2. Confirmation of a Key Early Prediction of the Superwave Theory

     Before beginning this critique of the supernova/comet theory of the mass extinction, I would like to briefly discuss the Galactic superwave theory and its explanation of the mass extinction, a theory that was first advanced in 1983 and which since that time has had at least 14 of its predictions subsequently confirmed by observation; for a summary of these please see starburstfound.org/LaViolette/Predict.html.  Here we focus specifically on the theory's prediction that high concentrations of extraterrestrial material would be found in geologic strata spanning the megafaunal extinction and its subsequent overwhelming confirmation by the findings of the YDB Group, for which I am particularly thankful.
     My 1983 Ph.D. dissertation and subsequent publications had proposed that the megafaunal extinction and abrupt climatic change at the end of the ice age were both precipitated by the arrival of what I term a "Galactic superwave," an intense Galactic cosmic ray electron volley arriving from our Galaxy's core which propelled large amounts of cosmic dust and cometary debris into the solar system and triggered a period of elevated solar flare activity (LaViolette, 1983a, 1983b, 1983c).   In the first chapter I made the following predictions:

a) About 11,000­14,000 years ago the Earth should have been exposed to elevated levels of cosmic ray radiation,
There should have been an increased rate of deposition of cosmic dust around 11,000­14,000 years BP, and
There should have been a greater chance of extinction of animal life at this time.
   (See posting at http://starburstfound.org/downloads/superwave/Ch-1.pdf)

Also in chapter 10 of my dissertation where I discussed the terminal Pleistocene megafaunal extinction and its superwave related cause, I had specifically predicted that this extinction event would coincide with increased concentrations of cosmic dust evidenced by indicators such as iridium and nickel. I stated:

"Future determinations of C-14, Be-10, and cosmic dust concentrations in ice cores spanning this period should confirm this hypothesis."
(See posting at starburstfound.org/downloads/superwave/Ch-10.pdf)

     All three of these predictions have since been verified.  Subsequent studies by various researchers verified that there was a C-14 anomaly at the AL/YD boundary; for example, see figure 1 from Hughen, et al.(2000).  Also polar ice core data that was subsequently published indicates that Be-10 concentration was elevated during the Allerod and Bolling periods when the extinction was taking place.  Beryllium-10 deposition rate, charted in figure 2 and figure 3 below (LaViolette, 1997, 2005c) is a good indicator of the cosmic ray intensity that was falling on the Earth.  The third indicator mentioned above, that high cosmic dust concentrations would exist in association with this extinction event, has now also been found.  This was announced by the YDB group in May 2007 although they overlooked mentioning that their findings strongly confirm a key prediction of the superwave theory.

(click to enlarge)

Figure 1. Upper profile: radiocarbon abundance excess relative to trend line as seen in a Carioca Basin sediment core.  Lower profile: Corresponding gray scale climatic profile for the Carioca Basin. Higher values indicate warmer temperatures (after Hughen, et al. 2000).

     In addition, I also made an apriori prediction about Earth being exposed to elevated concentrations of cosmic dust in 1990 in a paper published in the journal Anthropos.  The paper focused specifically on the subject of superwave induced extinction events and included a discussion of the terminal Pleistocene megafaunal extinction event as well as earlier ice age extinction events.  It proposed a cosmic origin for the extinctions and attributed the lethality to a combination of factors: increased UV radiation, cosmic ray radiation from the impact of an intense solar coronal mass ejection (i.e., solar proton event), climatic change (i.e., unusual climatic warmth), and intense glacial meltwater flooding (LaViolette, 1990, p. 241).  The paper then mentioned the 1983 polar ice core analysis study in which I had detected high concentrations of the cosmic dust markers Ir and Ni at several depths in the Camp Century, Greenland ice (having calendar ages of 38.7, 45, 49.5, 50, 50.5, 58.7, and 78.5 thousand years b2k ).* Following this it stated the need to look for ET markers in strata associated with the megafaunal extinction:

"At present (circa 1990) no data is available on solar system cosmic dust concentrations prevailing during the terminal Pleistocene extinction episode.  A study to obtain such data is urgently needed to help determine the connection between this extinction and the coincident cosmic ray event." (P. LaViolette, 1990)

     Now, 17 years after that date, the iridium, nickel, and cosmic spherule findings announced by the YDB group validate the superwave theory's apriori prediction.  Although a portion of the dust at the AL/YD boundary is likely to have been deposited from cometary body explosions or impacts occurring at that time, a large proportion of this dust is also likely to have entered the Earth's atmosphere as micron and submicron sized dust particles which I proposed were present in space in high concentrations.

* These values give the corrected sample ages.  Sample ages given in the Anthropos paper and in my 1983 dissertation are overly young compared to the dates ascribed to them by more recent ice core chronologies.  Greenland and Antarctic ice cores became more accurately dated later as more accurate dating techniques were applied to ice cores that were subsequently drilled.


[Next Page]

[Back to the Beginning]