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Re: Meteor...

I found many reactions to the article of G. Keller. You disproved her
I'm waiting your denial of my following article. (Sorry, Science didn't
published without comment.)
And I'd like remind you my earlier article where I wrote: "A powerful
tsunami would have devastated the eggs in the seashore sand, the living
creatures and ovules on the coast and in the shallow water, etc. 

Where are the huge amount of fossil records of such drifted and buried
living things?"
E. Simonyi
                        - . -


Your paper carried an article (V. Vajda, S. MacLoughlin: Fungal
Proliferation at the Cretaceous - Tertiary Boundary, Science, Vol. 303, 5.
March 2004, 1489), in which the authors presented plant fossils found in
the Moody Creek Mine, New Zealand. 

According to their findings, the sudden disappearance of the earlier
vegetation was followed by a fungal layer that, in turn, gave place to a
basically different type of vegetation in a short time. This change
happened very quickly. The whole process is contained within a few
centimeters wide layer. The iridium concentration of these layers shows a
significant rise and fall.

The authors have taken for granted in their evaluation of the findings that
an impact of a bolida took place on the K-T boundary, which caused mass
extinctions all over the Earth. Based on this hypothesis, they considered
the changes in the Ir concentration a proof of the simultaneity of the
studied events and the impact. 

But these findings do not prove this. Rather, they disprove it!

1. The timing of the events

Presently, there is no known method for determining the date of a 65
million years old event with an accuracy of even a few hundred years. This
is also true for the exact date of the K-T boundary. The most we can know
about these findings is that they happened somewhere around the supposed
K-T boundary, give or take a few hundred years. 

This would only be true if there was any proof that these events happened
approximately 65 million years ago.

The changes of the Ir concentration do not prove this. (I have developed
this argument in a couple of articles written 3 years ago. Suffice it to
say that the reason behind the so-called Ir anomaly might be a drawn-out
falling of Ir. It does not contradict the selectivity of the extinction of
animal life, while the selective effect could not have taken place in the
case of an impact.)

The authors have not given the dates of the studied events. They must have
failed to do so because their findings did not yield this information. The
speed with which these layers were formed is unknown. It could have been
only a few months, a few years (or possibly just a few weeks) while the
fungi dominated the place. 

So we do not know when, nor for how long, these layers were being formed. 

2. The events

The complete cycle of the rise and fall of the Ir level took place in an
approx. 2.3 cm thick layer, of which 1 cm is below the K-T boundary.
Allowing for the dead line correction, this section has more than 20
percent of the total increase. Also, there is a low peak 3 cm below the K-T

How did the Ir concentration get higher before the time of the supposed
impact? The impact theory does not explain this. 

By the end of the process, the Ir level fell to between one half to
three-fourths of the original value. 

Why was the Ir concentration lower after the process, than before? This is
also left unexplained by the supposed impact. 

Another argument against the impact theory is that the Ir concentration
increased and decreased relatively slowly. In case of an impact, the Ir
concentration jumps suddenly to a higher level then returns slowly to its
original value. 

The vegetation seems to be undisturbed by the almost 2.5 times increase of
the Ir level, but perished due to the increase above that. 


The fungal layer is only 3 cm thick and precedes the Ir peak. 

Why did the fungi disappear before the peak, and why did new plants show up
as early as that? If the amount of particles containing Ir was
characteristic of the amount of bolida residue falling back upon the
surface of the Earth, then why did these events happen during the strongest
falling and not later, after the falling had stopped?

3. The amount of Ir

Presently, about 2-6 kt. of bolida fragments falls on the Earth each year,
resulting in an approx. 0.1 ppb Ir concentration in the crust. This means
the Ir falling is 0.2-0.6 g per year. (That is, if no Ir gets to the
surface from within the Earth. Allowing for that, the correct figure is up
to 0.2-0.6 g.)

The elevated Ir concentration in the above mentioned 2.3 cm thick layer
averaged at 1.1 ppb. Converting that to the whole Earth:
5xe8x2.3xe-5x1.1e-9 km3
(where e means a power of ten, e.g. 3e2 equals 300),
that is, 1.3e-5 km3.

The result is 1.3e-5x2xe10 t
260,000 t.

The supposed chondrit bolida was approximately 1,700 Gt.

The following are possible:

3.1 The Ir concentration of the bolida was the same as those of our times.

So the bolida could have increased the Ir level of the Earth by 170 t.
(Obviously only in case the whole of the bolida remained on Earth.)

Where did the rest of the Ir come from?

3.2 All of the Ir originated in the bolida.

In that case, the Ir concentration of the bolida was about one and a half
thousand times higher than that of an average bolida today. 

Do we have any proof of this?

4. The generalization of the findings

The studied material originated from a mine in New Zealand. The authors
based their speculations about the whole Earth upon this one site. (To be
correct, Tschudy and colleagues did find a so-called fern peak - a sudden
rise and fall of the amount of fern spores immediately succeeding the K-T
boundary - in the Western region of North America dating from the same
time. So the short lived appearance and disappearance of a transitory group
of plants around the K-T boundary has happened in more places than one.)

Can you draw a conclusion about the whole Earth based on the findings of
one single site?

If that site conforms perfectly to the average, then maybe yes. But there?s
nothing in this case that would support this. 

How wrong can you be?

Let?s see an example.

Borrego Desert is situated in California. At a hilly part of the desert,
coming across a saddle, the tourist will think that Fata Morgana is playing
tricks on his vision, because he sees a dense forest of several hundred
palm trees. As he gets closer, he can see for himself the reality of the
mirage, because finally he reaches the famous palm forest of the Borrego
Palm Canyon. 

This is the only native fan palm forest in the United States. It owes its
existence to a stream that has not changed its course for millions of years
and brings a constant supply of water winter and summer. Because of the
water, the earlier vegetation of palm trees survived in this short and thin
strip of land, while it disappeared from the other parts of the desert when
the climate turned arid. The palms live right next to the stream and each
of them drains a bit of the water, so after a while the stream vanishes.
It?s the end. There are no more palms, only the desert plants from then on. 

Should the stream disappear or change its course for some reason, a few
weeks or months would be enough to see the end of the forest.

What would a researcher find a good 65 million years after this supposed
event, if he explored the strata of this site? (Supposing that they stayed
in good condition.)

He would find that here was a patch of palm forest throughout millions of
years that suddenly disappeared. He would draw the conclusion that the
climate rapidly changed from warm and moist to extremely arid. He would not
be very far from the truth with that, but if he also assumed that the same
thing happened all over the Earth, he would be downright wrong. 

Endre Simonyi