The Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis

Fig. 1: A meteor impact on a vast ice sheet like Greenland has devastating effects on its integrity. This would blow away and vaporize massive parts of the ice sheet. The event would lead to sudden sea level rise of between 10 inches – maybe even up to 1.5 feet. Besides the long term effects, the shock wave of an impact the size of the Clovis meteor would destroy many species on the Northern hemisphere. | K.H. Kjær et al/Science Advances 2018


Every now and then, there’s a new idea that sees the light of day and captures whole communities of researchers.

Such new discoveries are often thought to explain some of the last remaining mysteries but such explanations are only a wish of the misguided and misinformed researchers.

One of these new ideas is the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis. The Younger Dryas is the period between 12,900 to 11,700 years BP. During this period, the temperatures on Greenland suddenly started to drop.

It is now hypothesized that this could have been caused by a meteorite impact, the Clovis meteorite. The crater itself is named the Hiawatha Impact Crater.

Some researchers even believe that this Clovis meteorite was the cause for the disappearance of certain ancient civilizations. We studied this topic thoroughly and determined why this hypothesis is very unlikely.

Why? Because it is highly incomplete, even suggestive and not supported by any data. The patterns do not correlate in any logical way. We will offer an explanation in this analytical article.

 

Bedrock Anomaly

Recent radar scans showed an anomaly in the bedrock beneath the ice sheet of Northwest Greenland. The shape of the anomaly is roughly circular and it is massive, approximately 30 km in diameter.

Taking samples of the impact crater itself was impossible due to the massive ice sheet. That is why the researchers have chosen to take samples at the edge of the ice. Over the years, meltwater from the base of the glacier had deposited sediments. When sampled, these materials contained signs of an impact with “shocked” quartz grains having deformed crystal lattices and glassy grains that may represent flash-melted rock.

It is not unthinkable that the researchers are misguided by circumstances. Some scientists are eager to prematurely present a new discovery. Circular bedrocks are not uncommon and shocked quartz is formed all over the Earth due to countless small meteor impacts. Their “proof” might appear to be compelling but, because it is indirect, it is not conclusive.

If the researchers have found the cause for the sudden Younger Dryas temperature drop, it should be supported by other data, and that appears not to be the case. 

 

World Map with Meteor Impact Craters

Fig. 2: We have compiled a complete list with verified impact craters around the world and have processed their individual location and size over an Equirectangular world map. To our own surprise, this map is one of the best maps that are currently publicly available. (Note: the size of the circles is not to scale). It is easy to see how unexplored Russia, the Amazon, and Africa still are. The US, Europe, and Australia have apparently more “crater hunters” than the rest of the world. Dense forests of the unexplored regions apparently obstruct the discovery of more craters. Based on this research, we have estimated that the number of undiscovered craters exceeds the number of discovered craters by at least a factor of two. The recently discovered crater in North-west Greenland, officially called the Hiawatha Impact Crater, is certainly not among the biggest ones but it seems to be among the youngest ones that are of considerable size. This impact crater is marked with a yellow dot. Our crater list can be downloaded here. | © Mario Buildreps 2015-2019.

 

The Younger Dryas Period

It is generally believed that the Younger Dryas period coincides with the end of the last ice age. That is indeed true. If we look at the data from Antarctica, whether it is from Dome-C or from Vostok, they both tell the same story; the last ice age ended around 12,000 years ago.

To postulate that the Younger Dryas is related to a meteor impact is short-sighted. That conclusion was reached by a lack of insight. If the researchers who stake this claim had done more research, they would have come to another conclusion.

But the internet seems to be teeming with impatient people who like to “adopt” new ideas now and then. Maybe is it because they are desperately looking for answers that mainstream science obviously prefers to neglect. The real truth is covered up with tons of nonsense that inevitably gets generated by alternative researchers as well as by mainstream scientists.

The Hiawatha Impact Crater on Greenland is believed to have been formed in the Pleistocene epoch between 2.6 million and 11,700 years ago. This is not at all certain. But if we assume that this is correct, the crater can be dated at around 1.3 million years ±1.3 million years (smile). So that can indeed be some 12,000 years ago but also 2.6 million years ago. That is the time frame we are actually dealing with, and that is adopted as an academic “fact”.

 

Temperatures on Antarctica Started to Drop Before the Younger Dryas

Fig. 3: We have processed the data from Vostok and projected the Younger Dryas over the same time frame. It appears that the temperatures on Antarctica started to drop about 1,800 years earlier than the temperatures on Greenland. Dust concentrations in the atmosphere appear to correlate with the general temperatures. But the sudden temperature drop on Antarctica cannot be caused only by dust concentrations. We have found compelling evidence, although indirect, that changes in the aquatic conveyor belt of the Gulf Stream are the main cause of these sudden drops.  | © Mario Buildreps 2015-2019.

 

Antarctica and Greenland Have Two Major Things in Common

Besides having a massive ice sheet, Antarctica and Greenland have one other thing in common, namely an aquatic conveyor belt washing their shores. Solar energy collected around the equator is being transported to areas that lack energy.

This is not something mystical, it is simply one of the consequences of the thermodynamic principles. From places where energy is abundant, it will be transported to areas where there is a shortage. This basic law or principle is the only reason why the Gulf Stream is running. Warm waters in the Gulf Stream cool as they flow north into the North Atlantic, then sink and loop south towards Antarctica as part of an aquatic conveyor belt.

The main driver of the Gulf Stream is the Sun. When the Sun goes into hibernation for a period of time, the Gulf Stream will slow down. This is visible in the ice cores. We do not have to look for any outlandish ideas for events like the Younger Dryas cooling.

Yes, large meteor impacts can be the cause of sudden temperature drops. But such notions must be accompanied by dust concentrations in the atmosphere, and that is not the case.

 

Why a Meteor Impact is Very Unlikely

Fig. 4: Researchers propose a meteor impact during the Younger Dryas period. Why then not propose a meteor impact for the other sudden temperature drops? Temperature drops between 20,000 and 80,000 years ago are as sudden and even larger than the Younger Dryas temperature drop. With our effective analysis, we show how flawed the reasoning of this hypothesis is. A much more likely cause for the sudden temperature drops is a sudden hiccup or shift of the warm Gulfstream that usually runs close to Greenland. The same Gulfstream completely encircles Antarctica. The Gulfstream transports huge amounts of heat from the equator to the region of Greenland. It is supposedly doing that already for many tens of thousands of years. If the Gulfstream stops or shifts, it is easy to understand that temperatures then suddenly change. It should be noted that between 130,000 and 26,000 years ago, the crust was in one of its major deformation cycles. During that period, our current geographic pole was migrating North from Pole II. During that period were two massive volcanic eruptions. Read our main page to learn more about our method. | © Mario Buildreps 2015-2019.

 

Multiple Similar Temperature Dips Over the Last 100 Millennia

Fig. 5: The impact frequency of asteroids the size of about 1.5 km is low. It is estimated that they slam into the earth every 7 million years. Imagine how low the probability is that this would have occurred 5 or even 6 times in a row within 100,000 years and within the same region. The odds are 1 to ∞ for this to be true. | © Tulane University edited by Mario Buildreps 2015-2019.

The Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis would be much more credible if there was only one major temperature dip over the last 100,000 years. But, as we have shown, that is obviously not the case.

The ice cores from Greenland show that there were many more similarly-sized temperature drops. In Fig. 4 we show there were twenty (!) similarly-sized sudden temperature drops. And what was the cause?

If the Younger Dryas had been caused by a meteor of 1.5 km in diameter, it follows that the other dips must have been caused by twenty similarly-sized impacts as well. Everyone understands immediately how unlikely that is.

That twenty of such large meteorites have slammed into the earth within 100,000 years and within the same region is of course not very likely. The likelihood of the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis to be correct or even remotely true is not supported by direct evidence and it is not supported by the ice core data. It is not supported by any means of logic.

We find it very strange that a scientific research team was eager to publish such a dubious theory just to gain attention. We wonder how much public money was spent on this research. 

 

Climate on Greenland – The Milankovitch Cycles 

Fig. 6: Any serious research regarding the history of the Greenland ice sheet cannot neglect the effects of the Milankovitch cycles (obliquity, precession, and eccentricity of the spin axis). Our research shows there is a faint relation between solar insolation on Greenland (around the arctic circle) and the temperatures over the last 120,000 years. The blue line and the orange line are, very roughly speaking, following a similar pattern. But there are more trend breaks than trend followers. The Younger Dryas period seems to respond to decreasing solar insolation. Other sudden temperature drops show not a single correlation between solar insolation and peaks and valleys. From these trend breaks, we can conclude with a high degree of certainty that changes in solar insolation are NOT the cause of the sudden drops, nor are meteor impacts. Changes in the Gulf Stream are the most likely causes of the sudden temperature changes. | © Mario Buildreps 2015-2019.

 

“As for the idea that a crater may have formed within the last couple of million years, it’s quite unlikely. Such strikes are rare in general, and asteroids barreling into Earth are far more likely to land somewhere in an ocean. It would be at least a hundred times less likely that it could have happened so recently as to have affected the Younger Dryas.”

Clark Chapman, Planetary scientist, Southwest Research Institute

 

Climate on Greenland – Dust Concentrations 

Fig 7: Dust concentrations taken from ice cores on Antarctica and projected over the temperature proxies of the NGRIP ice core data show a relation with the temperatures on Greenland. Fine dust is spread globally within a few months. (Some of our loyal readers might already know the cause for these high dust concentrations in the atmosphere: crustal deformation cycles that caused massive volcano eruptions). When dust is generally high, the temperatures are generally low. When dust is generally low, temperatures are generally high. That makes sense. When there is a lot of dust in the atmosphere, it blocks sunlight. The eruptions of Lake Toba and of Oruanui seem to play a role in the spreading of dust in the atmosphere. These major event could justify part of the large temperature drops. The stopping of the Gulfstream is the most probable cause for the sudden temperature drops. | © Mario Buildreps 2015-2019.

 

The Most Likely Cause for Climate Variations: Changes in Oceanic Circulations

The most likely candidate seems to be the changes in oceanic circulation, i.e. changes in the Gulf Stream behavior. The Gulf Stream is propelled by the energy from the Sun and is, as we already explained, a direct cause of the 2nd law of thermodynamics. In simple words, energy flows from hot to cold, not vice versa.

Where there is an abundance of energy, it flows “by design” to places where there is a lack of energy. Both poles receive much less energy than the equator. The oceans are the medium that transports this surplus energy to places where there is less.

When the Sun goes into hibernation for a period of time, this causes a shock in the energy transport to the poles. This then is the most likely cause of the dips that we witness in the ice core data of Greenland.

The “scientists” who came up with this new Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis do not contribute to real scientific research. They are mere sensationalists. It has certainly put them into the academic spotlight, and maybe this is even good for their careers. However, it is a pity that there are now a lot of alternative researchers who are confused and relate this new hypothesis to certain ancient “lost” civilizations and “extinction events”.

The Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis has no supportive data whatsoever.

 

© 2015 – 2019 by Mario Buildreps et al.

https://mariobuildreps.com

 

Proofreading and editing: J.B.

 

7 Responses

  • Kenneth

    Thank you for this article. It really shows that this hypothesis is nonsense, although it is quite popular on the internet.

    I did read all the articles on your website and I think that I did put in quite some effort to understand everything and to see if I missed something or was able to find some uncertainties.
    The method and the results as presented are clear to me. But I think that I did find some uncertainties or aspects that I would like to learn more about.

    1. Contrary to what Charles Hapgood believed, it is said that earth crust deformation is a slow process that takes thousands of years.
    The reason to assume this is the match between the locations of the former poles and the temperature difference between the highs and lows in the dome-C and Vostok ice cores. However, what does this tell us about the speed of the deformation process? Could it be that during certain periods the deformation happened relatively fast? Or at least faster than is now assumed? If I look at the dome-C ice core data it seems to me that the largest part of the deformation during the move from pole II to pole I happened in the first temperature drop? Or is this wrong to assume?

    2. According to this article, sudden temperature drops in the Greenland ice core data can most probably be explained by changes in oceanic circulations, which in turn seem to be caused by variations in solar power. I understand this can indeed be a good explanation.
    However, I am not sure if the process of earth crust deformation still has some surprises left for us to discover.
    Could it be that the rotational oscillations of the Earth do not only work on the landmass of the crust but also on the oceans? The oceans are less solid and could also react but in a different way. Because water is less solid, could it move in the same way as the crust, but faster and with the effect of changing the oceanic circulations? And could it be a precursor of crustal deformations, because of the lower mass of water at the surface level of the planet?
    I’d like to give the example of a treadmill to clarify this idea. When the pulleys that move the belt are not rotating in sync this can cause the belt to slowly move sideways. This effect is also caused by the forces that the running person is exerting on the belt. The slow sideways movement in this case could be compared to a crustal displacement.
    The belt of a treadmill can also show a different effect and this is the effect that the belt very suddenly is displaced in the direction opposite to the direction in which the belt is moving.
    Could a similar effect happen with the oceans?

    3. In the process of an earth crust deformation, the crust is slowly massaged and gets loose from the fluid layer that is below it. When the deformation happens the crust is compressed in some places, while in other places the crust is extended. And I guess in some places the crust is not compressed or extended. Could this compression and extension cause some kind of rippling of the crust?

    4. In the movie about the living Earth you show that human actions do have a certain effect on the planet. What do you think about the ideas about solar energy from space? Could beaming rays of solar energy from collectors in space to Earth cause any disturbances in the rotational balance? I am worried about this development and it seems to be in serious development when I read articles about for instance China’s plans to launch a Sun simulator. I mean, how far can we go with our violence against nature?
    Here is some background information about solar energy from space in case you are not yet familar:
    https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19940015667.pdf

    Reply
  • Thanks for the good article. Lots to consider.

    To update your impact crater list you may add the Decorah, Iowa location. Details can be found here:

    https://www.livescience.com/27678-iowa-meteorite-crater-confirmed.html

    Reply
    • Mario Buildreps

      Thank you for your comment and the update, Dave.

      Reply
  • Terry O'Connell

    MB, I have to agree and your system explains it as the most logical; there is a current topic at the moment which I would like to comment on.
    The magnetic pole movement from northern Canada towards Siberia has apparently speeded up and we’re heading for a complete ‘Flip’.
    I see this as a final ‘snap’ back towards the geographical north pole from the last geo move or part of the new move. As I understand it (although the Electric Universe crew may disagree to some extent) the magnetic field is caused by the heavy molten metal core spinning and the effects of precession mean that the ‘field’ will always be playing ‘catch-up’. Added to that either the earth crust in continuous movement (all be it over millennia) or the earth expanding due to its changes in orbits around the sun and or effect of other planetary bodies, again over millennia. The effects will be continuous movement of magnetic north and subsequent volcanic and seismic activity around the world along the continental plates as the effects build up and , like an earthquake, will result in devastating consequences when it snaps.
    What I now can’t accept is that the academics out there won’t accept that history as currently taught is fundamentally flawed and the inability of all these experts to look at the physical evidence for what it is and not feel they have to compliment the idea from over a hundred years ago. We now have a greater (and wider) knowledge of science, cosmology, mathematics and see them for what they are.

    Reply
    • Mario Buildreps

      Thank you for your in depth comment, Terry. The magnetic North pole seems to be galloping towards Siberia or maybe to Europe, and that makes some people think this might be the start of a flipping event. There is however no 100% watertight evidence that flips ever occurred in the past. That is because geology has dismissed crustal deformations. An obvious moving magnetic field does not prove it can actually flip. Geology has never found a common ground on the flipping events due to the large amounts of conflicting data. We have found clues that this “noise” in the data and debate among geologists is caused by the deformation cycles of the crust in the data.

      It might be so that extinction events are not caused by flipping events, or meteorite impacts, but mainly by intense growing pains of our planet. These growing pains result into massive crustal deformations (catastrophes for the species living on the surface), and by doing so a moving spin axis as seen from the crust’s perspective. The spin axis of the rest of the planet (the remaining 99%) has not changed significantly.

      There is a very good book about paleomagnetism that is freely available on the internet from Robert F. Butler “PALEOMAGNETISM:
      Magnetic Domains to Geologic Terranes
      “. It explains this relatively difficult scientific discipline in detail.

      You are absolutely right, Terry. We are completely aware of the academics and their view and are not in a hurry. Paradigm changes require lots of time.

      Reply
  • Terry O'Connell

    MB, thank you once again for a simple but logical counter argument against the ‘comet’ theory which I have to say almost had me convinced. However the physical evidence is still there, the seas rose considerably (but when?), The EU consortium will tell you that it was plasma discharges between moving planets; Dr Schock has said he believes some form of plasma burst from the sun, on his website he indicated molten rock around the pyramids of Giza and similar damage to sites in S America. Unfortunately there are no impartial voices out there, as you say in this article why do ‘scientists’ and ‘experts’ make these claims? I t seems to be the revenues of their next book.

    Reply
    • Mario Buildreps

      Thank you for your comment, Terry. The comet theory is not based on factual scientific observations, although many researchers believe it is the case. The oceans rose considerably indeed, there’s little doubt about that, but that was not cause by a comet impact.
      If you look at the ice sheets that once covered the Northern hemisphere you’ll see that Greenland was at the center of it. This ice sheet is logically the last remaining part because of its immense thickness and deep frozen state (it was on the North pole). Due to a series of crustal deformations were the outer border of the large ice sheets moved to lower latitudes hence they started to melt quite rapidly.
      Greenland as the center melts last because it is still largely located within the arctic circle. The melting process of Greenland is expected to take still a few thousand years from now. The gulf stream plays also a major role in this process. Imagine what would happen today if the gulf stream suddenly stops. It would become suddenly much colder on the Northern hemisphere.
      There are indeed so many ideas out there. Most of them are outlandish and do not seem to care to look to the most obvious mechanisms. Outlandish ideas draw more attention. Talking about the gulf stream as the major cause is no head turner anymore.

      Reply

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