Professors Discover Means to Test ‘Big Freeze’ Theory

Sep. 10, 2013 - by Carol Best

Professors Discover Means to Test ‘Big Freeze’ Theory

September 10, 2013
Comet-Impact

Researchers have argued for the last six years about whether a comet impact 13,000 years ago triggered the so-called “Big Freeze” that killed the North American mammoths and other large mammals changing life forever on Earth. This idea, referred to as the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis, is still very controversial. Now MNU assistant professor Drew Overholt, PhD, and University of Kansas professor Adrian Mellott, PhD, have found a definitive way to test this hypothesis.

Overholt completed his doctorate at KU last spring and part of his dissertation examined rare isotopes that are hard to create on Earth. These Cosmogenic nuclides are produced more abundantly deep in space from cosmic rays. For this reason, comets and other extraterrestrial objects tend to contain these nuclides. Therefore, Overholt theorized, ice core samples can be tested for these nuclides, providing evidence of past impacts.

“Scientists have never had a before-the-fact test for the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis,” Overholt says. “We have found such a test and it will work for other large impacts as well. It is especially good for long-period comet impacts--the comets that only come around every million or more years.”

The ramifications of such tests are of great interest to scientists. While they cannot predict future events, the test could tell researchers how often these impacts have occurred, which could help scientists determine what threat these events pose. Overholt’s paper was published in “Earth and Planetary Science Letters” in September. His work continues through the KU Astrobiophysics Working Group which includes scientists from Kansas and West Virginia. Overholt says the debate over Younger Dryas is a popular topic now with National Geographic and other news sites covering the varied theories.

In an article on the University of Kansas website, Brendan Lynch quotes Overholt saying the test could find “the smoking gun researchers have been seeking for the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis.”

Overholt’s research website contains additional information on Cosmogenic nuclides at: http://kusmos.phsx.ku.edu/~melott/Overholt.htm.


 

MNU News

Saturday, April 29
Recent News
List
Grid
Archives
Investrment Club 042017
Investment Club Gives Students Real Market Experience

Investment Club Gives Students Real Market Experience

On any given Monday during the academic year a group of students gather with Associate Professor Mary Murphy, PhD, and Financial Advisor Jack Hansen…

Read More
Michael Lewis-11
Internship Leads to Career Choice

Internship Leads to Career Choice

Triple jumpers are exceptional athletes often possessing a natural ability to perform the complicated jump. But they don’t rely solely on that ability. They refine their technique to maximize the…

Read More
MNU PresidentsHonors 0239
President's Honors 2017 Sets New Record

President's Honors 2017 Sets New Record

President's Honors, MNU's premier fundraising gala for student scholarships, set a record again! A total of $709,126 was raised through sponsorships, bids and gifts April 7, 2017. This brings…

Read More
PT Blocks
Replacing Fear With Trust

Replacing Fear With Trust

MNU Profs Train Kansas Social Workers  When a child is taken from home and placed in foster care, the initial shock can be difficult to process. For most children around the country, the…

Read More
20160507 MNU commencement 0692
Commencement May 6, 2017

Commencement May 6, 2017

Commencement is just around the corner. Here's a list of some of the main events.  Friday, May 5 at 7 p.m., Nurses Pinning and Dedication Ceremony, College Church Sanctuary Saturday, May 6 at…

Read More
20160408 MNU PresidentsHonors 0836
MNU to Honor Olathe Community at President’s Honors Gala April 7, 2017

MNU to Honor Olathe Community at President’s Honors Gala April 7, 2017

MidAmerica Nazarene University has announced it will honor the Olathe community with the first-ever Pioneering Spirit Award at President’s Honors,…

Read More
bc-fa-weekend-large
50th Anniversary Fine Arts Weekend March 4-5

50th Anniversary Fine Arts Weekend March 4-5

MNU’s 50th anniversary celebration continues next month with a weekend packed full of music, theatre and art from yesterday and today, March 4-5,…

Read More
TC-w-tag
Ministry Leadership Institute for High School Students Taking Applications

Ministry Leadership Institute for High School Students Taking Applications

Applications are open for The Call, a one-week ministry leadership institute held June 5-9 or 12-16. Pastors, professors and others in ministry will…

Read More
Drummond-1
Drummonds to Serve as Honorary Co-Chairs of MNU Gala

Drummonds to Serve as Honorary Co-Chairs of MNU Gala

MidAmerica Nazarene University announced that long-time community leaders, Dr. Bob and Julie Drummond, are the honorary co-chairs of the 2017…

Read More
Sports
Gameday Central

Gameday Central

TF at Zach Kindler Open | Baldwin City, KS | 11:30 Live Video Streaming

 
Pioneers Split at Benedictine

Pioneers Split at Benedictine

ATCHISON, Kan. - MNU split Day 1 on a 4-game series at Benedictine on Friday...

 
Pioneers Split with Avila

Pioneers Split with Avila

OLATHE, Kan. - Each team shut out the other in a double header split vs. Avila on Friday...

 
Latest Photos
MNU President's Honors 2017 The Jazz ensemble performs for guests during the silent auction.
MNU President's Honors 2017 Todd Garrett, director of MNU Athletics, welcomed guests at the beginning of the evening.
MNU President's Honors 2017 Dr. Rion Taylor enjoys the 2017 President's Honors.
MNU President's Honors 2017 Guests enjoy the 2017 President's Honors.
MNU President's Honors 2017 Approximately 450 people attended the 2017 President's Honors.
MNU President's Honors 2017 Guests were treated to great music from the Heritage and Symphonic Choirs.