A Blind Test of the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis.
ABSTRACT: The Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis (YDIH) states that North America was devastated by some sort of extraterrestrial event ~12,800 calendar years before present. Two fundamental questions persist in the debate over the YDIH: Can the results of analyses for purported impact indicators be reproduced? And are the indicators unique to the lower YD boundary (YDB), i.e., ~12.8k cal yrs BP? A test reported here presents the results of analyses that address these questions. Two different labs analyzed identical splits of samples collected at, above, and below the ~12.8ka zone at the Lubbock Lake archaeological site (LL) in northwest Texas. Both labs reported similar variation in levels of magnetic micrograins (>300 mg/kg >12.8ka and <11.5ka, but <150 mg/kg 12.8ka to 11.5ka). Analysis for magnetic microspheres in one split, reported elsewhere, produced very low to nonexistent levels throughout the section. In the other split, reported here, the levels of magnetic microspherules and nanodiamonds are low or nonexistent at, below, and above the YDB with the notable exception of a sample <11,500 cal years old. In that sample the claimed impact proxies were recovered at abundances two to four orders of magnitude above that from the other samples. Reproducibility of at least some analyses are problematic. In particular, no standard criteria exist for identification of magnetic spheres. Moreover, the purported impact proxies are not unique to the YDB.
Project description:The Younger Dryas impact hypothesis posits that a cosmic impact across much of the Northern Hemisphere deposited the Younger Dryas boundary (YDB) layer, containing peak abundances in a variable assemblage of proxies, including magnetic and glassy impact-related spherules, high-temperature minerals and melt glass, nanodiamonds, carbon spherules, aciniform carbon, platinum, and osmium. Bayesian chronological modeling was applied to 354 dates from 23 stratigraphic sections in 12 countries on four continents to establish a modeled YDB age range for this event of 12,835-12,735 Cal B.P. at 95% probability. This range overlaps that of a peak in extraterrestrial platinum in the Greenland Ice Sheet and of the earliest age of the Younger Dryas climate episode in six proxy records, suggesting a causal connection between the YDB impact event and the Younger Dryas. Two statistical tests indicate that both modeled and unmodeled ages in the 30 records are consistent with synchronous deposition of the YDB layer within the limits of dating uncertainty (? 100 y). The widespread distribution of the YDB layer suggests that it may serve as a datum layer.
Project description:The long-standing controversy regarding the late Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions in North America has been invigorated by a hypothesis implicating a cosmic impact at the Allerød-Younger Dryas boundary or YDB (approximately 12,900 +/- 100 cal BP or 10,900 +/- 100 (14)C years). Abrupt ecosystem disruption caused by this event may have triggered the megafaunal extinctions, along with reductions in other animal populations, including humans. The hypothesis remains controversial due to absence of shocked minerals, tektites, and impact craters. Here, we report the presence of shock-synthesized hexagonal nanodiamonds (lonsdaleite) in YDB sediments dating to approximately 12,950 +/- 50 cal BP at Arlington Canyon, Santa Rosa Island, California. Lonsdaleite is known on Earth only in meteorites and impact craters, and its presence strongly supports a cosmic impact event, further strengthened by its co-occurrence with other nanometer-sized diamond polymorphs (n-diamonds and cubics). These shock-synthesized diamonds are also associated with proxies indicating major biomass burning (charcoal, carbon spherules, and soot). This biomass burning at the Younger Dryas (YD) onset is regional in extent, based on evidence from adjacent Santa Barbara Basin and coeval with broader continent-wide biomass burning. Biomass burning also coincides with abrupt sediment mass wasting and ecological disruption and the last known occurrence of pygmy mammoths (Mammuthus exilis) on the Channel Islands, correlating with broader animal extinctions throughout North America. The only previously known co-occurrence of nanodiamonds, soot, and extinction is the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K/T) impact layer. These data are consistent with abrupt ecosystem change and megafaunal extinction possibly triggered by a cosmic impact over North America at approximately 12,900 +/- 100 cal BP.
Project description:It has been proposed that fragments of an asteroid or comet impacted Earth, deposited silica- and iron-rich microspherules and other proxies across several continents, and triggered the Younger Dryas cooling episode 12,900 years ago. Although many independent groups have confirmed the impact evidence, the hypothesis remains controversial because some groups have failed to do so. We examined sediment sequences from 18 dated Younger Dryas boundary (YDB) sites across three continents (North America, Europe, and Asia), spanning 12,000 km around nearly one-third of the planet. All sites display abundant microspherules in the YDB with none or few above and below. In addition, three sites (Abu Hureyra, Syria; Melrose, Pennsylvania; and Blackville, South Carolina) display vesicular, high-temperature, siliceous scoria-like objects, or SLOs, that match the spherules geochemically. We compared YDB objects with melt products from a known cosmic impact (Meteor Crater, Arizona) and from the 1945 Trinity nuclear airburst in Socorro, New Mexico, and found that all of these high-energy events produced material that is geochemically and morphologically comparable, including: (i) high-temperature, rapidly quenched microspherules and SLOs; (ii) corundum, mullite, and suessite (Fe(3)Si), a rare meteoritic mineral that forms under high temperatures; (iii) melted SiO(2) glass, or lechatelierite, with flow textures (or schlieren) that form at > 2,200 °C; and (iv) particles with features indicative of high-energy interparticle collisions. These results are inconsistent with anthropogenic, volcanic, authigenic, and cosmic materials, yet consistent with cosmic ejecta, supporting the hypothesis of extraterrestrial airbursts/impacts 12,900 years ago. The wide geographic distribution of SLOs is consistent with multiple impactors.
Project description:Airbursts/impacts by a fragmented comet or asteroid have been proposed at the Younger Dryas onset (12.80 ± 0.15 ka) based on identification of an assemblage of impact-related proxies, including microspherules, nanodiamonds, and iridium. Distributed across four continents at the Younger Dryas boundary (YDB), spherule peaks have been independently confirmed in eight studies, but unconfirmed in two others, resulting in continued dispute about their occurrence, distribution, and origin. To further address this dispute and better identify YDB spherules, we present results from one of the largest spherule investigations ever undertaken regarding spherule geochemistry, morphologies, origins, and processes of formation. We investigated 18 sites across North America, Europe, and the Middle East, performing nearly 700 analyses on spherules using energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy for geochemical analyses and scanning electron microscopy for surface microstructural characterization. Twelve locations rank among the world's premier end-Pleistocene archaeological sites, where the YDB marks a hiatus in human occupation or major changes in site use. Our results are consistent with melting of sediments to temperatures >2,200 °C by the thermal radiation and air shocks produced by passage of an extraterrestrial object through the atmosphere; they are inconsistent with volcanic, cosmic, anthropogenic, lightning, or authigenic sources. We also produced spherules from wood in the laboratory at >1,730 °C, indicating that impact-related incineration of biomass may have contributed to spherule production. At 12.8 ka, an estimated 10 million tonnes of spherules were distributed across ?50 million square kilometers, similar to well-known impact strewnfields and consistent with a major cosmic impact event.
Project description:Previously, a large platinum (Pt) anomaly was reported in the Greenland ice sheet at the Younger Dryas boundary (YDB) (12,800 Cal B.P.). In order to evaluate its geographic extent, fire-assay and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (FA and ICP-MS) elemental analyses were performed on 11 widely separated archaeological bulk sedimentary sequences. We document discovery of a distinct Pt anomaly spread widely across North America and dating to the Younger Dryas (YD) onset. The apparent synchroneity of this widespread YDB Pt anomaly is consistent with Greenland Ice Sheet Project 2 (GISP2) data that indicated atmospheric input of platinum-rich dust. We expect the Pt anomaly to serve as a widely-distributed time marker horizon (datum) for identification and correlation of the onset of the YD climatic episode at 12,800 Cal B.P. This Pt datum will facilitate the dating and correlating of archaeological, paleontological, and paleoenvironmental data between sequences, especially those with limited age control.
Project description:One or more bolide impacts are hypothesized to have triggered the Younger Dryas cooling at ?12.9 ka. In support of this hypothesis, varying peak abundances of magnetic grains with iridium and magnetic microspherules have been reported at the Younger Dryas boundary (YDB). We show that bulk sediment and/or magnetic grains/microspherules collected from the YDB sites in Arizona, Michigan, New Mexico, New Jersey, and Ohio have (187)Os/(188)Os ratios ?1.0, similar to average upper continental crust (= 1.3), indicating a terrestrial origin of osmium (Os) in these samples. In contrast, bulk sediments from YDB sites in Belgium and Pennsylvania exhibit (187)Os/(188)Os ratios <<1.0 and at face value suggest mixing with extraterrestrial Os with (187)Os/(188)Os of ?0.13. However, the Os concentration in bulk sample and magnetic grains from Belgium is 2.8 pg/g and 15 pg/g, respectively, much lower than that in average upper continental crust (=31 pg/g), indicating no meteoritic contribution. The YDB site in Pennsylvania is remarkable in yielding 2- to 5-mm diameter spherules containing minerals such as suessite (Fe-Ni silicide) that form at temperatures in excess of 2000 °C. Gross texture, mineralogy, and age of the spherules appear consistent with their formation as ejecta from an impact 12.9 ka ago. The (187)Os/(188)Os ratios of the spherules and their leachates are often low, but Os in these objects is likely terrestrially derived. The rare earth element patterns and Sr and Nd isotopes of the spherules indicate that their source lies in 1.5-Ga Quebecia terrain in the Grenville Province of northeastern North America.
Project description:Firestone et al. sampled sedimentary sequences at many sites across North America, Europe, and Asia [Firestone RB, et al. (2007) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106:16016-16021]. In sediments dated to the Younger Dryas onset or Boundary (YDB) approximately 12,900 calendar years ago, Firestone et al. reported discovery of markers, including nanodiamonds, aciniform soot, high-temperature melt-glass, and magnetic microspherules attributed to cosmic impacts/airbursts. The microspherules were explained as either cosmic material ablation or terrestrial ejecta from a hypothesized North American impact that initiated the abrupt Younger Dryas cooling, contributed to megafaunal extinctions, and triggered human cultural shifts and population declines. A number of independent groups have confirmed the presence of YDB spherules, but two have not. One of them [Surovell TA, et al. (2009) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 104:18155-18158] collected and analyzed samples from seven YDB sites, purportedly using the same protocol as Firestone et al., but did not find a single spherule in YDB sediments at two previously reported sites. To examine this discrepancy, we conducted an independent blind investigation of two sites common to both studies, and a third site investigated only by Surovell et al. We found abundant YDB microspherules at all three widely separated sites consistent with the results of Firestone et al. and conclude that the analytical protocol employed by Surovell et al. deviated significantly from that of Firestone et al. Morphological and geochemical analyses of YDB spherules suggest they are not cosmic, volcanic, authigenic, or anthropogenic in origin. Instead, they appear to have formed from abrupt melting and quenching of terrestrial materials.
Project description:One explanation of the abrupt cooling episode known as the Younger Dryas (YD) is a cosmic impact or airburst at the YD boundary (YDB) that triggered cooling and resulted in other calamities, including the disappearance of the Clovis culture and the extinction of many large mammal species. We tested the YDB impact hypothesis by analyzing ice samples from the Greenland Ice Sheet Project 2 (GISP2) ice core across the Bølling-Allerød/YD boundary for major and trace elements. We found a large Pt anomaly at the YDB, not accompanied by a prominent Ir anomaly, with the Pt/Ir ratios at the Pt peak exceeding those in known terrestrial and extraterrestrial materials. Whereas the highly fractionated Pt/Ir ratio rules out mantle or chondritic sources of the Pt anomaly, it does not allow positive identification of the source. Circumstantial evidence such as very high, superchondritic Pt/Al ratios associated with the Pt anomaly and its timing, different from other major events recorded on the GISP2 ice core such as well-understood sulfate spikes caused by volcanic activity and the ammonium and nitrate spike due to the biomass destruction, hints for an extraterrestrial source of Pt. Such a source could have been a highly differentiated object like an Ir-poor iron meteorite that is unlikely to result in an airburst or trigger wide wildfires proposed by the YDB impact hypothesis.
Project description:The Younger Dryas (YD) impact hypothesis posits that fragments of a large, disintegrating asteroid/comet struck North America, South America, Europe, and western Asia ~12,800 years ago. Multiple airbursts/impacts produced the YD boundary layer (YDB), depositing peak concentrations of platinum, high-temperature spherules, meltglass, and nanodiamonds, forming an isochronous datum at >50 sites across ~50 million km² of Earth's surface. This proposed event triggered extensive biomass burning, brief impact winter, YD climate change, and contributed to extinctions of late Pleistocene megafauna. In the most extensive investigation south of the equator, we report on a ~12,800-year-old sequence at Pilauco, Chile (~40°S), that exhibits peak YD boundary concentrations of platinum, gold, high-temperature iron- and chromium-rich spherules, and native iron particles rarely found in nature. A major peak in charcoal abundance marks an intense biomass-burning episode, synchronous with dramatic changes in vegetation, including a high-disturbance regime, seasonality in precipitation, and warmer conditions. This is anti-phased with northern-hemispheric cooling at the YD onset, whose rapidity suggests atmospheric linkage. The sudden disappearance of megafaunal remains and dung fungi in the YDB layer at Pilauco correlates with megafaunal extinctions across the Americas. The Pilauco record appears consistent with YDB impact evidence found at sites on four continents.
Project description:Background:There are no authoritative meta-analyses and no clear quantitative assessments available estimating effects of open flap debridement (OFD) combined with platelet-rich fibrin (PRF) or platelet-rich plasma (PRP) over and above that of OFD. This study evaluated the actual quantitative mean gain for various clinical (clinical attachment level [CAL], probing pocket depth [PPD] and gingival marginal level [GML]) and radiographic (intrabony defect depth [IBD]) parameters of Platelet Concentrates- PCs (PRP/PRF) as sole grafting material along with OFD and OFD alone in the treatment of intrabony defects. Materials and Methods:A detailed electronic search was carried out in PUBMED/MEDLINE, COCHRANE, EBSCOHOST, and Google Scholar databases by unifying related search terms with additional hand searches in select specialty journals up to May 2017. The eligibility criteria included human randomized clinical trials, either of a parallel group or a split-mouth design with follow-up period of at least 6 months. Periodontal intrabony defects with radiographic IBD ≥3 mm with corresponding CAL ≥5 mm were included. For the meta-analysis, the inverse variance method was used in fixed- or random-effect models. Results:Actual quantitative mean gains were calculated for OFD with PRF/PRP (CAL = 1.1 mm, IBD = 1.68 mm, PPD = 0.97 mm and GML = 0.48 mm) over and above that of OFD alone. Conclusion:Because of very high heterogeneity, the results may not be dependable. Apart from gains in radiographic bone fill, all other periodontal clinical parameters showed negligible gains. Using PRF technologies in periodontal intrabony defects may not be of great clinical significance over and above that of OFD alone, the effect sizes are also not large enough.