Geoglyphs and Bomb Targets

During world war two there were numerous bombing ranges in New Mexico that add another level of confusion to any research into possible cluster impact events. Because any small crater, or depression we see in New Mexico must be ruled out as a bomb crater first. You can see a typical example of the giant geoglyphs they used as bombing targets at 33.335478, -103.757649.


Note the Nazi swastika in the bulls eye of the target. But it’s the crater beside, and the others near it, that concerns us, not the target.

First of all, they used non-explosive practice bombs for almost all of those bombing runs. The only time live ordinance was used in practice bombing was when they needed to test the effectiveness of the bombs.

But note the size of that crater. At more than 200 meters diameter, it’s too darn big. If we had bombs capable of that kind of damage, we had better things to do with them then blowing big holes in the desert. And there are thousands like that. All over west Texas, and eastern New Mexico.

Look closely. It was there before the target was made. That’s no bomb crater folks.


And neither are the others with it.CratersAndGlyphs

Published in: Uncategorized on November 30, 2010 at 7:37 am  Leave a Comment  

Footprints of a Fragmented Comet

“The fragmentation of comets is now recognized as a major route of their disintegration, and this is consistent with the numerous sub-streams and co-moving observed in the Taurid complex.”

~ Bill Napier, 2009

Linear_composite2cThe Fragments of comet Linear.

In the image above, we see fragment sizes ranging from dust grains, to many substantial fragments that would be big enough to survive atmospheric entry. 

The Deep Impact mission to comet TEMPEL 1 showed the head of that comet to have the consistency of a dirty snow bank. It also showed that the object is a geologically active body. Comet HOLMES is unstable, and prone to violent outbursts. Images of Comet LINEAR , and Comet Scwassmann-Wachmann 3, shown here make it abundantly clear that total, explosive, fragmentation of comets is, in fact a fairly common event. 

It is clear that the impact of a cluster of fragments like that can be expected to produce planetary scarring that’s different from anything that’s been described before. Especially since the standard model of an impact event pretty much assumes a single, lone, bolide. And does not consider the likely possibility of cluster impact events. But since it is an empirical fact that such clusters of cometary fragments do exist in short period, Earth crossing, orbits, it would be naive to a fault to assume they have not left their marks in the geologically recent past.

Due to the broad range of particle, and fragment sizes, we should expect the full gamut of impact phenomena; from high altitude airburst, to geo-ablative airburst hot enough to melt, and ablate, the surface materials, to actual kinetic impact of good sized fragments that reach the ground. And all together in a fairly small area.

And in Southeast New Mexico there is an area that’s very high on my list of places I want to see for myself some day. Because I think I see planetary scarring that’s a close match for the work of something like we see in the images above, of the fragmented comets Linear, Or Scwassmann-Wachmann 3.

sql1070It begins to look interesting from 55 miles up, in the diagonal striations visible from space.

And when you zoom in closer, to about 15 miles up, you begin to see what appear to be chains of honest to goodness impact craters.sql1071

The average diameter is about 80 meters.sql1076

sql1073 I will be delighted to be proven wrong. But until that happens, I’m willing to trust my eyes. And the way I see it, anywhere else in the solar system, no one would hesitate call to a 100 meter circular depression, with a raised rim, like we see at 32.404582, -103.402431 an impact crater. And it’s pretty typical in this group. It’s also typical of thousands in eastern New Mexico, and west Texas.


And just outside the main group, this 3 mile wide structure is something different that’s begging for a closer look.



sql1081bWhat do you think? Are we looking at airburst craters?

Published in: Uncategorized on November 22, 2010 at 10:36 am  Comments (1)  

New Mexico Airburst Scars?

From Impact Melt Formation By Low-Altitude Airburst Processes, Evidence From Small Terrestrial Craters and Numerical Modeling. By H. E. Newsom, and M. B. E. Boslough we read:

“Airbursts in the lower atmosphere from hypervelocity impacts have been called upon to explain the nature of the Tunguska event and the existence of unusual impact-related silicate melts such as the Muong-Nong tektites and Libyan Desert Glass of western Egypt. Impact melts associated with impact craters, however, have been traditionally attributed to shock melting of the target material that experiences strong shock compression and heating. The characteristics of impact melts from small terrestrial craters (less than km diameter) leads to the possibility that the airburst phenomena may have been responsible for these melts. This conclusion is supported by numerical modeling of the airburst phenomena using super computer class facilities at Sandia National Laboratories.”

And, in a poster by Dr Boslough titled, The Nature of Airbursts and their Contribution to the Impact Threat. we read:


“Ongoing simulations of low-altitude airbursts from hypervelocity asteroid impacts have led to a
re-evaluation of the impact hazard that accounts for the enhanced damage potential relative to the standard point-source approximations. Computational models demonstrate that the altitude of maximum energy deposition is not a good estimate of the equivalent height of a point explosion, because the center of mass of an exploding projectile maintains a significant fraction of its initial momentum and is transported downward in the form of
a high-temperature jet of expanding gas. This “fireball” descends to a depth well beneath the burst altitude before its velocity becomes subsonic. The time scale of this descent is similar to the time scale of the explosion itself, so the jet simultaneously couples both its translational and its radial kinetic energy to the atmosphere. Because of this downward flow, larger blast waves and stronger thermal radiation pulses are experienced at the
surface than would be predicted for a nuclear explosion of the same yield at the same burst height. For impacts with a kinetic energy below some threshold value, the hot jet of vaporized projectile loses its momentum before it can make contact with the Earth’s surface. The 1908 Tunguska explosion is the largest observed example of this first type of airburst. For impacts above the threshold, the fireball descends all the way to the ground, where it expands radially, driving supersonic winds and radiating thermal energy at temperatures that can melt silicate surface materials. The Libyan Desert Glass event, 29 million years ago, may be an example of this second, larger, and more destructive type of airburst. The kinetic energy threshold that demarcates these two airburst types depends on asteroid velocity, density,
strength, and impact angle.

Airburst models, combined with a re-examination of the surface conditions at Tunguska in 1908, have revealed that several assumptions from the earlier analyses led to erroneous conclusions, resulting in an overestimate of the size of the Tunguska event. Because there is no evidence that the Tunguska fireball descended to the surface, the yield must have been about 5 megatons or lower. Better understanding of airbursts, combined with the diminishing number of undiscovered large asteroids,
leads to the conclusion that airbursts represent a large and growing fraction of the total impact threat.”

Ok, that’s pretty interesting stuff. But what if we don’t need to go all the way to Libya to find locations where a geo-ablative airburst has produced melt formations?

About 75 miles southeast of Albuquerque, New Mexico, there is a place that looks extremely promising. Beyond apparent patterns of material movements I see in the image data, I don’t know anything about the place. And field work remains to be done there. But, unless I miss my guess, at 34.482019, –105.573173 there is a four mile wide, multiple fragment, oblique impact, geo-ablative, airburst scar that may warrant a closer look.


I did a few impact experiments of my own, using various rifles, velocities, and target surfaces. Nothing formal, heck, I didn’t even take notes. But I can tell you that it is easy to make something like we see here happen in an experiment.

From 15 kilometers up, the material movements we see there seem to describe a four mile wide cluster of fragments hitting at low trajectory, from the west. And they must have shed a lot of velocity in the atmosphere.

If I’ve got it right, the target surface would’ve been a shallow lake. And the angle of impact was about 30 degrees.

We can use Google Earth’s ‘Historical Image’ function to look at different images of the same place. It’s a nice feature. Because it lets you see the same place at different times of the year, and in different lighting conditions. The black, and white, version of the place gives us a little better contrast to discern how the ejecta, was blown to the east from the main body of impacts.


17 These oval splashes blown to the east have all the characteristics of splashes of impact ejecta from a cluster of small, oblique, fairly low velocity impacts into the sediments of a shallow lake.


18 All of these motion patterns are from west to east. Look closely, let’s zoom in on one impact point of a couple of the smaller fragments.



19The points of impact are on the western end of each oval splash. And I would love to go meteorite hunting in the pair of 45 meter depressions at 34.486357, –105.548684.


And when we look in the outlying areas we start to find places that look like they just might be a meteorite hunters dream.

21 Like the small, 70 meter crater at 34.40506, –105.677892





22 Or it’s neighbor just to the west at 34.407827, –105.683814




23 And I’m really curious to figure out how something like what we see at 34.407402, -105.693815 can happen.



24 Likewise at 34.406994, –105.693030




If you’re interested in helping, and you live close enough to go get a closer look at these features, and maybe grab a few rock samples, I’d sure like to hear from you.

Published in: Uncategorized on November 18, 2010 at 11:54 am  Comments (6)  

Fields of Craters

From Comets, Catastrophes, and Earth’s History by W. M. Napier we read ,

“The evidence that an exceptionally large (50-100 km) comet entered a short-period, Earth- crossing orbit during the upper Paleolithic, and underwent a series of disintegrations, now seems compelling. The idea is not new, but it has been strengthened by an accumulation of evidence from radar studies of the interplanetary environment, from the LDEF experiment, from numerical simulations of the Taurid complex meteoroids and ‘asteroids’, and from the latter’s highly significant orbital clustering around Comet Encke.

The disintegration of this massive Taurid Complex progenitor over some tens of thousands of years would yield meteoroid swarms which could easily lead to brief, catastrophic episodes of multiple bombardment by sub-kilometer bolides, and it is tempting to see the event at ∼ 12,900 BP as an instance of this. Whether it actually happened is a matter for Earth scientists, but from the astronomical point of view a meteoroid swarm is a much more probable event than a 4 km comet collision.

Do we have images of disintegrating comets? What does a ‘meteoroid swarm’ look like, anyway? The answer is yes. And comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 is a good example of the distribution of fragments we can expect.


And comet Linear is another good example.


So, if we are looking for the planetary scarring of such an event, we should expect to find a lot of smaller craters, instead of one big one.



The simple empirical fact, is that there are literally thousands of craters averaging 100 meters in diameter in Texas, and New Mexico. And I don’t hear anyone talking about them.

Here’s a few places in New Mexico I’d like to visit someday.

sql1032 We’ll begin about 90 miles east, southeast of Albuquerque at 34.620355, -105.161029





sql1031 And a few miles north of there. at 34.683335, -105.156059




sql1022  34.187040, -105.016013





sql1016 110 miles southeast of Albuquerque at 34.133406, -105.098351




sql1027 Not too far away from there at 33.943979, -105.119779





sql1023 34.190525, -105.027640





sql1030 34.384999, -105.090811

Published in: Uncategorized on November 7, 2010 at 10:37 am  Comments (1)