Including Original "Paul H. Letters" Copyright © 1996-2018 Paul V. Heinrich - All rights reserved.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

clusters of holes on the ground on Mars and Earth...

clusters of holes on the ground on Mars and Earth...

In “clusters of holes on the ground on Mars andEarth...” at
Dennis Cox wrote;

>Thanks Sterling, 
>I know what sinkholes look like too. 
>The New Mexico craters number in the thousands.

Back in the early 1980s, I worked as a geologist for 
the Denver Office of Placid Oil Company before it 
crashed and burned as its owners managed to turn 
billions of dollars into millions of dollars. A good chunk 
of New Mexico was part of the area, in which I was 
responsible for looking for oil and gas. Also, a friend of 
the family once had a ranch within Lincoln County, New 
Mexico. As a result, both as a part of my job and for 
pleasure while pretending to be a cowboy, I got to see 
close up and personal a lot of rocks, including some of 
your so-called "craters" in person. The depressions, 
which you claim to be "craters," in person, I know from 
personal experience that they are classic sinkholes. 

Dennis Cox continued,
>I've been checking the Geologic record, and 
>digging into the literature, for more than a 
>year now. I have written to many of the top 
>planetary scientists at NASA. None of them 
>has been able to tell me of any actual science 
>that's been done there. 

The problem is that planetary scientists and NASA are the 
wrong people to ask anything about various mundane 
aspects of the general geology of New Mexico. They have 
absolutely no reason to get involved in the everyday details 
of New Mexico geology in which you are asking them about.

The people, who have studied the geology of various parts 
of New Mexico in great detail, are the geologists and 
geohydrologists of the New Mexico Bureau of Geology & 
Mineral Resources. They are the people, who literally 
have been literally the geological boots on the ground for 
decades preparing detailed geologic maps and doing other 
research. They are the geologists that either you or anyone 
on this list can contact for an expert answer about the 
origin of the depressions that you claim to be “craters”.

Contact information is:

New Mexico Bureau of Geology & Mineral Resources
New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology
801 Leroy Place
Socorro, NM 87801-4796

Descriptions of the regional geologic context of your
alleged “craters” can be found in:

Johnson, K. S., 1997, Evaporite karst in the United 
States. Carbonates and Evaporites. vol. 12, no. 1, 
pp. 2-14.

Johnson, K. S., 2005, Subsidence hazards due to 
evaporite dissolution in the United States. 
Environmental Geology. vol. 48, pp. 395-409.

McLemore, V. T., 1999, Bottomless Lakes. New Mexico 
Geology. vol.  21, no. 2, pp. 51-55.

Motts, W. S., and R. L. Cushman, 1964, An appraisal 
of the possibilities of artificial recharge to ground-
water supplies in part of the Roswell Basin, New 
Mexico. Water-Supply Paper no.1785, U.S. Geological 
Survey, Reston, Virginia, 86 p.

Mourant, W. A. 1963, Water resources and geology 
of the Rio Hondo drainage basin, Chaves, Lincoln, and 
Otero Counties, New Mexico. Technical report no. 28.
State Engineer Office, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

One specific geologist, who is an expert on the 
pertinent geolgoy is:

Dr. L. Land 
New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral 
Resources, and The National Cave and Karst 
Research Institute,
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology,
1400 Commerce Dr., Carlsbad, NM 88220, USA

Specific papers of his that pertain to the subject at hand:

Land, L. A., 2003, Evaporite karst and regional ground 
water circulation in the lower Pecos Valley, in Johnson, 
K.S. and Neal, J.T. (eds.), pp. 227-232.Evaporite Karst 
and Engineering/Environmental Problems in the United 
States. Circular no. 109, Oklahoma Geological Survey, 
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Land, L. A., 2006, Hydrogeology of Bottomless Lakes 
State Park, in pp. p. 95-96, Land, L., Lueth, V., Raatz, B., 
Boston, P., and Love, D. (eds.), Caves and Karst of 
Southeastern New Mexico. Guidebook no. 57, New 
Mexico Geological Society, Socorro, New Mexico.

Land, L. A., and B. T. Newton, 2007, Seasonal and long-term 
variations in hydraulic head in a karstic aquifer: Roswell 
Artesian Basin, New Mexico. Open-File Report no. 503, 
New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources,
Socorro, New Mexico, 27 p.

Land, L. A., and B. T. Newton, 2008, Seasonal and long-term 
variations in hydraulic head in a karstic aquifer: Roswell 
Artesian Basin, New Mexico. Journal of the American 
Water Resources Association. vol. 44, pp. 175-191.

Land, L. A., and Huff, G. F., 2010, Multi-tracer investigation 
of groundwater residence time in a karstic aquifer: Bitter 
Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico, USA. 
Hydrogeology Journal. vol. 18, pp. 455–472.

Land, L. A. V. W. Lueth, W. Raatz, P. Boston and D. W. 
Love, 2006, Caves & Karst of Southeastern New Mexico.
New Mexico Geological Society Fall Field Conference 
Guidebook no. 57, Mexico Geological Society, Socorro, 
New Mexico.

Stafford, K. W., L. Land, and A. Klimchouk, 2008, 
Hypogenic speleogenesis within Seven Rivers 
Evaporites: Coffee Cave, Eddy County, New Mexico. 
Journal of Cave and Karst Studies. vol. 70, no. 1, 
pp. 47–61.

Stafford, K. W., L. Land, A. Klimchouk, and M. O. Gary,
2009, The Pecos River Hypogene Speleogenetic 
Province: A basin-scale paradigm for eastern New 
Mexico and West Texas, USA. Advances in Hypogene 
Karst Studies NCKRI Symposium no. 1, 15 pp. 
National Cave and Karst Research Institute, Carlsbad,
New Meixco.

These papers make it quite clear that  New Mexico 
does contain lots and lots of karst. Stafford et al. (2008,
2009) illustrate in detail one of the small local cave 
systems, which is associated with the New Mexico karst.

New Mexico Geologic Maps

In addition, the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and 
Mineral Resources has produced a number of 7.5-minute
geological maps. Some of these maps indicate that the 
depressions, which you claim to be “craters,” are nothing 
more than rather ordinary karst. The nature of this karst
is illustrated and discussed in either the text or reports
that accompany these maps.

Some geologic maps, which illustrates the abundance of
sinkholes that you claim to be some sort of “craters,” are:

McCraw, D. J., G. Rawling, and L. A. Land, 2007, Geologic 
map of the Bitter Lake quadrangle, Chaves County, New 
Mexico. Open-file geologic map. no. 151. scale 1:24,000,
New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources.
Socorro, New Mexico.

Rawling, G., and D. J. McCraw, 2010, Geologic map of 
the Bottomless Lakes quadrangle, Chaves County, 
New Mexico. Open-file geologic map. no. 126. scale 
1:24,000, New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral 
Resources. Socorro, New Mexico.

McCraw, D. J., 2008, Preliminary Geologic Map of the
South Spring Quadrangle, Chaves County, New Mexico.
Open-file geologic map. no. 171. scale 1:24,000, New 
Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources.
Socorro, New Mexico.

Dennis Cox continued,
>Although, the discovery of a single interconnected 
>cave system that covers thousand of square miles 
>would be just as big a deal as clusters of small 
>impact craters covering the same area. They are 
>found in a large enough quantity, and variety of 
>terrains, to rule out karst collapse as the cause 
>with a fair degree of confidence. 

It is scientific nonsense to argue that sinkholes, as seen
in parts of New Mexico, must be connected to a single large 
interconnected cave system. The sinkholes as found in 
New Mexico likely are typically connected to, at best, a 
number of separate and local cave systems. There is 
nothing about karst that requires that these sinkholes be 
part of a single cave system. An example of one such New 
Mexico cave system is illustrated in great detail in two of 
Dr. L. A. Land’s papers, Stafford et al. (2008, 2009), which 
are listed above. 

However, not all of your craterwrongs are sinkholes. 
Looking at your web pages, you have misidentified a wide 
variety of rather mundane and pedestrian landforms of 
varying origins. One of my favorite “craterwrongs” are the 
longitudinal dunes, which are misidentified as “impact 
ejecta.” Superimposed on the longitudinal dunes are
blowout or parabolic dunes. These sand dunes, which 
have been horribly confused with impact ejecta, are a 
mixture of vegetated Pleistocene and reactivated Holocene 
sand dunes that lie within the Red Rock River valley. 
They are part of the Centennial Sandhills of Beaverhead 
County, Montana. Typical examples of these sand dunes 
can be found at 44.644033, –112.076880 .

The origin of the sand dunes of the Centennial Sandhills
is breifly discussed in: 

Lesica, P., and S. V. Cooper, 1999, Succession and 
Disturbance in Sandhills Vegetation: Constructing Models 
for Managing Biological Diversity. Conservation Biology. 
vol. 13, no .2, pp. 293-302.

Images of longitudinal and parabolic dunes can be 
found in:

Hack, J. T., 1941, Dunes of the western Navajo country. 
Geographical Review. vol. 31, pp. 240-263.

How the type of dunes that can be seen in aerial imagery
within the Centennial Sandhills is discussed in:

Chadwick, H. W., and P. D. Dalke, 1965, Plant succession 
on sand dunes in Fremont County, Idaho. Ecology. vol. 46
pp. 765-780.

The Centennial Sandhills Preserve

Dennis Cox continued,
>I've had it up to here with uniformitarian assumptive 
>hand waving. 

This has nothing to do with "uniformitarian assumptive 
hand waving." The problem here, is hand waving on your
part that lacks a single shred of hard evidence of any sort
to back up your speculation. The depressions, which you
claim to be craters even lack the morphology of an 
extraterrestrial crater in that they lack rims and have 
irregular shapes. It almost seems like the only criteria 
you have for identifying one of your so-called “craters” 
is it being a natural depression of any size or shape in 
the land surface. 

Dennis Cox continued,
>And I don't see it as anymore valid than some of the 
>pseudoscience I've read. The most entertaining of 
>those is the one from the Velikovskian delusionists 
>who tell me they are caused by interplanetary 
>electric discharges. 

I agree, the electric discharges advocates are amusing.

Dennis Cox continued,
>And after two years of digging in the literature, I really 
>don't give a rip either way. 
>Can someone tell me who has done some real science there? 

Again, the people that you can contact for “real science” 
and the readers of this list can contact for a second 
opinion about these depressions is:

New Mexico Bureau of Geology & Mineral Resources
New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology
801 Leroy Place
Socorro, NM 87801-4796

Best wishes,

Paul H.

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