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Multiple Meteorite Impacts in Antarctica and the mid-Brunhes Event/MIS 11 Stage: if theres a connection, what are the implacations for humanity

presented by Alan Rice

7:00 PM Saturday, August 17, 2013
The Ross School


This lecture provides an example of the evolution of a scientific theory through the employment of the “Scientific Method” and multidisciplinary investigation. The use of ‘gravity’ in geophysical investigations will be explained and how it led to speculations some years ago that there had been a major meteor impact in Antarctica, the crater some hundreds of miles across. There is rational for assuming the event is less than a million years old. Further work (including ice-penetrating radar and geological considerations) expanded the suggestion to many impacts. This tied in with the work of others who found meteoritic debris sourced from Antarctica (e.g., fossil plankton) scattered as far as Europe, Asia. This prompted an examination of cores drilled through the Antarctica ice cap and a search for meteoritic debris in the Transantarctic Mountains, encompassing distances of thousands of miles. In all cases, there was clear cut evidence of a massive impact event some 450,000 years ago which coincides with major climatic oceanic disruptions accompanied by a sudden spectacular rise in sea level (100 to 200 feet) inundating vast coastal regions. This disruption is labeled by oceanographers, climatologists, geochemists as the mid-Brunhes Event/MIS 11 Stage. The explanations offered for this event is the sudden loss of the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet, a possible result of major meteoritic impacts. We will explore the implications for mankind if large Antarctic impacts are still in the offing.

About the Presenter

Alan Rice received his doctorate from Columbia University with an emphasis on nuclear physics but moved off into other fields such as astronomy, astrophysics, geophysics, oceanography and environmental sciences. He’s been attached to Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory; Columbia University; Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; Los Alamos National Laboratory; School of Physics, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK; Geosciences, the University of Chicago; University of Colorado; University of Pretoria, South Africa; Depts of Physics and Geology, Rhodes University, South Africa; Dept. of Earth and Computer Sciences, Dept of Theoretical Geophysics, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands; City University of New York; State University of New York Stony Brook, Southampton College Sustainability program; He is also affiliated with the Dept. of Earth and Planetary Sciences, American Museum of Natural History. Amongst things, he is presently researching the effects of massive meteor impacts in Antarctica on the biosphere.

This program is partially funded by Suffolk County

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