Annotated Bibliography for Catastrophism: Meteoritics and Meteorology

Bjorkman, J. K. "Meteors and Meteorites in the ancient Near East."
Meteoritics, 8 (1973), pp. 91-132.

Chadwick, Robert. "Comets and meteors in the last Assyrian Empire."In World Archaeoastronomy, Anthony F. Aveni, editor.
Cambridge University Press, 1989.

Littmann, Mark and Yeomans, Donald K. Comet Halley: Once in a Lifetime.
American Chemical Society, 1985.

Littmann and Yeomans discuss the history of Comet Halley and in particular the work of Edmond Halley. The authors include some fine historical photos, drawings, and painting of comets. There is a brief mention of Whiston's catastrophist hypothesis. The authors discuss recent speculations on the "Death Star" hypothesis, the role of comets in mass extinctions, and the Tunguska event.

Cook, A. B. Zeus.Vol. III, part I, pp. 881-903.
Cambridge, 1940.

Cook's massive lifetime work on the Greek sky god Zeus remains a classic. The section noted here discusses the relationship of Zeus to meteoritic phenomena.

Corliss, William R. Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena.
The Sourcebook Project, Glen Arm, Maryland, 1983.

Corliss compiles records of a variety of geophysical and meteorological anomalies. Interesting sections for catastrophists include "GWD" on "dark days, fogs, and other obscurations" and "GWS" on weather and astronomy. "GWD" lists some dark days and lengthy solar obscurations from 44 B.C. to the present. Some of these may have resulted from meteoric dusting or impact events. Other explations include large forest fires or volcanic eruptions. Section "GWS" discusses the relationship between weather and astronomy, including purported effects of the planets on weather, correlations between solar activity and weather, and the effects of meteors on the weather.

Corliss, William R. Rare Halos, Mirages, Anomalous Rainbows, and Related Electromagnetic Phenomena.
The Sourcebook Project, Glen Arm, Maryland, 1983.

Many sections here will be of interest to catastrophists. Section "GEL" discusses low-sun phenomena, including GEL4 on abnormal refraction phenomena as astronomical objects approach the horizon. These include flashing, jumping, and cometary appearance of planets like Venus near the horizon. I wonder if such phenomena might not be a reason for describing Venus as a "smoking star" or as presenting a cometary appearance? The section on rainbows and halos includes descriptions of light pillars, auroral arcs, and other displays which I believe might be the origin for a variety of ancient symbols for celestial phenomena. It is interesting to compare the phenomena with the suggested appearance of the Saturnist's polar configuration, for example.

Erickson, Jon. Target Earth! Asteroid Collisions Past and Future.
Tab Books, Blue Ridge Summit, PA. 1991.

Erickson discusses the nature and origin of asteroids. The contents are:

Erickson surveys scientific methods for detecting impact events in the Earth's past history. He discusses several recent "near misses" by asteroids as well as eye-witness accounts of recent apparent impact events. The sections on the probability of future impact events and on avoiding future collisions should be compared to those in Clube and Napier's Cosmic Winter. Erickson includes a useful glossary and a short bibliography. Most of the bibliographical references are to popular works and general scientific journals such as Scientific American, Science, and Nature.

Heuer, Kenneth. Rainbows, Halos, and Other Wonders.
Dodd, Mead and Company, New York, 1978.

Heuer provides a brief but good introduction to atmospheric phenomena such as solar and lunar halos, rainbows, glories, mirages, fata morganas, mock suns, light pillars, and Brocken Specters, among others. The book features many fine drawings and photographs of such phenomena. The front cover displays an interesting photograph of the green flash seen as Venus sets. Venus appears as a series of separate but overlapping images, ranging from blue-green to red. The colors result from atmospheric dispersion. This phenomenon is a good candidate for modern reports of a "shaggy" or "bearded" Venus.

Krinov, E. L. Principles of Meteoritics.
Pergamon Press, 1960.

Mark, Kathleen. Meteorite Craters.
University of Arizona Press, Tucson, 1987.

Mark offers an excellent and relatively non-technical history of the discovery and recognition of meteorite craters.

Meinel, Aden and Marjorie. Sunsets, twilights, and evening skies.
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1983.

The Meinels offer a beautiful collection of photographs of aerial phenomena such as volcanic twilights, the green flash, Bishop's rings, blue suns, auroral phenomena, the zodiacal light, and comets and meteors.

It seems to me that these photographs echo descriptions of many phenomena in ancient records and myths which some authors have taken as descriptions of catastrophic events. Indeed, some of these events, such as the "bright skies" after volcanic eruptions and impact events like Tunguska, and likewise Bishop's rings and blue suns, are associated with catastrophic events, although not necessarily astronomical catastrophes. I suspect that many auroral and aerial displays were much more common in ancient times during the breakup of the Taurid progenitor. The enhanced fireball and dusting activity, for example, would allow for a greater build-up of ice crystals. It would be an interesting project to simulate atmospheric conditions during a major astronomical dusting event and see how this might affect twilight phenomena and halo activity.

Newton, H. A. "The Worship of Meteorites."
American Journal of Science (fourth series), 153 (1897), pp. 1-14.

Kohler, Ulrich. "Comets and falling stars in the perception of Mesoamerican Indians."In World Archaeoastronomy, A. F. Aveni, editor.
Cambridge University Press, 1989.

Nininger, H. H. Out of the Sky: An Introduction to Meteoritics.
University of Denver Press, 1952.

Tape, Walter. Atmosphere Halos.
American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C., 1994.

Wainwright, G. A. "Iron in Egypt."
Journal of Egyptian Antiquities, Vol. 18, pp. 3-15.

Wainwright, G. A. "Some Celestial Associations of Min."
Journal of Egyptian Antiquities, Vol. 21, pp. 152-171.

Note: This bibliography bears a copyright.

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Last modified by pib on March 20, 1999.