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If the object is larger and/or denser it will survive its fiery passage through the atmosphere to strike the Earth’s surface. In the case of a land impact most of the energy is released into the Earth’s crust. In an oceanic impact a substantial amount of the energy is absorbed by the ocean water, resulting in enormous tsunamis. If the object is large enough it will penetrate the full depth of the water column and gouge a crater on the ocean floor. In either case in the immediate vicinity of the impact temperatures can reach 5000°C, or 9000°F, as hot as the surface of the Sun. The object itself along with a substantial amount of the target material is vaporized in the exceptional heat of hypervelocity impact. Jets of this vaporized material are ejected from the zone of impact into the atmosphere at high speed, sometimes reaching well into the upper stratosphere, 50 or 60 miles in altitude. From here the superhot vapor circulates widely and condenses out as a rainstorm of molten rock, mineral, and metal. This exotic mate- rial, part terrestrial, part extraterrestrial, is diffused throughout the biosphere and hydrosphere, catalyzing or influencing a wide range of processes as a result.

The tremendous energy of the explosion excavates a cra- ter, a bowl-shaped basin in the Earth’s crust whose width and depth depend upon the size, velocity and density of the incoming cosmic object. Much of the material just outside the point of immediate impact is melted, form- ing a strange lava-like brew of boiling hot liquid glass. A substantial amount of this stuff fills the excavated crater as well as being forced over the rim to spread out much like a pyroclastic flow from a volcano.

The extreme pressure induced by impact sends intense shockwaves radiating outward through the crust from the epicenter. Equivalent earthquake energies can range from 9 to greater than 12 on the Richter scale. Remember, the Richter scale is a base-10 logarithmic scale. This means that an earthquake of magnitude 9 on the Richter scale is 10 times more powerful than one of magnitude 8, which, from the human perspective can be devastating. A magnitude 12 earthquake would be 10,000 times more powerful than magnitude 8! An impact event involving production of this much energy is basically inconceivable.

This powerful shockwave emanating through the litho- sphere, or crust, will fracture it over large areas to great depth. Fault lines and fissures will form. Volcanic eruptions will occur along the fracture lines so formed, bringing up more exotic material from deep within the Earth’s crust to its surface, where it is incorporated into the biosphere.

This process of cosmic impacts has been ongoing since

the formation of the Earth, having occurred countless thousands of times. As of this writing the number of confirmed or probable craters and impact sites, known as astroblemes, or ‘star wounds’ numbers several hun- dred. Extrapolating from the surface of the Moon we know there must be hundreds more awaiting discovery.

While we have been discussing unimaginably destruc- tive processes, there is another side of the equation we must consider. We know that there are certain materi- als and metals that are rare on the surface of the Earth

Oracle 20/20 March 2014

but abundant in the entities that fall to Earth from the heavens, as we have been discussing in these articles. Among the materials delivered to Earth by comets and asteroids are the platinum group elements, which include iridium, ruthenium, rhodium, palladium and osmium. These metals have a variety of unique proper- ties. It was the discovery of significant iridium enrich- ment at the famous Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, ca 65 million years ago, that provided the all important clue to Walter Alvarez and his team that Earth had been struck by a cosmic missile at precisely the geological bound- ary at which the great dinosaurs rapidly went extinct. As a consequence of that impact the entire planet was blanketed with a layer of iridium dust. This discovery triggered a major paradigm shift in our scientific under- standing of Earth history. It has since become recognized that the history of our planet has been far more dynamic and violent than realized even a generation ago.

Again turning to that great cosmic teaching event in 1908 we find enormous destruction. But in the after- math we perceive another process at work. Because this explosion happened in the atmosphere it did not leave a crater in the usual sense. Besides the vast area of devastated forest initially found by scientists, in more recent years clues of a more subtle nature began to reveal themselves. Research scientist and astrobiologist Kevin Zahnle wrote in an October, 1996 issue of Nature: “At present, there are two reports of possible debris. One is a modest iridium excess in local peat; the other a relatively high abundance of microscopic dust particles in tree resins exposed between 1902 and 1920 in local conifers that survived the explosion.” p. 674 – 675

Soviet biologist Dr. Vasilieyev of Tomsk University, leader of several Tunguska expeditions is quoted by Chandra Wickramasinghe in his book Cosmic Life Force:

“There have been the most violent genetic changes, not only in plants, but in small insect life. There are ants and other insects quite unlike those seen anywhere else or at an earlier time. Some of the trees and plants just stopped growing. Others have grown many times, many hundreds of per cent faster than they were doing before 1908.”

Here is hard evidence that incursion of cosmic material

into the biosphere can indeed catalyze extraordinary evolutionary changes, which brings us to the threshold of the forgotten knowledge of cosmic alchemy and the secret residing at the core of the strange and enigmatic Grail legends.

Until next time, Randall

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