Tiny Diamonds, Big Explosion

Featured in News to Know

BBC News: “Diamond Clues to Beasts’ Demise” Scientists are taking the gold standard for proof of extinction to the next level—with diamonds.

A team has discovered “nano-diamonds” and other materials thought to be from a meteorite impact in several sedimentary layers across the U.S. The team says the find bolsters a controversial theory that such an impact may have wiped out mammoths and even humans in North America more than ten millennia ago.

Even old-earth geologists dispute the significance of the research—or the accuracy of its conclusions.

The report, published in Science, used transmission electron microscopy to identify the diamonds, iridium, and magnetic microspherules, allegedly from 12,900 years ago. According to the team, the layers in question have up to a million times more diamonds than sediments close by, a distinctive suggestion of meteorite explosion (on or above the ground).

However, even old-earth geologists dispute the significance of the research—or the accuracy of its conclusions. Southern Illinois University geologist Nicholas Pinter told BBC News that not only was the material found not of a uniform age, but that some of the materials found “rain down all the time and are present throughout the geological record.” Pinter also pointed out that nano-diamonds have been identified elsewhere in the fossil record when there’s no indication of meteorite impact.

“Time will tell, but so far the [meteorite] impact looks like an increasingly desperate fishing expedition for supporting evidence,” he said, calling the idea that a meteorite exploded in the air “untested and highly implausible.”

NASA scientist David Morrison likewise said, “I know of no mechanism that would break up a comet and distribute it over North America in the way [the study authors] suggest,” though he said the presence of the nano-diamonds was an “interesting mystery.”

It sounds as though there’s no compelling reason to even respond to the “diamond” news, considering the lackluster response even old-earthers have given it. However, study co-author Allen West, a retired geologist, defends the study with the comment, “People still like to think of geological processes happening slowly over time. It’s unsettling that something happening in a few minutes could flip our climate and cause widespread extinctions.”

While West is obviously endorsing the meteorite-explosion viewpoint, it is a reminder of how other catastrophes could change the course of history, such as the global Flood. Meteorite or volcanic activity during and since the Genesis Flood a few thousand years ago could have played a role, accounting for nano-diamonds and other particles. Since we have no historical record of such events, we can at most speculate within our worldview—just like evolutionists—even while knowing we may never conclusively solve this “mystery.”

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