PLEASE NOTE:


*

Date sent: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 17:01:07 -0800
From: Danica Anderson <danica@tcmnet.com>
Send reply to: danica@tcmnet.com
Organization: Northstar Life Services
To: Bob Kobres <bkobres@uga.cc.uga.edu>
Copies to: GVERSCHR@MSUVX1.MEMPHIS.EDU, cambridge-conference@livjm.ac.uk
Subject: Re: The Wabar crater

Bob Kobres wrote:
>
> In the 1930s there was actually a good deal of interest in the possibility that
> people could fall victim to impact events. The news that we may finally have a
> recent smoking gun is great!
>
> bobk
>
> From: "The Path of a Comet and Phaethon's Ride,"by Bob Kobres, The World & I
> (ISSN 0887-9346) Vol. 10, No. 2 (Feb. 95): 394-405. Also available at:
> http://abob.libs.uga.edu:80/bobk/phaeth.html

>
> Kulik's find revealed that colliding space debris could do a great deal of
> damage yet leave little long-term detectable evidence to indicate that an impact
> had occurred. Some implications of this fact were recognized by a few
> investigators almost immediately. Astronomer C.P. Olivier, writing of Kulik's
> discovery for Scientific American, stated in the July 1928 issue:
>
> In looking over this account, one has to admit that many accounts of events in
> old chronicles that have been laughed at as fabrications are far less miraculous
> than this one, of which we seem to have undoubted confirmation. Fortunately for
> humanity, this meteoric fall happened in a region where there were no
> inhabitants precisely in the affected area, but if such a thing could happen in
> Siberia there is no known reason why the same could not happen in the United
> States.
>
> Newly discovered impact craters were big news in the early thirties; some large
> structures had been discovered in Australia (Henbury Craters), and British
> explorer James Philby was, in 1932, led to find some impressive and actually
> fairly recent craters in the Arabian Desert (Wabar Craters) by a guide who sang:
>
> >From Qariya strikes the sun upon the town;
> Blame not the guide that vainly seeks it now,
> Since the Destroying Power laid it low,
> Sparing nor cotton smock nor silken gown.
> (Philby, H., 1933: 157)
>
> That same year geologist Frank A. Melton and physicist William Schriever, both
> of the University of Oklahoma, finished a lengthy study of the unusual features
> revealed by the flying camera two years earlier. They reported their findings at
> a 1932 meeting of the Geological Society of America, and these were published
> the following year in the Journal of Geology, under the title "The Carolina
> `Bays'--Are They Meteorite Scars?" (vol. 41: 52-66) Later that year (1933),
> Edna Muldrow captured the attention of Harper's Monthly readers with this
> opening paragraph:
>
> What would happen if a comet should strike the earth? We do not like to dwell on
> that possibility, it is true; yet such evasion arises mainly because we are
> human and it is human to shun the unpleasant. So we bolster our sense of
> security by the assumption that what has not happened will not happen. This
> assumption is false. The truth is that the earth in the past has collided with
> heavenly bodies, and the more serious truth is that it may collide again.
>
> After informing readers of Melton and Schriever's work, Muldrow concludes her
> six and a half page article, "The Comet That Struck The Carolinas," with a
> rather graphic "if" scenario:
>
> If the disaster of the Carolinas should repeat itself in the vicinity of New
> York City, all man's handiwork extending over a great oval spreading from Long
> Island to Ohio, Virginia, and Lake Ontario would be completely annihilated.
> One-half of the people, one-third of the wealth of the United States would be
> completely rubbed out. The world's greatest metropolis would lie a smoking ruin,
> . . . . Only a few broken struts set awry and throwing lengthened shadows across
> sullen lagoons would survive as reminders of the solid masonry of the city . . .
> (Muldrow, Edna, 1933: vol. 168: 83-89
>
> In 1937, near-Earth-asteroid Hermes, which could impart much more destructive
> energy into the biosphere than the global nuclear arsenal is capable of
> releasing, was observed to have missed Earth by less than seven hours.
>
> By 1940, Harvard Astronomer Fred L. Whipple had adduced comet Encke as a remnant
> of larger parent body which had been in a short period (around 3.3 years) low
> inclination (3.6-16 degree) orbit for between five and twenty thousand years; a
> long present spectacle for our ancestors as the comet progressively broke up
> creating the still active Taurid meteor streams (F.L. Whipple 1940).
>
> Obviously, there was, half a century ago, sufficient rational for academia to
> take a serious look at the plentiful body of lore which spoke of fire raining
> destructively from the sky. What happened? Perhaps it was the break in scholarly
> continuity caused by World War II; maybe the subject became virtually taboo in
> the wake of the well-publicized flap over the myth based theory of Immanuel
> Velikovsky. Regardless of why circumstances retarded the academic pursuit of
> understanding this fascinating and arguably important influence on human social
> development, recent astronomical evidence emphasizes the need to give this
> subject proper attention.
>
> > Date: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 05:47:58 -0600 (CST)
> > From: GVERSCHR@MSUVX1.MEMPHIS.EDU
> > Subject: The Wabar crater
> > To: Cambridge-Conference@livjm.ac.uk
>
> > Notes on The Wabar Meteorite Crater in the Empty Quarter of Saudi Arabia
> >
> > by
> >
> > Gerrit L. Verschuur
> >
> > It seemed fitting that I first opened the book containing an account of the
> > discovery of the Wabar meteorite crater in the Saudi Arabian desert by
> > candlelight during a power outage. After all, a hefty smack upon our planet by
> > a small asteroid would force the survivors into using candles for many years to
> > come.
> >
> > The book in question tells a remarkable tale about how an obsessed man by the
> > name of H. StJ. B. Philby back in 1932 managed to arrange a camel caravan across
> > the largest total desert in the world, the so-called Empty Quarter of southern
> > Saudi Arabia. His book entitled The Empty Quarter was published in 1933 and its
> > frontispiece shows a photograph of meteorite crater "A" at Wabar, and labeled as
> > such, a revelation that comes as a surprise to those of us who grew up learning
> > that by the late 1950s the only meteorite crater in the world was in Arizona.
> > Little did we know that overwhelming proof for the existence of a meteorite
> > crater lurked in a book familiar to Arabian scholars, a book that makes
> > fascinating reading today.
> >
> [snip]
>
> > A few days after I met Saba I came across PhilbyOs book and then a program was
> > shown on TV about the lost city of Obar in the Empty Quarter. It had allegedly
> > been destroyed by fire about 1500 years ago. The program did not mention Wabar
> > nor impacts, but it did show that Obar has been identified, a hundred miles or
> > so from Wabar it turns out, and the evidence that Obar was wiped out in a sudden
> > cataclysm is apparently very strong. The city walls had been blown down and
> > everyone had been killed.
> >
> > Putting one and one together suggests to me that the inhabitants of Obar were
> > victims of the impact that created the Wabar craters and that legend
> > subsequently confused the story.
> >
> > It is up to someone more expert than I to complete the study of this impact
> > event and its subsequent affect upon the local tribes and their legends.
> >
> > To me it is very striking that in the TV production OThree Minutes to ImpactO
> > Mike Baillie and Michael Rampino discussed the possible impact origin of the
> > atmospheric veil of dust that occurred around 540 AD. Is it merely fortuitous
> > that ShoemakerOs estimate of the Wabar crater ages places the event(s) around
> > 500 AD? Is it possible that at the time the planet was subjected to a stream of
> > meteorites that caused a global event?
> >
> > FYI. Dr. Michael Saba who led the expeditions to Wabar several years ago also
> > lives near Memphis, Tennessee, in my neighborhood. He says that Shoemaker was
> > planning to write up his observations at Wabar but I have not yet seen that
> > report.
> >
> >
> >
>
> Bob Kobres
>
> email= <bkobres@uga.cc.uga.edu>
> url= http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk
> phone= 706-542-0583

The folk tales, stories from the stari babas (Serbian for
grandmothers-wise women) have threaded into their fables about how the
great mother from the heavens split the face of mother earth in the land
of our brothers in the north (Russia translated in Slavic means Northern
Slavs, Yugoslavia means Southern Slavs)with a holy rock....it has been
told that these wise women of the villages would tell infertile women to
sit on the huge rocks or dipping valleys (craters???) to become
pregnant.....gifts from the heaven. I agree these all aren't fabulous
fabrications...some have some truth in them......In my work with Siletz
Indians in Oregon, they have handed down stories of the green light,
rainbows hitting the waters...they are a coastal Indian tribe in
Oregon................



*

Date sent: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 10:52:54 -0500 (EST)
From: HUMBPEIS <B.J.PEISER@livjm.ac.uk>
Subject: Letters to The Times <fwd>
To: cambridge-conference@livjm.ac.uk
Priority: NORMAL


On Thu, 13 Mar 1997 10:25:18 +0000 "Murphy, Mike"
<mike.murphy@newsint.co.uk> wrote:
> Dear Sir,
> It has come to my attention that you are inviting your
> readers to write letters of support or disagreements with your theories
> to the Editor of The Tinmes. I have no argument with this, but would
> suggest, with the best will in the world, that our organisation is at
> the moment not sufficiently advanced in the use of email for us to
> accept the flow of letters this might well bring forth. Might I suggest
> you ask your readers to WRITE (ie, a true letter, via the Post Office)
> to the Editor, who will of course consider every offering for potential
> publication.
> Best regards,
> Mike Murphy, Internet Editor, The Times
>
>



*

Date sent: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 05:47:58 -0600 (CST)
From: GVERSCHR@MSUVX1.MEMPHIS.EDU
Subject: The Wabar crater
To: Cambridge-Conference@livjm.ac.uk

Notes on The Wabar Meteorite Crater in the Empty Quarter of Saudi Arabia

by

Gerrit L. Verschuur

It seemed fitting that I first opened the book containing an account of the
discovery of the Wabar meteorite crater in the Saudi Arabian desert by
candlelight during a power outage. After all, a hefty smack upon our planet by
a small asteroid would force the survivors into using candles for many years to
come.

The book in question tells a remarkable tale about how an obsessed man by the
name of H. StJ. B. Philby back in 1932 managed to arrange a camel caravan across
the largest total desert in the world, the so-called Empty Quarter of southern
Saudi Arabia. His book entitled The Empty Quarter was published in 1933 and its
frontispiece shows a photograph of meteorite crater "A" at Wabar, and labeled as
such, a revelation that comes as a surprise to those of us who grew up learning
that by the late 1950s the only meteorite crater in the world was in Arizona.
Little did we know that overwhelming proof for the existence of a meteorite
crater lurked in a book familiar to Arabian scholars, a book that makes
fascinating reading today.

At Wabar there are several impact craters spread over a mile or so of desert,
one of them discovered in 1994 by Dr. Michael Saba who organized expeditions to
the site. In 1995 Saba convinced Eugene Shoemaker to join him in yet another
trip to Wabar, a trip that had Shoemaker totally astonished by the perfection of
the craters and the abundance of tektites and meteorite fragments, one as large
as a camel, found there.

It was Michael Saba who recently introduced me to the amazing tale reported by
Philby, a British eccentric who was obsessed with the desire to venture into the
desolate region guided by Bedouins who knew where the ruined city of Wabar was
to be found, a ruined city that is constantly brushed by sand dunes so that
sometimes it can hardly be seen at all. But then this city of legend was never
really a city but an impact crater.

Desert legend had it that Wabar had been destroyed by fire from the sky in the
manner that Sodom and Gomorra were wiped off the face of the earth, and for much
the same reason; inhabitants were having too good a time and needed to be
punished.

One of Philby's guides knew enough of this legend to recall a song describing
the details of the event that created the strange structure in the desert. The
song told of the ruins of old castles which still ringed the area and blackened
pearls which were spread beneath the sand, evidence of the past wealth of the
extinguished inhabitants of that city.

The truth, it turned out, is perhaps more amazing than the legend. There never
was a city at Wabar. Philby, and more recently Saba’s several expeditions,
found that the “ruins” are really mounds of fused sand melted by the blast that
dug the craters, the largest of which is 150 meters across, the newly discovered
one only 11 meters.

Shoemaker estimates that the impacts may have occurred about 1500 years ago. We
can rest assured that the skies over Arabia must have been lit in glorious
splendor as the rocks from space crashed into the uninhabited realms of the
Empty Quarter. The sounds of the impact would have been heard all over the
Arabian Peninsula and the hearts of the wandering tribesmen would have been
filled with terror at this manifestation. No doubt the "ruins" were first found
soon after the impacts, but it wasn't until the mid-nineteenth century that
fragments of the meteorites reached the British Museum (even though the curators
were not sure where the material originated back then), by which time the Arabs
had been doing a brisk trade in “black pearls” found at Wabar, perfectly
spherical tektites, a few of which can still be found at the site today.

I have seen a video made my Michael Saba during one of his expeditions, a video
that featured Eugene Shoemaker expressing awe at the site. Saba has a fantastic
collection of tektites and meteorite fragments from Wabar. With hindsight, I
find it astonishing that there was ever any argument about the origin of
tektites because here the evidence that they are terrestrial objects formed by
impact events is overwhelming. They lie arrayed around these craters in close
proximity to the meteorite fragments. They are doubtless abundant here because
the desert sand was molten to form the black glass which did not splash very far
from the craters.

To get back to Philby. He first began his desert exploration in 1918 when he
skirted the northern border of the Empty Quarter from east to west. On that
trip he learned from one Jabir ibn Faraj of the Murra tribe of Bedouins about
mysterious ruins in the depths of the desert where a great block of iron as
large as a camel protruded from the sand. Philby doubted he would ever see that
fabled site, yet he was led to it.

Two other explorers, a Major Chessman in 1924 and Bertram Thomas in 1931, also
went in search of the ruins but did not find them so Philby doubted there was
much left for him to do. Yet he was a man obsessed with the need to explore the
empty expanse of desert, a classic example of wanting to go there just because
it was there. Due to political upheavals and lack of funds the time was not
ripe for his own expedition. While he waited for the opportunity to travel, he
converted to Islam and settled down in Mecca and became friends with the King
Ibn Sa'ud. It was the King who kept Philby's hopes alive saying that it was
time to explore the farthest reaches of his empire.

While paying court to the King and obsessively planning to make his journey,
Philby heard the news of Thomas's crossing of the Empty Quarter "with great
disappointment," a spectacular understatement. Soon thereafter the King bade
Philby go at once. His book, replete with photographs of sand dunes and impact
craters, tells of his subsequent journey.

To cut a long story short, his guide led him to the Wabar crater in the middle
of nowhere. Subsequently it turned out that tektites and meteorite fragments,
some quite large, had a century before already been carried out of the region by
the Bedouins and sold, some of which reached the British Museum. (How that
happened is related by Philby.)

A few days after I met Saba I came across Philby’s book and then a program was
shown on TV about the lost city of Obar in the Empty Quarter. It had allegedly
been destroyed by fire about 1500 years ago. The program did not mention Wabar
nor impacts, but it did show that Obar has been identified, a hundred miles or
so from Wabar it turns out, and the evidence that Obar was wiped out in a sudden
cataclysm is apparently very strong. The city walls had been blown down and
everyone had been killed.

Putting one and one together suggests to me that the inhabitants of Obar were
victims of the impact that created the Wabar craters and that legend
subsequently confused the story.

It is up to someone more expert than I to complete the study of this impact
event and its subsequent affect upon the local tribes and their legends.

To me it is very striking that in the TV production “Three Minutes to Impact”
Mike Baillie and Michael Rampino discussed the possible impact origin of the
atmospheric veil of dust that occurred around 540 AD. Is it merely fortuitous
that Shoemaker’s estimate of the Wabar crater ages places the event(s) around
500 AD? Is it possible that at the time the planet was subjected to a stream of
meteorites that caused a global event?

FYI. Dr. Michael Saba who led the expeditions to Wabar several years ago also
lives near Memphis, Tennessee, in my neighborhood. He says that Shoemaker was
planning to write up his observations at Wabar but I have not yet seen that
report.



*

From: Bob Kobres <bkobres@uga.cc.uga.edu>
Organization: University of Georgia Libraries
To: GVERSCHR@MSUVX1.MEMPHIS.EDU
Date sent: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 11:00:31 EST
Subject: Re: The Wabar crater
Copies to: cambridge-conference@livjm.ac.uk
Priority: normal

In the 1930s there was actually a good deal of interest in the possibility that
people could fall victim to impact events. The news that we may finally have a
recent smoking gun is great!

bobk

From: "The Path of a Comet and Phaethon's Ride,"by Bob Kobres, The World & I
(ISSN 0887-9346) Vol. 10, No. 2 (Feb. 95): 394-405. Also available at:
http://abob.libs.uga.edu:80/bobk/phaeth.html



Kulik's find revealed that colliding space debris could do a great deal of
damage yet leave little long-term detectable evidence to indicate that an impact
had occurred. Some implications of this fact were recognized by a few
investigators almost immediately. Astronomer C.P. Olivier, writing of Kulik's
discovery for Scientific American, stated in the July 1928 issue:

In looking over this account, one has to admit that many accounts of events in
old chronicles that have been laughed at as fabrications are far less miraculous
than this one, of which we seem to have undoubted confirmation. Fortunately for
humanity, this meteoric fall happened in a region where there were no
inhabitants precisely in the affected area, but if such a thing could happen in
Siberia there is no known reason why the same could not happen in the United
States.

Newly discovered impact craters were big news in the early thirties; some large
structures had been discovered in Australia (Henbury Craters), and British
explorer James Philby was, in 1932, led to find some impressive and actually
fairly recent craters in the Arabian Desert (Wabar Craters) by a guide who sang:

From Qariya strikes the sun upon the town;
Blame not the guide that vainly seeks it now,
Since the Destroying Power laid it low,
Sparing nor cotton smock nor silken gown.
(Philby, H., 1933: 157)

That same year geologist Frank A. Melton and physicist William Schriever, both
of the University of Oklahoma, finished a lengthy study of the unusual features
revealed by the flying camera two years earlier. They reported their findings at
a 1932 meeting of the Geological Society of America, and these were published
the following year in the Journal of Geology, under the title "The Carolina
`Bays'--Are They Meteorite Scars?" (vol. 41: 52-66) Later that year (1933),
Edna Muldrow captured the attention of Harper's Monthly readers with this
opening paragraph:

What would happen if a comet should strike the earth? We do not like to dwell on
that possibility, it is true; yet such evasion arises mainly because we are
human and it is human to shun the unpleasant. So we bolster our sense of
security by the assumption that what has not happened will not happen. This
assumption is false. The truth is that the earth in the past has collided with
heavenly bodies, and the more serious truth is that it may collide again.

After informing readers of Melton and Schriever's work, Muldrow concludes her
six and a half page article, "The Comet That Struck The Carolinas," with a
rather graphic "if" scenario:

If the disaster of the Carolinas should repeat itself in the vicinity of New
York City, all man's handiwork extending over a great oval spreading from Long
Island to Ohio, Virginia, and Lake Ontario would be completely annihilated.
One-half of the people, one-third of the wealth of the United States would be
completely rubbed out. The world's greatest metropolis would lie a smoking ruin,
. . . . Only a few broken struts set awry and throwing lengthened shadows across
sullen lagoons would survive as reminders of the solid masonry of the city . . .
(Muldrow, Edna, 1933: vol. 168: 83-89

In 1937, near-Earth-asteroid Hermes, which could impart much more destructive
energy into the biosphere than the global nuclear arsenal is capable of
releasing, was observed to have missed Earth by less than seven hours.

By 1940, Harvard Astronomer Fred L. Whipple had adduced comet Encke as a remnant
of larger parent body which had been in a short period (around 3.3 years) low
inclination (3.6-16 degree) orbit for between five and twenty thousand years; a
long present spectacle for our ancestors as the comet progressively broke up
creating the still active Taurid meteor streams (F.L. Whipple 1940).

Obviously, there was, half a century ago, sufficient rational for academia to
take a serious look at the plentiful body of lore which spoke of fire raining
destructively from the sky. What happened? Perhaps it was the break in scholarly
continuity caused by World War II; maybe the subject became virtually taboo in
the wake of the well-publicized flap over the myth based theory of Immanuel
Velikovsky. Regardless of why circumstances retarded the academic pursuit of
understanding this fascinating and arguably important influence on human social
development, recent astronomical evidence emphasizes the need to give this
subject proper attention.



> Date: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 05:47:58 -0600 (CST)
> From: GVERSCHR@MSUVX1.MEMPHIS.EDU
> Subject: The Wabar crater
> To: Cambridge-Conference@livjm.ac.uk

> Notes on The Wabar Meteorite Crater in the Empty Quarter of Saudi Arabia
>
> by
>
> Gerrit L. Verschuur
>
> It seemed fitting that I first opened the book containing an account of the
> discovery of the Wabar meteorite crater in the Saudi Arabian desert by
> candlelight during a power outage. After all, a hefty smack upon our planet by
> a small asteroid would force the survivors into using candles for many years to
> come.
>
> The book in question tells a remarkable tale about how an obsessed man by the
> name of H. StJ. B. Philby back in 1932 managed to arrange a camel caravan across
> the largest total desert in the world, the so-called Empty Quarter of southern
> Saudi Arabia. His book entitled The Empty Quarter was published in 1933 and its
> frontispiece shows a photograph of meteorite crater "A" at Wabar, and labeled as
> such, a revelation that comes as a surprise to those of us who grew up learning
> that by the late 1950s the only meteorite crater in the world was in Arizona.
> Little did we know that overwhelming proof for the existence of a meteorite
> crater lurked in a book familiar to Arabian scholars, a book that makes
> fascinating reading today.
>
[snip]

> A few days after I met Saba I came across PhilbyOs book and then a program was
> shown on TV about the lost city of Obar in the Empty Quarter. It had allegedly
> been destroyed by fire about 1500 years ago. The program did not mention Wabar
> nor impacts, but it did show that Obar has been identified, a hundred miles or
> so from Wabar it turns out, and the evidence that Obar was wiped out in a sudden
> cataclysm is apparently very strong. The city walls had been blown down and
> everyone had been killed.
>
> Putting one and one together suggests to me that the inhabitants of Obar were
> victims of the impact that created the Wabar craters and that legend
> subsequently confused the story.
>
> It is up to someone more expert than I to complete the study of this impact
> event and its subsequent affect upon the local tribes and their legends.
>
> To me it is very striking that in the TV production OThree Minutes to ImpactO
> Mike Baillie and Michael Rampino discussed the possible impact origin of the
> atmospheric veil of dust that occurred around 540 AD. Is it merely fortuitous
> that ShoemakerOs estimate of the Wabar crater ages places the event(s) around
> 500 AD? Is it possible that at the time the planet was subjected to a stream of
> meteorites that caused a global event?
>
> FYI. Dr. Michael Saba who led the expeditions to Wabar several years ago also
> lives near Memphis, Tennessee, in my neighborhood. He says that Shoemaker was
> planning to write up his observations at Wabar but I have not yet seen that
> report.
>
>
>


Bob Kobres

email= <bkobres@uga.cc.uga.edu>
url= http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk
phone= 706-542-0583



CCCMENU CCC for 1997

The content and opinions expressed on this Web page do not necessarily reflect the views of nor are they endorsed by the University of

The content and opinions expressed on this Web page do not necessarily reflect the views of nor are they endorsed by the University of Georgia or the University System of Georgia.