Talk:Köfels impact event

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Guess which is the top Google result for "Köfels impact event". (Hint: It's a website starting with "Con" and ending in "servapedia".) I have the nasty suspicion that RW is being trolled. :)

Anyway, this is not exactly accepted mainstream science. (Some links from Wikipedia: [1] [2]). HK has mentioned something about experiments. So who are "we" and what were those experiments?--ZooGuard (talk) 18:42, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

As a naturalistic explanation for the Israelite story of Sodom and Gomorrah, I find this inadequate. It provides no explanation for townsfolk gang-raping an angel, or a woman being transformed into a pillar of salt. ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:55, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

OK, I have resurrected the article (it was deleted by the original author). The subject is on-mission, it's just that the original treatment was uncritical of the claims. And Conservapedia is the top result for "Köfels impact event" (Wikipedia is second!) and it will be nice to de-throne them. :D --ZooGuard (talk) 18:54, 5 February 2012 (UTC)


A while back, I saw an hour-long program titled "Sodom and Gomorrah" on Planet Green (it was the very first thing I watched on the channel), which attempted to find a naturalistic explanation for the destruction of Sodom. The program posited the Köfels impact event as an explanation, and pulled out the Planisphere tablet and said it dated to -3123. My folly for not looking deeper into it:. The whole Phaeton thing seemed to confirm my previous biases. It just seemed to make so much sense! I just didn't realize a) the tablet was made in -700, b) it would place the destruction of Sodom 1000 years off (I still bought into the whole Aardsman chronology for biblical events then), and c) the Phaeton story doesn't take place in -3123. I now see how similar it is to the Velikovsky thing, and I admit I was wrong. Sorry. The Heidelberg Kid (talk) 21:13, 5 February 2012 (UTC

So, you're writing an article about a town that probably didn't exist, being destroyed when there are no records of it being destroyed? Pink mowse.pngGodotGrow a vagina 21:14, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
??? Huh? I'm not writing a new article. I'm apologizing for a previous misconception of mine. The Heidelberg Kid (talk) 21:22, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
Ah, I thought that it would be something like this. :) After some digging, I think that your show is episode 2 of Biblical Mysteries Explained (IMDB listing). Can you watch this video to confirm? --ZooGuard (talk) 09:41, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
That's the one. Although I can't get on YT right now, I recognize the title. The Heidelberg Kid (talk) 15:27, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Author Response[edit]

I am one of the authors of "A Sumerian Observation of the Kofels Impact Event" exercising a right to reply and I would make the following points on this entry:

“The reason for the original impact hypothesis was the presence of fused rock. At the time, the only processes known to be able to do this were either volcanism or meteor impacts. Later research found that it can be also produced by friction and similar fused rock has been found in other large rockslides.”

The book accepts “frictionite” as the most likely origin for the Kofelsite . But the Entry is wrong to suggest the unique melted rock was the only reason early papers (Suess, F., “Der Meteorkrater von Köfels bei Umhausen im Oztztal, Tirol”, N jb Miner etc Beil. – bd 72 Abt A, (1936) and Stutzer, N.,”Die Talweitung von Köfels im Otztal (Tirol) als Meteorkrater” Z dt.geol ges 88 523(1936), Kranz, W. “Beitrag zum Köfels-Problem: Die “Bergsturz-Hebungs – und Sprengtheorie”, Neues Jahrbuch fur Mineralogie, Geologie und Palaontologie abt B Vol 80, (1938)) concluded Kofels had an impact origin. While it was a key argument other evidence, such as the pulverising of the surface material to a fine sand, has been largely ignored by later works.

“They claim that an ancient Sumerian clay tablet documents an asteroid impact on 29 June 3123 BCE that was the root of many myths, including the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the Greek myth of Phaeton.”

The book makes no mention of Sodom and Gomorrah, and Phaeton is only mentioned as the name for the trajectory modeling programme. No myth is used in the book as argument for the correctness of the conclusions drawn. The existence of Bronze age myths that are suggestive of a large impact event is covered by Clube, V. & Napier, B., “The Cosmic Serpent, A Catastrophist View of Earth History” Faber and Faber, London (1982); and Clube and Napier is referenced to address the question “if this happened why are there no records”. The continued linking of the book with Sodom and Gomorrah is a classic case of people assuming they know what is in a book from the press and TV coverage and getting it wrong.

“The Köfels site has been dated with radiocarbon dating of wood buried by the landslide to about 9800±100 BP (Before Present), which is about 4000 years earlier than Bond and Hempsell's date.”

There are three dating methods used on the Kofels site and all this dating evidence is discussed at length in the book and the results all can be shown to be consistent with the 5000 year asteroid impact. The radiocarbon date (of one wood fragment) is the only one of the three methods that is not properly published, so the location where the sample was found, the test procedures used and the error estimates are not in the pubic records. We have had some discussion with local geologists who do know about this work and it is clear that this is result which, while not rubbish, cannot be absolutely trusted when contradictory evidence emerges.

But this is what has happened; the radiocarbon date is mentioned in passing (without references) in the papers of the other two techniques and both strongly rely on the radiocarbon date when drawing their conclusions. The fission track dating (Storzer, D., Horn, P. & Kleinmann, B., ”The Age and The Origin of Köfels Structure, Austria”, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol 12 pp 238-244 (1971)) had two samples and dismissed the best result of 3000 +/- 1200 years in favour of 8000 +/- 6000 years because the former contradicted the radio carbon date. The original cosmogenic radio nuclide concentrations paper (Kubik, P.W., Ivy-Ochs, S., Masarik, J., Frank, M. & Schlüchter, C., “10Be and 26Al Production Rates Deduced from an Instantaneous Event Within the Dendro-calibration Curve”, The Landside of Köfels, Otz Valley Austria Earth and Planetary Science Letters 161 pp 231-241 (1998)) was not even a dating paper but a calibration of the technique against the “known” radiocarbon date and to make this work all the results from the exposed surface created by the landslide (which ought to be the best) had to be ignored.

Even if the radiocarbon date is correct – dating embedded material in a landslide only gives a “cannot be older than” date; it never gives an absolute date and by my maths 5000 years is younger than 9000 years and therefore consistent with the result. This limitation of dating embedded material is pointed out by a major review paper on landslide dating (Lang, A., Moya, J., Corominas, J., Schroot, L. & Dikau, R., “Classic and New Dating Methods for Assessing the Temporal Occurrence of Mass Movements” in Geomorphology 30 pp33-52 (1999)) a paper which specifically suggests the Kofels site maybe considerably younger than the accepted date, so it is not just us querying the site dating.

Hempsell (talk) 10:19, 21 December 2012 (UTC)