Saturday, January 28, 2006

Panther Mountain, NY, Created by Asteroid Strike, Big Meteor Strikes Hit Antarctica

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Long ago, an asteroid hit just 70 miles away from where I now live, Panther Mountain in the Catskills. My husband worked with the geologist who discovered this impact site. Also, geologists find major meteor strikes in Antarctica.

From the NY State Museum:
ISACHSEN, Yngvar W., NYS Geological Survey, Albany, NY 12230; Panther Mountain Circular Feature

A study is underway of cuttings of the Herdman Well, which is located near the northern periphery of the Panther Mountain Circular feature. The goal is to test the possibility that Panther Mountain circular drainage and negative gravity anomaly are caused by a buried impact crater (an intact impact). The cuttings are being searched for shock induced features such as shatter cone markings, breccias, fused glass, planar features in quartz, and displaced, repeated, or disrupted stratigraphic units that would test the impact hypothesis.
Ingvar was lots of fun to work with and my husband enjoyed it a lot. Studying satellite photos, Ingvar noticed the perfectly round circle in one of the state parks. Even the streams ran in a circle. So he decided to study it.

I once got lost a night in that area and ended up, with my daughter, driving in the huge circle. We were told to look for a red barn and turn left. Well, there are zillions of red barns there! So we kept going left, counterclockwise until I saw the same red barns marching past, yet again! Spent over two hours at this amusing enterprise. So I got to know the area pretty well. When you stand on any of the outer ridges, the bowl shape is quite noticable.

This medium-sized crater is only 70 miles from my farm. If it were to hit now, I would be going on a one way trip to the cosmos. Just the wind and flash would do me in, forget the flying rocks!

Here is a list of all the major known strikes. Panther Mountain isn't in this list only because it was confirmed just in the last 15 years. This is most likely what it came from:
End of the Triassic Period

About 214 million years ago, 5 large fragments of a comet impacted the Northern Hemisphere. The impacts caused widespread destruction and lead to 3rd largest mass extinction resulting in the loss of approximately 80% of the species on the face of the planet. The fragments impacted in Quebec, Canada; Saint Martin, Canada; Red Wing, North Dakota; France; and the Ukraine. The largest fragment produced the Manicouagan crater, 62 miles in diameter, in Quebec, Canada.
Over the eons, it filled in as the Catskill mountains eroded away.

In 2004, scientists discovered a major meteor strike on Antarctica. The effects from it were very different than if it landed on water or land. From the Guardian:
Professor Frans van der Hoeven, from Delft University in the Netherlands, told the conference that the evidence showed that an asteroid measuring between three and seven miles across had broken up in the atmosphere and five large pieces had hit the Earth, creating multiple craters over an area measuring 1,300 by 2,400 miles.

The effect would have been to melt all the ice in the path of the pieces, as well as the crust underneath. The biggest single strike caused a hole in the ice sheet roughly 200 by 200 miles, which would have melted about 1% of the ice sheet, raising water levels worldwide by 60cm (2ft).
That would cause Florida to go for a pretty big swim. This happened 780,000 years ago when the Great Ice Ages already began.
Prof Van der Hoeven said: "The extraordinary thing about this meteor strike is that it appeared to do so little damage. Unlike the dinosaur strike there is no telltale layer of dust that demonstrates the history of the event. It may have damaged things and wiped out species but there is no sign of it."
Well, no matter where a strike occurs, it would be problematic for the earth as we humans have arranged ourselves.
One thing that did happen at exactly the same time was the reversing of the Earth's magnetic field. There is no other explanation as to why this took place and Prof Van der Hoeven believes it was caused by the impact.
You know, our north pole has taken to wandering lately. Looks like we might be in for a reversal. A real coincidence.

Meanwhile, Bush, head in the sand, as usual, with NASA set firmly on the path of useless space exploration while studiously ignoring this planet (oh, how like 9/11 this all is!) spends all his feeble resources trying to shut up pesky NASA scientists. From NY Times:
The top climate scientist at NASA says the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

The scientist, James E. Hansen, longtime director of the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said in an interview that officials at NASA headquarters had ordered the public affairs staff to review his coming lectures, papers, postings on the Goddard Web site and requests for interviews from journalists.
I wonder if the paper pushers at NASA will show him instruments of torture. I wonder if signing papers denying the earth orbits the sun denying the earth is over 6.000 years old are next.

One thing for certain, if Gore were President, I know we could appeal to him to save the planet.

Here is some legislation information concerning protecting the planet from hazards of outerspace: From Congress:
H.R. 1022, also introduced by Rep. Rohrabacher, would establish a program within NASA to detect, track, catalogue, and characterize the physical properties of near-Earth asteroids and comets equal to or greater than 100 meters in diameter in order to assess the threat of Earth being struck by such near-Earth objects. The bill would authorize appropriations for the program of $20 million for each of fiscal years 2006 through 2007.

Rep. Rohrabacher said, “The potential catastrophe of an asteroid hitting Earth should no longer be ignored. We need to know what is out there. Accounts of asteroids passing close to Earth with almost no prior warning should be enough to get our attention. The first step is to assess the threat. Given the vast number of asteroids and comets that inhabit the Earth's neighborhood, greater efforts for tracking and monitoring these objects are critical. This bill would direct NASA to expand their current program to track and detect potential threats and would provide a funding authorization. Any threat that would wreak havoc on or world should be studied and prevented if possible. We have the technology, we need the direction – this bill provides that.”
This was passed out of committee back last May. It isn't a big, fat pork bill for junk like the bridge to nowhere in Alaska so I doubt any money was budgeted for it.

I don't see any mention elsewhere conerning this. Time for a rethink, right?
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