Aerial Survey Photo that Discovered the Existence of the Carolina Bays
Did an asteroid destroy Atlantis?
By R. Cedric Leonard
Ever since 1980, when scientists concluded that an asteroid impact
ended the Mesozoic Era, I have wondered if a similar incident could
have ended the Pleistocen Epoch and was responsible for the sinking
of Atlantis. I have not doubted for an instant that a worldwide
disturbance was involved. Now that we are aware that many such
impacts have taken place in the past, the possibility deserves
A violent axial tilt of our planet has never been out of the picture
as far as I am concerned, and an off-center build up of Antarctic ice
is always a possible trigger for such an event. (Brown, 1967;
Hapgood, 1958, et al.) But now that we know that the dinosaurs were
exterminated worldwide by a celestial visitor, why not consider a
similar possibility for the extinction of the Pleistocene animals?
In the late 1950s, while serving in the U.S. Navy, I had read the
controversial works of Col. J. S. Churchward (1931). The good Colonel
was anything but careful in regard to his sources, but I was too
untrained to notice. In support of his sinking continent theory he
quoted a source (a totally unverifiable one) which he called the
Lhasa Record (presumably a Tibetan writing) which began as follows:
When the star of Bal fell on the place where now is only the sky and
the sea, the seven cities with their golden gates and transparent
temples, quivered and shook like the leaves in a storm; and, behold,
a flood of fire and smoke arose from the palaces.
Needless to say, even though the theme was never developed in his
works, it set my young mind to pondering. I couldn't help but be
reminded of a biblical passage dealing with so-called "end-times":
And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven,
burning as it were a lamp . . . And the name of the star is called
Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many
men died of the water, because they were made bitter. (Rev. viii. 10-
Plato, in his Timaeus, mentions the mythic story of Phaethon, who
drove the chariot of the Sun (Helios) too close to the earth, setting
everything on fire, and who was in turn "destroyed by a thunderbolt."
This myth, according to Plato, actually signifies a "declination of
the bodies moving in the heavens around the earth."
It is also possible that the mythological "wars" between the gods
found in the writings of Hesiod and in the Hindu epic literature are
allegorical accounts of the forces of nature, and that the "celestial
weapons" unleashed are in reality natural (although extremely
On the other hand, it is not beyond possibility that the sea-holes we
will be discussing shortly could be the remains of bomb craters from
a prehistoric nuclear war. A scientific article purporting to show
evidence of neutron bombardment in the area of the Carolina bays
roughly 12,500 years ago was published recently by two scientists at
Berkeley National Laboratory. (Firestone & Topping, 2001)
Any and all of these stories could be interpreted to mean that
something terrible and fiery roared out of the heavens, wreaking
great destruction upon the earth: distant echoes, in mythic form, in
mankinds memory of a catastrophic, world-ending event. In the ancient
world of myth, forces of nature often appeared in the guise of gods
and goddesses, and real astronomical events were sometimes depicted
as battles between them.
Intrigued at the time, I wondered if such accounts could be
references to some actual event which had wrought disaster upon the
earth and its occupants. But with the passage of time, I relegated
the idea to the back burner--until the discovery that an asteroid had
ended the age of the dinosaurs. Now I wonder how many geological
epochs may have been terminated because of cosmic impacts!
When the internet opened up new possibilities to research, I thought
I might have struck paydirt in the web site of the Morien-Institute,
which dealt with such possibilities. But I was disappointed when it
came to the end of the Pleistocene. Unless I missed it somehow, it
offers no such data on the subject.
However, even more recently a book came into my hands which dealt
with this very subject: a book written by a German (or Austrian)
engineer by the name of Otto Muck who called his book The Secret of
Atlantis (Alles uber Atlantis in German) published originally in
1976. The author is neither a geologist nor an archeologist, but he
is in possession of a keen mind, and is careful with his sources.
Muck pinpoints the area of impact in the North Atlantic Ocean off the
Carolina coast, and discusses two large depressions in the basaltic
ocean floor which occupy an area of roughly 77,000 square miles. He
asks, "What could possibly have caused these two gigantic impact
He suggests: "We could regard these as the unhealed scars left by two
deep wounds inflicted on the Earth's crust by the impact of a
celestial body of considerable size." Muck, with his engineering
frame of mind, spends several chapters of this work on minute
details, comparing data from several scientific disciplines. We need
not go into all of that here. I merely want to make the student of
Atlantis research aware of the possibility, and to present enough
reference material to allow one to research it further.
In regard to the two crater-like depressions in the North Atlantic
Ocean floor, Muck writes:
The two impact craters are adjacent and are similar in size and
shape. Both are roughly oval, and in both, the major axes of the
ellipses run from northwest to southeast. This would suggest that the
objects that struck like cosmic shells and gouged out these deep sea-
holes came either from the southeast or the northwest.
An American anthropologist, Dr. Alan H. Kelso de Montigny, after
studying depth charts showing another massive depression in the
eastern Caribbean seafloor, concluded that an asteroid must have
struck that area around 10,000 or so years ago. The site is not a
great distance from the sea-holes noted by Muck, although this hole
is much smaller and shallower than the other two. The importance of
this is that there is at least a suggestion of a cosmic impact with
our planet within the time-frame of the demise of Atlantis.
The theory is that either an asteroid or a comet entered Earth's
atmosphere at an obique angle from the northwest, exploded into three
large fragments from atmospheric friction (smaller pieces of all
sizes also raining down), finally striking the waters of the North
Atlantic and the Caribbean, creating three gigantic craters in the
ocean floor. The two largest impacts would have occurred just to the
west of Atlantis.
What evidence can be mustered to bolster our confidence in such a
theory? Wouldn't the spraying of the earth's surface with the smaller
meteoroids breaking away from the main core of an exploding, high-
speed asteroid literally riddle the surrounding land surface with
smaller craters? And is such a "moonscape" crater-field in evidence?
The area which would have been targeted is now flat and marshy
farmland covered with forests, lakes, fields and crops. It looks
nothing like the expected "moonscape". In fact, superficially, it
looks totally normal; and for years no one suspected that evidence of
such an event might be lying in plain sight, yet for a time
undiscovered. But that was before arial photos were taken of the
In 1931 the states of North and South Carolina cooperated with a
mandate issued by the Roosevelt administration in carrying out a
massive photographic survey from the air. A company specializing in
arial photography was chosen and commissioned to carry out the task.
When the photos were enlarged and examined in a stereo-comparator
they revealed an unexpected surprise.
The pictures showed large numbers of circular and oval-shaped crater-
looking features, sometimes overlapping as on the moon. The features
were clearly large (often several miles wide), mudfilled craters
which had been eroded with time. The camera had clearly recorded the
physical evidence of what became known as the Carolina Meteorite.
A small portion of the Carolina crater-field, more commonly known as
the Carolina Bays. This photograph provides examples of cleared bays,
partially forested bays (particularly the large bay in the northwest
quadrant), as well as overlapping bays (northeast quadrant of the
photograph). It also illustrates the extent to which rims of certain
craters were large enough to affect patterns of cultivation (the
shapes of the fields). The largest "bay" shown in this photograph is
about 1.4 miles long. Notice also the numerous small craters.
(Courtesy United States Department of Agriculture, ASCS, Lumberton,
The "Carolina Bays" consist of a large number of circular and oval-
shaped depressions concentrated in the coastal plains of the
southeastern United States, but occurring less frequently as far
north as southern New Jersey and as far south as northern Florida.
They appear to be filled-in, flat-bottomed craters, with their rims
highest in the southeast. Estimates of their number range in the
neighborhood of a half-million overall.
Single counties are often riddled with thousands upon thousands of
these features. Dr. Tom Ross of Pembroke State University is
presently in the process of counting the Bays in Robeson County from
Soil and Conservation Service soil maps. So far Dr. Ross has
tabulated over 8,800 bays in Robeson County alone. (Ross, 1994)
Lively, and sometimes heated, debates have taken place over what
might have been the cause of the crater-field of the coastal states.
According to Muck (1976) the area is only the western edge (less than
one-fourth) of an elongated ellipse extending out into the Atlantic
Ocean. The total area of impact he estimates covers at least 63,500
square miles (estimates have expanded over the years), although only
the relatively small land portion has remained intact.
The western portion of what engineer Otto Muck believes to be
an "ellipse" of meteor craters (over a half-million in all) situated
near the eastern shores of the Carolina states. The deepsea
depressions are roughly 500 miles out to sea in a southeast direction
from the shaded area.
The main body of the celestial intruder split into two (or maybe
three) large fragments as it traveled on southeast. These large core
fragments created the two large depressions in the north Atlantic,
and possibly the slightly smaller one in the Caribbean. Shortly after
the arial photographs were published the theory was presented that
the Carolina crater-field was caused by a shower of meteorites,
giving rise to talk about a prehistoric Carolina Meteorite.
Two University of Oklahoma geologists, Drs. F. A. Melton and William
Schriever, immediately began an investigation of the physical
evidence. Although there was no mention of Atlantis in their theory,
they suggested that the pattern of the Carolina craters indicated
that in our prehistory a large head of a comet had entered our
atmosphere and impacted our planet.
Their proposal was that the numerous rimmed basins were formed by the
resultant meteor shower. This hypothesis was supported by the fact
that there were highly magnetic areas concentrated in the
southeastern portions of each of the bays (Melton & Schriever, 1933).
The hypothesis attracted worldwide attention, and geologists in
related fields wasted no time in either supporting or refuting the
new hypothesis. An article in a popular magazine appeared almost
"The comet plunged down with a hiss that shook the mountains, with a
crackle that opened the sky. Beneath the down plunging piston of
star, compressed air gathered. Its might equaled and then exceeded
that of the great star itself. It burst the comet nucleus. It pushed
outward a scorching wind that must have shoved the waters upon the
European shores, and on land leveled three hundred foot pines,
spreading them radially outward like matches in a box. The comet
struck, sending debris skyward, curtaining the east, darkening the
west. Writhing clouds of steam swirled with writhing clouds of earth.
For ten minutes there was a continuous bombardment, and the earth
heaved and shook. For 500 miles around the focal spot of 190,000
square miles, the furnace snuffed out every form of life." (Murrow,
A fantasic sounding story--and in the 1930s scientists were only
beginning to come to terms with such things as asteroid impact
craters! Geologists of that day still believed that the Great Meteor
Crater in the Arizona desert was the only evidence of a large astral
object ever having hit the earth. Today we know better. More than 300
craters world-wide are presently cataloged, with additional impact
features being discovered with each passing year.
Nevertheless, almost immediately numerous hypotheses were formulated,
some of them bordering on the ridiculous. The debate divided
scientists basically into two camps: those who propose various normal
terrestrial mechanisms in the formation of the bays, and those who
favor the hypothesis of an impact of a comet, asteroid, or some other
astral body with our planet. Here is a list of a few of these
1. Spring basins
2. Sand bar dams of drowned valleys
3. Depressions dammed by giant sand ripples
4. Remains of sand dunes caused by wind
5. Craters of a meteor swarm
6. Submarine scour by eddies, currents, or undertows
In 1934, C. Wythe Cooke proposed that the Carolina Bays were aligned
due to the consistency in the direction of the wind while they were
being formed. The elliptical sand ridges that accompany the bays were
thus bars and beaches that were built up in shallow lagoons when sea
levels were higher.
Dr. William F. Prouty (1952), former head of the University of North
Carolina geology department, had written several scientific works on
the subject, and was one of the strongest supporters of the
extraterrestrial impact theory, which has never been refuted by
direct evidence. Recently several scientific papers have been
published giving evidence supporting Prouty's hypothesis.
Todays experts in geology believe that although Prouty's physical
model of how the bays were formed is possibly flawed, it is certainly
becoming more likely that his basic contention (i.e.,
extraterrestrial impact) has been correct all along.
Lake Waccamaw, nearly six miles long, is the second largest of the
Carolina land-craters, and the largest that still contains water.
Toward the southeastern edge of the lake is a sand rim, which would
indicate an impact from the northwest--the same is true for virtually
all of the estimated half-million craters so-far known.
University of Georgia researchers conclude: "Our interpretation of
the geologic history of the Lake Waccamaw area, the sediment record,
and the relevant data of others is that Lake Waccamaw is a relatively
young lake, probably around 15,000 years old or less." (Unofficial
site of the University of Georgia)
An official University of Georgia web site states simply: "One theory
of the origin of Carolina bays suggests that a meteor hit Earth
thousands of years ago, breaking into pieces that made dents as they
skipped across the planet's surface." (Source: the Savannah River
Ecology Laboratory, 2001)
George Howard, one-time U.S. government ecology and land usage
consultant, writes: "It is perfectly reasonable to conclude that if
such a cataclysm occurred during a known time of known human
habitation on the North American Atlantic Coastal Plain
(approximately 10,000-15,000 BP) legends would be told to relate the
horror to future generations." (Howard, 1997)
There are, in fact, numerous examples of such repercussions. For
instance: "The local Indians are known as the 'People of the Falling
Star,' and they believed the lake was created by a falling star,
perhaps a great meteorite." (Waccamaw-Siouan Indian legend, Wild
Shores, Exploring the Wilderness Areas of Eastern North Carolina.
What is one to think of this kind of legend? As an anthropologist I
must give some degree of credence to the idea that some core event
must have given rise to certain elements contained in the above
legend. And there are plenty more of these which must be considered.
Not being a geologist, I have no way of knowing which proposal is the
most in accordance with the geological details, but the "exploding
asteroid" sounds the most reasonable to me. Something disturbed this
planet circa [10,000-]12,000 years ago which caused the instantaneous freezing
of millions of Pleistocene animals which had only hours before been
grazing in relatively moderate climates. This strongly indicates an
axial shift of this planet, whatever the ultimate cause. And this all
happened just about the time Plato gives for the cataclysm which sank
Atlantis and destroyed its civilization.
Brown, Hugh. A., "Cataclysms of the Earth," Twayne Publishers Inc.,
New York, 1967.
Churchward, James S., "The Lost Continent of Mu," Ives-Washburn, New
Firestone, Richard & Topping, William, "Terrestrial Evidence of
Nuclear Catastrophe in Paleoindian Times,"
Mammoth Trumpet, Vol. 49, March 2001.
Hapgood, Charles H., "Earth's Shifting Crust," Pantheon Books, New
Howard, George A., "The Carolina Bays: an original essay," on
internet web site, 1997.
Melton, F.A., and W. Schriever, "The Carolina 'bays'...are they
meteorite scars?" Journal of Geology, No. 41,
1933a; also continuation in Scientific American, No. 149, 1933b.
Muck, Otto, "The Secret of Atlantis," (Translated by Fred Bradley)
New York Times Book, New York, 1978.
Murrow, Edna, "The Comet That Hit The Carolinas," Harpers Magazine,
Prouty, William. F., "Carolina Bays and their Origin," Bulletin,
Geological Society of America, vol. 63, 1952.
Ross, Thomas A., "One Land, Three Peoples: A Geography of Robeson
County, North Carolina," (2nd edition)
Southern Pines, NC, Karo Hollow Press, 1994.
Copyright © 2006 by Atlantek Software Inc.
Version 1.2: Updated: 20 Oct 2006
Since Leonard Mentions the research of Firestone and Topping,
it would be a good place to review what they had said:
"Our research indicates that the entire Great Lakes region (and beyond)
was subjected to particle bombardment and a catastrophic nuclear
irradiation that produced secondary thermal neutrons from cosmic ray
interactions. The neutrons produced unusually large quantities of 239Pu
and substantially altered the natural uranium abundance ratios
(235U/238U) in artifacts and in other exposed materials including
cherts, sediments, and the entire landscape. These neutrons necessarily
transmuted residual nitrogen (14N) in the dated charcoals to
radiocarbon, thus explaining anomalous dates."
-- From "Terrestrial Evidence of a Nuclear Catastrophe in Paleoindian
Dr. Richard Firestone and Mr. William Topping
"The Mammoth Trumpet," 2001
-The chronology of this theory is suspect; there seems to have
been one Mammoth extinction event, only some of the dates appear
to be way off. The authors admit to adjusting dates by an additional
2000 years in order to suit their theory. This alone throws the
supernova theory into suspicion. Nor is it likely that the supernova
would shower the earth with "Kryptonite" fragments; far more likely
that the "supernova-spawned-comet" would have been a conventional
comet. What is more interesting is the celestial-origin mineral dust
that was showered down, but again the dates are faulty (in part due
to the fact that the event itself definitely messed up the radiocarbon
dates, and the carbon-14 ratio flip has been previously recorded and
tied to the end of the Pleistocene. The "Off" dates are again comparable
to the estimated dates for the Carolina bays.
Supernova Explosion May Have Caused Mammoth Extinction
A distant supernova that exploded 41,000 years ago may have led to
the extinction of the mammoth, according to research that will be
presented by nuclear scientist Richard Firestone of the U.S.
Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Firestone, who conducted this research with Arizona geologist Allen
West, will unveil this theory at the 2nd International
Conference "The World of Elephants" in Hot Springs, SD. Their theory
joins the list of possible culprits responsible for the demise of
mammoths, which last roamed North America roughly 13,000 years ago.
Scientists have long eyed climate change, disease, or intensive
hunting by humans as likely suspects.
Now, a supernova may join the lineup. Firestone and West believe that
debris from a supernova explosion coalesced into low-density, comet-
like objects that wreaked havoc on the solar system long ago. One
such comet may have hit North America 13,000 years ago, unleashing a
cataclysmic event that killed off the vast majority of mammoths and
many other large North American mammals. They found evidence of this
impact layer at several archaeological sites throughout North America
where Clovis hunting artifacts and human-butchered mammoths have been
unearthed. It has long been established that human activity ceased at
these sites about 13,000 years ago, which is roughly the same time
that mammoths disappeared.
They also found evidence of the supernova explosion's initial
shockwave: 34,000-year-old mammoth tusks that are peppered with tiny
impact craters apparently produced by iron-rich grains traveling at
an estimated 10,000 kilometers per second. These grains may have been
emitted from a supernova that exploded roughly 7,000 years earlier
and about 250 light years from Earth.
"Our research indicates that a 10-kilometer-wide comet, which may
have been composed from the remnants of a supernova explosion, could
have hit North America 13,000 years ago," says Firestone. "This event
was preceded by an intense blast of iron-rich grains that impacted
the planet roughly 34,000 years ago."
In support of the comet impact, Firestone and West found magnetic
metal spherules in the sediment of nine 13,000-year-old Clovis sites
in Michigan, Canada, Arizona, New Mexico and the Carolinas. Low-
density carbon spherules, charcoal, and excess radioactivity were
also found at these sites.
"Armed with only a magnet and a Geiger counter, we found the magnetic
particles in the well-dated Clovis layer all over North America where
no one had looked before," says Firestone.
Analysis of the magnetic particles by Prompt Gamma Activation
Analysis at the Budapest Reactor and by Neutron Activation Analysis
at Canada's Becquerel Laboratories revealed that they are rich in
titanium, iron, manganese, vanadium, rare earth elements, thorium,
and uranium. This composition is very similar to lunar igneous rocks,
called KREEP, which were discovered on the moon by the Apollo
astronauts, and have also been found in lunar meteorites that fell to
Earth in the Middle East an estimated 10,000 years ago.
"This suggests that the Earth, moon, and the entire solar system were
bombarded by similar materials, which we believe were the remnants of
the supernova explosion 41,000 years ago," says Firestone.
In addition, Berkeley Lab's Al Smith used the Lab's Low-Background
Counting Facility to detect the radioactive isotope potassium-40 in
several Clovis arrowhead fragments. Researchers at Becquerel
Laboratories also found that some Clovis layer sediment samples are
significantly enriched with this isotope.
"The potassium-40 in the Clovis layer is much more abundant than
potassium-40 in the solar system. This isotope is formed in
considerable excess in an exploding supernova, and has mostly decayed
since the Earth was formed," says Firestone. "We therefore believe
that whatever hit the Earth 13,000 years ago originated from a
recently exploded supernova."
Firestone and West also uncovered evidence of an even earlier event
that blasted parts of the Earth with iron-rich grains. Three mammoth
tusks found in Alaska and Siberia, which were carbon-dated to be
about 34,000 years old, are pitted with slightly radioactive, iron-
rich impact sites caused by high-velocity grains. Because tusks are
composed of dentine, which is a very hard material, these craters
aren't easily formed. In fact, tests with shotgun pellets traveling
1,000 kilometers per hour produced no penetration in the tusks. Much
higher energies are needed: x-ray analysis determined that the impact
depths are consistent with grains traveling at speeds approaching
10,000 kilometers per second.
"This speed is the known rate of expansion of young supernova
remnants," says Firestone.
The supernova's one-two punch to the Earth is further corroborated by
radiocarbon measurements. The timeline of physical evidence
discovered at Clovis sites and in the mammoth tusks mirrors
radiocarbon peaks found in Icelandic marine sediment samples that are
41,000, 34,000, and 13,000 years old. Firestone contends that these
peaks, which represent radiocarbon spikes that are 150 percent, 175
percent, and 40 percent above modern levels, respectively, can only
be caused by a cosmic ray-producing event such as a supernova.
"The 150 percent increase of radiocarbon found in 41,000-year-old
marine sediment is consistent with a supernova exploding 250 light
years away, when compared to observations of a radiocarbon increase
in tree rings from the time of the nearby historical supernova SN
1006," says Firestone.
Firestone adds that it would take 7,000 years for the supernova's
iron-rich grains to travel 250 light years to the Earth, which
corresponds to the time of the next marine sediment radiocarbon spike
and the dating of the 34,000-year-old mammoth tusks. The most recent
sediment spike corresponds with the end of the Clovis era and the
"It's surprising that it works out so well," says Firestone.
Source: Berkeley Lab
Carolina Bays Microdiamonds and Tektites
Fig 9 With Adjusted C-14 Dates
-Since there is no real evidence that the comet of 10500-11500 BP
(Youngest Dryas) was in any way connected to the suspected supernova,
we can safely ignore the entire supernova scenario entirely and focus
on the event at the end of the Pleistocene. Further blogs will follow with
a step-by-step breakdown of causes and resulting events.