View Full Version : Asteroids sinking islands

Star Man Aevum
2009-Jul-22, 07:06 AM
I've come to understand that there's one theory of Atlantis' fate being caused by an impactor. The one I'm familiar with is that an asteroid slammed into the planet from the opposite side and destroyed it that way. My understanding is that if any impactor could do that it would have been huge to begin with and be something akin to creating a second moon if it doesn't destroy the Earth outright.

Even if it were to be changed to being that it was cratered directly, wouldn't that still be something that would cause at the very least a mass extinction event? That's a pretty big hole in the ground to cover, and even if the crater would be flooded, it would be easy to find.

Anyway, I'm very sure that there's no way in hell an asteroid could do that and I could be making a post on a forum about it after the fact. What are teh specifics here?

2009-Jul-22, 09:49 AM
I think that depends on how literally you take Plato's account. If you mean an asteroid big enough to sink a huge island like the way he envisioned it, then you're right, it's unrealistic. If you are thinking that it could be a local flood of some sort that was inflated into a legend, then even a relatively small body could create a lot of damage on a local level.

2009-Jul-22, 10:53 AM
The idea of an impactor affecting the opposite side of the planet probably comes from Martian geology. The Hellas impact crater is directly opposite the Tharsis bulge, and the impact may have somehow caused the bulge.

But this does not work for Atlantis, since
1/ The Hellas impact (may have) caused a bulge, elevating land rather than causing a continent to sink.
2/ The Hellas impact was phenomenally large, about 1000 times more energetic than the Dinosaur killer at Chicxulub. (5.33x10e26J as compared to 4.21x10e23J) A comparable impact on Earth would have wiped the biosphere out back to Precambrian levels.
3/ There is no geological evidence to support the idea of a sunken continent in the Atlantic, nor any impact crater comparable to Hellas in the Pacific.

I tend to think that Atlantis was just a tall tale, a utopian fantasy created by Plato. Alternately it might be a garbled recollection of the Thera eruption, but I might be biased, as I've been there twice (phenomenal place).

2009-Jul-22, 04:12 PM
Alternately it might be a garbled recollection of the Thera eruption, but I might be biased, as I've been there twice (phenomenal place).

Wikipedia mentions this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minoan_eruption).

The eruption seems to have inspired certain Greek myths[6] and may have caused turmoil in Egypt.[7][8] Additionally, it has been speculated that the Minoan eruption and the destruction of the city at Akrotiri provided the basis for or otherwise inspired Plato's story of Atlantis

And a tsunami may have struck Crete, destroying more villages.