William Comyns Beaumont
Sodom & Gomorrah along with Zoar, Admah and Zeboim constituted the Cities of the Plain referred to in the Bible and believed to have been situated in the Jordan Valley before their obliteration (apart from Zoar) in a catastrophic episode during the 2nd millennium BC. Explanations, religious and rational have been offered to explain the event. My preferred explanation is that an encounter with an extraterrestrial body such as a comet or asteroid caused the devastation(d).
In 2008, a Sumerian clay tablet, known as the ‘Planisphere’ in the British Museum, was, after 150 years, translated and claimed to record an encounter with an asteroid ‘suspected of being behind the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah(e). The late Bernhard Beier has written an interesting article on the Atlantisforschung website about this asteroid.
“Interdisciplinary findings by scientists at the University of Bristol in 2008 suggest that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah described in the Old Testament may have been the result of a serious impact event.
The British researchers had studied an Assyrian clay planisphere that has puzzled science for some 150 years and has now been identified as the transcript of an eyewitness account of an asteroid impact that is believed to have also destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. This clay tablet had already been discovered by Austen Henry Layard in the ruins of the library of the royal palace at Nineveh in the mid-19th century. It is generally assumed that this specimen dates to around 700 B.C. It is a copy of a much older tablet on which a Sumerian astronomer wrote down his extraordinary observations of the sky. An ‘approaching, white stone ball’ is described there, which is said to have ‘rushed past violently.'”(l)
>For most Christians, Sodom in the Bible has been associated with homosexuality, however, this idea does not stand up to any careful scrutiny as explained in a detailed paper by Roger Farnworth, a retired Church of England minister(q).<
In October 2015, there were reports that the sites of Sodom and Gomorrah had been finally located(a). November 2018 saw a further claim(b) that Sodom and possibly other the ‘cities of the plain’ had been destroyed by a meteoric airburst, similar to the Tunguska or the more recent Chelyabinsk events. This catastrophe took place north of the Red Sea in what is now Jordan, according to archaeologist Phillip Silvia of Trinity Southwest University in Albuquerque(g).
Silvia’s conclusions have been confirmed by Dr Steven Collins, dean of the College of Archaeology at Trinity Southwest University, who has excavated at the Tell el-Hammam site over sixteen seasons(n). He describes his findings in his book co-authored with Dr Latayne C. Scott, Discovering the City of Sodom .>Collins offered the following interesting observation(c), “the Tall el-Hammam site has twenty-five geographical indicators that align it with the description in Genesis. Compare this with something well-known—like Jerusalem—that has only sixteen. Most other sites have only five or six, or less. So, the site has many more geographical ‘signs’ than any other Old Testament city. That’s truly amazing.”<
A September 2021 paper(h) outlines interesting new evidence that the destruction of the Tell el-Hammam site was probably caused by a Tunguska-type airburst and further suggests that “about a minute later, 14 miles (22 km) to the west of Tall el-Hammam, winds from the blast hit the biblical city of Jericho. Jericho’s walls came tumbling down and the city burned to the ground.”
Jason Colavito added some further comments on the authors and background to this paper and concluded that “In short: The claim Tell El-Hammam was destroyed by an airburst is disputable. Its identification with Sodom is unproved and dubious, and no one has provided any evidence that an event supposedly transpiring in 1600 BCE was preserved accurately down to the composition of the first written account of Sodom in the surviving Genesis narrative, typically ascribed to the period around 500 BCE or later. If we can’t agree whether the Greeks preserved any real history from the Mycenaeans after only five centuries, we should be very careful in imagining the preservation of stories for two or three times that long with no evidence of intermediary versions.”(j)
The original report appeared on the Nature website and so far over a quarter of a million people have accessed it. This lengthy document can also be read on the cosmictusk.com website(k).
Andis Kaulins has suggested that the destruction of the cities of the plain was a consequence of the eruption of Thera(p). David Rohl in The Lost Testament [231.180] has dated the destruction of Sodom to circa 1830 BC following a period of unheeded seismic warnings that eventually led to the rupturing of the earth and the violent ejection of deadly sulphur.
More imaginative commentators, such as Dan Sewell Ward (1940-2019) have proposed(f) that the destruction of S & G was the result of atomic warfare!
In Atlantis and Other Lost Worlds , Frank Joseph claims that Comet Encke in 1198 BC “scores a number of meteoric hits along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and possibly on Atlantis itself, which perishes ‘in a single day and night’, according to Plato. The catastrophe is global, encompassing the destruction of the biblical Sodom and Gomorrah” Joseph bases this on the studies of two Swedish geologists, Thomas B. Larsson and Lars Franzén.
This linkage of Sodom with Atlantis is not new. In the 18th century, Carl Friedrich Baër (1719-1797) who was pastor at the Lutheran chapel in the Swedish Embassy in Paris, was possibly the first to propose a connection between the demise of Atlantis and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
A similar theory was proposed by Roger M. Pearlman in a 2018 booklet . In this small, difficult-to-read, book the author also suggests, a linkage between the destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah and Atlantis, placing Atlantis in the Jordan Valley and equating Abraham with Atlas – “If Atlas, as described in Plato’s work, was based on a historic figure, Abraham alone meets key criteria.”
On a lighter note, in 1948, William Comyns Beaumont published an extraordinary book, Britain – The Key to World History , in which he claimed among other things, that Edinburgh was the original Jerusalem, London was Damascus and rather worryingly, that Bristol was Sodom.
However, more recently, some demented soul has suggested that “Atlantis comprised three centers of civilization. The main center of civilization was a very large island stretching through what is now the area of the Azores near the mid-Atlantic, down almost to off-shore Brazil in South America. The present-day Islands of the Azores are mountain tops of the original. The second was along the foot of the Himalayans, now occupied by Nepal and Northern Punjab. The third was the plains, now called North America.” Then for good measure, they claimed that Sodom had been located in Washington State in the United States and Gomorrah could be found offshore Miami!(i)
In 2021, Mauro Biglino & Cinzia Mele published two books  that link a number of biblical episodes with locations in the Baltic region. One was the identification of two places in Finland as Sodom and Gomorrah, which was followed by dozens of similar geographical ‘coincidences’(m)!
It was recently (April 2022) written(o) that “What everyone agrees on is that something unusual happened at Tall el-Hammam, an ancient settlement near the Dead Sea.” Unfortunately, that is as far as any agreement has gone. Even the date for the disaster is hotly disputed.
“What was unlike destruction caused by earthquakes or warfare were pottery shards with their outer surfaces melted into glass, some bubbled as if boiled, “bubbled” and melted building brick and plaster, suggesting some unknown high-temperature event. Objects of daily life, carbonized pieces of wooden beams, charred grain, bones and limestone cobbles were burned to a chalklike consistency.”
“But last month Steven Jaret, a postdoctoral fellow at the American Museum of Natural History, and R. Scott Harris, a space scientist at Atlanta’s Fernbank Science Center, challenged these conclusions of the 21 scholars, also in Nature, basically hinting that Collins’ group confused run-of-the-mill smelting and pottery processes with heat from an airburst.”
I think the mystery of S & G will have a longer run than The Mousetrap in London!
See: Köfels Impact
William Comyns Beaumont (1873-1956) was a British journalist, author and the uncle of the novelist Daphne Du Maurier. He is frequently referred to as an eccentric and not without reason. He published an extraordinary book, Britain – The Key to World History , in which he claimed among other things, that Edinburgh was the original Jerusalem, London was Damascus and rather worryingly that Bristol was Sodom (see map).
Beaumont located the Pillars of Heracles at Northern Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway along with its counterpart on the Isle of Staffa in Scotland(h). This suggestion was revived(k) nearly twenty years ago by veteran forum contributor ‘Jameske’ and more recently by Marco Goti. This identification has now also been adopted by Alberto Majrani(i). However, the first to associate the Giant’s Causeway with Atlantis was probably John Whitehurst (1713-1788)(j). James McCulloh (1793-1870) noted [1588.30] that General George Vallancey was disposed to support Whitehurst’s association of the Giant’s Causeway with ‘lost Atalantis’.
In addition, Beaumont was convinced that 18th Dynasty Pharaohs ruled the Welsh Britons. The foreword to the ‘Key’ is available online(d) as is a 1949 newspaper review(e).
In an earlier work he had identified ancient Britain as Atlantis and claimed that Atlantis was destroyed by a cometary impact in 1322 BC. This book introduced Beaumont as possibly the first British catastrophist, who expanded on this subject of celestial collisions in a subsequent book.
It has been claimed that Beaumont’s theory of celestial impacts partly inspired Immanuel Velikovsky’s writings, but characteristically, without receiving any recognition from that quarter.
Some years ago Benny J. Peiser drew attention to how Beaumont’s work had been overlooked and probably plagiarised citing a list of 25 similarities between the theories of Beaumont and Velikovsky previously noted by Alfred De Grazia(a).
In 1975, the American psychologist, Robert Stephanos (1925-2011)(c), founded the Comyns Beaumont Society in Philadelphia. Stephanos appears to have accepted Beaumont’s ideas including their more bizarre elements. In 1994 Stephanos published an article in Fate magazine(f), in which he also claimed that Velikovsky had ‘borrowed’ many of Beaumont’s catastrophist ideas.
Beaumont’s books are hard to find, however, all four of them have now been made available as reprints(b) and are a must for students of the history of catastrophism and its part in the Atlantis story.
Beaumont had completed the manuscript for another book, The Great Deception, shortly before his death. This has now been edited for publication by Janice Mendez and is now available in print and online. In it, Beaumont returned to the subject of catastrophism along with some radical historical revisionism and has its objective described by his grandson, Christopher Toyne, as “to propound the ultimate subterfuge by Emperor Constantine the Great to reconstruct the story of Jesus away from the British Isles and place it in the now Middle Eastern ‘Holy Lands.’ This is THE GREAT DECEPTION.” I expect the reviews to be entertaining.
A more recent (Jan.2017) review(g) of Beaumont’s odd ideas might be worth a read.
(a) See: Archive 2315
(f) Catastrophists in Collision: Did Velikovsky borrow from Beaumont’s original works? Fate [March 1994], 66-72
(j) https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=RPtYAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA59&lpg=PA59&dq=Inquiry+into+the+Original+State+and+Formation+of+the+Earth:+Deduced+from+Facts+and+the+Laws+of+Nature&source=bl&ots=peuvaYuHb6&sig=9bHmnbUwaOuKq3HLF7X48neYDHU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=qI8dU7ORCK2S7Abb2IDYAw&ved=0CDIQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=Inquiry%20into%20the%20Original%20State%20and%20Formation%20of%20the%20Earth%3A%20Deduced%20from%20Facts%20and%20the%20Laws%20of%20Nature&f=false *
Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) was born in London and died at Highgate. Bacon was a statesman, philosopher and essayist and he is also frequently referred to as the father of modern science. Although he was not a great scientist, his promotion of the Inductive Method(a) of reasoning did help scientific advancement.
He was a lawyer and later a judge. In 1621 he was accused of taking bribes, a practice common among judges of the day. He confessed to some of the charges, but because he had the support of King James I, the fine of £40,000 was remitted.
In 1626, Bacon published The New Atlantis(c), generally accepted as a political fable, in which he located his fictional Atlantis off the west coast of America. In the same book he also describes a number of later inventions which probably also makes Bacon the first science fiction writer. However, David Hatcher Childress claims[620.221] that Bacon believed that ‘North Africa and the coast of Morocco’ to be Atlantis, but unfortunately provides no source or reference.
Bacon, who also received some land in America, has been linked with the strange Oak Island Mystery, regarding which it has been suggested that he had hidden there evidence of his authorship of Shakespeare’s plays! Both Ignatius Donnelly and Comyns Beaumont were supporters of this Baconian Hypothesis.
It is sometimes inaccurately(b) claimed that in 1620 Bacon also commented on the close fit of the South American continent with the outline of West Africa, presaging the inspiration behind Snider-Pellagrini and Alfred Wegner’s continental drift.
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.
The largest known meteorite is the Hoba Meteorite near Groodfontein, Namibia, which weighs over 60 tons and is calculated to have landed less than 80,000 years ago(ax) and is composed of about 84% iron and 16% nickel, with traces of cobalt(ay). Before man learned how to smelt iron the only source of the metal was from meteorites that were used to craft ornaments or weapons, such as the beautifully crafted knife buried with Tutankhamun. It is also reported that meteoric iron was used to fashion an arrowhead from a meteor that landed 3,500 years ago(az).
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 by a number of researchers 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).>More up-to-date is a paper by Andrew Glikson published in August 2023. In it he notes that “Geophysical evidence suggests there is a massive, magnetized structure deep beneath Australia. Experts think it could be the remnants of the largest meteor crater on Earth.” This feature in New South Wales known as the Deniliquin structure may date to half a billion years and is “yet to be further tested by drilling, spans up to 520 kilometres in diameter. This exceeds the size of the near-300km-wide Vredefort impact structure in South Africa, which to date has been considered the world’s largest(ba).”<
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).
>In 2013, Gernot Spielvogel co-authored Sonnenbomben  in which it is suggested that the Tunguska event was caused by a solar plasma ‘bomb’. Elsewhere, a YouTube video reviews the Tunguska event and concludes that many of the remaining mysteries associated with can be explained if it is treated as a major electrical discharge event(bb) between the Earth and an approaching asteroid or comet.<
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 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 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 appears 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 that 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.
(ay) National Geographic, June 2023 p.102
Ireland according to James Bramwell [0195.181], was first identified with Atlantis as early as circa 1250 AD in the Speculum Regale (The King’s Mirror)(g) which was written in Norway. Apart from that, Ireland was less controversially was first suggested in the 18th century as a possible location of Atlantis by the English geologist John Whitehurst. The idea lay dormant for over a century until the early part of the 20th century when George H. Cooper  suggested that Cork harbour fits Plato’s description of the harbour of Atlantis. Fifty years later an official guidebook claimed that one of the outposts of Atlantis was to be found on the west coast of Galway. As a nation famed for its storytelling we have never let truth stand in the way of a good tale.
The mythical Hy-Brasil was shown west of Ireland on maps as early as 1325 and incredibly, was not removed from naval charts until 1865. The UK’s Daily Star (21/5/16) with typical tabloid accuracy told its readers(f) that Hy-Brasil was off the coast of ‘Britain’!
In 1976, Steiner Books, New York, republished a book under the misleading title of Atlantis in Ireland. One may be excused for viewing this as a blatant case of exploitative opportunistic publishing. The original text was written by Henry O’Brien and published in London (1834) as The Round Towers of Ireland. Apart from being written in the rather turgid English of the period, there is not a single reference to Plato or Atlantis to be found in that volume.
Diodorus Siculus, in a well-known passage (Bk 1.158), that is claimed by some as a reference to Ireland(h), describes it as ”an island in the ocean over against Gaul, to the north, and not inferior in size to Sicily, the soil of which is so fruitful that they mow there twice in the year.” Some consider this to be reminiscent of the Platonic reference to the two crops a year gathered in Atlantis. However, I am more inclined to think that Diodorus was referring to Britain. Diodorus also mentions the Irish singular temples of ’round form’, however, this seems too early to be a reference to the round towers and more likely to be an allusion to the astronomically aligned mounds such as Newgrange, Dowth and Knowth in Ireland or Stonehenge in Britain!
Bob Quinn has written and lectured on possible ancient cultural links between North Africa and Ireland. This idea may have been reinforced by a number of 19th century reports that visitors from North Africa were able to understand the Irish language!(i)
In 1923, Conor MacDari, who’s eccentricity was comparable with that of Comyns Beaumont, published Irish Wisdom Preserved in the Bible and Pyramids , which among a litany of bizarre claims, proposed that Atlantis had been located in Ireland.
When Ignatius Donnelly came to the subject of Ireland, he attributed an Atlantean origin to so the various waves of settlers that came to the post-glacial island. He substitutes evidence with assertion and speculation. Donnelly further claimed that the famous round towers of Ireland are proof that the people of Atlantis settled in Ireland.
More recently Ulf Erlingsson, a Swedish geographer, insisted that with a claimed probability
factor of 99.98%, that his interpretation of Plato’s text demonstrates that Ireland was home to Atlantis . The subtitle of the book, Mapping the Fairy Land, is probably a good guide on how seriously to take this book, particularly as it is by an author who hails from the land of the original Trolls.
In March 2008, it was reported that a Dr. Jac Hummer had mounted an expedition to South America with the intention of discovering the remains of St. Patrick under a pyramid there. But it gets better – he then explains that such a discovery will prove his theory that Ireland is Plato’s lost island of Atlantis!I can only conclude that this is a hoax story.
Irish legend speaks of the Domnu, people of the deep sea from a land that disappeared beneath the waves. However, Ireland is still above the waves and in contrast to Plato’s statement that even in his time the location of Atlantis was marked by impassable shallows. Since sea levels have generally risen only slightly since Plato lived, he cannot have been referring to Ireland.
John Douglas Singer in his slender book, Ireland’s Mysterious Lands and Sunken Cities , has carried out an investigation into the ancient legends of Ireland and their possible connection with Plato’s Atlantis. He points out that Ireland has the greatest number of legends relating to sunken cities and islands! He draws on the works of Egerton Sykes and Lewis Spence among others.
Ireland was also nominated by Thomas Dietrich as an early colony of Atlantis in The Origin of Culture.
Somewhat incongruously, the website of extremist, Dejan Lucic, has an extensive and fully referenced article entitled The Irish Origins of Civilisation(a), including not a few controversial sources such as, Comyns Beaumont, Ralph Ellis and John Gordon.
Around 2010, a father and son team Francis J.Ward & Francis P.Ward seeminglly published their first book The Truth Against the World-Red Phoenix Rising & the Return of the Thunder Gods , in which they express the view that “Atlantis was a global, maritime empire based in Ireland”.(c)
In 2013, Skender Hushi informed the world that Albanian had been the original language of Ireland and Atlantis! Another equally odd claim came from Zoltán Simon who proposed that the ancient Hun Calendar came from Ireland [0549.147]!
Evidence for the earliest humans in Ireland is now dated as 10,500 BC.(d)(e)
In July 2020, Erlingsson’s Atlantis in Ireland theory was recycled by a website(j) with the title of ‘Keystone University’. It promises to build a world-class enterprise centre in Ireland in 2025. The site implies that Keystone has the support of Brian Tracy, an American self-development speaker. While Keystone seems to focus on business success and personal development, it incongruously includes a study of Atlantis a la Erlingsson as part of its course! It has published two papers on the Ancient Origins website(k)(l).
The Atlantis claims of Keystone were found earlier in January on YouTube and while it ostensibly appeared to add the gravitas of an educational institution to the subject of Atlantis, it was only a smokescreen for an attempt to entice people to sign up for overpriced seminars. Jason Colavito drew attention(m) to this at the time and to the more recent articles on Ancient Origins(n).
The Identity of the Atlanteans has produced a range of speculative suggestions nearly as extensive as that of the proposed locations for Plato’s lost island. However, it is highly probable that we already know who the Atlanteans were, but under a different name.
The list below includes some of the more popular suggestions and as such is not necessarily exhaustive. While researchers have proposed particular locations for Atlantis, not all have identified an archaeologically identified culture to go with their chosen location. The problem is that most of the places suggested have endured successive invasions over the millennia by different peoples.
It would seem therefore that the most fruitful approach to solving the problem of identifying the Atlanteans would be to first focus on trying to determine the date of the demise of Atlantis. This should reduce the number of possible candidates, making it easier to identify the Atlanteans.
A final point to consider is that the historical Atlanteans were a military alliance, and as such may have included more than one or none of those listed here. The mythological Atlanteans, who included the five sets of male twins and their successors would be expected to share a common culture, whereas military coalitions are frequently more disparate.
Basques: William Lewy d’Abartiague, Edward Taylor Fletcher
Maltese: Anton Mifsud, Francis Xavier Aloisio, Kevin Falzon, Bibischok, Joseph Bosco, David Calvert-Orange, Giorgio Grongnet de Vasse, Albert Nikas, Joseph S. Ellul, Francis Galea, Tammam Kisrawi, Charles Savona-Ventura, Hubert Zeitlmair.
Maya: Robert B. Stacy-Judd, Charles Gates Dawes, Colin Wilson, Adrian Gilbert, L. M. Hosea, Augustus le Plongeon, Teobert Maler, Joachim Rittstieg, Lewis Spence, Edward Herbert Thompson, Jean-Frédérick de Waldeck,
Minoans: K.T. Frost, James Baikie, Walter Leaf, Edwin Balch, Donald A. Mackenzie, Ralph Magoffin, Spyridon Marinatos, Georges Poisson, Wilhelm Brandenstein, A. Galanopoulos, J. G. Bennett, Rhys Carpenter, P.B.S. Andrews, Edward Bacon, Willy Ley, J.V. Luce, James W. Mavor, Henry M. Eichner, Prince Michael of Greece, Nicholas Platon, N.W. Tschoegl, Richard Mooney, Rupert Furneaux, Martin Ebon, Francis Hitching, Charles Pellegrino, Rodney Castleden, Graham Phillips, Jacques Lebeau, Luana Monte, Fredrik Bruins, Gavin Menzies, Lee R. Kerr, Daniel P. Buckley.
Nationalism was clearly the motivation behind some of the Atlantis theories that have been proposed over recent centuries. Olaf Rudbeck audaciously promoted his native Sweden in the 17th century, just as the eccentric William Comyns Beaumont claimed that Britain was Atlantis in the early 20th century and some Albanians, Azoreans, Maltese and Sardinians make comparable claims today. However, the most sinister manifestation of Atlantis based nationalism was the attempt to hijack it as the original homeland of the Aryan predecessors of the Nazis, probably borrowing the idea from Blavatsky. This was partly to replace the Abrahamic cultural lineage claimed by so many western nations. Today elements of modern Russian nationalism also look to an Aryan ancestry based in the Arctic.
*The linking of nationalism with (pseudo)archaeology is exemplified by the Bosnian pyramid claims of Samir Osmanagich and the manner in which the local media and politicians have used them to boost national pride, in spite of the contrary views expressed by qualified geologists and archaeologists(b).*
Vanessa Ward gives a good overview of the Atlantis based nationalism of both Rudbeck and the Nazis(a).