AN EXTRATERRESTRIAL CHANGE
There is cosmic evidence that could add proof to Goodyear's theory.
For four years, Arizona geophysicist Dr. Allen West has been working on a comet theory, which was published in the National Academy of Sciences last year.
Topper is connected to the theory which says a comet exploded over the continent about 12,900 years ago, wiping out mammoths and mastodons, killing the first North Americans and triggering a new Ice Age.
West first developed the theory at Gainey, Mich., another Clovis site, where he found microscopic balls that fell off of the comet. This material rarely exists on Earth and is usually produced by a meteorite or shooting star. West said that generally speaking, only one of these microscopic balls will fall a year.
In Gainey, he found 56,000 of them.
That got him thinking that an extraterrestrial event could have occurred. He began examining other Clovis sites. He's found similar materials in Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Canada, off the coast of California and at Topper.
"One of the oddest things... we found that the burned 'spherals' (at Topper) seem to be made out of tree sap," West said. "So we figure when a comet came through, it set fire to a clear amount of the landscape and they (the spherals) formed when the trees were burning. We looked at them with powerful, million-dollar microscopes and they are loaded with diamonds."
While West said he's tempted to sell them on eBay, the diamonds are smaller than a bacteria and invisible without the expensive microscopes. They formed, he said, when the comet shot through Earth's atmosphere, causing dramatic climate and pressure change.
West believes the comet landed in fragments across the United States and wiped out much of human and animal life, either through the impactor the subsequent change in climate and temperature. Large animals likely starved to death, West said.
While the loss of life was massive, some creatures, including humans, survived.
"It's been a real mystery as to why this thing suddenly occurred when the Ice Age appeared to be over," he said. "We had never seen it in previous glacial cycles. It happened at a time when things should have been getting warmer."
After the comet catastrophe, West said the Clovis culture collapsed. Goodyear's work appears to back that assertion up: Few Clovis artifacts are found after that point.
West returned to Topper last week to collect more sediment samples for analysis.