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Question
Dear Keith,

    Is there a possibility that a meteor impacted Northeastern Marshall County, Mississippi on December 16, 1811 to cause the events surrounding the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-1812, and can you find any flaws in this research at http://koolkreations.wix.com/kalopins-legacy ,
"Kalopins Legacy","wix","documents and links",
"A Few Comments on 1811"? Sincerely,
Thanks, Tony

Answer
Tony:

At first glance it looks like a hodge-podge of scientific fact molded into a conspiracy theory of sorts.  Some of the author's "science" is mixed up.

For instance:

Most comets are believed to be large bodies of Ice hence their large tails of of gassing when they near the sun.

Meteors and asteroids are stony or metallic bodies that are believed to form inside our solar system from debris near Jupiter.

It is well documented that New Madrid is the site of a lot of seismic activity even to this day where swarms of small quakes occur annually.

The Mississippi valley is the failed third arm of triple junction.  A triple junction is an area where a tectonic plate begins to pull apart due to upwelling of magma in the mantle in the form of a convection cell. This upward and outward movement caused the crust to thin and push upward and eventually break apart along two of the three junction arms.  Think of the coast along the  Texas-Louisiana gulf coast as the western arm, and the Mississippi-Alabama-Florida gulf coast as the eastern arm where the N. American plate broke from S. America.  The "failed" third arm is still a fault, only it extends into the plate, and formed the Mississippi Valley.  It was a low stop that the continental drainage flowed into to form a river valley  to the coast.  It is the central drainage path for the interior of the continent.

Now, another example is the great rift vally of Africa, where one arm forms the Red Sea, the other the Gulf of Aden along lower Saudi Arabia and the Rift Valley into Africa West of the Horn.

Okay, all the pictures of the so called comet or meteor fragments.  None of them are metallic that I could see.  In fact they almost all look to be sedimentary in orgin.

Where would granular sediments come from in space?  What most of them look like are concretions.  Concretions occur when sediments, quartz sand or quartz silt are cemented together gradually as water infiltrates the sediments and deposits minerals that cement the grains together.  This does not happen uniformly due to channelizing in the sediements: preferencial flow due to porosity and permiability differences in the sediments.

This leads to the "onion" like layering as the infiltration occurs over time and at different rates.

Lastly, while a meteor impact may make a good story, an impact of the magnitude proposed would have left a sizable cater that would not have been erased in the intervening 200 years.  A comet?  Well the Tunguska comet exploded overhead and unleased a lot of energy causing a massive forest blow down, but no crater or fragmentary evidence.  I don't think it caused any seismic event.

The descriptions of the effects of the New Madid quake are pretty well documented and could only have been caused by a quake.

A meteor strike would have caused Nuclear bomb like destruction, an outward pressure wave, followed by a reverse hurricane like wind as the atmosphere was displaced and then rushed back in to fill the void.  There would most likely have been massive fires and a huge dust clowd and atmospheric dust that would have effected the atmosphere for months, and caused widespread deposition of dust and debris.  None of this was reported.

So it makes a nice story, but what would be the motive for scientists to turn a blind eye to the evidence if it existed?

Geology

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Keith Patton

Expertise

I can answer questions concerning physical and historical geology, environmental geology/hydrology, environmental consulting, remote sensing/aerial photo interpretation, G&G computer applications, petroleum exploration, drilling, geochemistry, geochemical and microbiological prospecting, 3D reservoir modeling, computer mapping and drilling.I am not a geophysicist.

Experience

I have 24 years experience split between the petroleum and environmental industries. I have served as an expert witness in remote sensing, developmental geologist, exploration geologist, enviromental project manager, and subject matter expert in geology and geophysical software development.

Organizations
American Association of Petroleum Geologists
American Association of Photogrammetrists and Remote Sensing

Education/Credentials
Bachelor and Master of Science
Registered Geologist in State of Texas

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