists a series of errors in Braghine’s book, finishing with the ominous remark that ‘you believe Colonel Braghine at your peril.’
Your compiler found Braghine’s book interesting and informative, although rather dated as it is now (2022) over eighty years old. I could find no justification for deCamp’s condemnation of Braghine’s work.
Jean Silvain Bailly (1736-1793) was born in Paris and became a renowned astronomer, in which capacity he computed an orbit for Halley’s Comet and studied the four satellites of Jupiter that were then known to science.
He was a friend of the famous mathematician Laplace and also of Voltaire to whom he wrote his Letters on Atlantis published in 1778. In 2011, the British Library published a facsimile copy of the two volumes of the ‘Letters’ of the 1801 English translation by James Jacque of which letter #23 relates to Atlantis. A modern English translation of letter #23 by Pierre Beaudry is available online(b).
In it, Bailly proposed that the region around Spitzbergen in the Arctic Sea was the location of Atlantis; an idea allegedly supported by Voltaire. Bailly also identified Iceland as Ogygia! Bailly’s view was based on a study of Nordic and Middle Eastern mythologies and his conclusions were similar to the theory of his contemporary Buffon who had suggested that the Earth had originally an interior fire that gradually cooled. While this fire burned the northern latitudes were much warmer providing an ideal environment in which Atlantis could flourish. When the fire cooled the Atlanteans moved south. Bailly suggested that this migration brought them to Mongolia*and from there to the Caucasus and finally to Phoenicia.*
Jean Baptiste Delambre was subsequently to attack the pseudo-scientific theories of Bailly, but while doing so, inadvertently misinterpreted some of Isaac Causabon’s commentary on Strabo, inferring that Aristotle rejected the existence of Plato’s Atlantis. This error was adopted by later writers and gained such widespread uncritical acceptance that this view of Aristotle became ‘received wisdom’. Thorwald C. Franke has now endeavoured to redress that situation with his 2012 book Aristotle and Atlantis.
Bailly got caught up in the turmoil of the French Revolution and eventual died after a kiss on the neck from Madame Guillotine. His ideas regarding Atlantis were ignored until Helena Blavatsky integrated some of his concepts into her theosophical musings. This amalgam of Bailly’s and Blavatsky’s beliefs were incorporated into the thinking of the German Thule Society who supported Adolf Hitler(a).
Around Blavatsky’s time in 1885 Dr W. F. Warren published a book, Paradise Found that also proposed that the beginnings of the human race started at the North Pole and had been inundated at the time of the Deluge.
Asteroids, Comets and Meteoroids are all relatively small objects that inhabit our Solar System. When any of them have orbits that intersect with that of the Earth they are known as Near Earth Objects or NEOs. Asteroids (a word coined by William Herschel [1738-1822]) used to be known as minor planets, while meteoroids is the name applied to asteroids that are less than 50 metres in diameter, although some use 10 metres as the classification threshold.
Meteorites have had a history of being considered divine in origin, leading to different levels of veneration in various cultures(v). In the 2nd century, Clement of Alexandria is said to have concluded that “the worship of such stones to have been the first, and earliest idolatry, in the world.”
What is probably the first recorded death from a meteorite strike took place in India in February 2016(z).
Comets, until recently, were generally thought to be composed of just dust and ice, ‘dirty snowballs’, which have orbits that periodically bring them close to the sun at which stage the interaction of the comet’s dust trail with the solar wind produces a highly visible coma or tail. The nucleus can have a diameter of a couple of kilometres.
The chemical composition of comets is now known to be varied and much more complex than previously believed. In 2015, Comet Lovejoy was ejecting the equivalent of “500 bottles of wine every second” when it was closest to the sun, in the form of ethyl alcohol(w). A close encounter with the Earth would have been interesting!
In 1883 a large comet is estimated to have come within a few hundred miles of Earth. It was photographed and some years later the image was hailed as the first image of a UFO!
In recent years comets have come to be seen as potentially more dangerous than asteroids in the event of a collision. This view was graphically demonstrated when the Levy-Shoemaker comet crashed spectacularly into Jupiter in 1994, after breaking up into as many as 21 large pieces before impacting. This comet was originally about 20 km in diameter. However, the distinction between comets and asteroids has been blurred by asteroids sometimes displaying the features of comets, such as asteroid P2013/P5, which in 2013 produced six cometary-like tails.
In 2022, a report offered evidence that major cometary or asteroidal impacts or airbursts have been more frequent than previously thought. University of Cincinnati’s Professor Kenneth Tankersley and his colleagues have listed many such events that are known to have occurred since one apparently wiped out the dinosaurs. The most disturbing fact is the number of encounters experienced within historical times, for example – “Archaeologists have found meteorites, microspherules, iridium and platinum anomalies, and burned charcoal-rich habitation surfaces at 11 archaeological sites of the Hopewell culture in three states stretching across the Ohio River Valley. While Hopewell people survived the catastrophic event, which occurred between 252 and 383 CE, it likely contributed to their cultural decline.” (as) Jason Colavito is critical of this claim“because the Hopewell did not enter a terminal decline after their proposed impact date of c. 255-300 CE but flourished for another 200 years.”(at)
In 1752, the French astronomer, Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis, expressed the view that “However dangerous might be the shock of a comet, it might be so slight, that it would only do damage at the part of the Earth where it actually struck” and with coincidental foresight added “ Perhaps we should be very surprised to find that the debris of these masses that we despised were formed of gold and diamonds” considering how Richard Firestone and his associates more recently used the existence of nanodiamonds to confirm the cometary impact of 11,000 BC over North America.
Asteroids and comets have been blamed for the demise of Atlantis since the end of the 18th century. It was the Italian polymath, Giovanni Rinaldo Carli, who in 1788 declared  that part of a passing comet hit the Earth and was responsible for the destruction of Atlantis. A century later in his second book  on Atlantis, Ignatius Donnelly similarly claimed that a comet’s collision with Earth was the cause of Atlantis’ destruction(af). Comets rather than asteroids were initially blamed because of their high visibility. However, as our technology advanced and we gradually became aware of the number of large asteroids that intersect with the Earth’s orbit they replaced comets as the more likely cause of historical impacts.
For some decades, Bob Kobres has been studying the evidence for cometary encounters contained in ancient mythologies and their possible association with known events(ah) such as the creation of the Carolina Bays or the Bronze Age Collapse(ag).
The early part of the 20th century saw the eccentric William Comyns Beaumontand the mysterious Hans Schindler Bellamy both supporting the idea of Atlantis being destroyed by an encounter with an extraterrestrial object. The theory has been adopted by a growing number of popular modern writers such as Otto Muck, Egerton Sykes, Andrew Collins, Paul Dunbavin, Karl Jürgen Hepke(a), Frank Joseph explains[102.108] how a number of scholars encouraged by Muck, came forward to publicly state their belief that Atlantis had been destroyed by an extraterrestrial impact or impacts: “They included the world’s foremost authority on Halley’s Comet, Dr M.M. Kamienski, a member of the Polish Academy of Sciences; Professor N. Bonev, one of the 20th century’s leading astronomers at the University of Sofia, in Bulgaria; and Jack Hills, of the prestigious Los Alamos National Laboratory”.
In 1971, Sykes’ Atlantis magazine devoted an entire issue to the matter of impact craters around the globe(ak),>a subject that he also wrote about a few years earlier(av).<
Emilio Spedicato of the University of Bergamo has written(b) and lectured widely on his hypothesis that the last Ice Age was started by an extraterrestrial impact over a continent and ended with a similar event over an ocean. This second impact was the cause of Atlantis’ destruction and Spedicato specifies Hispaniola as containing the location of its capital.
Spedicato is not alone in believing that impacts by large objects have been responsible for the triggering of past Ice Ages. As we have seen a large number of writers have suggested an impact with the Earth as the primary or at least the secondary cause of the destruction of Atlantis(d). These cosmic collisions have occurred throughout the history of our planet, continuing to this day. Most of the impact material is small and burns up in the atmosphere. Some low-density objects have penetrated the atmosphere but disintegrated before actually impacting, generating powerful shock waves commensurate with their size. Such an event was the well-known Tunguska(i) explosion over that area of Siberia in 1908.
Commenting on the Tunguska event Stephen E. Franklin added that “Less than five hours after the Tunguska object exploded at 7:14 AM local time in Siberia, another fireball was seen over Kagarlyk near Kyiv in what is now Ukraine (then part of the Russian Empire) at around 7:00 AM local time followed by the impact of a 1.912 kg stony meteorite.”(ad)
In 2001, Dr Luigi Forschini one of the leaders of an Italian expedition to the Tunguska region studied some of the 60,000 fallen trees and for the first time, they also had access to previously untranslated eye-witness accounts. They concluded that the object had arrived from the southeast at about 11 km per second and that an investigation of its likely orbit concluded that it was more likely that the intruder had been an asteroid rather than a comet. They speculated that it was probably not much more than ‘a pile of rubble’ that broke up completely, leaving no crater(aq).
The most recent (April 2020) Tunguska theory is that it could have been caused by an iron asteroid partially entering and then leaving the atmosphere!(aj) The most bizarre Tunguska suggestion is that it was the result of experiments carried out by Nikola Tesla(al). Another claim is that a massive explosion of escaping underground gas was the culprit(am). July 1st 2021 another update on Tunguska theories revealed very little that was new(ao).
Two similar explosions occurred over South America in the 1930s(ar). However, some are large enough to survive the journey to the surface. Depending on the size, density, speed and angle of approach, the consequences of a large impact are difficult for the average person to appreciate. As Austen Atkinson wrote “A single impact by a rock the size of (London’s) Millennium Dome could devastate the surface of the globe with an explosive release of energy five times more powerful than the entire world’s nuclear arsenal. On 19 May 1996, just such an object came within 280,000 miles of Earth: six hours from a collision. Humankind could have been eradicated.”
The most famous impact is probably that which is known as the Chicxulub Event in the Yucatan took place 66 million years ago and wiped out the dinosaurs. A 2017 update on Chicxulub studies was presented(ap) at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in New Orleans.
A more recent (2019) paper(ae) reports that “excavations in North Dakota reveal fossils of fish and trees that were blasted with rocky, glassy fragments that fell from the sky. The deposits show evidence also of having been swamped with water – the consequence of the colossal sea surge that was generated by the impact.”
>The Chicxulub event may have been more complicated than generally thought, as a 2022 report revealed that “researchers have now uncovered another crater off the coast of Guinea that might well be Chicxulub’s cousin. The newly discovered feature, albeit much smaller, is also about 66 million years old. That’s a curious coincidence, and scientists are now wondering whether the two impact structures might be linked. Perhaps Chicxulub and the newly discovered feature—dubbed Nadir crater—formed from the breakup of a parent asteroid or as part of an impact cluster, the team suggested.”(aw)<
The Yucatan impact has a rival claimant in the Indian Ocean as the dinosaur killer, known as the Shiva crater. This is claimed as the largest multi-ringed impact crater in the world(an).
11 million years later another impact in the Atlantic is credited with the expansion of the mammals according to a new study by co-author, Dennis Kent from Rutgers University.
An online calculator of impact effects was developed by scientists at Purdue University and Imperial College, London was first published in 2004 and recently updated(g).
By 2009 175 large impact craters have been discovered all over our planet, many more are undiscovered having been destroyed over time by wind and water erosion or hidden by vegetation. In 2006, a crater with a diameter of 30 km was discovered in the Southern Egyptian desert. This discovery may solve a mystery in the same region that has baffled science for over seventy years, namely, the Libyan desert glass that covers an area of 60 x 100 km. However, the largest known impact crater is the Vredefort crater in South Africa with a diameter of 300 km (186 miles). But this may have to take second place to the 300-mile-wide crater identified in Hudson Bay in North America.
The spectacular collision of Comet Shoemaker-Levy with Jupiter in July 1994 and how it disintegrated into a number of huge pieces before impacting over seven days, may offer one possible explanation for the mechanism that could produce the apparent clustering of 3rd millennium BC impacts on Earth.
The current estimate is that there are more than 2,000 asteroids exceeding a kilometre in size together with 10,000 over half a kilometre plus millions of smaller items in Earth-crossing orbits; collectively known as ‘Apollo objects‘. The meteor that exploded over central Russia in February 2013 belonged to this Apollo group. Add to this the risk from comets, normally larger than asteroids, and it is obvious that large-scale impacts are inevitable, however infrequent. The good news is that in 2011 it was reported that a NASA space telescope recorded a 40% reduction in their earlier calculation(j) which should be compared with the assessment referred to(f) at the end of the last paragraph of this entry. May 2012 saw further estimates being published(l).
Terminology, definitions and number estimates are constantly changing. Asteroids that are more than 100m across with orbits that come within 7.5 million km of Earth are now referred to as PHAs (Potentially Hazardous Asteroids). As of June 2014, the IAU has listed 1,466 PHAs, while NASA estimates put the actual total in excess of 4,700(q).
As recently as 1953 an asteroid impact with the Moon was photographed as a flash and only in 2002 was the resulting 2Km- wide crater identified. The estimated energy released by this 300-metre-wide object on impact would have been half a Megaton of TNT (35 times the Hiroshima bomb). A hit of this magnitude on Earth could have wiped out a large city.
It must be kept in mind that the immediate damage caused by the impact itself is only the beginning of the story; tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes together with worldwide long-term dust veils could trigger climate change leading to ongoing adverse effects on vegetation and animal life. For humans, this meant death, destruction, floods, repeated crop failures and probably a breakdown in any existing civil order.
It was as recent as the 1930s that geologists were being told that Meteor Crater in the Arizona desert was the only known evidence that an impact, with worldwide consequences, had ever taken place. The site is also known as Barringer Crater after the family who owns it. Until recently, it held the record for the largest impact crater less than 100,000 years old; it’s about 49,000 to 50,000 years old and measures 0.75 miles (1.2 km) in diameter. That is, until 2019, when the Yilan crater was discovered in China, which measures about 1.15 miles (1.85 km) across and likely formed about 46,000 to 53,000 years ago, based on radiocarbon dating of charcoal and organic lake sediments from the site, the NASA statement says(au).
It was also in the 1930s that the first of the Apollo objects were identified. Since then, the number of large identifiable impact craters grew to hundreds and the number of Apollo objects, whose impact would have global implications, became thousands. It then became obvious that the Earth as we know it is at serious risk. World authorities are slowly realising that the probability of similar impacts in the future is simply inevitable.
Until recently, statistical analysis indicates a major impact every 10,000 years; with the last such event occurring 12,000 years ago possibly destroying Atlantis, directly or indirectly. However, in 2006, this estimate was revised downward to a major collision every 1,000 years with the last impact having taken place around 2800 BC, in the Indian Ocean, where an 18-mile diameter crater has been discovered at a depth of 12,500 feet.
However, a paper(x) published in October 2015 has suggested that a study of mass extinctions over the past 260 million years appear to have taken place every 26 million years coinciding with major asteroid/comet impacts.
So far 175 large impact craters(e) have been discovered all over our planet and many more are undiscovered having been destroyed over time by wind and water erosion or hidden by vegetation. In 2006, a crater with a diameter of 30km was discovered in the southern Egyptian desert. This discovery may solve a mystery in the same region that has baffled science for over seventy years, namely, the Libyan desert glass that covers an area of 60 x 100 km. However, the largest known impact crater is the Vredefort crater n South Africa with a diameter of 300km (186 miles). But this may have to take second place to the 300-mile-wide crater identified in Hudson Bay in North America. A 2015 report tells of two impact zones that total more than 400 kilometres across, which were identified in the Warburton Basin in Central Australia(t).
Although it appears that similar suggestions have been made since the 1950s, the debate has now reached a new level. The Hudson Bay feature has generated even greater interest since Richard Firestone, a nuclear physicist together with Allen West and Simon Warwick-Smith published their claim that it was created around 11,000 BC and had human witnesses who preserved their memory of it in their local folklore and that may have been responsible for the extermination of the Clovis people(ai). Firestone’s tentative 11,000 BC date for this event is earlier than Plato’s even more questionable 9600 BC date for the destruction of Atlantis might be connected since the event described by Firestone & Co. would have had global consequences and could have affected any suggested Atlantis location. In 2007, at a news conference during the Joint Assembly of the American Geophysical Union, in Acapulco, Mexico, two archaeologists from the University of Oregon, Douglas J. Kennett and Jon M. Erlandson added geological evidence to support Firestone’s thesis. In 2008 evidence of an exploding comet/asteroid over Canada during the same period was presented(c) by other academics from the University of Cincinnati. However, it must be noted that the Firestone hypothesis has encountered some criticism since the start of 2009 and must therefore be treated with due caution. This criticism appears to be gaining support according to a May 2011 report(h). In June 2012, James Kennett, son of Douglas Kennet mentioned above, was part of a team who announced further evidence of a major impact event 13,000 years ago extending from Pennsylvania and South Carolina as far as Syria(m).
Dr Reinoud de Jonge has written several articles(d) that drew on petroglyphs in Brittany to support his contention that the Earth had an encounter with a cometary body in 2345 BC. This would appear to complement the work of Mike Baillie and George Dodwell, who echoed William Whiston’s proposed date of 2346 BC, for an encounter with a comet that caused the biblical Deluge.
Since only 30% of our globe’s surface is exposed land, it is reasonable to conclude that 70% of impacts will have landed in water, leaving little lasting evidence. However, at least ten of these identified impact craters occurred after the last Ice Age and at least seven of them date from around the third millennium BC, a period when there were widespread cultural collapses.
In a recent book the renowned dendrochronologist, Mike Baillie, has outlined compelling evidence from his discipline combined with ancient mythologies to support the idea of extraterrestrial impacts in early historical times. May I suggest that the mythologies that possibly relate to multiple impacts are in fact recollections of a comet that had been visible for some time before breaking up under the gravitational influence of our planet before impact? This idea was developed by Baillie in a subsequent book written with Patrick McCafferty that focused on Celtic mythological figures. Comets rather than asteroids are more likely to have contributed to the development of myths since an asteroid would not have been visible long enough for it to develop an identity that would be remembered in legend. Graham Phillips has gone further and proposed that a close encounter with a comet in the middle of the 2nd millennium BC triggered the development of monotheism at that time. Furthermore, he contends that as the Earth passed through this comet’s tail, it introduced large quantities of the amino acid, vasopressin that heightened aggression in humans leading to large-scale conflicts worldwide. This comet, 12P/Pons-Brooks is due for another close encounter with Earth in 2024.
A 2012 paper(o) by Fernando Coimbra investigates the influence of unusual astronomical events, in particular comets, on the subject matter of rock art. An earlier paper(p) by Coimbra looks at the swastika as a specific example of a reflection of such an event.
Mythologies, worldwide, offer evidence of these impacts and have been subsequently reinforced by classical writers who describe in non-scientific terms the effects of these extraterrestrial assaults. Pliny wrote in his Natural History (Book II, sec 91) of ‘A terrible comet was seen by the people of Ethiopia and Egypt, to which Typhon, the king of that period, gave his name; it had a fiery appearance and was twisted like a coil, and it was very grim to behold: it was not really a star so much as what might be called a ball of fire.’
Similarly, the Greek myth of Phaëton has been interpreted as a record of an encounter with a comet. Edith and Alexander Tollmann also identified an 11,000 BC impact with the Köfels region of the Austrian Tyrol as one of the impact zones. The interpretation of ancient legends and myths is a matter of subjective response, but the volume of such evidence is so great that the probability of a number of major impacts being within the memory of man, who relayed the experience down to us through the medium of tradition, is quite high.
The fact that our Earth is continually at risk of a cosmic collision, the physical evidence of recent and past collisions, the recording of impacts on the Moon and Jupiter compounded with stories in ancient mythologies offer strong grounds for accepting the possibility of Atlantis being destroyed as a result of a collision with an extraterrestrial object as a credible working hypothesis.
While an asteroid impact destroying Atlantis is relatively easy to accept, some authors have proposed even more dramatic scenarios where the impact was so great that it caused the Poles to change position and/or the Earth’s outer mantle to move relative to the inner core. There is little doubt that cosmic collisions of all the possible natural catastrophes pose the greatest possible threat to life on earth. There is an interesting website(c) that discusses both catastrophes and Atlantis. Another site(e) has a small collection of images of impact craters as seen from space. 2010 produced a frightening upward reassessment of the asteroid threat(f).
In 2001, NASA(k) identified 1,000 asteroids and comets orbiting close to Earth that are capable of causing catastrophic damage to our planet in the event of a collision. An interesting map was published(n) in February 2013 showing the locations of 34,513 impacts dating back to 2300 BC.
Recent deliberate encounters with comets and asteroids have produced images and data that have raised questions about the traditional description of comets being composed of ice and rock. The lines between asteroids and comets are becoming increasingly blurred and new definitions are required(r). The trend now is to see asteroids and comets as part of a continuum. Evidence is emerging that the H20 previously associated with comets may have been OH radicals(s).
The 2014 landing on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko would appear to have destroyed the ‘dirty snowball’ description of comets, coined in 1950 by the noted astronomer, Fred Whipple, and should now be abandoned.
Although large asteroids or comets have caused and will again cause global catastrophes on a scale that we can only imagine, they are not the greatest potential threat to our existence. It is estimated that our galaxy, like others, is also home to free-floating giant gas planets untethered to any star, which, if they wandered our way, could not only obliterate our planet but de-stabilise our solar system.(u)
Terry Westerman offers a fascinating overview of possible global impact sites on his fully illustrated website(y).
Fortunately, the death and destruction caused by comets are balanced by the probability that they are also the source of life on our planet. This idea is gaining greater acceptance with a further paper(aa) offering additional supportive evidence published in April 2016.
Nevertheless, improved vigilance is required if we are to believe Peter Brown of the University of Western Ontario, whose research in 2014 concluded(ab) that hazardous asteroids are 10 times more likely to hit Earth than previously thought!
(q) BBC Focus Magazine, July 2014, page 67.
(ak) Atlantis, Volume 24, Nos 3/4, April-July, 1971.
Phaëton in Greek mythology was the son of Helios the Greek sun god. Phaëton was also the name given to a comet that impacted or had a close encounter with the Earth in the 13th century BC. The Egyptians knew this comet as Sekhmet. Ancient inscriptions record that some of the consequences of this dramatic encounter were the drying up of the Nile and the desertification of Libya.
Michel-Alain Combes has noted(j) that Phaëton has also been associated “with Anat in Syria, the star of Baal in Canaan (Palestine and Phenicia), Absinthe, The star of the Apocalypse) among the Hebrews, Surt in the countries of the north.” He also suggests that the legends of Typhon (Hesiod) and Phaeton (Ovid), although usually thought to refer to separate events, are just different versions of the same encounter with a comet in the late 13th century BC.
Günter Bischoff has published two lengthy articles(n)(o) on the Atlantisforschung website which includes a comment that might account for the number of locations where apparent sightings of the comet were reported. “Now it is easy to explain why Phaethon should have been sighted over Greece, Egypt, Syria, India and other countries. During its orbits lasting several days, it will have flown over many inhabited areas on its elliptical orbit. Some observers may even have seen it several times and from different directions.”
A 2012 paper by Peter James and M.A, van der Sluijs entitled ”Silver’: A Hurrian Phaethon’ (l) concluded that “there is an attractive pattern of correspondences between the well-known Greek myth of Phaethon and the Hurrian myth of Silver.” Silver was a character in Hurrian mythology, also known as Ushu.
Interestingly, Plato records in Timaeus how Phaëton caused immense devastation but does not link it directly with the destruction of Atlantis but the context implies an event that was in the distant past, considerably earlier than Solon. Some ancient authorities, such as Eusebius and Isidore of Seville, have associated Phaëton with the time of Moses.
The poet Goethe considered the story of Phaëton to have had a real astronomical origin.
Franz Xavier Kugler was a Jesuit priest who spent over thirty years studying ancient astronomical texts written in cuneiform. In 1927, he published a paper in which he concluded that an asteroidal impact in the Mediterranean inspired the story of Phaëton.
More recently, Bob Kobres has written a number of articles on the subject of Phaëton having a cometary origin(k). Some of these papers can be found on the Internet(a). Kobres dates this Phaëton event to around 1200 BC.
Stavros Papamarinopoulos from the University of Patras in Greece presented a paper to the 2005 Atlantis Conference held on Melos in which he linked Plato’s Phaëton with an encounter between the earth and cometary fragments around 1200 BC.
Emilio Spedicato opted for 1447 BC as the likely date of the Phaëton explosion. He describes this as a super-Tunguska event, which exploded over southern Denmark(m). He further contends that the after-effects assisted the Israelite Exodus from Egypt.
Spedicato’s identification is comparable with Jürgen Spanuth’s idea that Phaëton was a fragment of Halley’s Comet. Two other followers of Spanuth, Günter Bischoff and Walter Stender have written extensive papers, in German, on a meteorite impact with Northern Europe around 1220 BC, which they identify as Phaëton(c). The same interpretation has been applied specifically to Lake Chiemgau in S.E. Bavaria and is expanded on in papers by Barbara Rappenglück among many others(d)(f).
>The late Bernhard Beier published an article on the Atlantisforschung website regarding Spanuth’s Phaeton theory that proposes a North Sea impact around 4.5km south of Helgoland with the consequent destruction of Atlantis. Beier concludes his comments with “Spanuth’s assumption that the Phaethon legend represents a mythical representation of catastrophic events from pre-Hellenic times corresponds exactly to Plato’s view of things and can therefore still be regarded as open to discussion. His chronological assignment of these events to the end of the ‘Bronze Age’ still seems worthy of discussion. On the other hand, the equation of the assumed Phaethon impact with the Atlantis catastrophe, which he made quite naturally and without further ado, lacks any exegetical basis, even if it may initially appear quite logical in the context of Spanuth ‘s theory.”(p) There are aspects of the Phaëton story that are still debated. Was the Phaëton of Greek mythology inspired by a close encounter with a comet? Did it destroy Atlantis? Are we dealing with an impact or just a very close encounter? What was the flight path of the comet? One suggested route is shown here, where it was given different names along the way.<
Clube & Napier  have proposed a slightly later date of 1369 BC for the encounter with Phaëton.
Dale Drinnon has argued(g) against any connection between Phaeton and the destruction of Atlantis saying “There are two different kinds of catastrophes being described and distinguished from one another and the Phaethon event is categorically differentiated from the Destruction of Atlantis in the Atlantis dialogues of Plato. There is no good reason to equate the two and certainly no textual justification for doing so.”
Amanda Laoupi offers an extensive article on the history of the Phaëton myth and its interpretation in both ancient and modern times.
Phaëton was also the name given by Johann Gottlieb Radlof (1775-1829) to a planet that he believed disintegrated after a collision with a comet, within human memory, resulting in the asteroid belt.
(g) Archive 3605
(k) Archive 3365.