An explosion of Mt. St. Helens recently blew down thousands of trees. An exoterrestrial explosion at Tunguska in 1908 blew down million of trees. The Fens of East Anglia contain millions of felled trees. Here the trees were knocked down facing northeast and were buried. They were sheared off a meter above the ground and their stumps remain rooted. Many were tall and thick trees. No volcano is to be located as the source of the blast. What kind of a wind was this?

Winds find a minor place in textbooks on earth features. They erode rock by polishing and pitting it, by making grooves, by shaping and faceting. They make various alcoves and niches in rock walls. They also form sand dunes in deserts, and blow the sand and silt of stream beds hither and yon. A sandsheet in Libya, over a meter thick, rests on bedrock over many thousands of square kilometers and is supposed to have been laid down by winds of the desert. There are others like it around the world. Such aeolian activity is allotted millions of years to help shape the landscape; the number of millions, one or a hundred, is calculated from estimated past climatic conditions working against various constraints, such as whether landforms exist nearby to provide the material of erosion.

Tornados, cyclones and hurricanes now and then wreak havoc upon soil and settlements. Part of the climatic complex of this age, these storms are localized -the "tornado belt" of the south-central United States, the Japan and China Seas, and so on. Of course, bearing in mind the "many changes of climate over the ages," most places on earth would have suffered such storms in turn. When they occur, part of the biosphere is blown away with some of the natural landscaping. Paleo-anthropology and archaeology debate the relative contributions of the Orient and the Eur-African world to the earliest American cultures, for example, without proper attention to the possibilities afforded travelers by changing winds that come with changing climates, now pushing things one way and then again another way. So that even when the possibilities of cataclysmic changes in early human times are ignored, changing climates would carry culture both East and West [1] .

Tornado effects are discoverable in some places where sedimentary beds are interrupted by poorly sorted mixtures of rock which evidence by their shape, fragmentation, and positions a sudden displacement and replacement. Ager calls these storm deposits "tempestite," after a word that he ascribes to Gilbert Kelling, when he observes them, for instance, on the heights of the Atlas Mountain of Morocco [2] . Similar deposits have been identified in a few other places. Missouri, Virginia, the English Channel, the Paris Basin, in rocks of the Mesozoic and Paleozoic. Carozzi and Gerber consider that "such an early generation of cherts in carbonates is more common than generally assumed." [3]

We cannot figure how often such high energy local events have occurred, until the world is better surveyed with this idea in mind. But one can "think big". With a thousand tornados a year (300 in the U. S. A.) tearing up two thousand square kilometers of sediments and breaking down surface features, an area equal to the total land surface of the world (240 million square kilometers) would be superficially pulverized in about 120,000 years. If a conventional age of 3.6 million years is accorded the Earth's crust, the whole of it would have been scoured, not once, but 30,000 times by cyclonic action. In the short term, not all land would be affected equally, but in the long-term, given changing climates and drifting continents, an assumption of randomized strikes could be tolerated. Where then are the scars of 30,000 tornados in every geological column? Or even in any single one anywhere?

From this we might conclude that we have a great deal of field research to do in geological history so as to obtain a realistic estimate of the number of events. This is also the situation, we may as well say, in respect of meteoroid falls, volcanism, and other high-energy events to be discussed. The quantavolutionary approach to history comes naked as a neonate, without systematic hypotheses, data, or applicable mathematics.

If few such effects are discoverable, it may be because catastrophes acting on a large scale have obliterated almost all localized indications of damage. For instance, if great earthquakes have shattered rock strata, lesser violence to the rock would be hardly visible. The schist dropping deep below the city of Athens is infinitely fractured. Is this tempestite, thermotite, seismotite, hydrotite, turbotite, or what? If the wind god, Aeolus, blew at once all around the world, many sediments would be displaced, losing their local cyclone scars in the process and letting no new strikes penetrate deep into the new strata.

But perhaps the Earth's surface has spent 99.9% of its time in a peaceful state with a quiet atmosphere. Such quiescence contradicts uniformitarianism as much as it does catastrophism; that is, I have used above the present "quiet" state to reconstruct the past, as Hutton and Lyell recommended. Yet even so, estimates resulting there from would be much more impressive than present conventional history gives one to understand.

A final possibility is that the sedimentary rocks of the Earth are much too young to have experienced all that is supposed to have happened. That is, if the Earth were 100,000 years old, much of its surface would perhaps not have been scarred by tornados (or meteoroids).

Ancient legends speak of a large role for winds. The sacred book of Buddhism, the Visuddhi-Maggia, says that when world collide the winds "turn the ground upside down. Large areas crack and are thrown upwards. The winds pulverize the ground and it disappears into space, never to return. Thus ends a cycle of the ages." [4] It is the extreme catastrophic typhoon.

The ancient Meso-Americans said that the former world was brought to an end by the great wind god, Huracan. Probably the origin of the word "hurricane" is here. Huracan is also a manifestation of the great god Quetzalcoatl, who is also identified with the god and planet Venus [5] . Huracan, the Heart of Heaven, fathered a large number of people, who he then destroyed in the darkness of a storm amidst black rain that fell day and night. So records the Quiche book of Popul Vuh. Then animal gods mangled the bodies [6] .

"Air" is rarely missing in the legendary and early scientific classifications such as "earth, air, fire and water." The idea of world destruction by wind is, of course, quite disregarded by modern scholars. One hears the term "marine transgressions" but not "wind transgressions." It is surprising how few pages have been devoted to the winds by catastrophists, too. Again, perhaps the effects of hurricanes and typhoons are quickly concealed by other forces operating. Or the effects may be interpreted as tidal wave deposits.

The splintered bones of some fossil assemblages would indicate aerial rather than water transport. Although he does not follow through, F. Hibben provides a rare passage dealing with the immense deposits of bones that he witnesses. "Throughout the Alaskan mucks, too, there is evidence of atmospheric disturbances of unparalleled violence." [7] The Cumberland Cavern catastrophic life dump shows no evidence of water transport [8] . Probably as many collections of animals and vegetation have been gathered and flung in heaps by winds as by water. In seeking the origins of some coal deposits, catastrophic winds are a prime suspect, along with rock and water thrusts.

What can create deposits can remove them. Heavy winds, operating tidally or cyclonically, can blow away pre-existing structures. Contemplating the early ages of human settlement, one may wonder at the frequent absence of primordial sites. Here, as everywhere in the mythicized realms of science, there is a vision that is perhaps false, of excavating sites layer upon layer until arrival at bed rock, and thereupon pronouncing the last ruins to be the first settlement. But the god Huracan is able quickly to erase settlements down to bed rock one and more times. The typical absence of human vestiges before the neolithic age is usually taken to signify that human settlement began with the neolithic. There is small reason to believe this to be the case. In fact, there is a hint of aeolian morphology in the near absence of paleolithic remains except in caves and abris in the Dordogne of France and elsewhere.

The power of winds to push, pull and lift is great. The Hiroshima nuclear fission-bomb explosion is assigned an energy of 7.9x10 18 ergs. The measured energy release of a one-megaton fusion bomb explosion is in the range of 10 22 ergs. This is about the same energy as exploded in the Berringer meteoroid crater in Arizona. "In one day a large hurricane releases as much energy as a 13,000 megaton nuclear bomb. Some hurricanes take a week to reach such intensity, others mature in a day or so. And during the time another may be at full blast a thousand miles away." [9] Some hurricanes last three weeks and travel 1,000 miles. (One can bear in mind the immediate transport of resilient living species around the world by such means.)

An ordinary Kansas tornado will approximate 4x10 18 ergs of kinetic energy. Its power in kilowatts is 10 18 , "which is in excess of the capacity of all the generating stations in the United States." (ca 1959) [10] . The wind velocity at the center of its funnel theoretically may achieve 2000 miles per hour. By the Fujita scale, an F-5 wind, indexed at combined forward and rotating speeds of 261-318 mph causes "incredible damage."

Electrical activity is so vigorous that Peltier's words of 1840 can be used as a model for an electrical cyclone theory. "Everything proves that the tornado is nothing else than a conductor formed of the clouds which serves as a passage for a continual discharge of electricity from above." [11] Observers have been inside of this "enormous vacuum tube, somewhat similar to a geissler, neon or fluorescent light tube, conducting very low density electric current whenever there is a sufficient accumulation of electricity in the clouds to make the jump to Earth." [12]

Typhon, the cosmic spectral dragon felled by a thunderbolt from Jupiter, was anciently described by Apollodorus as "rushing at heaven" with hissing and screams, spouting a great jet fire from his mouth. This same Typhon is probably the origin of the word "typhoon." [13] Cyclones and water spouts (water-bearing cyclones) often appear in groups. An outbreak of 148 tornados was registered in the United States and Canada on April 3,1974. Sometimes associated with a tornado are a number of downbursts of high-velocity winds that blow down whatever they strike, whether groves or houses or aircraft. Ted Fujita of the University of Chicago compares the downbursts with giant garden hoses aimed downwards upon circles kilometers in diameters; often they end their work in two minutes.

What might cause a vast number of cyclonic events to appear? A meteoroid bombardment, an interruption of the Earth's motion, a tilt of the Earth's geographic axis, magnetic axis, or sidereal axis: these would do, and also a large meteoroid impact, and a large body passing nearby, the latter, however, being tied almost inevitably to other changes in Earth's motions. Too, a deluge of waters might form into many ribbons, mushrooms, or funnels in descending. The winds and other effects of a heavy meteoroid impact would be simulated if a large number of nuclear missiles were trained upon a single spot and exploded at the same moment.

The atmospheric turbulence accompanying such impacts must include more than a blasting power. Its heat can provide the circulating system for a natural instantaneous chemical factory. The turbulence generates disturbing sounds and sends them over long distances and brings intolerable changes in barometric pressures. Volcanic explosions produce similar effects: whether a crater is a volcanic or meteoric effect is often contested, and both produce tornado and hurricane effects.

During the Krakatoa volcanic explosion of 1883, winds stripped all the surrounding area of its lush vegetation before burning it [14] . People heard noises of anchors being hauled up and dropped, of thunder and beating drums: the winds carried the explosions across the Indian Ocean where they were heard as distant cannonading. The barometer on a ship nearby jumped up and down an inch at a time. The air was sucked up so that people could not breathe. The gases were sulfurous, choking and blinding. The sun was obscured, and slightly so around the world for years. In the pitch-black day, a Dutchman groped for a knife to dispatch his family.

So cyclones darken abruptly the sky, and bring ear-bursting and chest-bursting drops in barometric pressure. They explode houses by creating vacuums into which the inside air must burst. They lift boulders and cows, carrying them off, and they dig up the earth. There is a hint in cyclonic action of what may have happened to some of the mammoths and other large-animals that were exterminated a few thousand years ago: suffocation; lifting and dropping; followed by quick freezing; thence to be discovered in the same position today.

Winds act faster than water and have the same exponential effect upon the bodies which they may encounter as their speed increases. Wind pressure, that is, increases as the square of wind velocity, up to the velocity of sound at least. A 500 km/ hr wind exerts 25 (not 5) times the pressure of a 100 km/ hr wind; gravel then begins to behave like fusillades of bullets. Kelly and Dachille calculated that the winds created by a large meteoroid impact will move laterally and vertically with the speed of sound [15] .

Their effect has to be measured, too, in terms of the amount of debris that they transport. A single such blast, moving horizontally, can strip its area of passage bare down to bed rock, or below, especially if it is loaded with detritus, and may continue its major effects for a thousand kilometers. Only a mountain can stand against it and it, too, will be defaced; an instant ablation corresponding to millions of years of ordinary aeolian erosion will occur. Rivers would be wiped out and set up elsewhere. Valleys would be filled with debris. Great vegetable and animal dumps would be established in many places.

Waterspouts have been known to hoist and drop far away the water and biosphere of large ponds; since these events happen under meteorological conditions ordinary to our age, they must be hundreds of times less powerful than the waterspouts (and land spouts) that would arise from large-body impact explosion or related events involving catastrophic energies [16] . The turbulent atmosphere of the planet Venus rotates in six days as contrasted with the 243 days that the body of the planet takes to rotate. Its normal wind velocities of 10 to 100 meters per second are comparable to those of the jet stream that races through the upper atmosphere of the Earth [17] .

The surface heat of Venus is of course in the hundreds of degrees Celsius. The mechanism has not been solved. Several effects of a perpetual firestorm might be considered, granted that free oxygen is absent. One is reminded of the firestorms that were engendered in the Chicago fire, the Tokyo earthquake, the Pestigo forest fire, the firebombing of Dresden, and the atomic bomb-burst over Hiroshima. Large areas can become like giant tornados; perhaps a planet can suffer the same fate.

Winds can operate like tides. Thus, if the Earth's rotation is altered, the atmosphere will be subjected to the same influences that cause the alteration and will in effect act turbulently, that is, out of phase with the lithosphere. They will sweep over the globe like a tide of water. The atmosphere, if electromagnetically affected by a conjunction of planets and Sun, will help to disturb the lithosphere and engender seismism.

Differential atmospheric pressures define the existence of a wind; two clouds of gas, essentially isolated but lacking an effective "bag" to contain their isolation, interact. Electric potentials are established. Electrical forces thereupon flow throughout the transacting systems laterally and vertically. It is perhaps axiomatic that where there is wind there is an electric current and discharges. And where there is an electric current there is bound to be a magnetic field. And, lacking a better container, an electric current is contained by its magnetic field.

More than one observer has confirmed the testimony of a man who was caught in the open as a tornado passed above him by a few meters. He was beneath a tunnel whose walls were composed of whirling clouds, in the manner of a magnetic field as this is pictured in drawings of a textbook. He looked up into the tunnel for at least half a mile; brilliant lightning flashes illuminated the tube. Where he crouched, the air seemed calm; the gases stank suffocatingly; screams and hisses could be heard. The tornado, having deftly raised itself to pass over him just as gently dropped down upon his neighbor's house, exploding it and its objects [18] .

This small tornado may function very much on the same principles as the cyclonic effect of a large meteoroid explosion, and again like the great tube of gases that envelops a binary star system, such as I outlined for the solar system in Chaos and Creation and discussed at length with Earl R. Milton in Solaria Binaria.

In the Uweinat section of the Great Sand Sea of Southwestern Egypt, a number of possible meteoric impact sites have been reported. One, positively identified, is of 4 km diameter; another is of 14 km diameter. Many extinct volcanos are also evident in this desolate area of sand and sand dunes, which was occupied by humans until at least the neolithic period [18A]. A great climatic change must then have occurred lately.

The region is part of the Sahara Desert, which is also marked here and there by human traces. The Gobi Desert, greatest in Asia, bears human relics as well. So do the Mexican and U. S. deserts, and the Peruvian. The great deserts of the world are recent, it appears.

The astroblemes and volcanism of Uweinat may have been associated with the events ending civilization and creating deserts. The wind-blown dunes are long, wide, and tall; yet the same winds have not erased the meteoric or volcanic craters, even though these are often not so deep as the dunes are high; not enough time may have passed. Aeolian dunes, astroblemes, volcanoes, climatic switching, and culture extinction together can entertain an hypothesis of holospheric quantavolution, pending the establishment of a chronology that would prove the hypothesis or temporally sunder apart the events.

The largest deposits accorded to winds are not those of the Lybian peneplain mentioned earlier, nor those of Egypt, but the huge areas of the Earth covered by loess. The term itself was invented for glacier deposits of the Rhine and Danube valleys and elsewhere in Europe. It found itself connected with the "drift", the glacial pebbled clay of North America, where vast stretches of the buff and porous earth, compacted but frangible to the fingers, were found distributed. Here transportation by ice sheets and rivers forming from their melts was imagined. Then, west of Peking, an area larger than France exposed its loess to geological inquiry.

Loess can occur at high elevations as well as on great plains. It breaks down into excellent thick soil in China and its cliffs degrade into natural terraces [19] . Old roads cut through it, sometimes passing through the Chinese countryside thirty meters below the houses and farms on the loess above. In Indiana, the highest lands and ridges in particular have the thickest yellow clay (called drift or loess) and it is free of sand and gravel [20] . The loess is not stratified, nor does it contain marine fossils, and land fossils of shells and mammals are only occasionally found in it.

Sedimentation from lakes and rivers seems to be an impossible explanation. Adequate sources of glaciers and ice are often absent, as for example near the loess that occurs inland from the Gulf of Mexico. The favored theory of loess formation stands upon the transporting power of winds that would carry the material from distant high places or deserts, operating over long periods of time. But where are the loess heaps on the fringes of great deserts? There are none. And why should stratification and cross-bedding not then have occurred? Nor can the chemical composition of loess be assigned to the mountains of its supposed origins. And the loess grains are not rounded by wind or water but are angular, as if exploded, and are settled in vertical lines through which rain readily percolates.

Ignatius Donnelly, in Ragnarok (1882), was already ascribing till, drift and loess to fall-out from a great comet, going so far as to deny the very existence of past ice ages, to which most scientists then and still today ascribe these materials. He read many distinct legendary sources and intercepted many sedimentary strata as stories of great winds that picked up the detritus of Earth, whirling it around wildly and depositing it in "intercalated beds." [21] Donnelly's denial of the ice ages in favor of exoterrestrial deposits by comet does not appear so outrageous today. As we shall see, ice age theory has been used (and abused) to the point of exhaustion of the subject and of the geologists working in the field; it has been made responsible for many geological forms and events that might more readily be assigned to other forces.

Velikovsky, in a note of the 1940's, before he had himself been subjected to ridicule, commented that Donnelly had been called "the Prince of Cranks" for his books on several difficult and controversial subjects [22] . Donnelly was in fact a superior writer and lecturer, an intense student with a sensuous affinity for the palpability of the ground, a political and social hero, and a precursor in fundamental ways of later writers such as Velikovsky.

Fifty years after Donnelly, Penniston was advocating the thesis of an exoterrestrial origin for loess [23] . Citing Shapley (later a violent critic of Velikovsky) and Belot for having proposed a solar nova as the cause of the ice ages, he reasoned upon this as a possible source of the material, which, experiencing high temperatures for a period of time, had its silicates metamorphosed in part to quartz, thus arriving at the loess. That stony meteorites have differed in composition from loess has stood against his theory.

The source of meteorites has probably been mainly from the asteroid belt in contemporary times, however, and cannot be well compared with either the solar or the cometary origins hypothesized. Not unnaturally, geologists faced with a choice of wind or exoterrestrial fall, would prefer the wind. Wherever possible, as in middle America, they introduce " glacial sluiceways." Yet we would prefer to discuss the matter once again when it comes time to ask what can and does fall to Earth from outer space.

Let us rest content here if we have but established several points: The force of wind rises with the square of its velocity, with correspondingly large effects upon the landscape. Hurricanes must be associated with every abrupt and intensive geological event. Cyclones convey major electrical and fire phenomena. In large-scale catastrophic events, a great many typhoons could originate to accommodate changed atmospheric and lithospheric motions or multiple meteoroidal instrusions. Finally, if the sediments of the world do not reflect adequately cyclonic effects, the reason may rest in their continuous erasure by more forceful events which themselves require identification.

Furthermore, assigned geological times may be too long; maybe not enough events have happened to flesh out the skeletal ages.

Back to Contents

Notes (Chapter Three: Hurricanes and Cyclones)

1. Cf. C. L. Riley et al, Man Across the Sea: Problems of Pre-Columbian Contacts (Austin, Tex.: U. of Texas, 1971) 302 et passim.

2. Derek W. Ager, The Nature of the Stratigraphical Record (New York: Wiley-Halsted, 1973), 39.

3. A. V. Carozzi and M. S. Gerber, "Late Paleozoic Tornados and Synsedimentary Brecciation of Chert Nodules."

4. Warren, Buddhism in Translation, p. 328 quoted by Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision 70.

5. William Mullen, "The Mesoamerican Record," 4 Pensée 4 (Fall), 34-44.

6. Popul Vuh: The Sacred Book of the Ancient Quiche Maya (Norman, Okla.: U. of Okla. Press, 1950), 90.

7. Op. cit.

8. I. Velikovsky, Earth in Upheaval (New York: Doubleday, 1955), 60.

9. Frank W. Lane, The Elements Rage (Philadelphia: Chilton, 1965), 6.

10. Ibid., 45.

11. 38 Amer. J. Sci. and Arts (1840) 73, cf. William Corliss, compiler, Strange Phenomena (Glen Arm, Md.: Corliss), GLD052-G2-105.

12. Ibid., G2-104-5.

13. Velikovsky, World in Collision, 68-70.

14. Rupert Furneaux, Krakatoa (Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice Hall, 1964), 34.

15. Allan O Kelly and Frank Dachille, Target: Earth, The Role of Large Meteors in Earth Science (Carlsbad, Calif.: Box 335, 1953), 203, 66 et passim.

16. Ibid., 202; Hans Oersted, 1 Amer. J. Sci. 37 (1839) 250-67, quoted in Corliss, op. cit., G2-233.

17. Andrew and Louise Young, "Venus," 233 Sci. Amer. (Sept. 1975), 73.

18. Alonzo A. Justice, 50 Monthly Weather Review (May 1930) 205-6, quoted in Corliss, op. cit., G2-105-7.

18A. Faraouk El-Baz, 213 Science (24 July 1981) 439-40.

19. Frederick W. Williams, "Loess Deposits of Northern China," 22 Popular Sci. Mon. (1882) 243-8, quoted in W. Corliss, compiler, Strange Planet (Glen Arm, Md. 21057: Sourcebook Project, 1978), ESL001-E2-161.

20. J. T. Campbell, 23 Amer. Naturalist (1889) 785-92, quoted in Corliss, ESL004-E2-167.

21. I. Donnelly, Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel (New York: Appleton, 1883), 53.

22. "Precursors," 7 Kronos 1 (1981), 53.

23. J. B. Penniston, 39 Pop. Astro. (1931) 429-30 and 51 Pop. Astro. (1943), 170-2, quoted in Corliss, ESL-003-E2-165.