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New Theory for the death of the dinosaurs

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#1 DangeRuss



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Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:50 PM

Anyone fancy some "light" reading?

I have just finished this research paper and would love any, honest feedback.
The theory is new although based on established research: the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs did not just hit the Earth like a nuclear bomb but was more like a bullet to the head: "The Earth Assassination Theory".
Had some excellent pointers from a Nobel Prize winner but what is that compared to the forum.

Earth Assassination Theory:


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#2 Sensei



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Posted 20 March 2017 - 10:27 PM

the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs did not just hit the Earth like a nuclear bomb


Nuclear bombs don't "hit Earth". They have the largest destructive effect when they are exploding couple hundred meters above surface.


Nuclear bomb is utilizing fission of unstable isotopes, which release large amount of energy. Which has nothing to do with asteroids or comets. They don't contain significant amount of fissile materials.

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#3 Argent



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Posted 20 March 2017 - 11:02 PM

There is quite a lot of detail here. Much of the material, as you note, is a restatement of preexisting ideas. To advance the discussion could you answer two questions:


What specific claims are different in your proposal from previous studies?


Why have you chosen the anthropomorphic term "assassination"? Assassinations are conscious acts. Use of the word is liable to cause some readers to dismiss your thesis from the outset and disappoint those attracted by the word who hoped for speculation about aliens who play bolide billiards. . 

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#4 DangeRuss



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Posted 21 March 2017 - 07:15 AM

Cheers Argent, that's exactly the feedback I'm looking for.


The existing theories for the KT boundary asteroid impact centre on the projectile hitting the Earth and disintegrating on impact. If you take this as your starting point, which all modern research on the event does, then the Deccan Traps, occurring on the other side of the world about the same time, can only have been created by "antipodal shock waves", energy waves traveling out from a single point (similar to a bomb) pulsing around the world to then meet up at another point, antipodal to where they were created. When the shock waves meet they push magma up through convergent pressure, similar to squeezing a zit.


This theory is completely new as it takes as its starting point the asteroid/comet did not explode on impact but was traveling so fast and with so much momentum that it pierced the Earth's crust and entered the mantle. Acknowledged research points to this but the hypothesis has never been proposed before.


The analogies of a bomb, bullet to the head, "zit" or assassination are crude but simple so the hypothesis can be quickly visualized. God help me if this is seized upon by conspiracy theorists. Not sure what I could do to stop that happening tho.


Cheers again Argent, top stuff  

Edited by DangeRuss, 21 March 2017 - 07:17 AM.

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#5 Argent



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Posted 21 March 2017 - 09:36 AM

Thank you for the reply. I have several additional points and questions. I hope these will help you refine your hypothesis.


Mantle Penetration


If you argue that the impactor penetrated the mantle you have to be able to demonstrate that. Here is a comment from an early study on the impact event. This study used a range of impactor densities, compositions and velocities. 


"As we pointed out earlier [Kring, 1995], there is no chemical or isotopic evidence of a mantle component involved in the impact melts produced by the Chicxulub impact event, consistent with the results here that indicate it is unlikely that the mantle was involved."


E.Pierazzo et al 'Hydrocode simulation of the Chicxulub impact event and the production of climatically active gases' 



The authors are not just arguing that the impactor failed to penetrate the mantle, but that "the intensity of the shock decays as it moves away from the impact point, and at the Earth's mantle the maximum shock pressure is not high enough to induce melting in any of the runs, with the exception of  the largest impacts, in particular, for the comet ones."


What evidence (simulation, field data, logical argument, etc.) can you bring to the table to support your assertion that the impactor penetrated the mantle? I think it would be important that such a demonstration showed that the penetration was quantitatively significant. 


To anticipate a perfectly reasonable objection you might make - have I cherry picked my research to support a counter argument? No. I selected the first paper I came across that suggested the mantle had not been penetrated. You have obviously already done some extensive reading on the subject. (My own reading on the event is restricted to the book by Alvarez and half a dozen papers.) There may be several research items out there that contradict a twenty year old paper. But if you cannot bring to the table such papers or present other evidence in support of your hypothesis then I fear it will be seen as an interesting idea that failed because of inadequate evidence.


Deccan Traps Eruptions


You state that when the antipodal " shock waves meet they push magma up through convergent pressure". This was not my understanding of the mechanism proposed for the Deccan Trap eruptions. The Deccan trap eruption began before the impact event and continued after it. There was no "pushing up of magma" but , as phrased in this excellent paper, "a change to the plumbing of the magma chambers".


You therefore need to do one of three things.


Produce evidence to support your "magma push" mechanism. 


Accept the current explanations, in which case, while they do not contradict your hypothesis, do not exclude the conventional theory.


Propose and demonstrate a mechanism for changing the character of the Deccan Trap eruptions that could only occur as a result of mantle penetration by the impactor.


Stylistic Considerations


You have put a lot of work into this. I am sure you want to be taken seriously. If you are addressing this hypothesis to a bunch of adolescents who get their science from Discovery Channel documentaries then comparing the Deccan Traps to a zit and talking about assassination are perfect. However, if you wish this to be considered as a genuine contribution to an understanding of events at and around the KT boundary, then you need to lose the graphic candy floss.


You say  "God help me if this is seized upon by conspiracy theorists. Not sure what I could do to stop that happening tho."


Easy - don't give them ammunition to assassinate your idea, exploding it like a giant, thermonuclear zit. 




I love planets. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to talk about one. In preparing this reply I've already learned much I didn't know yesterday.

Edited by Argent, 21 March 2017 - 09:37 AM.

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#6 studiot



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Posted 21 March 2017 - 10:47 AM

Reconstruction of past events and periods can be difficult and complex.

Sometimes different indicators point in different or even opposed direction.


First here is an extract about Chicxulub from a book that is a masterpiece of balancing all the conflicting evidence.

This suggests that there is definite geophysical evidence for the activity reaching and affecting the mantle, though there is no suggestion that the meteorite survived even partially intact, like a bullet.





Now to suggest that shock waves from this event which was effectively instantaneous somehow initiated up to a million years of successive lava flows require that it occurred before the lava.


These recent references suggest otherwise.


The impact




The Deccan




Returning to the book I referred to unfortunately it is mainly about the Permian/Triassic boundary extinction but does provide an unbiased examination of the available evidence at its time of writing for other significant extinction effects, including the KT one in question.

The techniques and trains of thought are worthy of examination.


Paleontological, paleobotanical and so on evidence should be examined in both land, sea and air enviroments as well as evidence from inert matter both in type, disposition and mechanical, chemical and or thermal disruptions.


Any proposed mechanism should be tested against the known geographical distributions of the land masses at the time of invocation of that mechanism.

Are you talking an S or P wave?

I can see the idea of an S wave temporarily opening a preexisting weakness to allow the exudation of magma, which then forced a widening of the breach and further outflow.

Do you mean a true shock wave, which is the result of something material travelling fast than the local speed of sound, or something different?


I agree with Argent the language is rather over dramatic for a scientific discussion.

Remember also that the proposal is a hypothesis; a theory is rather more.

Edited by studiot, 21 March 2017 - 10:48 AM.

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#7 DangeRuss



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Posted 21 March 2017 - 11:01 AM

Now we're talking, this is exactly what I am looking for as challenges to my theory are far more productive than praise.


Mantle Penetration:


Thank you for referring to Kring 1995 as that is renowned and respected paper.

I have not challenged Kring's findings for 3 reasons:

1. Kring refers to "impact melts" which are only created when a projectile hits the Earth's surface and is destroyed, leaving a meteorite crater. Quote the Planetary Science Institute: "...so much melt is produced that it forms in the central parts of an impact crater to form cater-fill deposits." My theory is Chicxulub is not a classic impact crater but an "entrance wound" where the comet punched through the Earth's crust. The material in the centre of the Chicxulub crater is not classic impact melt but more closely resembling basalt that cooled over a long period of time. This, to use simple analogies again, is more similar to a wound healing than the surrounding Earth being melted and re-solidifying.

2. To quote your quote: "... the intensity of the shock decays as it moves away from the impact point...". Fring accepts this line of research because the benchmark is the impactor hit the Earth, was destroyed, created a crater and the shock waves moved away from the impact point through 360 degrees. Only if the comet pierced the Earth, entered the mantle and stopped inside the planet could it then have obeyed the laws of ballistics whereby instead of shock waves decaying as they moved away from a central impact point the projectile's momentum was converted into a pulse of energy that moved forward and through the centre of the Earth. 

3. More recent research, my paper quotes Hector Durand-Manterola and Guadalupe Cordero-Tercero's research but there are other examples, has discovered the meteorite/asteroid/comet that hit the Earth at Chicxulub was bigger, traveling faster and of a more dense material than thought by Kring. This research points to the projectile penetrating the Earth's crust.


The Deccan Traps:


The general consensus today for the creation of the Deccan Traps is a giant magma plume from deep within the Earth. There have been questions around the Deccan Traps beginning 1 million years before the Chicxulub impact. However, more recent modeling by internationally known Dr Paul Renne at Berkeley has pushed the impact back a million years so both events did occur at the same time, 66 million years ago.

The exact science of how and why magma plumes are created deep within the planet and then find their way to the surface, as at Hawaii today, are inconclusive. There are many theories. I am just adding another theory. If, as the research suggests, a comet did pierce the Earth's crust and enter the mantle then it would obey Newton's laws. Ballistics is clear: when a high speed projectile comes to a stop inside an object the kinetic momentum is transferred directly forward. Not out in all different direction like a meteorite impact but straight ahead. This is a pressure wave. For me, the pressure wave in this case created the magma plume by traveling through the centre of the Earth and pushing up the magma from below.


So while the Chicxulub impact could be seen as an entrance wound so the Deccan Traps can be viewed as where the pressure wave exited.




Thank you for identifying this. The real problem is a solution. Yes, some of the language is sensationalist but there is years of research, backed up by research from renowned scientists around the world, in this paper.


But here's the problem. You can only be published one of two ways: By being a world renowned name - which I am not. Or by grabbing people's attention. The theory could easily be The Kinetic Energy Transfer from the Chichxulub Impact created the Deccan Traps. If I could co-operate with a leading geophysicist then it may become so but at the moment I need the sensationalism so people read the paper and I can work with their feedback, like yours, that is so essential at present.


Thanks again, all best 





Cheers Studiot. Some of your points are discussed in the paper but you are correct that the "Earth Assassination Theory" needs to change as it is, in fact, the "Earth Assassination Hypothesis".


Any better title suggestions welcome....

Edited by DangeRuss, 21 March 2017 - 12:16 PM.

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#8 Velocity_Boy



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Posted 30 March 2017 - 06:23 PM

Anyone fancy some "light" reading?

I have just finished this research paper and would love any, honest feedback.
The theory is new although based on established research: the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs did not just hit the Earth like a nuclear bomb but was more like a bullet to the head: "The Earth Assassination Theory".
Had some excellent pointers from a Nobel Prize winner but what is that compared to the forum.

Earth Assassination Theory:




That is not a theory, as it has never had any of its ideas tested and verified.


Rather, it barely qualifies as a hypothesis. And one which has thus far yielded any observable supporting physical evidence.

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