CHAPTER 1.4
LARGE IMPACTS & CONTEMPORANEOUS ANTIPODAL MANTLE PLUMES: A STATISTICAL JUSTIFICATION FOR CAUSE & EFFECT

   
CHAPTER 1.4
LARGE IMPACTS & CONTEMPORANEOUS ANTIPODAL MANTLE PLUMES:
A STATISTICAL JUSTIFICATION FOR CAUSE & EFFECT

When I first looked at the causes of major extinction events, I was intrigued by the statistical anomaly of the very large impact at Chicxulub and the huge volcanic eruptions at the Deccan traps, both happening at virtually the same time, 65 MYA.

Yes, a coincidence like this could happen. However, what are the odds that the biggest (by far) impact of the past 100 million years would happen at the same time as the largest (by far) volcanic eruption of the past 100 million years? Is this just a coincidence or are the two events related?

This statistical anomaly drew me into an examination of the situation. As I read more about impacts and theories, I gradually came upon scenarios where an antipodal impact theory would fit the facts. Even more interestingly, I also found additional statistical evidence that ends up showing that the odds that large impacts and antipodal volcanism are unrelated is vanishingly small.

The purpose of this chapter is to elaborate upon the statistical evidence and how I came to find it and analyze it. This type of study does not lend itself to repeatable testing, but it can be examined by using common sense statistics. I will show the evidence and provide what I consider to be a conservative estimate of the probability of each factor. It is up to the reader to determine his or her own statistical evaluation.

I believe that the easiest way to illustrate the statistical evidence is to look at each factor as it became known and understood by me. These factors are:

1. INITIAL ANOMALY — The timing of the Chicxulub impact and the Deccan traps 65 MYA.

2. CHICXULUB ANTIPODE LOCATION — Finding a better model for the initial location of the Deccan traps 65 MYA.

3. CHESAPEAKE BAY IMPACT — Finding that the timing and location of the Chesapeake Bay impact 35.5 MYA and subsequent volcanization in Australia 27 MYA was antipodal and contemporaneous (when allowing time for doming).

4. ALL BIG IMPACTS — Expanding the study to all big impacts in the last 100 million years.

A. Kara, 70.3 MYA

B. Popigai, 35.5 MYA



I have limited the final statistical study to the large impacts of the last 100 million years (there are only four of them) because:

1. SIZE — I’m not sure that smaller impacts will have the same effect. Will they cause enough vibration to reach the frictional release threshold?

2. TIME PERIOD — I have found that it is difficult enough to figure out what really happened in the most recent 100 million years (i.e. I place India 4,000 miles away from the location shown by the Standard Theory 65 MYA), without trying to figure out all the details of impacts that are over 100 million years old.


THE INITIAL ANOMALY — ODDS LESS THAN 1 IN 100


The apparent coincidence in timing of the very large impact at Chicxulub and the huge eruptions at the Deccan traps are often noted. However, the Standard Theory chalks this coincident timing up to random chance, because the mantle would not allow a mantle plume resulting from an impact to move much faster than about one inch per year. Based on this, the massive volcanic eruptions at the Deccan traps would have been the result of a starting activity that began at least 100 million years before the actual eruptions of 65 MYA. Therefore, from the point of view of the Standard Theory, the impact and the volcanization could not possibly be related.

But, statistically speaking, what are the odds that the coincident timing of the largest (by far) impact of the last 100 million years and the largest volcanic eruptions (by far) are unrelated?

Well, the timing of the two events is much closer than a million years apart and we are comparing this timing to a total time period of 100 million years. Therefore, odds of less than 1 in 100 are quite conservative. Again, coincidences do happen and odds of less than 1 in 100 are not ridiculously remote. Therefore, this one coincidence is not a fatal flaw in the Standard Theory.


CHICXULUB ANTIPODE LOCATION — ODDS LESS THAN 1 IN 20


After several months of study, I became convinced that the location of India 65 MYA was misplaced and that the Deccan traps actually were located at the antipode of the Chicxulub impact. Furthermore, I found that I could easily create a scenario where India would be located at the antipode, where it would easily explain the lack of doming (it should normally take five to twenty years of doming and melting for the plume to break through the Earth’s crust) that should have occurred in a plume situation (the area at the antipode of an impact is pulverized by the converging earthquakes, thus not requiring any doming in order to break through). Moreover, this scenario also provides answers to the formation of several other features in the area (the Sunda trench, the creation of Indonesia, the underlayment of basaltic intrusion all along the western side of India which “just stops” at the end and many other features ... see chapter 1.6 of this book).

I am using a very conservative version of the shape and origin of India 65 MYA in this chapter. This conservative version sees India in the same shape as shown on most plate tectonic maps and locates India so that the Deccan traps would be sited at 21 degrees south latitude, antipodal to the 21 degrees north latitude location of the Chicxulub impact today. Chapter 2.5 provides a more ambitious rationale for a location of the Deccan traps at 30 degrees South (as indicated by the basalt record at the site ... the Standard Theory has to invoke "polar wander" to explain this) based upon rapid movement and formation of the proto-Yucatan peninsula caused by the directional energy of the Chicxulub impact.

Certainly, since I am the only person positing a different location for India 65 MYA, this point will be controversial (again, see Chapter 1.6 in this book for reasons why India actually was located at the antipode of the Chicxulub impact 65 MYA). Nevertheless, from my point of view, I will ask the question: “What are the odds that the Deccan traps would be less than 1700 miles away from the center of an antipodal mantle plume caused by a large impact?” Since a circle with a radius of 1700 miles comprises less than five percent of the surface of the earth, I can claim that, based upon my model of the situation, the odds are less than 1 in 20.


CHESAPEAKE BAY IMPACT 35.5 MYA — ODDS LESS THAN 1 IN 20


While reading the antipodal impact theory of David Charles Weber, I realized that the volcanism that he attributed to the Chicxulub impact (starting in northern Australia 65 MYA, traveling down the northeastern coast and then turning south and slightly west) was actually two events.

At the time of my reading, I was already convinced (by the evidence) that the Chicxulub impact had created the Deccan traps and had pushed India on its way to a crash landing in Asia. I was also convinced that the remaining hotspot was in the process of moving north and was creating the islands of Indonesia, the most active volcanic islands in the world.

However, David Charles Weber gave a convincing description of a plume moving down the eastern interior of Australia and then bleeding out in the West Victoria plains after it got through the the mountainous area of Australia. 14

This series of events is also described in an Oregon State University posting:

“The volcanoes of Australia define several chains with progressively younger volcanoes to the south ... These age progressions suggest that a hotspot feeds magma to the volcanoes. Unlike the Hawaiian, Society Islands and Yellowstone hotspots, which produce a single chain of volcanoes, the hotspot beneath Eastern Australia is broad and may take advantage of weak places in the plate to feed magma to the surface." 16pg2


So, what was going on here? After reviewing the data, I could ascertain that there were really two separate events.

The first event was the rather random volcanization along the northeast coast of Australia from 60 MYA to 30 MYA. There was no particular direction to the volcanism during this period. It would vary from location to location over this period of 30 million years with no pattern of movement.

The second event was different. About 27 MYA, a band of volcanoes started moving from the north east to the southwest in the area of the Great Dividing Range. Then there was a large bleed out of lava on the West Victoria plains. The hotspot is currently located between Australia and the island of Tasmania.

Since the Chesapeake Bay impact was significantly smaller than the Chicxulub impact, the plume would not have been as big, and, if the impact occurred at an angle (most do ... usually 30 degrees to 45 degrees) then the energy antipode of this smaller plume would likely be too far away from the actual physical antipode of the impact for the plume to erupt through it. This smaller plume would have to do it the hard way and go through the doming process.

I know that the Chesapeake Bay impact occurred 35.5 MYA and that it usually takes five to twenty years of doming for a plume to erupt at the surface. Since the initial eruption site would have been within 1700 miles of the antipode (my best guess is that the antipode was somewhere near Adelaide, allowing for movement of both the North American continent and the Australian continent in the past 35.5 million years), this means that there is a logical connection between the two, based upon timing and location. So, what are the odds that all of this was just a random coincidence? In the interest of being conservative, I would say that the odds of the antipodal location and the timing both being a coincidence would be easily less than 1 in 20, since the initial plume location was within 1700 of the physical antipode (and, thus, being within a circle that comprises less than 5% of the Earth's surface). If the size of the impact and plume had been spectacular outliers, like Chicxulub and the Deccan traps, I would have given it a rating that would have related to both attributes separately. But, I’m being quite conservative here, with normal large sized impacts and plumes, and using the age of the volcanism to verify its possible relationship to the impact, prior to calculating any odds.


BIG IMPACT STUDY — ODDS LESS THAN 1 IN 400


While re-examining my evidence and conclusions after correspondence with the Yahoo Geology2 Group, I realized that there was a statistical case to be made for the cause and effect relationship between large impacts and volcanism at the antipode.

However, if I were to make this case, I would have to be systematic and methodical about it. I had evidence for two large impacts that had occurred in the geologically relatively recent past. What about other impacts? I went to Wikipedia and searched for large impacts that had occurred in the past 100 million years. I looked for impacts that were larger than 55 km in diameter.

There were only four impacts of this size in the past 100 million years. I have already provided information on two of them.

The remaining two large impacts occurred at different times and locations in Russia. Both were up in the area of the Arctic Circle. This means that the antipodes would be in or near Antarctica. Therefore, evidence could be hard to find and glaciation might have had a significant effect upon this evidence.

Listed below is a table of information from Wikipedia about the four impacts in the last 100 million years that were larger than 55 km in diameter:


DATE NAME CRATER DIA. LOCATION ANTIPODE
65 MYA Chicxulub 180 km 21N, 90W 21S, 90E
70.3 MYA Kara 120 km 69N, 65E 69S. 115W
35.7 MYA Popigai 100 km 72N, 111E 72S, 69W
35.5 MYA Chesapeake Bay 85 km 37N, 76W 37S, 104E


The locations shown in the table are the present day locations.

In the cases of Chicxulub and Chesapeake Bay, significant adjusting must be made in order to allow for the movement of the continental plates over time, in order to figure out the locations of the impact craters and the antipodes when the events originally occurred. In the cases of Kara and Popigai, both impacts occurred in northern Russia, where tectonic plate movement was much less of a factor. Both antipodes were on the sea floor in the area near the edge of Antarctica. This is another area that hasn’t seen much movement in the past 100 million years.

Therefore, in contrast to the difficult initial locating tasks involved with the Chicxulub and the Chesapeake Bay impacts and antipodes, Kara and Popigai are much more straight forward.

However, there is one added difficulty ... the effects of glaciation. Both impacts were above the Arctic Circle, which means that the antipodes were below the Antarctic Circle. Therefore, glaciation, nature’s eraser, would remove some of the antipodal evidence.

Even with the strong possibility of off-center impacts, the center of the mantle plumes should be relatively close to the current projected physical antipodal impact location for both of these events. In actual fact, in both the Kara and Popigai events, we can find just what we are looking for, with activity dates which, allowing for doming, fit right in with the expected time frame.


KARA IMPACT 70.3 MYA — ODDS LESS THAN 1 IN 20


The Kara impact occurred in eastern Siberia 70.3 MYA. It was noticeably smaller than the Chicxulub impact, but significantly larger than the Chesapeake Bay impact.

The present day unadjusted antipode of the impact is at 69S, 115W, just off the coast of Western Antarctica. Just coincidentally (or perhaps not), the Marie Byrd seamounts are located in an area from 67-71S to 110-130W, just off the coast of Antarctica, right where we would expect to find the antipode of the Kara impact.

An article from livescience.com by Becky Oskin entitled “Hotspot? Not! Antarctic Volcanoes’ Surprising Source.” notes that the Marie Byrd seamounts look very much like hotspot volcanoes from a mantle plume. There are even “geochemical traces that point to hotspot origin,” but there is no hotspot to be found. The article then goes on to propose that these seamounts are the result of the Earth’s crust being pulled apart 60 MYA. The researchers say that the seamounts “represent an example for enigmatic volcanism which cannot be explained by the ‘classical’ model (i.e., hotspots or mantle plumes) for the origin of volcanism with the Earth plates and, therefore, requires alternative models.”

The article also notes that in 2006 researchers dredged up rocks revealing “that most of the lavas erupted between 57 million and 64 million years ago” ... but some samples were as young as 3 MYA. So, if the Marie Byrd seamounts were at the energy antipode of the Kara impact 70.3 MYA, and if we allow five to twenty million years for doming, what should the oldest lava dates be? Just what we got. 115

However, we would also expect to see a volcano trail leading to a current hotspot. Where is it? Does this mean that we have “enigmatic volcanism that requires alternative models?” No. Recent evidence solves this problem.

Recently, John Roach of NBC News wrote an article entitled “Volcano under Antarctica ice may erupt, accelerate melting.” The article speaks of a surprise discovery of a volcano under the Western Antarctica ice sheet. The volcano is just south of volcanic Mount Waesche. Furthermore there is a a chain of volcanoes that goes almost due north from there, getting older as they go north. And what is just to the north of this chain of volcanoes? It should not surprise you to find out that it is the Marie Byrd seamounts. 116

Even better, a post from LiveScience that says there is a strong low velocity zone below Mount Sidley, in the same mountain range as Mount Waesche (which is located 20 km to the southwest). According to the article, “The slow velocities suggest that it is a hotspot." 117

Surprise, surprise. Well, not really much of a surprise.

So, what are the odds that the antipode of the Kara impact, containing lava dated to the right time (allowing for doming), located in the right place, with a volcanic trail leading to an active plume volcano would be merely a random coincidence? Based upon location and timing, I would argue that odds of less than one in 20 would be quite conservative, considering that the seamounts are well within a radius of 1700 miles from the antipode.


POPIGAI IMPACT 35.7 MYA — ODDS LESS THAN 1 IN 20


The Popigai impact occurred in western Siberia 35.7 MYA. It was just a little larger than the Chesapeake Bay impact.

The present day unadjusted antipode of the Popigai impact is at 72S, 69W, just about at the present location of the juncture of Alexander Island and the Antarctic Peninsula of Western Antarctica. It would be just due south of the present location of Cape Horn.

We would expect that the energy antipode of the Popigai impact 35.7 MYA would be within 1700 miles of the actual antipode 35.7 MYA. We would also expect that the mantle plume would likely have a directed motion.

So, are there any candidates that meet this criteria? Yes. The obvious choice is the arc of volcanoes that form the South Sandwich Islands. While South America has been moving west for the last 132 million years (it was noticeably farther east 35.7 MYA), it appears that the plume hotspot under the South Sandwich islands may have been moving east during the past 35.7 million years.

The Standard Theory believes that the South Sandwich islands are part of a strange, elongated mini-plate that broke off from South America, conveniently around 30 MYA (after 100 million years of no-mini-plate-needed).

A recent article entitled “Scientists Cast Doubt on Theory of What Triggered Antarctic Glaciation” states: “The rock samples from the central Scotia Sea near Antarctica reveal remnants of a now submerged volcanic arc that formed sometime before 28 million years ago ...” The report further states: “Using a technique known as argon isotopic dating, the researchers found that the samples range in age from about 28 million years to about 12 million years." 118

It looks to me like that arc, fed by a moving plume, is now somewhat farther east at the South Sandwich islands. The rock dates of 28 MYA for the oldest samples would fit right in with an energy antipode 35.7 MYA (allowing for doming). As with the Kara impact, millions of years of glaciation would make the geological record a bit blurry.

As a final step, I would ask the reader to look at a relief map of the South Sandwich islands and the area between there and and South America and the Antarctic Peninsula of Antarctica. Ask yourself this question: “If a volcanic plume were to move eastward in this area (allowing for some glaciation and the fact that South America is moving westward) what would I expect to see?” I believe that the answer to that question is what is shown on the relief map.

So, what are the odds that the energy antipode of the Popigai impact, containing lava dated to the right time (allowing for doming) and located within 1700 miles of a starting location from the actual physical antipode, is merely a random coincidence? Based upon the location and timing, I would argue that odds of less than 1 in 20 would be quite conservative.


TOTALING UP THE ODDS — LESS THAN 1 IN 16,000,000


Before totalling up the odds, I believe that it is useful to note that all four of the large impacts in the past 100 million years show volcanism very near the physical antipode ... volcanism that is of the right age ... volcanism that is likely to have been caused by the impact. All of the impacts show odds of less than 1 in 20 that this volcanism is merely a random coincidence.

There are zero examples of large impacts in the past 100 million years that flout this relationship quality.

Now let’s look at the odds, remembering that the odds would be multiplicative rather than additive.

The results are:

1. Initial Anomaly: Chicxulub impact timing of the largest impact by far with the biggest volcanism by far < 100 to 1

2. Chicxulub antipode location < 20 to 1

3. Chesapeake Bay impact and antipode timing and location < 20 to 1

4. Kara impact and antipode timing and location < 20 to 1

5. Popigai impact and antipode timing and location < 20 to 1


Therefore the odds are less than 100 x 20 x 20 x 20 x 20 to 1 that the large impacts and the volcanism near the physical antipode (at the energy antipode) are merely the result of random coincidence. That’s 16,000,000 to one.

It is up to the reader to decide what his or her common sense statistical result would be. I believe that I have been conservative in my approach. The locations of the volcanism was well within an antipodal circle with a radius of 1700 miles and the volcanism at the Deccan traps was nearly contemporaneous with the Chicxulub impact, not a full million years later. A more liberal approach could easily end up with odds in the range of trillions to one.

Based upon the statistical reasons set forth in this paper, I believe that it is a virtual certainty that antipodal volcanism at or near the impact antipode of a large impact object is a related, contemporaneous property. Furthermore, I believe that it is virtually certain to be a case of cause and effect, as explained in the previous chapter.

Some readers may wonder why I chose the arbitrary time period of "within the last 100 million years" when doing the analysis of large impacts. Certainly there have been instances where researchers "cherry pick" an interval that best supports a theory.

Cherry picking is not happening here. I chose the period of the last 100 million years because the impact areas and the antipodes can be located with a reasonable degree of certainty during this time period. As we move farther back in time, it becomes more difficult to be sure where the tectonic plates actually were located, as exemplified by the fact that I am locating the Deccan traps more than 4,000 miles away from the location given by the Standard Theory 65 MYA.

I do know that, at least in my mind, the location of the Deccan traps 65 MYA is not yet settled. I claim that the Deccan traps were located more than 4,000 miles away from the site where the Standard Theory puts them. If the location of the Deccan traps only 65 MYA is controversial, then how difficult is it to have any degree of certainty when we start moving into the distant past.

Therefore, I have chosen to take the conservative path, which leads to conservative odds of less than 16,000,000 to one that the volcanism near the antipodes of large impacts is a random event.

EXTENDING THE LARGE CRATER RESEARCH

I decided to extend my research on large craters beyond those of the last 100 million years to the large craters of the last 300 million years.

This increase in the length of time covered by my study yields only one additional crater that hasn't already been included in my previous research (Manicouagan 212 MYA was already included). This new addition is the Morokwang crater in the Kalahari Desert in South Africa. This impact occurred 145 MYA at the very end of the Jurassic Period (and was probably the cause of the end of the Jurassic Period). The impact crater is currently located at 26°20'S and 23°32'E.

The Greater Antilles (beginning in western Cuba) is an area that would have been roughly antipodal to this impact 145 MYA. According to Wikipedia, there was a large area of volcanism just to the south of Cuba that was later pushed up under Cuba's present location. This volcanism occurred approximately 145 MYA. Volcanism later continued down through the Greater Antilles (author's note: Although the literature attributes the final location of the Cuban underlayment of volcanism and unusual stress lines to a later northward push, I believe that these physical characteristics are more likely to have been caused by the proto-Yucatan material being moved southward as part of the Chicxulub impact, with some of the western part of Cuba being rubbed off as part of the process. I believe that the volcanism, itself, may have not moved at all. See Chapter 2.5 under the subhead "Rapid Surface Movement at the Impact Site".)

It appears that the hotspot that emitted the volcanism that became Cuba, then headed south, creating the Greater Antilles. However, since the Eastern North American plate was moving west at a greater speed than the hotspot at this time, the result looked as though the hotspot was moving ESE, instead of due south.

Once the hotspot reached the Caribbean plate, it began creating the Lesser Antilles. Since the Caribbean plate was not moving west, the true southern movement of the hotspot became apparent.


OTHER MEDIUM-LARGE IMPACTS

When I looked at large craters of the last 300 million years, I found a convenient dividing line between the smallest large impact (Morokwang at 70 km in diameter) and the largest medium-large impacts (Tookoonooka at 55 km in diameter and Karakul at 52 km in diameter).

Whereas even the smallest of the large diameter impact craters (Morokwang) was associated with a geological period-ending extinction (albeit a minor extinction), this next largest group could not quite muster the same effect. However, this does not mean that no antipodal impact effect occurred.


TOOKOONOOKA & BERMUDA

Tookoonooka, the largest of the medium-large impacts of the last 300 million years, produced a crater of 55 km in diameter. It occurred in Australia between 112 and 133 MYA. It is currently located at 27°7'S and 142°50'E.

This impact was not big enough to create a huge amount of antipodal volcanism, but it did leave its mark.

The State of Kansas was approximately antipodal to the impact at the time of the impact. The antipodal volcanism from the impact did bleed out a significant amount of lava at the Mississippi embayment and, according to at least one account, continued eastward (although it may have been more a matter of the Eastern North American plate moving westward) to a point where it created a string of four seamounts and, 30 MYA, the islands that compose Bermuda today.

The Karakul crater in the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan is 52 km in diameter and occurred only 25 MYA. It is presently located at 39°1'N and 73°27'E.

The antipode would have been somewhere in the South Pacific Ocean. I searched for evidence of antipodal volcanism, but I couldn't find anything that looked like a real candidate. I found this result to be mildly distressing.

Sometime later, I read an article about findings on the sea floor in part of the Southern Indian Ocean during the search for the lost airplane flight MH370 from Malaysia that disappeared on March 8, 2014. Although the readings didn't find any signs of the aircraft which disappeared, they did show underwater mountains, huge canyons and a 34 mile ridge that geologists had been unaware of. In other words, when we look at places that have not been closely examined, we may find lots of significant features that we didn't know were there. I suspect that the South Pacific Ocean is hiding some telltale volcanism from the Karakul impact 25 MYA. However, we haven't looked very hard for geological features in this area.


THE YELLOWSTONE HOTSPOT

The Yellowstone hotspot is large enough and has enough history of activity (not only the mega-eruptions in the last two million years, but also its previous track of eruptions and the huge Columbia River lava flows of 16 MYA) to expect that there was a large impact that was roughly antipodal approximately 21 MYA, plus or minus five million years.

However, there is no sign of a crater in the size range of 40 km to 80 km in diameter that is antipodal to the imputed site of the Yellowstone hotspot's first appearance. An antipodal site would have been somewhere in the vast Southern Indian Ocean. Again, the lack of good geological data in this unexplored region is probably the reason that we have not found this crater.


CHESAPEAKE BAY CRATER SIZE: A RECENT CONTROVERSY

When I first started investigating impacts and extinctions in 2010, the Chesapeake Bay impact was listed as being 85 km in diameter. However, the latest findings are that it is only effectively 40 km in diameter. According to Wikipedia, "Numerical modeling techniques by Collins, et al. indicate that the post-impact diameter was likely to have been 40 km (25 mi), rather than the observed 85 km (53 mi)." The larger diameter that we see is attributed to slumping or the like. This new interpretation leads me to wonder:

1. If they are truly correct in their new assumptions. The outside diameter of the crater still measures 85 km.

2. If the true size is somewhere between 40 km and 85 km.

3. If many or all of the other impact diameter credentials should be similarly suspect, with the Chesapeake Bay impact still being the same size relative to the other impacts as we had originally thought.

It is notable that some of the illustration art in the Wikipedia article has pictures of the impacts with captions saying that the impact is larger than listed in the impact table (i.e. they probably revised the impact table but not the captions). Therefore, we have:

1. Kara table 65 km pic 120 km

2. Manicouagan table 85 km pic 100 km

3. Popigai table 90 km pic 100 km

4. Puchezh-Katunki table 40 km pic 80 km

5. Chesapeake Bay table 40 km pic 85 km


We also have several pictures where the captions do agree with the listing in the table. Should we assume that this means that they haven't gotten around to revising these impact numbers in the table yet?

What we can see clearly is the fact that crater sizes are a bit like the wild west ... no one is too sure of anything yet. This same problem of crater size occurs with some possible craters that may or may not be craters. I have two of these possibles (Bedout and Antarctica) listed as causes for antipodal volcanism (CAMP volcanism 201 MYA and the Siberian traps 252 MYA, respectively).

Speaking specifically of the Chesapeake Bay impact, I believe that the true nature of impact may be more aptly indicated by its actual measured crater size of 85 km in diameter than in its recently revised effective crater size of only 40 km in diameter. Both the powerful antipodal volcanism found in Australia and the likely pushing up of the Blue Ridge mountains near the site of impact, as well as the western synclines and anticlines behind the Blue Ridge Mountains suggest a very powerful impact. Also, the movement of the surface layer at the impact site may have influenced this reinterpretation of the true crater size (see Chapter 2.5 under the subhead "Rapid Surface Movement at the Impact Site").



IMPACT, ANTIPODAL VOLCANISM & EXTINCTION
CORRELATION DURING THE PAST 300 MILLION YEARS


Every end point of a major geological period in the past 298 million years can be traced to an impact crater of 70 km in diameter or more and its attendant antipodal volcanism.

In making this statement, I am tacitly stating my belief that the Cenozoic Era has not really seen a true geological period ending. In effect, I am saying that the Tertiary Period is the only true geological period that we have experienced since the end of the Cretaceous Period 66 MYA. We used to have a Tertiary Period that ran from 66 MYA to 2.6 MYA. Then, in our anthropocentric arrogance, we created the Quaternary Period to cover the last 2.6 million years. I believe that the Quaternary is more of an epoch within the Tertiary. In my scenario, the Tertiary would span the entire Cenozoic up to the present.

However, the guardians of geology have moved in the other direction. Now, the Tertiary Period, itself, has been excommunicated. It has been replaced by the Paleogene (66 MYA to 23 MYA) and the Neogene (23 MYA to 2.6 MYA). As the reader can imagine, I don't buy this bit of new classification.

So, when I say that every end point of a major geological period can be traced to impacts and antipodal volcanism, I am considering the last true end of a geological period to be at the end of the Cretaceous, 66 MYA.

The chart below lists the correlation of impacts, antipodal volcanism and extinctions during the past 300 million years. There are three large impacts that are not shown on this chart, because, even though they did create,significant antipodal volcanism, for whatever reason, they did not create an antipodal continental mass or an end-period extinction. But the whole idea of creating a continent at the antipode of a large impact is more speculative and will be dealt with starting in Chapter 2.1. The three impacts not shown on the chart are:


1. Kara 60-120 km diameter 70.3 MYA

2. Popigai 90-100 km diameter 35.7 MYA

3. Chesapeake Bay 40-85 km diameter 35.5 MYA


And now we have a news flash from 6/11/2014 with information that researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles have found that newly dated rocks from the Popigai crater show that the impact occurred 33.7 MYA instead of 35.7 MYA. Why is this important? Because it means that the impact date now matches up with a large minor extinction at the end of the Eocene Epoch. Now, a minor extinction is not the same as a major extinction and the end of a geological epoch is not the same as the end of a geological period ... but it's close. Therefore, the Popigai impact almost makes the list.

End-Period
Extinction
Period End Date Crater Name Size in km Impact Date Antipodal Volcanism Volcanism Date Continent Created?
Permian 252 MYA Antarctica? 480 200-300 MYA Siberian Traps 252 MYA Siberian
Minor Extinction 212 MYA Manicouagan 85-100 212 MYA Western Antarctica Late Triassic* Western Antarctica
Triassic 201 MYA Bedout? 200 200-300 MYA CAMP 201 MYA Eastern North America
Jurassic 145 MYA Morokwang 70 145 MYA Cuba & Antilles 145 MYA Cuba & Antilles
Valenginian/Weissert Oceanic Anoxic Event 132 MYA Marianas Trench huge 132 MYA Parana & Etandeka Traps 132 MYA South America
Cretaceous 66 MYA Chicxulub 180 66 MYA Deccan Traps 66 MYA India

*note: Although the mudstone deposited on Western Antarctica only dates back to as far as 206 MYA, it would have taken some time for the mudstone to accumulate. Therefore, the underlying rock is likely to match the 212 MYA date.




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