Including Original "Paul H. Letters" Copyright © 1996-2017 Paul V. Heinrich - All rights reserved.



Thursday, 1 April 2010

On Now! - Sodom & Gomorrah on Science Channel Wednesday, March 31, 2010 11:31 PM

On Now! - Sodom & Gomorrah on Science Channel Wednesday, March 31, 2010 11:31 PM

In http://six.pairlist.net/pipermail/meteorite-list/2010-March/062654.html

Darren Garrison quoted GeoZay as stating:

“I just watched this program. It's left me wondering where are all
those meteorites from billions of tons of debris that supposedly fell
on Sodom and Gomorrah? If that one nearby town was found, then
surely nearby there should be a fanny load of meteorites laying
about just waiting to be scooped up.

David responded:

“I haven't seen the show sounds like National Enquirer quality
stuff though) but not only does nobody know where Sodom and
Gomorrah were, nobody knows for sure if they even actually
existed, or if they did exist-- when. Here's an article from mid-2009
which (along with the comments at the end) show how little
agreement there is on the subject:

http://www.bib-arch.org/e-features/sodom-and-gomorrah.asp


Will their next episode be postulating bio-luminescent bacteria as the
explanation of why Rudolph's nose glows so bright?”

The episode of “Biblical Mysteries Explained” about Sodom and
Gomorrah is largely based upon a popular, self-published book
that recycles long discredited claims about the large Kofels
Landslide near Tyrol, Austria, being of impact origin. The book is:

Bond, A., and M. Hempsell, 2008, A Sumerian Observation of the
Köfels' Impact Event, Writersprintshop, 2008, ISBN: 1904623646

They argue that the impact of an asteroid over a kilometer in
diameter created the Kofels landslide about 5123 BP near Tyrol,
Austria. They argue that the “back plume from the explosion”
was hurled back along its entry path / “bent over the
Mediterranean Sea” and re-entered the atmosphere some
1,600 miles away over the Levant, Sinai, and Northern
Egypt and destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.

There all sorts of problems with their thesis.

1. First, the age of the Kofels landslide is well established by
numerous concordant radiocarbon and cosmogenic dates.
as having occurred about 9800±100 years BP. This is some
4,600 – 4,700 older than claimed by Bond and Hemphill in
their book. The radiocarbon dates came from AMS 14C
dating of wood buried by the landslide. The age of the Kofels
landslide is discussed in:

Hermanns, R., L. Blikra, M. Naumann, B. Nilsen, K. Panthi, D.
Stromeyer, O. Longva, 2006, Examples of multiple rock-slope
collapses from Köfels (Ötz valley, Austria) and western
Norway. Engineering Geology. vol. 83, no. 1-3, pp. 94-108.

and

Ivy-Ochs, S., H. Heuberger, P. W. Kubik, H. Kerschner, G. Bonani,
M. Frank, and C. Schluchter, 1998, The age of the Köfels event.
Relative, 14C and cosmogenic isotope dating of an early Holocene
landslide in the central Alps (Tyrol, Austria). Zeitschrift fur
Gletscherkunde und Glazialgeologie. vol. 34, pp. 57-70.

All Bond and Hemphill can do is make unsupported claims
that the radiocarbon are “contaminated” by some unknown
process. Also, a person cannot even claim that seemingly
imaginary impact-related “nuclear processes” can create
apparent dates that are older than the actual age of the
material.

2. Another problem is that the impact origin of the Kofels
landslide has been previously discredited in discussions of
its origin as the result of a terminal Pleistocene impact as
advocated by Austrian geologist Alexander Tollmann as
discussed in:

Kristan-Tollmann, E. and A. Tollmann, 1994, The youngest
big impact on Earth deduced from geological and historical
evidence. Terra Nova. v. 6, no. 2, pp. 209-217.

and

Deutsch, A., C. Koeberl, J.D. Blum, B. M. French, B. P. Glass, R.
Grieve, P. Horn, E. K. Jessberger, G. Kurat, W. U. Reimold, J. Smit,
D. Stoffler, and S. R. Taylor, 1994, The impact-flood connection:
Does it exist? Terra Nova. vol. 6, pp. 644-650.

Also, look at “Tollmann's hypothetical bolide” at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tollmann%27s_hypothetical_bolide


It appears that the starting point for the hypothesis that the
Kofels Landslide was caused by a extraterrestrial impact was the
discovery of natural glass within the deposits of the Kofels
Landslide. After the discovery of natural glass, the extraterrestrial
impact hypothesis was proposed because, at that time, natural
glass was only known to be created by either volcanic or
extraterrestrial impact processes. Given the absence of associated
volcanic deposits, it was argued the natural glass must have been
created by an extraterrestrial impact. However, is it now known
that similar natural glasses called "frictionite", are associated
with other mega landslides and laboratory experiments and
computer simulations show that frictional heating during
landslides are quite capable of producing the natural glass
found associated with the Kofels Landslide. This is discussed
in detail in:

Erismann, T. H., and G. Abele, 2001, Dynamics of Rockslides
and Rockfalls, Springer-Verlag, Berlin-Heidelberg-New York, 316 p.
http://spot.colorado.edu/~jsedr/BookReviews/March2002/Dynamics.pdf


Hermanns, R.., L. Blikra, M. Naumann, B. Nilsen, K. Panthi,
D. Stromeyer, O. Longva, 2006, Examples of multiple rock-slope
collapses from Köfels (Ötz valley, Austria) and western Norway. Engineering Geology. vol. 83, no. 1-3, pp. 94-108.

and

Sorensen, S.-A., and B. Bauer, 2003, On the dynamics of the Köfels
sturzstrom. Geomorphology, vol. 54, no. 1-2, pp. 11-19.

Cause effect models of large mass movements
http://info.tuwien.ac.at/geophysik/research/landslides/1997_pr01/structure/koefels.htm


In addition, it is now known that Kofels Landslide is one of
several catastrophic landslides that resulted from the collapse
of valley walls over-steepened by glacial erosion at the end of
the Pleistocene. The valley walls collapsed when the retreat of
glaciers removed ice that was supporting the steep valley
walls created by glacial erosion.

The lack of any identifiable impact debris, shocked quartz,
and crater from the impact of an asteroid over a kilometer
in diameter presents major problems in arguing that the
Kofels Landslide is impact related. Shocked quartz was once
reported from the Kofels Landslide. However, when
reexamined, the shocked quartz proved to be tectonically
deformed quartz that grossly misidentified as “shocked
quartz” as discussed by:

Leroux, H., and J.-C. Doukhan, 1993, Dynamic deformation
of quartz in the landslide of Koefels, Austria. European
Journal of Mineralogy. vol. 5, no. 5, pp. 893-902.

3. yet another problem is the lack of any credible explanation
about why the fireball from the impacting asteroid would
bend over / be hurled back along its entry path by some 1,600
miles to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Simply plugging some
the numbers that Bond and Hemphill provide for their alleged
extraterrestrial impact into the “Earth Impact Effects Program”
by Robert Marcus, H. Jay Melosh, and Gareth Collins readily
shows that their impact would have no significant effect in
the area where Sodom and Gomorrah allegedly existed.

“Earth Impact Effects Program”
http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/impacteffects/


For example, using Bond’s and Hemphill’s estimates for the
size and mass of their hypothetical asteroid, I found:

1. a hypothetical "Köfels impact event" was too small
to either create a fireball, for a stony asteroid (3000kg/m3),
or the Middle East lay below the Earth's horizon for the
fireball created by an iron asteroid (8000 kg/m3).

2. a hypothetical asteroid was too small to either dump any
ejecta, for a stony asteroid (3000kg/m3) in the Middle East,
or, in case of an iron asteroid (8000 kg/m3) the ejecta blanket
was far too thin to have done any damage.

3. the "plume" / fireball created by such an impact would
have radiated thermal radiation for only a few seconds to
few minutes. Therefore, the "plume" could not have ignited
anything as it drifted over the Middle East.

4. the total kinetic energy that would have been released
by the impact of the alleged asteroid would have obliterated
Mt. Gamskogel if any significant piece of the, by then broken
up, asteroid clipped into this mountain.

There are all sorts of other problems with this thesis, including
their translation of Sumerian, whether Sodom and Gomorrah
really existed, and if they existed, where they were actually
located. Thus, my opinion of the Sodom and Gomorrah episode
of “Biblical Mysteries Explained” is that it is just one of a number
of dull to mildly entertaining fantasy and science fiction
programs that can appear on the Science Channel.

Yours,

Paul H.

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