archiv~1.txt: SETI CCNet DIGEST 30/03/99

SETI CCNet DIGEST 30/03/99

Larry Klaes ( )
Tue, 30 Mar 1999 09:01:25 -0500

>From: Benny J Peiser <>
>Subject: CCNet DIGEST 30/03/99
>Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 10:09:46 -0500 (EST)
>Priority: NORMAL
>X-Mailer: Simeon for Windows Version 4.0.5
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>CCNet DIGEST, 30 March 1999
>There will be no further CCNet mailings before 10 April.
> Ron Baalke <>
> Michael Paine <>
> Andrew Yee <>
> Trevor Palmer <>
>>From Ron Baalke <>
>Catastrophic Events & Mass Extinctions: Impacts And Beyond
>July 9-12, 2000
>Vienna, Austria
>This conference will be the fourth of an informal series of meetings on
>mass extinctions, global catastrophes, geological (and biological)
>implications of impact events, and related investigations, which were
>initially held at Snowbird, Utah, to discuss studies of the
>Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary. The first and second of these
>meetings were held October 19-22, 1981, and October 20-23, 1988. The
>third one took place February 9-12, 1994, in Houston, Texas. While the
>first two of these conferences had the K-T boundary as their main
>topic, and included vigorous debates on the evidence for an impact
>event 65 m.y. ago and alternative explanations, by 1994 this evidence
>was overwhelming due to the discovery and confirmation of the Chicxulub
>structure in Yucatan, Mexico, as the long-sought K-T boundary impact
>crater. Therefore, more recently the discussion shifted to the question
>if (and how) short-term, high-energy events influence the biological
>evolution on the Earth, and if the observed changes in the biological
>record show evidence of very short-term events other than the K-T
>boundary event.
>Current studies of the most profound extinction event in Earth's
>history, at the end of the Permian, indicated a much shorter time frame
>for this event than earlier data had suggested, with significant
>associated geochemical anomalies. The cause for this global catastrophe
>is currently unknown, but speculations center on massive volcanism or
>cometary impact. Other boundaries and short-term events (e.g., late
>Devonian, Triassic-Jurassic, late Eocene) in the stratigraphic record
>of the Earth are now receiving unprecedented attention. Thus, we feel
>that the time has come to summarize and discuss the current state of
>knowledge of the character and causes of mass extinctions and
>catastrophic events in the history of our planet.
>>From Michael Paine <>
>Dear Benny,
>Follow-up on to the CCNET posting on 23/3/99 "SCIENTISTS DISCOVER NEW
>LIFE FORMS". Below is an extract from my "Swapping Rocks" web page
>On 20 March the Australian ABC Radio Science Show had a report on
>Queensland research into nanobacteria (nanobes) - see
> (particularly
>the PDF download)). The findings have implications for:
>* Interplanetary transfer of organisms via meteoroids - the Nanobes
>apparently survived the vacuum and intense radiation of the electron
>microscope (c.f. space travel) after being taken from the hot,
>pressurised environment 5 km below the seabed (c.f. planetary ejection
>due to a cosmic impact and subsequent re-entry) and
>* "Nanofossils" in Martian meteorite ALH84001. Until now it was thought
>by many scientists that "organisms" around 20 nanometres - the size of
>the nanofossils - were too small for "life"!
>Press release</A> from Queensland University
>BBC item
>ABC TV Quantum "Deep Bacteria"
>featuring an interview with Paul Davies. Paul's comment on
>the Queensland University discovery, if verified - "Mommentous"
>New Scientist editorial
>Michael Paine
>W.K. Hartmann*), M. Malin, A. McEwen, M. Carr, L. Soderblom, P. Thomas,
>E. Danielson, P. James, J. Veverka: Evidence for recent volcanism on
>Mars from crater counts. NATURE, 1999, Vol.397, No.6720, pp.586-589
>Impact craters help characterize the age of a planetary surface,
>because they accumulate with time. They also provide useful constraints
>on the importance of surface erosion, as such processes will
>preferentially remove the smaller craters. Earlier studies of martian
>crater populations revealed that erosion and dust deposition are
>important processes on Mars. They disagreed, however, on the age of the
>youngest volcanism. These earlier studies were limited by image
>resolution to craters larger than a few hundred metres in diameter.
>Here we report an analysis, using new images obtained by the Mars
>Global Surveyor spacecraft, of crater populations that extend the size
>distribution down to about 16 m. Our results indicate a wide range
>of surface ages, with one region-lava flows within the Arsia Mons
>caldera-that we estimate to be no older than 40-100 million years. We
>suggest that volcanism is a continuing process on Mars. Copyright 1999,
>Institute for Scientific Information Inc.
>Y. Miura, S. Fukuyama, A. Gucsik: Compositional changes by multiple
>No.1-3, pp.192-193
>Multiple impacts (i.e. progressive impacts) with reduction state
>produce characteristic compositions originated from target rock. Pure
>carbon can be obtained from limestone target rocks by multi-impact
>reaction with reduction state which can be found in natural and
>artificial impact craters. Pure Fe spherules in lunar agglutinates can
>be obtained from FeO-rich basaltic rock by multiple impacts including
>multi-impact reaction on the airless Moon. (C) 1999 Published by
>Elsevier Science S.A. All rights reserved.
>>From Andrew Yee <>
>Royal Astronomical Society Press Notice
>Date: 29 March 1999
>For immediate release
>Ref. PN 99/08
>Issued by:
>Dr Jacqueline Mitton
>RAS Public Relations Officer
>Office & home phone: Cambridge ((0)1223) 564914
>FAX: Cambridge ((0)1223) 572892
>Professor David Gubbins, Department of Earth Sciences, University of
>Normal Office Tel. +44 (0)113 233 5255
>Contact phone no. 29 March - 10 April 1999: +44 (0)1988 500296
>Far below us, in the bowels of the Earth, something is stirring.
>Immense flows of hot liquid iron gradually rise and fall in the molten
>outer part of our planet's core where dynamo action gives rise to
>magnetism. Now, new insight into the nature of this process is helping
>make sense of the aberrant behaviour of Earth's magnetic field over
>thousands and millions of years. Writing in the April 1999 issue of the
>Geophysical Journal International (GJI), Professor David Gubbins of the
>University of Leeds describes a new scenario for physical processes in
>Earth's core that explains in broad terms the pattern of past episodes
>in which Earth's magnetic field has changed dramatically in strength,
>direction or both.
>Certain rocks preserve a record of the state of Earth's magnetism at
>the time they formed. From studying and dating them, geophysicists have
>known for some time that Earth's magnetic poles have often flipped
>completely in the remote past. The last such reversal took place 700
>thousand years ago. But there is also evidence for more frequent
>episodes when the magnetic poles have moved a large distance -- 45
>degrees or more away from the geographical pole -- then returned. These
>events, known as 'excursions', are rather like failed attempts at
>reversal. When they occur, the strength of the magnetic field falls
>dramatically as well, by a factor of 5 or 10.
>Professor Gubbins has drawn on recent experimental results,
>particularly those from a research group in Utrecht headed by Dr Cor
>Langereis, which clearly identify six relatively recent magnetic
>excursions as true global phenomena. All the excursions lasted roughly
>the same length of time -- about 5,000 years. Furthermore, preliminary
>results from the recent Ocean Drilling Program Leg 172 have revealed
>more than twenty excursions recorded in sediments of the North Atlantic
>in the same time period. While these events have not been correlated
>world-wide, the sediments indicate very clearly that excursions are
>quite frequent events. Professor Gubbins noted that there are about ten
>excursions between each full reversal. Every 20 - 50 thousand years,
>the Earth's magnetic field collapses in a failed attempt to reverse,
>but then re-establishes itself quickly over a timescale of just a
>couple of thousand years.
>This pattern of behaviour can be explained, says Professor Gubbins, by
>the much longer period of time it takes for magnetic change to take
>effect in the solid inner core than in the fluid outer core. In the
>outer core, the magnetic field changes in response to the flow of the
>liquid iron, which typically moves 10 or 20 kilometres per year. At
>that rate a 'parcel' of iron moves from the top of the inner core to
>the bottom in about 500 years or so, and the magnetic field in the
>outer core could also changethat quickly.
>However, the magnetic field also permeates the solid metal inner core.
>Here change is much slower, governed by the response to electrical
>resistance. The timescale is more like 5,000 years than 500. The
>difference of a factor of ten between these two timescales explains
>why there are about ten excursions for every reversal.
>In the scenario painted by Professor Gubbins, excursions represent a
>reversal of the magnetic field in the liquid outer core, which takes
>only a few centuries. The much slower process of change in the solid
>inner core begins, but more often than not, the dynamo in the outer
>core re-establishes the magnetic field there in its original direction
>before total reversal in the whole core is achieved. The 5,000-year
>timescale for magnetic change in the inner core also explains why no
>excursions lasting longer than about 5,000 years are identified in the
>best data; an episode lasting more than 5,000 years will end up with
>total reversal.
>So far these ideas are largely qualitative. Computers currently
>available are not powerful enough for the kind of simulations needed to
>reproduce the properties of Earth's liquid core in sufficient detail,
>but Professor Gubbins is hopeful that the next generation of parallel
>supercomputers will finally help theorists explain the mysteries of
>Earth's magnetic field reversals.
> Radius of Earth - 6,371 km
> Radius of solid inner core - 1,233 km
> Liquid outer core - begins at a depth of 2,886 km.
>>From Trevor Palmer <>
>Dear Benny,
>During my recent forays into early European history, I have come across
>the Annals of Xanten, from northwestern Germany, translated by Simon
>Coupland for a forthcoming volume with Manchester University Press
>about sources for the reign of Charles the Bald. You are probably
>already familiar with these Annals but, if not, the following extracts
>may be of interest to you.
>810. The sun and moon failed twice, the sun on 8 June and the moon on
>21 June, and King Pippin, the Emperor's son, passed away.
>814. The most glorious Emperor Charles of blessed memory was called
>by the Lord, and departed this life on 28 January. And later, in the
>month of March, Emperor Louis came to the palace at Aachen from
>817. The Emperor established his son Lothar as emperor. In the month of
>October that same year rays of fire appeared in the sky.
>834. Emperor Louis and his wife pursued Lothar, who eventually came to
>them with all his men, and when both parties had sworn allegiance -
>even if it was unreliable - they each went back home. Meanwhile, as
>this was going on, heathens fell upon the celebrated trading
>settlement at Dorestad, and laid it waste with savage cruelty. And at
>this time the Frankish Empire was lying largely desolate within itself,
>and day by day men's misery increased greatly. In the same year
>water flooded the land far and wide.
>836. In the month of February wondrous rays of light appeared from east
>to west in the early part of the night. In the same year the heathen
>again attacked the Christians.
>837. A mighty whirlwind kept breaking out, and a comet was seen,
>sending out a great trail to the east, which to human eyes looked as
>if it was three cubits long.
>838. The winter was wet and windy, and on 21 January thunder was heard,
>just as on 18 February loud thunder could be heard. And the excessive
>heat of the sun scorched the earth, and there were earthquakes
>in some parts of the land, and fire in the shape of a dragon was seen
>in the air. In that year a wicked heresy arose. In the same year a
>great peal of thunder was heard on the fifth night before the birth of
>our Lord, and lightning was seen, and the distress and misfortune of
>men grew daily in many ways.
>839. On 26 December an immense whirlwind arose, so that the waters of
>the sea burst their banks and bounds over a wide area, and tragically
>engulfed a countless host of people and buildings in villages and
>settlements round about. And fleets at sea were broken up and
>overturned, and a flame of fire could be seen over the whole of the
>sea. On 25 March of the same year wondrous rays of light appeared
>in the sky towards evening, encompassing the whole arc of the heavens
>like a circular building.
>840. Identical rays appeared on two successive nights like those of the
>previous year. And on 3 May, that is the third Rogation Day, there
>was an eclipse of the sun at the ninth hour, and the stars were as
>clearly visible in the sky as at night.
>841. On July 28 of the same year, a Thursday, three circles appeared in
>the sky in broad daylight, encircling one another so that they looked
>rather like a rainbow. The smallest enclosed the sun at its centre,
>and yet seemed more intense in colour than the others. The largest
>was in the west, with its rim appearing to touch the sun. The middle
>one was in the north, and encircled the two already described to an
>equal extent. Even so, the big one and the middle one seemed much paler
>than the little one. And the small cloud in the north-east shone
>brightly in the same way as the rings, though in one place it looked
>as if it was a long way from them. They were observed before the
>third hour of the day, and remained until after midday.
>842. During Lent a star in the west shone with unusual brightness to
>the east. And Lothar ravaged Gaul before returning to Aachen.
>845. There were two earthquakes in the Worms region, the first in the
>night after Palm Sunday, and the second in the holy night of Christ's
>resurrection...After all this had happened, King Louis mustered a great
>army and moved against the Wends. When the unbelievers learned of this,
>they dispatched envoys across to Saxony and sent him presents and
>hostages, seeking peace. And he returned from Saxony, having granted
>them peace. Later, however, the robbers were struck down by a terrible
>850. On 1 January, that is, eight days after the Lord's nativity, loud
>thunder was heard towards evening, and on the same day great lightning
>was seen, and that winter floods of water afflicted the human race. And
>the following summer the excessive heat of the sun scorched the earth.
>852. The steel of the heathen glowed red hot, the sun's heat was
>excessive, and famine followed: animal fodder ran short, and there
>was an abundance of feeding-grounds for the pigs.
>853. There was a great famine in Saxony, so that many people lived off
>857. A great plague of swollen abscesses swept through the populace,
>and as it consumed them they rotted away horribly, so that their limbs
>fell apart and dropped off before they died.
>868. During the September fast two great circles appeared in the sky,
>looking rather like a rainbow. At first the larger of them, to the
>north, was the most beautiful, but then it faded as it seemed to
>diffuse its essence towards the south. And the smaller one encircled
>the sun at its centre and shone in all its glory at the far end of the
>other one. And they appeared before the third hour and lasted until the
>ninth hour, when they disappeared. At that time in Saxony fire was seen
>flying through the air with the speed of an arrow, as thick as a
>pitchfork and shooting off sparks like an iron block in a furnace. And
>suddenly it seemed to go up in oily black smoke before the eyes of many
>people. But only the Lord knows the meaning of this. Later, in the
>autumn, an edict went out from the kings that a general fast should be
>observed for three days because of the threat of the terrors of famine
>and plague, and there were great earthquakes throughout the kingdoms,
>so that very many people despaired of life itself.
>869. In the month of February peals of thunder were heard from the dark
>waters in the clouds of the air, and on 15 September, that is, the
>holy night of Septuagesima, a comet was seen in the north-west,
>followed immediately by very strong winds and an enormous deluge
>of water, in which very many were caught unawares and perished.
>And then in the summer a very severe famine ensued in many
>provinces, but above all in Burgundy and Gaul, in which a large
>number of people suffered an untimely death, so that some people
>are said to have eaten human corpses, while others are supposed to
>have lived off dogmeat.
>872. In that same year the battering of thunder, rain and hailstorms
>did great harm to mankind, damaging buildings and crops alike. And the
>principle mother church of the holy apostle Peter in the town of Worms,
>which had just been restored again by Bishop Samuel, abbot of the monks
>of St Nazarius, was set alight and destroyed when it was struck by
>873. In the same winter there was unexpected flooding caused by the
>snow suddenly melting, particularly on the banks of the Rhine. And a
>great many people were lost as the waters poured in, along with
>countless buildings and crops. Later, in the middle of the month of
>August, the ancient plague of the Egyptians once again appeared
>throughout the land from the east, namely countless swarms of locusts,
>like bees leaving the hive, which as they flew through the air gave out
>a faint noise, like little birds. And when they rose, the sky could
>only just be seen, as if through a sieve...And from 1 November right up
>until Sezagesima snow covered the whole surface of the earth, and the
>Lord constantly distressed his people with various plagues, visiting
>their transgressions upon them with the rod, and their sins upon them
>with the whip.
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