Study in Oklahoma panhandle finds additional active process producing nanodiamonds

Jan 27, 2014
Nanodiamonds discovered in the Younger-Dryas boundary sediments in the Bull Creek valley of the Oklahoma Panhandle. Such diamonds may support a hypothesis that a comet impact or explosion above the earth’s surface ~11,000 years ago triggered climate change, large mammal extinctions, and altered human cultural trajectories.

In a University of Oklahoma-led study, researchers discovered an additional active process, not excluding an extraterrestrial event, that may have led to high concentrations of nanodiamonds in Younger Dryas-age sediments and in sediments less than 3,000 years old. Findings from quantifying sediments of different periods along the Bull Creek valley in the Oklahoma Panhandle suggest the distribution of nanodiamonds was not unique to the Younger Dryas sediments.

"Whatever process produced nanodiamond concentrations in the Younger Dryas sediments may have been active in recent millennia," said OU scientist Leland Bement, Oklahoma Archeological Survey. Bement led the project with Andrew Madden, OU School of Geology and Geophysics, with collaborators Brian Carter, Oklahoma State University; Alexander Simms, University of California Santa Barbara; and Mourad Benamara, University of Arkansas.

The presence of nanodiamonds in the sedimentological record has been cited as evidence supporting a hypothesis that an ET impact, probably a comet, triggered the Younger Dryas period of global cooling around 11,000 years ago and contributed to the extinction of many animals and altered human adaptations. The OU-led study found no correlation of nanodiamond concentration caused by alternative processes, including soil formation, erosion, prehistoric human activity or other climate reversals in Oklahoma panhandle sediments.

The recent OU-led study, "Quantifying the distribution of in pre-Younger Dryas to recent age deposits along Bull Creek, Oklahoma Panhandle, USA," was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Early Edition.

Explore further: Prehistoric climate change due to cosmic crash in Canada: Team reveals cause of global climate shift 12,900 years ago

More information:… /1309734111.abstract

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3 / 5 (1) Jan 27, 2014
It's really fascinating -- in an ethnographic sense -- to observe the response to these sorts of claims by scientific culture. Discussions of catastrophe are, of course, not new. In fact, it tends to be the subject of the oldest stories told by man. But, the idea of global catastrophe has been associated by our scientific culture to religion -- even though those stories can without much effort be shown to pre-date religion, back to mythology.

So, we have data which suggests that the stories might reflect actual events -- but notice that the interest does not follow the data. There is no subsequent interest in possible astrophysical meaning within the mythological stories and archetypes.

Astrophysics seems to be making the same mistake that economics made, in assuming that people -- including the scientists -- react in a rational manner to evidence.
5 / 5 (1) Jan 28, 2014
So, we have data which suggests that the stories might reflect actual events
Are you suggesting that the impact event that might have led to the end of the Younger Dryas may have been captured in mythological stories? If so, which ones?
I want to note here that there is evidence that some ancient myths might have an actual basis in a factual event, but that certainly does not give credence to the theory that the way ancient peoples interpreted those events creates anything more than a passing interest, or perhaps a starting point, to any studies excepting those engaged in studying ancient human ritual. There have been many crack-pot theories that have arisen as a result of fanciful flights of imagination in trying to interpret ancient carvings, paintings, and scrapings on cave walls and desert ground.