(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘meteorite

“Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception.”*…

 

fossil record

In one fell swoop, Robert DePalma may have filled in the gap in the fossil record

 

On August 5, 2013, I received an e-mail from a graduate student named Robert DePalma. I had never met DePalma, but we had corresponded on paleontological matters for years, ever since he had read a novel I’d written that centered on the discovery of a fossilized Tyrannosaurus rex killed by the KT impact. “I have made an incredible and unprecedented discovery,” he wrote me, from a truck stop in Bowman, North Dakota. “It is extremely confidential and only three others know of it at the moment, all of them close colleagues.” He went on, “It is far more unique and far rarer than any simple dinosaur discovery. I would prefer not outlining the details via e-mail, if possible.” He gave me his cell-phone number and a time to call.

I called, and he told me that he had discovered a site like the one I’d imagined in my novel, which contained, among other things, direct victims of the catastrophe. At first, I was skeptical. DePalma was a scientific nobody, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Kansas, and he said that he had found the site with no institutional backing and no collaborators. I thought that he was likely exaggerating, or that he might even be crazy. (Paleontology has more than its share of unusual people.) But I was intrigued enough to get on a plane to North Dakota to see for myself…

Douglas Preston recounts what he found: the young paleontologist looks increasingly likely (as other scientists assess his work) to have discovered a record of the most significant event in the history of life on Earth, the missing fossil evidence that recounts the almost-instant extinction of most life on the planet: “The Day the Dinosaurs Died.”

See a second-by-second visualization of the event here.

And for more on the threat that asteroids still present, and how we can protect the Earth from a repeat of that mass extinction, visit the B-612 Foundation.

* Carl Sagan, The Varieties of Scientific Experience

###

As we extricate heads from the sand, we might spare a thought for a scientific forebearer of DePalma’s, Edward Drinker Cope; he died on this date in 1897. A paleontologist and comparative anatomist (as well as a noted herpetologist and ichthyologist), Cope led many natural history surveys in the American West for the precursors of the U.S. Geological Survey, making important finds on his trips, including dinosaur discoveries.

220px-Cope_Edward_Drinker_1840-1897 source

 

 

Written by LW

April 12, 2019 at 1:01 am

“The blazing meteor, when it descends to earth, is only a stone”*…

 

Meteors

 

The odds of being hit by a meteorite are extremely low. You’re far more likely to die in a car crash or a fire than you are to die from a meteorite strike. It’s also more likely that you’ll be killed by lightning or a tornado – both of which are extremely rare. However, there’s bad news too – you have a higher chance of being hit by a meteorite than you do of winning the lottery…

Oh, and avoid the United States (and India)!  See why at: “What Are Your Chances of Being Hit by a Meteorite?

* Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

###

As we duck and cover, we might recall that it was on this date in 1969 that a large meteorite fell near Murchison in Victoria, Australia.  Both because it was an observed fall (its bright fireball was seen by many) and because it proved to be rich in organic compounds (an abundance of amino acids), it has been one of the most-studied meteorites.

220px-Murchison_crop source

 

Written by LW

September 28, 2018 at 1:01 am

It’s said that everyone has one…

 

Fascinated with the idea that two totally unrelated people can look like twins, photographer Francois Brunelle set out to take portraits of 200 doppelgangers. This beautiful black and white series began when he photographed a pair of friends who looked as though they were identical twins that had been separated at birth. Although most of his photos so far have been taken in North America, Brunelle is now taking his I’m Not a Look-Alike! project around the globe to create a book and international exhibit…

Read more of Brunelle’s story at Visual News.  Then see more doppelganger portraits (and follow Brunelle approaches his goal of photographing 200 pairs) on his website and Facebook.  And follow Sophie Robhemed, a journalist on the hunt for her doppelganger, as she seeks her double.

###

As we stare into the mirror, we might recall that it was on this date in 1954, in Oak Grove, Alabama, near Sylacauga, that a meteorite crashed down through the roof of Ann Hodges’ home and struck her– the first documented extraterrestrial object to have injured a human being in the U.S.  The grapefruit-sized fragment crashed through the roof of her frame house, bounced off a large wooden console radio, and hit Hodges as she napped on a couch. The 31-year-old woman was badly bruised on one side of her body but able to walk.

Ann with authorities; the meteorite; her home

source

 

 

Written by LW

November 30, 2013 at 1:01 am

%d bloggers like this: