CCNet 63/2000, 2 June 2000

     "What we found suggests that the dinosaurs were thriving, that they
     were doing extremely well during that time. The asteroid impact  
     bought a sudden and very abrupt demise to species that were healthy
     and doing well."
          -- Peter M. Sheehan, Milwaukee Public Museum

    Ilan Manulis

    Infobeat, 1 June 2000

    Andrew Yee

    Bob Kobres

    Michael Paine <>

    Larry Klaes

    Pierre Oppetit <>

    John McCue <]

    Dave English <

     New York Post, 30 May 2000


From Ilan Manulis <>

Dear Benny,

Please visit the following Web page for the latest analysis regarding
the fate of the dinosaurs. It seems they might not have declined
gradually, after all...

Best regards,

Ilan Manulis

Chairman, Solar System Small Objects Section
The Israeli Astronomical Association


From Infobeat, 1 June 2000

Study Backs Quick End of Dinosaurs
By PAUL RECER, AP Science Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) Dinosaurs died quickly, snuffed out by the impact of an
asteroid that sent a wall of fire and death racing across North America,
an analysis of fossils found in Montana and North Dakota concludes. The
finding casts doubt on a theory the dinosaurs died out slowly and that
the asteroid impact was simply an end-the-misery trauma for an
almost-vanished species, said Peter M. Sheehan of the Milwaukee Public
Museum, first author of the study appearing Thursday in the journal

Researchers analyzed the number and distribution of fossils across large
parts of the two states, where the animals roamed some 65 million years
ago. "What we found suggests that the dinosaurs were thriving, that they
were doing extremely well during that time," Sheehan said. "The asteroid
impact bought a sudden and very abrupt demise to species that were
healthy and doing well."

The research adds weight on one side of a debate among experts who study
the dinosaur and how the huge animals died. One group, often called the
gradualists, believes the dinosaurs were slowly dying out, that they
were weak and beginning to disappear when the asteroid hit. William A.
Clemens of the University of California, Berkeley, a leader of the
gradualists, said the Sheehan study fails to prove the asteroid theory
of dinosaur extinction. Sheehan and others believe it was the asteroid
impact's alone that killed the dinosaurs in one, swift fiery eruption,
followed by weeks of deep cold.

The gradualists base their argument on a 20-year-old study that found
few dinosaur fossils in the top 9 feet of a rock deposit, called the
Hell Creek Formation, that was laid down in North Dakota and Montana
during the last two million years before the asteroid impact. Based on
the scarcity of fossils, the gradualists believe the 200-million-year
reign of the terrible lizard was already drawing to a close when the
asteroid arrived.

But Sheehan said a three-year survey of outcroppings of the Hell Creek
Formation shows fossils throughout the deposit and that dinosaurs lived
there in vigorous numbers and varieties until the very end.

"We looked at the community of dinosaurs in the Hell Creek formation
and found they were not changing," Sheehan said. "If they were going
through a gradual extinction, we would have expected to see some change.
We found no evidence of a decline.'" Sheehan said that through the whole
180-foot depth of the Hell Creek formation, the species mix and numbers
of dinosaurs were the same, with Tyrannosaurus as the most common
carnivore and the Triceratops the most common plant eater. This was
true, he said, right up to the 2 centimeter layer that marks the impact.

This layer, found virtually everywhere on Earth, is rich in iridium, a
rare element brought to Earth by the asteroid. The iridium layer sits
atop the Hell Creek formation. "The abundance of dinosaur fossils in the
upper three meters (9feet, 9 inches) of sediment immediately underlying
the impact layer is well within the range of many intervals lower in the
Hell Creek formation," the study says. After the impact layer, there are
no dinosaur fossils.

To gather the data, scores of volunteers spent three summers combing
more than 11 million square meters of North Dakota and Montana, walking
shoulder-to-shoulder in a search for dinosaur fossils. They found the
bones of almost a thousand dinosaurs sprinkled throughout the exposed
levels of the Hell Creek formation. Clemens said that the weakness of
the Sheehan study is that it fails to go back far enough in history. He
said that deposits five million and six million years old contain a much
richer variety and number of dinosaur fossils, suggesting the animals
were declining when the Hell Creek formation was deposited. Clemens also
said the Sheehan study does not consider the effect an asteroid
extinction would have on other species. ``You need to consider the whole
fauna,'' Clemens said. "Why did amphibians go through this period
unaffected? There was adiversity of birds and they go through this
period unaffected."

On the Net:
General dinosaur site:
Extinction theories:


From Andrew Yee <>

University of Calgary
Calgary, Alberta

Media contacts:
Dennis Urquhart
University Communications
University of Calgary
(403) 220-7722
cell: (403) 650-1153

Marcia Daniel
Communications and Public Affairs
The University of Western Ontario
(519) 661-2111 ext. 85165

May 31, 2000

Outdoorsman Jim Brook and scientists at The University of Western
Ontario (UWO) and the University of Calgary (U of C) have recovered the
largest meteorite fall in Canadian history. Analysis shows the
meteorite is composed of a very rare material, making it among the most
scientifically significant meteorite finds worldwide.

The meteorites fell on the morning of January 18, 2000 in a remote area
between Atlin, British Columbia and Carcross, Yukon Territory. A week
later on January 25th, a nearby resident, Jim Brook, found the first
meteorite fragments while driving homewards on the ice of Taku Arm in
Tagish Lake.

Jim Brook describes his discovery, "I was watching closely for
meteorites and suspected their identity as soon as I saw them, although
I had been fooled several times by wolf droppings. It was obvious what
they were as soon as I picked one up, because rocks aren't found on the
ice, and I could see the outer melted crust. I was very happy and
excited." Darkness soon ended additional meteorite hunting that day,
but Jim was back the next morning, collecting several dozen of the
space rocks.

Since that find, U of C and UWO researchers, working with the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), have made several trips to
the area to collect samples of the very fragile meteorites and to map
the fall area. To date, 500 fragments have been found and hundreds have
been recovered from the site -- many still encased in ice.

"This is the find of a lifetime," says Peter Brown, meteor scientist in
the Department of Physics and Astronomy at The University of Western
Ontario and co-leader of the meteorite recovery investigation. "The
size of the initial object, the extreme rarity and organic richness of
the meteorites combined with the number we have uncovered make this a
truly unique event."

"Of all the times I dreamed of finding meteorites, I never thought of
finding them like this," says Alan Hildebrand (left), planetary
scientist in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University
of Calgary and the other investigation co-leader. "One day while I was
picking pieces of meteorite out of porous ice I thought that the
experience must be a bit like sampling on the surface of a comet. We
believe these to be the most fragile meteorites ever recovered."
Initial analysis by Michael Zolensky, a meteoriticist at NASA's Johnson
Space Center showed the meteorites were a type of carbonaceous
chondrite -- a rare, organically rich, charcoal-like class of
meteorites. Zolensky says that his work and that of colleagues
"provides indications that the meteorites are unique carbonaceous
chondrites with hints of relation to the CI chondrites." Carbonaceous
chondrite meteorites make up about three per cent of meteorite finds.

The possible chemical class of this fall constitutes less than 0.1 per
cent of all meteorites recovered to date, and represents the most
primordial samples known from the early solar system. While the
possibilities have researchers very excited, the meteorites' true
significance remains to be fully understood. However, Jim Brook's
careful collection of pristine meteorites from the icebox of a Canadian
winter and subsequent frozen storage has opened brand new doors for
meteorite researchers around the world.

The Nomenclature Committee of the Meteoritical Society has officially
designated the name Tagish Lake Meteorite for the fall specimens.
Using eyewitness and photographic data gathered during the field
investigations, and observations from two US Department of Defense
satellite systems, the trajectory and velocity of the fireball were
determined. The ability to calculate this is a relatively new
development in meteorite science -- essentially allowing researchers to
determine a meteorite's pre-fall size, orbit and origin in space.

"There have only been four previous meteorites for which accurate
orbits are known and no orbits for a carbonaceous chondrite have ever
been secured," says Brown. "The entire process of recovery of the
material and determination of where it comes from makes this the
scientific equivalent of an actual sample-return space mission -- at a
thousandth of the cost."

"The Tagish Lake fall is the largest ever recorded over land by the
satellite systems," notes Hildebrand. "The recovery of hundreds of
meteorites allows studies which will precisely constrain the
meteorite's size when it entered the Earth's atmosphere. Calibrating
the satellite observations for such a large object will help us
understand all the fireballs that the satellites record around the
globe, in effect creating a global fireball camera system. These
observations will increase our knowledge of both the hazards and
opportunities created by the Earth-crossing asteroids and comets."

In the same spirit with which hundreds of eyewitnesses described their
observations and donated photographs and videos to the investigation,
and the U.S. Department of Defense quickly supplied satellite data, the
two universities and Jim Brook have agreed to immediately make
available some of the rare meteorite to researchers. Forty grams of
once water-soaked (but now dried) meteorite fragments are now available
on a proposal basis to interested researchers. Work descriptions and
sample requirements (to a maximum length of one page) should be sent to for consideration before June 30, 2000.

Material for analysis will be provided to all successful proposals
within 30 days barring unanticipated circumstances.



January 18, 2000 - The fireball
A spectacular meteor crosses the Yukon Territory into northern British
Columbia at 08:43 PST. Eyewitnesses reported a brilliant, multicolored
fireball that lit up the countryside. Sizzling sounds and peculiar
smells that remain to be adequately explained accompanied the fireball.
Ground shaking detonations followed a few minutes after the meteor's
passage when its sound arrived at the and surface. The fireball and
its explosions were so stunning that local residents were concerned
about the safety of their children and friends. The fireball was also
observed by satellites in Earth orbit, maintained by the U.S.
Department of Defense (D of D). These observations established an
asteroid weighing 200 tonnes and approximately five metres across had
impacted the Earth's atmosphere. Data from D of D satellites were
available within hours of the event, the quickest any such data have
been released after a bolide event by the D of D.

January 19, 2000 - Airbourne sampling
From information gathered via email and press reports, Peter Brown,
meteor scientist at The University of Western Ontario, discusses with
Dr. Michael Zolensky of NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) the
possibility of arranging an ER-2 aircraft sampling flight over the area
to attempt to recover small airborne particles. A series of two flights
is approved, but technical problems ground a first flight and only one
air photo/air sampling flight is performed on January 21, 2000.
Analysis of particles from this air-sampling mission are ongoing.

January 26, 2000 - Meteorites discovered
While Jim Brook was driving south on the ice of Taku Arm, Tagish Lake,
British Columbia, he noticed small dark rocks on the ice. He suspected
that these were meteorites from the fireball. He carefully collected
the rocks, covering his fingers with clean plastic and placing the
meteorites in plastic bags. Brook uncovered almost one kilogram of this
material during a total of only a few hours of searching on the lake
ice late on January 25 and early on January 26. Snow blankets the area
on January 27 ending recovery opportunities.

February 7, 2000 - Rare meteorite type confirmed
Zolensky receives two samples from Brook with transportation arranged
by the Geological Survey of Canada. He confirms their suspected
identification as carbonaceous chondrites. Counting of short-lived
cosmogenic nuclides begins immediately at JSC.

February 16 - 28, 2000 - Fireball investigation and field search
An initial field investigation is led by Brown and Hildebrand to the
fall area. Eyewitnesses of the fireball across the Yukon and northern
B.C. are interviewed, and video and photographic stills of the
long-lasting dust cloud left by the fireball are gathered. An initial
path through the atmosphere is calculated. The lake area and adjacent
forest along Taku Arm, Tagish Lake, where the initial meteorites were
recovered is searched in an effort to recover more pristine material.
However, the heavy snow cover proves insurmountable. The decision is
made that, if more meteorites are present, they probably can't be found
until the spring melt arrives.

April 6 - 15, 2000 - Second expedition
Additional fireball data are gathered. From the information obtained
during the first field investigation a more accurate path has been
derived for the fireball trajectory. With velocity data from satellite
observations, calculations were performed as to where meteorites of
various sizes would have fallen to narrow the potential search area.

April 15 - 19, 2000 - Spring thaw accelerates
Searching of the fall area begins again despite continued snow cover.
Snow depths decrease during these five days as temperatures increase.
Searching bare spots on land yields no meteorites.

April 20, 2000 - Meteorites found
The first meteorites are found and a race against time begins. The Taku
Arm lake ice would soon melt and ever changing conditions complicated
field work. In the first few days less than 10 meteorites were
recovered per day. These meteorites were absorbing sunlight and rapidly
sinking through the meter-thick ice. The recovery team wondered how
much longer meteorites could be found and retrieved. Then searching
conditions improved and totals found soared, reaching a high of
94 meteorites in one day.

May 8, 2000 - Unsafe conditions and an exhausted team
The ice in the fall region had become unsafe, and recovery efforts
stop. Approximately 500 meteorites had been found on Taku Arm in a
strewn field 16 kilometres long and three kilometres wide. Thousands
more fell on the ice and the surrounding hills and mountains, but none
have yet been found on land. Approximately 200 meteorites were
recovered totaling five to 10 kilograms in mass, but most of this
material remains frozen and a tonne of meteorite-bearing ice is now in
storage. A field effort consisting of 234 person field days is now
over. This recovery effort is believed unique in the history of

May 28, 2000 - Meteorites "drown"

Jim Brook reports that the ice of Taku Arm is now gone.
Field Recovery Participants:
February 16 - 28, 2000:
Mr. Andrew Bird (U of C - Geology and Geophysics)
Mr. Jim Brook
Dr. Peter Brown (UWO - Physics and Astronomy)
Dr. Alan Hildebrand (U of C - Geology and Geophysics)
Mr. Mike Mazur (U of C - Geology and Geophysics)
Ms. Tina Mazur-Rubak (U of C - Educational Psychology)

April 6 - May 8, 2000:
Mr. Jim Brook
Dr. Peter Brown (UWO - Physics and Astronomy)
Ms. Margaret Campbell (UWO - Physics and Astronomy)
Mr. Robert Carpenter (UWO - Earth Sciences)
Mrs. Heather Gingerich (UWO - Earth Sciences)
Ms. Erika Greiner (UWO - Earth Sciences)
Mr. Mike Glatiotis (U of C - Geology and Geophysics)
Dr. Alan Hildebrand (U of C - Geology and Geophysics)
Mr. Philip McCausland (UWO - Earth Science)
Mr. Mike Mazur (U of C - Geology and Geophysics)
Dr. Howard Plotkin (UWO - Philosophy)
Ms. Doreen Stangel
Dr. Edward Tagliaferri (Aerospace Corporation - Los Angeles, CA)


Carbonaceous Chondrites: A rare class of meteorites that have suffered
exposure to water on their original parent body surfaces in space. This
meteorite group is among the most primitive material in the solar
system, having generally escaped from high-temperature processing.
Carbonaceous chondrites are also unique in that they contain
significant carbon, primarily in the form of organic compounds similar
to those found in living organisms on Earth. Amino acids, for example,
have been identified in carbonaceous chondrites, including a large
number which do not occur naturally on Earth. These meteorites are
metal-poor and water rich, in contrast to almost all other meteorite

Satellite Systems: The U.S. Department of Defense maintains two
satellite systems that can detect fireballs caused by asteroidal and
cometary fragments entering Earth's atmosphere. One system consists of
visible light sensors which 'stare' continuously at the Earth; they
have high temporal resolution of transient flashes and measure the
total energy released at visible wavelengths. A second system of
detectors is sensitive in the infrared (IR) and scan across the visible
face of the Earth at intervals; the IR detectors can provide location
and velocity information for fireballs.
Map of Tagish Lake, B.C., and location of meteorites:
The Canadian Meteorite Catalogue:


Research Scientist
The University of Western Ontario

Peter Brown is the co-leader of the Northern British Columbia meteor
recovery investigation. A recent PhD graduate from the Department of
Physics and Astronomy at The University of Western Ontario, he is now a
research scientist in the Department. He came to Western from the
University of Alberta in 1992 to complete his master's (1994) and
doctorate degrees (1999) under the supervision of UWO physics and
astronomy professor Jim Jones.

Brown has held fellowships from the Institute for Space and Terrestrial
Science and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. In
1995, he was awarded the Governor-General's Gold Medal at UWO for top
graduate student performance. The Jan. 1, 2000 issue of MacLean's
magazine named him as one of the top 100 young Canadians to watch in
the 21st century.

Recognized internationally as an expert on meteors, Brown has presented
to officials at the Pentagon, the North American Aerospace Defence Command
and the U.S. Air Force Space Command on the effects that meteors may have on
satellites. Since 1993, he has served on the Meteorites and
Impacts Advisory Committee of the Canadian Space Agency and has
authored or co-authored more than 30 research publications.

Associate Professor
University of Calgary

Alan Hildebrand is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geology
and Geophysics of the University of Calgary. He joined U of C in 1999
after working seven years at the Geological Survey of Canada in the
impact crater group. He received a doctorate in planetary sciences from
the University of Arizona in 1992. A 1977 B.Sc. in geology from the
University of New Brunswick launched him into a career in mineral
exploration before his return to graduate school. Hildebrand's primary
research interest has been impact cratering and he is best known for
his role in discovering the Chicxulub crater, Mexico. He was honoured
by the International Astronomical Union as namesake to asteroid 5661
for this work.

Hildebrand remains active in the fields of impact crater structure,
impact ejecta and environmental effects of impacts. His current
research projects include exploring two buried craters and their
associated economic deposits. He is Coordinator of the Canadian
Fireball Reporting Centre and also investigates fireballs and
associated meteorite falls as a means of exploring the near-Earth
population of asteroids and comets. He is an active popularizer of
science; besides frequently lecturing he has participated in numerous
documentaries describing impacts' effects on the Earth's biosphere. He
would rather be in the field than in the office.


Jim Brook is an outdoorsman and pilot who has long experience with
geology from his involvement with geological field schools. He and his
mother, Marion, run a lodge and commercial air service based on the
south shore of Graham Inlet, Tagish Lake, in remote northwestern
British Columbia. Here Jim pursues aeronautical projects and Marion
raises Sheltie dogs in a delightful setting as yet uncomplicated by an
internet hook up.


From Bob Kobres <>

"We were out on the lake on April 20 when we came across a hole in the
snow with dark material at the bottom. It looked like wolf droppings but
it was actually a carbonaceous chondrite! We spent days harvesting and
came out with over 400 fragments. The biggest single piece was 200-300
grams; the total mass collected was 5 - 10 kilograms. The only reason
that we were able to recover these things is that they were frozen on
ice. Water turns these carbonaceous chondrites into mush -- it looks
like a black organic sludge when you add water."
. . .
Carbonaceous chondrites, which comprise only about 2 percent of
meteorites known to have fallen to Earth, are typically difficult to
recover because they easily break down during entry into Earth's
atmosphere and during weathering on the ground.
"They are rare because they are so very fragile," continued Brown. "You
need an incoming meteorite that's huge -- something that can afford to
lose hundreds of metric tons as it blazes through the atmosphere and
still deposit many kilograms on the ground."
The fragments -- lumps of crumbly rock with scorched, pitted surfaces --
resembled partly used charcoal briquettes: black, porous, fairly light
-- about the same density as lightweight pumice.

Whole blurb at:



From Michael Paine <>

Dear Benny,

BBC also has a story on the 'Snowball Earth' research
It includes the following hypothesis for defrosting the Earth:

'...until volcanic activity had pumped sufficient CO2 into the
atmosphere to raise temperatures and defrost the Earth.'
It amazes me that climatologists seem so reluctant to consider the
possibility that a large cosmic impact could produce conditions needed
to thaw out the Earth. Given a few hundred million years, the odds are
that a big enough impact would occur. Of course, an 'impact winter'
could also trigger colder conditions. There appears to be a delicate
balance for the effects that dominate (net cooling or warming).
See also Scientific American 'Snowball Earth'

On the subject of impacts and climate, I have started to put together
some notes about my investigations of the apparent major impact in
Indo-China 800,000 years ago. It includes a table of possible climate
effects, derived mainly from the published work of Owen Toon and
colleagues. Several people have provided comment and I have not have a
chance to fully review the document at this stage but further comments
are welcome.

Michael Paine

P.S. Not all climatologists ignore impacts. See this link


From Larry Klaes <>

Forwarded from Jason E. Perry" <>

Here are some notes I want make:

1) I am making a new website on Io, just Io.  It will have tons of
pictures from Galileo and Voyager, scientific papers on Io, a
"Traveler's Guide To Io," and a 40 page article on Io I am writing up
based on the Io Fact Sheet.  I am trying to get all the info I know
into one website so this will take me a while.  I will post on the
list as soon as I get it done.  I hope to get it done before the
beginning of the school year in August.

2) In speaking of school, the last day of school was today so I will
be focusing more on the list now.  I'm going to try posting some of
the stuff I have in my binders.

3) I found an abstract in my binder on the ancient water ocean on Io.
Thsi was a paper by Jeffery Kargel for the Io during the Galileo Era
Conference in Sept. 1997.  It explains that Io would have had an
initial water outer layer had Jupiter was cooler during formation
which is entirely possible with the new evidence of Jupiter forming
farther out in the solar system.  This paper also talks about
impuities in sulfur near hot springs on Earth and fow they relate to
Io.  They mentioned some natural sulfur specimens as beeing green in
color but they can't identify the contaminate.  They give silicates,
chalcophile, and iron as possible contaminates.  The abstract can be
found at

4) Another reminder that there is a webchat tomorrow night at 9 pm
EDT/ 8 pm CDT.  I apolgize for not being there last week.  I had
family visiting this weekend and I didn't have much time last Friday
but I will be there this week.  The topic is on the Upcoming AGU
meeting so we will discuss the papers in that meeting.  The address
for the chat room is .

5) With the recent posts of articles to the file vault, I am becoming
increasingly aware that some people can't access the site.  So to
solve this, if you have an article you would like to post for the
list, if its less than 50K, you can post it on the list.  Only
articles and they have to be less than 50K.  If its slightly more, let
me know first.

6) On the impact on Io in 1983, I have yet to see anything that might
be that size caldera-wise.  This increases the possibility of
electrical arcing. Can someone please explain electrical arcing to me?

7) Tons of "new" Jupiter system and Saturn system images have been
posted in the Planetary Photojournal.  All of these images were taken
by Voyager 1 and Voyager 2.  There are images of: Vahalla on Callisto,
a few of Ganymede, Maasaw Patera on Io, Pele on Io, Loki on Io, a
caldera east of Menahka Patera on Io, a few of Saturn's Rings, small
moons of Saturn, Iapetus, Tethys, a cresent of Titan, Rhea, Dione, and

Jason Perry
ICQ # 36809679

Moderator of ; join at


From Pierre Oppetit <>

News Release


Pierre Oppetit
Spacelinks Limited
+44 (0)1491 832671
New Web site presents worldwide list of available space jobs
First-of-its-kind site The Space Careers Jobs Store offers one-stop

Job seekers in the aerospace industry need no longer search dozens of
Web sites to find the perfect job. The British company Spacelinks
Limited announces The Jobs Store, a new Web site that features a
comprehensive listing of available positions in the worldwide space

"Until now, jobseekers had two choices: peruse several dozen Web sites
run by the individual companies, or rely upon Web sites that only posted
paid advertising," said company director Pierre Oppetit. "The Jobs Store
changes all that by providing the job seeker with one-stop shopping."

By visiting The Jobs Store at,
jobseekers can download a list of the jobs available at a wide variety
of companies all over the world.

The Jobs Store provides a comprehensive list of around 400 open
positions each week, automatically retrieved from literally hundreds of
sources, then reviewed by skilled professionals to ensure relevance.
Adding the human touch saves jobseekers the time and aggravation of
wading through
dozens of non-space related jobs, and maximizes their efficiency in
searching for that perfect position.

Those who log on to The Jobs Store see how many jobs are available
during that week, and in which categories. Job seekers who want more
information, including job titles, job descriptions, location,
contact information, etc., pay the nominal rate of US$2.50 for a week's
worth of information. For less than the price of a cup of coffee a day,
aerospace job seekers can save hours of surfing and find their ideal job
in a fraction of the time.

The Jobs Store features space jobs for candidates from every level of
qualification: from those new to the job market to seasoned
professionals. The Jobs Store is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week



From John McCue < ]

Dear Benny,

Wheteher life was brought here to earth by an extraterrestrial mechanism
or not (and, like Fred Hoyle, I instinctively feel it did), it certainly
had to endure for a long time conditions unimaginable to ourselves as
humans. Its determination was unstoppable.

Andrew Glikson's essay on March 13 put this matter sharply into focus,
and it has been developed in a wider sense at a recent RAS discussion
meeting, reported in Astronomy and Geophysics (June, 2000, vol. 41, 3).
One of the conributors, Kevin Zahnle (NASA - Ames) described the sources
and sinks for CO2 in the earth's early atmosphere, although current
theory argues against a greenhouse effect in the Archaean, somewhat
against the rock record from Isua, Greenland, described at the meeting
by Minik Rosing of the Danish Lithosphere Centre.

All this prompted me to look again at calculations I had made previously
in collaboration with a geologist colleague, Mr. Graham Oram. We
estimated global temperatures going back to the beginning of the
Archaean era by assuming that the earth's primitive atmosphere contained
(like Venus and Mars) a large amount of carbon dioxide, in fact building
up gradually to a level of 99% by mass coming up to 2 billion years ago.
During the next 1, 300 million years, we assumed the CO2 content had
fallen to 36%, and then to 9% during the next 400 million years, finally
dropping to its present value. The CO2, as is well known, absorbed into
the earth's crust to produce carbonate rocks such as limestone, and
photosynthetically converted into oxygen by algae and plants.

I then applied greenhouse theory, and arrived at a maximum global
temperature of 280 deg. C. at an epoch 2 billion years ago. Only
thermophilic organisms have any chance of surviving such temperatures,
although, as described in Andrew Glikson's essay, this is well above the
breakdown limit of DNA of 150 deg. C.

Are these temperatures the main reason why life was held back for 3
billion years? The first bacteria appeared 3, 800 million years ago, but
it only took the last 700 million years for life to explode into the
rich tapestry we see today.

Best wishes,

Dr. John McCue, FRAS,
(Stockton Sixth Form College, Maths)
40, Bradbury Rd.,
TS20 1LE.


From Dave English < >  

Mr. Peiser,

Thank you for sticking to science concerning the global warming
debate. It wouldn't surprise me that anthopological influences will
climate in the future but I believe most climatic changes we see now are

mostly a continuation of the warming of the inter-glacial period that we

have enjoyed for the last ten thousand years.

While global warming will make life more difficult, it's nothing
compared to what would happen with global cooling and a resumption of
the ice ages. We can see a small window into what we would face with
global cooling during the worst of winter storms where large areas are
isolated for weeks because all ground and air traffic is suspended. In
time glaciers would cover much of the presently dense population centers
of Europe and America. This would be a great disaster creating a need
for massive migrations to food producing land and wars to possess it.
Global warming would be an inconvenience, global cooling a potencial
disaster for mankind that could alter our future to endless regressive
wars of survival as whole peoples migrated to warmer climates displacing
others. It would end our advancement as we know it, so for the time
being, put another lump of coal on the fire!  

Dave English
Oceanside, California


From New York Post, 30 May 2000



FOR a dozen years, pop superstar Sting has warned that man has
brought the Amazon rainforest to the verge of extinction.
He and a host of celebrities have insisted that Amazonia - 2.7
million square miles of nearly impenetrable Brazilian forest, an
area nearly as big as the lower 48 states - is being destroyed at
a horrifying rate.

But now, two of the world's top eco-scientists, Patrick Moore and
Philip Stott, say the save-the-rainforest movement is wrong: at
best, vastly misleading; at worst, a gigantic con.

"All these save-the-forests arguments are based on bad science,"
says Moore, a founding member of Greenpeace who recently returned
from a fact-finding mission to the Amazon.

"They are quite simply wrong. We found that the Amazon rainforest
is more than 90 percent intact. We flew over it and met all the
environmental authorities. We studied satellite pictures of the
entire area."

TV reporter Marc Morano, who's spent more than a year
investigating the rainforest movement's claims for an American
Investigator TV program that will be broadcast nationally next
month, says he was amazed when he discovered the truth.
He says the statistics he found--backed up by satellite imagery of
the forests--speak for themselves.

"We learned that only 12.5 percent of the original Amazon has been
deforested, leaving 87.5 percent intact," he said.
"Of the 12.5 percent deforested, one-third to one-half of that
land is fallow or in the process of regeneration. That means that
at any given moment up to 94 percent of the total Amazon is left
to nature. That is not wanton destruction."

Stott, who has spent nearly 30 years studying tropical forests,
agrees. "Many of these stars want to have an impact beyond their normal
music and the environment is an area that they feel they can move
into quite easily. It's a convenient one for them to go to. So a
lot of the young teenagers, the 14-, 15-, 16-year-olds, follow
them," he says.

Everyone has jumped on the rainforest bandwagon - from actor
Leonardo DiCaprio to supermodel Naomi Campbell, from Greenpeace to
the Rainforest Foundation, the group formed by Sting and his wife,
Trudie Styler.

William Shatner - "Star Trek's" Capt. Kirk - beamed down to earth
to narrate a National Geographic video, saying "rainforest is
being cleared at the rate of 20 football fields per minute."
These eco-warriors say the rainforests are the lungs of the earth,
pumping out oxygen. Without them, they say, we will all choke on
polluting hydrocarbons.

The eco-warriors turned out in force last month for the 10th
annual Save the Rainforest rock concert at Carnegie Hall.
Sting, Elton John, Billy Joel and Tom Jones joined hands with
Ricky Martin, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder before a sellout
crowd of 1,800.

During one set, Sting, Jones and Martin donned Day-Glo wigs to
become Gladys Knight's backup group, the Pips. After the concert, the
celebrities trooped to the Pierre for an auction.

Marie Claire magazine editor Glenda Bailey paid $8,000 for lunch
with Courtney Cox. An afternoon sail on Billy Joel's yacht went
for $20,000. A walk-on part on "Law and Order" cost $45,000.
And co-chairwoman Sarah Ban Breathnach paid $140,000 to do a duet
with Sting on "Every Breath You Take."

Altogether, the night raised more than $2.7 million for Sting's
foundation, and the feel-good factor was enormous.

THE rainforest movement started when the environmentally friendly
Body Shop company decided to buy nuts from Amazon Indians to put
in its lotions.

Not to be outdone, Sting took three Amazon tribal chiefs on a
world tour in 1989. First stops: the pope and French President
Francois Mitterrand.

Brazilian environment minister Otavio Moreira Lima was furious.
"We see this melancholy spectacle of an Amazon chief in Europe
being presented like a prized wild animal in the hands of a rock
singer," he said. "This is revolting and I consider it an
affront." But he was ignored.

Now an increasing number of scientists are siding with the
Brazilians, who have for years insisted that while their Amazon
policy may have been flawed initially, it has since been

Among them are Moore, a Canadian who helped found Greenpeace, and
Stott, professor of biogeography at London University's School of
Oriental and African Studies and editor of the Journal of

Both started as conventional environmentalists - agreeing with the
accepted wisdom that the rainforests are endangered.
Moore, in particular, was in the vanguard of Greenpeace's early
direct-action campaigns, sailing into nuclear test grounds to get
the United States, then France, to stop nuclear testing in the

But in the '80s and early '90s the two independently started to
dig deeper into the rainforest issue. Separately, they came to
remarkably similar conclusions - public opinion is wrong.
'IF THE rainforest in Amazonia was being destroyed at the rate
critics say, it would have all vanished ages ago," Stott says.
"One of the simple, but very important, facts is that the
rainforests have only been around for between 12,000 and 16,000
years. That sounds like a very long time but, in terms of the
history of the earth, it's hardly a pinprick.

"Before then, there were hardly any rainforests. They are very
young. It is just a big mistake that people are making.
"The simple point is that there are now still - despite what
humans have done - more rainforests today than there were 12,000
years ago."

"This lungs of the earth business is nonsense; the daftest of all
theories," Stott adds.

"If you want to put forward something which, in a simple sense,
shows you what's wrong with all the science they espouse, it's
that image of the lungs of the world.

"In fact, because the trees fall down and decay, rainforests
actually take in slightly more oxygen than they give out.
"The idea of them soaking up carbon dioxide and giving out oxygen
is a myth. It's only fast-growing young trees that actually take
up carbon dioxide," Stott says. "In terms of world systems, the
rainforests are basically irrelevant. World weather is governed by
the oceans - that great system of ocean atmospherics.
"Most things that happen on land are mere blips to the system,
basically insignificant," he says.

Both scientists say the argument that the cure for cancer could be
hidden in a rainforest plant or animal - while plausible - is also
based on false science because the sea holds more mysteries of
life than the rainforests.

And both say fears that man is destroying this raw source of
medicine are unfounded because the rainforests are remarkably

"They are just about the healthiest forests in the world. This
stuff about them vanishing at an alarming rate is a con based on
bad science," Moore says.

"Anyone who has been in the jungle knows that if you want to live
there, you'd better take a few machetes. Otherwise, it'll take it
all back."

Copyright 2000, New York Post

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