UnchartedX is a Youtube channel I have cited before. Ben, the narrator, isn't a degreed scientist to my knowledge, but he thinks like one. His thoughts are well reasoned, factually based, and absent unavoidable bias to my mind. Given that both he and I derive from Anglophone cultural contexts, we certainly share cultural biases. I strongly support his work, and hope my presenting it here gains him subscribers.
In this video he draws from the global breadth of religious and cultural traditions to specifically cite many of the creation stories most of us know from our own cultural backgrounds, and that we are aware are mirrored in traditions other than our own. He notes the specific events: fires, earthquakes, floods, and a genocide of almost existential extent, are a litany of the affects of extraterrestrial impacts.
He points out that ~13kya at the beginning of the Younger Dryas, the Channeled Scablands of Western Washington were formed in days. A black mat of carbon deposited during that time reveals that 10% of the biomass on Earth was consumed in a firestorm. Half the animals over 100 kilos on Earth went extinct. Around the world there is a trace of iridium in that layer, the signature of extraterrestrial impact. The ancient coastlines of that world are today under 100 meters and more of ocean, melted from the glaciers of the Ice Age.
Across millenia, our ancestors have diligently reported to us the cataclysm that destroyed the golden age. Gobekli Tepe was buried beneath Anatolian gravels on purpose, the story of cosmic impact told on megaliths carved roughly contemporaneously with these events according to the folks digging it up. It's a massive complex. We have just begun to dig it up and see what it contains.
But Ben also mentions Burckle Crater roughly between Africa, India, and Australia. He points out immense chevrons of material that cosmic impact pushed on to land with a massive tsunami 5kya, about the beginning of the Bronze Age, and the push of the Yamnaya into Europe from the Pontic Steppe.
We think of the end of the Neolithic as a primitive time of clans, but it is useful to remember that it had been more than 5 thousand years since Gobekli Tepe was buried. People had trade networks and resplendent capitals prior to the casting of bronze. The creation of Burkle Crater at that time didn't strike a world of wilderness, but laid waste to the coastal peoples and mighty empires of the day.
South and East Africa, across Arabia and Persia, South Asia, Indonesia, and Australia would all have been inundated with waves capable of leaving dunes of material more than 5 miles long in their wake. Nothing coastal built by man would have survived. Beyond the reach of the waves, with the sudden destruction of every port, every ship capable of commerce and fishing, and the death of all the people on the coasts, there would have been utter chaos, as the trade, commercial, fishing, and agricultural industries would have vanished overnight. Tangled wreckage and corpses would have remained. The smell of death would have cursed the air for hundreds of miles.
Terrified, bereft of state and people, survivors would have fled before the gods struck again. Perhaps reconstruction would have begun immediately, and in a few years harvests and fleets might have been rebuilt. Either way massive disruption and loss of human industry would have occurred across the Middle East and South Asia. Given the nature of politics and empire, it is unlikely that the power vacuum and real property suddenly available wouldn't have sparked war and conquest.
Seemingly unconnected, the Yamnaya begin the genocide of the Neolithic farmers of Europe. There are no known connections between the mysterious nomadic warriors of the steppes and the unknown empires on the south coasts of Asia, but given thousands of years of commercial and cultural developments after the Younger Dryas and putting Gobekli Tepe into storage, the certain mobility of steppe nomads on horseback, and the value of trade to all peoples everywhere at every time, it would be ludicrous to suppose that contact between nations of peoples a few months journey apart wasn't undertaken, or even less than regular and lucrative. We don't have records. The coastal empires were literally washed off the map, and their cities buried beneath miles of sediments.
A cataclysm of such magnitude would have been noted even thousands of miles away. The frightened survivors and emigrants would have seen more, and would sell their lurid tales for many a meal and lodging on their journeys. In the fertile crescent, in Sumer and Akkad, the scribes had been keeping written records on clay tablets for a thousand years. The Persian Gulf, just south and east to the sea, would have been the scene of a monstrous tsunami funneled up the bay to the mouths of the Tigris and Euphrates.
I have long wondered why during the rise of civilization in the fertile crescent no extremely powerful empire existed at the mouths of the great rivers where they dumped into the Persian Gulf. Perhaps this is why. At any rate, at this approximate time, the herds and tents of the mounted warriors of the Pontic Steppe north of the Black Sea began migrating into Europe, replacing the farmers with their families, and leaving their corded ware pots behind with their genes.
Ben points out in the video that massive floods would have been produced, not just from the tsunamis, but by the huge amount of water vapor that would have been injected into the atmosphere. Perhaps this affected the Yamnaya and either forced them to seize Europe or die, by burying the steppes under dozens of meters of snow that didn't melt for years, or profited them economically so that they could, by inducing verdant growth that prospered their herds. Maybe both, in that order.
However the ancient transition to the Bronze Age was effected culturally and economically, massive disruption across the coasts of the Indian Ocean marked that handover of the old world to the new.
We see that periodic cataclysms have punctuated history, because we find the ash layers, the debris fields, and craters of their authors; the angry gods that punished mankind. This post isn't more than my speculations based on geological formations and the terrifying tales our ancestors repeated around their fires for a thousand generations. I haven't dug up cities, seen video of the events, or read first hand accounts. The links between the events are tenuous and their manner unknown, but the consequences are written in our genes in Europe, and unmarked graves around the Indian Ocean.
A subtext that runs through our creation tales that stem from these cataclysms is that survivors were taught civilization, presumably by surviving members of the antediluvian civilization that once spanned the shallower seas of the Ice Age world. Given these kind of things seem to happen with disturbing regularity, every few thousand years or so, it seems meet that we should consider some kind of preparation to teach the arts of civilization to the survivors of the next cataclysm.
It's not like there aren't folks warning us of impending doom, and it's not like we have any reason to deny it happens. How much use will the Doomsday Seed Vault be without Johnny Appleseeds and manuals on how to make plows? It is the minds of our people that are our true technological prowess, not our machines and cities. In the event catastrophe strikes us today, the survivors will only have the technology they understand. Should everyone that understands nuclear physics perish, humanity will no longer possess nuclear physics. Should folks that know how to build roads, refine petroleum, or design circuits all die, none of those technologies will exist anymore.
When Toba blew ~70kya, it is estimated that fewer than 5000 people survived globally. Whatever the survivors knew is all the technology, culture, and history that existed then. ~7 billion of us today know a lot, allowing our industries, commerce, and societies to flourish. Without them, these knowers of civilization, we will reinvent pointy sticks, chipped rocks, and fire, and begin again, or die of nescience.
Our ancestors passed down their reports to us through religious orders. Are there monasteries today quietly compiling textbooks on essential industries, preparing to teach the faithful how to live when it has all come crashing down?
If there aren't, there should be.