From: (Neil Forsyth)
Subject: registration
Copies to: Benny J Peiser <>, William Mullen <>
Date sent: Tue, 1 Jul 1997 16:56:25 +0000

I shall be coming to Cambridge at attend the Catastrophe conference and
look out for the needs of my friend William Mullen, one of the speakers. I
gather my participation has already been announced to you, but I need to
register, which I hope can do by this means. I should be happy to pay on my

I shall be staying in Kings, of which I am a member, during that period.

I am now leaving Lausanne to travel.

Thanks in advance for putting me on the list.

Neil Forsyth
University of Lausanne
CH-1015 Lausanne
+41 21 692 29 88

_The European English Messenger_


Date sent: Tue, 01 Jul 1997 10:44:39 -0400 (EDT)
From: Benny J Peiser <>
Subject: Conference Up-Date
Priority: NORMAL



1. I am pleased to inform list members that the proceedings of the
2nd SIS Cambridge Conference will be published as a volume of the
The proceedings, planned to be available by March 1998, will be
co-edited by Prof Mark E Bailey (Armagh Observatory), Prof Trevor
Palmer (Nottingham Trent University) and Dr Benny J Peiser (Liverpool
John Moores University).

2. An abstract volume of the papers to be presented at Fitzwilliam
College will be available by the end of next week for list members who
are unable to attend the conference.

3. Up until today, 102 delegates have registered for the Cambridge
meeting. Last minute registration is still possible until the end of
this week. Sshould you wish to register as a resident or on a daily
basis, please phone the SIS Secretary: 01795 470 812.

4. I have attached a complete programme of all oral and poster
presentations below.

I am confident that we will have an exciting and enlightening and -
hopefully - sunny(!) weekend at Fitzwilliam. I look forward to meeting
many of you in Cambridge soon.

Best wishes

Benny J Peiser


Friday, 11th July 1997

from 15.30 Tea available

18.45 Dinner in the Dining Hall

19.45 Welcome Address: Prof Trevor Palmer (Nottingham
Trent University and SIS Chairman)

Keynote Address: Robert Matthews, FRAS (Science
Correspondent, The Sunday Telegraph)

Saturday, 12th July

7.45 - 8.45 Breakfast

Morning Session: ASTRONOMY
(Chair: Dr Jasper Wall, Royal Greenwich Observatory)

9.00 - 9.35 Prof Mark Bailey (Armagh Observatory): Sources and
Populations of Near-Earth Objects: Recent Findings
and Historical Implications

9.35 - 9.45 Discussion

9.45 - 10.20 Dr Bill Napier (Armagh Observatory): Cometary
Catastrophes, Cosmic Dust and Ecological Disasters
in Historical Times

10.20 - 10.30 Discussion

10.30 - 11.00 Tea/coffee break

11.00 - 11.35 Dr Duncan Steel (Spaceguard Australia): Before the
Stones: Stonehenge I as a Cometary Catastrophe

11.35 - 11.45 Discussion

11.45 - 12.20 Prof Gerrit Verschuur (Memphis University): Our
Place in Space: The Implications of Impact
Catastrophes on Human Thought and Behaviour

12.20 - 12.45 Discussion

12.45 - 13.45 Buffet lunch in the Dining Hall

(Chair: Prof Bill McGuire, University College London)

14.00 - 14.35 Dr Marie-Agnes Courty (Institut Natinal Agronomique
Paris-Grignon): Causes and Effects of the 2350 BC
Middle East anomaly evidenced by micro-debris fallout,
surface combustion and soil explosion

14.35 - 14.45 Discussion

14.45 - 15.20 Prof Mike Baillie (Queen's University Belfast):
Tree-Ring Evidence for Environmental Disasters
during the Bronze Age: Causes and Effects

15.20 - 15.30 Discussion

15.30 - 16.00 Tea/coffee break

16.00 - 16.35 Dr Benny J Peiser (Liverpool John Moores
University): Comparative Stratigraphy of Late
Holocene Sediments and Destruction Layers around the
World: Geological, Climatological and Archaeological
Evidence and Methodological Problems

16.35 - 16.45 Discussion

16.45 - 17.20 Dr Bruce Masse (University of Hawaii): Earth, Air,
Fire and Water: The Archaeology of Bronze Age
Cosmic Catastrophes

17.20 - 17.30 Discussion

17.30 - 18.05 Dr Bas van Geel (University of Amsterdam): The
Impact of Abrupt Climate Change around 2650 BP in
NW-Europe: Evidence for Climatic Teleconnections
and a tentative Explanation

18.05 - 18.15 Discussion

19.00 Evening Dinner

20.30 Films (optional)

* Three Minutes to Impact

* The Walls Came Tumbling Down: Earthquakes in the Holy


Sunday, 13th July

7.45 - 8.45 Breakfast

Morning Session HISTORY & CULTURE
(Chair: Brian Moore, SIS)

9.00 - 9.35 Dr Victor Clube (Oxford University): Predestination
and the Problem of Historical Catastrophism

9.35 - 9.45 Discussion

9.45 - 10.20 Prof Bill Mullen (Bard College): The Agenda of the
Milesian School: The Post-Catastrophic Paradigm
Shift in Ancient Greece

10.20 - 10.30 Discussion

10.30 - 11.00 Tea/coffee break

11.00 - 11.35 Prof David Pankenier (Lehigh University):
Heaven-sent: Understanding Disaster in Chinese
Mythology and Tradition

11.35 - 11.45 Discussion

11.45 - 12.20 Prof Gunnar Heinsohn (University of Bremen): The
Catastrophic Emergence of Civilisation: The Coming
of the Bronze Age Cultures

12.20 - 12.45 Discussion

12.45 - 13.45 Lunch

(Chair: Prof Trevor Palmer, Nottingham Trent University)

13.45 - 14.20 Prof Amos Nur (Stanford University): The Collapse
of Ancient Societies by Great Earthquakes

14.20 - 14.30 Discussion

14.30 - 15.05 Dr Euan MacKie (Hunterian Museum, Glasgow
University): The End of the Upper Palaeolithic in
the Dordogne and the 'Vitrified Forts' in Scotland

15.05 - 15.10 Discussion

15.10 - 15.40 Prof Irving Wolfe (University of Montreal): The
'Kultursturz' at the Bronze Age - Iron Age Boundary

15.40 - 15.45 Discussion

15.45 - 15.50 Benny J Peiser: Closing Address

16.00 Tea/coffee & farewell


Poster presentations will be on display in a room adjoining the lecture
room and can be viewed at any time during the weekend meeting. During
coffee breaks, participants will have additional time to review the
posters. Presenters will be able to answer questions during these
informal sessions none of which will overlap with oral sessions.

Lars G Franzen (University of Goeteborg) and Thomas B Larsson
(University of Umea): Landscape Analysis, Stratigraphical and
Geochemical Investigations of Playa and Alluvial Fan Sediments in
Tunesia and raised Bog Deposits in Sweden: A Possible Correlation
between extreme Climate Events and Cosmic Activity during the Late

Charles Raspil (New York): Hints to the Nature of Bronze Age
Catastrophes found in Ancient Art

Emilio Spedicato (University of Bergamo): Evidence of Tunguska-type
Impacts over the Pacific Basin around the Year 1178 A.D.

Henry Zemel (New York): Circling the Rings: A Conjecture about Solar

Milton Zysman (Toronto) and Frank Wallace (Toronto): Tails of a Recent
Comet: The Role of Cometary Jets played in Crustal Formation

Bas van Geel, J. van der Plicht, M R Kilian, E R Klaver, J H M
Kouwenberg, H Renssen, I Reynaud-Ferrera and H T Waterbolk: The sharp
rise of delta 14C around 800 cal BC: Possible Causes, related Climatic
Teleconnections and the Impact on Human Environments


Date sent: Tue, 01 Jul 1997 09:01:25 -0400 (EDT)
From: Benny J Peiser <>
Subject: New Images of Asteroid 253 Mathilde
Priority: NORMAL

From: Ron Baalke <>

June 30, 1997

Four more images of asteroid 253 Mathilde take by the NEAR spacecraft
are now available on the NEAR home page:

The new images show several craters on the asteroid's surface including
one particularly large crater about 10 km deep.

Ron Baalke


Date sent: Tue, 01 Jul 1997 09:00:26 -0400 (EDT)
From: Benny J Peiser <>
Subject: Asteroid Mathilde Reveals Her Dark Past
Priority: NORMAL


From: Ron Baalke <>

Don Savage
Headquarters, Washington, DC June 30, 1997
(Phone: 202/358-1547)

Helen Worth
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD
(Phone: 301/953-5113)

RELEASE: 97-147


More than 100 years after her discovery, asteroid 253 Mathilde
has been sharing her secrets with scientists in the Science Data Center
at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel,
MD. A 25-minute flyby of the asteroid by NASA's Near Earth Asteroid
Rendezvous (NEAR) spacecraft on June 27 has resulted in spectacular
images of a dark, crater-battered little world assumed to date from the
beginning of the solar system.

The Mathilde flyby is the closest encounter with an asteroid to
date and the first with a C-type asteroid. The asteroid's mean diameter
was found to be 33 miles (52 kilometers), which is somewhat smaller
than researchers originally estimated. A study of the asteroid's albedo
(brightness or reflective power) shows that it reflects three percent of
the Sun's light, making it twice as dark as a chunk of charcoal. Such a
dark surface is believed to consist of carbon-rich material that has
not been altered by planet-building processes, which melt and mix up
the solar system's original building block materials.

The Mathilde flyby met all its initial goals: getting a clear
image of the sunlit side of the asteroid, getting color images that
will give clues to the types of rock that make up the asteroid, and
getting images that will help researchers determine if Mathilde has any
moons. In the next month, scientists expect to complete initial
analysis of their data and have improved measurements of Mathilde's
volume, mass, and density.

"The Mathilde encounter was one of the most successful flybys
of all time," said Dr. Robert W. Farquhar, of the Applied Physics
Laboratory, NEAR Mission Director. "We got images that were far better
than we thought possible, especially since the spacecraft was not
designed for a fast flyby."

Only the multispectral imager, one of six instruments on the
spacecraft, was used during the flyby in order to conserve power
provided by solar-powered panels. The spacecraft was approximately 186
million miles from the Sun, too far to provide power for NEAR's other

"Even though this was a very difficult undertaking," said Dr.
Stamatios M. Krimigis, head of the APL Space Department that managed
the program for NASA, "the NEAR Operations Team was so well prepared
there was little doubt that it would succeed; not only that, but this
was the smallest operations team of any planetary encounter, proving
that the Discovery Program paradigm of 'smaller, faster, cheaper' is
alive and well."

Although Mathilde proved to be rounder than asteroids such as
Gaspra and Ida, Dr. Joseph Veverka of Cornell University, Ithaca, NY,
who leads the mission's imaging science team, said, "Mathilde turned
out to be more irregularly shaped than most of us expected. The degree
to which the asteroid has been battered by collisions is astounding.
At first glance there are more huge craters than there is asteroid."

The imager found at least five craters larger than 12 miles
(20 kilometers) in diameter just on the lighted side of the asteroid.
Scientists wonder how the asteroid can remain intact after having been
hit by this many projectiles, each probably at least a mile wide.

The craters reveal evidence of the asteroid's makeup. "We
knew that C-asteroids are black, but we did not expect their surfaces
to be as uniformly black and colorless as Mathilde's surface turned out
to be," Veverka said. "This global blandness is an important clue
telling us that asteroids such as Mathilde are made of the same dark,
black rock throughout because none of the craters, which are punched
deep into the asteroid, show evidence of any other kind of rock." Such
uniformity seems to confirm that C-type asteroids are in fact pristine
samples of the primitive building blocks of the larger planets.

Dr. Donald K. Yeomans of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
Pasadena, CA, who heads the radio science team formed to determine
Mathilde's mass said, "Mathilde is an asteroid with a very tortured
past." By determining the bulk density of the asteroid, researchers
will have a clue to how it was formed. A composite of objects would
have a lower density than a solid chunk from a larger asteroid. Data
analysis to determine density will not be complete until later this
year, but Dr. Yeomans said, "Preliminary results suggest that Mathilde
is much less dense than we had thought."

One mystery that remains is Mathilde's extraordinarily slow
(17.4 days) rotation rate. Its collision history could be a factor,
but more research needs to be done to determine what role such
collisions have played. The search for Mathilde moons continues; none
has yet been discovered.

The next major event of the NEAR mission will occur on July 3,
when the spacecraft's bi-propellant engine is fired to head NEAR back
toward Earth. This deep-space maneuver will be the first time the
engine has been fired and will keep both engineers and scientists in
suspense for 11 minutes before they know if the maneuver was
successful. An Earth gravity-assist maneuver on Jan. 23, 1998, will
send the spacecraft toward its primary target, asteroid 433 Eros. NEAR
will reach Eros nearly a year later and will remain locked in orbit
around the asteroid until Feb. 6, 2000, when the mission ends.

Commenting on the success of the Mathilde flyby soon after the
first images were received, Dr. Wesley T. Huntress Jr., NASA Associate
Administrator, Office of Space Science, said, "It's today that the
Discovery Program really begins. NEAR was the first of our Discovery
missions to be launched and it's the first to return scientific
results." He said the APL-led team that managed the NEAR program
proved the concept behind the Discovery Program: that exciting
planetary missions can be done at low cost, in a short time.

The NEAR spacecraft was launched Feb. 17, 1996, from Cape
Canaveral Air Station in Florida. NEAR Science Team Group Leaders
are: Joseph Veverka, Cornell University; Jacob I. Trombka, NASA/Goddard
Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD; Mario H. Acuna, NASA/Goddard; Maria
T. Zuber, MIT and NASA/Goddard; and Donald K. Yeomans, NASA/Jet
Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA. Andrew Cheng, JHU/APL, is the
Project Scientist. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics
Laboratory operates the mission for NASAUs Office of Space Science,
Headquarters, Washington, DC.


EDITOR'S NOTE: Images of Mathilde and the NEAR spacecraft are available
for media representatives by calling the Headquarters Imaging Branch on
202/358-1900, or the JHUAPL Public Affairs Office at 301/953-5113.

NASA Photo numbers (black and white only) are: 97-H-446; 97-H-447;
97-H-448; 97-H-449; and 97-H-450

Mathilde flyby images and updates can be obtained on the Mathilde
homepage at:


Date sent: Tue, 01 Jul 1997 08:54:42 -0400 (EDT)
From: Benny J Peiser <>
Subject: Hubble Detects Dust Storm on Mars
Priority: NORMAL

From: Ron Baalke <>

Special Bulletin
June 30, 1997
Circulation: 878

<-O <-O <-O <-O <-O <-O <-O <-O <-O <-O <-O <-O <-O <-O <-O <-O

Friends of Mars,

HST imaging from a few nights ago has detected an enormous dust storm
within Valles Marineris. The dust is filling the canyon and is starting
to spill out of the Eastern end, heading (downhill) straight for the
Pathfinder landing site! We have requested additional HST time prior to
the landing this Friday, but ANY supporting groundbased red and blue
observations (so as to distinguish dust from the extensive water ice
clouds now present) of this phenomenon would be extremely valuable and

Please upload any images or other information that you are able to
obtain to the Marswatch ftp archive at:

The user name is "anonymous". No password is required.

All systems are still GO for this Friday's Pathfinder landing, although
Mars is determined to throw a monkey wrench into our plans by conjuring
up some much-dreaded dust storms!

--Jim Bell

Jim Bell
Cornell University
Department of Astronomy
Center for Radiophysics and Space Research
424 Space Sciences Building
Ithaca, NY 14853-6801
phone: 607-255-5911
fax: 607-255-9002

CCCMENU CCC for 1997