New Fossil Site in North Dakota Appears to Capture the Exact Moment of the KT Asteroid Impact.

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Re: New Fossil Site in North Dakota Appears to Capture the Exact Moment of the KT Asteroid Impact.

Post by Broomstick » 2019-04-03 06:14am

Not a professional scientist here, just an enthusiastic layman, but here's my take:

First of all, it's not just DePalma's paper - he's enlisted the help of others with several varieties of expertise to help him make his case. In particular, Walter Alvarez is providing imput here, he's the younger of the father-son team of geologists that first proposed the K-T/K-Pg boundary layer was evidence of an extraterrestrial impact site. I'll note that original Alvarez hypothesis was aided by the input of chemists to the geologist team, just as DePalma is using geologists (and others) to aid his hypothesis here with expertise outside his own field.

Second, to this layperson there seems to be quite a bit of description not only of what DePalma sees, but how he went about analyzing it. This, to my mind, means someone else could go to the site and attempt to replicate his findings (or come up with a better explanation). So the next step should be just that - other folks being allowed access to the site to do the same.

The article itself is not hyperventilating the way the lay press is, which doesn't surprise me - science publications tend to be rather dry, and the professionals don't need someone to tell them what is amazing stuff and what isn't. The hyperventilating-golly-gee-whiz stuff is for the general public who don't have the background to understand that a fine-grained sediment with neatly aligned fish carcasses that have gill rakes stuffed with tektites/glassy bits is a sign of a post-impact tsunami, volcanic eruption with seiche wave, or similar catastrophic phenomena.

The article itself is largely to make that case that this site preserves information from a very short time frame post-impact of the Chixalub meteor. The fossils identified are those that 1) establish either marine or fresh water (in this case he has both which is unusual), or 2) are fossils used to date and/or identify strata. They aren't the big, sexy dino bones, they're mundane and common-as-dirt critters and plants that most of the public has never heard of. The chemistry was done to match the glass spheres embedded in amber with known samples from the Chixalub impact.

Really, what needs to happen now is for others to, as it were, check DePalma's and his co-authors' homework. I don't have the chops to do that, so I'll just have to wait for confirmation/refutation with the rest of the unwashed masses.
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Re: New Fossil Site in North Dakota Appears to Capture the Exact Moment of the KT Asteroid Impact.

Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2019-04-04 10:23am

The longform article while, yes, being a longform read intended to impart emotional resonance as well as visceral detail, is written in such a descriptive matter precisely to avoid the pitfalls of I Fucking Love Science-type sensationalism. How is it hyperventilating when it provides such a meticulous elaboration on the process behind the formation of those glass droplets showering from the impact? The "human drama" provides a picture of the claimant, his drive, his methods but also his foibles, which can serve a clue as to his character and whether he's bullshitting or not - it's not IFLS going "GENIUS NEW ALAN GRANT" or whatever.
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Re: New Fossil Site in North Dakota Appears to Capture the Exact Moment of the KT Asteroid Impact.

Post by LadyTevar » 2019-04-04 02:06pm

Broomstick wrote:
2019-04-03 06:14am
Not a professional scientist here, just an enthusiastic layman, but here's my take:
Thanks Broomstick :)
I guess the question now is "Will DePalma allow others onto the site to check his findings"?
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Re: New Fossil Site in North Dakota Appears to Capture the Exact Moment of the KT Asteroid Impact.

Post by Broomstick » 2019-04-04 03:58pm

He already has - the PNAS paper has multiple authors, after all, and photos of other people examining the site. I imagine more people will arrive there since DePalma's made his claim as discover but the site still needs security to prevent less-than-scientific fossil hunters stripping the site strictly for profit.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

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