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Sn-rich particles, Ni-rich particles, and cosmic spherules are found together at four discrete stratigraphic levels within the 362-360 m depth interval of the Greenland Ice Sheet Project 2 (GISP2) ice core (72.6°N, 38.5°W, elevation: 3203 m). Using a previously derived calendar-year time scale, these particles span a time of increased dust loading of Earth's atmosphere between A.D. 533 and 540. The Sn-rich and Ni-rich particles contain an average of 10–11 wt% C. Their high C contents coupled with local enrichments in the volatile elements I, Zn, Cu, and Xe suggest a cometary source for the dust.
Scientists had long suspected that the cause of all this misery might be a volcanic eruption, probably from Ilopango in El Salvador, which filled Earth's atmosphere with ash. But now researchers say there were two eruptions—one in 535 or 536 in the northern hemisphere and another in 539 or 540 in the tropics—that kept temperatures in the north cool until 550.
A global climatic downturn has previously been observed in tree-ring data associated with the years AD 536ȓ545. We review the evidence for the explanation of this event which involves a comet fragment impacting the Earth and exploding in the upper atmosphere. The explosion would create a plume, such as was seen during the impact of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with Jupiter. The resulting debris deposited by the plume on to the top of the atmosphere would increase the opacity and lower the temperature. We calculate the size of the comet required, and find that a relatively small fragment of only about half a kilometre in diameter could be consistent with the data. We conclude that plume formation is a by-product of small comet impacts that must be added to the list of significant global hazards posed by near-Earth objects.
In 562AD, a little-known, virtually unrecorded, catastrophic natural disaster occurred, which almost completely destroyed the islands of Britain and Ireland, causing a terrible conflagration, destroying towns, villages and forests throughout and resulting in major widespread flooding as a result of a massive Tsunami being generated by the colossal amounts of rock or ice falling from the sky. There must also have been a horrendous death toll amongst the inhabitants, although the true extent of this will probably never be known for sure. This disaster is now known to have been caused by a comet, which either struck directly or passed close enough to earth that the impact damage was a direct result of the debris contained within the ‘tail’ of the comet coming into contact with the land.
The reason that this episode has never been included in mainstream history books or acknowledged by historians is that up until the early nineteenth century, it was strictly forbidden by the Christian religion, indeed heretical even, to acknowledge that it was possible for stones and rocks to fall from the sky. This is why the entire event has been airbrushed from history and has remained virtually unacknowledged by historians.