Skip to comments.Roman Comet 5,000 Times More Powerful Than A-Bomb
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 Earths 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 Ernstons 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 Moores 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. Thats what needs to be done next.
Well, meybe if we can get corresponding amounts of each, we'll be OK!
Tunguska occurred at the turn of the century, approx. 1900 CE... 100 years ago..
Roman Comet happened approx. 2,200 years ago.. 200-250 BCE..
Even at 2,200 years ago, that would make it one of the most recent major asteroid /comet impacts in history..
Just a layman's view.. from my perspective..
Start with existing trees, and their tree ring structure.
Then start digging up old tree stumps, remnants of ancient footings of buildings, piers, docks, etc..
Cross reference same to build up a picture of corresponding tree ring structures... Each set of older rings overlapping with sets of younger rings..
Collate your library to show continuous ring growth patterns going back to earlier and earlier eras..
Index by regions..
A fairly accurate rendition of growth patterns of trees in a given geographical area, running back thousands of years..
Additional data can be gotten from fossilized wood, giving estimates in certain general age groups, going back millions of years..
Add to this core samples of sediments from local lake beds, and other geological strata, and one can build up a pretty good picture of what sort of weather there was, and even what kind of plants were growing in the area, as well as much of the insect life, bones and teeth of small animals, fish, mollusks, and occasionally, large animals, including man or his ancestors...
More than you ever wanted to know about tree ring dating of archeological / geological sites..
I strongly doubt it. A team of Romans was sent to Asia Minor to bring back the stone of Cybele in order to protect the City of Rome during the Second Punic War. Hannibal was a much more immediate threat to Rome than meteors in Bavaria.
Cybele is the Magna Mater, portrayed with a crown of a hundred cities and representing the rise and fall of empires. Virgil mentions her briefly twice in the Aeneid, I believe as the divine power behind the thrown who was responsible for the fall of the ancient empire of Troy and the rise of Rome with its supposed Trojan ancestors. Carthage, of course, was Rome's great rival for imperial rule.
The stone of Cybele, probably a meteorite, was said to have protected the City of Troy until it was removed by the Greeks. As long as it remained in the city it was prophesied that the city would stand. So, no wonder if the Romans wanted to move it to Rome.
Good overview. The tree-ring data presently exceeds 10,000 years into the past. Good repeatable, reliable data.
This BBC article is still online.Space impact 'saved Christianity'It was just before a decisive battle for control of Rome and the empire that Constantine saw a blazing light cross the sky and attributed his subsequent victory to divine help from a Christian God. Constantine went on to consolidate his grip on power and ordered that persecution of Christians cease and their religion receive official status... Jens Ormo, a Swedish geologist, and colleagues working in Italy believe Constantine witnessed a meteoroid impact. The research team believes it has identified what remains of the impactor's crater. It is the small, circular Cratere del Sirente in central Italy. It is clearly an impact crater, Ormo says, because its shape fits and it is also surrounded by numerous smaller, secondary craters, gouged out by ejected debris, as expected from impact models. Radiocarbon dating puts the crater's formation at about the right time to have been witnessed by Constantine and there are magnetic anomalies detected around the secondary craters - possibly due to magnetic fragments from the meteorite.
by Dr David Whitehouse
Monday, 23 June, 2003
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NUCLEAR WINTER, the balance for GLOBAL WARMING
Except it happened about 100 years before Caesar was born...
This was not a comet. It was the Kerry campaign ........
Following the pattern, we're way overdue for a LARGE strike of some kind.
100 kilotons. Big, but not devastating to the region unless it were to land in a city. It would eliminate most any medieval sized city. Was there a city of any size then in Bavaria?
Yeah, but I hate doing that to Colonel Bogey's March...
Yup. It's been posted a couple times with pictures of the crater, etc.
100 Megatons actually.
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