Meteor Clue To End of Middle East Civilisations Found
[Laura's note: there is strong evidence that this planetary disruption was due to a cyclical cometary shower that returns at 3600 year intervals, and that the actual date of the event was between 1644 and 1628 BC. See notes at bottom of this article.]
The following news item caught my eye recently:
Robert Matthews Science Correspondent, The Telegraph - London 11-4-1
Scientists have found the first evidence that a devastating meteor impact in the Middle East might have triggered the mysterious collapse of civilisations more than 4,000 years ago.
Studies of satellite images of southern Iraq have revealed a two-mile- wide circular depression which scientists say bears all the hallmarks of an impact crater. If confirmed, it would point to the Middle East being struck by a meteor with the violence equivalent to hundreds of nuclear bombs.
Today's crater lies on what would have been shallow sea 4,000 years ago, and any impact would have caused devastating fires and flooding.
The catastrophic effect of these could explain the mystery of why so many early cultures went into sudden decline around 2300 BC.
They include the demise of the Akkad culture of central Iraq, with its mysterious semi-mythological emperor Sargon; the end of the fifth dynasty of Egypt's Old Kingdom, following the building of the Great Pyramids and the sudden disappearance of hundreds of early settlements in the Holy Land.
Until now, archaeologists have put forward a host of separate explanations for these events, from local wars to environmental changes. Recently, some astronomers have suggested that meteor impacts could explain such historical mysteries.
The crater's faint outline was found by Dr Sharad Master, a geologist at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, on satellite images of the Al 'Amarah region, about 10 miles north-west of the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates and home of the Marsh Arabs.
"It was a purely accidental discovery," Dr Master told The Telegraph last week. "I was reading a magazine article about the canal-building projects of Saddam Hussein, and there was a photograph showing lots of formations - one of which was very, very circular."
Detailed analysis of other satellite images taken since the mid-1980s showed that for many years the crater contained a small lake.
The draining of the region, as part of Saddam's campaign against the Marsh Arabs, has since caused the lake to recede, revealing a ring- like ridge inside the larger bowl-like depression - a classic feature of meteor impact craters.
The crater also appears to be, in geological terms, very recent. Dr Master said: "The sediments in this region are very young, so whatever caused the crater-like structure, it must have happened within the past 6,000 years."
Reporting his finding in the latest issue of the journal Meteoritics & Planetary Science, Dr Master suggests that a recent meteor impact is the most plausible explanation for the structure.
A survey of the crater itself could reveal tell-tale melted rock. "If we could find fragments of impact glass, we could date them using radioactive dating techniques," he said.
A date of around 2300 BC for the impact may also cast new light on the legend of Gilgamesh, dating from the same period. The legend talks of "the Seven Judges of Hell", who raised their torches, lighting the land with flame, and a storm that turned day into night, "smashed the land like a cup", and flooded the area.
The discovery of the crater has sparked great interest among scientists.
Dr Benny Peiser, who lectures on the effects of meteor impacts at John Moores University, Liverpool, said it was one of the most significant discoveries in recent years and would corroborate research he and others have done.
He said that craters recently found in Argentina date from around the same period - suggesting that the Earth may have been hit by a shower of large meteors at about the same time.
The confirmed linchpin for the fall of the late Bronze Age cultures, the Middle Eastern Civilizations, and other recorded disasters that are found to be "around that time," seems to be the period from 1644 BC to 1628 BC. The ice cores show the disturbances starting in 1644 (registering in 1645) and the tree rings show a big spike in 1628, though the entire period was disturbed.
Yoshiyuki Fujii and Okitsugu Watanabe's "Microparticle Concentration And Electrical Conductivity of A 700 m Ice Core from Mizuho Station Antarctic" published in Annals of Glaciology (1-, 1988) pp. 38-42, demonstrate that "large scale environmental changed possibly occurred in the Southern Hemisphere in the middle of the Holocene. (Within the last 10,000 years). Their depth profiles of microparticle concentration, electrical conductivity and Oxygen 18 at circa 1600 BC indicates a spike in readings for all of these elements. The evidence shows that this disturbance covered this designated period, but with a "huge spike" at c. 1600 B.C.
Similar evidence from the same source article exists at 5200 BC. This period shows a less severe but similar period. The oxygen 18 profile is close to normal, but there is a visible volcanic dirt band. The dating of this segment is less close because it is clear that nobody is really looking for this cycle, but it appears to correspond to the ash band from the Byrd station core.
It is conjectured that the cycle goes unnoticed because of long term after-effects, such as cooling climate, as well as the fact that each cycle has greater or lesser effects on the earth depending on its relative position in the solar system at the time.
What is clear is that whatever comes at 3600 year intervals as shown by the ice cores, is capable of setting off prolonged periods of earth changes that are above the levels of ordinary uniformitarian geologic and climatalogical changes.
In an article in Nature, November 1980, Hammer, Clausen and Dansgaard date a disturbance from the Camp Century core to 5470 BC +/- 120 years. This compares to the proposed Hekla eruption which was radiocarbon dated to 5450 BC +/- 190 years. There is an appreciably high acidity signal at these sections of the core which indicates a high level of volcanic activity - again, right at the 3600 year cycle mark.
Looking further: Michel R. Legrand and Robert J. Delmas of Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Geophysique de l'Environment published an article "Soluble Impurities in Four Antarctic Ice Cores Over the Last 30,000 Years" in Annals of Glaciology (10, 1988, pp 116-120). They graphed the Oxygen 18 variations and the ionic components Na = NH (sub4) and Ca (sup 2) and H and Cl and NO (sub 3) and SO (sub 4). The time scale for each ionic component level as well as the O (sup 18) levels stretches back 30,000 years. The graph shows correlations to spikes at 5,200 BC, 8,800 BC, 12,400 BC, c. 16,000 BC, c. 19,600 BC. All of these were times of great geologic stress.
When looking at the data and taking into account the acknowledged dating inaccuracies (some of the ranges of dates can go 100 years in either direction of the spike, even though the spiking is regular and rhythmic) for the more recent dates, and 3 to 600 years variance for the older dates - especially when one considers that these are broad analyses and nobody was really looking for anything specific - they just said "wow! look at that wavy line!" we find that the southern ice cores do not register the same as the northern ones. The 1628 BC event that really slammed the tree rings shows almost no registration in the antarctic cores in terms of volcanic activity. But the northern cores show the activity beginning 1644 BC.
The evidence for the 5200 BC event is strong in the Dome C core. The 8,800 BC event is well marked - in fact, seems to be the strongest of them all... The Flood of Noah, no doubt! The oxygen 18 isotope variation is noticeable, the rise in sea-salt, eleveated levels of C 1 and C1/Na. There is an extreme spike in SO (sub 4) and H readings suggesting widespread volcanic activity - great earth changes were happening at that time, and they registered in the climate, the oceans, and were preserved in ice.
The 12400 BC event is extremely pronounced in the cores. The graphs show a quick, vast change including the end of the Wisconsin Ice Age.(ee: Evidence of Nuclear Activity in Paleoindian Times) There is a great Oxygen 18 isotope variation. Peaks of Na and very pronounced spikes in Ca, SO (sub 4) and H.
To ascribe all of these things to a "uniformitarian" idea that it just got cold and then got warm and got cold and warm... with such an evident cycle is sort of absurd. To ascribe it to a "galactic core explosion" is equally absurd. To ascribe it to "Galactic Alignment" is not worth consideration.
Otto Neugebauer has provided some very interesting information about the so-called Egyptian calendar. It seems that the whole Sothic cycle that was supposed to be their way of reconciling the loss of 1/4 of a day every year, and showing that they measured time in such vast cycles... is just simply not true. Neugebauer analyzed their calendars and showed that they DID reconcile the calendar once every five years by adding a day, and then every thirty years they added two days to the correction at the "Sed festival." He also shows that they observed heliacal risings of lots of stars... not because any one of them was so special, but because it was the way they kept time!!! Observations of stars was simply because it was a star clock - and not a millennial clock, but an "hour measure." Every ten days, a new star was the "measure star." And the whole zodiac thing was divided into decans for this purpose - keeping time. What's more, the zodiacal representations that the mumbo-jumbo artists all talk about date to the Hellenized period of Egypt. The older tombs and artifacts do not show any of this nonsense!
Thus, we find that if there is such a thing as a Sothic Cycle, it must be something else altogether and we propose that it was the cycle of Cometary disasters that come every 3600 years. Further, the evidence shows that it last came around 1600 BC. That means we are OVERDUE.
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