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Thu, 24 Sep 2020
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Meteor

New Evidence for Comet Crash That Killed Ice Age Beasts

Spherules
© University of South Carolina
Spherules from archaeological sites in the study. The microscopic particles have marred surface patterns from being crystallized in a molten state and then rapidly cooled.
Scientists say they have new evidence to support the idea that a space rock crashed into Earth about 12,900 years ago, wiping out some of North America's biggest beasts and ushering in a period of extreme cooling.

If such an impact took place, it did not leave behind any obvious clues like a crater. But microscopic melted rock formations called spherules and nano-sized diamonds in ancient soil layers could be telltale signs of a big collision. The mix of particles could only have formed under extreme temperatures, created by a comet or asteroid impact.

Researchers first reported in 2007 that these particles were found at several archaeological sites in layers of sediment 12,900 years old. Now an independent study published in the (Sept.17) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) says those findings hold up.

Meteor

Did a massive comet explode over Canada 12,900 years ago in North America and propel the Earth into an Ice Age?

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Did a massive comet explode over Canada 12,900 years ago, wiping out both beast and man in North America and propelling the earth back into an ice age? That's a question that has been hotly debated by scientists since 2007, with the University of South Carolina's Topper archaeological site right in the middle of the comet impact controversy. However, a new study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) provides further evidence that it may not be such a far-fetched notion.

Albert Goodyear, an archaeologist in USC's College of Arts and Sciences, is a co-author on the study that upholds a 2007 PNAS study by Richard Firestone, a staff scientist at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Firestone found concentrations of spherules (micro-sized balls) of metals and nano-sized diamonds in a layer of sediment dating 12,900 years ago at 10 of 12 archaeological sites that his team examined. The mix of particles is thought to be the result of an extraterrestrial object, such as a comet or meteorite, exploding in the earth's atmosphere.

Among the sites examined was USC's Topper, one of the most pristine U.S. sites for research on Clovis, one of the earliest ancient peoples. "This independent study is yet another example of how the Topper site with its various interdisciplinary studies has connected ancient human archaeology with significant studies of the Pleistocene," said Goodyear, who began excavating Clovis artifacts in 1984 at the Topper site in Allendale, S.C. "It's both exciting and gratifying."

Comment:
The Younger Dryas Impact Event and the Cycles of Cosmic Catastrophes - Climate Scientists Awakening

Fire and Ice: The Day After Tomorrow

Meteorites, Asteroids, and Comets: Damages, Disasters, Injuries, Deaths, and Very Close Calls

Forget About Global Warming: We're One Step From Extinction!


Snowflake

Ice Age Cometh: Winter in September as thousands of sheep trapped in 'unprecedented' Iceland snowdrifts

"Unprecedented" cold and snow in Iceland.

Thousands of sheep (13,000) buried alive in snowdrifts is nothing short of disastrous.

Here's a video showing the rescue of a sheep buried by snow.


Snow in North Iceland in early September is not unheard of but snowfall of two to three meters overnight at this time of year - when the sheep are still in highland pastures - is highly unusual.

Two to three meters (7-11 feet) of snow overnight! That's a small taste of what the mammoths experienced.

Igloo

Antarctic Ice Area Sets Another Record - NSIDC Is Silent

Day 256 Antarctic ice is the highest ever for the date, and the eighth highest daily reading ever recorded. All seven higher readings occurred during the third week of September, 2007 - the week of the previous Arctic record minimum.
Antarctic Ice
© Arctic Climate Research at the University of Illinois
Source
NSIDC does not mention the record Antarctic cold or ice on their web site, choosing inside to feature an article about global warming threatening penguins.
News at NSIDC
© NSIDC
Source

Palette

Ice Age Art - Trove of early ceramics shows the mindset of ancient humans: More metaphor, less blood

We know them best for their stone tools and intrepid mammoth hunting. But new discoveries in Croatia suggest that ice age humans made evocative ceramic art far more regularly than once believed. Thirty-six fragments of fired clay, excavated in the Vela Spila cave on an island off the Adriatic coast, make up the second-largest collection found so far of the earliest human experiments with ceramic art. They are 15,000 to 17,500 years old -- the first European evidence of ceramic art after the ice sheets stopped spreading.
Image
© Rebecca Farbstein
An archaeologist at the University of Cambridge worked in a trench at a cave where ancient ceramics were found in Croatia. The find reinforced the idea that ceramic work was invented for art rather than utility.

Igloo

The Ice Age Cometh! Arctic sea ice shrinks to smallest extent ever recorded

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© NSIDC
Arctic sea ice extent on 12 September 2012, in white, compared with the 1979-2000 median, marked with a red line.
Sea ice in the Arctic has shrunk to its smallest extent ever recorded, smashing the previous record minimum and prompting warnings of accelerated climate change.

Satellite images show that the rapid summer melt has reduced the area of frozen sea to less than 3.5 million square kilometres this week - less than half the area typically occupied four decades ago.

Arctic sea ice cover has been shrinking since the 1970s when it averaged around 8m sq km a year, but such a dramatic collapse in ice cover in one year is highly unusual.

A record low in 2007 of 4.17m sq km was broken on 27 August 2012; further melting has since amounted to more than 500,000 sq km.

Igloo

Ice Age Looming? Sun Still Slumping

The latest solar cycle update graphs have been released by the NOAA SWPC today, and the anemic cycle 24 continues:
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The current count isn't keeping up with the prediction line in red. Not only is the sunspot count low, so is the 10.7cm radio flux and the Ap magnetic index:

Igloo

Probably No Summer in Svalbard This Year

Svalbard Champagne Glass
© Ole Magnus Rapp
Svalbard Champagne Glass.
There will probably be no summer in Svalbard this year, writes Ole Magnus Rapp for Norway's Aftenposten.Each year, ice and snow form a great champagne glass with fine stems on the west side of Mount Opera. And each year the champagne glass collapses due to warm weather, a sign for residents that summer has arrived.

Normally the champagne glass collapses around the end of July, but so far nothing has happened.Now locals wonder if summer will come to Svalbard at all.Last year's collapse took place on the 29th of July. But as of today, the last day of August, the stem is still in one piece.

This has not happened in at least 40 years.

The local newspaper Svalbardposten records the date each year when the stem breaks and conducts a contest where readers can predict when it will happen.

Maybe the stem has not broken before, says editor Birger Amundsen, but certainly not since I first came to Svalbard in 1973.

Amundsen still believes the stem will break and he bets on a beautiful autumn in the north.

By the way, Svalbard is where the global seed vault is located. Won't do anyone much good if it's buried beneath the ice, will it?

Source: Aftenposten

Snowflake

Ice Age: Record low temperature of -2C ends Britain's miserable, wettest summer ever

  • Image
    © Jonathan Pow
    On same day Met Office reveal it's been the wettest summer ever, temperatures plunged to almost record summer lows overnight
  • Braemar is Scotland was the coldest spot as it dropped to -2.1C
  • There has only been one August night colder, August 21 1973, when Lagganlia in the Highlands suffered -4.5C
  • It tops off a miserable summer, which has been the wettest in a century, causing flash floods only yesterday
  • Traffic congestion as parents return from family holidays ahead of children going back to school next week with M25 delayed in both directions
Britain's rotten summer hit a new low last night as it suffered its coldest August evening in 40 years - but that didn't stop children making the most of their last few days off from school.

Igloo

Low sunspot activity linked to rivers freezing: Mini Ice Age on way?

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'CO2 is certainly a climate factor, but so is the Sun'

A team of boffins in Germany say they have found a statistical link between periods of low solar activity and very cold winters in Europe. Some physicists believe that a long period of low solar activity - like the "Maunder Minimum" of the 17th and 18th centuries - could be on the cards in coming decades, so the new research might indicate an upcoming "mini Ice Age".

The new study was published over the weekend in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Lead author Professor-Doktor Frank Sirocko of the Johannes Gutenberg Universität (University) of Mainz in Germany - and his colleagues - compared old records showing which years the Rhine river iced over to the record of sunspot activity.