[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

K-T impact theory: an absurdity?



A story on the AP wire last night describes a discovery of fused glass
spherules found in bore-holes sunk in southern New Jersey.  The spheres
date from the K-T extinction 65 million years ago and are believed to be
evidence of the Chicxulub asteroid strike.

Geologist Kenneth Miller discovered the glass beads and will be
describing them today in a report to the American Geophysical Union.  He
thinks the glass came from rocks vaporized by the impact.  According to
his image of the impact scenario, the cloud of vapor from the impact
would have spread across North America at over 13,000 miles an hour,
killing "any animal in its path."

I think the asteroid-impact theory may be falling apart of its own
accumulating flaws.  Or at least, it will if anybody ever takes a sane
and sober look at it.  In the above quote, Miller is essentially
describing a continental-scale nuee ardente, a volcanic blast of
superhot gas, dust, and ash that can level square miles of surrounding
land in an eyeblink.  For examples of what these ashblasts can do, look
at Pompeii or the land around Mount St. Helens.  (Technically, I'm not
sure St. Helens was a nuee ardente, but it did roughly the same
thing.)                                                              
                                                                               
The area around Mount St. Helens has still not fully recovered from the
devastating ashblast seventeen years ago.  That's _with_ un-devastated
areas around it for new life to migrate in from.  The Chicxulub impact
was supposed to do the same thing to the entire planet, or at least to
all of North America, that St. Helens did to its blast area.  So where
did the renewed life come from to repopulate the ecosystem?  Even
assuming a "reservoir" of unaffected life somewhere else (one that oddly
included no dinosaurs?), at the *very* least we should see an enormous
dead zone all across the continent, and not a brief one either.  And
then the life should filter back gradually.  That's not what the record
shows.  The record shows a dense fauna, an interruption, then a
moderately dense fauna again, not as dense as before and minus all
megafauna, but certainly not depauperate.                 
                                                                               
In short, if the impact was as devastating as is claimed, then how did
*anything* survive?   As far as I'm concerned, until the asteroid-impact
advocates can answer this question, it does not deserve consideration as
a serious theory.  I will be looking elsewhere for answers to the K-T
mystery.

-- JSW