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More Mammoths in the Myst.

With respect to the recent column, "Mammoths in the Myst" (R&D Magazine, April 1999), there is currently a rather heated argument among geologists and paleontologists on whether there was or was not a catastrophe some 11,000 years ago at the end of the last so-called Ice Age. These contentious discussions generally don't find their way into the standard journals, but are usually held in corridor colloquia and coffee klatches. Wonderful to watch.

In recent days I've been entertaining the speculative idea of a cometary infall of frozen ices that landed in the Canadian north initiating the big freeze. However, it is equally curious that the last Ice Age centered around the position of the magnetic north pole, then situated in the Canadian northeast, with very little evidence of ice age and glacial activity just across the geographic pole in Siberia.

The actual die-out of the mammoths occurred over several thousand years, as determined by radiocarbon tests, although there was a large Arctic extinction at the end of the Ice Age along with a host of other animal life forms that normally live in far more temperate climates, not to mention the trees and shrubs that typically thrive in such zones. All of the above were found smashed to bits and mixed in with the icy muck of the Alaskan and Canadian tundra and extreme northern Siberian islands, with the exception of those frozen mammoths found relatively intact in Siberia. It took some tremendous forces to cause such devastation.

The adiabatic demagnetization mentioned may have been the first effect of a possible cometary infall, although I'm not fully committed to this idea. A flyby could possibly accomplish the same effect with an interbody discharge disabling or reducing Earth's magnetic field, even temporarily. Such electrical potential differences between interplanetary bodies has not been ascertained nor confirmed, but a sizeable comet traveling through the solar wind might well pick up a huge electrostatic charge and zap any nearby body it passed, most probably around a magnetic pole.

The principal result of an electrical discharge crippling Earth's magnetic field would be a profound adiabatic cooling, so intense that we're still seeing the residual effects today. An adiabatic event exchanges one form of kinetic energy for another, and in this instance magnetic energy is exchanged for thermal energy, resulting in an abyssal chilling.

The air mass surrounding such a massive discharge would be frozen out as in a blizzard, creating an atmospheric vacuous hole that would initiate hurricane winds to fill in this void. Such winds would scour the land clear of flora and fauna for hundreds if not thousands of miles around and deposit them in heaps, such as where we find them today. It wouldn't be surprising if these winds were powerful enough to move sizeable rocks and boulders, creating erratics and scattering them to where we also find many of them today.

Any influx of solar particle radiation due to a relatively momentary lack of Earth's magnetic field would be the least of the concerns of anyone then existing who could even have future knowledge of such things. Whether the residual effects had any increased radiation is unknown, but it probably wouldn't be pleasant. However, the kick-up of dust and debris from the resulting windstorms would create something of a radiation shield for awhile, at least until Earth's field recovered somewhat again. But, perhaps not at the same Gaussian strength as it had before. One might question as to whether this might have had any effect on the Earth's rotation, but again that is something of an unknown. If it did, another set of problems would enter the picture. (There's a sizeable essay pending on this aspect alone.)

At any rate, one cannot underestimate the magnitude of the abyssal cold which froze the mammoths that were found more-or-less intact, as it would take a cryogenic icing to frost-sear their lungs and effectively suffocate them where they stood because they no longer had much gaseous air to breathe, and simultaneously deeply penetrate their bodies to preserve the partially digested food in their stomachs. No present day Arctic freeze or blizzard condition could do this. Besides, there doesn't appear to have been enough foodstuff in the tundra to otherwise sustain an animal of this size, else what had been there was violently swept away in the super-storm.

For a circumspect overview of what's presently known about these pachyderms, I suggest a book by Charles Ginenthal--"The Extinction of the Mammoth," The Velikovskian, 65-35 108th Street, Forest Hills, N.Y. 11375, (1997) 303 pp., $24.95. Unfortunately, it does not have an index, which for me was a grave oversight as it makes the book virtually worthless as a reference work. One doesn't have to agree with a lot of what the author says, especially in areas where there is considerable room for speculation, but the factual material is invaluable.

Tell us what you think about Fred Jueneman's articles. Send your comments about his viewpoints to: t.studt@cahners.com.
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Author:Jueneman, Fred
Publication:R & D
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Sep 1, 1999
Words:837
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