Thermal Atmospheric Geo-Ablation, and the footprints of an impact wind

The Younger Dryas comet was a giant. Its tens of thousands of fragments produced a vast blast effected area that sterilized half a continent. And the full range of its thermal geomorphological effects is almost limitless. But there is a ubiquitous feature of the event that can be thought of as it’s signature. And that signature is a predominant southeast to northwest trend to many of the effected landforms. At the Benavides structure we see the ejecta pattern blown to the northwest by the force of the blast wind already blowing. This was like nothing ever imagined before. But imagine a nuclear bomb going off in the midst of a supersonic wind that is already hotter than the surface of the sun.

And the Benavedes structure wasn’t the only place that multiple-thermal-impact-blast wind left it’s mark. Just west of there the wind cut into these mountains like a blowtorch cuts into wax.

And the mountain in the lower left was broken, and blown over like the clumps of flour on a bakers table just before having its upper surface blown, and welded into a plateau.

wind1 It’s hard to communicate the scale of this. But the plume of ejecta, and mega breccias from the Benavides blast was carried more than ten miles down wind to the northwest. This view looks back on it to the southeast.

wind2 Up wind of Benavides, these flow patterns are reminiscent of the ripples in the bottom of a river, aren’t they?

wind3 But those are thousand foot tall mountains. And it wasn’t water that was blowing northwest across this surface. This was done by a force of wind, Hotter than the surface of the sun, and gusting to supersonic.

wind4Note the dendritic melt formations hanging from the lee side of the bluffs, like curtains of wax hanging down the side of a candle.

And if we go north a little bit into Texas, and we look back across the border towards Benavedes we see its ejecta splash in the distance. And in the foreground we see whole mountains melted, and blown to the northwest like the waves on a stormy beach.


Published on April 13, 2010 at 9:05 am  Leave a Comment  

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