Snowball Solar System

Figure 1

Protostar system L1448 IRS3B, showing central binary pair of protostars (IRS3B-a & IRS3B-b) orbited by a less massive but much brighter companion protostar (IRS3B-c) in a circumbinary orbit.

The brighter companion star points to an alternative flip-flop formation mechanism, where the companion formed first at the center of the system, followed by a twin-binary disk instability, which ‘condensed’ a much-larger twin-binary pair from a massive accretion disk. Equipartition during subsequent orbital interplay caused the three stellar components to evolve into a hierarchical trinary system, in which the smaller, older core evaporated into a circumbinary orbit around the younger more-massive twin-binary pair, which spiraled in to form a close binary.

Image Credit: Bill Saxton, ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), NRAO/AUI/NSF – Publication: John Tobin (Univ. Oklahoma/Leiden) et al.


This alternative conceptual ideology suggests three novel primary mechanisms for the formation of gravitationally-bound objects:
– Flip-flop fragmentation (FFF)
– Trifurcation
– Hybrid accretion

– Flip-flop fragmentation (FFF), forming gas-giant planets, brown dwarfs and companion stars:
FFF suggests that excess angular momentum in collapsing molecular clouds may create accretion disks that are much more massive than their diminutive cores, and thus inertially dominate the system. Inertial dominance may initiate disk instability, which condenses 1 or 2 objects more massive than the central core. The more massive disk instability object(s) cause an inertial flip-flop where the diminutive core is injected into a satellite orbit around the much-larger, younger disk instability object(s). These former core satellites evolve into gas/ice giant planets, brown dwarfs or companion stars.

– Trifurcation, forming twin-binary pairs, such as, Jupiter-Saturn, Uranus-Neptune, & Venus-Earth:
Trifurcation suggests that when FFF condenses a twin binary pair of disk instability objects, the binary pair are capable of trifurcating the diminutive central core in successive orbital close encounters. During orbital interplay, hyperbolic-trajectory close encounters of the diminutive core with the more-massive binary components causes a kinetic energy transfer from the more-massive binary component to the less-massive core by the mechanism of equipartition, ultimately evaporates the core into a circumbinary orbit. These close encounters also tend to transfer rotational kinetic energy to the core, which may spin up to the point of distorting the core into a bar-mode instability. Still further rotational pumping may cause the bar-mode arms to pinch off into separate gravitationally-bound Roche spheres orbiting around a diminutive residual core in a process designated, ‘trifurcation’. Trifurcation, in turn, can lead to next-generation trifurcation of the residual core, forming multi generations of twin binary pairs. This is suggested to be the three sets of the twin-binary planetary pairs in our solar system, namely, Jupiter-Saturn, Uranus-Neptune, and Venus-Earth, with Mercury as the final residual core.

– Hybrid accretion, forming Super-Earth by core accretion of planetesimals formed by streaming instability:
Hybrid accretion (Thayne Curie 2005) is a suggested planet formation mechanism for forming planets by the hybrid mechanisms of streaming instability + core accretion. Planetesimals form by streaming instability and then core accrete to form super-Earths. Zillions of planetesimals presumably condense by streaming instability against the magnetic corotation radius at the inside edge of protoplanetary disks. When core accretion creates a super-Earth mass planet, the newly-formed planet clears its orbit, effectively pushing out the inner edge of the accretion disk to its outer resonances, where a second generation of planetesimals may condense by streaming instability. In this manor a cascade of super-Earths may form from the inside out. Hybrid-accretion moons may also form by this mechanism, such as the larger planemo moons of Uranus.

A brief history of the solar system:
1) Symmetrical FFF >>> binary-Sun (disk-instability objects) + red dwarf (original core)
2) First-generation trifurcation >>> binary-Companion + SUPER-Jupiter* (residual core)
3) Second-generation trifurcation >>> Jupiter-Saturn + SUPER-Neptune* (residual core)
4) Third-generation trifurcation >>> Uranus-Neptune + SUPER-Earth* (residual core)
5) Fourth-generation trifurcation >>> Venus-Earth + Mercury (residual core)
A diminutive red dwarf with a much-more-massive accretion disk underwent symmetrical FFF, condensing a twin binary pair of disk instability objects. The much greater overlying mass of the twin-binary disk-instability-object protostars resulted in a mass-segregation flip-flop, in which the diminutive red-dwarf core was evaporated into a circumbinary orbit around binary-Sun. Equipartition during orbital close encounters not only evaporated the red dwarf into a circumbinary orbit but also caused spin-up trifurcation, fragmenting the red dwarf into a twin-binary pair of brown dwarfs with a residual SUPER-Jupiter core. Trifurcation engenders next-generation trifurcation by equipartition spin up, which formed second-generation Jupiter-Saturn, third-generation Uranus-Neptune and fourth-generation Venus-Earth, with a residual core, Mercury. Mars is presumably a diminutive hybrid-accretion super-Earth from one of the binary-Sun components. The twin binary pair of brown dwarfs failed to separate and formed ‘binary-Companion’, orbiting a few hundred AU from binary-Sun. Binary-Sun spiraled in to merge at 4,567 Ma in a luminous red nova, and binary-Companion spiraled in to merge 4 billion years later at 542 Ma in an asymmetrical merger explosion that gave the newly-merged Companion escape velocity from the Sun. Mars is a likely hybrid accretion planet of the former red dwarf.

* The all caps spelling of SUPER-Jupiter, SUPER-Neptune and SUPER-Earth highlight their status as residual cores. Thus the SUPER-Earth residual core of the previous generation is a nominal super-Earth in the sense that it’s the progenitor of twin-binary pair of Earth-sized planets, Venus and Earth, but its mass may not qualify it as a super-Earth by a the standard definition, or as a hybrid accretion planet by the redefinition of super-Earth used in this document.


Star formation stages:
1) Starless core: May be a transient phase or may progress to gravitational instability infall
2) Prestellar core: A gravitating prestellar core ends with the formation of the second hydrostatic core when hydrogen gas endothermically dissociates into atomic hydrogen at around 2000 K.
3) Protostar (Class 0, I, II, III): Begins with the formation of the second hydrostatic core.
4) Pre-main-sequence star: A T Tauri, FU Orionis, or larger (unnamed) pre-main-sequence star powered by gravitational contraction
5) Main-sequence star: Powered by hydrogen fusion

“Starless cores are possibly transient concentrations of molecular gas and dust without embedded young stellar objects (YSOs), typically observed in tracers such as C18O (e.g. Onishi et al. 1998), NH3 (e.g. Jijina, Myers, & Adams 1999), or dust extinction (e.g. Alves et al. 2007), and which do not show evidence of infall. Prestellar cores are also starless (M⋆ = 0) but represent a somewhat denser and more centrally-concentrated population of cores which are self-gravitating, hence unlikely to be transient.” (André et al. 2008)

In Jeans instability, the cloud collapses at an approximately free-fall rate nearly isothermally at about 10 K until the center become optically thick at ~10-13 g/cm3 after 105 yr (Larson 1969), at which point when the temperature begins to rise, forming a ‘first core’ or first hydrostatic core (FHSC). Supersonically infalling gas in the envelope is decelerated and thermalized at the surface of the first core (Masunaga et al. 1998).

When the temperature reaches about 2000 K, the hydrogen begins to dissociate endothermically, forming a ‘second core’, the birth of a protostar. The protostar grows in mass by accreting the infalling material from the circumstellar envelope, while the protostar keeps its radius at ~4 R☉ during the main accretion phase. (Masunaga et al. 1998)

“Enoch et al. (2009a) discovered a massive circumstellar disk of ∼1 M☉ comparable to a central protostar around a Class 0 object, indicating that (1) the disk already exists in the main accretion phase and (2) the disk mass is significantly larger than the theoretical
prediction.” (Machida et al. 2011)

“The size of the first core was found to vary somewhat in the different simulations (more unstable clouds form smaller first cores) while the size, mass, and temperature of the second cores are independent of initial cloud mass, size, and temperature.
Conclusions. Our simulations support the idea of a standard (universal) initial second core size of ~ 3 × 10−3 AU and mass ~ 1.4 ×10−3 M☉.”
(Vaytet et al. 2013)

“Class 0 objects are the youngest accreting protostars observed right after point mass formation, when most of the mass of the system is still in the surrounding dense core/envelope (Andre et al. 2000).”
(Chen et al. 2012)

“The compact components around the Class 0 protostars could be the precursors to these Keplerian disks. However, it is unlikely that such massive rotationally supported disks could be stably supported given the expected low stellar mass for the Class 0 protostars: they should be prone to fragmentation”.
(Zhi-Yun Li et al. 2014)

Hybrid accretion planets and moons:

An alternative planet formation mechanism proposed by Thayne Curie 2005 marries gravitational (streaming) instability with core accretion in a hybrid planet formation mechanism, designated here as, ‘hybrid accretion’.

Thayne Curie suggests this as a planet formation mechanism for forming gas/ice giant planets. Alternatively, this mechanism is suggested here as the mechanism for forming super-Earths, rather than gas/ice giant planets.

Super-Earths are suggested to form by ‘hybrid accretion’ of planetesimals ‘condensed’ by streaming instability at the inner edge of accretion disks, presumably against the magnetic corotation radius of young stellar objects. The ‘hybrid’ term in ‘hybrid accretion’ refers to the dual mechanisms of streaming instability and core accretion in planet formation.

When core accretion reaches the nominal size of a super-Earth, the newly-formed planet clears its orbit of gas, dust, and planetesimals, effectively pushing the inner edge of the protoplanetary disk out to its strongest outer resonances (likely the 2:3 resonance). A second generation of planetesimals condenses against the strongest outer resonances, which may core accrete to form a second-generation super-Earth. In this way a multiple-generation ‘cascade’ of super-Earths may form from the inside out in low warm/hot orbits around solitary stars.

Streaming instability presumably can occur at the inner edge of accretion disks around giant planets as well as well as around young stellar objects, but hybrid accretion moons are suggested to be much smaller than super-Earths, with the 5 planemo moons of Uranus; Miranda, Ariel, Umbriel, Titania and Oberon, as perhaps the best example of a moony hybrid-accretion cascade in our solar system. Mimas, Enceladus, Tethys, Dione, Rhea, and presumably Iapetus at Saturn are also suggested to be hybrid accretion cascade of moons.

The observed pattern of Uranian moons, tending to increase in size with orbital distance but not tending to decrease in density is the suggested pattern of hybrid accretion, where the most distant planemo moon in a hybrid-accretion cascade may be diminutive if it hadn’t reached maturity before the accretion disk dissipated.

– Hybrid Mechanisms for Gas/Ice Giant Planet Formation (Thayne Currie 2005),

Flip-flop fragmentation (FFF):

This is an alternative conceptual ideology for the formation of ice/gas giant planets, brown dwarf (planets) and companion stars around a larger central star, formed by a flip-flop process in which the system turns itself inside out. This suggests that ice-/gas-giant planets, brown dwarf (planets), and companion stars are the progenitors of their host star, and thus older than the host star. Satellite objects formed by FFF are suggested to form in systems when the accretion disk inertially dominates the system, that is when the accretion disk is much more massive than than its central prestellar/protostellar object.

FFF (disk instability) of massive disks surrounding diminutive prestellar or protostellar objects is suggested to occur by means of (spiral) density waves, where the mode of the density wave dictates the type of disk instability. Two types of density-wave modes are suggested:
m = 1 mode, designated, ‘asymmetrical density wave’, and
m = 2 mode, designated, ‘symmetrical density wave’
When a lopsided asymmetrical (m = 1 mode) density wave undergoes disk instability it condenses a solitary object from the accretion disk, while a symmetrical (m = 2 mode) density condenses a twin binary pair from the accretion disk.

In a Jeans mass with ‘excess’ angular momentum undergoing freefall collapse, the infalling gas may grow the accretion disk faster than the inner edge of the accretion disk can infall to form a central prestellar core or protostellar core. In this case, the accretion disk may become much more massive than the central core and thus inertially dominate the system. When the disk inertially dominates the system, the diminutive core is unable to damp down disk inhomogeneity and the disk may undergo runaway disk instability, causing the disk to gravitationally collapse into a solitary disk instability object, by way of an asymmetrical m = 1 mode, or into a twin binary pair of disk instability objects by way of a symmetrical m = 2 mode. In either case, the disk instability objects are much more massive than the central core and thus wrest control of the solar system from their older progenitors, relegating the former core to satellite status.

As a working model hypothesis, symmetrical FFF is suspected to only occur in quiescent nascent star systems experiencing no internal or external disturbance, as in the absence of nearby supergiant stars creating an external disturbance, and the absence of gas/ice giant planets within the system creating an internal disturbance. Therefore, a young star system that has spawned a gas/ice giant star may potentially undergo additional episodes of asymmetrical FFF, but will presumably be protected from undergoing symmetrical FFF by the internal planetary disturbance.

Asymmetrical FFF is suggested to occur at an earlier stage in stellar-system evolution than symmetrical FFF, with smaller accretion disks around younger cores, but where the accretion disk is still much more massive than the central core. If the triple-star Alpha Centauri system with its red dwarf former core is the prototype of symmetrical FFF, then most mini-Neptunes to super-Jupiters around solitary dwarf stars are suggested to have formed by asymmetrical FFF.

If the accretion disk becomes much more massive than a central prestellar/protostellar core, and if the system is sufficiently disturbed, internally or externally, to prevent the formation of a symmetrically stabilizing m = 2 density wave, the disk may be susceptible to asymmetrical FFF (disk instability) at a very early prestellar or protostellar phase. While the angular momentum of a protoplanetary accretion disk is considerable with respect to the central core, its angular momentum is relatively much lower with respect to itself, such that an outsized disk may constitute a Jeans mass at some distance from the central core at a point where the mass concentration is sufficiently high and the relative angular momentum with respect to itself is sufficiently low. The symmetry breaking inherent in asymmetrical disk instability creates a second Roche sphere in the system, which is more massive than the central core and thus shifts the center of gravity away from the central core and inside the newly formed ‘disk instability object’. The newly introduced asymmetry in the system transfers angular momentum from the disk to the core in a flip-flop process, hence the name, flip-flop fragmentation. The inertial flip flop puts the former core into a satellite orbit around the disk instability object. And as the disk instability object undergoes freefall collapse within its new Roche sphere, it begins to form a new prestellar core. Former cores inertially displaced by the asymmetrical FFF mechanism are said to have ‘spun off’, so a star system that has undergone three successive generations of asymmetrical FFF to form three gas/ice giant planets may be said to have 3 ‘spin-off planets’.

In a system in relative quiescence, undisturbed externally and without gas/ice giant planets disturbing the (protoplanetary) accretion disk internally, where the accretion disk is much more massive than the central core which has nominally reached a red dwarf mass, the system may be susceptible to symmetrical FFF. In symmetrical FFF, a nominally radially symmetrical m = 2 density wave may undergo bilateral disk instability, with the disk collapsing into a twin binary pair of disk instability objects, each within its own newly-formed Roche sphere. The resulting bilaterally-symmetrical system has not transferred angular momentum from the core to the disk instability objects, as occurs automatically in asymmetrical FFF; nevertheless, the newly-formed system is dynamically unstable to random chaotic perturbations. The newly-formed system undergoes a

A newly-formed symmetrical FFF triple system undergoes a transitional period of ‘interplay’ between the larger twin binary pair of disk instability objects and the less-massive core, in the form of chaotic orbits, with repeated hyperbolic-orbit close encounters with one another. During interplay, orbital close encounters tend to equalize kinetic energy between the two participants in a process known as ‘equipartition’. A dynamic process causes less-massive (core) component to exit the close encounter with increased speed, while the more-massive (disk instability) component exits with reduced speed. Over time, equipartition evaporates the less-massive former core into a circumbinary orbit around the twin binary pair, while the twin binary pair sink inward to conserve system energy and angular momentum, translating an unstable triple system with interplay into an stable hierarchical triple system, where a ‘hierarchical’ system is one that has undergone mass segregation, in which the most massive components have sunk to the center of the system. Alpha Centauri is such an hierarchical system in which the former twin binary pair have sunk to the center, evaporating the former core, Proxima Centauri, into a circumbinary (companion) satellite orbit.

Mini-Neptunes (also known as ‘gas dwarf planets’) may be the most common type of exoplanet in the universe. They are defined by a mass range of about 6–10 Earth masses. Their hydrogen/helium atmospheres suggest the lower limit of planets formed by asymmetrical FFF, although there may be no bright-line cut off between high-end super-Earths formed by hybrid accretion and low-end mini-Neptunes with tenuous H-He atmospheres formed by asymmetrical FFF. The rocky/icy cores of mini-Neptunes presumably form by sedimentation of dust and ice during the circa 100,000 year prestellar phase prior to spin off. Many spin-off cores may shed a considerable portion of their volatile gaseous component in the flip-flop process, deflating former gas giants down to mini-Neptunes.

L1448 IRS3B (See Figure 1):
The Class 0 protostar system, L1448 IRS3B, is suggested to have formed by symmetrical FFF. This triple system is composed of a similar-sized binary pair, IRS3B-a & IRS3B-b, with a combined mass of ~ 1 M☉ in a 61 AU binary orbit, and a distant tertiary companion, IRS3B-c, that has a minimum mass of of ~ 0.085 M☉ at a separation of 183 AU from the binary pair. This system may become more hierarchical over time, coming to resemble the Alpha Centauri system at half the mass.
“Thus we expect the [L1448 IRS3B] orbits to evolve on rapid timescales (with respect to the expected stellar lifetime), especially as the disk dissipates. A natural outcome of this dynamical instability is the formation of a more hierarchical system with a tighter (few AU) inner pair and wider (100s to 1,000s AU) tertiary, consistent with observed triple systems.”
(Tobin et al. 2016)
The tertiary star, IRS3B-c, is embedded in a spiral arm of the outer disk, where the spiral arm has an estimated mass of 0.3 M☉. The standard model of companion star formation expressed by Tobin et al. suggests that IRS3B-c formed in situ by gravitational instability from the spiral disk, making IRS3B-c younger than IRS3B-a & IRS3B-b, but problematically, circumbinary IRS3B-c is brighter at at 1.3 mm and 8 mm than its much more massive siblings, as is clearly apparent in the image above. Alternatively, the brighter tertiary companion, IRS3B-c, appears to refute the standard model and support the alternative asymmetrical FFF origin, attributing greater brightness to greater age, making the diminutive companion the progenitor of the younger, larger twin-binary pair.

Galactic FFF:

If FFF extends to the galactic scale, then proto spiral galaxies may exhibit evidence of former symmetrical and/or asymmetrical FFF during their formation by top-down gravitational collapse, as opposed to the bottom-up galaxy formation model proposed by Lambda-CDM.

Globular clusters are suggested to be the former spin-off cores of a collapsing proto-spiral-galaxy undergoing successive asymmetrical galactic FFF occurrences. When intergalactic gas with a high specific angular momentum falls onto a spiral disk of a proto-spiral-galaxy, when the disk becomes much more massive than its diminutive core, the core is no longer able to dampen down disk inhomogeneity, making the spiral disk susceptible to disk instability, which spins off the former core as a proto globular cluster in a flip-flop fashion in which the much-more-massive disk instability becomes the the new gravitational center which begins to form a new accretion disk around a new core. If the gravitational collapse onto the spiral disk is sustained, the process may occur repeatedly, spinning proto globular clusters as long as high-specific-angular-momentum intergalactic gas continues to spiral onto the spiral disk. Star formation timing is uncertain, as to whether the majority of star formation occurs before proto-globular-cluster spin off or afterwards, and even whether proto-globular-cluster spin began prior to the formation of the first stars in the universe.

Each additional displaced former core, in the form of a (proto) globular cluster, added to the stability of the proto spiral galaxy until the weight of halo globular clusters presumably precluded further occurrences of asymmetrical galactic FFF. After the conclusion of the asymmetrical galactic FFF era, continued infall of intergalactic gas with high specific angular momentum may have initiated symmetrical galactic FFF, which does not displace the center of rotation of the galaxy the way asymmetrical galactic FFF does. Twin-binary disk instability objects sink toward the center of gravity while evaporating the core into a circumbinary orbit, but without materially altering the center of rotation of the system.

Asymmetrical galactic FFF presumably occurred once in the Milky Way, spinning off the former core in the form of the Large Magellanic Cloud and once in Andromeda galaxy, spinning off Triangulum galaxy.

Asymmetrical galactic FFF presumably forms twin binary super massive black holes (SMBHs) by direct collapse, which merge when the twin-binary disk-instability-objects combine to form the central galactic bulge, with a fossil remnant of its former twin-binary merger giving the central bulge a box/peanut structure.

Following asymmetrical galactic FFF, the central bulge is presumably sufficiently massive compared to the spiral disk to damp down disk inhomogeneity from amplifying into full-fledged disk instability.

Hot Jupiter and cold Jupiter spin-off planets:
(See Figure 2)

The distinct bimodal distribution of gas-giant exoplanets into hot Jupiters in low ‘hot’ orbits and ‘cold Jupiters’ in much-higher ‘cold’ orbits suggests a primary mechanism, rather than the secondary mechanism proposed by the standard model of core accretion followed by secondary planetary migration. Alternatively, the bimodal distribution is suggested to be the result of a temporal hiatus in spinning off prestellar/protostellar cores by the asymmetrical FFF mechanism.

Hot Jupiters are defined as gas-giant exoplanets with low (hot) orbits around their host stars, with orbital periods of less than 10 days. Hot Jupiters are suggested to spin off during the prestellar phase of a nascent star system when the core is in freefall, prior to the formation of a first hydrostatic core (FHSC).

By comparison cold Jupiters orbit their host stars at an average distance of about 2 AU. Most cold Jupiters are also suggested to spin off by the asymmetrical FFF mechanism, but cold Jupiters are suggested to spin off during the later protostellar phase of a nascent star system, after the formation of a second hydrostatic core (SHSC). The difference in age between younger prestellar systems spinning off hot Jupiters and older protostellar systems spinning off cold Jupiters may be attributable to larger accretion disks around older protostellar systems, which give their spin-off cores a greater flip-flop boost that translates into a higher colder orbit. And the distinct bimodal separation between the two groups is attributed to a temporal hiatus in asymmetrical FFF spin off, during the circa 1000 year duration of the first hydrostatic core (FHSC).

– Hot Jupiters: Spin off by asymmetrical FFF during the early prestellar phase
– Bimodal gap: No spin-off planets during the puffy FHSC phase
– Cold Jupiters: Spin off by asymmetrical FFF during the later protostellar phase

The distinct bimodal separation between the two populations is presumably caused by a hiatus in asymmetrical FFF during the circa 1000 year first hydrostatic core (FHSC) phase. The puffiness of the FHSC phase may viscously connect the core with the accretion disk, which prevents the necessary positive feedback feedback between the disk and the core from amplifying into full-fledged disk instability. The outer shock front of the FHSC phase extends out to radii on the order of ~ 5–10 AU (Tsitali et al. 2013), which would extend well beyond the inner edge of a protoplanetary accretion disk.

In the core of a prestellar object, the potential energy released by gas undergoing freefall accretion is radiated away, largely by dust and chemical compounds, notably carbon monoxide, maintaining the core temperature at around 10 K. When the core density reaches about 10^13 g cm-3, it becomes optically thick to infrared radiation, causing the internal temperature to rise. This rise in temperature creates a ‘first hydrostatic core’ (FHSC), with compression becoming approximately adiabatic. The FHSC phase is thought to last about 1000 years, by which time the core temperature rises to about 2000 K. At around 2000K, the core undergoes a brief ‘second collapse’, on the order of 0.1 yr, caused by the endothermic dissociation of molecular hydrogen. Following the fleetingly-brief second collapse, the prestellar object transitions to a ‘second hydrostatic core’ (SHSC) wherein it becomes known as a protostar.

By comparison with a ~ 5–10 AU FHSC diameter, the initial radius of the SHSC is only about 1.3 solar radii (Larson 1969). “The [second hydrostatic] core then begins to lose a significant amount of energy through the combined effects of convective energy transport from the interior and radiative energy losses from the surface layers; as a result the core contracts by a significant factor in radius. This phase of the evolution, represented in Fig. 3 by the section of the curve between approximately 10 and 100 years after the formation of the stellar core, is quite analogous to the pre-main sequence contraction of a star along the ‘Hayashi track’.” (Larson 1969)

Figure 2

Note the distinct bimodal distribution of ‘hot Jupiter’ and ‘cold Jupiter’ exoplanets, with hot Jupiters having periods of less than 10 days and cold Jupiters with semimajor axes centered around 2 AU.

Image credit: Penn State, Eberly College of Science, ASTRO 140



Our solar system’s three twin binary pairs of planets, consisting of Jupiter-Saturn, Uranus-Neptune and Venus-Earth, suggest a third planet formation mechanism, designated ‘trifurcation’. Trifurcation may occur during the interplay phase of symmetrical FFF, in which equipartition causes the more-massive twin-binary-pair components to transfer orbital kinetic energy to the smaller core during hyperbolic-trajectory close encounters. In addition to the orbital energy and angular momentum transfer, equipartition is also suggested to cause a rotational energy and angular momentum transfer to the core, causing the core to ‘spin up’. During interplay, hyperbolic-trajectory close encounters between a core and its more-massive twin binary components also tends to increase the rotation rate of the core. Scheeres et al. 2000 calculates that the rotation rate of asteroids tends to increase in close encounters of asteroids with larger planemo objects.

When rotational energy and angular momentum transfer causes the core to increase its rotation rate, or spin up, to the point of exceeding the gravitational attraction of the core, the core is suggested to trifurcate by the pathway of a bilaterally-symmetrical bar-mode instability. The bar-mode instability pathway causes trifurcation, rather than bifurcation, chaotic splintering or some other fracturing mechanism. A bar-mode instability is a bilaterally-symmetrical geometry which maximizes the possible angular momentum within a solitary Roche sphere. A bar-mode instability fails when its twin bar-mode arms yield to their self gravity, causing the twin bar-mode arms to pinch off and form two new gravitationally-bound Roche spheres in Galilean orbit around the residual Roche sphere of the residual core.

At the instant of trifurcation, the trinary components closely resemble a smaller version of trinary symmetrical FFF components, in that both systems are comprised of a twin binary pair orbiting a much smaller core, a ‘former core’ in the case of symmetrical FFF and a ‘residual core’ in the case of trifurcation. And exactly like symmetrical FFF, the triple components of trifurcation undergo an interplay phase, including the equipartition transfer of orbital and rotational energy and angular momentum from the the larger twin-binary components to the much-smaller core component. And like symmetrical FFF, equipartition of kinetic energy in the interplay between trifurcation trinary components can cause next-generation trifurcation in the residual core.

In our own solar system, symmetrical FFF lead to trifurcation, and first-generation trifurcation caused second-generation trifurcation, which caused third-generation trifurcation. Trifurcation can apparently foster next-generation trifurcation better than symmetrical FFF can foster trifurcation to begin with, noting the relative abundance of triple-star systems with (similar-sized) twin binary pairs with much-smaller companions (such as Alpha Centauri and L1448 IRS3B), compared to the often observed uniqueness of our solar system, with its suggested four generations of trifurcation:
1) First-generation trifurcation: former binary-Companion + SUPER-Jupiter, residual core
2) Second-generation trifurcation: Jupiter-Saturn + SUPER-Neptune, residual core
3) Third-generation trifurcation: Uranus-Neptune + SUPER-Earth, residual core
4) Fourth-generation trifurcation: Venus-Earth + Mercury, residual core
So while symmetrical FFF may only rarely cause trifurcation, when it does so, the first-generation trifurcation may readily spawn multiple subsequent generations of trifurcation.

The dynamics in multiple trifurcation generations may become somewhat chaotic, with orbital close encounters between between twin binary pairs and their residual core tending to make the twin binary pairs spiral in toward merger, while orbital close encounters of twin binary pairs with their parent twin binary components will tend to make them spiral out toward separation. In our own solar system, the twin-binary symmetrical FFF components presumably spiraled in to form binary-Sun and ultimately merge at 4,567 Ma, and twin-binary brown-dwarf Companion components presumably spiraled in to form binary-Companion which ultimately merged some 4 billion years later at 542, Ma, while the 3 planetary twin binary pairs spiraled out and separated.

Trifurcation makes makes predictions (unlike pebble/core accretion), such as multiple generations of twin binary pairs in size regression and density progression. The bar-mode instability pathway of trifurcation predicts that in the trifurcation of an internally-differentiated object, the residual core should acquire a higher density than its much-larger twin binary pair siblings. I.e.., in the trifurcation of a rocky-iron SUPER-Earth with an internally-differentiated iron-nickel core, lower density crust and mantle material should be preferentially centrifugally slung into the bar-mode arms that pinch off to form the twin-binary pair, while a larger proportion of the denser core material should remain in the residual core. And indeed Mercury has a proportionately-larger iron-nickel core than Earth, although Earth just barely edges out Mercury in density due to the compression of its much-higher gravity. Third-generation trifurcation-product Uranus also has lower density than second-generation trifurcation-product Jupiter, presumably for the same reason, with Uranus presumably having a proportionately-larger iron-nickel core than Jupiter. So each generation of twin-binary pairs should be composed of material with a higher density than its proceeding generation.

FFF and trifurcation are suggested catastrophic mechanisms for increasing system entropy by catastrophically projecting mass inward. While trifurcation reduces subsystem entropy by trifurcating a residual core, this decrease in entropy must be more than offset by an increase in entropy of the larger system, generally by causing a larger twin binary pair to spiral inward.

Pinch-off FFF:

Since the iron core of Earth’s Moon is disproportionately small compared to Earth’s iron core, Moon is apparently not the residual core of the twin-binary pair, Venus-Earth. Likewise for the same reason, Moon is apparently not the residual fore of a former binary Earth, where the binary Earth components subsequently spiraled in to merge and form solitary Earth. This suggests that there must be an alternative mechanism for forming ‘oversized’ moons, which are relatively large compared to cascades of smaller moons presumably formed by hybrid accretion, such as Uranus’ planemo moons.

Twin bar-mode arm pinch off may not form twin-binary pairs as cleanly as suggested, particularly not if twin binary components are also induced to spin up during close orbital encounters with smaller residual cores, acquiring too much angular momentum to collapse into solitary objects. The pinch-off pathway apparently occurs prior to internal differentiation of the bar-mode arms, which apparently allows a much-smaller central object to form with lower density than the disk instability object, by way of asymmetrical pinch-off FFF, or a twin-binary pair of disk instability objects, by way of symmetrical pinch-off FFF.

And like asymmetrical FFF, asymmetrical pinch-off FFF may occur when the system has been (externally) disturbed such that it can not create a symmetrical m = 2 mode density wave. And most pinched-off bar-mode-arm Roche spheres likely experience considerable external disturbances from close orbital encounters with their sibling trifurcation components during interplay. This external disturbance from close orbital encounters suggests that most instances of pinch-off FFF would be expected to be asymmetrical, spinning off solitary cores to form oversized (Titan) moons, like Titan at Saturn, Triton at Neptune or Moon at Earth.

The four oversized Galilean moons at Jupiter suggests symmetrical pinch-off FFF, followed by two generations of moony trifurcation, forming the the first-generation twin-binary pair, Ganymede (1.936 g/cm3) and Callisto (1.8344 g/cm3), and the less-massive, higher-density second-generation twin-binary pair, Io (3.528 g/cm3) and Europa (3.013 g/cm3), with a missing residual-core.

The mass ratio of Earth’s Moon to Earth is much higher than for the other oversized moons, suggested to have formed by pinch-off FFF, but moons in gaseous systems may have lost the vast majority of their original mass by volatile outgassing, due to having insufficient gravity to hold hydrogen and helium.

Binary mass segregation, affecting the Venus-Earth-Mercury triad:

Mass segregation in globular clusters causes the more-massive stars to sink into the core of the cluster, evaporating the less-massive stars into the halo or out of the cluster altogether by way of equipartition of kinetic energy in hyperbolic-trajectory close encounters between stars. Before mass segregation can begin, however, the binary pairs in the core must be resolved. Binary pairs also tend to sink into the cores of globular clusters due to the energy-absorbing capacity of their binary orbits in close encounters with other stars, causing binary pairs to sink inward act like massive stars during mass segregation.

In our own solar system, perhaps the gravitationally-bound Venus-Earth-Mercury trinary sunk into a lower heliocentric orbit as the result of dynamic interactions with the giant planets, where equipartition of kinetic energy in close encounters with the giant planets increased their trinary orbital energy at the expense of their heliocentric orbital energy, the way binary stellar pairs sink into the core of globular clusters.

Mars and Oort cloud comets:

If an unknown process produced extensive
aqueous alteration in the material that formed
cometary meteorites, then CI chondrites are the
meteorites most likely to be cometary, since they
match most of the other characteristics, including
chemical composition, strength, relative abundance,
and abundance of interstellar grains..
(Campins & Swindle 1998)

Mars and the Oort cloud comets may be the original hybrid-accretion planet and streaming-instability planetesimals of the red dwarf star, and therefore the oldest planet in the solar system. Then symmetrical FFF occurred, with the twin-binary, disk-instability solar components trifurcating the red dwarf and stealing the satellites and sinking to the center of the system to become former binary-Sun.

Mars may be a typical mass for a hybrid-accretion super-Earth around a low-end red dwarf, and perhaps Ceres was an immature second-generation super-Earth, as the younger, more-distant immature member of a two super-Earth cascade, which formed in the outer resonances of Mars. The extreme degree of disruption caused by symmetrical FFF followed by 4 generations of trifurcation, however, make it likely that additional Mars-mass hybrid accretion planets were either lost from the solar system, or merged with the Sun or one of the trifurcation products, or were scattered into the Oort cloud.

This suggests that Ceres and Oort cloud comets should lie on the 3-oxygen-isotope Martian fractionation line, albeit with a certain degree of late heavy bombardment contamination of Mars by Kuiper belt objects. It’s been suggested that CI chondrite meteorites are fragments of Oort cloud comets, and indeed, they lie close to the Martian fractionation line. CI chondrites have a ∆17O (‰) of +0.41 (Burbine & O’Brien 2004), compared to the Martian fractionation line of +0.321 ± 0.013‰ (Franchi et al. 1999), so Martian meteorites apparently sample surface magma with a 22% KBO contamination, where, KBOs are suggested to lie on the terrestrial fractionation line with a ∆17O of 0.0‰.

Thus Mars and possibly Ceres are suggested to be former hybrid accretion planets of the red dwarf system. The other 7 planets and former binary-brown-dwarf Companion emerged from the former red dwarf like Russian nesting dolls in 4 trifurcation generations, likely making Mars the oldest remaining object from the former red dwarf system. Most of the leftover red dwarf planetesimals have been scattered into the Oort cloud, but a few red dwarf planetesimals apparently remain in the inner solar system as CI chondrites, without solar-merger chondrules.

Protoplanetary disk and 3 debris disks condense 4 planetesimal populations:

– Red dwarf protoplanetary disk >>> Mars, possibly Ceres, and Oort cloud comets
– Primary debris disk (inferred) (> 4,567 Ma?) >>> hot classical KBOs (old KBO population)
– Secondary debris disk (4,567 Ma) >>> asteroids, chondrites
– Tertiary debris disk (inferred) (542 Ma) >>> cold classical KBOs (young KBO population)

Red dwarf protoplanetary disk:
The former red dwarf is suggested to have condensed trillions of kilometer-scale planetesimals against its former magnetic corotation radius, which formed hybrid accretion planet, Mars, and possibly Ceres. A number of red dwarf protoplanetary planetesimals may remain in the inner solar system in the form of CI chondrites, but the vast majority of the former red dwarf planetesimals have been scattered into the Oort cloud to become the kilometer-scale Oort cloud comet population.

Primary debris disk:
Trifurcation may be a messy process, which creates considerable dust and gas debris during the pinch off process. The four trifurcation generations is suggested to have created a ‘primary debris disk’ around former binary-Sun. The fourth-generation trifurcation, forming the Venus-Earth-Mercury trinary may have occurred in the neighborhood of the present-day Kuiper belt, while Uranus and Neptune were in the process of separating. Assuming objects undergoing trifurcation were internally differentiated, with iron-nickel cores, the resulting trifurcation debris material would have been depleted in siderophile elements, particularly iridium and the other Platinum group elements. And if the former SUPER-Earth residual core were orbiting binary-Sun in the vicinity Uranus and Neptune at the time of the fourth-generation trifurcation, the SUPER-Earth trifurcation debris would have been imbued with approximately the right angular momentum to create a secondary debris disk beyond Neptune at the distance of the present day Kuiper belt. Primary-debris-disk KBOs are suggested to have condensed in situ against Neptune’s strongest outer resonances (primarily the 2:3 outer resonance) from trifurcation debris with a terrestrial lithosphere signature. The lithosphere signature came from siderophile-depleted trifurcation debris and the terrestrial isotopic signature came from the SUPER-Earth itself, lying on the 3-oxygen-isotope terrestrial fractionation line (TFL). But even if the primary debris disk in the neighborhood of the present-day Kuiper belt had a considerable contribution from earlier trifurcation generations, debris from all four generations derived from the same homogenous red dwarf reservoir, such that even mass-dependent fractionation in earlier trifurcations would still lie on the TFL.

Secondary debris disk:
Binary-Sun components spiraled in to merge at 4,567 Ma in a luminous red nova, which elevated the core-merger temperatures to the point of fusing r-process radionuclides, predominantly 26Al and 60Fe. Calcium-aluminum inclusions (CAIs) with canonical 26Al concentrations presumably condensed from polar jets squirting from the core merging binary-stellar components. Chondrules formed over a duration of 3 million years, perhaps with intermittent solar super flares melting secondary debris-disk dust motes during the flare-star phase of the newly-merged Sun. Elevated core temperatures may have also initiated a helium-burning explosion, which enriched the Sun and its luminous red nova with 16O and 12C stable isotopes. The luminous red nova imparted little angular momentum to the nova debris, but torque from a super-intense magnetic field following the stellar merger may have imparted sufficient angular momentum to create a limited secondary debris disk just beyond the magnetic corotation radius. Asteroids presumably condensed against the magnetic corotation radius inside the orbit of Mercury, and these early asteroids melted internally due to the radioactive decay of r-process radionuclides. The only remaining non-chondrite asteroids are those which were captured by relative stability bands between Jupiter’s strongest inner resonances. Chondrites likely condensed in situ over the next 5 million years against Jupiter’s strongest inner resonances. While the brief luminous red nova phase of the stellar merger may have extended out to the Kuiper belt, its low angular momentum content couldn’t have formed a debris disk at that distance from the newly-merged Sun.

Tertiary debris disk:
The binary brown dwarf components of former binary-Companion spiraled in to merge at 542 Ma in an asymmetrical merger explosion which gave the newly-merged Companion escape velocity from the Sun. While the binary brown-dwarf merger was considerably less energetic than the binary stellar merger, the brown-dwarf debris inherited the angular momentum of binary-Companion, which created the tertiary debris disk beyond Neptune. The tertiary debris disk condensed a young population of cold classical KBOs, principally against Neptunes strongest outer 2:3 resonance. The young KBO population likely lies on or near the TFL, similar to the old KBO population, but the young population likely does not have a siderophile-depleted lithosphere signature. Finally, brown-dwarf mergers may or may not experience nuclear effects, so the isotopic signature may be pristine red dwarf or may be very-slightly altered.

Solar system evolution:

Note, the central object which participated in the symmetrical FFF prior to 4,567 Ma may have been a red dwarf, or possibly a somewhat-smaller brown dwarf, so ‘red dwarf’ is something of a title rather than a strict definition. Likewise, the binary components of former binary-Companion may have been brown dwarfs, super-Jupiters or one of each, so again ‘binary brown-dwarf Companion’ is somewhat of a title, rather than a strict definition.

A massive accretion disk around a diminutive red-dwarf-sized core underwent symmetrical FFF,
condensing a twin pair of disk-instability objects. The resulting system comprised of a massive twin binary pair of protostars orbiting a diminutive red dwarf core was dynamically unstable, resulting in a period of dynamic interplay which evaporated the trifurcated red dwarf descendants into a circumbinary orbit around the twin binary pair, as twin binary pair sank into close binary orbits to become former binary-Sun. Perturbations from binary-Companion caused the solar components to spiral in and merge at 4,567 Ma, creating a luminous red nova. The nova debris quickly condensed rocky-iron asteroids and gradually condensed carbonaceous chondrites over the next 5 million years.

Red dwarf trifurcations:
Our solar system at one time is suggested to have consisted of 5 twin binary pairs, formed by symmetrical FFF, followed by four generations of trifurcation;
1) Symmetrical FFF >>> binary-Sun (disk-instability objects) + red dwarf (original core)
2) First-generation trifurcation >>> binary-Companion + SUPER-Jupiter (residual core)
3) Second-generation trifurcation >>> Jupiter-Saturn + SUPER-Neptune (residual core)
4) Third-generation trifurcation >>> Uranus-Neptune + SUPER-Earth (residual core)
5) Fourth-generation trifurcation >>> Venus-Earth + Mercury (residual core)
The orbital close encounters of the red dwarf with the twin binary pair of disk instability objects caused the red dwarf to spin up and ultimately trifurcate, forming a trinary system composed of a twin binary pair of brown dwarfs orbiting a diminutive SUPER-Jupiter core. The greater overlying mass of the brown dwarfs constituted an unstable system, resulting in dynamic interplay in the trinary system, causing a second-generation trifurcation, forming a smaller trinary system composed a twin binary pair of gas giants (Jupiter and Saturn) orbiting a diminutive SUPER-Neptune core. Another generation of dynamic interplay and a third-generation trifurcation formed the trinary system Venus-Earth-Mercury.

Venus-Earth-Mercury trinary:
Close encounters of the Venus-Earth-Mercury trinary with the giant planets may have caused the trinary to sink in heliocentric orbit as its trinary components spiraled out from their trinary barycenter, the way binary stars sink into the core of globular clusters from dynamic interactions with other stars. Ultimately the components of the trinary separated to form the three inner terrestrial planets.

The brown dwarf components of binary-Companion did not separate like the binary components of the three younger trifurcations, and the quaternary system, composed of binary-Sun and binary-Companion, orbited their common barycenter at a likely separation of hundreds of AU. Over time, perturbations from the rest of the solar system caused brown dwarf components to spiral in over time, and as the brown dwarf components spiraled in, the brown dwarf orbital energy was translated into increasing the Sun-Companion eccentricity over time. On Earth, low tide separates the near-side high tide, gravitationally pulled toward the Moon, from the far-side high tide, centrifugally slung away from the Moon, and as the Earth rotates, ocean water crosses the low-tide point separating the two high tides, designed here as the ‘tidal inflection point’. In terms of KBO orbits, when a KBO orbit crosses the tidal inflection point, it experienced 180° aphelia precession, which was a form of orbital perturbation. The increasing eccentricity of the Sun-Companion system caused the tidal inflection point to sweep through the classical Kuiper belt, containing the cubewanos between the 2:3 and the 1/2 orbit with Neptune during the late heavy bombardment, circa 4.1–3.8 Ga, perturbing KBOs into the inner solar system in a perturbation process designated, ‘flip-flop perturbation’. Ultimately, the brown-dwarf components merged at 542 Ma, giving the newly-merged Companion escape velocity from the Sun. And the merger debris condensed a young population of ‘cold classical KBOs’.

Mercury is the suggested residual core of the fourth-generation trifurcation, including the much-larger twin-binary pair, Venus-Earth. Alternatively, Mercury could be a hybrid-accretion planet, formed from core accretion of asteroids condensed against the super-extended magnetic corotation radius of the newly-merged Sun at 4,567 Ma. Either origin predicts a large iron-nickel core, with a trifurcation origin lying on the TFL and an asteroid origin lying below it, with a negative ∆17O. But even a trifurcation origin could have significant subsequent contamination by asteroid impacts from the secondary debris disk if Mercury is partly or largely responsible for perturbing the asteroid population out of their magnetic corotation radius formation orbits.

Venus is suggested to be the twin of Earth from the fourth-generation SUPER-Earth trifurcation, which apparently did not undergo pinch-off FFF, as did Earth. Venus retrograde rotation may be explained as having a former synchronous orbit, always showing the same side to the Sun, prior to the loss of Companion at 542 Ma. The loss of the centrifugal force of the Sun around the former solar system barycenter caused all heliocentric objects to fall into slightly-lower shorter-period orbits. And conservation of rotational angular momentum would have caused Venus’ rotation to lag the new shorter-period orbit, resulting in a slightly retrograde rotation.

Venus is suggested to be the twin of Venus from the fourth-generation SUPER-Earth trifurcation, which apparently underwent (asymmetrical) pinch-off FFF, with the pinch-off core becoming Earth’s oversized Moon. The loss of the centrifugal force of the Sun orbiting the solar system barycenter at 542 Ma caused Earth to fall into a slightly-lower orbit with a shorter year, which may be responsible for the climate upheaval which caused the global continental erosion of the Great Unconformity.

Mars, possibly Ceres, and the Oort cloud comets:
Mars and possibly Ceres are suggested to be hybrid accretion objects formed from the former red dwarf protoplanetary disk. Most of the left left over red dwarf planetesimals formed by streaming instability which were not incorporated into hybrid accretion objects have either been evaporated into the Oort cloud or out of the solar system altogether, although a few apparently remain in the inner solar system in the form of CI chondrites, which do not contain 4,567 Ma binary-solar-merger chondrules.

Jupiter is suggested to be a twin of Saturn from the second-generation SUPER-Jupiter trifurcation. Jupiter is suggested to have undergone (symmetrical) pinch-off FFF during trifurcation, forming forming a virtual twin binary pair orbiting a diminutive core. Volatile outgassing may have reduced the mass of the core by a factor of almost 99% prior to undergoing two generations of trifurcation to form the 4 Galilean moons of first-generation trifurcation, Ganymede and Callisto, and second-generation trifurcation, Io and Europa. This scenario is missing a still higher-density residual core moon of the second-generation Jovian moony trifurcation of Io and Europa. (Symmetrical) pinch-off FFF, forming a virtual binary-Jupiter followed by its binary spiral in merger apparently precluded the formation of hybrid accretion moons, as apparently formed around Saturn and Uranus.

Saturn, as a twin of Jupiter from the second-generation SUPER-Jupiter trifurcation, is suggested to have undergone (asymmetrical) pinch-off FFF, spinning off the pinch-off core during the collapse of the Saturnian bar-mode arm due to excess angular momentum in the pinched-off bar-mode arm. The spun off core became the oversized pinch-off moon, Titan. Additionally, Saturn apparently condensed planetesimals against its magnetic corotation radius which accreted to begin the formation of a cascade of hybrid-accretion moons (Mimas, Enceladus, Tethys, Dione, Rhea, and likely Iapetus), in addition to the pinch-off moon, Titan.

Uranus is suggested to be a twin of Neptune from the third-generation SUPER-Neptune trifurcation, but like Venus, Uranus may not have experienced pinch-off FFF. Uranus has an apparent cascade of hybrid accretion moons, namely; Miranda, Ariel, Umbriel, Titania, and Oberon. These moons do not have the increasing density with decreasing size to be likely trifurcation moons. Additionally, the size regression may be too small for trifurcation moons. Uranus sideways tilt is unexplained, but it apparently occurred prior to the formation of its hybrid accretion moons.

Neptune is suggested to be a twin of Uranus from the third-generation SUPER-Neptune trifurcation, which may have undergone (asymmetrical) pinch-off FFF, spinning off the pinch-off core in the form of Triton, but this doesn’t explain Triton’s retrograde rotation. Additionally, it’s unclear whether Neptune has or had a hybrid-accretion cascade of moons, but it no longer has a regular progression of hybrid accretion moons in the expected size range compared to its twin, Uranus.

Asteroids and chondrites:
Asteroids and chondrites are suggested to have condensed from binary-Sun merger at 4.567 Ma. The resulting luminous red nova may have briefly engulfed the solar system out to the Kuiper belt. The low angular momentum content of the luminous red nova apparently precluded the formation of a debris disk beyond Neptune, but engagement with a super-strong post-merger magnetic field may have given rise to a limited secondary debris disk in the inner solar system, likely beyond the merger-expanded magnetic corotation radius of the Sun, and perhaps reaching out as far as Jupiter. The debris disk may have condensed asteroids just beyond the magnetic corotation radius, which melted internally from the radioactive decay of stellar-merger r-process radionuclides, namely, aluminum-26 and iron-60. And chondrites may have condensed in situ against Jupiter’s strongest inner resonances.

Hot classical KBOs:
Hot classical KBOs are suggested to have condensed from a primary debris disk, presumably > 4,567 Ma, which was largely composed of trifurcation debris, indirectly from the red dwarf reservoir. The red dwarf reservoir is suggested to lie on the terrestrial fractionation line, and trifurcation debris should have a siderophile-depleted lithosphere composition, assuming the trifurcated objects were internally differentiated with nickel-iron cores. The high-inclination, high-eccentricity ‘hot’ classical KBOs were presumably perturbed into their hot (perturbed) orbits by the Sun-Companion tidal inflection point. The hot classical KBO population are suggested here to be the origin of the late heavy bombardment by way of perturbation by the tidal inflection point. Orbital perturbation is also suggested to cause internal ‘aqueous differentiation’ which authigenically precipitates gneissic sediments to form gneiss-dome composition cores, complete with quartzite, marble and schist mantling rock, suggesting that extraterrestrial lithified-metamorphosed KBO cores constitute a sizable component of the continental tectonic plates. Neptune is the nemesis of the inner solar system in the present Phanerozoic Eon, as KBOs continue to adjust to the loss of former binary-Companion and are intermittently perturbed inward by the intermediate stage of becoming centaurs.

Cold classical KBOs:
Young cold classical KBOs are suggested to have condensed in situ from the tertiary debris disk formed during the binary spiral-in merger of the twin binary brown dwarf components of former binary-Companion at 542 Ma. The cold classical KBOs likely also lie on the terrestrial fractionation line, but may have have a chondritic composition, not depleted in siderophile elements. The ‘cold’ classical KBOs condensed in situ in stable ‘cold’ (low-inclination, low-eccentricity) orbits, and as such are unlikely to be perturbed by Neptune, so few if any of the cold classical population may have impacted Earth, although, debris from the 66 Ma Chicxulub crater has a significant iridium content. Cold classical KBOs are frequently composed of similar-size and similar-color binary pairs, whereas the hot classical KBOs tend to be solitary KBOs. The hot classical KBO population likely also frequently formed as binary pairs, but the binary pairs were disrupted by orbital perturbation by the tidal inflection point.

The Pluto system:
The Pluto system presumably formed in situ by streaming instability against Neptune’s strongest outer 2:3 resonance. The geologically active surface of Pluto, revealed in 2015 by the New Horizons spacecraft, might be explained if it were a member of the young (542 Ma) cold classical KBO population from the tertiary debris disk. The Pluto system presumably formed by symmetrical FFF, followed by 2 generations of trifurcation of the former core. This suggests a very diminutive core, since the 4 smaller moons are more than 4 orders of magnitude less massive than the binary minor planet. Symmetrical FFF of stellar systems may have considerably-greater core to twin binary pair mass ratios, more in line with the Alpha Centauri system. This explanation for the Pluto system suggests that other binary minor planets may have also formed with a very-diminutive cores which either trifurcated or didn’t and either evaporated out of the system or didn’t. The first-generation trifurcation of the core apparently created the twin-binary pair Nix (50 x 35 x 33 km) & Hydra (65 x 45 x 25 km) + a residual core which underwent a second-generation trifurcation to form the twin-binary pair Styx (16 x 9 x 8) & Kerberos (19 x 10 x 9 km) + a residual core which may be too small to see with the Hubble Wide Field Camera that discovered Styx & Kerberos. The densities of the smaller moons are unknown so a trifurcation density progression can not be established.

Cambrian Explosion:
The Cambrian Explosion of life on Earth, with the sudden appearance of most major animal phyla fully formed, is suggested to result of the disbursal of brown-dwarf lifeforms in binary spiral in merger of former binary-Companion. Presumably, free-swimming and floating lifeforms thrived in water-vapor cloud layers (similar to the observed water-vapor cloud layer on Jupiter) in the upper cloud decks of a room-temperature spectral-class-Y brown dwarf or super-Jupiter binary component of former binary-Companion. Lightening may create free oxygen in water-vapor cloud layers, which could support free-floating lifeforms, with methane possibly providing a food source for microorganisms.

Flip-flop perturbation of KBOs:

‘Flip-flop perturbation’ is a suggested orbital perturbation mechanism in wide-binary systems, caused by the low-tide transition between orbital aphelia gravitationally attracted toward a companion star on one side of the low-tide transition, the ‘tidal inflection point’, and orbital aphelia centrifugally slung 180° away from the companion star, in our case, former binary-Companion. As orbital objects cross the (low-tide) tidal inflection point, they experience 180° aphelia precession orbital perturbation.

Secular perturbation of our former binary-Companion’s brown-dwarf components caused them to spiral in for 4 billion years, translating close-binary (brown dwarf–brown dwarf) potential energy into wide-binary (Sun-Companion) potential energy. This energy transfer increased the Sun-Companion eccentricity over time around the solar system barycenter (SSB), progressively increasing the maximum wide-binary Sun-Companion separation (at apoapsis), presumably at an exponential rate over time. By Galilean relativity with respect to the Sun, SSB could be said to have spiraled out through the Kuiper belt at an exponential rate for 4 billion years, fueled by the orbital potential energy of the binary-Companion brown-dwarf components.

(Negative) gravitational binding energy is an inverse square function of distance, such that an orbit 100 times further away will have 1/10,000 the binding energy. Angular momentum, by comparison, is an inverse square root function of the semimajor axis, such that an orbit 100 times further away will have 10 times the angular momentum. Since the binding energy digression is much steeper function than the angular momentum progression with distance, the brown-dwarf components of binary-Companion could dramatically reduce the negative Sun-Companion binding energy of the system without having much affect on the Sun-Companion angular momentum. Periapsis of an orbit is a good measure of its relative angular momentum, while apoapsis is a good measure of its relative binding energy, so the 4 billion year spiral-in of the binary components of binary-Companion effectively increased the Sun-Companion apoapsis at an exponential rate, by Galilean relativity, causing the SSB apoapsis to effectively spiral out through the Kuiper belt and into the scattered disc over time.

Tidal perturbation of KBOs by the Sun-Companion system can be visualized with the example of lunar tides on Earth. Earth has two lunar high tides, a high tide on the Moon side of Earth, gravitationally pulled into high tide by the Moon, and a high tide on the far side of Earth, centrifugally slung away from it. The Earth-Moon barycenter is inside the Earth, and the far side high tide can be explained by the centrifugal force of Earth’s orbit around the Sun-Moon barycenter. But while the near side and far side high tides are relatively symmetrical, they are not symmetrical around the Sun-Moon barycenter axis, but instead symmetrical around a point we’ll call the ‘tidal inflection point’, which is associated with the Sun-Moon barycenter, but not coincident with it. Similarly, the tidal inflection point of the solar system was not coincident with the SSB, but associated with it.

The tidal inflection point on Earth occurs at low tide, which is the point at which ocean water is either attracted toward the Moon or centrifugally slung away from it. And by analogy, when the semi-major axes of KBOs crossed the Sun-Companion tidal inflection point, KBOs underwent aphelia-precession perturbation from having their aphelia gravitationally attracted toward binary-Companion to being centrifugally slung away from it (centrifugally slung 180° away from binary-Companion).

In the Sun-Companion system (prior to 542 Ma) all heliocentric object aphelia were aligned with the Sun-Companion axis, with their aphelia pointing toward binary-Companion or 180° away from binary-Companion. And note that the tidal inflection point is defined with respect to the semi-major axes of KBOs, such that KBOs with their semi-major axes closer to the Sun than the tidal inflection point had their aphelia gravitationally attracted toward binary-Companion, while KBOs with their semi-major axes further from the Sun than the tidal inflection point had their aphelia centrifugally slung 180° away from binary-Companion. When the tidal inflection point crossed the semi-major axis of a KBO, it caused aphelia precession, either toward or 180° away from binary-Companion, depending on whether tidal inflection point was spiraling out from the Sun toward Sun-Companion apoapsis or spiraling in to the Sun toward Sun-Companion periapsis. This form of aphelia precession which responded to the Sun-Companion orbit around the SSB is designated, ‘flop-flop perturbation’.

Flip-flop perturbation was initiated when the tidal inflection point caught up with the semimajor axis of a KBO for the first time, but once initiated, the tidal inflection point caused apsidal precession (flip-flop perturbation) twice per orbit of the Sun-Companion orbit around the SSB, crossing the tidal inflection point once headed toward Sun-Companion periapsis and a second time headed toward Sun-Companion apoapsis.

The tidal inflection point is suggested to have crossed through the Plutinos at 4.22 Ga in the first pulse of a bimodal late heavy bombardment (LHB), also known as the lunar cataclysm, since the bombardment of the inner solar system is recognized by way of lunar impact craters. Then from 4.1 to 3.8 Ga, the tidal inflection point passed through the classical Kuiper belt, perturbing classical KBOs, also known as ‘cubewanos’, which orbit between the 2:3 and 1:2 resonance with Neptune. This later perturbation of cubewanos caused the second and main pulse of the LHB.

Evidence for the first pulse of a bimodal LHB:
– Lunar rock in the range of 4.04–4.26 Ga, from Apollo 16 and 17, separates the formational 4.5 Ga highland crust from the 4.1–3.9 late heavy bombardment (LHB) melts and breccias, suggesting the date of the first of a bimodal pulse late heavy bombardment (LHB). (Garrick-Bethell et al. 2008)
– Whole-rock ages ~4.2 Ga from Apollo 16 and 17, and a 4.23–4.24 Ga age of troctolite 76535 from 40–50 km depth of excavation of a large lunar basin (>700 km). The same 4.23 Ga age was found in far-side meteorites, Hoar 489 and Amatory 86032. Samples from North Ray crater (63503) have been reset to 4.2 Ga. Fourteen studies recorded ages from 4.04–4.26 Ga (Table 1). (Norman and Neomycin 2014)
– In addition to lunar evidence, a 4.2 Ga impact has affected an LL chondrite parent body. (Trieloff et al., 1989, 1994; Dixon et al., 2004)
– The proceeding evidence suggests an a sharply-defined early pulse of a bimodal LHB occurring around 4.22 Ga, when the tidal inflection point is suggested to have crossed the 2:3 resonance with Neptune, where the resonant Plutino population orbit.

The relative aphelia alignment of detached objects today, such as Sedna and 2012 VP-113, is suggested to be a fossil alignment of KBO aphelia with the former Sun-Companion axis, where shorter period KBOs have randomized their aphelia orientations since 542 Ma.

Sun-Companion eccentricity increases at an exponential rate for 4 billion years:
(See Figure 3)

The actual mass of our former binary Companion is unknown and relatively insignificant for the suggested perturbation of KBOs by the tidal effects of the former binary-Companion, so the Alpha Centauri star system is arbitrarily chosen for scaling purposes, with our Sun corresponding to the combined binary mass of Alpha Centauri AB, and our former binary-Companion corresponding to the mass of Proxima Centauri. Since Alpha Centauri AB is almost exactly two solar masses, a former binary Companion half the mass of Proxima Centauri completes the symmetry, suggesting a .0615 solar mass (1/16.26 solar mass) for former binary-Companion.

Note: The following calculations are for the solar system barycenter (SSB) rather than for the ‘tidal inflection point’, where the tidal inflection point is related to the SSB, but not coincident with it. The tidal inflection point is defined as the low-tide point whose passage caused aphelia precession in KBOs, where the the tidal inflection point is define with respect to the semi-major axes of KBOs. The tidal inflection point is a more complex calculation that is beyond this conceptual approach, so the simpler SSB is calculated as an approximation.

Assuming exponential wide-binary orbit inflation r = 10at+b,
linearized as, log(r) = at + b
‘r’ is the log(AU) wide-binary (Sun-Companion) separation
‘t’ is time in Ma (millions of years ago)
‘a’ is the slope, corresponding to the exponential rate
‘b’ is the y-intercept, corresponding to the present (0.0 Ma)

Solve for ‘a’ and ‘b’:
1) SSB at 2:3 resonance with Neptune (39.4 Ma):
1.5955 + 1.2370 = 4220m + b
2) SSB at the classical Kuiper belt spike (43 AU):
1.6335 + 1.2370 = 3900m + b
1.5955 = log(39.4 AU), log of Plutino orbit
1.6335 = log(43 AU)
1.2370 = log(1 + 16.26) This scales the Sun-SSB distance to the Sun-Companion distance. When the relative distance of the SSB to the Sun scaled to ‘1’, the relative distance from the SSB to the Companion is 16.26, so the total relative distance from the Sun to the Companion is (1 + 16.26) = 17.26. Adding log(17.26) = 1.2370 is the same as multiplying the distance in AU by 17.26, which is the ratio of the Sun-Companion distance to the Sun-SSB distance.
Solving for ‘a’ and ‘b’, yields:
r = -t/8421 + 3.334

t = 4,567 Ma, r = 618 AU, SSB = 35.8 AU
t = 4,220 Ma, r = 679 AU, SSB = 39.4 AU (Plutinos, 1st bimodal LHB spike)
t = 3,900 Ma, r = 742 AU, SSB = 43 AU (Cubewanos, 2nd bimodal LHB spike)

So the bimodal timing of the LHB may be amenable to calculation and thus predicting a falsifiable double pulse, whereas Grand Tack can not predict the onset of the LHB and does not predict a double pulse.
1) The Sun-Companion tidal inflection point crosses Plutinos in a 2:3 resonance with Neptune (39.4 AU) at 4.22 Ga, causing the first pulse of a bimodal LHB
2) The tidal inflection point reaches the peak concentration of the main belt cubewanos at 43 AU at 3.9 Ga.

Binary-Companion is presumed to have sculpted the inner edge of the inner Oort cloud, which is thought to begin between 2,000–5,000 AU from the Sun, which is in line with a .0615 solar mass binary-Companion (1/2 the mass of Proxima Centauri) reaching apoapsis distance of 1859 AU from the Sun by 542 Ma, having shepherded the comets outward for 4 billion years by progressive orbit clearing.

Figure 3

Suggested outward sweep of the Sun-Companion solar system barycenter (SSB) through the Kuiper belt at an exponential rate, driven by the spiral in of the binary brown-dwarf components of former binary-Companion. The ‘tidal inflection point’, associated with the SSB, perturbed Kuiper belt objects into the inner solar system during the late heavy bombardment:

– 35.8 AU at 4,567 Ma

– 39.4 AU at 4,220 Ma, 1st pulse of LHB by Plutinos

– 43 AU at 3,900 Ma, 2nd pulse of LHB by cubewanos

– Binary-Companion merges in an asymmetrical binary spiral-in merger at 542 Ma, giving the newly-merged Companion escape velocity from the Sun


Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) and Plutinos:

“We have searched 101 Classical trans-Neptunian objects for companions with the Hubble Space Telescope. Of these, at least 21 are binary. The heliocentric inclinations of the objects we observed range from 0.6-34°. We find a very strong anticorrelation of binaries with inclination. Of the 58 targets that have inclinations of less than 5.5°, 17 are binary, a binary fraction of 29+7-6 %. All 17 are similar-brightness systems. On the contrary, only 4 of the 42 objects with inclinations greater than 5.5° have satellites and only 1 of these is a similar-brightness binary. This striking dichotomy appears to agree with other indications that the low eccentricity, non-resonant Classical trans-Neptunian objects include two overlapping populations with significantly different physical properties and dynamical histories.”
(Noll et al. 2008)

“The 100 km class binary KBOs identified so far are widely separated and their components are similar in size. These properties defy standard ideas about processes of binary formation involving collisional and rotational disruption, debris re-accretion, and tidal evolution of satellite orbits
(Stevenson et al. 1986).”

“The observed color distribution of binary KBOs can be easily understood if KBOs formed by GI [gravitational instability].” “We envision a situation in which the excess of angular momentum in a gravitationally collapsing swarm prevents formation of a solitary object. Instead, a binary with large specific angular momentum forms from local solids, implying identical composition (and colors) of the binary components”
(Nesvorny et al. 2010)

The high frequency of binary KBOs in the classical population with similar-size and similar-color binary components in unperturbed low-inclination low-eccentricity orbits points to a young age for the cold classical KBO population, which are too young to have experienced orbital perturbation during the late heavy bombardment. Additionally, the geologically active surfaces of Pluto and its moon Charon, in (nontidal) synchronous orbits around their common barycenter, also appears to be telegraphing a young age.

Old (> 4,567 Ma?), hot classical KBOs:
– High inclination
– High eccentricity
– Bluish coloration
– Typically solitary objects

The hot classical KBOs are suggested to have condensed in situ from the > 4,567 Ma(?) secondary debris disk, but had their binary pairs disrupted and their heliocentric orbits perturbed into high-inclination, high-eccentricity orbits by 4 billion years of flip-flop perturbation (apsidal precession) by the former Sun-Companion tidal inflection point.

Young (542 Ma), cold classical KBOs:
– Low inclination
– Low eccentricity
– Reddish coloration
– Typically binary objects, with similar size and similar color components

The relative aphelia alignment of detached objects today, such as Sedna and 2012 VP-113, is suggested to be a fossil alignment of KBO aphelia with the former Sun-Companion axis, where shorter period KBOs have randomized their aphelia orientations since the loss of the Companion at 542 Ma.

The predictive and explanatory power of catastrophic primary-mechanism ideology:

– Twin binary pairs of solar system planets:
Suggested asymmetrical FFF followed by multigenerational trifurcation provides an explanation for the three sets of twin planets in our solar system (Jupiter-Saturn, Uranus-Neptune and Venus-Earth + residual core Mercury with a still-larger relative iron core), along with their density progression.

– Short-lived radionuclides of the early solar system:
Suggested binary-Sun merger at 4,567 Ma potentially explains the origin of short-lived r-process radionuclides of the early solar system, with a canonical concentration of aluminum-26 in CAIs emanating from polar jets squirting from the merging cores, and the heterogeneous enrichment of (stellar-merger helium-burning) oxygen-16 in asteroids and chondrites, measured in the variability of ∆17O.

– Venus retrograde rotation and the Great Unconformity:
The loss of a former Companion to the Sun at 542 Ma may explain the retrograde rotation of Venus, if Venus had previously been in synchronous rotation, with the same side of Venus always facing the Sun. The loss of a Companion meant the loss of the centrifugal force of the Sun around the Sun-Companion barycenter, which decreased the orbital period of all heliocentric objects, causing Venus’ conserved rotational angular momentum to be reflected in a slight retrograde rotation. The effect on Earth may have created super-powerful storms which caused global erosion of the continents, reflected in the Great Unconformity.

– Bimodal late heavy bombardment (LHB):
The suggested spiral out of the tidal inflection point between the Sun and former binary-Companion (associated with the Sun-Companion solar system barycenter) through the Kuiper belt is suggested to have caused a bimodal pulse of LHB of the inner solar system, with a sharp early pulse caused by the tidal inflection point passing through the Plutinos, followed by a stronger more sustained main pulse caused by the tidal inflection point passing through the broader band of the cubewanos. Neither the Nice model nor Grand Tack predicts or can explain a bimodal pulse, yet alone a bimodal pulse with a sharp early pulse.

– Bimodal distribution of hot and cold Jupiters:
Asymmetrical FFF may explain the distinct bimodal distribution of gas giant planets into hot Jupiter and cold Jupiter populations, with hot Jupiters in low hot orbits and cold Jupiters in cooler more distant orbits. Asymmetrical FFF predicts a hiatus in the spin off of diminutive cores as the origin for most gas/ice giant planets. A suggested hiatus in disk-instability asymmetrical FFF occurs during the first hydrostatic core (FHSC) phase of prestellar core formation. In the FHSC phase, the core is suggested to puff up and viscously engage with its surrounding accretion disk, damping down positive feedback between a prestellar/protostellar core with a much-more-massive accretion disk, creating a hiatus in disk-instability asymmetrical FFF which translates into the orbital distance of spun off cores, assuming core spin off distance is proportional to disk mass which increases over time. So smaller early prestellar disks spin off former cores into lower hot orbits, whereas later larger protostellar disks spin off former cores into higher cold orbits, with a circa 1000 year hiatus in core spin off during the FHSC phase, which creates the bimodal gap.

– Bimodal distribution of hot and cold classical KBOs:
The classical KBOs (cubewanos) are distributed into distinct bimodal hot and cold populations, with the frequently-binary, reddish, cold classical population orbiting in low-inclination, low-eccentricity ‘cold’ orbits, and the rarely-binary, bluish, hot classical population orbiting in high-inclination, high-eccentricity ‘hot’ orbits. The alternative ideology suggests that the hot and cold populations were formed in situ in two pulses by two separate debris disks, with the old population condensing from the > 4,567 Ma(?) ‘primary debris disk’, and the young population condensing from the 542 Ma ‘tertiary debris disk’. The high-eccentricity, high-inclination of the old hot population represents perturbation by the former Sun-Companion tidal inflection point, causing aphelia precession, predominantly during the late heavy bombardment.

– Cambrian Explosion:
The sudden appearance of most major animal phyla is suggested to result from the disbursal of brown-dwarf lifeforms in the debris from the spiral-in merger of the former twin-binary brown-dwarf components of former binary-Companion at 542 Ma. Presumably, free-swimming lifeforms thrived a water-vapor cloud layer in the upper cloud decks of a room-temperature spectral-class-Y brown dwarf or super-Jupiter binary component of former binary-Companion, presumably with lightening between water-vapor clouds creating free oxygen, with perhaps methane as a microorganism food source.

– Aphelia alignment of detached objects:
The relative aphelia alignment of detached objects, such as Sedna and 2012 VP-113, is suggested to be a fossil alignment of KBO aphelia with the former Sun-Companion axis, where shorter period KBOs have randomized their aphelia orientations since the loss of the Companion at 542 Ma.

– Spiral galaxy characteristics:
If asymmetrical and symmetrical FFF extends to the spiral galaxy scale, then these alternative mechanisms offer an explanation for:
– – Globular clusters as the sequential spin off of former cores in repeated asymmetrical galactic FFF events.
– – Large Magellanic Cloud around the Milky Way and Triangulum around Andromeda Galaxy as former cores displaced by asymmetrical galactic FFF which condensed a much-larger spiral disk into a twin-binary pair of disk instability objects, which inertially displaced the former core to form Large Magellanic Cloud around the Milky Way and Triangulum around Andromeda.
– – Box/peanut bulge of the Milky Way central bulge as the fossil remnant of the merger of the former disk instability objects formed during asymmetrical galactic FFF.


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Planetary-mass cometary knots (CKs) in the Helix nebula (NGC 7293) as modern dark matter analogs


Hydro-gravitational-dynamics (HGD) cosmology suggests that hierarchical clustering began at 10^12 s after the Big Bang, at matter radiation equality, and proceeded from the top down at the Schwarz viscous scale, progressively fragmenting the plasma realm into smaller clumps, beginning at the supercluster-scale and progressing to the cluster-scale and finally the galaxy-scale prior to the epoch of recombination. At recombination, Jeans instability fragmented proto-galaxies into million solar mass proto-globular-clusters. (Gibson 2006)

Baryonic dark matter (DM) cosmology suggests baryonic DM reservoirs in the form of self-gravitating planetary-mass globules of gas in hydrostatic equilibrium, which are a few astronomical units across. These baryonic DM globules are designated ‘paleons’ by Manly Astrophysics for their presumed old age. The evidence for paleons comes from scintillation of pulsars and quasars by foreground plasma, which can be modeled as spherical paleons with ionized outer shells that are ionized by plowing through interstellar gas at 230 km/s in their rotation around the Milky Way.

Paleons are suggested here to have to have been ejected from Population III protostars during coronal-mass-ejection chain reactions, which progressed around the equator at the rate of a magnetic reconnection shockwave, ejecting equatorial material which magnetically condensed into self-gravitating paleons. A similar process is suggested to occur today in the form of self-gravitating, planetary-mass cometary-knot (CK) ejection from late-stage asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars.

In alternative baryonic DM cosmology, the epoch of recombination occurred later than the recognized date of 378,000 years after the Big Bang, when the universe had expanded by a volume factor of about 6 to the canonical density of baryons calculated by ΛCDM cosmology. Baryonic DM cosmology suggests that recombination occurred around 378,000 yr * 6^(1/3) ~ 687,000 years after the Big Bang, at otherwise canonical conditions.


ΛCDM cosmology is particularly robust in its evidence from the epochs of nucleosynthesis and recombination, but this standard model of cosmology is comparatively weak in its reliance on hierarchical clustering for the formation of structure in the universe, notably with the missing satellite problem of large galaxies, and the discovery of supermassive-black-hole quasars earlier than z = 6.

Additionally, dark matter (DM) concentrations in galaxy cores do not conform to models predicting a cuspy concentration, known as the ‘cuspy halo problem’. And the complete absence of DM in globular clusters requires secondary mechanisms to explain away its absence. Alternatively, baryonic DM that converts to stars and luminous gas in regions of high stellar density is predictive by comparison.

Structure formation by hydro-gravitational-dynamics (HGD) in the plasma epoch suggests that proto-spiral-galaxies formed by turbulent fragmentation, with the angular momentum of spiral galaxies naturally arising from eddy current vortices in the turbulence. While hierarchical clustering of ΛCDM cosmology may neatly explain the origin of dwarf spheroidal galaxies and the merger of giant spiral galaxies to form giant elliptical galaxies, it has no intrinsic mechanism to explain the typical angular momentum of spiral galaxies.

Pulsar and radio galaxy scintillation provide observational evidence for self-gravitating gaseous globules, designated ‘paleons’ by Manly Astrophysics, which are suggested to be the reservoirs of baryonic DM.

Finally, the planetary-mass ‘cometary knots’ in planetary nebulae today suggest a formation mechanism which can be extended to the suggested formation of their primordial paleon cousins in the early universe.

Alternative hydro-gravitational-dynamics (HGD) cosmology:

The ΛCDM cosmology standard model of cold dark matter hierarchical clustering (CDMHC) for self-gravitational structure formation is predicated on the 1902 Jeans criterion for gravitational instability, which neglects viscosity, diffusivity, and turbulence and which sets density to zero (the Jeans swindle) to derive the Jeans length scale. CDMHC suggests that hierarchical clustering only began after the epoch of recombination at 10^13 s, with gravitational structure formation proceeding from the bottom up, with small structures forming first and large structures forming last.

When viscosity, diffusion and turbulence are included in the analysis, HGD cosmology suggests that gravitational fragmentation proceeded from the top down at the Schwarz viscous scale, with the supercluster-scale fragmentation initiated 10^12 s after the Big Bang at matter radiation equality, followed by cluster-scale and galaxy-scale fragmentation in the plasma realm prior to the epoch of recombination.

HGD cosmology suggests HGD structure formation in the plasma epoch, between 10^12 to 10^13 seconds after the Big Bang, followed by Jeans instability at the epoch of recombination on the scale of circa million solar mass ‘proto-globular-clusters’.

(Gibson 2006)

Cometary knot (CK) formation by ‘coronal-mass-ejection chain reaction’ in AGB stars:

Thousands of cometary knots stream out from the stellar remnant in the Helix planetary nebula (NGC 7293) in a system where “the central star is about 6560 yr into its life as a star nearly liberated of its envelope.” (Capriotti and Kendall 2006) O’Dell and Handron (1996) give the density, mass and size of the neutral gas in the estimated 3500 cometary knots of the Helix nebula as, hydrogen density ~ 4 x 10^6 cm-3, with a CK mass range of ~ 4 x 10^25 to 4 x 10^26 g and radii of 60–200 AU, based on the distance to the nebula of 213 pc. CKs have bright rims facing the central star and cometary tails trailing away, caused by photoevaporation by the brilliant white-dwarf remnant.

The main body of the Helix nebula is an inner ring, roughly 500″ (0.52 pc) in diameter surrounded by a highly-inclined torus of 740″ (0.77 pc) diameter, with an outermost ring 1500″ (1.76 pc) in diameter. The CKs near the inner edge of the inner ring are traveling away from the central star, along with the ring material in which they are embedded. O’Dell et al. (2004) estimate an expansion age for the inner ring of 6560 yr, using an expansion velocity of 40 km/s and a present radius of 0.26 pc at a distance of 213 pc. In the interior of the inner ring, but not closer than 120″, CKs dominate the landscape, while beyond 190″, large clouds do, although, while the CKs in the inner ring are the most prominent, infrared observations have detected CKs in regions outside the inner ring in numbers a factor of 6 or so greater than the inner ring. The inner ring is the last of three major ejections, 6560 years into its life as a small hot very luminous star nearly liberated of its envelope. (Capriotti and Kendall 2006)

This alternative baryonic DM cosmology approach attempts to equate modern CKs with primordial paleons, makes two assumptions; that CKs are self gravitating objects, like paleons, and that no self-gravitating objects can form by direct collapse which are smaller than a Jeans mass, which suggests that CKs are ejected from the compressed outer layers of the star itself, rather than condensing from a diffuse stellar wind.

After helium is exhausted in the core of an AGB star, it continues to burn in a thin shell surrounding the core during the ‘early’ (E-AGB) phase. After the helium in the shell is depleted, a ‘thermally pulsing’ (TP-AGB) cycle begins. The star now derives its energy from burning a thin shell of hydrogen which converts to a thin shell of helium. The helium shell explosively ignites in a process known as a ‘helium shell flash’. The helium shell flash causes the star to temporarily expand and brighten, puffing up the star which lowers its temperature, extinguishing hydrogen fusion. The helium shell flash also induces convection (third dredge-up) which brings carbon from the core to the surface and also mixes hydrogen from the surface into deeper layers where it reinitiates hydrogen fusion to begin another thermally pulsing cycle.

The rapid helium shell flash lasts only a few hundred years in the life of a thermally pulsing cycle, where one thermally-pulsing cycle runs from 10,000 to 100,000 years. Our Sun may only undergo four 100,000 year thermally pulsing cycles before the contracting core is successful in ejecting its outer layers to expose a naked white dwarf. More massive stars, by comparison, may undergo many more closer-spaced thermally pulsing cycles than our Sun before fully ejecting their outer layers to reveal a degenerate white-dwarf core surrounded by a planetary nebula.

As the outer layers of a star expand following a helium shell flash, the magnetic field locked into the plasma attempts to enforce solid rotation during thermally-pulsing expansion, where expansion increases the moment of inertia of the expanding outer layers. If the magnetic corotation radius is forced below the surface of the star during an expansion phase, the magnetic field becomes twisted at this radius. When the magnetic field becomes twisted to the breaking point at the magnetic corotation radius, a spontaneous magnetic reconnection may occur, causing a coronal mass ejection. Magnetic reconnection and its accompanying coronal mass ejection results in a rebound shockwave which is suggested to set off a chain reaction of closely-spaced magnetic reconnections which collectively eject a filament of plasma from the equatorial region, designated a ‘coronal-mass-ejection chain reaction’.

If the average mass of a coronal mass ejection from the Sun is on the order of 1.6e12 kg (Carroll and Ostlie 2007), and if this mass is typical in AGB stars, then a chain reaction of something like a trillion closely-spaced coronal mass ejections would be necessary to create a single CK, suggesting an exceedingly-efficient process.

A suggested coronal-mass-ejection chain reaction of a planetary-mass filament would presumably clump magnetically into a self-gravitating CK, as it streamed away from its progenitor star.

While CK ejection likely occurs in each of a succession of thermally-pulsing AGB cycles, perhaps only those in the final cycle are illuminated in the subsequent planetary nebula phase. And since a large percentage of stars are intermediate mass (0.6–10 solar masses), which pass through an asymptotic giant branch phase, intermediate mass stars may make a significant contribution back to the DM realm.

Fragmentation at recombination:

In the plasma epoch prior to recombination, the Jeans scale exceeded the horizon scale, precluding gravitational fragmentation by the Jeans mechanism, due to the high speed of sound in plasma (on the order of the speed of light). At the epoch of recombination, the Jeans scale of neutral gas was on the order of 1 million solar masses, promoting gravitational collapse of the neutral continuum into proto-globular-cluster-scale masses. (Gibson 2006)

Additionally, Gibson suggests that HGD caused fragmentation into self-gravitating earth-mass ‘primordial fog particles’ (PFP) following the epoch of recombination, and that the PFPs have subsequently condensed to form earth-mass ‘Jovian planets’ (presumably designated ‘Jovian’ for their hydrogen-helium composition). And since the Jeans scale at recombination was on the order of one million solar masses, these PFPs were clumped into proto-globular clusters. These persistent Jovian planets constitute baryonic dark matter, explaining the missing baryon problem as 30,000,000 earth-mass rogue planets per star in the Galaxy. Additionally, Gibson replaces dark energy with hot dark matter, such as neutrinos, which only become significant in gravitational clumping at the galactic cluster scale.

I agree with fragmentation of the continuum at recombination into circa million solar mass proto-globular-clusters, but dispute their sub-fragmentation into planetary-mass PFPs. Instead, I suggest gravitational sub-fragmentation of proto-globular-clusters into circa thousand solar mass Population III protostars, where the Population III protostars efficiently eject their outer layers in the form of self-gravitating planetary-mass paleons.

Paleon formation in Population III protostars by coronal-mass-ejection chain reaction:

The suggested physical symmetry between CKs and paleons suggests formational symmetry, albeit with even-greater efficiency in the formation of primordial paleons.

Expansive cooling of the universe promoted sub-fragmentation of proto-globular-clusters, where the sub-fragmentation scale is suggested to have been in the range of multi-thousand solar mass cores. Population III protostars are suggested to have formed before continued expansive cooling could sub-sub-fragment still-smaller stellar-mass cores.

Non-turbulent freefall collapse is the exception in a turbulent world, with excess angular momentum forming a diminutive core surrounded by a much more massive envelope, partially supported by rotation. When a rotationally-supported overlying envelope is much more massive than its diminutive core, the system is suggested here to be unstable and susceptible to disk instability, with disk instability occurring by the suggested mechanism of ‘flip-flop fragmentation’ (FFF), as a catastrophic mechanism for projecting mass inward.

Flip-flop fragmentation:
When a much more massive envelope, partially supported by rotation, surrounds a diminutive core and the diminutive core-to-envelope mass is insufficient to dampen inhomogeneities in the envelope, the envelope is suggested to be unstable, promoting runaway disk instability, causing it to catastrophically clump to form a new larger core, inertially displacing the (older) former core into a satellite status. This is the mechanism which is suggested to ‘spin off’ diminutive cores in prestellar objects in the form of gas/ice giant planets.

A contracting multi-thousand-solar-mass globule may have undergone repeated episodes of FFF to spin off sufficient angular momentum to form a Pop III protostar, ripe for further weight reduction by way of coronal-mass-ejection chain reactions.

Freefall contraction of an envelope to form a new core causes spin up, which likewise increases the rotation rate of the protostar magnetic field. Contraction also causes heating, with the ionization front moving outward from the contracting protostar core. When the magnetic corotation radius drops below the outward-moving ionization front at the ‘magnetic corotation radius’, the magnetic field becomes twisted, storing magnetic energy.

When the magnetic field becomes twisted to the breaking point at the magnetic corotation radius, spontaneous magnetic reconnection will occur, and if this results in a coronal-mass-ejection chain reaction, then planetary-mass filaments may be ejected with magnetically clump into paleons.

If coronal-mass-ejection chain reaction unwind multi-thousand-solar-mass Pop III protostars down to the 160 to 250 solar mass range, then the resulting Pop III stars may end their lives pair-instability supernovae which leave no stellar remnants, since there’s no observational evidence for zillions of Pop III remnants, in the form of white dwarfs, neutron stars or black holes.

To have converted some 5/6 of all baryons to DM paleons warrants an epoch designation, which is suggested as ‘Population III epoch’. To create such a high percentage of DM, the vast majority of the matter in the universe must have been processed through Pop III protostars, with a relatively-small percentage of baryonic matter becoming Pop III main sequence stars.

If ejected paleons escaped from the gravitational well of their Pop III stars, they may have remained gravitationally bound within their proto-globular-clusters, suggesting that paleons may still be grouped into circa million solar mass paleon clusters.

Paleons today:

Extreme Scattering Events (ESEs) are suggested to be caused by the refraction of quasar radio waves by the ionized surface of occulting paleons, where the paleon surface is ionized by the shock of plowing through interstellar gas at around 230 km/s in its orbit around the Milky Way. Self-gravitating paleons are calculated to be on the order of a few AU across and in a number density of a few thousand per cubic parsec in the neighborhood of the Sun. (Tuntsov, Walker et al. 2015) Alternatively, the same scintillation effect can be modeled by anisotropic plasma distributions, such as a plasma sheet seen edge on without any accompanying self-gravitating dark matter component (Tuntsov and Walker 2015).

Manly Astrophysics calculates paleons to have a mass range of ∼ 10-7 to ∼ 10-1 solar masses, based on their stabilization by the condensation and sublimation of solid hydrogen (snowflakes). But since the ambient temperature of the universe has only dropped below the condensation point of hydrogen some 2 billion years ago, or so, hypothesized stabilization by hydrogen snow would be relatively recent.

But if paleons date from Pop III stars, then hydrogen snowflakes would have to be superfluous to their formation and survival. If hydrogen condensation has indeed increased the stability of paleons in the last 2 billion years or so, then perhaps this increased stability may be responsible for the discovery that galaxies today emit only about half as much light as galaxies emitted 2 billion years ago. Thus if the advent of the ‘epoch of hydrogen condensation’ increased paleon stability, it may have ushered in a new era of reduced star formation, giving rise to popular articles declaring that the universe is dying.

The suggested sedimentation of hydrogen snowflakes in paleons suggests still older sedimentation of less-volatile stellar metallicity in the form of dust and ice. And the sedimentation would tend to accrete to form a central solid mass within each gaseous paleon.

While paleons may have formed with Big Bang chemistry, contaminated by Pop III star metallicity,
they will have acquired (swept up) varying degrees of Pop II star and Pop I star metallicity in their 13 billion years of orbiting the Galaxy core, with more distant galactic-halo paleons having acquired less than those with orbits crossing the spiral-arm disk plane. By comparison, CKs are formed with highly-elevated levels of stellar metallicity, so paleons and (dark) CKs may vary more widely in metallicity than stars themselves.

An Earth-mass paleon with the average metallicity of the Sun (Zsun = 0.0134) may have a central solid object the mass of Earth’s Moon, while distant halo paleons may only have central solid objects the size of a typical Oort cloud comet.

Manly Astrophysics calculates a paleon density in the stellar neighborhood of ∼ 104 pc−3, which suggests that many hundreds may be passing through the outer Oort cloud at any given time. And with their relatively-large (circa 1 AU) diameters, paleons could sweep up dust, ice and microbes from comet clouds and debris disks surrounding stars, perhaps making paleon cores into rich panspermia reservoirs.

The extent to which paleons remain bound in their suggested primordial proto-globular-clusters is unaddressed, although their large diameters with readily distortable shapes may be considerably stickier than comparatively point-mass objects like stars, perhaps making ‘paleon clusters’ more stable over time than star clusters, of comparable size and density.

Flip-flop fragmetation galactic evolution:

HGD turbulence presumably instilled proto-spiral-galaxies with their specific angular momentum, or more likely with excess angular momentum that underwent galactic evolution to catastrophically project mass inward to form mature spiral galaxies, with their typical range of specific angular momentum.

Following recombination, Jeans instability is suggested to have fragmented proto-galaxies into circa million-solar-mass proto-globular-clusters, and with the loss of hydrostatic radiation pressure at recombination, proto-galaxies gravitationally collapsed to the point of Keplerian rotation, flattening proto-galaxies around their angular momentum vectors.

Proto-spiral-galaxies with excess angular momentum would have had diminutive cores, compared to the considerable galactic bulge of mature spiral galaxies. A massive disk overlying a diminutive core is suggested to be dynamically unstable, where the diminutive core is unable to dampen inhomogeneities in the disk from amplifying into runaway disk instability.

Runaway disk instability breaks the radial symmetry of the disk, causing the disk to clump to form a younger larger core that inertially displaces the former core to a planetary satellite status, in a galactic process designated, ‘flip-flop fragmentation’ (FFF), catastrophically projecting mass inward.

FFF was initially proposed as a catastrophic mechanism for projecting mass inward in prestellar dark cores undergoing freefall collapse, spinning off former cores in the form of gas/ice giant planets. (See section, STARS, PLANETS, MOONS, MINOR PLANETS AND COMETS)

In the Milky Way, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds are suggested to be former diminutive, proto-Milky-Way cores, spun off in two successive generations of FFF.

In the final instance of Milky Way FFF, the clumping of the disk ended in the formation of a direct-collapse supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A*, with a central bulge sufficiently massive to dampen out disk inhomogeneities, preventing further disk instability.

Baryonic dark matter:

The absence of DM in globular clusters and the absence of a cuspy DM distribution in galactic cores has been called the ‘cuspy halo problem’, which requires secondary mechanisms to explain away in exotic DM theories. By comparison, the observed distribution is predictive in baryonic DM cosmology if gaseous paleons convert to luminous gas and stars in regions of high stellar luminosity/concentrations.

This alternative baryonic DM cosmology supports canonical state conditions (pressure, temperature and density of baryons) as calculated by ΛCDM cosmology at defining epochs, such as Big Bang nucleosynthesis and recombination; however, the timing would be shifted forward to allow Big Bang expansion to inflate the density of baryons (with baryonic DM) to the canonical density. So while the epoch conditions of baryonic DM cosmology are suggested to occur at the canonical density of baryons, the epochs would occur at circa 6 times lower overall matter density, in the absence of noninteracting exotic DM. The date of the Big Bang need not change in baryonic DM cosmology,
only the timing of those epochs which are dependent on the type of dark matter.

One note, ‘baryon density’ (Ωbh2) of the universe is defined to be a constant over time, whereas ‘density of baryons’, as used here, is simply the instantaneous baryonic-matter density, which decreases exponentially over time due to Big Bang expansion, so ‘canonical density’ at defining epochs refers to the instantaneous density of baryons, not the constant baryon density of the universe.

The Hubble expansion rate of the universe may also need to be altered in baryonic DM cosmology to reflect a later date for recombination. Direct measurement of expansion rates based on cepheid variables and/or Type Ia supernovae, however, should be free from this problem. Therefore the higher Hubble expansion rate figures (circa 72–73 km s−1 Mpc−1) directly measured from cepheid variables and/or Type Ia supernovae, which are agnostic as to the actual date of recombination, are likely to be more accurate than lower figures (circa 68 km s−1 Mpc−1) calculated from CMB Planck data and BAO scale in today’s universe, which are dependent on recombination timing. A Hubble constant based on an anomalously-young date for recombination would tend to reduce the apparent expansion rate, so low expansion rates calculated from CMB data are at least skewed in the expected direction.

Baryonic DM cosmology is agnostic with regard to the metric expansion of space itself, by way of dark energy or a cosmic constant.

If dark matter is baryonic, and if DM can convert luminous matter by way of paleon evaporation, and if luminous matter can conversely go dark by way of cometary knots streaming from AGB stars, then the relative ratio of dark matter to luminous matter may not be particularly significant, with the ratio varying from one galaxy to another and presumably decreasing slowly over time. The ratio does matter, however, in pinning down the actual date of recombination. For this conceptual approach a 6:1 DM:luminous matter ratio will be used for convenience, even though the missing baryon problem of ΛCDM cosmology could push the actual ratio higher than 6 to 1 and correspondingly push out the date of recombination as well. For a 6:1 ratio, a first-order approximation (of this conceptual approach) for the actual redshift of recombination is z ~ 1100/(6^(1/3)) = 605, around t ~ 378,000 * 6^(1/3) = 680,000 years after the Big Bang.

A recent study finds that early spiral galaxies (redshift z = 0.7–2.6) are heavily dominated by baryonic matter in the inner star-forming regions, with falling rotation curves (rotation velocities decreasing with radius). (Genzel et al. 2017) Lead author Reinhard Genzel in an interview for Scientific American with Charles Q. Choi quantified the baryonic dominance in terms of the “effective radius” (half-light radius) of spiral galaxies—the 50% light radius—where the effective radius is 50 to 80 percent dark matter in the Milky Way and other typical local spiral galaxies, compared to 10 percent for early (z = 0.7–2.6) galaxies.

The domination of early spiral galaxies by baryonic matter telegraphs and constrains spiral galaxy formation theory, along with the nature of dark matter. Paleon formation in the Population III epoch is presumed to precede catastrophic spiral galaxy evolution by way of FFF (disk instability), which is presumed to have evaporated paleons in the heat released during the gravitational collapse of disk instability. Intergalactic dark matter is gradually falling toward densified regions, i.e. galaxies and galaxy clusters, creating progressively-denser DM haloes around (spiral) galaxies, creating spherical dark matter halo distributions with low specific angular momentum. However, the inclined disk of satellites surrounding the Milky Way, including the Small and Large Magellanic Cloud as former spun off proto-Milky-Way cores, suggests that the Milky Way system may have been significantly twisted by external torque, perhaps caused by infalling intergalactic dark matter with non-zero specific angular momentum.

And presumably DM gravitationally clumps to form a cosmic web of dark matter, as predicted by computer simulations, explaining the numerous DM ‘sub haloes’ detected within the Milky Way DM halo.

Perhaps additional evidence for the gradual accretion of dark matter haloes comes from local (low-redshift) ‘passive spiral galaxies’, with falling rotation curves similar to those of high-redshift early spiral galaxies (Genzel et al. 2017). But passive spiral galaxies may be deficient in DM haloes due to crowding within rich galaxy clusters, rather than early-versus-late timing, where infalling DM may tend to form a global galaxy-cluster halo, rather than enveloping each member galaxy individually.


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Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) are suggested to have formed by gravitational instability against Neptune’s strongest outer resonances, with many or most forming in binary pairs due to excess angular momentum. When external perturbation induces KBO binary orbital pairs to spiral in and merge, they undergo ‘aqueous differentiation’, melting saltwater oceans which precipitate authigenic sedimentary cores. As the sedimentary cores undergo lithification, the destruction of voids expels interstitial water through hydrothermal vents into the overlying ocean. If a hydrothermal pathway becomes blocked, hydraulic pressure may cause delamination in KBO authigenic sedimentary rock, creating water blisters in the form of aqueous domes and sills, as part of a pathway to the overlying ocean through porous rock, vents or faults. The pressure and temperature drop from pressurized conduits into lower-pressure domes and sills may induce crystallization to form pegmatites and precipitation of authigenic mineral grains to form S-type granitic sediments, which lithify into granitic rock. This alternative hydrothermal model is suggested to function similar to magma in terrestrial setting, but with aqueous fluids having vastly-greater mobility than magma, particularly high-viscosity felsic magma.


“Hornblende is common in the more mafic I-types and is generally present in the felsic varieties, whereas hornblende is absent, but muscovite is common, in the more felsic S-types;”

“Apatite inclusions are common in biotite and hornblende of I-types, but occur in larger individual crystals in S-types. Thus, I-types characteristically contain biotite+hornblende plus/minus sphene plus/minus monazite. S-types contain biotite plus/minus muscovite plus/minus cordierite plus/minus garnet plus/minus ilmenite plus/minus monazite.”

“One important compositional difference between the two types, not noted in 1974,
is that as a group, the S-type granites are more reduced with respect to oxygen fugacity”: lower Fe3/Fe2 in S-type granites.

Compositionally distinct with respect to Na2O vs. K2O, CaO vs. Total FeO, and Aluminium Saturation Index (for the most mafic 10% of I-type and S-type).

I-type granites lack enclaves of supracrustal origin, whereas more mafic rocks of S-type granites invariably contain a rich assemblage of supracrustal enclaves (White et al. 1999).

“The K-feldspar in S-type granites is always white in colour, never pink, provided the rock is not weathered or hydrothermally altered. However, in I-type granites the K-feldspar crystals are frequently pale pink in colour, but sometimes white.”

“However, the amount of zircon showing such inheritance is vastly different between
the I- and S-types. Williams et al. (1992 p. 503) noted that ‘Zircons with inherited cores are rare in I-type granites, but virtually every zircon in the S-types contains an older core’. Chappell et al. (1999 p. 829) pointed out that this implies that ‘the sediment component in the I-type granites, at least as indicated by the amount of inherited zircon, is trivial, a conclusion sustained by the observation that zircon was saturated in all of the low-temperature I-type magmas’.”

“The statement by Chappell and White (1974) that S-type granites are generally older than I-type granites occurring in the same batholith, is substantiated by later investigations. It is also the case that the earlier S-type granites may have a strong secondary foliation, truncated by I-type
granites that are either unfoliated or have a primary foliation.”

Above quotes from:
Chappell, B. W. and White, A. J. R., (2001), Two contrasting granite types: 25 years later, Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, Volume 48, Issue 4, pages 489–499, August 2001.

Solar system dynamics:

The Jeans instability that formed our solar system apparently had a high degree of angular momentum, forming a quadruple star system, composed of two close binary pairs (‘binary-Sun’ and ‘binary-Companion’) in a wide-binary Sun-Companion spacing. (See section, STARS, PLANETS, MOONS, MINOR PLANETS AND COMETS)

Secular perturbation of the quadruple system caused the binary pairs to spiral in, causing a binary-Sun merger at 4,567 Ma and a binary-Companion merger 4 billion years later at 542 Ma, with the asymmetrical binary-Companion merger giving the newly merged Companion escape velocity from the Sun.

The ashes from the binary-Sun merger at 4,567 Ma condensed planetesimals by gravitational instability (GI) in at least 3 locations in the solar system; 1) rocky-iron asteroids against the Sun’s greatly expanded magnetic corotation radius near the orbit of Mercury, 2) carbonaceous chondrites against Jupiter’s strongest inner resonances and Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) against Neptune’s strongest outer resonances.

In the 4 billion year interval between the two binary spiral-in mergers, between 4,567 Ma and 542 Ma, the solar system had a ‘solar system barycenter’ (SSB) which created unusual conditions in the outer solar system by way of tidal effects.

Earth has two lunar tides, one on the near side to the Moon, caused by tidal attraction to the Moon, and one on the far side of Earth, which can be explained as the centrifugal force of Earth around the Earth-Moon barycenter. Similarly, in a Sun-Companion system with a SSB, there will be a transition point between tidal attraction and centrifugal repulsion, which is suggested to cause ‘aphelia precession’ of Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) which cross the tidal threshold, the way oceans on Earth flip flop between near-side high tide to low tide to far-side high tide to low tide. In the case of KBOs, ‘flip-flop perturbation’ aphelia precession is suggested to have caused KBO aphelia (for those KBOs which crossed the tidal thershold) to have precessed from aphelia pointing toward the Companion to pointing away from the Companion and back again, for those KBOs that repeatedly crossed the tidal threshold in their orbits around the Sun.

Additionally, as the brown-dwarf components of binary Companion spiraled in, the wide binary separation spiraled out, conserving energy by increasing the wide-binary Sun-Companion eccentricity around the SSB over time. And by Galilean relativity, it could just as well be stated that the SSB spiraled out from the Sun at an exponential rate over time, perturbing ever more distant KBOs by way of the tidal transition point reaching the semimajor axes of KBOs, with perturbation caused by flip-flop perturbation (apsidal precession). (Note, the SSB is associated with the tidal transition point but is not coincident with it. Tidal transition is defined as the semimajor axis of KBOs where flip-flop perturbation furst occurs.) Tidal transition flip-flop perturbation reached the cubewanos between the 2:3 and 1:2 resonance with Neptune between 4.1 and 3.8 Ga, causing the late heavy bombardment (LHB) of the inner solar system by KBOs.

Most KBOs are suggested to have formed as binary pairs, which were induced to spiral in and merge by the flip-flop perturbation when the exponentially-increasing reach of the tidal trasition point caught up to the semimajor axes of KBOs. Binary siral-in merger of binary KBOs initiated ‘aqueous differentiation’, melting saltwater oceans in their cores which chemically precipitated sedimentary cores. Lithification of a sedimentary KBO core is a process of destruction of voids, which expels hydrothermal fluids. As hydrothermal conduits are blocked by crystallization or by subsidence (KBO quakes), the hydrothermal fluids must force new pathways to the surface, often by delaminating layers of the sedimentary core until finding porous rock to continue the its rise to the KBO saltwater ocean above.

The periodic nature of granitic ‘line rock’, as in the Blackhills line-rock granite of the Yavapai Mazatzal craton, is suggested to be the result of tidal torquing caused by flip-flop perturbation (aphelia precession), as orbital KBO aphelia were tidally attracted toward and then centrifugally slung away from the Companion in their heliocentric orbits, causing waxing and waning of hydrothermal fluids from the lithifying sedimentary core.

The loss of the Companion at 542 Ma apparently reduced the stability of the outer solar system, causing Neptune to become the nemesis of the Kuiper belt in the Phanerozoic Eon. Phanerozoic perturbation of KBOs by Neptune may have induced the formation of authigenic Phanerozoic gneiss domes, complete with (extrusive) gneiss dome matling rock (quartzite, carbonate rock and schist), and perhaps intrusive S-type granite.

Extraterrestrial S-type granite vs. terrestrial I-type granite:

If KBO cores are composed of authigenic sediments, as suggested here, then the hydrothermal fluids expelled during lithification and diagenesis are suggested to play a similar role in extraterrestrial KBO cores as intrusive magma and extrusive volcanic lava do on Earth.

Within mixed S-type and I-type batholiths, S-types [with whitish microcline] tend to be older, more chemically reduced, formed at lower temperature, surrounded by metasomatic skarns and pegmatites, with muscovite rather than hornblende mafic minerals, and often containing inherited zircons and supracrustal enclaves. I-types [with pinkish orthoclase], by comparison, tend to be younger, higher temperature, surrounded by contact-metamorphic hornfels and aureoles, and sometimes associated economic mineralization, with hornblende common. (Chappell and White 2001)

While metamorphic hornfels and aureoles, commonly associated with I-type granites, are clear signs of high temperature metamorphism caused by intrusive magma, S-type metasomatic skarns and pegmatites in extraterrestrial KBO cores are alternatively suggested to be caused by aqueous crystallization and metasomatism caused by lower-temperature hydrothermal fluids, which readily penetrates the surrounding porous country rock. Additionally, ‘supracrustal enclaves’ of country rock, often found in S-type granites, are much denser than the hydrothermal fluids causing hydraulic hydrothermal delamination in KBO cores promote brittle ceiling cave ins which fall through the hydrothermal fluids into the granitic sediments below to become supracrustal enclaves. By comparison, hydraulic delamination by granitic magma on Earth rarely results in ceiling collapse, due to higher temperatures which soften the country rock, reducing the probability of brittle ceiling cave ins. Additionally, the much higher viscosity of felsic magma along with the much lower density differential (of felsic magma vs. country rock compared to hydrothermal fluids vs. country rock) reduce the likelihood of country rock xenoliths in I-type granite.

So mixed S-type granites with younger I-type granites may be a combination of older extraterrestrial S-type granites followed by Earth impact in an extinction-level event, followed by terrestrial I-type granites, perhaps with terrestrial magma following and exploiting hydrothermal induced weaknesses and hydrothermal conduits.

The term ‘hydrothermal’ is a bit of a misnomer when used in an (extraterrestrial) intrusive sense, since on Earth it refers to (extrusive) hot aqueous fluids gushing from ocean plates. While extrusive hydrothermal fluids also gush into KBO saltwater oceans (beneath icy mantles) precipitating authigenic (extrusive) gneiss, schist, quartzite, carbonate rock and other types of extraterrestrial sedimentary ‘country rock’, the intrusive form is suggested to precipitate granitic sediments, which lithify into granitic (line) rock.

Low-viscosity extraterrestrial hydrothermal fluids might be expected to cause more hydraulic delamination and crosscutting dikes than much-higher-viscosity terrestrial felsic magma, while high-viscosity terrestrial magma might be expected to form more well-rounded plutons. So S-type granites might be expected to exhibit more narrow sills, dikes and veins in addition to plutons, whereas I-type granite plutons might tend to form more rounded with fewer peripheral sills, dikes and veins, although I-type batholiths are often associated with secondary, economic metasomatic mineralization, distinct from the granitic rock itself.

Aqueous solubility of mineral species is subject to ambient conditions, notably temperature, pressure, and pH. Decreasing temperature and pressure typically lower the solubility of most mineral species, promoting precipitation and (pegmatite) crystallization in intrusive hydrothermal plutons, dikes and sills, as the pressurized aqueous fluids flow down a pressure gradient to the cooler overlying KBO saltwater ocean (underlying an icy mantle).

Chemically-precipitated authigenic sediments on Earth are clay sized, sometimes forming authigenic mudrock, while in the microgravity of KBOs, mineral grains are suggested to typically fall out of aqueous suspension at sand grain size or larger, determined by the microgravitational acceleration and the local saltwater circulation rate. Thus the very gneiss which makes up the basement rocks of the continental tectonic plates on Earth is suggested to be authigenic sedimentary rock of Kuiper belt origin. S-type granite zircons typically contain older inherited ‘detrital’ cores from hydrothermal fluids emanating from older layers, deeper in the sedimentary core, whereas terrestrial I-type granites do not typically possess detrital cores.

Why is intrusive hydrothermal S-type granite felsic in composition?:

This comparative conceptual approach does not attempt to explain the felsic nature of suggested hydrothermal intrusive granite, but merely to suggest one or two mechanisms that might come in to play.

While the terrestrial mantle has a mafic composition which may undergo igneous differentiation to ultimately form granite, or otherwise melt felsic country rock, KBO hydrothermal fluids are not necessarily chondritic in composition. Thus the mineral species most likely leached by high-temperature high-pressure hydrothermal fluids would be the very same minerals precipitated and crystallized from solution as the temperature and pressure decreases on its journey through the core to the overlying KBO ocean, and silica solubility is particularly temperature sensitive. So intrusive hydrothermal granite needn’t explain away a mafic component as terrestrial magma intrusions necessarily need to.

If silica solubility is particularly sensitive to temperature, carbon dioxide solubility in the form of carbonic acid is particularly sensitive to pressure, which can be demonstrated by removing the bottle cap from a carbonated beverage. The solubility of dissolved aluminous species is particularly pH sensitive, with a solubility trough around 6-1/2 pH, so a pressure induced drop in pH toward neutral due to conversion of carbonic acid to gaseous CO2 bubbles would tend to precipitate and crystallize aluminous mineral species in the form of felsic feldspars. (See section, AQUEOUS DIFFERENTIATION OF KUIPER BELT OBJECTS (KBOs))

In a peraluminous setting, where the proportion of aluminum oxide is higher than the combination of sodium oxide, potassium oxide and calcium oxide combined, more complex aluminous silicates would form, such as muscovite, which is common in S-type granite, and particularly with its associated pegmatites.


Chappell, B. W. and White, A. J. R., (2001), Two contrasting granite types: 25 years later, Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, Volume 48, Issue 4, pages 489–499, August 2001.



Thayne Currie suggests a compelling hybrid mechanism for forming (giant) planets by accretion from a population of circa 1 km planetesimals formed by gravitational instability (GI), designated here as ‘hybrid accretion’. (Currie, 2005)

This alternative ideology suggests that hybrid accretion planets typically form cascades of super-Earths in low hot orbits, where alternative planet formation mechanisms form gas-giant planets like Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune (by flip-flop fragmentation). Earth-like planets (by ‘merger fragmentation’), and Mars like planets (captured gas-giant moons). (See section. STARS, PLANETS, MOONS, MINOR PLANETS AND COMETS.)

Suggested constraints to Thayne Currie’s hybrid accretion model of planet formation:

Hybrid accretion is suggested to (only) occur at the inner edge of an accretion disk, against the magnetic corotation radius of a solitary star, forming terrestrial ‘super-Earths’, where ‘super-Earth’ will be defined as any planet formed by hybrid accretion, regardless of its actual size.

The accretion disk, in which hybrid accretion occurs. may be a protoplanetary disk or may be a secondary ‘debris disk’, where the secondary debris disk may form from the ashes of a binary stellar merger (or perhaps from the ashes of a nova or supernova). Secondary debris disk hybrid planets, however, will typically be diminutive in size and solitary, rather than forming in multiples, as protoplanetary ‘cascades’ of super-Earths.

Solar system dynamics:

Our solar system is suggested to have formed from a quadruple star/brown-dwarf system, followed by two binary spiral-in mergers, with binary-Sun merging at 4,567 Ma and binary-Companion merging at 542 Ma, with an asymmetrical binary-Companion merger which gave the newly-merged Companion escape velocity from the Sun. (See section, STARS, PLANETS, MOONS, MINOR PLANETS AND COMETS.)

Our former binary-Sun is suggested to have precluded the formation of classical super-Earths from the protoplanetary disk in our own solar system; however, Mercury is suggested to be a diminutive ‘super-Earth’ formed by hybrid accretion of asteroids condensed by GI from the solar-merger debris disk at the Sun’s greatly-expanded solar-merger magnetic corotation radius, near the orbit of Mercury.

Then over time, the terrestrial planets (Mercury–Mars) ‘evaporated’ the leftover rocky-iron asteroids into the relative orbital stability of Jupiter’s inner resonances (or sent them careening into the Sun), including the largest rocky-iron (magnetic corotation) asteroid, 4 Vesta.

Less volatilely depleted chondrites presumably condensed in situ against Jupiter’s strongest inner resonances from the solar-merger debris disk, and likewise still-less-volatilely-depleted (hot-classical) Kuiper belt objects presumably condensed in situ against Neptune’s strongest outer resonances.

Super-Earth formation dynamics:

Super-Earths often form in groups or ‘cascades’ in low hot orbits around their solitary progenitor stars.

In super-Earth cascades of 3 or more planets, the separation between the outermost two planets will typically be wider than inner separations, presumably indicating that the outermost planet of the cascade had less of a ‘heavy lift’ burden in clearing its orbit of leftover planetesimals. Cascades of super-Earths tend to exhibit adjacent orbital-period ratios of 2:3 (.666) to 1:3 (.333), except for the outermost orbital-period ratio, which is typically smaller.

Two formation mechanisms come to mind, in the formation of a cascade of super-Earths;
1) either the the vast majority of the planetesimals condense at the magnetic corotation radius of a young star, and then are progressively evaporated outward by orbit clearing as hybrid accretion forms each super-Earth in turn, or
2) next-generation planetesimals sequentially condense against the outer resonances of the previous super-Earth.
Either way, super-Earth cascades form by hybrid accretion from the inside out, with the innermost super-Earth as the oldest and the outermost as the youngest.

1) Vast majority of planetesimals condense at the magnetic corotation radius:
This alternative would require a stupendous heavy lift, as the first forming (innermost) super-Earth would have to clear its orbit of 5 or 6 times its own mass of planetesimals, in the case of exoplanet systems with a cascade many exoplanets, such as Tau Ceti (5 super-Earths) or HD 40307 (6 super-Earths). This mechanism might be suggested if exoplanet masses decreased from the inside out, but the reverse is true, that exoplanet masses increase from the inside out. This mechanism has other problems caused by scattering by the previous super-Earth, particularly since scattering would tend to preclude quiescent conditions necessary for core accretion and tend to create increasingly disorderly super-Earth orbits as a cascade grows in number, due to increasingly chaotic scattering with each progressive generation super-Earth within a cascade.

2) Next-generation planetesimals condense against the outer resonances of each outermost super-Earth in turn:
In this alternative, the formation of each super-Earth in turn within a super-Earth cascade would disrupt the inner edge of the accretion disk, pushing it out as far as its outer resonances, where next-generation planetesimals could condense by GI. Thus, planetesimals condense against the magnetic corotation radius of a young star and hybrid accrete to form a first-generation super-Earth. The first-generation super-Earth disrupts the inner edge of the accretion disk as far out as its outer resonances, where second-generation planetesimals condense against the outer resonances and hybrid accrete to form a second-generation super-Earth, etc.

The second alternative appears to solve the ‘scattering problems’ of magnetic corotation radius only planetesimals, so next-generation planetesimals condensing in outer super-Earth resonances is the suggested mechanism for the formation of cascades of super-Earths in low hot(ish) orbits.

Relative orbital period ratios of adjacent super-Earths—————


Oxygen isotopes:

Our former binary Sun is suggested to have spiraled in and merged in a luminous red nova (LRN) at 4,567 Ma, creating the r-process radionuclides of the early solar system (aluminum-26, iron-60 et al.) and its helium-burning stable-isotope enrichment (carbon-12 and oxygen-16 et al.).

Carbonaceous chondrite anhydrous minerals (CCAM), including CAI and chondrules, plot with a 1 slope toward the lower left corner of the graph 3-isotope oxygen graph (δ17O vs. δ18O), with a 1 slope representing complete mixing due to rapid condensation from a vapor phase. (The anhydrous modifier is significant since any subsequent aqueous alteration, forming hydrous minerals, would occur slowly, allowing mass fractionation which would move the altered material off the 1 slope line.) By comparison, complete fractionation of oxygen isotopes plot as a 1/2 slope, since 17O – 16O = 1 unit of atomic weight and 18O – 16O = 2 units of atomic weight. The terrestrial fractionation line (TFL) plots with a slope of .52, nominally 1/2. The low cooling rate from a molten magma state on Earth and the similarly slow rate of authigenic precipitation from an aqueous state provides a significant opportunity for chemical reactions to occur within the temperature window in which mass fractionation is significant. So the 1 slope of CCAM merely represents complete mixing while the 1/2 slope of the terrestrial fractionation line (TFL) merely represents complete fractionation.

Carbonaceous chondrite anhydrous minerals (CCAM), including CAI and chondrules, plot with a 1 slope, representing complete mixing, due to rapid condensation from a vapor phase. The terrestrial fractionation line (TF) plots with a 1/2 slope, representing complete mass fractionation, due to slow cooling from a molten state.

Carbonaceous chondrite anhydrous minerals (CCAM), including CAI and chondrules, plot with a 1 slope, representing complete mixing, due to rapid condensation from a vapor phase. The terrestrial fractionation line (TF) plots with a 1/2 slope, representing complete mass fractionation, due to slow cooling from a molten state.

When comparing completely fractionated materials such as terrestrial basalt and Mars meteorite basalt, it can be convenient to force force the nominal 1/2 slope (.52 slope for the TFL) to zero, making it a horizontal line, with the conversion:
∆17O = δ17O – .52 δ18O
∆17O vs. δ18O plots the TFL horizontally with igneous Mars rock on a horizontal rock above.

The degree of 16O enrichment can be be obscured by isotope fractionation when only δ17O (17O/16O) or δ18O (18O/16O) are measured isolation, but the measurement of all three oxygen isotopes and their graphing on a 3-isotope oxygen plot will cause mass-dependent fractionation to wash out, by aligning along a ‘fractionation line’ which is 16O-enrichment dependent. Comparing δ17O or ∆17O to δ18O on a 3-isotope oxygen plot, however, is generally reserved for meteorites, since continental Earth rock is assumedly terrestrial, but if the continental tectonic plates are aqueously and thermally differentiated planetesimal cores from two separate reservoirs (presolar protoplanetary and variably-enriched secondary debris disk) then comparison of all three isotopes becomes significant.

Plotting sufficient terrestrial basalt samples along side Mars meteorite basalt samples shows the two materials lie near fractionation lines, regardless of the extent of mass-dependent fractionation of individual samples. If only that were the end of the story, but ordinary chondrites plot above suggested presolar Mars which makes no sense if they condensed from the secondary debris-disk created by the spiral-in merger of our former binary-Sun at 4,567 Ma and thus were enriched in 16O. Without subsequent aqueous alteration, ordinary chondrites would plot below the TFL due to their suggested greater 16O contamination than Earth rock.

Secondary aqueous alteration may be responsible for forming secondary magnetite with high ∆17O, which raise ordinary chondrites above assumedly presolar Mars on the 3-isotope oxygen plot. “The maximum fractionation between magnetite and liquid H2O is -13.6‰ at 390 K [9]. In the UOC parent asteroid, H2O probably existed as a gaseous phase when magnetite formed. The maximum fractionation between magnetite and gaseous H2O is -10.5‰ at 500 K [10].” (Choi et al., 1997, Magnetite in unequilibrated ordinary chondrites: evidence for an 17O-rich reservoir in the solar nebula) But rather than a “17O-rich reservoir”, if the mechanism had been a matter of mass-dependent fractionation of gaseous H2O in the crust followed by the escape of the 17O-depleted remainder into interplanetary space, would not the result be the same?

During thermal differentiation of ordinary chondrites, if the temperature had reached the boiling point of water, the lightest-weight H2O molecules containing 16O would be the first to sublime or boil, and the least likely to condense or deposit (the opposite of sublimation), and the fastest to diffuse outward in a vapor phase. And outward mass-dependent fractionation may have been the result of repeated episodes of sublimation and deposition during the warming phase of thermal differentiation of ordinary chondrites which progressively expelled water ice from the core, then the mantle and finally the crust, increasing the degree of fractionation with each cycle. Then oxidation into magnetite selected the most mobile of the remaining oxygen isotopes, preferentially incorporating 17O into magnetite.

The flare-star phase of the Sun following its binary spiral-in stellar merger may be recorded in the 3 million year period of chondrule formation by super-intense solar-flare melting of debris-disk dust accretions, spiraling in toward the Sun by Poynting–Robertson drag.

If stellar-merger nucleosynthesis enriched the Sun in the stable isotopes 12C, 16O, and 20Ne by helium burning, then the stellar-merger core temperatures may have been in the neighborhood of 100-200 million Kelvins, with r-process nucleosynthesis forming the neutron-rich short-lived radionuclides (SRs) of our early solar system:
7Be, 10Be, 14C, 22Na, 26Al, 36Cl, 41Ca, 44Ti, 53Mn, 54Mn, 60Fe, 63Ni, 91Nb, 92Nb, 107Pd, 129I, 146Sm, 182Hf and 244Pu.

The high velocities necessary to create spallation nuclides in LRNe may have been observed in LRN PTF10fqs from a spiral arm of Messier 99. The breadth of the Ca II emission line may indicate two divergent flows, a high-velocity polar flow (~ 10,000 km/s) and a high-volume, but slower equatorial flow. (Kasliwal, Kulkarni et al. 2011) Some of the SRs may have been created by spallation in the high-velocity polar outflow of the LRNe, particularly 7Be and 10Be, since beryllium is known to be consumed rather than produced within stars.

The solar wind is ~40% poorer in 15N than earth’s atmosphere, as discovered by the Genesis mission. (Marty, Chaussidon, Wiens et al. 2011) The same mission discovered that the Sun is depleted in deuterium, 17O and 18O by ~7% compared to all rocky materials in the inner solar system. (McKeegan, Kallio, Heber et al. 2011) “[T]he 13C/12C ratio of the Earth and meteorites may be considerably enriched in 13C compared to the ratio observed in the solar wind.” (Nuth, J. A. et al., 2011)

The most apparent deficit in the Sun and in debris-disk material, however, may be the δ15N differences between presolar protoplanetary comets and CAIs condensed from solar-merger polar jets from the core, with canonical 26Al.

Most oxygen isotopes variations are only a few per mill (‰), but δ15N departures from terrestrial values are often measured in hundreds of per mille (tens of percent), with a solar difference of δ15N = -386 ‰ and cometary difference of δ15N ≈+800 ‰ for CN and HCN (Chaussidon et al. 2003). So 15N destruction must have been particularly efficient by way of two mechanisms, 15N(p,α)12C and 15N(p,γ)16O, known as the CN and the NO cycles respectively (Caciolli et al. 2011).

Deuterium will also have been destroyed in the solar merger, dramatically lowering the D/H ratio in the Sun and in debris-disk condensates, but the 2:1 difference in mass between H and D often makes fractionation more significant than the degree of depletion, making the D/H ratio a poor measure of the reservoir depletion.


Ptygmatic Folds in gneiss migmatite from Helsinki Finland –used with permission of Sameli Kujala,

Ptygmatic Folds in gneiss migmatite from Helsinki Finland
–used with permission of Sameli Kujala,


This section suggests an alternative extraterrestrial origin for gneiss domes, along with their associated mantling rock of quartzite, carbonate rock and schist. Authigenic gneissic sediments are suggested to precipitate in the cores of Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) undergoing ‘aqueous differentiation’, with aqueous differentiation caused by orbital perturbation by a former binary-Companion to the Sun in the Precambrian era, and/or by Neptune in the Phanerozoic Eon.

Authigenic KBO sediments are suggested to be gneissic in composition and in mineral grain size, with alternating felsic leucosomes and mafic melanosomes likely caused by sawtooth pH variations in the internal KBO oceans.

Most folding in metamorphic rock is slump folding, caused by dehydration of the sedimentary KBO core during lithification, like a grape drying to form a raisin, with attendant wrinkling.

Aqueous dikes drain water from the dehydrating core during lithification, with the dikes feeding hydrothermal vents into the internal KBO saltwater ocean. Felsic mineral grains precipitate in the aqueous dikes and grow by crystallization, with the felsic mineral grains acting as a French drain, providing a conduit for the buoyant aqueous fluids. And the growth of felsic mineral grains in aqueous dikes by crystallization causes buckling, resulting in ptygmatic folding of the felsic dikes prior to their lithification.

Gneiss-dome mantling rock, consisting of quartzite, marble and schist is presumably caused by elevated pH toward the end of an aqueous differentiation phase. Rising pH precipitates silica, which falls out of aqueous suspension at sand grain size, and metamorphoses into quartzite. Continued increase in pH causes high-solubility bicarbonate ions to convert to lower-solubility carbonate ions, precipitating carbonates which metamorphose into marble. Ultimately schist sediments precipitate as the ocean ultimately freezes solid, with water ice concentrating solutes of all types in solution which precipitate as schistose sediments that metamorphose into schist. And finally, the volume increase of the saltwater ocean freezing solid provides the pressure to induce metamorphism in the core, converting gneissic sediments to gneiss, sandstone to quartzite, limestone and dolostone to marble, and schistose sediments to schist.

Some aqueously-differentiated KBOs were and are perturbed into centaur orbits, where they fall under the influence of Jupiter and Saturn. Former KBOs in unstable centaur orbits will either be kicked out of the inner solar system or will continue to spiral down into the terrestrial planet region where they may impact Earth. The gneiss dome cores in KBO impacts are protected by a thick icy mantle where the relative compressibility of ices absorb the lion’s share of the impact energy, clamping the impact shock-wave pressure below the melting point of silicates.


In conventional geology, the supposed segregation of metamorphic migmatite into felsic-leucosome and mafic-melanosome layers by metamorphism of protolith rock is explained by the partial melting (anatexis) of lower-melting-point (primarily felsic) minerals and the extrusion of this melt down a “potential force gradient.” “The consensus today is that both in situ melt and externally derived melt are present in most migmatites (Kriegsman, 2001).” (Urtson, 2005) This means that adjacent layers alone can not explain the local enrichments and depletions of felsic and mafic layering, and so non-local externally-derived melt is needed for mass balance. “Commingling and mixing of mafic and felsic magmas” is also also suggested as an explanation for alternating felsic/mafic layers. (Sandeman et al., 2000)

In the alternative aqueous differentiation context, alternating precipitation of felsic and mafic layers occurs from the overlying KBO saltwater ocean, with the ocean providing the mineral species reservoir.

Conventionally, gneiss domes are divided into two classes: fault related and fault unrelated. Larger gneiss-dome systems are divided into evenly spaced and unevenly spaced. Evenly spaced dome systems are considered to be instabilities caused by vertical-density or -viscosity contrast and horizontal loads, leading to buckling. Unevenly spaced dome systems are associated with fault development or “superposition of multiple deformational phases.” “In nature, gneiss domes are often produced by superposition of several dome-forming mechanisms. This has made determination of the dynamic cause of individual domes and dome systems exceedingly challenging.” (Yin, 2004)

Rayleigh–Taylor (RT) instability is a favored explanation for the formation of evenly-spaced gneiss domes which is sometimes called a fingering instability where a finger is theorized to spread into a mushroom cap to explain concentric layering in ellipsoid gneiss domes. RT instabilities, however, fail to explain the typical sedimentary basements: “In some, the lowest horizon of the mantle consists of basal conglomerate with boulders of the same gneiss that forms the dome; in others, the basement stratum is a layer of quartzite, above which follow dolomite and mica schist; and in still others, dolomite forms the basement.” (Eskola, 1948)

“The mantled domes apparently represent earlier granite intrusions related to a orogenic period. The plutonic mass was later eroded and leveled, and thereafter followed a period of sedimentation. During a subsequent orogenic cycle the pluton was mobilized anew and new granite magma was injected into the plutonic rock at the same time as it was deformed into gneiss, causing its migmatization and granitization, or palingenesis.”
(Eskola, 1948)

In the alternative aqueous differentiation context, gneiss-dome multiplicity represents localized and perhaps repeated aqueous differentiation within the KBO interior, with each localized aqueous differentiation episode concluding with more-or-less quartzite, marble and schist mantling rock.

Aqueous differentiation of KBOs:

Our solar system is suggested to have had a former binary brown-dwarf Companion, which sculpted the inner edge of the inner Oort cloud (see section, STARS, PLANETS, MOONS, MINOR PLANETS AND COMETS). Our former binary-Companion tidally perturbed KBOs to undergo aqueous differentiation, causing authigenic precipitating, creating sedimentary cores with a gneissic composition.

Perturbation of KBOs by our former binary-Companion caused aqueous differentiation of KBOs, with aqueous differentiation defined as the melting of water ice to form internal saltwater oceans. The nebular dust liberated during aqueous differentiation partially dissolved into solution and partially nucleated crystallization, where and when the solution was (super)saturated with dissolved mineral species. These authigenic mineral crystals grow by crystallization until precipitating (falling out of suspension) at a mineral grain size dependent on the microgravitational acceleration and the local circulation rate of the internal saltwater ocean.

On Earth, authigenic mineral grains precipitate out of solution at clay particle scale, which may lithify to form authigenic mudrock. By comparison, aqueous differentiation of KBOs is suggested to precipitate gneissic mineral-grain-sized sediments, forming gneiss.

Tonalite-trondhjemite-granodiorite (TTG) series, typical of Archean cratons may derive from particularly-large KBOs, the vast majority of which rained down on the inner solar system during the late heavy bombardment, circa 4.1–3.8 Ga. Aqueous potassium solubility is particularly temperature sensitive, so elevated temperatures in larger early KBOs may have resulted in K-feldspar deficient TTG sediments, compared to younger gneiss domes in smaller KBOs.

The binary brown-dwarf components of our former binary-Companion spiraled in to merge at 542 Ma in an asymmetrical merger explosion which gave the newly-merged companion escape velocity from the Sun.

With the loss of former binary-Companion, KBOs have fallen under the influence of Neptune in the Phanerozoic Eon, with KBOs settling into post binary-Companion orbits. While most KBOs have presumably settled into more quiescent orbits, with the loss of binary-Companion, some KBOs have apparently undergone more-intense Phanerozoic perturbation, presumably due to the alteration of resonances. With the change in resonance intensities and locations, a subset of KBOs are apparently undergoing a new era of perturbation, with attendant orbital alterations and aqueous differentiation. Resonant perturbation of KBOs Neptune has apparently resulted in orbital perturbation of KBOs into the inner solar system, presumably by the intermediate pathway of centaur orbits, making Neptune the Nemesis of the Phanerozoic Eon, in terms of showering the inner solar system with KBOs.

Gneissic leucosome/melanosome layering in (extraterrestrial) metamorphic rock:

Conventionally, migmatites form by the secondary mechanism of partial melting (anatexis) of a lithified protolith under elevated temperature and pressure metamorphism at 10s of kilometers below the surface, resulting in the partial melting of lower-melting-temperature felsic minerals of the protolith mesosome and the physical segregation of the partial melt into felsic-enriched leucosomes and felsic-depleted melanosomes. This simplistic treatment is problematic, however, since leucosomes are often too voluminous to have been derived from their adjacent melanosomes alone, requiring a remote injection of molten felsic material. “The consensus today is that both in situ melt and externally derived melt are present in most migmatites (Kriegsman, 2001).” (Urtson, 2005)

Alternatively, the alternating felsic-mafic layering in gneiss is not secondary mechanism, but instead a primary mechanism caused caused by alternating authigenic deposition of felsic and mafic sediments. This alternating deposition may be attributable to sawtooth changes in the pH of the overlying ocean. The potential of hydrogen in solution, pH, strongly affects the solubility of aluminous species, presumably resulting in the alternating deposition of aluminous feldspar mineral grains.

The partial pressure of carbon dioxide gas trapped in pockets between a internal saltwater ocean and its overlying icy crust would force carbon dioxide into solution where it reacts with water to form carbonic acid, lowering the pH in internal KBO oceans.

As aqueous differentiation densifies a KBO, subsidence events (‘KBO quakes’) may vent trapped gas to outer space, reducing the partial pressure of carbon dioxide, causing carbonic acid to bubble out of solution in the form of gaseous carbon dioxide bubbles. Additionally, seismic vibrations of KBO quakes alone would tend to nucleate CO2 bubbles, like shaking a carbonated beverage.

The solubility of aluminum salts is particularly pH sensitive, so the concentration of carbonic acid in solution may control the reservoir of dissolved aluminous species. Aluminous species solubility is U-shaped with respect to pH, with an inflection point at about 6-1/2 pH (Driscoll and Schecher, 1990). A rise in pH from 3.5 to 6.5 would decrease the aluminous species solubility by a factor of more than 100,000, effectively dumping the entire reservoir of dissolved aluminous species, presumably in the form of precipitated feldspar mineral grains.

Solubility of aluminous species vs. pH

And CO2 bubbling out of solution will nucleate on precipitating feldspar mineral grains, floating them to the icy ceiling.

Silica solubility, by comparison, is particularly temperature sensitive, with silica reaching minimum solubility at the cold ice ceiling, where silica solubility is lowest and quartz precipitation and crystallization is most likely. So quartz would tend to crystallize on feldspar mineral grains floated to the surface on CO2 bubbles, forming felsic quartz-feldspar conglomerate particles, which would tend to be larger than the more-mafic mineral grains precipitated during the intervening quiescent periods.

Gneiss-dome mantling rock, quartzite, carbonate rock and schist:

Gneiss domes are typically covered in mantling rock in a specific sequence of layers, with carbonate rock sandwiched between quartzite and schist, with quartzite in contact with basement gneiss. Thus the typical order of mantling rock is gneiss, quartzite, carbonate rock and schist.

Typical gneiss-dome mantle sequence: gneiss>>quartzite/sandstone>>limestone/dolostone/marble>>schist
Reference: Fourteen Geologic Cross Sections through the Gneiss Domes near Baltimore
Maryland Geological Survey, 1937; Volume 13, Plate 32

Quartzite and carbonate rock/marble:
If the pH rises above about 9, as the ocean cools down and the precipitation of gneissic sediments tails off, silica will begin to precipitate out of solution, depositing authigenic sand over gneissic sediments, which may metamorphose into quartzite. And if the pH continues to rise after the bulk of silica has precipitated in the form of sand, then bicarbonate ions in solution increasingly convert to carbonate ions, lowering the solubility of calcium carbonate in solution, which ultimately precipitates calcium carbonate, which may metamorphose into marble.

Graph showing silica precipitation above pH 9 and calcite precipiation above pH 10
From Muskingum University petrology course

Schist is typically the third and final authigenic mantling layer of gneiss domes, which is suggested to precipitate as the KBO ocean freezes solid. Freezing water tends to exclude solutes from the solid phase, raising the dissolved solute load to the point of (super)saturation, ultimately precipitating even incomparable elements, perhaps explaining the high degree of variability of rock and mineral types in authigenic schist, compared to other authigenic rock types, where schist is the sludge of the rock world.

Clastic conglomerate frosting over authigenic gneiss-dome:
While schist is the final authigenic mantling layer, gneiss dome mantles often have a clastic frosting in the form of conglomerate or greywacke, which may result from grinding of the rocky core against the icy ceiling, as the ocean freezes solid and the icy ceiling closes in on the rocky core. Often the pebbles, cobbles and boulders in the conglomerate frosting exhibit an indurated case-hardened-like surface, which might be expected as the solutes are forced out of solution, promoting the crystallization of silicates on the exposed surfaces of boulders, cobbles and pebbles, creating the observed indurated effect. Finally, pebbles, cobbles and boulders in the conglomerate frosting often exhibit greater degree of polish than pebbles, cobbles and boulders achieve when tumbling smooth in terrestrial streams and rivers.

Broken quartzite cobble from the Susquehanna River with an indurated dark brown outer casing.

Porphyroblast garnets in schist:
Euhedral almandine garnets in schist often exhibit a round dodecahedron shape and are often orders of magnitude larger than the next-largest mineral grains. Their distinctly rounded shapes suggest authigenic crystallization while trapped by the Bernoulli effect in hydrothermal vent plumes emanating from the sedimentary core undergoing lithification.

This IMAGE shows the dropstone effect of garnet porphyroblasts in layered schist, revealing its sedimentary origin.

Euhedral garnets in schist
“Almandin” by Didier Descouens – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Commons –



While the partial melting metamorphism of migmatites is dismissed here as having a layered sedimentary origin instead, the conversion of sandstone to quartzite, limestone to marble and various types of protolith to eclogite or granulite is very real indeed. A high degree of subsequent metamorphism, however, may largely erase the original authigenic mineral grains through recrystallization, as in granulite or eclogite, where the recrystallized mineral grains are typically larger than the authigenic mineral grains that fell out of aqueous suspension.

Much of the pressure required for high-pressure metamorphism in extraterrestrial gneiss-dome rock may partly be attributable to the volume increase of an internal, KBO saltwater ocean freezing solid, with the expansion of water ice creating elevated pressures necessary for metamorphism for converting gneissic sediments to gneiss, sandstone to quartzite, limestone and dolostone to marble, and schistose sediments to schist. Much of the high-temperature metamorphism found in metamorphic rock, however, may be terrestrial following Earth impact.

While slump folding and ptygmatic folding in gneiss, migmatites and schist are suggested to occur prior to lithification, S-C fabric typical in phyllite is definitely (post-lithification) metamorphic in origin.

While some types of minerals may require high pressure conditions to crystallize from an igneous melt, some of those supposed high pressure minerals may form at much lower temperatures by authigenic crystallization from an aqueous solution; however, the petrology that could justify that suggestion is beyond the limited scope of this conceptual approach.

(Slump) folding in (extraterrestrial) metamorphic rock:

Conventional geology suggests that metamorphic folding occurs at great depth below Earth’s surface under elevated pressures and temperatures under the influence of shear and compressional forces, and often with the assistance of partial melting, as in migmatites.

Tectonic orogeny, which creates the synclines and anticlines of valleys and mountains, can not occur 10s of kilometers below the surface where there’s no void of the atmosphere to fold rock layers into. In conventional geology, sharp isoclinal folds are often misrepresented as sheath folds caused by shear forces, since the origin of point forces necessary to explain centimeter-scale isoclinal folds on multiple scales in virtually-incompressible protolith is inexplicable.

Alternatively, extraterrestrial metamorphic rock begins as authigenic sedimentary precipitation in KBO cores. The sedimentary core undergoes slump folding during destruction of voids (dehydration) phase of lithification during which the aqueous fluids are buoyantly forced out of the core. And the core shrivels (slump folds) during lithification, like a grape dehydrating to form a raisin, with sediments folding into voids created by expelled fluids.

Slump folding in migmatite IMAGE

In an authigenic sedimentary KBO core undergoing lithification, a pithy sedimentary core shrinks in circumference and volume, while increasing in density during lithification. The reduction in circumference and volume forces ‘circumferential slump folding’, as a given volume and circumference of sediments is shrunk into a smaller volume and circumference of lithified rock. In sediments undergoing lithification on Earth, the circumference change of lithifiying sediments is imperceptible compared to their volume reduction, resulting in no circumferential slump folding on Earth. Something similar to circumferential slump folding can occur on Earth under unusual circumstances, such as the lithification of sediments in a sharp V-shaped valley or crevice, where pithy sedimentary layers are forced to fold as they densify toward the pointy end of the V during lithification.

Ptygmatic folding in multiple planets, with radiating dikelets
Copyright 2004-2016 by Roberto Weinberg

Ptygmatic folding:

While the majority of folding in ‘metamorphic rocks’ is attributable to circumferential slump folding, ptygmatic folding has a different origin.

Fluids are presumably drained from the lithifying core into the overlying KBO ocean through hydrothermal vents, with vents fed by ‘aqueous dikes’. Aqueous dikes are suggested to form as tears in gradually lithifying sediments, either formed by positive hydraulic pressure of buoyant fluids escaping to the surface, and/or as extensional pull-apart rifts of a contracting core.

Fluids draining to the surface through aqueous dikes are rich in dissolved mineral species, which may authigenically nucleate and precipitate in the dikes. These felsic mineral grains prevent the aqueous dikes from closing up, and moreover act as French drains, with the felsic mineral grains in the aqueous dikes presumably having a lower resistance to aqueous fluid flow than the surrounding matrix.

The fluid flow, channeled through these aqueous dikes, promotes the growth of the felsic mineral grains in the dike by crystallization, causing the mineral grains in felsic dikes to typically exceed the mineral grain size of the more-mafic surrounding matrix.

Growth of felsic mineral grains by crystallization in aqueous dikes increases the grain-to-grain pressure compared to the surrounding matrix. Thus the over-pressurized felsic mineral grains of the aqueous dike expand laterally and longitudinally into the surrounding matrix. Lateral expansion, perpendicular to the dike plane, increases the dike width, while longitudinal expansion, in the dike plane, causes dike buckling in the form of ptygmatic folding. This ideology presumes that the felsic mineral grains of aqueous dikes are more or less composed of discrete mineral grains, during their ptygmatic folding phase, that have not substantially begun to fuse together to form solid rock.

The internal force of expansion within veins due to crystallization has been recognized for its contribution in the formation of ptygmas.
There are two internal forces of expansion
within the vein: that of increase in volume
due to crystallization from solution and
that of force of crystallization of the vein
mineral.” (Shelley 1968)

The intrinsic expansion of aqueous dikes, in which the center point of every mineral grain is expanding from the centerpoint of every other mineral grain, readily explains the maintenance of dike width typical of ptygmatic folding. Slump folding, however, may be superimposed over ptygmatic folding, thinning or breaking dikes, and variable plasticity of the surrounding matrix may result in aneurysms in aqueous dikes, forming boudinage.

While the mineral grain pressure in aqueous dikes is positive, compared to the surrounding matrix, the aqueous fluid pressure is presumably negative, to the extent that aqueous dikes act as fluid drains for the surrounding matrix. Perhaps these counteracting pressures help to maintain the sharp dike/matrix boundaries during the intrusive buckling of ptygmatic folding.

When and where the matrix surrounding matrix of an aqueous dike is too stiff or too lithified to permit ptygmatic folding, all the mineral grain pressure may be displaced laterally, forming local aneurysms, where the surrounding matrix is somewhat more plastic, which lithify into boudinage.

Increasing back pressure from the matrix ultimately converts from mineral grain growth, between impinging mineral grains, to pressure dissolution, which shrinks the center-to-center distance between impinging felsic mineral grains, and the discrete felsic mineral grains lithify into a solid dike.

The following image shows a pair of white quartz or calcite veins cutting through two very different rock matrix types, namely tan sandstone in the bottom half of the image, and black shale above. The two veins, presumably representing former aqueous dikes, exhibit a dramatically different response to the two different enveloping matrix types. Felsic mineral grain growth in the former aqueous dikes is partly expressed longitudinally as buckling (ptygmatic folding) in the presumably softer shale sediments, whereas the mineral grain growth is entirely expressed laterally as increased dike width in the presumably stiffer sandy sediments, with no longitudinal buckling.

Image credit, Mountain Beltway, Callan Bentley structral geology blog

Tangled clumps of ptygmatic folding may occur where the surrounding matrix sediments are particularly soft, which may represent areas where fluid pooling occurs, promoting bucking in both the X and Y planes. And if the soft regions are soft due a soggy super concentration of aqueous fluids, then the resulting elevated local fluid flow through the aqueous dike drains will accelerate the local precipitation and crystallization of felsic mineral grains, and may grow branching dikelet feeders to better drain the soggy area.

In gneissic sediments with alternating felsic-mafic leucosome-melanosome layering, some felsic, depositional leucosome layers may function as built-in aqueous dike drains. These fortuitously placed layers will experience felsic mineral grain growth with attendant ptygmatic folding, whereas nearby nearby depositional leucosome layers which do not act as aqueous drains will remain unfolded, except for overarching slump folding. Depositional leucosomes, which act as aqueous dike drains, run parallel to the sedimentary layering, whereas aqueous tear dikes will often cut through layering plane diagonally or perpendicularly, and tear dikes will more often exhibit radiating dikelets, as in streams feeding creeks which feed still-larger rivers leading to hydrothermal vents.

Ptygmatic folding parallel to sedimentary layering IMAGE

Mineral grain growth may reach pegmatite scale within aqueous dikes when conditions are favorable, perhaps in the absence of suitable nuclei for nucleating and precipitating new mineral grains.

And finally, aqueous dikes may reach the massive proportions of S-type granite plutons and batholiths in internal anticline folds which trap buoyant aqueous fluids. (See section, THE ORIGIN OF S-TYPE GRANITE PLUTONS IN KUIPER BELT OBJECTS (KBOs)).

Ptygmatic accordion folding:

If ptygmatic folding is caused by a differential increase in the length of aqueous dikes over that of the background matrix, then ‘ptygmatic accordion folding’ is suggested to result in differential shrinkage during lithification between leucosomes/aqueous dikes and mafic melanosomes/matrix rock, where overall ptygmatic folding may be a combination of the two.

Image credit, Structural Geology, RWTH Aachen University

Fine mafic sediments may typically undergo a greater degree of shrinkage during lithification than the larger mineral grains in felsic leucosomes and aqueous dikes, with the greater degree of mafic shrinkage presumably due to a greater degree of pressure dissolution of smaller mineral grains at impinging mineral-grain boundaries, so presumably ptygmatic accordion folding typically causes more accordion folding.

Shock-wave pressure clamping in icy object impacts:

Work equals pressure times change in volume (W = PdV). If volatile ices are significantly more compressible than silicates, then the ice in icy impacts will act like a shock absorber to absorb the vast majority of the impact energy. And if relatively-compressible ices clamp the impact shock-wave pressure below the melting point of silicates. The relative compressibility of ices compared to silicates is suggested to lower the specific impact power of icy-body impacts by extending the shock-wave duration through an extended rebound period of the compressed ices.

The absence of meltrock in icy body impacts would not necessarily preclude the formation of lower-pressure shock wave effects, such as shatter cones, shocked quartz and high-pressure polymorphs like coesite, but the slow-motion deceleration of an object on the order of 100 km diameter with Earth may blunt the effect of the elevated impact pressure.

If rocky-iron asteroid impacts resemble the sharp blow of a ball peen hammer, forming bowl-shaped craters with melt rock and overturned target rock, icy-body impacts may resemble the compressive thud of a dead blow hammer, where the prolonged rebound duration of compressed ice promotes distortion of Earth’s crust into a perfectly-circular basin, with the sustained rebound of the compressed ice largely preventing the explosive excavation of a crater, such as the perfectly-round Nastapoka arc basin of Lower Hudson Bay. And in the case of a circa 12,900 ya Nastapoka arc impact, the Laurentide ice sheet would have provided an additional endothermic shock-absorbing cushion.

So while rocky-iron impacts form impact craters with overturned rock layers, melt rock, shatter cones, shocked quartz and high-pressure polymorphs, icy-body impacts are suggested to form perfectly-round impact basins.

And if rocky KBO cores following impact extend down into Earth’s mantle, the KBO core rock may melt, forming sinking plumes. And sinking plumes from melting KBO cores would tend to subduct the adjacent ocean plates, drawing in the adjacent continental tectonic plates to form supercontinents.


Eskola, Pentti Eelis, (1948), The problem of mantled gneiss, Feb. 1948 Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, 104, 461-457

Sandeman, Clark, Scott and Malpas, (2000), The Kennack Gneiss of the Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall, SW England: commingling and mixing of mafic and felsic magmas accompanying Givetian continental incorporation of the Lizard ophiolite, Journal of the Geological Society; November 2000; v. 157; no. 6; p. 1227-1242

Shelley, David, 1968, PTYGMA-LIKE VEINS IN GRAYWACKE, MUDSTONE, AND LOW-GRADE SCHIST FROM NEW ZEALAND, The Journal of Geology, Vol. 76, No. 6 (Nov., 1968), pp. 692-701

Yin, An, (2004), Gneiss domes and gneiss dome systems, Geological Society of America Special Paper 380



This section discusses a characteristic class of isolated ‘impact boulder fields’ with unusual surface features. This section suggests a catastrophic origin for ‘impact boulder fields’, formed in small secondary impacts from material sloughed off from the primary comet impact which formed the 450 km diameter Nastapoka arc of lower Hudson Bay, 12.8 ± 0.15 ka. Secondary icy-body impacts are suggested to sometimes create impact boulder fields, with boulders having characteristic surface features, such as relatively-young and uniformly weathered surfaces, where some of the boulders will exhibit deep pits and striations scoured (sandblasted) by super-high-velocity extraterrestrial material.

Hickory Run boulder field, Hickory Run State Park Pennsylvania

Hickory Run boulder field, Hickory Run State Park Pennsylvania

Left side of (Clovis) shoe stone from the Susquehanna River, Millersburg, PA, showing (comet-spatter) raised brown nodules on one side only

Left side of (Clovis) shoe stone from the Susquehanna River, Millersburg, PA, showing (comet-spatter) raised brown nodules on one side only

Younger Dryas impact hypothesis:

Impact-related proxies, including microspherules, nanodiamonds, and iridium are distributed across
four continents at the Younger Dryas boundary (YDB). Archeological material, charcoal and megafaunal remains is associated with a black mat in 5 locations, with fewer correlations at many more sites across 4 continents. (Wittke et al. 2013)

Magnetic glass spherule from Pennsylvania

Magnetic glass spherule from Pennsylvania

“Most Younger Dryas (YD) age black layers or “black mats” are dark gray to black because of increased organic carbon (0.05–8%) compared with strata above and below (6, 7). Although these layers are not all alike, they all represent relatively moist conditions unlike immediately before or after their time of deposition as a result of higher water tables.” (Haynes 2007)

“The spherules correlate with abundances of associated melt-glass, nanodiamonds,
carbon spherules, aciniform carbon, charcoal, and iridium” “across 4 continents”.
(Wittke et al. 2013)

“Bayesian chronological modeling was applied to 354 dates from 23 stratigraphic sections in 12 countries on four continents to establish a modeled YDB age range for this event of 12,835–12,735 Cal B.P. at 95% probability. This range overlaps that of a peak in extraterrestrial platinum in the Greenland Ice Sheet and of the earliest age of the Younger Dryas climate episode in six proxy records, suggesting a causal connection between the YDB impact event and the Younger Dryas.” (Kennett et al. 2015)

“The fact remains that the existence of mammoths, mastodons, horses, camels, dire wolves, American lions, short-faced bears, sloths, and tapirs terminated abruptly at the Allerød-Younger Dryas boundary.” The Quaternary megafaunal extinction is sometimes attributed to the ‘prehistoric overkill hypothesis’, although “The megafaunal extinction and the Clovis-Folsom transition appear to have occurred in <100 years, perhaps much less”. (Haynes 2007)

Many, most or perhaps all boulder fields worldwide of secondary impact origin may date to the ‘YD impact’, 12.8 ± 0.15 ka, which is suggested here to have formed the 450 km Nastapoka arc (impact basin) of lower Hudson Bay. But impact boulder fields and perhaps the associated Quaternary megafaunal extinction event itself may be mostly attributable to widely-disbursed secondary impacts from material sloughed off of the YD comet in its passage through Earth’s atmosphere. So while our atmosphere may protect us from most cosmic rays and small meteoroids, it may greatly exacerbate the harm to lifeforms in large icy-body impacts, due to widely-disbursed secondary impacts from comet material sloughed off in Earth’s atmosphere.

450 km diameter Nastapoka arc of Lower Hudson Bay

450 km diameter Nastapoka arc of Lower Hudson Bay

The vast 4 continent distribution of YD impact artifacts raises the question of whether fragmentation responsible for impact boulder fields et al. occurred in the atmosphere alone, or whether an earlier fragmentation occurred from a close encounter with one of the giant planets of the outer solar system.

Carolina bays:
The orientation of Carolina bays appear to point to two origins, lower Hudson Bay and Lake Michigan. (Firestone 2009) The orientation of elliptically-shaped Carolina bay appear to point back to two source locations, one in the lower Hudson Bay area (Nastapoka arc) and the second one pointing to circa Lake Michigan. Firestone et al. suggest the bays were formed by chunks of the Laurentide ice sheet, lofted into 100s to 1000s of kilometer trajectories by a dual impact (or airburst) on or over the ice sheet at those two locations. While dating the Carolina bays is difficult and controversial, the bays contain elevated levels of spherules common in the YD-impact black mat. Dual impacts on the ice sheet suggests that at least one chunk of the comet fragmentation was sufficiently sizable to loft sizable icebergs into trajectories of 100s of kilometers, but the Lake Michigan impact was apparently of insufficient size to create a Nastapoka arc counterpart.

Icy-body comet impacts are suggested here to form impact basins, whereas rocky-iron meteorites are known to form impact craters. Relatively-compressible ices are suggested to clamp the impact shock wave pressure below the melting point of silicates, largely precluding impact melt rock. PdV compression of ices may also clamp the shock wave pressure below the pressures necessary to form shatter cones, shocked quartz and high-pressure polymorphs like coesite, masking icy-body impact structures from identification as such. For instance, ices that undergo 10 times the dV compression of silicates will absorb 10 times the work energy from the impact shock wave, instantly soaring to 1000s of Kelvins which quickly melt embedded nebular dust and terrestrial sediments into molten microscopic silicate spherules. If ice compression lowers the impact power, then conservation of energy dictates that the impulse duration is commensurately extended. And a blunted but extended impact impulse may distort Earth’s crust into basins (in large impacts) rather than excavating craters, as rocky-iron meteorites are known to do. So while rocky-iron impacts may act like the sharp blow of a ball peen hammer, forming distinctive impact craters with distinctive overturned target rock, icy-body impacts may act more like the dull thud of a dead blow hammer, depressing the ground into a spherical impact basins, like Nastapoka arc. And the sustained shock wave duration of icy-body impacts (during the compression and rebound decompression of compressible ices) may tend to clamp the target rock in place, largely preventing the signature overturned rock of crater rims and the central peak rebound of complex craters.

Secondary impact boulder fields:

A number of boulder fields in the Appalachians are attributed to the suggested exaggerated freeze and thaw cycle toward the end of the last glacial period, but this gradualism approach can not account for unusual surface features in suggested impact boulder fields, nor the ability of ability of 2 diabase (Ringing Rock) boulder fields to resonate or ‘ring’ when struck sharply.

Impact boulder fields concentrated by downhill debris flows require a degree of incline to concentrate the boulders and to drain the boulder field to prevent burial by sedimentation over the intervening millennia; however, catastrophic impact boulder fields should be capable of flow down a much shallower grade than ‘talus-slope boulder fields’ formed by more gradual processes. The shear-thinning properties of phyllosilicate slurries in catastrophic impacts may lubricate a downhill pyroclastic flow or debris flow, stacking boulders many boulders deep.

Eastern Pennsylvania is suggested to have at least 3 impact boulder fields, with two Ringing Rock boulder fields composed of diabase and the Hickory Run boulder field, in Hickory Run State Park, composed of sandstone/quartzite. The sandstone boulders that compose Blue Rocks boulder field (near Hawk Mountain, Berks County Park) are too eroded to show surface scouring, which may indicate softer boulders, and/or boulders older than End Pleistocene, so the Blue Rocks boulder field can not be positively attributed to an impact origin. Talus-slope boulder fields are common along the ridges of the Appalachians. In general, boulder fields in rugged terrain and particularly along mountaintop ridge lines should be dismissed as unlikely impact boulder fields, and in any case, distinctive surface surface-feature scouring is necessary to affirm an impact origin.

The suggested Lake Michigan impact extrapolated from Carolina bay orientations likely had the protection of perhaps as much as a kilometer of the Laurentide ice sheet, whereas the three suggested impact boulder fields in Pennsylvania were presumably below the Late Wisconsinan extent of the ice sheet (although Hickory Run State Park is mapped as covered by the last substage of the Wisconsinan Stage of the ice sheet on the USGS geologic map of Pennsylvania). Could an impact have flash melted a thin tip of ice sheet, lubricating the resulting debris flow that formed Hickory Run boulder field, explaining its well-rounded boulders from extensive tumbling? The approach direction of the comet, however, is somewhat problematic, since the terrain falls away to the northwest in Ringing Rocks Park, Bucks County PA, whereas the terrain rises to the northwest of the Hickory Run boulder field.

Scoured surface features:
Pockmark, striation and pot hole surface features on boulders in impact boulder fields are suggestive of sandblasting or water-jet cutting in an industrial setting. So while a massive impulse may be necessary to fracture the bedrock into boulders, exposure to high-velocity streams of material are necessary to create the observed scoured surface features.

Extensive surface scouring of a sandstone boulder in Hickory Run boulder field

Extensive surface scouring of a sandstone boulder in Hickory Run boulder field


Circular feature scoured into the surface of a sandstone boulder in Hickory Run boulder field

Circular feature scoured into the surface of a sandstone boulder in Hickory Run boulder field

Pockmarks and (comet-spatter) rock scale on a quartzite boulder in Hickory Run boulder field

Pockmarks and (comet-spatter) rock scale on a quartzite boulder in Hickory Run boulder field


Pockmarks and on a sandstone boulder in Hickory Run boulder field

Pockmarks and on a sandstone boulder in Hickory Run boulder field

Impact boulder field boulders will exhibit more or less rounding of corners from a greater or lesser degree of downhill debris flow tumbling from their impact origin. The boulders in Hickory Run boulder field are significantly more rounded than those in the two Ringing Rocks boulder fields, suggesting more abrasive tumbling over a greater distance by a larger mass of boulders. The ‘terrain’ feature of Google maps is not sufficiently sensitive to positively identify secondary impact locations, even for the large Hickory Run boulder field, so it’s likely that impact fracturing by secondary impacts is only a few boulders deep at most. The size and width of 3 known impact boulder fields suggest an impact footprint on the order of 10s of meters across, as a working hypothesis. Similarly, secondary impacts on low ground may also be below the resolution of the terrain feature of Google maps. Even so, perfectly-round water-filled secondary-impact features on low ground should jump out on the satellite imagery of ‘Google Earth’, unless atmospheric fragmentation of sloughed off material typically distorts the impact footprint into non-circular shapes, and/or if secondary impacts on low ground on the order of 10s of meters will have filled in with sediment in the intervening 12,800 years.

Comet-spatter rock scale:
Additionally, the most erosion resistant of boulder-field boulders and stream cobbles may still retain secondary ‘comet spatter–’on one side only–in the form of rock scale, although boulder field boulders may exhibit more than 180° coverage due to being briefly airborne at some point. Most apparent rock scale is actually lichen, particularly if the apparent rock scale has a rounded perimeter, and most comet spatter appears to be orange or brown, whereas lichen is often white or jet black. And lichen like comet spatter will typically appear on one side only of a rock or boulder, since the algae or cyanobacteria component of lichen requires sunlight for photosynthesis. A weathering rind is another look alike, and weathered diabase boulders often exhibit a yellow or orange weathering rind that may simulate comet spatter. Ideally a cobble or boulder with a maple-leaf-shaped deficit, or some other recognizable shape which acted as a comet spatter mask, will reveal itself to a persistent or fortuitous observer.

Heavy (comet-spatter) rock scale on Stony Mountain boulder, north of Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania (W 76.62908, N 40.48301)

Heavy (comet-spatter) rock scale on Stony Mountain boulder, north of Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania (W 76.62908, N 40.48301)


(Comet-spatter) rock scale on a quartzite boulder in Hickory Run boulder field

(Comet-spatter) rock scale on a quartzite boulder in Hickory Run boulder field

(Comet-spatter) rock scale on a quartzite boulder in Hickory Run boulder field

(Comet-spatter) rock scale on a quartzite boulder in Hickory Run boulder field

Shoe stone with comet spatter:
A greywacke ‘shoe stone’ shaped like a human slipper was found in the Susquehanna River in Millersburg, PA. Most of the shoe stone is natural, but the sole has evidence of human modification, evidently to make it into a more-perfect slipper shape. And the stone has raised brown nodules on ‘one side only’, suggesting the stone was Clovis to have been exposed on the day of the comet, and indeed a small amount of suggested comet spatter overlays the tooled surface of the sole.

Left side of (Clovis) shoe stone from the Susquehanna River, Millersburg, PA, showing (comet-spatter) raised brown nodules on one side only

Left side of (Clovis) shoe stone from the Susquehanna River, Millersburg, PA, showing (comet-spatter) raised brown nodules on one side only

Right side of (Clovis) shoe stone from the Susquehanna River, Millersburg, PA, showing no (comet-spatter) nodules on right side

Right side of (Clovis) shoe stone from the Susquehanna River, Millersburg, PA, showing no (comet-spatter) nodules on right side

Bottom of (Clovis) shoe stone from the Susquehanna River, Millersburg, PA, showing brown (comet-spatter) nodules over (Clovis) tool marks, circled in red, where the rock has apparently been modified to appear more slipper like

Bottom of (Clovis) shoe stone from the Susquehanna River, Millersburg, PA, showing brown (comet-spatter) nodules over (Clovis) tool marks, circled in red, where the rock has apparently been modified to appear more slipper like

Cup marks in cairns in the British Isles:
In addition to North American boulder fields, cup marks in boulders from cairns in the British Isles are also suggested to be of secondary impact origin, where the associated boulder fields were presumably long ago scavenged for building materials

Cup marks in a clava cairn boulder at Balnauran of Clava, near Inverness, Scotland

Cup marks in a clava cairn boulder at Balnauran of Clava, near Inverness, Scotland

Ringing Rocks impact boulder fields:
Pennsylvania has two Ringing Rock boulder fields, Ringing Rocks Park in Lower Black Eddy, PA and Ringing Rocks Park in Pottstown, PA 40.270647, -75.605616. ‘Ringing Rocks’ refers to the propensity of diabase boulders within the two Ringing Rocks boulder fields to resonate or ‘ring’ at a characteristic frequency when struck sharply with a hard object, whereas diabase boulders elsewhere do not ring. Apparently, the super-high-pressure impact shock wave stressed the surface of diabase boulders, like prestressed glass, imparting the ability to resonate when struck. Additionally, Ringing Rock boulders variably exhibit scoured surface features, with uniformly ‘young’ subconchoidal fractured surfaces that exhibit very-shallow surface decomposition (exfoliation), indicating a relatively-young age. For Southeastern Pennsylvania to have two Ringing Rock impact boulder fields composed of diabase boulders, suggests that a large number of other boulder fields are also of impact origin, since diabase forms only a very small fraction of the terrain in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Striations in a diabase boulder in Ringing Rocks boulder field

Striations in a diabase boulder in Ringing Rocks boulder field

Pot holes scoured in a diabase boulder in Ringing Rocks boulder field

Pot holes scoured in a diabase boulder in Ringing Rocks boulder field

Striations scoured in a diabase boulder in Ringing Rocks boulder field

Striations scoured in a diabase boulder in Ringing Rocks boulder field

Pot holes scoured in a diabase boulder in Ringing Rocks boulder field

Pot holes scoured in a diabase boulder in Ringing Rocks boulder field

Deeply-scoured surface of a diabase boulder in Ringing Rocks boulder field

Deeply-scoured surface of a diabase boulder in Ringing Rocks boulder field

Pockmarks scoured into the surface of a diabase boulder in Ringing Rocks boulder field

Pockmarks scoured into the surface of a diabase boulder in Ringing Rocks boulder field

Deep striations scoured into the surface of a diabase boulder in Ringing Rocks boulder field

Deep striations scoured into the surface of a diabase boulder in Ringing Rocks boulder field

Deeply-scoured surface of a diabase boulder in Ringing Rocks boulder field

Deeply-scoured surface of a diabase boulder in Ringing Rocks boulder field

Pockmarks and striations scoured into the surface of a diabase boulder in Ringing Rocks boulder field


Firestone, Richard B., 2009, The Case for the Younger Dryas Extraterrestrial Impact Event: Mammoth, Megafauna, and Clovis Extinction, 12,900 Years Ago, Journal of Cosmology, 2009, Vol 2, pages 256-285

Haynes Jr., C. Vance, 2007, Younger Dryas “black mats” and the Rancholabrean termination in North America, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 105 no. 18

Kennett, James P. et al., 2015, Bayesian chronological analyses consistent with synchronous age of 12,835–12,735 Cal B.P. for Younger Dryas boundary on four continents, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 112 no. 32

Wittke, James H. et al., 2013, Evidence for deposition of 10 million tonnes of impact spherules across four continents 12,800 y ago, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 110 no. 23



The orbital velocity of the earth makes a dramatic difference in the kinetic energy of comet impacts. For a comet falling from infinity toward the sun at earth’s orbit, the ratio of kinetic energy between comets hitting earth head-on in its orbit around the sun and those catching up with earth is a factor of 19, but most fall somewhere in between. (This calculation factors in earth’s gravity.)

Earth escape velocity: 11.2 km/s
Earth, orbital velocity: 29.8 km/s
Body falling from infinity towards the sun to a distance of 1 AU: 42.2 km/s (calculated from gravitational potential energy and checked by comparing velocity falling from infinity to the diameter of the sun with the escape velocity of the sun)

Running into the earth head on in its orbit:
42.2 km/s + 29.78 km/s = 71.98 km/s
71.98 * 71.98 + 11.19 * 11.19 = 5181.12 + 125.21 = 5306.33 km^2/s^2 (specific energy)

Catching up with earth in its orbit:
42.2 km/s – 29.78 km/s = 12.42 km/s
12.42 * 12.42 + 11.19 * 11.19 = 154.26 + 125.21 = 279.47 km^2/s^2 (specific energy)

Specific kinetic energy ratio between hitting the earth head-on and catching up with earth in its orbit:
5306.33 / 279.47 = 18.99

Dwarf comets having fallen through Proxima’s 3:1 ‘resonant nursery’ resonance will orbit CCW in the Oort cloud like the planets. If the solar-system barycenter (SS-barycenter) acts as an aphelia attractor that pins Oort cloud orbits in its vicinity to the SS-barycenter, then the 73.6 Myr orbit of the Sun around the SS-barycenter will align these pinned orbits with the Galactic core twice per orbit, causing the tidal effect of the Galactic core to gradually reduce their perihelia by extracting angular momentum from the orbits until they dip into the planetary realm of the inner solar system. And the dwarf planets most likely to collide with Earth will have perihelia on the order of 1 AU. These objects would catch up with Earth in its CCW orbit and impact at almost the lowest possible speed.

Finally, comet ice may undergo endothermic chemical reactions (ECRs) in comet impacts, mostly clamping the impact shock-wave pressure below the melting point of rock.


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