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knocker

The Mystery of AD 536

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Around the year AD 536 Byzantine historian Procopius of Caesarea recorded something odd that happened. The sun dimmed, and the dimness lasted for more than a year. There were frosts and snows in the middle of summer-the winter never really ended. From Italy to Ireland, China to Central America, the year 536 was the beginning of a decade-long cold snap beset by turmoil. Religions lost believers, cities collapsed and one of the greatest plagues in history killed a quarter of the population in the Byzantine Empire.  Justinian's armies did manage to retake Rome, but his weakened empire was overstretched, and soon lost the territory again.

 

In almost every region of the world, this period was marked with bad weather, social disorder- and death. This climatic downturn may well have profoundly altered the course of history. The trigger of this cooling has long been a mystery, but now we may finally be close to identifying the culprit- or culprits.

 

Support for the ancient texts was discovered by Michael Baille  of the University of Belfast. In the late 1980s Braille studied the tree rings of oak preserved in Irish bogs and discovered poor growing conditions and cold temperatures around AD 536. This was followed by tree ring data from around the world indicating this was pretty much a global event. Suspicion immediately fell on a major volcanic event but there was major problems with this. The cold lasted a decade, which is rather long for a volcanic event and there was no volcanic signature in the Greenland ice cores.

 

So Baille started thinking outside the box. Could there be another explanation? When he found obscure references to unusual partial eclipses in north-west Europe in 538 and 540, Baillie began to wonder whether the source of the trouble was not volcanic but extraterrestrial. In 1994, shortly before fragments of the comet Shoemaker Levy 9 ploughed into Jupiter, he suggested that dust from a comet that had passed near Earth- or even collided with our planet- could explain both the unusually long climatic downturn and the lack of a volcanic signature.

 

In a 1999 book, Baillie went further, suggesting that several major  climatic changes in the past 10,000 years were triggered by impacts but he could find no supporting evidence so back to the drawing board.

 

So Bo Vinther at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and his colleagues decided to take another look at the ice cores and in 2008 they reported that there was a subtle but substantial sulphur signal at 534, give or take a couple of years. The volcanic explanation was back on the table

 

It is not actually surprising that earlier investigation of the ice core record revealed no volcanic signature at 536, says Vinther. Unless :he eruption happens close to the ice sheet and blankets it in ash, the volcanic signature likely to be small and subtle. "You need to be every careful with your measurements if you are going to detect it,"

 

The volcanic explanation was back on the table.

 

Enter American paleoecologist Dr. Robert Dull who believes he’s pretty much solved the mystery.

 

http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2013/04/05/robert-dull-has-perfect-storms-solved-ad-536-mystery/

 

New ice core evidence for a volcanic cause of the A.D. 536 dust veil
 

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Edited by knocker
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I think we need one of these for our Winter.

Edited by The PIT

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Imagine this place if 10 years of winter was to appear lol!

 

Sounds very far fetched, but where is all the other texts? Surely a world wide event of darkness, snow & ice would have been wrote by someone else?

 

I call BS....

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Don Brownlee at the University of Washington in Seattle worked on NASA's Stardust mission to collect dust from the Wild 2 comet in 2004. He says there is some evidence that cosmic impacts with Earth can have a major cooling effect: a brief episode of cooling about 12,800 years ago has been linked to major impacts at the time, for example. But he is sceptical that Halley played such a role in the 6th century, because the famous comet's history over the last few thousand years is reasonably clear. "Comets can brighten and even exceptionally fragment, but I don't know of any evidence for such behaviour of Halley in the past," he says.

 

Even if Halley was not involved, Abbott could still be right about Earth passing through dust and suffering two or more large impacts.

 

I think the big question is why the lengthy time span.

Edited by knocker

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It is of course quite possible that a cometary cloud coincided with one or more major volcanic eruptions. It's not an 'either/or' situation.  IMHO.

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It seems hard to believe a comet could contain enough material, although it would be at higher altitude than most volanoes manage so less might = more.I don't know the figures but big ashy volcanoes must be throwing up millions of tons.

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Imagine this place if 10 years of winter was to appear lol!

 

Sounds very far fetched, but where is all the other texts? Surely a world wide event of darkness, snow & ice would have been wrote by someone else?

 

I call BS....

 

What is certain is that the years following 536 were eventful. In China, for instance, the Northern Wei dynasty collapsed around this time. "There's written evidence that about 75 per cent of people died because of cold, crop failure, starvation and droughts," says Payson Sheets, an archaeologist at the University of Colorado in Boulder. "There was political and religious turmoil."

 

In Central America, the population of the huge city state ofTeotihuacan also declined."The exact dating is up for debate, but by around 550, the people there were deliberately burning the temples on the top of their step-pyramids," says Sheets. "They had lost faith in their rulers' abilities to act as intermediaries between people and their gods."

 

And just as Justinian was reconquering the Eastern Roman Empire, his subjects began dropping like flies. By 542, Procopius was lamenting what is now known as the Plague of Justinian- an early form of bubonic plague- which he said was claiming 10,000 lives a day at it's peak.

Edited by knocker

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Plague could certainly spread into new areas as populations and attendant rats + fleas were forced to move by failed harvests.I recall the Velikhovsky (?) theory had some following in the 70s - which proposed a wandering planet explanation for some of these hard-to-believe pre-history events (which do crop up in many cultures).Most of the more extreme ideas involving close collisions with Mars are now discounted but there may be something in the idea of disruption caused be a very large meteor passing close by. 

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