Immanuel Velikovsky rocked the scientific community in the 1950 and 60's with the publication of "Worlds in Collision," "Ages in Chaos," and "Earth in Upheaval." He proposed the unexpected and hard-to-believe thesis that early civilizations saw Venus erupt out of Jupiter, travel in an erratic orbit between Mars and Earth, and finally settle into its present orbit. He believed ancient myths telling of gods fighting in the sky and causing destruction on Earth were descriptions of what people actually saw, but could not understand. To them, the unstable planets looked like gods in the sky. Intriguing though! I remember reading the books. Velikovsky also planned a book explaining how the Deluge occurred, but, unfortunately, he died before he could write it.
Almost fifty years later, Allan and Delair published "Cataclysm!" Using more powerful analytical tools, they looked at the data Velikovsky examined and proposed a fresh thesis of their own. Like Velikovsky, they believed that folklore myths were eyewitness reports of what was seen in the sky. They described many of the myths Velikovsky described and added more that were unavailable to Velikovsky. From their research, they concluded that a fragment of an exploding supernova entered our solar system around 9500 B.C. This fragment "Phaeton-Marduk" caused one of Neptune's moons to become the planet Pluto. Phaeton-Marduk then pulled one of Saturn's moons, Chiron, away from Saturn making it the smallest planet in the Solar System. Chiron was first discovered in 1976. Phaeton-Marduk then caused the fragmentation of the planet Tiamat. Tiamat's fragments are now the asteroid belts between Jupiter and Mars. Tiamat's moon, Kingu, went into orbit around Phaeton-Marduk. Phaeton-Marduk then came close to the Earth disturbing the Earth's rotation. The moon, Kingu, was pulled from Tiamat by Earth's gravitation. Kingu fell apart, the pieces plunging into the Earth. These combined disturbances caused the Deluge. Phaeton-Marduk then flipped Venus upside down, causing it to have a backward rotation. Phaeton-Marduk finally fell into the sun.
Allan and Delair also described geological data showing large deposits of broken bones and shattered trees mixed together in heaps and data describing lakes that have beds resembling craters that might have been formed by aerial bombardment of huge meteors, and many other geological abnormalities. This fascinating book presents an interesting explanation of how the Deluge might have occurred. For readers interested in this subject, especially readers who were impressed by Velikovsky's books, "Cataclysm!" is a must-read.
I just finished this book, and I thought it was quite good and also, probably, quite important. The author's collect an impressive array of evidence to support their theory of a planet-wide catastrophe appr. 11,500 years ago, and everything is meticulously footnoted. Although there are some flaws in their theory, I think that they come rather close to developing a really credible big-picture account of what really happened during the world-wide cataclysm that changed the face of the Earth with the information that they had in hand. I would definitely recommend reading this together with The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes
, The Cosmic Winter
, and other books in a similar vein. Highlights for me included:
The authors do a survey of flora and fauna, both living and fossilized, which have a discontinuous spread between continents. Using this data, they try to piece together what the surface of the Earth looked like pre-cataclysm -- the continental patterns they suggest are pretty interesting, and have a more general horizontal (west-east) orientation than those that exist today. They also line up fairly well in at least a couple of instances with modern language-family distributions that are otherwise rather puzzling if a uniform continental pattern is assumed historically.
They reconstruct the a pre-diluvian climate based on their assumption of a different axis tilt and different atmospheric conditions/composition, and discuss in some detail what general climatic changes would have occurred post-cataclysm after the axial tilt had been altered. They also discuss the challenges faced by the first generations of post-diluvian humans, in terms of technology, food cultivation, and general economy -- this part sets the stage nicely for what James DeMeo hypothesizes about climate change in Saharasia
. They also engage in a certain amount of discussion about global mythologies, using the common themes to bolster their hypothesis about a fractured mantle, conflagration, subsequent deluge, and final glaciation (which they contrast with long-term ice age) -- this is a nice complement to the mythological study that Stephen Oppenheimer does in Eden in the East
Their main hypothesis involves a rogue planetary body (Phaeton) which enters the solar system, creating havoc with specific outer gas giants and their moons before entering the inner solar system and leading to the destruction of one planet beyond Mars, and severely disrupting the stability of the Earth-Moon system and Venus. This is where a couple points of their hypothesis are at variance with the C's account of this period -- they postulate the existence of what we call Kantek, for example (including a nice discussion of how debris from this planet would continue to interact with the inner solar system after it's destruction) and tie it's destruction to Phaeton; they do not identify it as Venus, postulating instead that it eventually hit the sun and was destroyed. The most interesting part of their hypothesis, however, is their hypothesis about Phaeton's origin -- that it originated in and was ejected from a supernova, explaining how a planet-sized object of this kind could acquire the kind of speed and momentum necessary to traverse a vast distance in space. This, in particular, caught my attention, because I have always wondered how Venus (according to the C's) might have had the opportunity to just suddenly wander into our solar system; I think this is a very suggestive hypothesis that could be borrowed to explain that.