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No. 18: Nov-Dec 1981

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Iridium-rich layers and catastrophism

Kyte et al have discovered a 2.3-millionyear-old sedimentary layer under the Antarctic Ocean that contains iridium and gold concentrations comparable to those in the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary. The noble metals are mostly contained in millimeter-sized grains that resemble ablation debris from a large extraterrestrial object. Unlike the Cre taceous-Tertiary episode, however, the newly found layer is not accompanied by evidence of mass biological extinctions.

(Kyte, Frank T., et al; "High Noble Metal Concentrations in a Late Pliocene Sediment," Nature, 292:417, 1981.)

Comment. Perhaps those paleontologists who deny the existence of sudden biological extinctions at the CretaceousTertiary boundary are correct and something else besides catastrophism impacted terrestrial life at that juncture.

Reference. The implications of iridium "spikes" are found in Category ESB1 in our Catalog: Anomalies in Geology. To order, go to: here.

From Science Frontiers #18, NOV-DEC 1981. 1981-2000 William R. Corliss

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  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
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  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987