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
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
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 Im 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
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.
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 Earths 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
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
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.
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."
So, what was going on here? After
reviewing the data, I could ascertain that there were really two separate
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
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
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, Im 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
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
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
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:
|| 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
hasnt 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, natures eraser, would remove some of the antipodal
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
KARA IMPACT 70.3 MYA ODDS LESS THAN 1 IN
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 Earths 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
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
The Popigai impact occurred in western Siberia 35.7
MYA. It was just a little larger than the Chesapeake Bay impact.
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
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
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.
lets 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
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. Thats 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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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,
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
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.
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
2. Popigai 90-100 km diameter 35.7 MYA
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.
|| Size in
|| Siberian Traps
|| 252 MYA
|| 212 MYA
|| Western Antarctica
|| Late Triassic*
|| Western Antarctica
|| 201 MYA
|| 200-300 MYA
|| 201 MYA
|| Eastern North
|| 145 MYA
|| 145 MYA
|| Cuba &
|| 145 MYA
|| Cuba &
|| 132 MYA
|| 132 MYA
|| Parana & Etandeka
|| 132 MYA
|| South America
|| 66 MYA
|| 66 MYA
|| Deccan Traps
|| 66 MYA
*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.