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Roman Comet 5,000 Times More Powerful Than A-Bomb
Scotsman ^ | 10/17/04 | John von Radowitz

Posted on 10/17/2004 3:36:42 PM PDT by freedom44

People living in southern Germany during Roman times may have witnessed a comet impact 5,000 times more destructive than the Hiroshima atom bomb, researchers say.

Scientists believe a field of craters around Lake Chiemsee, in south-east Bavaria, was caused by fragments of a huge comet that broke up in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Celtic artefacts found at the site, including a number of coins, appear to have been strongly heated on one side.

This discovery, together with evidence from ancient tree rings and Roman reports of “stones falling from the sky”, has led researchers to conclude that the impact happened in about 200BC.

However the claim still needs to be verified by other experts.

The crater field was uncovered after amateur archaeologists working in the area found pieces of metal containing unusual minerals.

A team of geologists led by Kord Ernston, from the University of Wurzburg in Germany, went to the site and discovered evidence of a cataclysm that would have left the region devastated for decades.

Not only would trees and homes have been flattened for many miles by the blast, but the local climate would have changed for years afterwards.

Tree rings show that vegetation growth slowed down in around 207BC, possibly because of the “nuclear winter” effect of dust blotting out the sun.

More than 80 craters were found in an elliptical area 36 miles long and 17 wide, ranging in size from 10 to 1,215 feet across. The largest, filled with water, now formed Lake Tuttensee.

Around the site the team found clues that suggested an impact from space, including rock heated into glass and minerals associated with meteorites.

The most likely cause was a low-density comet, 0.7 miles (1.1 kilometres) wide, that broke up at an altitude of 43 miles and fell in pieces to Earth, the scientists reported in Astronomy Magazine.

They wrote: “The main mass of the projectile struck the ground at 2,200 miles per hour, releasing an amount of energy equivalent to 106 million tons of TNT.”

The bomb that destroyed Hiroshima at the end of the Second World War had an explosive force of just 20,000 tons of TNT.

The scientists gave a graphic description of what it might have been like to experience the impact.

“About two seconds after the strike, people six miles away (10 kilometres) would have felt the ground shake as it would in a magnitude six earthquake. The air blast, arriving 30 seconds after impact, would have swept through at a speed of 500 miles per hour and produced a peak pressure of about 1.4 atmospheres, easily collapsing buildings, especially wooden ones.

“Even from 10 kilometres away, sound from the impact would have reached 103 decibels – loud enough to cause strong ear pain. Up to 90% of the trees would have blown over; the rest would have lost their branches.”

Forest beneath the blast would have ignited suddenly, and continued to burn until the shock wave blew the fire out, said the scientists.

The conflagration had left a thin layer of ash in and between the craters.

Roman authors at the time wrote about showers of stones falling from the sky and terrifying the local population.

Because of these events, the Senate in 205BC ordered that a conical meteorite known as the Needle of Cybele, which had been worshipped in Asia Minor, be brought to Rome.

“The impact undoubtedly had a major effect on the environment and people then living in the vicinity of Altoetting-Chiemgau,” wrote Ernston’s team.

“The region must have been devastated for decades. We are currently looking for gaps in the historical and archaeological records during the time we propose for the impact to better understand both the event itself and its cultural effects.”

Dr Benny Peiser, a leading expert on impact events from Liverpool John Moore’s University, said the report should be treated with caution until more was known.

He said the date was speculative, and pointed out that asteroids or comets a kilometre wide struck the Earth on average only once every 500,000 years. Generally such a large impact would cause much more severe and obviously traceable damage.

“In short, this is an an intriguing find, but I remain sceptical for the time being,” said Dr Peiser. “The impact cratering research community has not assessed these claims yet. That’s what needs to be done next.”


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 207bc; altoetting; altoettingchiemgau; archaeology; astronomy; bavaria; bolide; catastrophism; chiemgau; chiemgauimpact; germany; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; history; impact; lakechiemsee; mikebaillie; phaethon; romanempire; stalactites; stalagmites
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1 posted on 10/17/2004 3:36:43 PM PDT by freedom44
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To: freedom44
Dang Romans - I knew Caesar had something up his sleeve. ;)
2 posted on 10/17/2004 3:37:58 PM PDT by meyer (Our greatest opponent is a candidate called Complacency.)
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To: freedom44

Clearly, this was Bush's fault.

And haliburton, too.


3 posted on 10/17/2004 3:38:55 PM PDT by flashbunny
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To: freedom44
Tree rings show that vegetation growth slowed down in around 207BC, possibly because of the “nuclear winter” effect of dust blotting out the sun.

So did this happen after Tunguska, as well?

4 posted on 10/17/2004 3:39:00 PM PDT by atomicpossum (If there are two Americas, John Edwards isn't qualified to lead either of them.)
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To: freedom44

Kerry will find a way to make this Bushs' fault.


5 posted on 10/17/2004 3:39:56 PM PDT by MisterRepublican
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To: freedom44

Comet, it makes your teeth turn green
Comet, it tastes like gasoline
so take some Comet and vomit today!


Sorry.


6 posted on 10/17/2004 3:40:06 PM PDT by Mark was here (My tag line was about to be censored.)
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To: blam

PING<<<<<


7 posted on 10/17/2004 3:40:54 PM PDT by Mike Darancette (Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.)
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To: freedom44

This may be of intrest to you. It calculates the effects of impacts of meteorites.

http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/impacteffects/


8 posted on 10/17/2004 3:41:40 PM PDT by cripplecreek (The economy won't matter if you're dead.)
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To: freedom44

That's interesting. Never heard of that. Sounds plausible.


9 posted on 10/17/2004 3:42:03 PM PDT by Ptarmigan (Proud rabbit hater and killer)
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To: blam

Ping.


10 posted on 10/17/2004 3:43:11 PM PDT by Rebelbase
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To: cripplecreek

Cool link, thanks.


11 posted on 10/17/2004 3:46:14 PM PDT by freedom44
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To: Mrs Mark
Comet, it makes your teeth turn green Comet, it tastes like gasoline so take some Comet and vomit today!

LOL! I haven't heard that since I was a kid!

12 posted on 10/17/2004 3:52:23 PM PDT by FReepaholic (Proud FReeper since 1998. Proud monthly donor.)
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To: MisterRepublican

I wonder if anyone there had a plan.


13 posted on 10/17/2004 3:55:13 PM PDT by Colonel_Flagg (I need a new tagline. Or, I should simply let go of the American League playoffs.)
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To: freedom44

If it's not global warming, it's nuclear winter. We're doomed.


14 posted on 10/17/2004 3:56:00 PM PDT by aomagrat (Where weapons are not allowed, it is best to carry weapons.)
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To: freedom44
"may have witnessed"

Conversely, they may not have. :~)

15 posted on 10/17/2004 3:56:12 PM PDT by verity (The Liberal Media is America's Enemy)
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To: atomicpossum
So did this happen after Tunguska, as well?

Well... no.
No trace has been found at Tunguska of any remnants of the object, that I know of. The conclusion is that the object "vaporized" and no traces struck earth.

16 posted on 10/17/2004 3:57:10 PM PDT by Publius6961 (The most abundant things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.)
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To: atomicpossum
Sorry, Tunguska was an air burst, albeit a very spectacular one.

Can you imagine if something similar were to happen today, especially over a populated area?

17 posted on 10/17/2004 4:01:29 PM PDT by Stonewall Jackson (Eagle Scout class of 1992.)
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To: freedom44
Tree rings show that vegetation growth slowed down in around 207BC, possibly because of the “nuclear winter” effect of dust blotting out the sun.

BAN COMETS NOW!!! SAY "NO" TO NUCLEAR WINTER!!

Ok, somebody fill me in on how we can get tree ring data from 207BC.

18 posted on 10/17/2004 4:02:24 PM PDT by VeniVidiVici (Got Wood?)
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To: atomicpossum

They think the Russian hit was an air burst or glancing blow. The object didn't hit the earth, just the shock wave. Its the impact that throws back up the dust. Because of that there was no large scale blockage of the sun.


19 posted on 10/17/2004 4:08:52 PM PDT by PeteB570
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To: freedom44
Not only would trees and homes have been flattened for many miles by the blast, but the local climate would have changed for years afterwards.

What should this be chalked up to????
Ignorance of journalists???

20 posted on 10/17/2004 4:16:55 PM PDT by HP8753 (Bypass Online News Sites Registration>>>> www.bugmenot.com)
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