CCNet, 25/2000 - 28 February 2000


     "As John Lewis points out in his book, the hazard from small Near
     Earth Objects (NEOs) has been underestimated in the past because
     'average' properties were used in the estimates. His program
     simulates a mix of asteroid/comet types, speeds and entry angles.
     The strong iron asteroids are more likely to do damage than the
     'average' stony asteroid. Also an object with a shallow entry
     angle is more likely to slow down without breaking up, and
     therefore reach a lower altitude where it is more destructive.”
         -- Michael Paine

    Syuzo Isobe <>

    Ron Balke <>

    Michael Paine <>

    Roberto Gorelli <>

    Andrew Yee <>

    Andrew Yee <>

    Bas van Geel <>

    Robert Clements <>

    juan zapata-arauco <>

     juan zapata-arauco <>

     Simon Mansfield <>

     Clark Whelton <>


From Syuzo Isobe <>

Dear Dr. Peiser:

The following information may be of interest for CCNet readers:

On January 26, 2000, a new NEO/ Debris 0.5m telescope was set-up at the
Bisei Spaceguard Center in Okayama Prefecture of Japan. It is still
under a phase of improvement of image quality, but we have started to
observe NEOs and Space Debris. Some pictures during its set-up can
be seen in my primitive homepage
Another 1m telescope is scheduled to be set-up in August or September.

                            Yours sincererly,
                            Syuzo Isobe.

Syuzo Isobe
National Astronomical Observatory
2-21-1, Osawa, Mitaka, Tokyo 181, Japan
Tel: 81-422-34-3645, Fax: 81-422-34-3641


From Ron Balke <>

Debris from flash-bang meteorite found on lake near Yukon highway

Daily News reporter

Debris from a fireball that exploded over Carcross, Yukon Territory, last
month has been found on a snow-covered lake along the Klondike Highway. A
meteorite fragment weighing about 6 ounces was sent to the Johnson Space
Center near Houston for analysis.

The fragment, believed to be at least 4.5 billion years old, was found by an
area resident who requested anonymity and no media coverage, according to
Canadian officials. The Canadian and U.S. governments, for now, are honoring
the request, so few details are available.

Full story here:


From Michael Paine <>

14 February 2000

Dear Benny,

I have run a 100,000 year simulation looking at the worst event in each
decade. This interval should give a good idea of the threat from
airbursts like Tunguska. Please feel free to use any of it for your

I was a little shocked to see a 5km asteroid impact - a matter of bad
luck for humanity! I removed this impact from the statistics in order to
get a fairer idea of a *typical* 10,000 years but I think it is worth
acknowledging that it turned up in the simulation. John Lewis's point
that *small* airbursts are a concern is borne out by the simulation
results. Also the lack of hard physical evidence of fatal impacts is a
point to make.

I am hoping to get a copy of the Australian tsunami paper by Nott and
Bryant because this could reveal an alternative to land craters for
detecting past impacts (still only 12 tsunami-producing impacts in
10,000 years though). Another issue is that over the past 100,000 years
the ice sheets from the last ice age would have prevented some land
craters from forming (not an major issue in the last 10,000 years -
Anarctica makes up about 10% of current land surface).

For clarification, I have added the following paragraph to the web page
setting out the results of the 100,000 year simulation
( )

'As John Lewis points out in his book, the hazard from small Near Earth
Objects (NEOs) has been underestimated in the past because 'average'
properties were used in the estimates. His program simulates a mix of
asteroid/comet types, speeds and entry angles. The strong iron
asteroids are more likely to do damage than the 'average' stony
asteroid. Also an object with a shallow entry angle is more likely to
slow down without breaking up, and therefore reach a lower altitude
where it is more destructive.'

Simulation of 100,000 years of impacts, accounting for the worst event
in each decade.

These notes set out the key results of a simulation using Hazards
software by John Lewis from the University of Arizona (Lewis 1999). The
simulation was run over 100,000 years and accounted for the worst impact
in each of 10,000 decades. A constant world population of 5 billion was

The Hazards computer program includes simulation of the hazard to
coastal regions from tsunami generated by ocean impacts. For this
simulation the tsunami run-up factor (the amplification of the wave as
it runs into shallow water) was reduced from 30 to 5 (Paine 1999).

The largest impact recorded over the 100,000 year run was a stony
asteroid 5 kilometres in diameter travelling at 29 kilometres per
second. The 23 million megaton explosion produced a crater 60 kilometres
across and the resulting climate catastrophe was sufficient to wipe out
the human population. Fortunately there is only an estimated 1 in 500
chance of such an event occurring during  100,000 years of simulation.
This event was ignored for the current analysis, which was intended to
give an idea of "typical" impacts over a 10,000 year period.

Size of asteroid/comet

Asteroid/ comet diameter
(m) No. of events No. of fatal events % Fatal Average yield of fatal
(Mt TNT) Average fatalities per fatal event Annual risk of fatal event

13-99 9792 949 10% 18 43 000 1 in 100
100-199 173 124 72% 300 280 000 1 in 800
200-499 31 29 94% 2000 700 000 1 in 3500
500-999 3 3 100% 35000 13 million 1 in 30 000
All 9999* 1105 11% 170 120 000 1 in 90
* Ignoring the 23 million Mt event

Type of impactor

15% of the fatal events were due to long period comets, 6% were due to
short period comets and the remainder were due to asteroids.

Type of impact

Type of impact No. of events No. of fatal events (%) Average fatalities
per fatal event
Airburst over land 2950 834 (28%) 80 000
Land impact with crater 40 38 (95%) 400 000
Airburst over ocean 6760 120 (2%) 32
Ocean impact with tsunami119 114 (96%) 470 000
Excludes events where the object skipped out of the Earth's atmosphere.


Over the 100,000 year simulation only 40 land craters were produced. 38
of these resulted in fatalities. In other words out of a total of 1105
fatal events only 3% resulted in a land crater. Furthermore, many of
these craters would be eroded or buried over a few thousand years. .
Land craters are therefore a very poor indicator of the hazard due to
comets and asteroids

Crater Diameter (km) No. of craters
Less than 1 km 9
1 to 1.9km 14
2 to 4.9km 15
5km or more 2

What can be expected in a typical 10,000 years?

Based in this simulation, a typical 10,000 years with a constant human
population of 5 billion can be expected to produce:
*110 fatal impacts resulting in a total of 13 million fatalities (an
average of 120,000 fatalities per event).
*300 "Tunguska" style airbursts over land, with 80 of these producing
fatalities (roughly 1 fatal event per century).
*12 ocean impacts that produce tsunami, with an average of 500,000
fatalities per event.
*Just 4 land impacts, with an average of 500,000 fatalities per event.

If there were no reliable human records of the 110 fatal events then the
only strong physical evidence for the cause of 13 million fatalities
would be 4 impact craters, if they had not been eroded or buried.


Lewis J.S. (1999). Comet and Asteroid Impact Hazards on a Populated
Earth. Academic Press, San Diego.

Paine M. (1999) 'Asteroid Impacts: the Extra Hazard Due to Tsunami', The
Science of Tsunami Hazards 17-3, 155-166. The Tsunami Society, Hawaii.

Prepared by Michael Paine, 14 Feb 2000.


From Roberto Gorelli <>

I read the CCNet of 24 and 25 February 2000. I enclose a paper that may
be interesting for you. A new version is in working for Meteorite!

Roberto Gorelli



Published in W.G.N., Journal of the International Meteor Organization
(I.M.O.), 25-1, February 1997, pp. 57-58

By Roberto Gorelli

ABSTRACT: The Author has attempted to determine the real frequency of
the meteoritical events of the megatonic class through the
bi-bliographic research of the similar events occured in the last two
centuries. The issues of this research are unexpected: a) the frequency
of megatonic class events it is one each ten years; b) the discovery of
some events till now unknown. It is also presented the first list of
certains, probables and possibles events of megatonic class.

Untill to some years ago the astronomers valued that events as the
Tunguska can occur once each century (Di Martino, 1993): the occurrence
of some events of this type in the present century and the discovery
that the number of objects that are responsibles of this events is more
high that it was expected (Gehrels, 1994) impose to the science to
verify what is the real frequency of this events, because if up to now
they haven't provoked deads, they are potentially in degree to cause
catastrophes bigger than the biggest natural catastrophe till now
happened, the earthquake of july 28th 1976, of Tangshan that seem
to have caused the death of about one million of persons.

A method to determine what is the real frequency of this impacts can 
proceed by the identification of similar events happened in the past:
that research was restricted to the two last centuries because
this period has the greater number of scientific and historical records
and because only from the beginning of the nineteenth century
scientists have agreed the fall of meteorites and have registered
systematically the meteoritical phenomena: the following work can
extend the research at preceding centuries or downrightly at past
millennia, naturally the more we go in the past more phenomena shall be
lost or shall be hard to recognize especially in the mythes and
legendary, facts with a doubtful reality.

The research found 6 possibles or certain events of the Tunguska type,
more than 1 event happened on marine surface: this events are
enumerated on the appendix A, some of these events are still to be
verify. The two principal standards utilized to select the events are
the release of big quantity of dust for to reject falls of big
meteorites and/or to have damaged or overturned the terrestrial or
marine surface with an energy of the range of megatonic class.

If the reality and the energy of all these events shall be confirmed
and if it is conjectured that their number is in the averange for a
period of two centuries, the real frequency of the impacts of the
megatonic class can be determined on the entire surface of the Earth
and in particular on the emerged lands. A simple calculation taking
into account that the surface of the Earth is constituted by 70 per
cent of seas and oceans and that 6 events happened on emerged lands in
the last two centuries, authorize to value that a megatonic event occur
on an average every 10 years on all Earth's surface and every 30-35
years on emerged lands. This values are almost certainly underestimated
because a certain number of events were not witnesses or not reported,
or on documents that are yet undiscovered, or that their real contents
is still not understood. It must be also remarked that only one of the
fourteen events expected for the marine surface was recorded. This fact
can to be explained with the particular characteristics of marine
surroundings for whom all traces of dust disappear immediately sinking
and all tracks of the shock wave disappear provoking a tsunami that in
absence of witnesses it shall be retained of seismic origin.
After this focus, the research was extended more in the past, but
attaching at this further research a valour only demonstrative
of the possibility to obtain evidence from more remote times, because
only an infinitesimal side of all the historical reports of all peoples
of the World were examined: the result was the discovery of 3 other
possible events that occured in the last millennium, the three events
are reported in the appendix B.

The author suggests that the Tunguska-type of phenomena should be
called events of megatonic class, introducing a denomination in
order to class of energy (megatonic class, kilotonic class, etc.) for
the big meteoritical events, in a more rational and scientific way.

The author invites readers to study and to verify the events
presented here and to look for others. This research can be done, for
example, by searching reports in local newspapers, scientific reviews
or reading the collection of the year of each event and the
followings for to find further informations, or seeking for scientific
evidences as sections of trees, meteoritical dusts in lacustrial
sediments, magnetic or barometric records, seismograms, etc.



1) april 5, 1800
   North America
   fall of a big meteorite with an earthquake and overthrow of forest
   that appeared as upseted
   energy release: ?
   source proceeding  from: E. Howard in Transactions philosophiq. ann.
   1802, n. 23, chapter 338 (Izarn, 1803)

2) november 9 or 19, 1819
   Canada and North of U.S.A.
   black rain jointed with bolids, shakes of earthquake and obscuration
   of the sky
   energy release: ?
   sources proceeding from: a) Zurcher, Meteors, pag 238; b) Edinburgh
   philosophical journal 2-381; c) F.G. Plummer on U.S. Forest Service
   bulletin n. 117 (Fort, 1973)

3) february 24, 1885
   37° North - 170° East, Pacific Ocean
   red inflamed sky, blinding mass fell on the ocean and lifting a big
   mass of water
   energy release: ?
   source proceeding from a report of brigantine Innerwich trasmitted at
   the Hydrographic Office in Washington by the San Francisco filial and
   published on Science, 5-242 (Fort, 1973)

4)may 3, 1892
   Sweden, Norway, Denmark and neighbouring territories
   fall of 500 tn of dust
   energy release: ?

5)june 30, 1908
   Tunguska, Siberia, Russia
   energy release: 12,5 megatons
   (Tempesti, 1978)

6) August 13, 1930
   Rio Curuça, Amazonia, Brazil
   energy release: 0,1 - 1 megatons
   (Gorelli, 1992)

7) December 11, 1935
   2° 10' North - 59° 10' West
   Marudi Mountain, British Guyana
   energy release: higher to 10 megatons ?
   source proceeding from: The Sky, september 1939, from a report of S.
   A. Korff of Bartol Research Foundation, Franklin Institute (Delaware,
   U.S.A.). Adjointed sources: W.H. Holden and D. Holdridge (Steel, 1995)



1) ? ? XII century A.C.
   South side of Southern Island of New Zealand
   energy release: ?
   source proceeding from: P. Snow  (Tapanui, New Zealand) (Bailey, 1995)

2) september 2, 1311
   gleam enduring many hours, trees burned, church burned
   energy release: ?
   source proceeding from: Abr. Bzou. eccl. an. 1311, n. 23 (Girardi,

3) ? ? 1338
   Aquileia, Northern Italy
   lands burned by fire fell from the sky
   energy release: ?
   (Muratori, 1729)


Bailey M.E., Ecological consequences of the collision of the Earth with
small bodies of the Solar Sistem. summary of a conference for Tunguska
95, pag 3.

Di Martino M., C'è un killer nello spazio (in Italian). La Stampa,
february 17th, 1993.

Fort C., Il libro dei dannati (in Italian). pp. 29, 220, 258-259, Armenia,
Milan, 1973.

Gehrels T., La vendetta del Kitt Peak (in Italian). L'Astronomia,
august-september, pag 17, 1994.

Girardi F., Diario delle cose più illustri seguite nel Mondo divise in
quattro parti (in Italian). II volume, III side, pag 230, point 17,
Mollo, Naples, 1653.

Gorelli R., About the Brazilian "Tunguska event", W.G.N. 20:6, 223,

Izarn J., Des pierres tombées du ciel: lithologie atmospherique (in French).
III side, p. 414, Delalain, Paris, 1803.

Muratori L., Chronicon Mutinense ab anno MII. usque ad annum MCCCLXIII.
auctore Johanne de Bazano (in Latin). column 598 of XV volume of Rerum
Italicarum Scriptores, Palatina Society typography, Milan, 1729.

Steel D., Two "Tunguskas" in South America in the 1930's? W.G.N. 23-6,
207-209, 1995.

Tempesti P., Le meteoriti (in Italian), Coelum, n. 9-10, pp 200, 1978.


From Andrew Yee <>

Steve Roy
Media Relations Department
Marshall Space Flight Center
Huntsville, AL
(256) 544-0034

For Release: Feb. 23, 2000

RELEASE: 00-041

'Planet in a Test Tube' Provides Valuable Data on Atmospheres of Planets
and Stars

NASA's "planet in a test tube" experiment has shown that microgravity --
the weightless environment inside an orbiting spacecraft -- helps
scientists create more accurate models of planetary atmospheres and
oceans. Scientists recently published results from this Space Shuttle
experiment in a NASA technical document.

Because scientists can't yet travel to other planets, they build models
like the "planet in a test tube" to simulate conditions on a planet. These
sophisticated models help scientists study fluid movements in Earth's
atmosphere and oceans and on other more distant worlds.

NASA's "planet in a test tube" -- the Geophysical Fluid Flow Cell -- was
designed by Dr. John Hart, lead investigator for the experiment and a fluid
physicist at the University of Colorado in Boulder. The experiment was
flown on two Space Shuttle missions -- in 1985 and 1995. During the
second mission, the experiment was operated in space by Dr. Fred Leslie,
a co-investigator on the experiment and a fluid physicist at NASA's
Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

"On the ground, it is impossible to create accurate models because Earth's
gravity produces unrealistic fluid behavior on the spherical model," said
Leslie. "In microgravity, you eliminate Earth's gravity, and can do
experiments with artificial gravity to verify mathematical and computer
models of fluid flows in planetary atmospheres."

Inside the Geophysical Fluid Flow Cell, scientists created models of
Earth's climate and interior, the Sun's atmosphere and the atmospheres
of other planets. Detailed results of the Geophysical Fluid Flow Cell
experiments are published in NASA Technical Memorandum,
NASA-TP-1999-209-576, which is available on the Marshall Technical
Reports Web site at:

How do you simulate something as big as a planet? The heart of the
Geophysical Fluid Flow Cell is a nickel-coated, stainless steel ball about
the size of a Christmas ornament. The ball is placed under a synthetic
sapphire dome, and silicone oil placed between the two simulates the
atmosphere of Jupiter, the Sun or Earth's molten mantle, depending
on the experiment conditions selected by scientists. A temperature-
controlled turntable spins the dome -- simulating planet rotation -- and
an electric charge between the dome and the sphere serves as artificial

During the Geophysical Fluid Flow Cell's first flight, more than 100
experiments were conducted using the cell to simulate different
conditions, and 50,000 images were recorded on 16-mm film.

"We were successful and made several observations of new convection
patterns," said Hart. "Some of these are pertinent to our search for
explanations of the key features, like zonal winds and jets, of Jupiter's
atmospheric structure."

On the first flight, investigators didn't get to see what was happening
inside their model until the Space Shuttle brought the film back to Earth.
For the second flight, investigators added equipment so they could
observe the model and change the parameters to create certain effects.
Leslie was a payload specialist on the flight and operated the experiment
in space.

"It was great to personally do the experiment," said Leslie. "The first
flight was a little like running an experiment in the lab with the lights
off. We had no indication how the fluid was responding to the inputs.
During the second flight, both I and the scientists on the ground could
see how the model changed as we changed parameters like rotation
rate or temperature. Then, I could tweak the parameters to make the
simulation more realistic."

During the second mission, 29 separate six-hour runs were completed
with the Geophysical Fluid Flow Cell. "The influence of weightlessness
on experiments was amazing to watch," said Leslie.

Dr. Tim Miller, another co-investigator on the experiment and an
atmospheric scientist at NASA's Global Hydrology and Climate Center
in Huntsville, developed and used computer models to predict the flows
seen in the Geophysical Fluid Flow Cell experiments. He hopes that
lessons learned in the study of the fluid flow cell dynamics can be
applied toward a better understanding of such topics as the movement
of Earth's continents and atmospheric dynamics on Earth and other

His model successfully predicted that final flow patterns for some of
the very slowly rotating cases could depend on how the experiment
is started. This may be an important point in the discussion of the
movement of continents in response to the steady pull of the viscous
mantle beneath the continental plates. "There's a lot more science that
can be obtained with the data and the models," Miller said.

The Geophysical Fluid Flow Cell experiment is managed by Marshall's
Microgravity Research Program Office.

Note to Editors / News Directors: Interviews with Dr. Fred Leslie and
Dr. Tim Miller and photos and video supporting this release are available
to media representatives by contacting Steve Roy of the Marshall Media
Relations Department at (256) 544-0034. For an electronic version of
this release, digital images or more information, visit Marshall's News
Center on the Web at:


[NOTE: Images supporting this release are available at]


From Andrew Yee <>


25 February 2000, 5 pm PST

Going Deep for an Unearthly Microbe
By Elizabeth Pennisi

Washington, D.C. -- Even though the late Carl Sagan had his eyes on deep space,
his soon-to-be namesake comes from a different deep place: beneath the sea
floor. Microbiologist John Baross and his team at the University of Washington,
Seattle, have recovered a cunning new microbe from the scalding fluid ejected
during a submarine eruption. The bug, which Baross hopes to name Saganella,
appears to be as multitalented as the famous astronomer, author, and TV star.

Typical microbes live within a relatively narrow temperature range. Not the
versatile Saganella, which thrives in extreme heat (50 to 90 C) and can survive
relatively frigid room temperature as well, Baross reported on 19 February at
the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science,
which publishes ScienceNOW. "The fact that proteins can operate across that
range of temperatures is amazing," says Peter Fields of Stanford University in
Palo Alto, California, who studies protein function in Antarctic fish. He
believes that Saganella or another one of the rare subsurface organisms Baross
has found "might be a record breaker."

The hunt for these "extremophiles" -- microbes that live in extreme environments
without the light, oxygen, or other ingredients supposedly essential for life --
is difficult. For the past several years, Baross and his team have chased down
new sea-floor eruptions, trying to reach the cauldrons in time to collect
samples from the spewing fluids. Saganella, recovered from a site off the
Pacific Northwest coast, was identified when graduate student Melanie Summit
grew organisms from this sample under various temperature regimes in the lab.
Genetic analyses indicate that Saganella is not a bacterium but an unusual
member of an ancient microbial group called the archaea. It has a metabolism
unlike any Baross has seen before; he is not sure what its energy source is in
the wild.

Saganella's existence has heartened those pursuing Sagan's goal of finding life
in outer space. The microbe is "absolutely remarkable" and is a potential model
for extraterrestrial life, says Kenneth Nealson, an astrobiologist at NASA's Jet
Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "If an organism can do this on
Earth," he adds, "there's no telling what it could be doing some place else."

© 2000 The American Association for the Advancement of Science

[Extracted from INSCiGHT, Academic Press.]


From Bas van Geel <>

Dear Benny,

I forward this message because you might be interested?

Best wishes,

from: Fran Clarke <clarkef@GEOLSOC.ORG.UK>
Subject: The Archaeology of Geological Catastrophes - Special Offer

Dear All,

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If you would like to receive a Special Offer flyer for the above book
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Tel: +44 (0)1225 445046, Fax: +44 (0) 1225 442836

The Archaeology of Geological Catastrophes.
Edited by: W. J. McGuire (University College London, UK), D. R. Griffiths
(University College London, UK), P. L. Hancock (University of Bristol, UK)
and I. Stewart (Brunel University, UK)

Geological Society Special Publication no. 171
April 2000. ISBN: 1-86239-062-2. 440 Pages. Hardback
List price: £79.00 / US$132.00
Offer price: £35.00 / US$58.00

Archaeology is playing an increasingly important role by unravelling the
details of geological catastrophes during the past few millennia. The
collection of papers that make up this volume address established and
innovative archaeological methods and techniques, and their application to
examining the impacts of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

There are case studies from around the world including Europe,
Africa, South East Asia, Central and North America. There is also a
strong focus on the Minoan eruption of Santorini and the AD eruption
of Vesuvius.

Readership: Academic researchers and educators in Archaeology,
Palaeoseismology and Volcanology. Postgraduates in the aforementioned

Hancock, P. L., Chalmers, R. M. L., Altunel, E., «akir, Z. &
Becher-Hancock, A. Creation and destruction of travertine monumental
stone by earthquake faulting at Hierapolis, Turkey 
Griffiths, D. Uses of volcanic products in antiquity 
Jones, R. E & Stiros, S. C. The Advent of Archaeoseismology in
the Mediterranean   
Buck, V. & Stewart, I. A critical reappraisal of classical and
archaeological evidence for Archaic-Classical earthquakes in the
Atalantic region, Central Mainland Greece  
Guidoboni, E., Muggia, A. & Valensise, G. Aims and methods in
Territorial Archaeology: possible clues to a strong IV century ad
earthquake in the Straits of Messina (Southern Italy)     
Friedrich, W. L., Seidenkrantz, M.-S. & Nielsen, O. B. Santorini
(Greece) before the Minoan Eruption: a reconstruction of the
ring-island, natural resources and clay deposits from the Akrotiri
Driessen, J. & Macdonald, C. F. The eruption of the
Santorini Volcano and its effect on Minoan Crete
Bicknell, P. Late Minoan I B marine ware, the marineenvironment
of the Aegean, and the Bronze Age eruption of the Thera Volcano      
Russell, J. K. & Stasiuk, M. V. Ground-Penetrating Radar mapping of
Minoan volcanic deposits and the Late Bronze Age paleotopography,
Thera, Greece 
Cioni, R., Gurioli, L., Sbrana, A. & Vougioukalakis, G.          
Precursory phenomena and destructive events related to the Late
Bronze Age Minoan (Thera, Greece) and 79ad (Vesuvius, Italy) Plinian
eruptions. Inferences from the stratigraphy in the archaeological
Pareschi, M. T., Stefani, G., Varone, A., Cavarra, L., Giannini, F. &
Meriggi, A. A GIS for the archaeological area of Pompeii  
Cioni, R., Levi, S. & Sulpizio, R.  Apulian Bronze Age pottery as a
long distance indicator of the Avellino Pumice Eruption (Vesuvius,
Chester, D. K., Duncan, A. M., Guest, J. E., Johnston, P. A. & 
Smolenaars, J. J. L. Human response to Etna Volcano during the 
classical period
Kirk, W. L., Siddall, R. & Stead, S. The Johnston-Lavis
Collection: a unique record of Italian volcanism
Plunket, P. & UruÒuela, G. The Archaeology of a Plinian
Eruption of the PopocatÈpetl Volcano
Gonzalez, S., Pastrana, A., Siebe, C. & Duller, G. Timing of the
prehistoric eruption of Xitle Volcano and the abandonment of
Cuicuilco Pyramid, Southern Valley of Mexico    
Torrence, R., Pavlides, C., Jackson, P. & Webb, J. Volcanic disasters
and cultural discontinuities in Holocene Time in West New Britain,
Papua New Guinea  
Riehle, J. R., Dumond, D. E., Meyer, C. E. & Schaaf, J. M.
Tephrochronology of the Brooks River Archaeological District, Katmai
National park and Preserve, Alaska: What can and cannot be done with
Tephra deposits     
Dodgshon, R. A., Gilbertson, D. D. & Grattan, J. P. Endemic stress,
farming communities and the influence of Icelandic volcanic eruptions
in the Scottish Highlands  
Day, S. J., Carracedo, J. C., Guillou, H., Pais Pais, F. J., Badiola,
R. E., Fonseca, J. F. B. D., Heleno, S. I. N. Comparison and
cross-checking of historic, archaeological and geological evidence
for the location and type of historical and sub-historical eruptions
of multiple-vent oceanic island volcanoes 
Grattan, J. P., Gilbertson, D. D. & Dill, A. 'A fire spitting
volcano in our dear Germany': documentary evidence for a
low-intensity volcanic eruption of the Gleichberg in 1783?
James, P., Chester, D. & Duncan, A. Volcanic soils: their nature
and significance for archaeology   
Siddall, R.  The use of volcanicalstic material in Roman hydraulic
concretes: a brief review 
Hunt, P. Olmec stone sculpture: selection criteria for
Hughes, R. & Collings, A. Seismic and volcano hazards affecting
the vulnerability of the Sana'a area of Yemen
Waelkens, M., Sintubin, M., Muchez, P. & Paulissen, E.
Archaeological, geomorphological and geological evidence for a major
earthquake at Sagalassos (SW Turkey) around the middle of the seventh
century ad   
Stiros, S. C. Fault pattern of Nisyros Island volcano (Aegean
Sea, Greece): structural, coastal and archaeological evidence 
de Boer, J. Z. & Hale, J. R.The geological origins of the
Oracle at Delphi, Greece   

Principal authors
P. L. Hancock, University of Bristol, UK
D. Giffiths, University College London, UK
R. E. Jones, University of Glasgow, UK
V. Buck, Brunel University Uxbridge, UK
E. Guidonoboni, Storia Geofisica Ambiente,Italy
W. L. Friedrich, University of Aarhus, Denmark
J. Drissen, University of Leuven, Belgium
P. Bicknell, Monash University, Australia
J. K. Russell, University of British Colombia, Canada
R. Cioni, University of Pisa, Italy
M. T. Pareschi, Centro di Studio per la Geologica Dinamica e
dell' Appennino, Italy
D. K. Chester, University of Liverpool, UK
W. L. Kirk, University College London, UK
P. Plunket, Universidad de las Americas-Puebla, Mexico
S. Gonzalez, Liverpool John Moores University, UK
R. Torrence, The Australian Museum, Australia
J. R. Riehle, US Geological Survey, USA
R. A. Dodgshon, University of Wales Aberystwyth, Wales
S. J. Day, University College London, UK
J. P. Grattan, The University of Wales Aberystwyth, Wales
P. James, University of Liverpool, UK
R. Siddall, University College London, UK
P. Hunt, Stanford University, USA
R. Hughes, EEFIT, UK
M. Waelkens, Belgium
S. C. Stiros, University of Patros, Greece
J. Z. De Boer, Wesleyan University, USA

Dr Bas van Geel
Centre for Geo-ecological Research (ICG)
Faculty of Science, Universiteit van Amsterdam
Postal address: P.O. Box 94062, 1090 GB Amsterdam, The Netherlands
(Visiting address: Kruislaan 318, Building I, Room B111)
E-mail:    Phone: +31 20 525 7664    Fax: +31 20 525 7878



From Robert Clements < >

One option which should have been mentioned here (at least if one is
trying to deflect a large icy impactor such as a comet... &
particularly if detected well in advance) would be Dr Robert Wing Lee's
M2P2 (MiniMagnetsophere Plasma Propulsion) driver; which uses charged
hydrogren to create a virtual sail around the body to be moved. Since the
deflection unit required could be as small as a single plasma generator
plus a separate unit for separating hydrogren from water ice (much
smaller than any comparable reaction or conventional sail driver); while
the plasma field will less affected by the motion of the offending object
than any more conventional system (assuming that a sufficient source of
power can be obtained from somewhere: solar if the spinning allows;
nuclear if it doesn't). I'm assured that such a system can actually
tack along an orbital plane rather than just speed up or slow down
(though i lack the visual instincts to really visualise how this
works); but over a long period of time, even simple acceleration or
deceleration of the potential impactor would be enough to avoid a

(The media theorist in me accepts thatb this solution would makes a lousy
movie, though...)

NASA is currently financing a testbed version of this technology; but
whether the numbers will ultimately stack on the idea is another question
entirely. I can dig up information URLs if required; but unfortunately
they're all in my other computer... the great new excuse of the 21st

All the best,

Robert Clements < >

Sailing with Sunlight: Non-nuclear Asteroid Deflection

Asteroid expert Jay Melosh from the University of Arizona has looked at
a range of ideas for deflecting asteroids without resorting to nuclear
weapons. They include:

Deploying a giant parabolic mirror to concentrate the Sun's rays and
vaporize rock on the surface of the asteroid. The vaporized material
flies off at high speed and generates a recoil action that pushes the
asteroid, slowly but surely, in the opposite direction.

Landing cannon-like devices on the surface to fire asteroid material
into space. This also depends on recoil action. An ion drive, as used on
the Deep Space 1 spacecraft, might do the trick.

Attaching a giant solar sail to the asteroid

The solar sail uses the small pressure of sunlight acting over a large
area to steadily move the asteroid.

Melosh points out that the sail needs to be steerable, like the sails of
a modern yacht, to tug the asteroid in the right direction: "An
along-orbit push (at right angles to the Sun) is by far the most
effective in changing a collision into a miss," Melosh says.

There are two other ideas related to the solar sail concept: a giant
silvery balloon(which in theory would be easier to deploy than a sail)
and wrapping the asteroid in foil (or painting it) to increase its
reflectivity. Melosh explains "with such a reflector it is hard to steer
-- it can only apply a force directly away from the Sun, which is the
least helpful direction".

Melosh is cautious about techniques that depend on being attached to the
asteroid. "The asteroid is rotating and perhaps tumbling -- a hard
object to tie anything up to," he says. "It would probably have to be
enclosed by a system of gimbals anchored to the asteroid surface: a
mechanical nightmare begging for a catastrophe."

The solar mirror scheme, preferred by Melosh, has the advantage that it
could avoid the need for physical attachment to the asteroid. During the
1960s NASA did some work on solar mirrors for use in space, but little
has been done since then.


From juan zapata-arauco < >

Dear Benny:

On CCNet-Essay of 2/2/2000 Jon Richfield did a excellent review of the
Panspermia Hypothesis main classical weak points and finally comments
that "certain subjects, such as probability theory, are easy in
principle, but bristle with traps for the unwary. One such subject is
evolution, and its treachery extends thence to permeate the rest of
biology. A neglecter of homework does not make much of a splash in
biology; more of a dull plop"

I would like to hear from interested CCNet readers about the following
comments related to the "contorted reasoning" of Panspermia about
"relieving us of the intellectual burden of the improbability of
getting vanishingly improbable...(complex molecular structures)."

"The world is just not big enough to evolve life if it relied entirely
on chance. But if the earliest strivings towards life were not in the
conventional universe, then these objections do not arise. Any small
primordial pond (in space?, on comets? )could generate life, if it had
access to the quantum multiverse. Life may be the product, not of a
single universe, but a host of parallel universes."

More on the article "The origin of all life" from Johnjoe

"wysiwyg://41/ "

and in "Why is Life so special?" from the same author:

" "

May be we are the neglecters of homework when we do not consider all
the consequences of our fundamental constructs (theories) about our
world and may be (only may be) models of quantum evolution will make
much more of a splash in our understanding of the origin of life
in a cosmic perspective.




From juan zapata-arauco < >

Dear Benny:

In CCNet (2/17/2000) Govert Schilling comments that "our moon lies in a
plane tilted 23 degrees with respect to Earth's equator".

This mishap would be of no consequence except for the general public
non familiar with this type of data.

Obviously our moon orbital inclination respect to the equator is 5.1454

Please check lunar data in for example:

" "



From Simon Mansfield < >

>>Maybe we should be dusting off the blueprints for the giant Saturn 5
rockets that were used for the Apollo Moon landings - just in case we
need to quickly intercept an asteroid or comet on a collision course
with the Earth. This may not be that easy - in his book "Mining the
Sky", planetary scientist John Lewis reports that he went looking for
the Saturn 5 blueprints a few years ago and concluded, incredibly, they
had been "lost".


I thought the Saturn 5 blueprints were cold pressed in metal to ensure they
lasted nearly forever. I can't remember where I read this but I do recall
it been reported as such. Maybe one of your readers can add more on this.



From Clark Whelton < >

NEW YORK--Attorneys representing the Tribe of Abraham filed suit
against God in New York's Southern District Court Monday, citing 117
specific instances of breach of covenant.

The Israelites are seeking $4.2 trillion in punitive and compensatory

"My client, the Children of Israel, entered into this covenant with the
Defendant in good faith. They were assured, in writing, that in
exchange for their exclusive worship of Him, they would be designated
His chosen people and, as such, would enjoy His divine protection and
guidance for eternity," said Marvin Sachs, the Manhattan attorney
bringing the suit on behalf of the Israelites. "Yet, practically from
the moment this covenant was signed, the Defendant has exhibited a
blatant and willful disregard for its terms."

According to Sachs, the Israelites have not received the protection
they were promised in the covenant.

"Despite the presence of numerous 'chosen people' clauses throughout
this covenant, my client has suffered countless tragedies over the past
5,000 years, from the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem to
the Spanish Inquisition to the Holocaust," Sachs said. "Does that sound
like protection to you? Clearly, the Creator had no intention of
honoring His legal and binding agreement with us from the start."


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