Younger-Dryas Impact Theory

A couple weeks ago I came across an article saying how the Guardian described Graham Hancock’s “Ancient Apocalypse” as being the most dangerous show on Netflix. Well, I have a low opinion of news media and an especially low opinion of mainstream news media, so I immediately decided to check it out.

So I suppose an ancient advanced civilization might have existed at the end of the last ice age (even though there isn’t much evidence of that); or perhaps the lesser gods or giants of old as described in Genesis could have been trying to help primitive humanity prepare for the next disaster. But that is nothing but fun speculation.

What caught my interest was the Younger-Dryas impact theory. I hadn’t come across that before. I have had my head down trying to balance work, competition shooting, flying, and trumpet playing; along with settling into our new house, in a new town, and integrating into a new church.

While Hancock’s views of an ancient advanced civilization are merely speculation, it appears that the Younger-Dryas impact theory itself is reasonable and may have been recently accepted.

I am hoping there are those on this forum who have real expertise in this area.

I live in the Pacific Northwest. I have lived in Oregon and Washington, and recently escaped Oregon for Northern Idaho. I have family in Corvallis, OR and Olympia, WA. I also go to Missoula, MT for my shooting competitions. Driving to those places allows a close up look at some fascinating geology.

Starting from the East, we have lake shore stratification lines on many of the large hills along I-90 to Missoula. There is also a lot of river rock well above the Clark Fork of the Columbia River.

When I drive down Hwy 365 from west of Post Falls to Tri-Cities, I drive through the Channeled Scab Lands. Along the Columbia River, both along I-90 in Central Washington or along I-84, we have the Columbia River Gorge.

The first explanation I came across for all this was Lake Missoula. They say that during the last ice age, a 2000’ tall ice dam formed where the Clark Fork and Columbia come together near Lake Pend Orielle at the N. Idaho / N. WA border. Water backed up across N. ID and Montana. IIRC, Flathead Lake, Lake Coeur d’Alene, and Lake Pend Orielle are all remnants of Lake Missoula. It was larger than some of the great lakes.

They say that it burst and filled several times, and that is what created the Columbia River Gorge. A big hunk of this water also drained into SE WA, creating Lake Lewis, and when Lake Lewis drained it created the Channeled Scab Lands.

I wonder if the Younger-Dryas impact theory is a better explanation for the Gorge and Scablands?

I also wonder about all those ancient sites like Gobekli Tepe and Serpent Mound. They all seem oriented in an astronomically significant way. Did the Hunter-Gatherers of that era have the understanding to build something like those places?

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Joel Duff wrote about it a while ago. I would trust his assessment:


they watched the stars and not netflix or disney :slight_smile:

I find Disney’s The Good Dinosaur far more dangerous, if you ignore Chicxulub missing it’s pure YEC.

I find nearly everything from Disney dangerous. Brave sealed the deal, when the kid poisoned her mother. I take that kind of message rather personally.


While Duff’s assessment is good, he doesn’t specifically address Lake Missoula. This must still be a new idea

Yes - here’s a nice video explaining this:


Well I’m confident that there was not advanced super city like Atlantis or some mythological half angel human cities being built and so on. There is absolutely zero evidence to support it snd everything to dismiss it. But it’s also one of my favorite forms of a sort of science fiction. There is a current podcast that fits this sort of narrative. It’s a fictional horror story if you like this type of stuff.

“Modes of Thought in Anterran Literature.”

If you’re interested in NW American geology I suggest this podcast. I’m not sure what all they cover since I stopped listening a handful of episodes in. Was busy with bother ones I was more interested in . It’s Nick Zentner’s Geology Podcast. I noticed he did a YouTube video on it though.

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Probably, but they seemed to have a more advanced knowledge of the skies that we would normally attribute
to hunter-gatherers. For example, at one of the locations mentioned the kept building new facilities as the starts shifted so as to keep a certain star in view.

At Serpent Mound, the head is aligned with the summer solstice sunset (or maybe it was sunrise), and the curves point to geographic North or South.

It seems all these structures were built with a knowledge of the skies. Maybe the hunter-gatherers had more going on than we give them credit for.

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I guess the Younger-Dryas Impact Theory and the Lake Missoula Ice dam are not mutually exclusive.

Crater Lake is easier. The original migrants to the area passed down record of the explosion. There are cool white cliffs made of pyroclastic flow on HWY 62–usually on my way to hunt of fish, and there is natural bridge on the Rogue River, a lava tube.

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Linking the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis to the Lake Missoula floods seems unlikely, as the very last of the series of floods was around the time of the onset of the Younger Dryas.

The Younger Dryas impact hypothesis has generated a lot of attention, but seems rather doubtful. With all of the meteors every day, there’s a low level of extraterrestrial stuff in any layer. Proving that there is actually a higher level of extraterrestrial material at the beginning of the Younger Dryas than average background has been rather elusive. Likewise, “this could be the crater!” has not panned out. The idea of a Younger Dryas impact has been taken up by some less reliable sources, for example the “impacts are a common cause of disasters!!!” group behind the highly problematic claim to identify an impact cause of the destruction of towns near the north end of the Dead Sea in the mid-1600’s BC. (It was claimed that this was the destruction of Sodom, but numerous aspects of the paper seem to have been fudged or done badly and one major investigator seems to be a rather sketchy character.) Another problem is that the extinction of the Pleistocene megafauna is around the Younger Dryas only in some parts of the world; the timing of extinction tends to coincide more closely with the date of human arrival in a region.

Overall, I’d say that the idea of a significant impact associated with the Younger Dryas is probably incorrect.

The origin of Crater Lake from a volcanic eruption is clear, but a lava tube is a cave formed by a relatively calm lava flow rather than in an explosive eruption like Mount Mazama blowing its top to make Crater Lake. If it is a lava tube in the technical sense, it would have been formed by a different eruption.

I’ve analyzed DNA from freshwater snails across that region, but have only briefly visited a few times. The volcanoes and glacial floods lead to interesting variations in what lives where.



I just learned that the most recent Lake Missoula shore dates around 1800 years before the Younger Dryas Impact, so that would exclude the YD as the cause of the gorge and the scablands. That was in one of the videos linked on this thread. I hadn’t seen either one, though I had come across other videos.

I don’t know how many eruptions Mt Mazama experienced. I think the big blast was a lot like St Helens, and I was 70 miles away from St Helens when it blew in 1980 I think. Though the ash cloud blew the other way during the first major eruption, I got dusted during the second major eruption.

I guess the lava on the Upper Rogue could have come from another volcano–the Cascades are full of volcanoes. There is volcanic rock strewn all over the place in Southern Oregon.

The blast creating Crater Lake was far larger than the 1980 eruption; as far as I know, there’s no evidence that Mt. St. Helens ever managed anything that big (though Yellowstone and Long Valley both have outdone Mazama earlier in the Pleistocene). Though even a smaller eruption can do plenty of damage locally. I’ve only seen Mt. St. Helens from a distance, over a decade after the main eruption, myself.

There are indeed numerous volcanoes in the region; it would take some examination of the map and maybe even some geochemistry to check just which one produced that particular lava flow.

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The big Mazama blast was a lot like St Helens in terms of an explosion, ash, and pyroclastic flow vs flowing lava. Mazama must have been several magnitudes larger. It was a much bigger mountain.

Until I got dusted, I didn’t even know about the 'splody type volcanoes. Now, for the last 40+ years, I have had a jar of St Helens ash in my keepsake tub. I had about 1/2" covering my pickup.

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I do not know why we think that the humans living a few thousand years ago were so much more stupid than we. They did not have scientific knowledge but they had eyes, language and brains. Stars and other natural objects and phenomena were probably more important for them than us because we have filled the contents of our brains with watching screens, social media et al.

The culture was different and it may have included worship of stars. If stars played an important role in their culture, it would be understandable that they devoted lots of time and energy to buildings focusing on an important star.
Stars were probbly important in navigation and measuring of time so an interest on stars would be natural even if they did not worship the stars.


For me, a single impact and single event doesn’t seem consistent with the features that are found. Most notably, there is evidence for Lake Missoula filling and suddenly draining multiple times. When it is filling you get varves, and then different deposits after sudden draining.

Found this paper, figure 2 has some good diagrams:

However, geology is outside of my expertise so hopefully the geologists in the crowd will let me know if I read that paper wrong.

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No! The reason why Sirius was considered so important is because that’s where the aliens came from! :roll_eyes:

The patterns in the sun, moon, and stars give some of the best clues to anticipating seasonal changes and are helpful markers of direction; even many plants and animals make use of them. So building structures to help trace the patterns makes a lot of practical sense. Most cultures around the globe that built large structures used some level of astronomical alignment. Less permanent structures would probably be used by many others - a sunny day and a stick in the ground is enough to determine the cardinal directions, for example. (Note shadows at sunrise and sunset, or any other times evenly spaced around local noon; a line between the ends of the shadows will be east-west.)

Not as extensively investigated, but there are some scablands in central Asia, likely from similarly repetitive glacial ice dam formation and failure to the Pacific Northwest.

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CS Lewis called it chronological snobbery, I think about it as arrogance of the “Brights”. Amongst them the Hitch was a great proponent of that talking about those “primitive goat herders” all the time.

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It demands quite advanced mindset to understand that aliens are coming from Sirius - clearly beyond the capacity of primitive humans :crazy_face: