[meteorite-list] Neutron and Protonproductioninhyper-velocityimpacts

From: mexicodoug <mexicodoug_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Sat, 29 Dec 2007 16:39:04 -0600
Message-ID: <006c01c84a6b$9e778c10$4001a8c0_at_MICASA>

Hey Sterling and friends,

"When all you own is a hammer, every problem starts looking like a nail."
(=>when all you have is an impact...)
...Abraham Maslow

I enjoyed your post, very entertaining and in that friendly style.

However, I originally didn't respond because your reply was a moving
target - you buried the original question without saying grace. Soin
replying, do I just let your friendly neurons take me on a neutron joyride?
I found the reply inconsistent and a bit wandery. Let me explain why: I
attempted to mothball this neutron assertation until a respectable
scientific view was presented, rather, than just "brain gas" (as you
appropriately said), which is now running well below the empty mark.
Apologies to EP for calling the "hypothesis" an assertation, but until it
can be made testable, I hope he will agree that is all it is.

Replies to your comments:

Look, the question here was where do these unidentified flying neutrons come
from in EP's assertation. It's not, "let's assume we have a neutron - if we
do, it can cool down to low energy". Please don't assume the conclusion and
create a circular logic and then fall off on many tangents...thought
tangents are invariably more interesting. In other words, no carts before
the horse.

OK, let's work it your way: "But the amount is small.". If these guys can
do this:
Why can't someone bring a geiger or scintillation counter around Ca?on
Diablo and drive a scientific stake into the heart of this idea? You know
how atoms are in a kilogram? Say 50,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 or some
other incontemplatable number. And to think a geiger counter responds when
just one of them breaks down...

Sterling - it is a nuclear reaction to produce neutrons in our neighborhood
under the parameters given and you know that. If you give him the benefit
of the doubt and say it can come from the surface collision, then you have
some serious experiments to do instead of delegating it to the "never can be
proven but sounds good" category:

(1) look at 235-Uranium / 238Uranium ratios,
(2) look for 10-Berylium, etc.,

for the most part, smashed deep into all kinds of solid byproducts, and not
just percolating thermally (i.e. at a comfortable 25 degrees C when the
Nitrogen conversion happens) freely in the sky. So however you want to slow
those neutrons down, don't forget they are begin life hot and jack-centered
in a lot of earth besides whatever the air-plasma above them turns into, not
playing upper atmosphere pinball. Reactions in such plasmas are gonna be
anything except kind and gentle. It's a lot of energy to dissipate and a
long and winding random walk through the ground first to loose enough energy
to get in the range needed for C-14 production. Anything capable of
consuming or releasing nuclear energy is going to be at ground zero first
and when they start out at these reputed gamma wave energies, they will be
pumping into the ground the brunt of the high energy particles -nuclear
energy-, before they lazily mosied up into the atmosphere like innocent dust
particles and feathers on a nice day (and if they are thermal neutrons, then
you had better be able to demonstrate something like Uranium isotope
distribution changes.

-Reject completely the hypothesis of neutron production during the
incandescent path for the explanations posted by Chris and yours truly.

-Fully accept your statement that "EP's linking atmospheric 14-C as the
marker for impacts, rather than as an extinctorer." We agree that you think
you know what is being talked about, and I take your word since I still
don't, but your justification sounds as plausible as it gets.

-Find inconsistent that: you spend the first part of your post convincing me
that these are kind and gentle neutrons floating about producing 14-C, and
then turn around and say that neutrons produces in violent collisions in
50,000 degree high energy plasmas - and yes, I understand how they are
damped when they come in from space and play pinball down to the
troposphere. A single high energy particle in a cubic meter is quite
different from a Chicxulub-Diablo ground impact. Different animal - let's
not stray.

-Think you're fine in believing: "I proposed that supernovae dust infall may
explain the isotope digressions", OK....because the textbook limitation of
14-C dating discusses the problem posed by variable cosmic ray flux over
time. And the same textbook tells us that cosmic rays are from supernova,
black holes and neutron stars. However ... errr, dust ?...not really, when
dealing with 14-C, which is the impact assertation being discussed...you are
wandering into more flowery meadows and leaving EP's assertation behind
without its day in court.

-Think you are barking up the wrong tree expecting that a big source of 14-C
could be big impactors in recent pre-history. Remember, meteorites are not
radioactive above normal trace amounts or we collectors wouldn't be so smug
about handling them. In space they are not being hit at a too much greater
frequency of cosmic ray impacts in space as Earth itself. Say: 5 times the
live earth rate of 14-C as a maximum, and 10x's a stretch. Assuming they
have the optimal composition of oxygen and nitrogen it is hard to see how
they could have more than 10x the level. But ONLY to a depth of about 2-3
feet! How big was your impactor and 5000 tons of 14-C after you subtracted
everything under the half meter rind? Most Importantly: meteoroids don't
accumulate 14-C: they level off just like Earth. 14-C is radioactive and
decays in space too. How radioactive are Moon rocks and Mars Rocks compared
to organic earth? Please don't take this as homework - unless I'm wrong,
and if so, tell me so..

Best wishes and Great Health,

----- Original Message -----
From: "Sterling K. Webb" <sterling_k_webb at sbcglobal.net>
To: <meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com>
Sent: Friday, December 28, 2007 9:46 PM
Subject: Re: [meteorite-list] Neutron and

> Hi, EP, Chris, Doug, Darren, and
> Anyone still dipping into the Mammoth Stewpot,
> Doug, I don't believe EP is claiming for a minute
> that radiation killed any critters, much less extincted
> a species, only that digressions in the isotope record
> seem to correlate with extinctions and impacts. He
> proposes that neutron generation in impacts may be
> the connecting mechanism. I proposed that supernovae
> dust infall may explain the isotope digressions. Firestone
> first proposed a great neutron exposure over a continental
> area would explain them, an event that allows for multiple
> explanations. Anything that un-protects the Earth from
> the solar wind and cosmic rays would explain it. Now
> Firestone finds evidences of impact. Oddly, the impact
> theory explains features that the great neutron flux theory
> couldn't, but unexplains things it could! The extinctions
> are sort of a by-issue as they are minor, disputed and
> not clear-cut in their timing. It's a mess. Until the pieces
> all "fall into place," as we say. Right now, they're still
> bouncing.
> You mention the notable absence of still-radioactive
> craters as an indicator that impacts do not produce any
> neutrons. Well, nobody's talking about that many neutrons
> in the first place. Firestone is talking about tiny ppm
> geochemically detectable traces, not craters that glow
> in the dark. I don't think that anybody is proposing an
> extinction mechanism more energetic than a climatic
> disturbance. The glaciations were strong environmental
> stressors, creating a harsh environment. Another stressor on
> top of that might have extinctive effects. Even if (and I don't
> believe this for a minute) there were slightly "hot" craters,
> induced unstable isotopes are mostly short-lived. We have
> no fresh giant craters to check (that being the only place you
> could test the theory of neutron production by impact). If
> there were traces of neutron production in impact, it too
> would be only detectable in ppm geochemical tests.
> If EP is suggesting that impacts generate enough
> neutrons to increase the C14 in the Earth's atmosphere,
> he be far from the first to do so. I've heard it batted
> about for fifty years with no conclusive answer. There
> have been articles in "Nature" proposing mechanisms and
> all the usual arguments, for decades. It's not a new idea,
> nor an "extreme" one, just a hard-to-prove one (or a
> wrong one).
> The neutrons which transform N14 to C14 are the
> lowest energy neutrons of all: thermal neutrons (meaning
> that their speed is determined by the temperature, like
> molecules of a gas, less than half an electron-volt likely).
> The pace of thermal neutrons is so slow and leisurely
> that you could easily win a race with one. Even I could.
> These lazy neutrons have no trouble creating C14
> for just that reason; they just sneak up on the nitrogen
> atoms and grab'em! The Earth's atmosphere makes a
> fine trap to slow fast neutrons down to the slow pace
> that creates C14. They start out fast because it takes
> far more energy to produce them than they have as
> thermal neutrons. Then, the fast neutrons have to bounce
> their way off lots of atoms until they slow down enough
> to get one!
> Neutrons can be produced by natural decay and by
> interactions with photons, with electrons, with protons.
> The energies required vary with the target, as every
> element is different in this regard. Knowledge in the
> this area is incomplete and an "accidental" neutron
> generator is sometimes created by mistake, like the
> maker of industrial x-ray machinery who discovered
> that his dense tungsten shielding stopped off-axis
> x-rays just fine -- by converting them into immense
> doses of neutrons! (Recall time.)
> If anybody thinks we have C14 all neatly understood,
> read this discussion of C14 levels in coal (where there
> shouldn't be ANY):
> http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/c14.html
> All the models of large impacts (I stress the "large"
> part) show the production of plasma at 30,000 K up
> to 50,000 K. and in reasonably large amounts. Plasmas
> at these energies produce energetic electrons, energetic
> photons, and energetic ions, all of which can produce
> plentiful neutrons.
> The key question is HOW MUCH? and the answer is:
> we don't know. As I pointed out in a Mammoth Stew issue
> on 12-21, Libby calculated that Tunguska's small C14
> increase, if it was from Tunguska, was only about 15%
> of what a nuclear explosion of the same force would have
> generated. That's a respectable performance but not a
> world-beater. I doubt anybody has calculated the neutron
> flux of a variety of impact types (if even possible) and
> I'm sure not going to try.
> However, everybody's overlooking the obvious: that the
> impactor brings it's own Carbon 14 to the party. There
> are a plentitude of carbon-rich potential impactors: C-type
> asteroids, D-type, and more, cometary chunks, and so
> forth. Big impacts would vaporize within the atmosphere
> many millions of tons of material, with many 100,000 tons
> of carbon. A mere 5000 tons of Carbon 14 would double
> the C14 content of the Earth's atmosphere, so you see
> it doesn't take an impossible amount. But this possibility
> is also "vagued up" by the fact that we don't know the C14
> abundance in such objects.
> Even tiny micrometeorites, the pellets and dust that
> make "ordinary" meteors, showers and erratics, largely
> from cometary sources and relatively carbon-rich, would
> have carbon 14 enriched exteriors from space exposure to
> energetic radiation and that carbon 14 will get oxidized
> directly into the atmosphere when they burn up.
> There's no bigger headache than trying to find ALL the
> pathways on a carbon cycle diagram of any natural process,
> and trying to do for one isotope of carbon is nightmarish.
> The unstable isotope is decaying constantly from its total
> of 5000 tons in the atmosphere, dropping about one ton
> per year. It's being replenished by that roughly that same
> amount every year, from cosmic rays (mostly), the solar
> wind (some), by the modulation of cosmic rays by the
> magnetosphere as modulated by the solar wind (again),
> and dozens of other very minor pathways... we think.
> Living things selectively reject it, releasing it into the
> atmosphere; it may be brought in with meteoroids; it
> may infall with comet dust, the list goes on and on...
> Meanwhile, much (most?) of what we think we know
> about large impacts is theoretical musing. It might well be
> totally correct musing (I think so; it hangs together; we all
> love a good synthesis), but it's brain gas just the same. So
> is the theory of gravity, but I can see it work a thousand
> times a day. I can't see a big impact that often, not even
> once a lifetime. No observations. And no guarantee of
> completeness. Give me a fresh crater and 50 geochemists
> any day...
> Sterling K. Webb
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "mexicodoug" <mexicodoug at aol.com>
> To: <meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com>
> Sent: Friday, December 28, 2007 2:09 PM
> Subject: Re: [meteorite-list] Neutron and Proton
> productioninhyper-velocityimpacts
> Hi Ed, Chris,
> I also posted a reply to this along the lines Chris did, but it didn't
> show
> up. Ed, I am gathering from Chris' conclusions from your post that you've
> mixed up visible light with gamma rays as sources of neutrons because they
> are both radiation?
> Best wishes,
> Doug
> my original below:
> Hi Ed,
> I am trying to understand what you mean to say. Please bear with me and
> tell me what I'm missing:
> The energy of the photons we see in visible light, whether from meteors or
> a
> night light or Sunlight on the porch is the same (per discrete photon) we
> see.
> There is no upper limit for the energy content of a "photon", and any
> finite
> proces has an energy associated with it. In other words, a generic
> 'photon'
> can release anything requiring any energy, and anything releasing energy
> releases "photons", so I can't follow what you mean by "It turns out
> photons
> can...". In fact saying a "photon" can do something is just like saying a
> certain energy can do something -nothing new here, if it weren't true,
> nuclear fusion and fission, two observable processes would be impossible-
> as
> all processes have an associated energy, including warming my hot
> chocolate
> to 80 C with infrared "photons".
> The energy is proportional to the inverse of the wavelength of the
> "photon".
> So it is simple arithmetic to calculate the wavelength of a "photon"
> capable
> of atomic fission - which is what you are discussing (more specifically
> deuterium fission)...which is the same photon energy than is released on
> deuterium fusion.
> Although the incredible Hulk is green, the photon of green light
> (wavelength
> nearly measurable at = 0.00055 millimeters), the most average light, has
> ten
> thousand times less energy per "photon" than gamma "photons". Gamma
> radiation in the neighborhood of the spectrum you are discussing, in fact,
> is a result of nuclear fission explosions, and has a wavelength shorter
> than
> any distance between atoms (no surprise since it is the amount of energy
> that interacts with atomic nuclei).
> Until one can mathematically derive or experimentally determine whether
> such
> energy present in gamma 'photons' (and energenitic gamma photons at that)
> can be generated and applied to a little deuterium atom somehow, from all
> these impacts on Earth, the status of the theory is the same as the status
> of
> the Hulk comic character! I am the first to respect a thought experiment:
> But what scientific experiment could you propose (or has one already been
> done?) to follow through?
> On the other hand, if all of the big impact sites are creating all of
> these
> radiation byproducts, the least of which is 14-C, would likely create
> radioactive waste dumps at every major impact event site - a measureable
> quantity. Has this been seen at Canon Diablo? An observation of that
> would
> support your theories. I don't believe any radioactivity has been deduced
> from any of the impact sites, and this is a subject very interesting to
> look
> for by the best military satellites of the most enthused nations.
> I suppose a new extinction theory can be - the radiation released from
> ground zero and into the atmosphere was extremely short lived, intense and
> conveniently left no trace detected yet, but clearly could be responsible
> for the great dyings in geological history for suceptible creatures.
> Just need a little clarification,
> Thanks, Doug
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "E.P. Grondine" <epgrondine at yahoo.com>
>> To: <meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com>
>> Sent: Friday, December 28, 2007 11:08 AM
>> Subject: [meteorite-list] Neutron and Proton production in
>> hyper-velocityimpacts
>>> Hi all -
>>> Over the last several days, I've cited several C14
>>> spikes associated with hyper-velocity impacts.
>>> It turns out that photons can release neutrons and
>>> protons from a nucleus:
>>> http://galileo.phys.virginia.edu/classes/252/Nuclear_Notes/nuclear_notes.html
>>> To give you idea of the energies involved, we've all
>>> watched the photons given off by meteors traveling at
>>> cosmic speeds. If I remember right, those photons come
>>> from excited electrons - as does the electrophorenic
>>> sound discussed so many times here on the list over
>>> the years.
>> ______________________________________________
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Received on Sat 29 Dec 2007 05:39:04 PM PST

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