THE NEW DEBATE OVER THE KT BOUNDARY LAYER EVENTJuly 24, 2012
Here's one that I think you'll enjoy, and which I find almost endlessly fascinating. But first, a little background. In my book The Cosmic War I outlined the Exploded Planet Hypothesis of the late astronomer Dr. Tom Van Flandern, who published a fascinating book on the subject (dark Matter, Missing Planets, and New Comets). Briefly, Dr. Van Flandern revived the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century theories within astronomy that the asteroid belt are the remains of a planet that exploded some 65,000,000 years ago. That event sent one bit of that planet's debris, according to this version of Van Flandern's theory, into a collision course with the Earth. And that collision was what geologists then ascribed to the KT boundary layer and the extinction of the dinosaurs, again, some 65,000,000 years ago. (Of course, we're simplifying a great deal here folks).
Now, for Dr. Van Flandern, this was significant, for in running mathematical computations of the orbits of comets backwards in time, he discovered that they statistically pointed to a point of origination in the asteroid belt, at either 3.2 million years ago, and 65 million years ago. The choice, for Van Flandern, was clear: astronomy, and geology, were pointing to an event - a catastrophic event in our solar system - some 65 million years ago.
This is where the story took, for me, another interesting turn, for Dr. Van Flandern then considered a number of models of why planets might just suddenly and spontaneously explode, and he considered two: an explosion through some sort of natural fission reactor that went critical, not, as he himself admitted, a very happy model. The other was an explosion due to a total annihilation reaction of matter coming into contact with anti-matter. This led Van Flandern to speculate that perhaps somehow - somehow - a quantity of anti-matter had built up inside the planet through some unknown mechanism of containment, until the containment failed, and....well...the rest is speculative history. The problem here, of course, is the implicit assumption contained in such a speculation, namely, that there even can exist such quantities of anti-matter in the first place, and secondly, that it can be contained... again, the model was not very satisfactory, and as I pointed out in The Cosmic War, one senses in reading Van Flandern's book that he was not terribly happy with it either. Which led him to propose a final model, one completely different:
The planet had blown up through deliberate and intelligent action... Van Flandern suggested some sort of horrible experiment gone tragically wrong... but it is also clear that it could also have been deliberate altogether, i.e., an unimagineable act of destruction...in a war.
That, of course, was where I picked up in The Cosmic War, noting various texts that seemed to imply just such a thing, on just such a planetary scale, though, in that book, in spite of the geological evidence for the KT boundary 65 million year event, I opted for a much more recent event of 3.2 million years ago, based on textual considerations of ancient texts.
Well, here's an article that may send everyone back to the chronological speculation drawing boards:
Now, this would seem to de-couple the exploding planet hypothesis from the KT boundary layer event, as Van Flandern argued it, since he had, as I outlined in the Cosmic War, originally himself preferred the 3.2 million years ago date for the explosion of "Krypton", but changed his mind to the 65 million year ago event precisely for the reason that it juxtaposed with the KT boundary layer and the assumption that the asteroid impact occurred at the same time, causing it.
Now, you might think this is good news for my dating preference for the exploded planet, but it may not be, since if one maintains the view that the Chicxulub event is to be coupled with the exploding planet hypothesis, then this would push the date even further back, yet, it would seem, without the tidy correspondence to Van Flandern's comet orbit calculations.
Bottom line: we may all have to do some re-thinking folks!
See you on the flip side.