Abu Hureyra, Syria, Part 3: Comet airbursts triggered major climate change 12,800 years ago that initiated the transition to agricultureOPEN ACCESS 

Andrew M.T. Moore, James P. Kennett, William M. Napier, Malcolm A. LeCompte, Christopher R. Moore, Allen West

Airbursts and Cratering Impacts, 28 September 2023


“This study investigates the hypothesis that Earth collided with fragments of a disintegrating comet, triggering Younger Dryas climate change 12,800 years ago. This collision created environmental conditions at Abu Hureyra, Syria, that favored the earliest known continuous cultivation of domestic-type grains and legumes, along with animal management, adding to the pre-existing practice of hunting-and-gathering. The proposed airburst coincided with a significant decline in local populations and led to architectural reorganizations of the village. These events immediately followed the deposition of the Younger Dryas Boundary layer that contains peak concentrations of high-temperature meltglass, nanodiamonds, platinum, and iridium. These proxies provide evidence of a nearby low-altitude airburst by a comet-like fragment of a former Centaur, one of many <300-km-wide bodies in unstable orbits between the giant planets. This large body is proposed to have undergone cascading disintegrations, thus producing the Taurid Complex containing Comet Encke and ~90 asteroids with diameters of ~1.5 to 5 km. Here, we present substantial new quantitative evidence and interpretations supporting the hypothesis that comet fragments triggered near-global shifts in climate ~12,800 years ago, and one airburst destroyed the Abu Hureyra village. This evidence implies a causative link between extraterrestrial airbursts, environmental change, and transformative shifts in human societies.”