Later On

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Archive for June 2nd, 2007

Fireball over Canada

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Devastating wildfires across all of North America. But 12,900 years ago (that is, 6,900 years before Creation, if you’re a Biblical Literalist):

Evidence unearthed at more than two dozen sites across North America suggests that an extraterrestrial object exploded in Earth’s atmosphere above Canada about 12,900 years ago, just as the climate was warming at the end of the last ice age. The explosion sparked immense wildfires, devastated North America’s ecosystems and prehistoric cultures, and triggered a millennium-long cold spell, scientists say.

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IT’S IN THERE. A layer of carbon-rich sediment (arrow) found here at Murray Springs, Ariz., and elsewhere across North America, provides evidence that an extraterrestrial object blew up over Canada 12,900 years ago. The hallmarks include lumps of glasslike carbon (top), carbon spherules (middle, in cross section), and magnetic grains rich in iridium (bottom).
West; (middle inset): Cannon Microprobe

At sites stretching from California to the Carolinas and as far north as Alberta and Saskatchewan—many of which were home to prehistoric people of the Clovis culture—researchers have long noted an enigmatic layer of carbon-rich sediment that was laid down nearly 13 millennia ago. “Clovis artifacts are never found above this black mat,” says Allen West, a geophysicist with Geoscience Consulting in Dewey, Ariz. The layer, typically a few millimeters thick, lies between older, underlying strata that are chock-full of mammoth bones and younger, fossilfree sediments immediately above, he notes.

… A host of unusual geological features, collectively known as Carolina Bays, hints at the cataclysm’s location, says team member George A. Howard, a wetland manager at Restoration Systems, an environmental-restoration firm in Raleigh, N.C. Around 1 million of these elliptical, sand-rimmed depressions, measuring between 50 meters and 11 kilometers across, scar the landscape from New Jersey to Florida. In samples taken from 15 of the features, Howard and his colleagues found iridium-rich magnetic grains and carbon spherules with tiny diamond fragments similar to those found at Clovis archaeological sites.

The long axes of the great majority of the Carolina Bays point toward locations near the Great Lakes and in Canada—a hint that the extraterrestrial object disintegrated over those locales, says Howard.

Because scientists “haven’t discovered a large, smoking hole” left by the event, the object that blew up in the atmosphere probably was a comet, says West.

Heat from the event would have set off wildfires across the continent, the scientists suggest. The heat and shock from the explosion probably broke up portions of the ice sheet smothering eastern Canada at the time, they add. The flood of fresh water into the North Atlantic that resulted would have interrupted ocean currents that bring warmth to the region, and thick clouds of smoke and soot in the air would have intensified cooling across the Northern Hemisphere.

The inferred date of the event matches the beginning of a 1,200-year-long cold spell that geologists call the Younger Dryas, which in its first few decades saw temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere drop as much as 10°C.

Complete article at the link.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 June 2007 at 10:45 am

Apologies to Clive

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The morning shave was the normal exceptional shave: absolutely smooth skin, no nicks or cuts. But the lather, I fear, was lacking—good at first, lessening in the second pass, practically unavailable for the third. I know it wasn’t the brush (great lather yesterday), doubt it was the soap (Valobra has produced great lathers previously), so reluctantly conclude that it was operator error the damn water: not too hard, just too much. I was tinkering with adding water and, I think, just overdid it.

Still: a very good shave indeed, and finished with Penhaligon’s Blenheim Bouquet aftershave.

I will dedicate Monday’s lather to Clive.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 June 2007 at 10:41 am

Posted in Shaving

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