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)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Good stuff, Dennis.

    I can only add that these markings are quite visible because they are in barren areas. It begs to be asked how many might be masked in verdant areas by foliage and erosion.

    Really good stuff.

    And, yes, on other bodies in the solar system there would be all sorts of conclusions about impacts. Earth is considered to have a magically immune status in the universe by those wedded to clearly defunct paradigms/belief systems.

    If there was a Gene Shoemaker Award for impact wake-up calls, you’d be a candidate. But since fragmented comets have not yet hit Earth in recorded history (meaning since Western culture rose), the uniformitarians won’t admit it as one of the ‘currently occurring processes’ until they see it happen.

    I.e., all those blemishes are volcanic, Dude!…LOL

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