Snowball Solar System

Figure 1Protostar system L1448 IRS3B, showing a 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 supports an alternative flip-flop formation mechanism, where the less-massive companion formed first at the center of the system, followed by a twin-binary spiral disk instability that ‘condensed’ a much-larger twin-binary pair from the twin arms of a spiral density wave. Then, equipartition of kinetic energy during subsequent orbital interplay caused the three stellar components to evolve into a hierarchical trinary system, where the former core evaporated into a circumbinary orbit around the more-massive twin-binary pair, which spiraled in to form a close-binary pair at the center of the system. The companion is brighter than the younger binary pair, due to being more evolved.

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

(Revised: 20200909)

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

– Flip-flop fragmentation (FFF)—a suggested mechanism for forming gaseous objects, ranging in size from gas-giant planets to brown dwarfs and companion stars:
    FFF suggests that excess angular momentum in a collapsing dark core may create an outsized accretion disk that is much more massive than its diminutive prestellar/protostellar core, such that the massive accretion disk inertially dominates the system.  Inertial dominance is suggested here to promote disk instability, ‘condensing’ either a solitary disk-instability (d-i) object or a twin-binary pair of d-i objects.  Disk instability presumably occurs by way of (spiral) density waves, either by way of an asymmetrical (m = 1 mode) density wave, condensing a solitary d-i object, or a symmetrical (m = 2 mode) density wave, condensing a twin-binary pair of d-i objects.  Inherent in FFF is an inertial ‘flip-flop’, where the diminutive prestellar/protostellar core is injected into a planetary satellite orbit around the much-more massive d-i object, or twin-binary pair of d-i objects, catastrophically projecting mass inward.  FFF suggests that gas-giant planets are former stellar cores that predate their stellar host.
    Asymmetrical FFF—Asymmetrical FFF condenses a solitary d-i object that automatically inertially displaces the diminutive former stellar core into planetary satellite orbit.
    Symmetrical FFF—Symmetrical FFF condenses a twin-binary pair of d-i objects around a diminutive stellar core, creating a dynamically unstable system, but the stellar core is not automatically inertially displaced into a circumbinary orbit.  Instead the diminutive core is progressively evaporated into a stable, hierarchical circumbinary orbit by way of orbital interplay with the more-massive d-i objects.  Symmetrical FFF is suggested to also form triple star systems such as Alpha Centauri, which is composed of a small companion star (Proxima Centauri) in a circumbinary orbit around the much-more-massive twin-binary pair (Alpha Centauri A&B).

– Trifurcation—a mechanism for forming twin-binary pairs, such as Jupiter-Saturn, Uranus-Neptune, & Venus-Earth by centrifugal fragmentation:
    Trifurcation is suggested to be a possible secondary effect of symmetrical FFF. During the orbital interplay phase of symmetrical FFF, orbital close encounters between a diminutive stellar core and its much-more-massive twin-binary d-i objects result in orbital energy and angular momentum transfer from the more massive d-i objects to the less-massive stellar core by the principle of equipartition of kinetic energy.
    Equipartition is also suggested to cause a rotational energy transfer, causing the diminutive stellar core to progressively increase its rotation rate, causing it to ‘spin up’ and distort into an oblate sphere. Continued spin up may distort the oblate core into Jacobi ellipsoid and then into a bar-mode instability, which may ultimately fail by centrifugally fragmenting into three components (hence trifurcation). During trifurcation, the opposing ends of the bar-mode arms gravitationally pinch off into gravitationally-bound Roche spheres in orbit around the diminutive ‘residual core’ of material remaining at the center of rotation.
    This newly trifurcated system, composed of a twin-binary pair in orbit around its ‘residual core’, is a diminutive version of the original symmetrical FFF system, and like the original system, the newly-trifurcated system is also dynamically unstable. First-generation trifurcation promotes second-generation trifurcation, and etc., potentially forming multiple-generations of twin-binary pairs of objects in diminishing sizes, like Russian nesting dolls. Trifurcation is the suggested origin of the four sets of twin-binary pairs in our solar system, namely, former ‘binary-Companion’, Jupiter-Saturn, Uranus-Neptune, and Venus-Earth, potentially with Mercury as the residual core of the 4th generation trifurcation.
    Similar to our solar system, the triple-star Alpha Centauri system is also suggested to have formed by symmetrical FFF; however, Proxima Centauri did not subsequently succumb to trifurcation.

– Hybrid accretion—a mechanism for forming super-Earths and giant-planet moons:
    Hybrid accretion is a suggested planet formation mechanism for forming planets by a hybrid mechanism (Thayne Curie 2005), combining planetesimal formation by streaming instability from an accretion disk, followed by the core accretion of these planetesimals into objects capable of both clearing their orbits and creating a gap in the accretion disk.
    Myriads of planetesimals condense by streaming instability at the inner edge of a protoplanetary disk. When core accretion reaches the nominal mass of a super-Earth around a dwarf star, the hybrid-accretion planet is able to clear its orbit and create a gap in the accretion disk, whereupon a second generation of planetesimals may condense by streaming instability against its outer resonances to form a second-generation hybrid-accretion planet. In this manor a cascade of hybrid-accretion super-Earths may form from the inside out. Cascades of hybrid-accretion moons may also form by this mechanism around gas-giant planets.

A brief history of the solar system:
1) Symmetrical FFF―binary-Sun (twin d-i objects) + Brown Dwarf* (protostellar core)
2) 1st-generation trifurcation―binary-Companion + SUPER-Jupiter* (residual core)
3) 2nd-gen. trifurcation―Jupiter-Saturn + SUPER-Neptune* (residual core)
4) 3rd-gen. trifurcation―Uranus-Neptune + SUPER-Earth* (residual core)
5) 4th-gen. trifurcation―Venus-Earth + Mercury(?) (residual core)
    A diminutive Brown Dwarf system with a much-more-massive accretion disk underwent symmetrical FFF, ‘condensing’ a twin-binary pair of d-i objects > 4,567 Ma. Brown Dwarf underwent four generations of trifurcation as a secondary effect of symmetrical FFF. And the resulting high-angular-momentum siderophile-depleted ‘trifurcation debris disk’ condensed hot classical Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) against Neptune’s outer 2:3 resonance.
    Following 4th-generation trifurcation, binary-Companion orbited binary-Sun at about 15 AU, with the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th-gen. components within its gravity well. Binary-binary resonances unwound the trifurcation generations, presumably by eccentricity pumping, causing Uranus-Neptune to be captured by binary-Sun by way of binary-Companion’s outer L2 Lagrangian point, and Jupiter-Saturn, with Venus-Earth-Mercury(?) in tow, were captured by binary-Sun via binary-Companion’s inner L1 Lagrangian point. Finally, additional eccentricity pumping caused twin-binary trifurcation pairs to separate. At this point the solar system consisted of, binary-Sun; Mercury(?), Venus, Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, binary-Companion, Uranus, Neptune, hot-classical KBOs. Mars is unaccounted for in this tally, with its size and density indicating likely formation by hybrid accretion around former Brown Dwarf, prior to symmetrical FFF, and as such Mars was likely in a circumbinary orbit around binary-Companion at this point.
    The twin-binary d-i objects spiraled-in to become our former binary-Sun, whose binary components continued spiraling in to merge at 4,567 Ma in a luminous red nova that created a low-angular-momentum ‘solar-merger debris disk’. The solar-merger debris disk, with stellar-merger short-lived radionuclides (SLRs), ‘condensed’ asteroids by streaming instability, likely against the Sun’s magnetic corotation radius. Slightly later, after the SLRs died away, chondrites condensed by streaming instability against Jupiter’s inner resonances. Mercury may be either the residual core of the 4th-gen. trifurcation, or alternatively, may be a hybrid accretion asteroid, compiled from the solar-merger debris disk.
    Similar to former binary-Sun, the super-Jupiter-mass components of former binary-Companion spiraled in and merged almost 4 billion years later, at about 650 Ma, in an asymmetrical merger explosion that gave the newly-formed Companion escape velocity from the Sun. The high-angular-momentum Companion-merger debris disk (which was not siderophile depleted) condensed cold classical Kuiper belt objects in situ against Neptune’s outer 2:3 resonance.

* Note, unorthodox capitalization indicates unorthodox definitions. ‘SUPER-Jupiter’, ‘SUPER-Neptune’ and ‘SUPER-Earth’ are the names for the former residual cores formed in the first three trifurcation generations, and ‘Brown Dwarf’ is the name of the original prestellar core of the solar system.


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 collapse, 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 ~1013 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)

    The development of a bar mode and spiral structure is expected for rapidly rotating polytropic-like structures (e.g. Durisen et al. 1986). Such instabilities occur when the ratio of the rotational energy to the magnitude of the gravitational potential energy of the first core exceeds β = 0.274. Bate was also the first to point out that because a rapidly rotating first core develops into a disc before the stellar core forms, the disc forms before the star. Rather than hydrostatic cores, such structures are better described as ‘pre-stellar discs’.
    Without rotation (β = 0), the first core has an initial mass of ≈5 MJ and a radius of ≈5 au (in agreement with Larson 1969). However, with higher initial rotation rates of the molecular cloud core, the first cores become progressively more oblate. For example, with β = 0.005 using radiation hydrodynamics, before the onset of dynamical instability, the first core has a radius of ≈20 au and a major-to-minor-axis ratio of ≈4:1. With β = 0.01, the first core has a radius of ≈30 au and a major-to-minor-axis ratio of ≈6:1. Thus, for the higher rotation rates, the first core is actually a pre-stellar disc, without a central object. As pointed out by Bate (1998), Machida et al. (2010) and Bate (2010), the disc actually forms before the star. For the very highest rotation rates (β = 0.04), the first core actually takes the form of a torus or ring in which the central density is lower than the maximum density.
    In each of the β = 0.001–0.005 cases, the first core begins as an axisymmetric flattened pre-stellar disc, but after several rotations, it develops a bar mode. The ends of the bar subsequently lag behind and the bar winds up to produce a spiral structure. Spiral structure removes angular momentum from the inner parts of the first core via gravitational torques (Bate 1998).
(Matthew R. Bate, 2011)

    “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)

Protoplanetary disks have their highest masses at early times:
    “We find that the compact (< 100) dust emission is lower for Class I sources (median dust mass 96 M⊕) relative to Class 0 (248 M⊕), but several times higher than in Class II (5-15 M⊕). If this compact dust emission is tracing primarily the embedded disk, as is likely for many sources, this result provides evidence for decreasing disk masses with protostellar evolution, with sufficient mass for forming giant planet cores primarily at early times.” (Tychoniec et al. 2018)
    “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”. (Li et al. 2014)
    The discovery that accretion disks are born massive and rapidly diminish with age is counterintuitive and may be problematic for the accretion theory formation of gas-giant planets, where the precipitous falloff in mass is fighting against the logarithmically-increasing duration of successive protostellar classes, where Class 0 (with 248 M⊕ dust mass) lasts 104 yr, Class I (with 96 M⊕ dust mass) lasts 105 yr, Class II (with 5-15 M⊕ dust mass) lasts 106 yr, and Class III (? dust mass) lasts 107 yr.

Evidence for Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) formed by gravitational/streaming instability

    “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)

Hybrid accretion planets and moons:

    An alternative planet formation mechanism combines the formation of planetesimals at the inner edge of protoplanetary disks by streaming instability with their hierarchical accretion into cascades (series) of hybrid-accretion planets, with a nominal size of super-Earths, with the term ‘hybrid accretion’ referring to the hybrid mechanism that combines streaming instability and core accretion.
    The hybrid mechanism for planet formation was first proposed for the formation of gas giant planets (Thayne Curie, 2005), but the mechanism is instead suggested here for the formation of
terrestrial super-Earths that typically form in multiple-planet ‘cascades’.

    Gas pressure causes the gas in accretion disks to rotate slower than a Keplerian rate, and this gas drag on dust grains causes dust to spiral inward to the inner edge or nearest gap in an accretion disk, where the concentration of dust can result in gravitational instability, known as streaming instability.
    Planetesimals of indeterminate size condense by streaming instability at the inner edge of a protoplanetary disk, where the accretion disk is presumably truncated by the magnetic corotation radius of its young stellar object (YSO). A myriad of streaming-instability planetesimals merge by hierarchical accretion until the largest hierarchical component is able to open a gap in the accretion disk at a nominal super-Earth mass. The gap in the accretion disk precludes further planetesimal formation by streaming instability against the magnetic corotation radius of the YSO, but it begins the concentration of dust grains against the strongest outer resonances of the anchor super-Earth.
    Dust grains accumulate in the accretion disk dead zone beyond the anchor super-Earth that may repeatedly condense by streaming instability to begin the accretion of a second-generation super-Earth, and in this way, a cascade of super-Earths may form sequentially from the inside out.
    Giant planets may also form hybrid-accretion moons around giant planets. The 5 planemo moons of Uranus; Miranda, Ariel, Umbriel, Titania and Oberon, are perhaps the best example of a moony hybrid-accretion cascade in our solar system.
    Hybrid accretion objects may also form from massive debris disks resulting from cataclysmic events, such as the spiral-in merger of a former binary star. The planet Mercury may be a hybrid accretion planet formed from asteroids condensed by streaming instability from the solar-merger debris disk that formed from the aftermath of the spiral-in merger of our former binary-Sun at 4,567 Ma.

    Sourav Chatterjee and Jonathan C. Tan quantified this form of inside-out planet formation mechanism in a more general form, encompassing either pebble accretion or ∼1 M⊕ planet formation by gravitational instability. “Formation of a series of super-Earth mass planets from pebbles could require initial protoplanetary disks extending to ∼ 100 AU.” (Chatterjee and Jonathan, 2013)

    In cascades of super-Earths, the outermost planetary pair typically exhibit a greater period ratio than the other adjacent planetary pairs, which may give credence to inside-out formation if each super-Earth generation in turn experiences a significant degree of inward migration due to the ‘weight’ of truncating the inner edge of the protoplanetary disk to its outer resonances, except for the final super-Earth.

Relative orbital period ratios of adjacent super-Earths. Note the greater orbital period ratio between the outermost adjacent super-Earth pairs (red) compared to inner adjacent super-Earth pairs (blue).


Flip-Flop Fragmentation (FFF):

    ‘Flip-flop fragmentation’ (FFF) is an alternative conceptual ideology for the formation of gaseous satellites by catastrophic disk instability, indirectly forming satellites ranging in mass from gaseous planets to brown dwarfs and companion stars.

Asymmetrical FFF vs. Symmetrical FFF:
    FFF (disk instability) of massive disks surrounding diminutive prestellar or protostellar objects may occur by means of (spiral) density waves, where the mode of the density wave dictates the type of disk instability, forming either solitary disk instability (d-i) objects by ‘asymmetrical FFF’ or twin-binary d-i objects by ‘symmetrical FFF’.
    Asymmetrical density waves (asymmetrical FFF) are suggested to form solitary star systems with planetary former cores, while symmetrical density waves (symmetrical FFF) are suggested to form twin-binary star systems with larger former cores in circumbinary orbits, where some former cores attain dwarf-star status, forming trinary star systems. (Inoue & Yoshida, 2019) determined that spiral-arm instability (SAI) is driven by the self gravity of the density-wave (arms) and operates without rapid gas cooling, where self gravity is presumably the driving mechanism of FFF.
    1) Asymmetrical (m = 1 mode) density waves in massive accretion disks around diminutive prestellar/protostellar objects are suggested to condense solitary d-i objects, where the solitary d-i object is much-more massive than its diminutive stellar core. Asymmetrical FFF breaks the radial symmetry of the system and catastrophically projects mass inward by shifting the center of mass of the system toward the nascent d-i object, while inertially injecting the former core into a planetary satellite orbit around the d-i object. When an accretion disk is less massive than its stellar core, the core is presumably able to damp down disk inhomogeneities, whereas when an accretion disk greatly exceeds the mass of its prestellar/protostellar core, a disk inhomogeneity may cause the core to undergo inertial displacement from the center of mass, amplifying the inhomogeneity rather than dampening it down, resulting in a runaway disk instability that is necessarily more massive than the core. “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”. (Li et al. 2014) Asymmetrical FFF can apparently occur repeatedly, in succession, forming solar systems with multiple gaseous planets.
    2) Symmetrical (m = 2 mode) density waves in massive accretion disks around diminutive prestellar/protostellar objects are suggested to condense twin-binary d-i objects, where the twin d-i objects are much-more massive then their diminutive stellar core. In symmetrical FFF, the twin d-i objects create a bilateral symmetry that does not automatically inertially displace the core from the center of mass. Instead, the core is progressively displaced from the center of mass by the principle of equipartion of kinetic energy during orbital interplay with its much-more-massive twin d-i objects, eventually ‘evaporating’ the former core into a circumbinary orbit around the twin d-i objects, which spiral in to form a close-binary pair, conserving system angular momentum. Symmetrical FFF can promote centrifugal fragmentation of the former core by the mechanism of trifurcation, due to accompanying spin-up during orbital interplay. Presumably, symmetrical FFF can only occur once in a system. Note that the term ‘FFF’ without a ‘symmetrical’ or ‘asymmetrical’ modifier is assumed to be ‘asymmetrical FFF’, where ‘symmetrical FFF’ will always be called out as such.

Prestellar FFF vs. protostellar FFF, forming cold Jupiters and hot Jupiters respectively:
    Gas giant exoplanets exhibit a distinct bimodal distribution with respect to orbital distances from their host stars. ‘Hot Jupiters’ in low ‘hot’ orbits are defined as having orbital periods < 10 days (< .1 AU), whereas ‘cold Jupiters’, in high ‘cold’ orbits are centered around 2 AU, with a distinct desert of gas-giant planets at intermediate orbital distances.
    FFF ideology is strengthened by a counterintuitive discovery of decreasing accretion disk mass with protostellar evolution. (Tychoniec et al. 2018) measured a dramatic decrease in disk mass dust with increasing protostellar age, where measured dust mass is assumed to be a proxy for overall accretion disk mass. Disk dust mass was measured to decrease from 248 M⊕ in Class 0 protostars to 96 M⊕ in Class I protostars, to 5-15 M⊕ in Class II protostars.
    The Tychoniec study only evaluated the dust mass around protostars, not around prestellar objects, and the decreasing accretion disk mass with protostellar evolution must extend across the prestellar-protostellar boundary for the following hot and cold Jupiter hypothesis to be valid. If indeed prestellar accretion disks tend to be more massive than even Class 0 protostar accretion disks, and if the inertial displacement distance during asymmetrical FFF correlates with the accretion disk mass, then this evolutionary trend points to prestellar FFF forming cold Jupiters in cold distant orbits, while protostellar FFF forms hot Jupiters in low hot orbits.
    The recent discovery of a relative scarcity of gas-giant exoplanets at about 4 Mj (Santos et al. 2017), suggests a hiatus in asymmetrical FFF at a stellar core mass of 4 Mj. The appearance of the pithy first hydrostatic core (FHSC) at the final stage of the prestellar phase is suggested here to provide a viscous mechanism for physically impeding disk instability. As gas infalls onto a prestellar core, its potential energy is radiated away as infrared photons, but when prestellar core reaches a critical density, the gas temperature begins to rise, creating hydrostatic gas pressure, forming the FHSC. Gas infalling onto the hydrostatic core creates a shock front which extends out to radii on the order of ~5–10 AU (Tsitali et al. 2013), which may viscously engage with the accretion disk, damping down positive disk-core feedback necessary for runaway disk instability. The relatively-brief ~1,000 year FHSC stage marks the end of the prestellar phase, which concludes with an exceedingly-brief second collapse (~0.1 yr), mediated by endothermic dissociation of molecular hydrogen. The conclusion of the pithy FHSC stage marks the prestellar to protostellar transition, which is suggested to result in a disk-instability hiatus at a core mass of 4 Mj. Thus, prestellar asymmetrical FFF creates gaseous planets up to 4 Mj, which become cold Jupiters in high cold orbits, with a hiatus in asymmetrical FFF at a FHSC mass of 4 Mj, followed by protostellar asymmetrical FFF, creating hot Jupiters, > 4 Mj, in low ‘hot’ orbits.
    If accretion disks are most massive at earliest times, while stellar cores increase in mass over time, one would expect more-massive stars to host less massive gaseous planets in high cold orbits, while less-massive stars host more-massive gaseous planets in low hot orbits; however, stellar mass may not correlate well with hot and cold Jupiters due to significant stellar accretion following FFF. And the hot-cold Jupiter distinction itself may become muddied in multiple gaseous planet systems, having had multiple FFF occurrences, particularly if systems combine prestellar FFF and protostellar FFF; however, systems with multiple hot Jupiters are very rare, suggesting that multiple occurrences of protostellar FFF are rare.

Exoplanet mass vs. orbital distance illustrates the bimodal distribution of gas-giant planets into hot Jupiters in low ‘hot’ orbits and cold Jupiters in high ‘cold’ orbits

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

Bimodal mass distribution of giant planets around solar-type stars (with blue and green representing different selection criteria) indicating a < 4 Mj low-mass population and a high-mass > 4 Mj populationImage credit: Santos et al., 2017

Hoptunes (hot Neptunes) and hot Saturns:
    A recent study (Dong et al., 2018) has identified a population of Neptune-size planets in low hot orbits, similar to hot Jupiters, separated in mass by a hot Saturn “valley” in the Saturn size range. The hot Saturn valley represents approximately an order of magnitude decrease in frequency compared to hot Jupiters and Hoptunes.
    If protostellar FFF inertially displaces > 4 Mj protostars into low hot orbits, forming hot Jupiters, then indeed there should not be any hot Saturns in low hot orbits, but neither should there be any Hoptunes either. This suggests either another (unimagined) formation mechanism for Hoptunes, or alternatively, suggests the possibility that Neptune-sized planets formed by prestellar FFF may be subject to inward planetary migration from interactions with their protoplanetary disk, after having been injected into high cold orbits during prestellar FFF.
    Additionally, the same article (Dong et al., 2018) makes another curious observation that the “radius distribution of planets around metal-rich stars is more ‘puffed up’ as compared to that around metal-poor stars”, again for unknown reasons.

    The probability of FFF is assumed to increase with the specific angular momentum of the collapsing gas cloud. The outcomes of asymmetrical FFF may range from sub-Neptunes with gaseous atmospheres up to brown dwarfs at the upper mass range. And symmetrical FFF may displace even larger stellar cores, such as the Alpha Centauri system, where the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri was presumably the original stellar core.
    Multiplicity of gas-giant planets formed by asymmetrical FFF requires successive instances of disk instability in the same system, presumably caused by continued infall of high angular-momentum gas from the envelope onto the accretion disk, regrowing the accretion disk after a previous disk-instability episode.


    First-generation trifurcation is the centrifugal fragmentation of a prestellar/protostellar core by orbital close encounters with a much-more massive binary pair formed by symmetrical FFF from a massive accretion disk.  Trifurcation implies centrifugal fragmentation into 3 components (hence TRIfurcation), forming a trinary subsystem, which locally decreases the subsystem entropy.
  Symmetrical FFF results in a dynamically-unstable trinary system, which is followed by orbital interplay to resolve the instability into a stable hierarchical system, and centrifugal-fragmentation trifurcation may occur as a result of the orbital close encounters occurring during orbital interplay.

    In a high angular momentum prestellar/protostellar system in which the accretion disk is much more massive than its diminutive stellar core, the disk has inertial dominance of the system.  And inertial dominance by an accretion disk is suggested here to promote disk-instability fragmentation at a stellar Jeans mass scale.  The type of disk instability fragmentation may depend on the mode of a (spiral) density wave resident in the accretion disk, with asymmetrical (m = 1 mode) density waves tending to gravitationally collapse to form solitary disk instability (d-i) objects in a process designated ‘asymmetrical FFF’, while symmetrical (m = 2 mode) density waves tending to gravitationally collapse to form twin-binary disk instability objects in a process designated ‘symmetrical FFF’.

    Asymmetrical FFF automatically inertially displaces the stellar core from the center of mass of the system as the system becomes progressively more asymmetrical during the incipient disk instability, but symmetrical FFF preserves bilateral symmetry of the system, maintaining the stellar core at the center of the system; however, the much-greater overlying mass of the twin d-i objects is dynamically unstable, resulting in chaotic orbital interplay, which progressively projects mass inward.
    In close orbital encounters between objects with dissimilar masses, the less-massive component receives an energy kick at the expense of the more-massive component by the principle of equipartition of kinetic energy, which is the same principle used to extract orbital energy from planets by interplanetary spacecraft, which is known as gravitational slingshot or gravity assist.  Gravitational slingshot or gravity assist is something of a misnomer, since the spacecraft is parasitizing the orbital energy of the planet by means of a gravitational interaction.
    In addition to this kinetic energy kick, equipartition in close orbital encounters is suggested here to also transfer rotational energy to the stellar core, causing an increase in its rotation rate, resulting in a ‘spin up’ 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.
    Rotational spin up in orbital close encounters causes a core to distort into an oblate sphere.  Additional spin up may cause the oblate sphere to distort into a triaxial Jacobi ellipsoid, and finally into a bar-mode instability.  The centrifugal failure mode of a bar-mode instability is suggested here to be trifurcation, in which progressive spin up causes the bar-mode instability to centrifugally fragment into into three components, with trifurcation mediated by the self gravity of the bar, wherein the opposing ends of the bar pinch off into twin gravitationally-bound Roche spheres in orbit around the diminutive residual core at the center of gravity and rotation.
  At the moment of trifurcation, the trifurcated trinary components resemble a smaller (Mini-Me) version of the original symmetrical FFF system, with both systems composed of a twin-binary pair orbiting a much-less-massive core. And like symmetrical FFF, the trifurcated trinary components constitute a dynamically unstable system that’s resolved by orbital interplay with accompanying spin up of the residual core, potentially resulting in next-generation trifurcation.
    Thus, trifurcation of a stellar core following symmetrical FFF fosters next-generation trifurcation, and etc., possibly extending to multiple generations, potentially creating a cascade of successively-smaller twin-binary pairs, like Russian nesting dolls, with the three sets of twin planets in our solar system (Jupiter-Saturn, Uranus-Neptune and Venus-Earth) as the trifurcation paradigm.
    Trinary star systems with diminutive companion stars orbiting similar-sized twin-binary pairs, such as Alpha Centauri and L1448 IRS3B, are also suggested to have formed by symmetrical FFF, but without subsequent trifurcation.  The companion star, Proxima Centauri, is the presumed former stellar core of the Alpha Centauri system, but Proxima may have been too massive in relation to Alpha Centauri A and B to have trifurcated.

Dynamical Bar-mode Instability

    In our own solar system, symmetrical FFF is suggested to have resulted in 4 generations of trifurcation, which created 4 sets of twin-binary pairs:
– 1st-gen trifurcation of Brown Dwarf (stellar core) >> binary-Companion + SUPER-Jupiter (residual core)
– 2nd-gen trifurcation of SUPER-Jupiter >> Jupiter-Saturn + SUPER-Neptune (residual core)
– 3rd-gen trifurcation of SUPER-Neptune >> Uranus-Neptune + SUPER-Earth (residual core)
– 4th-gen trifurcation of SUPER-Earth >> Venus-Earth + Mercury? (residual core?)
The question mark following Mercury indicated uncertainty in the origin of Mercury, which may either be the residual core of the 4th-generation trifurcation, or alternatively, Mercury may be a diminutive hybrid accretion asteroid formed from the solar-merger debris disk, at 4,567 Ma.
(Note, unorthodox capitalization indicates unorthodox definitions.  ‘SUPER-Jupiter’, ‘SUPER-Neptune’ and ‘SUPER-Earth’ are the names for the former residual cores formed in the first three trifurcation generations.  And ‘Brown Dwarf’ is the name of the original stellar core of the solar system.)

    Trifurcation is presumably a fractionation process, which pinches off more volatile components into the bar-mode arms, leaving behind a denser, more refractory residual core.  Thus in the trifurcation of the SUPER-Jupiter residual core, more of the volatile hydrogen and helium was pinched off into the Jupiter-Saturn twin-binary pair, leaving behind a higher ice and rocky-iron percentage in the SUPER-Neptune residual core. Thus each succeeding generation of twin-binary components is composed of higher-density elements, winding up with final residual core, Mercury(?), having a proportionately-larger iron-nickel core than its twin-binary siblings, Venus and Earth.
    If trifurcation is indeed a fractionation process, it predicts that later twin-binary trifurcation generations should tend to have heavier isotopic ratios, such that Venus and Earth should have identical isotopic ratios, which should be heavier than the isotopic ratios of Uranus and Neptune, for instance.  This should be true for oxygen isotopes as well; however, all the progeny of the original Brown Dwarf stellar core should lie on the 3-oxygen isotope ‘Brown Dwarf fractionation line, which we know as the terrestrial fractionation line (TFL), assuming no mass-independent fractionation of oxygen isotopes.
    The bar-mode instability pathway of trifurcation suggests that in the trifurcation of internally-differentiated objects, the residual core should acquire a relatively-larger iron-nickel core than its much-more-massive twin-binary siblings.  I.e., in the trifurcation of the rocky-iron SUPER-Earth with with its differentiated iron-nickel core, more of the lower-density mantle material should be preferentially centrifugally slung into the twin bar-mode arms that pinched off to form Venus and Earth, while a relatively-greater portion of the iron-nickel core should remain behind in the residual core.  And indeed Mercury has a proportionately-larger iron-nickel core, compared to Venus and Earth, although Earth slightly edges out Mercury in overall density, due to the compression of its much-greater gravity. Third-generation trifurcation-product Uranus also has lower density than second-generation trifurcation-product Jupiter, presumably for the same reason, with Uranus presumably also having a proportionately-larger iron-nickel core than Jupiter. So each generation of twin-binary pairs should be composed of denser elements and compounds, presumably extending to isotope fractionation.
    Thus, trifurcation makes makes predictions (unlike pebble/core accretion), such as multiple generations of twin binary pairs in size regression with density progression and presumed isotope fractionation.
    In our own solar system, the former symmetrical FFF d-i objects are suggested to have remained gravitationally bound to one another as our former binary-Sun, whose components spiraled in to merge at 4,567 Ma.  Similarly, the first-generation trifurcation twin-binary components are suggested to have also remained gravitationally bound, whose components spiraled in to merge around 650 Ma.  The twin-binary components of the second, third and fourth generations, however, spiraled out and separated to form our 3 sets of twin planets.

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.

    In addition to equipartition of kinetic energy and rotational spin-up during the orbital interplay phase of trifurcation, the configuration of our solar system in a trifurcation scenario suggests two additional dynamic elements in the form of binary-binary resonant coupling, resulting in 2 forms of orbit inflation; Type I, and Type 2 orbit inflation.

Type 1 orbit inflation:
    The first form of suggested orbit inflation occurs to the wide-circumbinary orbit in a quadruple system by way of binary-binary resonant coupling, with the quadruple system composed of a close-binary pair orbiting a much-more-massive binary pair in a wide-circumbinary orbit, such as a recently trifurcated system. Following trifurcation, the residual core is ‘evaporated’ outward by equipartition of kinetic energy in orbital close encounters with its twin-binary pair, and these orbital close encounters also induce rotational spin-up of the residual core, likely to the point of next-generation trifurcation. Once Uranus-Saturn induced spin-up trifurcation of its SUPER-Earth residual core into Venus-Earth + Mercury (residual core), the quaduple system (neglecting the residual core Mercury) was composed of the close-binary pair Venus-Earth in a wide-circumbinary orbit around the much-more-massive close-binary pair Uranus-Neptune. The outward evaporation of Venus-Earth from Uranus-Neptune presumably continued by means of binary-binary resonant coupling, likely by eccentricity pumping, transferring potential energy from the Uranus-Neptune close-binary pair to the wide-circumbinary orbit, progressively increasing the wide-circumbinary eccentricity between Venus-Earth and Uranus-Neptune.
    First, wide-circumbinary eccentricity pumping caused Venus-Earth to exceed the Uranus-Neptune Hill sphere, causing Venus-Earth to be captured from Uranus-Neptune by Jupiter-Saturn. Next, eccentricity pumping may have caused Uranus-Neptune to be captured from Jupiter-Saturn by binary-Companion. Then continued wide-circumbinary eccentricity pumping caused Uranus-Neptune to be captured by binary-Sun via binary-Companion’s far-side L2 Lagrangian point, injecting the the close-binary pair, Uranus-Neptune, into a heliocentric orbit beyond binary-Companion itself. By comparison, Jupiter-Saturn, with Venus-Earth-Mercury in tow, were captured via binary-Companion’s near-side L1 Lagrangian point. Finally, wide-circumbinary eccentricity pumping caused Venus-Earth-Mercury to be captured from Jupiter-Saturn by binary-Sun, via Jupiter-Saturn’s near-side L1 Lagrangian point.
    Another manifestation of wide-binary orbit inflation was the heliocentric eccentricy pumping of binary-Companion itself, wherein the Sun perturbed its binary components to spiral in, transferring the potential energy into eccentricity pumping, which was responsible for causing the late heavy bombardment by mean-motion resonance migration, and for overrunning Uranus’ orbit, causing its severe axial tilt.

Type 2 orbit inflation:
    The second form of suggested orbit inflation occurs to the close binary components of the smaller binary pair in a quadruple system. This second form of orbit inflation is suggested to have separated the twin-binary trifurcation pairs in our solar system after being captured into heliocentric orbits around binary-Sun. And like Type I orbit inflation, Type II orbit inflation is presumably in the form of eccentricity pumping by way of binary-binary resonant coupling.
    Type 2 orbit inflation is suggested to have separated the twin-binary planetary pairs (Jupiter-Saturn, Uranus-Neptune and Venus-Earth) after the twin-binary planetary pairs were captured into heliocentric orbits, presumably prior to the binary spiral-in merger of binary-Sun at 4,567 Ma.

Former binary-Companion:

    The twin-binary components of former Binary-Companion were most likely in the super-Jupiter-mass range, below the 13 Jupiter mass transition to brown dwarf where deuterium burning begins. The mass of former binary-Companion may be inferred from the mass regression of the 3 sets of twin-binary pairs

Mercury: mM = .055 mE
Venus: mV = .815 mE
Earth: mE = 1 mE
Uranus: mU = 14.54 mE
Neptune: mN = 17.15 mE
Saturn: mS = 95.16 mE
Jupiter: mJ = 317.8 mE
where m is mass, M, V, E, J, S, U, N are the planets in order, neglecting Mars, and BC is binary-Companion

Twin binary-pair mass, normalized to Earth mass:
mV + mE = 1.815 mE
mU + mN = 31.69 mE;
mJ + mS = 412.96 mE
mBC = ?

Relative mass progression between trifurcation generations:
(mU + mN) / (mV + mE) = 31.69 mE / 1.815 mE = 17.46
(mJ + mS) / (mU + mN) = 412.96 mE / 31.69 mE = 13.03
mBC / (mJ + mS) = ?

    The great disparity in the relative mass progression between trifurcation generations may indicate great variability in the combined twin-binary masses to that of their residual core, but more
likely the disparity represents decreasing relative mass loss with increasing trifurcation generations, such that relative trifurcation mass loss is inversely proportional to the metallicity of the trifurcating object. With only two ratio values (17,46 and 13.03), extending the mass-ratio progression to binary-Companion can only be surmised. A linear function suggests a (17.46 – 13.03) / 17.46 = 25% reduction between trifurcation generations, putting mBC / (mJ + mS) = 9.77. But more likely, the function is asymptotic, such that a more likely value for mBC/ (mJ+ mS) may be in the neighborhood of 12.

mBC / (mJ + mS) = mBC / 412.96 mE = 12(?)
mBC = 412.96 mE * 12 * (1 mJ / 317.8mE) = 15.6 mJ

    This suggests that the binary components of former binary-Companion were likely super-Jupiter mass, below the 13 Jupiter mass threshold for deuterium fusion, even with a > 3:1 mass disparity, such as in the Jupiter-Saturn trifurcation generation.
    The original Brown Dwarf core of the solar system prior to trifurcation incorporates the mass of the binary-Companion components + the SUPER-Jupiter residual core + 1st-generation trifurcation losses, putting Brown Dwarf somewhere on the low-mass end of the brown dwarf range, indicating symmetrical FFF during the protostar phase of the Brown Dwarf core, where the prestellar-protostellar FFF threshold presumably lies at 4 mJ.

    The solar system configuration of twin-binary planets in adjacent heliocentric orbits suggests that the planetary twin-binary pairs were captured by binary-Sun from binary-Companion prior to the twin-binary pairs separating, with Jupiter-Saturn & Venus-Earth having been captured by binary-Sun via the near-side L1 Lagrangian point of binary-Companion, while Uranus-Neptune were captured via the far-side L2 Lagrangian point. This arrangement places binary-Companion in a heliocentric orbit between Saturn and Uranus.
    Slotting binary-Companion between Saturn and Uranus provides a compelling mechanism for the perturbation of the Kuiper belt, giving rise to the late heavy bombardment (LHB), where a mean-motion resonance of binary-Companion migrated outward through the Kuiper belt, driven by eccentricity pumping of binary-Companion’s heliocentric orbit by the solar perturbation of binary-Companion’s components. Secular perturbation of binary-Companion by the Sun (after binary-Sun merger at 4,567 Ma) presumably transferred potential energy from the close-binary components of binary-Companion to its heliocentric orbit, progressively increasing the heliocentric eccentricity of binary-Companion. And a progressively-increasing heliocentric eccentricity implies a progressively-increasing heliocentric period, causing the mean-motion resonances of binary-Companion to migrate outward through the Kuiper belt over time. The mean-motion resonance presumed to cause the LHB may have been the 1:4 resonance, and if so, then the 9:2 resonance may have been instrumental in sculpting the trifurcation debris disk beyond Neptune, thereby influencing the locations of hot classical KBOs formed by streaming instability prior to 4,567 Ma.

Evidence for an early short-duration pulse in a bimodal LHB:
    Mean-motion resonance perturbation by binary-Companion predicts a bimodal late heavy bombardment, with a narrow early pulse, as the 1:4 resonance encountered Plutinos in a 2:3 resonance with Neptune at an average semimajor axis of 39.4 AU, followed by a much-broader main pulse, as the tidal inflection point encounters classical KBOs (cubewanos) that lie between the 2:3 resonance and the 1:2 resonance with Neptune, centered at about 43 AU. Indeed a bimodal LHB with a bright-line early pulse is supported by lunar regolith returned by Apollo missions.
    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 late heavy bombardment (LHB) melts and breccias, suggesting the date of the first of the early bimodal pulse. (Garrick-Bethell et al. 2008)
    Whole-rock ages of ~4.2 Ga from Apollo 16 and 17, a 4.23-4.24 Ga age of troctolite 76535 from 40-50 km depth of excavation of a large lunar basin (>700 km); a 4.23 Ga age was found in far-side meteorites, Hoar 489 and Amatory 86032; and samples from North Ray crater (63503) have been reset to 4.2 Ga, all support an early narrow pulse. Altogether, 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 a short-duration early pulse of a bimodal LHB occurring at about 4.22 Ga, possibly when binary-Companion’s outer 1:4 resonance passed through the Plutinos, in which binary-Companion’s 1:4 resonance overcame Neptune’s 2:3 resonance.

    The extreme obliquity of Uranus (98º), compared to the other planets, presumably also telegraphs the position of former binary-Companion, where the progressively-increasing heliocentric eccentricity of binary-Companion overran Uranus’ orbit, forcing Uranus outward, which torqued the ice-giant planet into its present extreme axial tilt as a mechanism for conserving system angular momentum. Notably, Uranus is missing its (oversized) trifurcation moon, presumably in a former prograde orbit, by symmetry to Neptune’s retrograde trifurcation moon, Triton. Apparently, Uranus’ former trifurcation moon was stripped by repeated close encounters of Uranus with binary-Companion. But while presumably missing a former prograde trifurcation moon, Uranus possesses a 4-moon cascade (Ariel, Umbriel, Titania and Oberon) of particularly-well-behaved moons in low-inclination (< 0.35º) and low-eccentricity (< 0.004) orbits. For a planet with an extreme 98º axial tilt caused by binary-Companion buffeting, the possession of such well behaved moons may telegraph the late in situ formation of a cascade of hybrid-accretion moons from the 650 Ma Companion-merger debris disk. And if Uranus spawned young hybrid accretion moons, the other giant planets may have also spawned young hybrid accretion moons as well.


Trifurcation moons:
    Since the iron core of Earth’s Moon is disproportionately small compared to Earth’s iron core, the Moon is evidently not the residual core of the SUPER-Earth trifurcation, captured by Earth. An alternative origin story is suggested by the visual depiction of computer models of bar-mode instabilities, where trifurcation is suggested to occur by way of bar-mode instabilities. A conspicuous component of the bar-mode instability structure is the twin pair of tails that stream behind the outer ends of the central bar, creating a pinwheel effect, as depicted in the following dynamical bar-mode instability video, Dynamical Bar-mode Instability
    ‘Trifurcation moons’ are suggested to form during trifurcation if the pinwheel tails streaming from the ends of the central bar gravitationally pinch off into their own moony Roche spheres while their associated bar-mode arms are gravitationally pinching off into their own twin-binary planetary Roche spheres. And the resulting trifurcation moons remain gravitationally attached to their twin-binary planets.
    In addition to Earth’s oversized Moon, Titan at Saturn and Triton at Neptune are also suggested to be trifurcation moons, with all other moons as hybrid-accretion objects, streaming instability objects (that did not experience merger accretion), or captured objects.
    Trifurcation moons are born with no net angular momentum with respect to their respective twin-binary (planetary) components, but the subsequent orbital interplay with their host twin-binary pair torques the trifurcation moons either clockwise or counter clockwise with respect to their twin-binary components, installing one moon in a prograde orbit, while its sibling is necessarily installed in a retrograde orbit. Thus because Luna acquired a prograde orbit around Earth, we know by symmetry that Venus’ corresponding trifurcation moon acquired a (decaying) retrograde orbit, where retrograde orbits ultimately spiral in and merge with their host planet.
    Jupiter-Saturn; If Titan is Saturn’s prograde trifurcation moon, then Jupiter presumably had a retrograde trifurcation moon that has long since merged with the planet, possibly at 4,562 Ma, forming enstatite chondrites that lie on the 3-oxygen isotope ‘terrestrial fractionation line’, with the moony merger explosion possibly melting water ice in nearby CI chondrites, forming dolomites in internal fissures.
    Uranus-Neptune; The retrograde orbit of Triton at Neptune presupposes a former prograde trifurcation moon at Uranus, which was presumably lost to binary-Companion. Triton will ultimately spiral in to merge with Neptune in about 3.6 billion years.
    Venus-Earth; Corresponding to Earth’s prograde trifurcation moon, Luna, was a former retrograde trifurcation moon around Venus that presumably spiraled in to merge at 579 Ma, fogging the inner solar system, causing the Gaskiers glaciation on Earth.

– Jupiter: former retrograde trifurcation moon that merged with the planet at 4,562(?) Ma
– Saturn: prograde trifurcation moon Titan
– Uranus: lost prograde trifurcation moon
– Neptune: retrograde trifurcation moon, Triton
– Venus: former retrograde trifurcation moon that presumably merged with the planet at 579 Ma
– Earth: prograde trifurcation moon, Luna

Hybrid accretion moons:
    Cascades of hybrid accretion moons apparently form around gas- and ice-giant planets, similar to the cascades of hybrid-accretion super-earths which form around dwarf stars. The Galilean moons of Jupiter and the large planemo moons of Uranus are the best examples of moony hybrid-accretion cascades in our solar system. Possession of a trifurcation moon does apparently does not preclude the subsequent formation of hybrid accretion moons, such as the planemo moons of Saturn inside the orbit of Titan, and likely including Iapetus beyond Titan.

Protoplanetary disk and three debris disks:

– Protoplanetary disk (> 4,567 Ma) – Brown Dwarf, Mars(?), Oort cloud comets(?), CI chondrites(?)
– Trifurcation debris disk [inferred] (> 4,567 Ma) – old hot-classical KBOs, and possibly hybrid-accretion moons
– Solar-merger debris disk (4,567 Ma) – asteroids, chondrites and likely hybrid-accretion moons
– Companion-merger debris disk [inferred] (650 Ma) – young cold-classical KBOs

– Protoplanetary disk, >4,567 Ma:
    Former Brown Dwarf is may have condensed trillions of kilometer-scale planetesimals from the protoplanetary disk by streaming instability against its magnetic corotation radius, many of which may have accreted to form Mars. Mars may have been one of a cascade of hybrid accretion planets around former Brown Dwarf, where Mars siblings were either lost from the solar system or merged with the Sun or with the components of binary-Companion.
    The vast majority of the leftover protoplanetary planetesimals were presumably scattered into the Oort cloud or out of the solar system altogether during the upheaval of symmetrical FFF followed by 4 generations of trifurcation, and small protoplanetary planetesimals of the inner solar system may have vaporized altogether in the luminous red nova phase of the binary-Sun merger at 4,567 Ma. Subsequently, a number of protoplanetary planetesimals may have been reintroduced into the inner solar system from the Oort cloud reservoir as CI chondrites.

– Trifurcation debris disk (Brown Dwarf reservoir) >4,567 Ma:
    Rotational fragmentation of a core by trifurcation is presumably an inefficient and messy process in which a sizable percentage of Brown Dwarf mass vaporized to form a trifurcation debris disk during 4 generations of trifurcation.
    The trifurcation debris disk had high angular momentum compared to the following solar-merger debris disk, forming a debris disk that extended beyond Neptune, ‘condensing’ planetesimals, presumably by streaming instability, against Neptune’s strongest outer resonances, principally against Neptune’s outer 2:3 resonance. Today, this reservoir presumably constitutes Plutinos and hot classical Kuiper belt objects (KBOs), as well as trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) of the scattered disk and detached objects, scattered into their ‘hot’ perturbed orbits by the resonant effects of former binary-Companion.
    The trifurcation debris disk was derived from the homogenized Brown Dwarf reservoir defines the 3-oxygen-isotope terrestrial fractionation line (TFL), including all 6 trifurcation planets (excluding Mars and possibly Mercury), as well as the trifurcation debris disk condensates, including; hot classical KBOs, scattered disk, and detached objects. Mass-dependent fractionation during trifurcation, debris-disk processing and streaming instability may separate the trifurcation planets streaming-instability objects along the TFL, but only mass-independent fractionation could displace objects off the TFL, above or below it.
    Trifurcation of differentiated objects, with siderophile elements internally sequestered into iron-nickel cores created a siderophile-depleted trifurcation debris disk. Thus hot-classical KBOs condensed from the trifurcation debris disk were siderophile depleted. And siderophile depleted hot classical KBOs that lie on the terrestrial fractionation line plays into the alternative suggestion that gneissic continental basement rock is extraterrestrial, formed by ‘aqueous differentiation’ of KBOs, perturbed into the inner solar system by tidal effects of former binary-Companion during the late heavy bombardment. (See section, AQUEOUS DIFFERENTIATION OF KUIPER BELT OBJECTS (KBOs))

– Solar-merger debris disk (solar-merger reservoir) 4,567 Ma:
    The former binary-Sun components were perturbed by binary-Companion to spiral in and merge at 4,567 Ma, apparently elevating the temperature of the merging cores to the point of fusing r-process radionuclides, notably 26Al and 60Fe. The solar-merger debris was also variably enriched in the helium-burning stable isotopes, notably 20 Ne, 16O and 12C. Calcium aluminum inclusions (CAIs) apparently condensed from polar jets squirting from the merging cores with canonical 26Al concentrations, and chondrules appear to have formed episodically, as violent solar flares melted dust bunnies, during a circa 3 million year flare star phase of the Sun following its binary merger.
    The stellar merger created a luminous red nova (LRN) that may have briefly extended into the Kuiper belt, melting the surfaces of the hot-classical KBOS. The resulting low-angular-momentum solar-merger debris is suggested to have ‘condensed’ asteroids by streaming instability against the merger-expanded magnetic corotation radius of the Sun. Subsequently, infalling solar merger debris acquired angular momentum from Jupiter, forming a solar-merger debris disk in Jupiter’s inner resonances that condensed chondrites.
    Asteroids are suggested to have quickly condensed by streaming instability against the Sun’s post-merger super-intense magnetic field, while the short-lived radionuclides were still highly radioactive, causing these early condensates to ‘thermally differentiate’ (melt internally). Chondrites condensed over the course of the next 5 million years by streaming instability, against Jupiter’s strongest inner resonances, largely without live radionuclides.
    If the planet Mercury is not the residual core of the 4th-generation-trifurcation (Venus-Earth-Mercury), then Mercury may be a hybrid-accretion planet accreted from refractory asteroids condensed by streaming instability against the Sun’s greatly-expanded solar-merger magnetic corotation radius,
possibly near the orbit of Mercury.
    The stellar merger imparted very-little angular momentum to the nova debris, confining the debris disk to the inner solar system. An early debris disk may have formed near the orbit of Mercury, dragged into Keplerian rotation by the Sun’s magnetic field. Then gradually over the next several million years, the continuing infall of dust was imbued with angular momentum by Jupiter, forming a debris disk inside the orbit of Jupiter, with gaps caused by Jovian mean-motion resonances.
    At its greatest extent the LRN may have extended well into the Kuiper belt, melting an igneous crust on the surface of hot classical KBOs, as well as volatilizing the terrestrial planets and all trifurcation moons.

– Companion-merger debris disk, 650 Ma:
    The super-Jupiter components of former binary-Companion presumably spiraled in to merge at about 650 Ma, fogging the solar system with binary-Companion merger debris, causing the Marinoan glaciation on Earth. The binary-Companion merger presumably resulted in an asymmetrical merger explosion that gave the newly-merged Companion escape velocity from the Sun. While the binary-Sun merger at 4,567 Ma was vastly more energetic than the binary-Companion merger at around 650 Ma, the later Companion-merger debris disk inherited vastly more angular momentum, apparently creating a debris disk that extended beyond Neptune, which is suggested to have condensed a young population of cold classical KBOs.
    The proceeding Sturtian glaciation (715-680 Ma) of the Cryogenian Period points to a prolonged period of solar system fogging long before the actual binary-Companion merger at 650 Ma. This earlier Sturtian glaciation suggests a series of moony mergers with the binary-Companion components, as the components spiraled inward.
    A young, ‘cold classical KBO’ population presumably condensed in situ by streaming instability against the strongest outer resonances of Neptune from the Companion-merger debris disk, primarily against Neptune’s outer 2:3 resonance. Presumably the earlier moony mergers that fogged the solar system during the Sturtian glaciation did not eject sufficient mass to condense planetesimals.
    The young, cold-classical KBO population should lie on the TFL, like the old hot-classical KBO population, but the young population should have a siderophile signature, since the Companion-merger debris included siderophile material from the cores of the merging super-Jupiter-mass components.
    The companion-merger debris disk also inherited the Brown Dwarf D/H (deuterium/hydrogen) ratio. A measurement of the D/H ratio in the cold classical KBO population could determine if one or both binary-Companion components were above or below the brown-dwarf deuterium-burning threshold.

Orbital interplay of Mars and Earth during the Ediacaran Period:

    This is a working hypothesis for the origin of Mars and its suggested orbital interplay with Earth during the Marinoan glaciation and the succeeding Ediacaran Period, following the loss of binary-Companion at 650 Ma. This working hypothesis suggests an origin story and dynamic history for Mars, which was designed to explain terrestrial and solar system phenomena unaddressed by primary FFF-trifurcation ideology; however, the author has low confidence in this Mars origin story compared to FFF-trifurcation ideology.

    The Mars oxygen-isotope fractionation line appears to be incompatible with both the solar-merger debris disk (enriched in solar-merger-nucleosynthesis oxygen-16) and incompatible with the trifurcation debris disk (which lies on the 3-oxygen-isotope terrestrial fractionation line). Thus Mars apparently formed otherwise, presumably from the original protoplanetary disk by hybrid accretion. Had Mars formed around either former binary-Sun component, its expected scale would be in the super-Earth radius range, whereas Mars is only 7.2 times the mass of Io at Jupiter. Mars’ high density (3.933 g/cm3) and large iron core make it unlikely to be a trifurcation moon of one of the components of binary-Companion, since the 2nd-generation trifurcation moon Titan only has a density of 1.880 g/cm3; whereas Mars compares much-more favorably in density with the first Galilean hybrid-accretion moon, Io (3.528 g/cm3), at Jupiter, and at 7.2 times the mass of Io.

    The working hypothesis for Mars is a hybrid-accretion object formed around former Brown Dwarf, prior to its trifurcation by the former binary-Sun components. Because hybrid-accretion objects often form in multiple planet/moon cascades, Mars may have had one or more siblings that did not survive the dramatic dynamics of our solar system. All twin-binary pair trifurcation products (Jupiter-Saturn, Uranus-Neptune, and Venus-Earth-Mercury) were presumably captured by former binary-Sun from binary-Companion prior to the binary-Sun merger at 4,567 Ma, but solitary moons of binary-Companion, and possible circumbinary hybrid-accretion moon(s) presumably did not experience eccentricity pumping like the trifurcation binary pairs. Therefore, Mars was presumably still within the gravity well of binary-Companion when the binary-Companion components merged at 650 Ma.
    The asymmetrical merger explosion that gave newly-merged Companion escape velocity from the Sun did not take Mars with it, and, Mars apparently lost heliocentric angular momentum in the process of escaping from newly-merged Companion, apparently installing Mars in a low Earth-crossing orbit.

“Global preserved sedimentary rock volume increases by more than a factor of 5 across the Phanerozoic–Proterozoic boundary”
Image credit: Keller et al., 2019

     The Precambrian-Cambrian boundary marks a dramatic transition in the sedimentation record on Earth, “from roughly 0.2 km3/y of preserved sedimentary rock in the Proterozoic to ∼1 km3/y in the Phanerozoic” (Keller et al., 2018). The working hypothesis for this 5-fold increase in preserved sedimentation at the Cambrian boundary suggests that Earth may have been intermittently perturbed by close encounters with Mars that disrupted sedimentation preservation. And Earth may succeeded in clearing Mars from its orbit with a final close encounter at 541 Ma that kicked Mars into something close to its present orbit and issued in the Phanerozoic Eon on Earth. The Great Unconformity on Earth may have been partly attributable to perturbation by Mars, but the almost complete absence of terrestrial craters older than 650 Ma suggests that most of the Great Unconformity was attributable scouring of the continents by ice sheets during the global glaciations of the Cryogenian Period, where ice sheets may have extended almost to the edges of the continental shelves, as sea levels retreated during the Snowball Earth episodes. While it’s tempting to directly attribute the Great Unconformity to the gravitational effects of binary-Companion itself and/or its merger exodus, at its orbital distance beyond Saturn, the tidal influence of binary-Companion would have been barely 2% that of Earth’s Moon, Luna. Instead the effect was more likely indirect, by way of fogging the solar system, creating glaciations on Earth, and sending Mars into the inner solar system.

    A flood basalt dating to the end Proterozoic Eon may be evidence of the final close orbital encounter between Mars and Earth that kicked Mars into something close to its present orbit. The end Proterozoic Eon flood basalt is associated with a triple tectonic junction rift zone, known as the Southern Oklahoma Aulacogen (SOA), and a triple tectonic junction rift might be expected to occur at the summit of the tidal bulge caused by an orbital close encounter with Mars. The best available age constraints of the eruptive products of the Southern Oklahoma Aulacogen are ~ 535 to 540 Ma (Brueske et al., 2016).
    Closely coincident to the rift zone flood basalt on Earth is volcanism on Mars, circa 500 Ma. Arsia Mons, one of the largest volcanoes on Mars, has an eruptive episode dating to about 500 Ma (Werner, 2009), which could very well be 541 Ma.

    A 1998 numerical simulation of the asteroid belt suggests that the inner belt has been eroded by about half, by 3-way resonances with Mars and Jupiter, but this level of asteroid depletion is hard to reconcile with a nearly constant lunar cratering record over the last 3 billion years. (Nesvorný and Morbidelli, 1998, 1999) Alternatively, a late appearance of Mars to something close to its present orbit at 541 Ma predicts an increased cratering rate in the Phanerozoic Eon. Indeed, the lunar impact flux increases by a factor of 2.6 near 290 Ma (Mazrouei et al., 2019), which represents a 250 million year hiatus, from 541 Ma to ~290 Ma, before increased lunar and terrestrial cratering rates are evident. After falling from its circumbinary Companion orbit into Earth’s sphere of influence at 650 Ma, and after ejection from Earth’s orbit at 541 Ma, Mars apparently took an additional 250 million years to stabilize in orbital period, at about 290 Ma, resulting in 3-way resonances between inner belt asteroids, Mars and Jupiter that increased asteroid eccentricities, causing Mars-crossing and Earth-crossing orbits that increased Earth and Moon impacts by a factor of 2.6.

    The low-inclination moderate-eccentricity of Mars’ present orbit makes this dynamic orbital interplay seem unlikely; however, a trifurcation origin of 6 planets requires similar levels of radial displacement for the other 7 planets, which highlights the extremely coplanar nature of our solar system, considering the low orbital inclinations all planets except Uranus. As to eccentricity, Mars has twice the eccentricity of the next most eccentric planet (Mercury excepted), and Earth has 2.47 times the eccentricity of Venus.

Venusian cataclysm:

    Venus is suggested here to be Earth’s twin from a fourth-generation SUPER-Earth trifurcation that formed Venus with an oversized trifurcation moon in a retrograde orbit, where Venus’ retrograde moon spiraled in to merge with the planet during the Ediacaran Period, causing the Venusian cataclysm, resulting in Venus’ slight retrograde rotation.

    Orbital interplay between Uranus-Neptune and their residual SUPER-Earth core caused a 4th-generation trifurcation by means of bar-mode instability, complete with the ‘pinwheel’ tails trailing from the bar-mode arm that formed Venus-Earth. These pinwheel tails gravitationally collapsed to formed oversized trifurcation moons, one gravitationally bound to Earth and one gravitationally bound to Venus. Trifurcation moons are born with no net angular momentum with respect to their bar-mode arms and acquire their angular momentum by orbital interplay. Orbital interplay of the trifurcated quadruple system composed of close-binary Venus-Earth and close-binary Uranus-Neptune kicked Earth’s trifurcation Moon (Luna) into a prograde orbit around Earth, and by symmetry Venus’ trifurcation moon acquired a retrograde orbit around Venus. Venus’ oversized, retrograde trifurcation moon acquired a decaying orbit that was doomed to spiral in and merge with Venus, like Neptune’s retrograde trifurcation moon, Triton.
    Venus’ trifurcation moon may have spiraled in to merge with Venus at 579 Ma, causing a Venusian cataclysm that forever changed the planet. A Venusian cataclysm would neatly explain relatively ‘recent’ resurfacing of the planet. The nearly-random spatial distribution of Venus’ low crater count suggests 300-500 Myr resurfacing (Price & Suppe 1994), or 300-1000 Myr resurfacing (McKinnon et al. 1997).
    Pancake-shaped coronae on Venus caused by mantle upwelling may be direct evidence of a protracted digestion of its former moon, with Venus’ sulfurous atmosphere sustained by continued volcanic outgassing. “Sulfur dioxide is a million times more abundant in the atmosphere of Venus than that of Earth, possibly as a result of volcanism on Venus within the past billion years” (Marcq et al 2013). Additionally, the scorching temperatures recorded at the surface could be partly residual heat from the merger.

    For Venus’ retrograde orbit to be the result of a merger with a former retrograde moon requires that the moon’s retrograde orbit had greater angular momentum than Venus’ former prograde rotation. Part of the prograde-to-retrograde planetary rotation transition (angular momentum transfer) would have occurred progressively during 4 billion years of Venus-moon tidal interactions, but the majority of the angular momentum transfer would have been cataclysmic, at impact.
    An object in a circular orbit has only half the potential and kinetic energy necessary to achieve escape velocity, so presumably very few chunks of moon or planetary surface escaped Venus’ gravitational well. Volatile losses, however, creating a heliocentric debris ring centered on Venus, but the Venusian cataclysm debris ring did not directly fog the solar system. Instead, the accumulation of dust in Earth’s upper atmosphere from a greatly-increased rate of (Venusian) micrometeorites reduced the incident radiation at the surface by increasing the albedo of Earth’s upper atmosphere.

    A cataclysm the scale of a large moony merger with our closest planet will not have left Earth unscathed. A large moony merger with Venus would have created a heliocentric debris ring composed of micrometeorites that burned up in Earth’s upper atmosphere, creating high altitude dust that reflected sunlight back into space, causing a major glaciation on Earth. Two glaciations in the most-likely time frame present themselves; Gaskiers glaciation (between 579.63 ± 0.15 and 579.88 ± 0.44 Ma) in the Late Ediacaran Period, or Baykonurian glaciation near the Proterozoic-Phanerozoic boundary.

    The sudden appearance of all modern metazoa (animal) phyla in the Cambrian (Cambrian explosion) suggests another telluric effect, in the form of the possible contamination of Earth with Venusian fauna, but here again, either glaciation may be indicated, with Ediacaran fauna appearing shortly after the Gaskiers glaciation, and Cambrian fauna appearing some time after the Baykonurian glaciation. Molecular clocks indicate Metazoa originated in the range of 850-650 Ma (Cunningham et al., 2016), and if so, then the absence of earlier evidence of (soft bodied) Metazoa is inexplicable, given the abundant preservation of acritarchs from this period. Additionally, “recent molecular clock analyses estimate that the crown‐groups of most animal phyla did not originate until the Cambrian. The presence of crown members of most animal phyla in the Ediacaran is therefore not an expectation of most molecular clock studies” (Cunningham et al., 2016).
    Venusian contamination of Earth in a 579 Ma Venusian cataclysm explains the absence of earlier metazoa predicted by molecular clocks, and suggests that Ediacaran fauna, transplanted from Venus, were the stem groups of crown-group Cambrian phyla; however, Venusian cataclysm contamination also requires a degree of earlier protozoa interchange between Venus and Earth, before and after the Great Oxygenation Event of the Paleoproterozoic era.
    A Venusian cataclysm is not predicated on terrestrial contamination by Venusian lifeforms, but it would neatly explain the observed gap in the early fossil record.

    Most notably, trifurcation theory predicts a former retrograde moon at Venus, whose merger is neatly unifies;
1) the retrograde rotation of Venus,
2) the recent resurfacing of the planet,
3) the continuing volcanism and sulfurous atmosphere on Venus,
4) the Gaskiers glaciation on Earth,
5) and possibly the sudden origin of the Ediacaran biota.

Solar system summary:

    Four planets of our solar system exhibit a narrow range of axial tilts to their orbits, ranging from 23.44° for Earth to 28.32° for Neptune. This narrow range of axial tilts for half the planets suggests a solar system-wide effect. The greatest solar system wide effect was the suggested binary spiral-in merger of former binary-Sun at 4,567 Ma. The binary-Sun merger sloughed off a small percentage of the combined mass of the former binary components, reducing the central gravity well, which increased the orbital distance and orbital period of all heliocentric orbits. Conservation of angular momentum presumably caused axial tilts in the 20 degree range. Jupiter, however, is a notable exception, with its small 3.13° axial tilt.

    A massive accretion disk around a diminutive brown-dwarf-mass protostellar core underwent symmetrical FFF, ‘condensing’ a twin-binary pair of disk-instability (d-i) objects. The resulting system, comprised of a massive twin binary pair of prestellar d-i objects orbiting the diminutive Brown Dwarf, was dynamically unstable, resulting in orbital interplay that progressively ‘evaporated’ Brown Dwarf into a circumbinary orbit around the twin d-i objects, causing the d-i objects to spiral in to become binary-Sun. Orbital interplay caused Brown Dwarf to spin up and undergo 4 generations of trifurcation, forming binary-Companion, along with 3 generations of trifurcation planets. Perturbations from former binary-Companion caused the binary-Sun components to spiral in and merge at 4,567 Ma, creating a luminous red nova, which quickly retreated to leave behind the ‘solar-merger debris disk’. The solar-merger debris disk likely condensed asteroids against the Sun’s corotation radius with live short-lived radionuclides, and later condensed chondrites in situ against Jupiter’s strongest inner resonances.

Symmetrical FFF, followed by 4 generations of trifurcation:
    Our solar system at one time is suggested to have formed 5 transitory twin-binary pairs; binary-Sun, binary-Companion, Jupiter-Saturn, Uranus-Neptune, and Venus-Earth.
1) Symmetrical FFF – binary-Sun + Brown Dwarf (stellar 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 suggested super-Jupiter-mass twin-binary components of binary-Companion did not separate like the binary components of the three subsequent trifurcation generations, briefly creating a quaternary system composed of binary-Sun and binary-Companion in a wide binary orbit around the solar system barycenter, with a Sun-Companion separation around 15 AU (between Saturn and Uranus).
    Following binary-Sun merger at 4,567 Ma, perturbations from the newly-merged Sun caused binary-Companion components to spiral in over time, progressively increasing the Sun-Companion eccentricity over time, eventually causing binary-Companion to overrun the orbit of Uranus, resulting in Uranus’ severe axial tilt.
    The progressively-increasing eccentricity caused binary-Companion’s heliocentric mean-motion resonance to migrate out through the Kuiper belt over time, perturbing Plutinos at 4.22 Ga, followed by cubewanos from 4.1-3.8 Ga, causing a bimodal late heavy bombardment of the inner solar system, with its short-duration early pulse.
    The spiral-in of the super-Jupiter-mass components eventually accreted their own moons, fogging the solar system, causing the Sturtian glaciation of Snowball Earth. Ultimately, the binary components merged at 650 Ma in an asymmetrical merger explosion, giving newly-merged Companion escape velocity from Sun, and causing the Marinoan glaciation of the Cryogenian Period.
    The resulting Companion-merger debris disk condensed the cold-classical KBOs against Neptune’s outer 2:3 resonance, and likely formed some of the giant planet’s hybrid-accretion moons.

    Mercury has two potential origin stories which seem equally plausible; first, as the fourth-generation residual core of the SUPER-Earth trifurcation, > 4,567 Ma, and second, as a hybrid accretion planet formed from the 4,567 Ma solar-merger debris disk. Both alternatives predict a large iron-nickel core, with trifurcation placing Mercury on the 3-oxygen-isotope terrestrial fractionation line (TFL), while a hybrid accretion origin suggests 16O enrichment, placing Mercury below the TFL.

    Venus is suggested to be the twin of Earth from the fourth-generation SUPER-Earth trifurcation, with identical bulk isotopic ratios. In another way, Venus is suggested to have been the mirror image of Earth, with a trifurcation moon similar in size and composition to Earth’s Moon, but in a decaying retrograde orbit that spiraled in to merge with the planet at 579 Ma, resulting in the ‘Venusian cataclysm’ that fogged the solar system and caused the Gaskiers glaciation on Earth.
    The Venusian cataclysm resurfaced the planet, and is responsible for ongoing volcanism in the form of pancake-shaped coronae and for the sulfurous component of Venus’ atmosphere. The moony merger imbued Venus with a slight retrograde rotation.
    Additionally, Ediacaran metazoa may be contamination from Venus, explaining the absence of earlier instances of metazoa on Earth predicted by molecular clocks.

    Earth is suggested to be the twin of Venus from the fourth-generation SUPER-Earth trifurcation. Earth is presumed to have acquired its trifurcation Moon as the trailing tail of the bar-mode arm which became Earth gravitationally pinched off into a separate Roche sphere, remaining gravitationally bound to the planet.
    Venus-Earth presumably escaped from Uranus-Neptune, prior to Jupiter-Saturn escaping from binary-Companion, such that Venus-Earth were still within Jupiter-Saturn’s gravity well. Binary-binary resonance presumably caused eccentricity pumping which caused Jupiter-Saturn to escape from binary-Companion by way of the binary-Companion’s (inside) L1 Lagrangian point. Similarly, additional eccentricity pumping caused Venus-Earth to escape from Jupiter-Saturn, also by way of Jupiter-Saturn’s L1 Lagrangian point. Finally, eccentricity pumping caused Venus-Earth to separate.
    The Great Unconformity may be the result of two Snowball Earth glaciations, with the first glaciation caused by the fogging of the solar system by moony mergers with the binary Companion components as the super-Jupiter-mass components spiraled in, and the second glaciation caused by the merger of the two components themselves at 650 Ma.
    Mars may be a hybrid accretion planet of former Brown Dwarf, hurled into the inner solar system on an Earth-crossing orbit at 650 Ma when newly-merged Companion escaped from the solar system. After about 100 million years, Earth finally kicked Mars into something close to its present orbit, during a particularly-close encounter at 541 Ma that may have caused the Southern Oklahoma Aulacogen flood basalt on Earth and volcanism on Mars at Arsia Mons. The volume of retained sedimentary rock on Earth increased by a factor of 5 at the Ediacaran-Cambrian boundary, presumably due to the absence of Martian orbital close encounters.
    Earth may be the recipient of Venusian metazoa from the Venusian cataclysm at 579 Ma in the form of Ediacaran biota, when Venus’ retrograde trifurcation moon spiraled in to merge with the planet.
    The continental tectonic plates on Earth are suggested to be cored by authigenic gneissic sediments, precipitated, lithified and metamorphosed in the cores of hot classical KBOs, which were perturbed into the inner solar system from the Kuiper belt by tidal effects of former binary-Companion. (See section, AQUEOUS DIFFERENTIATION OF KUIPER BELT OBJECTS (KBOs))

    Mars is not predicted by the FFF-trifurcation ideology, and thus its origin and dynamic history are comparative speculation, compared to the other planets; therefore its origin and orbital dynamics are merely a ‘working model’.
    As such, the working model for Mars is a hybrid-accretion planet formed around former Brown Dwarf prior to its trifurcation by binary-Sun. Binary-Companion presumably retained Mars as a circumbinary planet until escaping from the solar system in the binary-Companion spiral-in merger at 650 Ma. Mars was apparently hurled in a retrograde heliocentric direction when newly-merged Companion escaped from the Sun, causing Mars to lose heliocentric angular momentum, presumably injecting Mars into an Earth-crossing orbit in the inner solar system.
    Mars was presumably ejected from its Earth-crossing orbit at 541 Ma in final orbital close encounter between Earth and Mars. Mars may have taken an additional 250 million years to settle into its present orbit and orbital period, by about 290 Ma, after which 3-way resonances between Mars and Jupiter began strongly perturbing inner-belt asteroids into Mars-crossing and Earth-crossing orbits, which increased Earth and Moon impacts by a factor of 2.6.

    Jupiter is suggested to be a twin of Saturn from the second-generation SUPER-Jupiter trifurcation.
    Like Venus and Neptune, Jupiter presumably once possessed a former trifurcation moon in a doomed retrograde orbit that spiraled in to merge with the gas giant, perhaps at around 4,562 Ma. The cascade of 4 large Galilean moons, Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto, presumably formed by hybrid accretion, either from the trifurcation debris disk or the solar-merger debris disk.
    CI chondrites from the asteroid belt exhibit a thermal event that melted water ice and deposited dolomites in the 4,562 Ma age range, with a 53Mn-53Cr age of dolomites dated at 4,563.8-4,562.5) (Fujiya et al. 2013), suggesting a late heating event.
    The D/H (deuterium/hydrogen) ratio of Saturn is lower than that of Jupiter by a factor of 0.71 + 0.22% – 0.15, contrary to standard-model predictions of a higher ratio (Pierel et al. 2017). But when the suggested moony merger explosively overflowed Jupiter’s Roche sphere, hydrogen would have become particularly fractionated, due to the enormous 2 to 1 mass difference between deuterium and protium, depleting Jupiter’s outer layers in the much-more-volatile protium.
    Perhaps the most compelling evidence for a dramatic inner solar system event pointing to a Jupiter-moony merger around 4,562 Ma are enstatite chondrites, which are the only chondrites to lie on the terrestrial fractionation line, pointing to a Brown Dwarf reservoir origin, with a 29I-129Xe age for enstatite chondrites of 4,562.3 +/- 0.4 (Gilmour et al. 2009).

    Saturn, is suggested to be a twin of Jupiter from the second-generation SUPER-Jupiter trifurcation, with Titan as Saturn’s trifurcation moon. Saturn also exhibits a neat cascade of smaller planemo hybrid-accretion moons from one or more of the solar system debris disks.

    Uranus is suggested to be a twin of Neptune from the third-generation SUPER-Neptune trifurcation, and its, presumably former prograde trifurcation moon is missing.
    Uranus is telegraphing a significant dynamic event, due to its severe 98°axial tilt and its missing prograde trifurcation moon, which is suggested to have occurred when binary-Companion overran the orbit of Uranus, due to eccentricity pumping of binary-Companion by the Sun.
    If Uranus lost its trifurcation moon to binary-Companion, it likely also lost its former hybrid-accretion moons as well, suggesting that Uranus’ present cascade of well-behaved planemo moons likely date to the 650 Ma Companion-merger debris disk.

    Neptune is suggested to be a twin of Uranus from the third-generation SUPER-Neptune trifurcation.
    Triton is Neptune’s suggested retrograde trifurcation moon, which will one day spiral in to merge with the planet.
    The Kuiper belt presumably formed in situ against Neptune’s outer resonances, principally its strongest 2:3 resonance.

Asteroids and chondrites:
    Asteroids and chondrites are suggested to have condensed by streaming instability from a low angular momentum solar-merger debris disk, from the aftermath of the former spiral-in merger of former binary-Sun at 4,567 Ma.
    Early-forming asteroids with hot short-lived radionuclides (SLRs) may have primarily condensed by streaming instability against the Sun’s super-intense-stellar-merger magnetic corotation radius. The planet Mercury may or may not be a hybrid accretion planet formed from solar-merger debris disk asteroids. SLRs caused thermal differentiation, forming metallic cores in many asteroids.
    Chondrites formed over the next 5 million years, likely condensing in situ by streaming instability against Jupiter’s strongest inner resonances, with Jupiter’s orbit creating the necessary angular momentum. Chondrites are not internally differentiated, due to their formation after the radioactivity of the SLRs had largely died away.

Hot classical KBOs:
    Hot classical KBOs in are suggested to have condensed from the trifurcation debris disk from the Brown Dwarf reservoir against Neptune’s strongest outer resonances, shortly prior to 4,567 Ma. Hot classical KBOs are suggested to lie on the TFL and have a siderophile-depleted composition coincident with Earth’s continental crust, with the basement rock of Earth’s continental crust suggested to be extraterrestrial of hot classical KBO origin.
    Hot classical KBOs were presumably condensed against Neptune’s strongest outer resonances in ‘cold’, low-inclination low-eccentricity orbits, which were perturbed into their present ‘hot’, high-inclination high-eccentricity orbits by mean-motion resonances with former binary-Companion. And the scattered, extended scattered disc and detached objects represent KBOs that were severely perturbed.
    Large KBOs experienced ‘aqueous differentiation’ at formation by streaming instability that melted water ice and formed authigenic, gneissic sedimentary cores. Perturbation of KBOs into the inner solar system by mean-motion resonances with binary-Companion caused Earth impacts during the late heavy bombardment, with the gneissic cores becoming the basement rock of Earth’s continental tectonic plates.

Cold classical KBOs:
    Young, cold classical KBOs are suggested to have condensed in situ against Neptune’s outer 2:3 resonance from the young, 650 Ma, Companion-merger debris disk.
    Cold classical KBOs are often found in binary systems, composed similar-size and similar-color binary pairs, in ‘cold’ (unperturbed), low-inclination low-eccentricity orbits. Additionally, cold classical KBOs tend to be red in coloration, while hot classical KBOs are more heterogeneous, tending toward bluish hues.
    Presumably few if any cold classical KBOs in stable, low-inclination low-eccentricity orbits, have been perturbed into the inner solar system.

Pluto system:
    The Pluto system presumably formed in situ by streaming instability against Neptune’s outer 2:3 resonance. The geologically active surface of Pluto, revealed in 2015 by the New Horizons spacecraft, may possibly point to its membership in the young KBO population, condensed from the binary-Companion debris disk at 650 Ma.
    The binary Pluto system appears to have formed by symmetrical FFF, followed by 2 generations of trifurcation from a very-diminutive core, resulting in the central FFF binary pair, Pluto and Charon, orbited by the 1st-generation twins Nix-Hydra, and the 2nd-generation twins Styx-Kerberos. This formation sequence would make the Pluto system very similar to our solar system as a whole, despite being a heliocentric satellite. Pluto’s smaller moons are very much smaller than Pluto and Charon (circa 31,600 times less massive than Charon), which may point to differing dynamics between gaseous stellar systems in protoplanetary disks and dusty streaming-instability systems in debris disks.

Detached Objects:
    Detached objects, also known as extended scattered disc objects (E-SDO), distant detached objects (DDO) or scattered-extended objects, are a class of minor planets belonging to trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs), with perihelia sufficiently distant from Neptune to be considered detached from planetary influence.
    The relative aphelia alignment of detached objects, such as Sedna and 2012 VP-113, is suggested here to be a fossil alignment of KBO aphelia with the former Sun-Companion axis, where shorter period KBOs have randomized their orientations since the loss of binary-Companion, around 650 Ma.

The predictive and explanatory power of FFF-trifurcation ideology:

– Bimodal late heavy bombardment (LHB):
+++ Our former binary-Companion perturbed Plutinos in a brief, early bimodal pulse at 4.22 Ga, followed by the perturbation of cubewanos from 4.1-3.8 Ga in the broader, main bimodal pulse, presumably due to the outward migration of the 1:4 mean-motion resonance of binary-Companion that first passed through the Plutinos, followed by the cubewanos.
– – – Grand Tack dismisses LHB theory.

– Bimodal distribution of hot and cold Jupiters:
+++ Asymmetrical FFF explains the distinct gap between the bimodal distribution of gas-giant exoplanets into hot Jupiters in low ‘hot’ orbits and cold Jupiters in higher ‘cold’ orbits as a hiatus in the flip-flop mechanism during the brief formation of the pithy first hydrostatic core (FHSC), which marks the end of the prestellar phase. If the mass of the FHSC is about 4 Mj, then the hiatus in FFF during the FHSC phase could also explain the desert of gas-giant planets in this mass range.
– – – Hierarchical accretion theory suggests that planetary migration causes some gas-giant planets formed in the Goldilocks zone to migrate inward and become hot Jupiters; however, planetary migration does not explain the distinct gap between the two populations, and hierarchical accretion with planetary migration has no explanation for the 4 Mj desert.

– Bimodal distribution of hot and cold classical KBOs:
+++ The bimodal KBO populations ‘condensed’ by streaming instability from two separate debris disks, condensing old (> 4,567 Ma) hot classical KBOs from the trifurcation debris disk, and condensing young (650 Ma) cold classical KBOs from the Companion merger debris disk, with the hot classical KBOS having been perturbed into ‘hot’ high-inclination high-eccentricity orbits by the outward migration of the 1:4(?) mean-motion resonance of binary-Companion through the Kuiper belt. And the color difference between the two populations relates to their differing ages and differing reservoir compositions.
– – – The Grand Tack hypothesis explains the hot classical population as having been perturbed by the outward migration of Neptune and the cold classical population as being unperturbed by Neptune, where Neptune stopped just short of perturbing the cold classical population. Grand Tack, however, can not explain the observed color differences between the two populations.

– Three sets of twin planets in our unusual solar system:
+++ Asymmetrical FFF followed by 4 generations of trifurcation explains the 3 pairs of twin planets in our solar system and predicts a former binary-Sun and former binary-Companion, and if FFF-trifurcation is uncommon, it also explains why our solar system is unusual. Additionally, the trifurcation mechanism predicts that the 6 trifurcation planets and the hot classical KBOs lie on the 3-oxygen isotope ‘terrestrial fractionation line’, and that the hot classical KBOs are siderophile depleted.
– – – Hierarchical accretion followed by Nice model/Grand Tack does not predict and can not explain the 3 sets of twin planets in our unusual solar system.

– Short-lived radionuclides (SLRs) of the early solar system:
+++ In situ formation of stellar-merger SLRs may eliminate 3 ad hoc variables in the standard model of our early solar system, namely, timing, proximity, and dilution factor/mixing of SLRs from one or more external sources. Additionally, stars in the mass range of the Sun do not experience internal circulation, such that primordial lithium at the surface should be preserved through the life of the Sun; however, the binary-Sun merger at 4,567 Ma caused chaotic mixing, causing much of the primordial lithium to burn in the hot core, and indeed the Sun is depleted in lithium by two sigma compared to sister stars of the same age and mass. In addition to f-process nucleosynthesis of SLRs, helium-burning apparently formed stable-isotope enrichments as well, explaining the notable oxygen-16 enrichment of the Sun, asteroids, and chondrites, compared to Earth.
– – – A nearby supernova that contributed radionuclides and also precipitated the gravitational collapse of our protostar purports to eliminate the timing and proximity variables; however, core-collapse supernovae produce abundant 53Mn, which was relatively absent in our early solar system.

– Venusian cataclysm and the Ediacaran Metazoa:
+++ The suggested orbital decay and merger of a former retrograde moon of Venus at 579 Ma jolted the planet into retrograde rotation and resurfaced the planet, with continuing coronae eruptions accompanied by sulfurous outgassing. A Venusian cataclysm so near to Earth would have had a spillover effect, fogging Earth’s upper atmosphere with micrometeorite dust, presumably causing Gaskiers glaciation on Earth. Additionally, if the Venusian cataclysm seeded Earth with Ediacaran biota, then the absence of fossils older than the Gaskiers glaciation, predicted by molecular clocks, is explained away. A retrograde-moony-merger Venusian cataclysm unifies Venus’ retrograde rotation, its ‘recent’ resurfacing, its thick sulfurous atmosphere, and the origin of Ediacaran biota, and Gaskiers glaciation on Earth. And significantly, trifurcation theory predicts a former retrograde trifurcation moon around Venus in a doomed retrograde orbit.
– – – In the standard model, these various phenomena are explained by separate (ad hoc) causes, but absence of metazoa fossils older than the Ediacaran biota is unexplained.

– Relative 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 orbital aphelia with the former Sun-Companion axis, where shorter period KBOs have randomized their orbits since the loss of the Companion at 650 Ma.
– – – The favorite academic theory evokes an undiscovered Planet Nine to create and sustain this relative alignment.

– Bimodal Snowball Earth:
+++ The suggested spiral-in merger of a former binary-Companion at 650 Ma explains the Marinoan glaciation as the fogging of the solar system by the Companion-merger debris disk. And the earlier Sturtian glaciation resulted from earlier moony mergers with the binary-Companion components as they spiraled inward.
– – – Terrestrial theories for Snowball Earth can not explain its bimodal nature.

– Uranus’ 98° axial tilt:
+++ FFF-trifurcation ideology suggests that binary-Companion overran Uranus’ orbit, driven by the eccentricity pumping of binary-Companion’s heliocentric orbit by the Sun. The FFF-trifurcation clockwork ideology also unifies Venus’ retrograde rotation and the formation of Earth’s Moon.
– – – Canonical theories suggest 3 separate ad hoc impacts to explain the 3 phenomena, presumably requiring many more variables.

– Four planets with axial tilts in the 20–30° range:
+++ Three planets with 20–30° axial tilts points to a solar system wide event, explained as the binary spiral-in merger of binary-Sun at 4,567 Ma. The merger mass loss suddenly increased the radial distance of all heliocentric orbits and decreased their orbital periods, with the axial tilts preserving system angular momentum. Indeed, the axial tilts should enable the calculation of the spiral-in merger mass loss, and vice versa, the observed axial tilts should make a spiral-in merger hypothesis falsifiable.
– – – Canonical theories for planet formation offer no predictions, explanations, or falsifiability.


    The degree of consideration of theory should be heavily weighted on its unifying explanatory capacity (ability to reduce the overall variable count), its predictive capacity, and its falsifiability. Almost by definition, a deterministic clockwork ideology that unifies multiple phenomena with predictive primary mechanisms reduces the variables in the system, and is almost by definition is more falsifiable than multiple ad hoc secondary mechanisms.
    Grand Tack, proposes that Jupiter to migrated in before migrating out, with the inward migration able to explain the inner solar system configuration and the outward migration able to explain the outer solar system configuration; however, this self-serving redundancy gives the appearance of wheels within wheels to provide sufficient variables to explain the entire solar system. Secondly, Grand Tack lacks falsifiability in that it relies on a disappeared protoplanetary disk that had sufficient fine tuning to cause inward migration followed by outward migration.
    Ad hoc (accident) theories, such as,
– Giant Impact on Earth, responsible for Earth’s Moon,
– a giant impact on Venus, responsible for Venus’ retrograde rotation, and
– a giant impact on Uranus, responsible for its severe axial tilt,
that rely on fortuitous accidents, are particularly unfalsifiable and particularly burdened by high variable count.
    FFF-trifurcation was imagined to explain the 3 sets of twin planets in our unusual solar system (which is unexplained in any other theory or model), and surprisingly the deterministic clockwork mechanism inherent in converting symmetrical FFF with trifurcation into our present mature solar system offers predictive unifying explanations for numerous otherwise unrelated solar system phenomena.


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Cometary knots in the planetary Helix nebula as a modern analog of baryonic dark matter in the form of primordial, self-gravitating, planetary-mass gas globules (paleons) ejected from Population III stars by coronal mass ejection, during their terminal thermally-pulsing asymptotic giant branch (TP-AGB) phase


    Baryonic dark matter (DM) in the present epoch may be possible in the context of 2 earlier epochs of baryonic DM that altered the physics of Big Bang nucleosynthesis (BBN), and altered physics of photon decoupling at early-onset hydrogen recombination.

1st epoch) Neutron DM:
The hadron epoch fused charged quarks into baryons, decoupling neutrons from the primordial photons, resulting in gravitational collapse of neutrons into neutron collapse centers that were cored with direct-collapse super massive black holes (DC SMBHs). BBN fused neutral neutrons to protons to form positively-charged helium nuclei, resulting in electrostatic rebound of neutron collapse centers in the form of twin-binary pairs of proto-spiral galaxies, rebounding from one another.

2nd epoch) Helium DM:
Second helium recombination decoupled helium from the primordial photons, resulting in gravitational collapse of helium into helium collapse centers that evolved into proto-dwarf spheroidal galaxies (proto-dSphs).

3rd epoch) Planetary-mass gas-globule DM (paleons):
Some Population (Pop) III stars in helium collapse centers exited the main sequence as thermally-pulsing asymptotic giant branch (TP-AGB) stars that ejected a portion of their mass in coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that took the form of of self-gravitating planetary-mass gas globules, designated ‘paleons’. Paleons accreted the remaining gas in the helium collapse centers, with some paleons reaching a Jeans mass, resulting in gravitational collapse to form Pop II stars. Gas mop up by paleons with minimal collapse into Pop II stars, converted gaseous helium collapse centers into DM-dominated dSphs, devoid of loose gas and dust.

Neutron DM at BBN:
    The first epoch of baryonic DM began in the lepton epoch. At about 1 second after the Big Bang, neutral neutrons decoupled from primordial neutrinos, after having decoupled from primordial photons in the hadron epoch. With the emergence of decoupled neutron DM, neutrons underwent gravitational collapse at the prevailing Jeans mass scale,to form super massive black holes (SMBHs) at the center of galactic-scale neutron collapse centers.
    Beginning about 10 seconds after the Big Bang, BBN began fusing neutral neutrons with protons into positively-charged deuterium and then helium, causing electrostatic rebound of the neutron collapse centers. The gravitational cohesion in rebounding collapse centers minimized the rebounding surface area into a bilateral dumbbell shape, stretching rebounding collapse centers into twin-binary proto-spiral galaxies repelled in opposite directions, with opposing angular momentum vectors.

Helium DM at second-helium recombination:
    The second epoch of baryonic DM occurred at second helium recombination, which decoupled neutral helium from the primordial photons, resulting in a second round of gravitational fragmentation at a suggested ~ 108 M☉ Jeans mass scale. This time, gravitational collapse was accompanied by the outward diffusion of primordial photons, and the diffusive loss of primordial photons allowed ionized hydrogen to collapse as well. Gravitational collapse accelerated the expansion rate in the relative voids between collapse centers, causing early-onset hydrogen recombination when the global baryon density was about 6 times that of canonical hydrogen recombination, at z ≈ 2000 from the ΛCDM perspective, with 5/6 of the baryons sequestered in helium collapse centers.
    The electron gas cooled the primordial photons by Compton scattering as they diffused out of the warm collapse centers, with the photons retaining a a slight temperature differential above that of the electron gas, such that at photon decoupling, the primordial photons were slightly warm compared to canonical ΛCDM theory. Warm primordial photons slightly increased the effective redshift of photon decoupling, with photon decoupling presumably occurring around z ≈ 1200, compared to z = 1100 for canonical (ΛCDM) recombination. A slightly-elevated redshift at photon decoupling results in an elevated Hubble constant, which may resolve the Hubble tension in favor of the distance ladder measured by Ia supernovae.

Paleon DM from Pop III stars:
    The gravitational collapse of helium and ionized hydrogen within helium collapse centers ended with the formation of Population (Pop) III stars, some of which presumably evolved along the asymptotic giant branch, ejecting planetary-mass cometary knots in coronal mass ejections (CMEs). These cometary knots (‘paleons’) were presumably self gravitating gas globules, with a strong affinity for gas accretion across their large AU-scale diameters. These Pop III star paleons are suggested to be the reservoirs of baryonic DM today.
    Pop III stars needn’t have been particularly efficient at spawning paleons in planetary nebulae if the resulting paleons were particularly efficient at accreting loose gas within the gravitational wells of their helium collapse centers. Mars-mass cometary knots may have swelled into Earth-mass paleons or larger in the process of mopping up the loose gas. And the tiny minority of paleons that swelled to a Jeans mass, collapsed to form Pop II stars. The mopping up of loose gas by paleons, along with a minimal spawning of Pop II stars, transformed transformed gaseous helium collapse centers into DM-dominated dwarf spheroidal galaxies (dSphs).
    Gas-globule paleons gradually went dark to become the DM reservoirs of the present epoch as their stellar metallicity ’snowed out’ and accreted by sedimentation into moon-mass icy nuclei at their centers of mass. Paleons may regulate their temperature with trace concentrations of gaseous carbon monoxide that radiates away the incident energy of cosmic rays across their large surface areas.


    The rotation rates of spiral galaxy disks require much-greater cohesive force than the gravity of the visible matter produces, resulting in the hypothesis of an invisible halo of DM. ΛCDM theory assumes the invisible DM is in the form of exotic particles of unspecified nature that may only weakly interact with luminous baryonic matter, but so far, all attempts to detect exotic DM particles have failed.
    Canonical BBN under homogenous conditions excludes baryonic DM, since baryonic DM implies a 6-fold increased baryon-to-photon ratio that would skew BBN reaction products well beyond observed error margins, particularly the primordial deuterium/hydrogen (D/H) ratio. Alternatively, inhomogeneous conditions in the context of neutron collapse centers during BBN require a reappraisal of BBN in the context of varying proton-to-neutron ratios, varying baryon-to-photon ratios, and particularly for accelerated cosmic expansion rates due to neutron collapse.
    Similarly, canonical hydrogen recombination under homogenous conditions excludes baryonic DM, unless the baryonic matter were already dark or otherwise sequestered from hydrogen decoupling. The black-body temperature at photon decoupling divided by the black-body temperature of the CMB today telegraphs the degree of redshift (cosmic expansion) since then, which agrees quite well with the observed baryon density in today’s universe, within the precision of the ‘missing baryon problem’. Alternatively, the gravitational collapse of helium is suggested to have sequestered 5/6 of all hydrogen in collapse centers from early-onset hydrogen recombination in the relative voids between helium collapse centers, where the primordial photons diffused out of the collapse centers to participate in early-onset photon decoupling.

    The most intuitive DM candidate is baryonic matter composed of primordial concentrations of hydrogen and helium that has become cloaked by some mechanism, and baryonic DM needn’t be completely dark in a universe filled with luminous baryonic matter in numerous states, concentrations and configurations that may not be fully characterized. Condensed matter objects, such as black holes, neutron stars, black dwarfs, brown dwarfs and rogue gas-giant planets have been effectively ruled out as DM candidates by microlensing studies, leaving cold, self-gravitating gas globules as perhaps the final unexcluded baryonic DM reservoirs. Cold, dense molecular hydrogen is difficult to detect (Pfenniger and Combes 1994; Pfenniger, Combes and Martinet 1994), if its stellar metallicity proxy is sequestered into moon-mass nuclei by sedimentation.

    One means of detecting gas globules could be scintillation of pinpoint radio sources such as quasars and pulsars, when their outer sheaths have been partially ionized by nearby hot stars. Quasar scintillation caused by high electron density plasma has been detected for years, but only very recently has this scintillation been tied to hot A stars with copious UV radiation (Walker et al., 2017). Manly Astrophysics suggests the scintillation may be caused by as many as 100,000 self-gravitating gas globules that became gravitationally bound to their host stars at stellar formation.
    Alternatively, it is suggested here that quasar scintillation associated with hot stars is caused by hot star CMEs, rather than by primordial gas globules. If quasar scintillation has not detected primordial paleons, then there appears to be no more evidence for baryonic DM than there is for exotic DM; however, quasar scintillation by ionization of hot variable star CMEs is suggested to be a diminutive form of planetary-mass cometary knots ejected from thermally-pulsing AGB (TP-AGB) stars in planetary nebulae today, with the Helix nebula as its best example, and cometary knots in planetary nebulae are suggested to be modern analogs of paleon ejection by CME from Population III stars that similarly expired as TP-AGB stars. The connection between solar CMEs from our Sun and planetary-mass cometary knots in planetary nebulae (PNe) is some 12 orders of magnitude in mass, with suggested quasar scintillation of hot-star CMEs lying somewhere in between.

    In planetary-mass self-gravitating gas globules less than a Jeans mass, the sound-crossing time is shorter than the freefall time, such that densifications are quickly erased by acoustic rebound, and because of the rapid falloff of the inverse square law of gravitation in the context of AU-scale hydrostatic gas globules, there is no appreciable increase in density toward the center of mass. Near uniformity of density is a requirement for invisibility, since a globule with a steep radial density gradient would act as an optical lens, causing noticeable microlensing events.
    Condensed stellar metallicity in the form of dust and ice crystals, however, is subject to sedimentation, and therefore falls to the center of mass where it presumably concentrates to form moon-mass icy nuclei. And a moon-mass icy nuclei would compress the overlying gas into a dense amosphere that would assist in reaching the dew point of highly-volatile gaseous metallicity, primarily carbon monoxide.

    The missing satellite problem and the too big to fail problem of bottom-up hierarchical-accretion ΛCDM theory is alternatively explained by the top-down gravitational collapse of baryonic DM, with proto-spiral galaxy formation during BBN, and sub-halo formation at second-helium recombination, followed by the appearance of gas-globule DM following the dark ages, converting helium-collapse-center sub-haloes to DM-dominated dSphs.

    The discovery of quasars of more than a billion M☉ formed less than a billion years after the Big Bang is problematic for hierarchical-accretion of stellar-mass black holes. It also strains credibility for direct collapse formation of intermediate-mass black holes, from atomic hydrogen clouds with a Jeans mass of ~ 105 M☉ (Basu and Das, 2019), followed by super-Eddington accretion, since this alternative implies the existence of many other intermediate-mass black holes that aren’t observed. Alternatively, direct collapse formation of billion M☉ SMBHs during BBN requires no super-Eddington accretion and forms no unobserved intermediate-mass black holes.

Gravitational collapse of neutron DM following the hadron epoch:

    The fusion of charged quarks into hadrons concluded by about 1 second after the Big Bang.
Neutrino decoupling also occurred at about 1 second after the Big Bang, leaving fully-decoupled neutrons free to undergo gravitational collapse at the prevailing Jeans mass. Neutrons were prevented from fusing directly into helium-4 until cosmic expansion had lowered the ambient temperature to about 0.1 Mev, where the more-fragile deuterium precursor could survive. The first 225 seconds after the Big Bang were known as the ‘deuterium bottleneck’, when primordial photons were still sufficiently energetic to dissociate protons and neutrons as fast as they fused together. Thus, decoupled neutrons were free to undergo gravitational collapse for about the first 225 seconds after the Big Bang, after which the free neutron concentration dropped precipitously. Neutrons still felt the residual strong force, but the residual strong force drops to near zero beyond 2.5 femtometer.

Gravitational collapse of decoupled neutrons during the ‘deuterium bottleneck’

    Protons and electrons-positrons continued their cosmic expansion as neutrons collapsed, but the gravitational wells of neutron collapse centers altered the local plasma expansion rates, reducing cosmic expansion in the neutron collapse centers and increasing expansion rates in the relative voids in between. This elevated cosmic expansion rate in the cooler relative voids reduced the BBN duration and likely caused local early-onset BBN. Concomitantly, neutron collapse retarded cosmic expansion in warmer collapse centers, reducing BBN duration and likely causing local delayed-onset BBN.

    The question of fragmentation during the gravitational collapse of neutrons is unanswered, since the prevailing conditions for fragmentation were borderline at the time. The adiabatic index of the relativistic gas of the early universe was 4/3, and in gas with an adiabatic index of < 4/3, the Jeans mass decreases with increasing density, promoting fragmentation during gravitational collapse; however, the wide size range of spiral galaxies suggests that fragmentation may have taken place unevenly. In any case, the gravitational collapse of neutrons is suggested here to have culminated in the formation of direct-collapse super massive black holes (SMBHs).

Homogeneous canonical (ΛCDM) BBN:
    At about 1 second after the Big Bang the temperature dropped below the neutron-proton mass difference, freezing in the neutron:proton ratio at about 1:6. But neutrons have a half life of 615 seconds, such that the neutron:proton ratio dropped to about 1:7 by about 225 seconds after the Big Bang, when the temperature dropped below the binding energy of deuterium (.1 MeV) at a temperature of about 1 billion K, or kT = 0.1 MeV. Helium-4 has a much higher binding energy (28 MeV), but its formation was forestalled by this ‘deuterium bottleneck’. Additional nuclear reactions made tritium, helium-3 and lithium-7. The residual deuterium, helium-3, helium-4 and lithium-7 abundances today depend on one single parameter, expressed either as the baryon-to-photon ratio or as the baryon density. ( Big Bang Nucleosynthesis)
    The primordial deuterium (D) concentration is often expressed as the ratio of primordial D to hydrogen (H), which has been determined to be, D/H = 2.527+/- 0.030 x 110-5 (Cooke et al, 2018)
    Canonical predictions for primordial lithium-7 are high by a factor of about 3, however, leaving the door ajar for alternative theories.

Inhomogeneous BBN in the context of neutron collapse:
    Neutron collapse created inhomogeneous conditions that changed the course of BBN, compared to the canonical homogenous conditions of ΛCDM theory by altering the following parameters.
    1) Proton-to-neutron gradients: Neutrons underwent local gravitational collapse, while protons continued their cosmic expansion, creating steep local proton-to-neutron ratios.
    2) Baryon-to-photon gradients: The steep density and temperature gradients of the era caused photons to diffuse outward from the collapse centers, but with the high densities and short time intervals of the era, photons effectively moved in lockstep with the local expansion rate of the plasma, creating a uniform proton-to-photon ratio across neutron collapse centers. The baryon-to-photon ratio, however, varied across collapse centers due to neutron collapse. And residual primordial deuterium concentrations from BBN are particularly sensitive to the baryon-to-photon ratio.
    3) Expansion-rate gradients: The gravitational wells of neutron-collapse-centers affected the local cosmic expansion rates, reducing expansion in the warmer collapse centers, while increasing expansion in the cooler surrounding relative voids. Thus BBN was accelerated in the relative voids while being retarded in the densified collapse centers, with local expansion rates affecting the local BBN reaction products.
    4) Neutron-decay gradients: Free neutrons have a half life of 615 seconds, decaying into a proton, an electron and an antineutrino. Thus anything that affected the onset and duration of BBN affected the neutron-to-proton ratio compared to canonical BBN.
    Neutron collapse at BBN may create the possibility for baryonic DM today, by altering the local conditions during primordial nucleosynthesis, despite the circa 6 fold increase in the baryon-to-photon ratio required for a baryonic DM theory. Neutron collapse implies locally-varying neutron-to-proton ratios and locally-varying expansion rates in the context of a globally-elevated baryon-to-photon ratio. Neutron collapse implies elevated cosmic expansion rates in the rarified relative voids between neutron collapse centers, accompanied by depressed cosmic expansion rates in the densified collapse centers themselves; however, elastic rebound of neutron collapse centers as neutron fusion ran to completion likely also created elevated cosmic expansion rates within collapse centers at the tail end of neutron fusion.
    Elevated expansion rates resulting from neutron collapse should increase the concentration of unreacted deuterium by accelerated quenching of BBN. Thus elevated expansion rates at the end of BBN may have largely offset the effect of an elevated baryon-to-photon ratio required by baryonic DM, perhaps, fortuitously creating a D/H ratio very similar to the canonical ratio predicted by ΛCDM theory.

    Neutron enrichment in neutron collapse centers should result in helium enrichment in rebounded (proto)spiral galaxies, where neutron enrichment/depletion converted to helium enrichment/depletion during BBN. The greatest helium enrichment should be in the central galactic bulge and its associated bulge globular clusters, with with diminishing helium enrichment in globular clusters at greater radial distances.
    Globular clusters generally contain multiple populations of Pop II stars, often with one population being substantially helium enriched. Curiously, the unenriched stellar populations in globular clusters aren’t helium depleted, but instead contain canonical helium concentrations, such that averaging the helium concentrations among the multiple populations results in substantial helium enrichment in some globular clusters, with more modest helium enrichment in other globular clusters. The Sun is a relatively-high metallicity Pop I star, which has a helium mass fraction of Y = 0.2485, compared to the primordial value of Y = 0.247. By comparison, helium-enriched populations of low-metallicity Pop II stars in globular clusters can reach a helium mass fraction as high as Y = 0.4. (Fare et al., 2018)
    Another study finds a discrepancy between spectroscopic and photometric age determination for Galactic bulge stars that can be explained by helium enhancement relative to standard isochrones, suggesting an upper bound on helium enrichment for metal-rich stars of ∆Y ≈ +0.11
(Najaf and Gould, 2012), which, compared to the solar ∆Y = 0.2485 – 0.247 = 0.0015, is high indeed.

Neutron-collapse-center rebound, forming proto-spiral galaxies in twin-binary pairs:

    Only neutral neutrons collapsed, with protons continuing to expand, with expansion driven by the primordial photons in this radiation-dominated era. Neutron collapse was transitory, however, with BBN fusing neutral neutrons into positively-charged deuterium by about 225 seconds after the Big Bang. Thus, very quickly, neutron collapse reversed into elastic rebound, driven by the primordial photons. Even where gravitational collapse elevated the temperature above the binding energy of deuterium, the relatively-short half life of neutrons reversed neutron collapse anyway.
    The gravitational collapse of neutrons and subsequent rebound was adiabatic to the extent that the potential energy in collapse centers converted to heat was expended in expansive rebound cooling when climbing out of their collapse-center gravitational wells; however, the cohesive force of gravity likely broke the radial symmetry of collapse, causing asymmetrical rebound. The collapse-center Roche spheres were presumably distorted into dumbbell shapes during elastic rebound, which minimized the rebounding surface area, such that part of the heat energy in collapse centers was expended in repelling twin-binary masses in opposite directions, splitting solitary collapse-center Roche spheres into twin-binary Roche spheres repelled in opposing directions. And the energy expended in binary-fission with linear rebound robbed the bifurcated rebounding components (proto-galaxies) of sufficient heat energy to expand out of their gravity wells, causing rebounding proto-galaxies to remain permanently gravitationally bound.
    Neutron collapse centers contained solitary SMBHs that could not be divided in binary-fission rebound, such that only one rebounding proto-galaxy acquired the SMBH, while its twin-binary sibling acquired only ionized hydrogen and helium. And this asymmetry in the discrete apportionment of SMBHs may be partly responsible for creating specific angular momentum in rebounding masses, resulting in twin-binary proto-spiral galaxies with opposing angular momentum vectors repelled in opposite directions, imbuing spiral galaxies with their characteristic specific angular momentum. Andromeda Galaxy and the Milky Way Galaxy are suggested here to have formed as a rebounding twin-binary pair, where Andromeda acquired the primordial SMBH, accounting for the mass discrepancy of their SMBHs, with Andromeda having a (1.1-2.3) × 108 M☉ SMBH, compared to the much-smaller 4 x 106 M☉ SMBH at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy.

    An accelerated expansion rate during neutron collapse center rebound may have stranded higher than canonical concentrations of deuterium in bifurcated proto-spiral galaxies, when the accelerated cooling dropped below the fusion temperature of deuterium.
    An enhanced deuterium fraction in the Galaxy might be explained by a steady rate of infall of low-metallicity gas from the halo; however, an enhanced deuterium fraction and local Galactic chemical evolution (stellar metallicity) are incompatible with simple mixing of halo gas and disk gas. In order to have both an elevated D/H ratio and elevated stellar metallicity requires “infall” from the halo and “wind” from Galactic bulge, where the Galactic bulge wind is entrained with heavy elements. (Tsujimoto, 2010)
    Alternatively, an elevated concentration of primordial deuterium in Galaxies might explain both elevated deuterium and elevated metallicity in the context of local Galactic chemical evolution without remote input, where an elevated concentration of galactic primordial deuterium may be the result of an accelerated expansion rate during neutron collapse center rebound.

Gravitational collapse of decoupled helium at second-helium recombination, causing early-onset photon decoupling:

    Canonical hydrogen recombination under homogenous conditions apparently precludes the possibility of baryonic DM; however, sufficient inhomogeneity to cause early-onset hydrogen recombination when the baryonic density was 6 times that at canonical hydrogen recombination may offer a possibility for baryonic DM today.

    The black-body CMB temperature today telegraphs the degree of redshift since hydrogen recombination, and the observed baryon density today agrees rather well with canonical ΛCDM theory to the extent of the ‘missing baryon problem’, where unobserved baryons predicted by ΛCDM theory are presumed to reside in the warm-hot intergalactic medium.
    Alternatively, there appear to be 2 possibilities that may allow for baryonic DM;
1) if 5/6 of baryonic matter were already dark and thus did not participate in hydrogen recombination, or
2) if the universe were sufficiently inhomogeneous that early-onset recombination could occur at the cold low-density extremes when the baryon density was 6 times the canonical hydrogen recombination density.
    Surprisingly, these seemingly mutually-contradictory possibilities may be alternative descriptions of the same process, with the realization that locally canonical conditions within globally inhomogeneous conditions might permit early-onset global photon decoupling.

    At second-helium recombination, neutral helium was decoupled from primordial photons, making neutral helium susceptible to gravitational collapse, whereas protons and electrons continued their cosmic expansion, driven by the radiation pressure of primordial photons. Helium was not completely dark, however, since neutral helium still experienced gas pressure due to physical collisions with protons and electrons. Presumably, however, the modest gas pressure of the era was insufficient to enforce complete mixing of helium with plasma, allowing helium to drift with respect to the gravitational potentials of local Jeans masses.
    Helium collapsed at the prevailing Jeans mass scale, which is suggested to be ~ 108 M☉. Collapsing helium warmed the collapse centers, and the mass concentration also gravitationally compressed the plasma within collapse centers. The resulting temperature and pressure gradient across helium collapse centers caused primordial photons to diffuse outward, and as the photons diffused away, ionized hydrogen was able to collapse as well. The resulting runaway collapse of ionized hydrogen and neutral helium in helium collapse centers caused accelerated expansion in the rarified relative voids between collapse centers, accompanied by accelerated cooling. And accelerated expansive cooling in the relative voids presumably caused early-onset hydrogen recombination where the local conditions were canonical for hydrogen recombination, when the global baryonic density was about 6 times that of canonical (ΛCDM) hydrogen recombination. Thus, sequestration of 5/6 of all baryons within the Roche spheres of helium collapse centers, accompanied by the diffusion of primordial photons out of collapse centers, allowed local early-onset hydrogen recombination to cause global photon decoupling.

    For DM to be baryonic, early-onset photon decoupling had to occur when the baryonic density was about 6 times that of canonical hydrogen recombination, when the volume of the universe was 6 times smaller, the diameter was 6(1/3) times smaller, and the redshift was 6(1/3) times higher. Thus if canonical recombination occurred at z = 1100, then early-onset hydrogen recombination must have occurred when the redshift was about 1100 * 6(1/3) ≈ 2000 from the ΛCDM perspective, and significantly, second-helium recombination occurred from z ≈ 1600−3500 (Beradze and Gogberashvili, 2020), from the ΛCDM perspective, where matter-radiation equality occurred at z ≈ 3400, also from the ΛCDM perspective. The physics of recombination dictates that hydrogen recombination actually occurred around z = 1100, given the black body temperature of the CMB today, regardless of whether hydrogen recombination was canonical or whether it was early-onset, with 5/6 of all baryons sequestered into helium collapse centers. Early-onset hydrogen recombination/photon decoupling suggests that the universe was considerably younger than according to canonical recombination/photon decoupling by a factor of about 6(1/3). Thus if canonical photon decoupling occurred about 378,000 years after the Big Bang, then early-onset photon decoupling occurred at about 378,000/6(1/3) ≈ 200,000 years after the Big Bang, when the universe was about 1/6 the volume of canonical photon decoupling.
    From a global perspective, canonical and early-onset hydrogen recombination occurred under very different conditions; however, from the local perspective of the relative voids between helium collapse centers, the conditions were very-nearly canonical, down to the baryon-to-photon ratio, with a small positive temperature disparity of the primordial photons at photon decoupling, discussed in the following section that addresses the ~ 9% tension in the Hubble constant.

    Helium collapse centers differed from the earlier epoch of neutron collapse in that the helium collapse centers did not experience elastic rebound. BBN was a primary process, consuming every free neutron by nuclear fusion or radioactive decay, with no possibility of mass sequestration from BBN, although BBN conditions varied across neutron collapse centers. By comparison, photon decoupling was a secondary process that accommodated mass sequestration, by way of photon diffusion out of helium collapse centers. Photon diffusion also occurred in neutron collapse centers, but the larger Jeans mass and the vastly-shorter time interval made the era essentially adiabatic with regard to photon diffusion, although not adiabatic with regard to neutron collapse, where drifting neutrons created relatively-shallow baryon-to-photon gradients.

    The second and third peaks of the CMB power spectrum indicate the relative percentages of luminous matter to dark matter, with about 4.9% luminous matter, 26.8% dark matter, and the balance in the form of dark energy. This ratio presumably represents the relative percentage of baryonic matter sequestered within the Roche spheres of helium collapse centers, which included collapsing ionized hydrogen.

Tension in the Hubble constant, telegraphing photon decoupling at z ≈ 1200:

    Compton scattering cooled the primordial photons as they diffused out of the warm collapse centers, but the Comptonization time frame was presumably not short enough to cool the photons to equilibrium, such the photons were slightly warmer than the surrounding electron plasma at photon decoupling. Thus, localized early-onset hydrogen recombination is suggested here to have decoupled slightly-warm primordial photons, compared to the homogenous conditions predicted by ΛCDM theory at canonical hydrogen recombination.

    Slightly warm primordial photons at photon decoupling makes for a slightly-elevated redshift at photon decoupling, compared to canonical redshift under canonical conditions predicated by ΛCDM theory. A slightly-elevated redshift of photon decoupling translates to a slightly-elevated Hubble constant (H0), assuming the age of the universe remains nearly canonical. This suggestion argues in favor of the measured value for the Hubble constant based on the Cepheid variable and Ia supernova distance ladder, and argues against a ~ 9% lower value derived by the ΛCDM theory concordance model, derived from early universe evidence.

    ΛCDM theory presumes homogenous conditions below the baryon acoustic oscillation (BAO) scale, where complexity only arose following hydrogen recombination. These homogenous conditions are most-accurately calibrated by the ESA Planck satellite, establishing the present age of the Universe as 13.8 ± 0.02 billion years and today’s Hubble constant of H0=67.4 ± 0.5 km s1 Mpc-1 (Adam G. Riess, 2019).
    A baryonic DM alternative, assuming 3 epochs of baryonic DM, pushes complexity back to the first seconds after the Big Bang, with galaxy-scale complexity arising from two successive epochs of universal gravitational fragmentation of the plasma continuum.

    The alternative to a model-dependent early-universe determination of the Hubble constant is its actual measurement by a distance ladder. Cepheid variables and Ia supernovae are extremely-bright and exceedingly-bright standard candles that can determine the distances to galaxies out to 40 Mpc, which along with their measured redshift allows a straight forward calculation of the Hubble constant. This distance ladder is most-accurately calculated by the SH0ES (Supernovae H0 for the Equation of State) project to be H0=73.5 ±1.4 km s-1 Mpc-1, which is in 4.2σ tension with the early universe prediction (Adam G. Riess, 2019).

    The redshift of hydrogen recombination represents the ratio between the black body temperature at hydrogen recombination (3000 K) and the black body temperature of the CMB today (2.725 K), where z = 3000/2.725 = 1100. But if the primordial photons were slightly warmer than the surrounding plasma at photon decoupling due to photon diffusion out of warm helium collapse centers, then the redshift would be slightly higher, relieving the ~ 9% Hubble tension. A 9% increase in redshift above canonical, relieving the Hubble tension, suggests that the actual redshift of photon decoupling was z = 1.09(3000/2.725) ≈ 1200.

Emergence of baryonic DM following the Dark Ages:

    The gravitational collapse of decoupled helium at second helium recombination is suggested here to have evolved into the DM-dominated dwarf spheroidal galaxies (dSphs) of today.
    DSphs appear to be one of the absolutes of cosmology, exhibiting a typical mass range of 107-108 M☉. This circumscribed mass range along with their primitive DM-dominated composition suggests the Jeans mass fragmentation scale following second helium recombination.

    With early-onset hydrogen recombination occurring during second helium recombination, at z ≈ 1200, the outward diffusion of primordial photons allowed ionized hydrogen to participate in gravitational collapse along with neutral helium. Helium collapse centers may have collapsed down to a 1-10 pc scale before gravitationally fragmenting into dense cores that precipitated Population III stars.
    A significant number of Pop III stars presumably evolved along the asymptotic giant branch (AGB) to end their lives in planetary nebulae, ejecting a sizable portion of their mass as self-gravitating (hydrostatic) planetary-mass gas globules, ‘paleons’, presumably by coronal mass ejection (CME) during the terminal thermally-pulsing AGB phase (TP-AGB phase). Planetary-mass cometary knots (CKs) in planetary nebulae today are suggested to be the modern analogs of primordial paleons, with the Helix nebula as the best example.
    Paleons have large diameters compared to condensed objects like stars, with their scale measured in astronomical units, and these large cross sections presumably allow them to efficiently accrete loose gas, particularly within the high gas density of gravitationally-bound helium collapse centers. CKs in the Helix nebula are estimated to have 60-200 AU diameters (O’Dell and Handron, 1996), although CKs have presumably not reached a quiescent state in their 6,500 year old infancy in the Helix nebula within the ionized bubble of their degenerate white-dwarf host star, while buffeted by high-velocity stellar wind and irradiated by intense X-rays from the emergent white dwarf.

    If the Helix nebula is a modern analog of a primordial Pop III star, with modern CKs as modern analogs of primordial paleons, then it would seem that almost all hydrogen and helium would have had to be processed through Pop III stars that expired in planetary nebula to come anywhere near converting 5/6 of all baryonic matter into DM paleons; however, processing all baryonic matter through Pop III stars is contraindicated by the relative absence of degenerate Pop III stars, in the form of white dwarfs (now black dwarfs) that should have been detected in MACHO microlensing studies. Instead, Pop III star formation efficiency could have been low, with only a moderate number of Pop III stars ending in planetary nebulae, if the resulting paleons were particularly efficient at accreting loose gas, likely bulking up by factors of 100 or more. Indeed, these self-gravitating gas globules within helium collapse centers were presumably so efficient at accreting loose gas within the gravitational wells of helium collapse centers that some exceeded a Jeans mass, promoting gravitational collapse to form Pop II stars.

    Condensed stellar metallicity in the form of dust and ice is not hydrostatically supported and thus would experience sedimentation, falling to the center of mass to ultimately accrete into moon-mass central nuclei.
    Although the paleons must be nearly uniform in gas density so as not to cause noticeable microlensing, their moon-mass central nuclei must have high-density atmospheres, compressed by their gravity and maintained by the surrounding globule gas. And high-density atmospheres over moon-mass nuclei would be particularly effective at reaching the dew point of stellar-metallicity volatiles such as carbon monoxide (CO), causing volatiles to ‘snow out’, thus helping to wring volatile metallicity from gaseous paleons. Dust can be effective at adsorbing volatiles in protoplanetary disks, but if dust uniformly underwent sedimentation in paleons, then paleons must rely on the partial pressure of volatiles reaching the dew point in the high-density atmospheres over moon-mass nuclei.

    Modern CKs may be self-gravitating gas globules that progressively go dark as their stellar metallicity snows out and undergoes sedimentation, and CK accretion may form kilometer-scale comets before ultimately coalescing into solitary moon-mass central nuclei. Moon-mass central nuclei should be the most common condensed objects in the universe in their size range, far outstripping the total number of planets, moons and minor planets in all the star systems in all the galaxies. And escaped paleon and CK comets that ultimately coalesce into icy nuclei may be a significant source of interstellar comets.
    Modern CKs are born with escape velocity from their degenerate, white-dwarf stellar cores, and CKs are very likely also born with escape velocity from their formational star clusters as well, since most modern star clusters are typically much-less massive than their primordial helium collapse centers. If modern CKs have not had the opportunity to engorge on gas within their natal nebulae, then one would expect escaped CKs to be much-much less massive than their primordial counterparts, and being less massive, modern CKs would be more subject to evaporative dissipation. But even if modern CKs are long lived and even if their total numbers are significant, they would still contribute very little to baryonic DM due to their diminutive formational masses, unenhanced by gas accretion within their natal nebulae.

Temperature regulation of paleons:
    The energy absorbed by incident cosmic rays across the large AU-scale surface areas of paleons presumably requires residual concentrations of gaseous stellar metallicity, likely in the form of gaseous CO, to radiate away this thermal energy in order to clamp paleon temperatures below ~ 100 K. Above about 100 K, molecular hydrogen becomes visible in the infrared spectrum, by way of pure-rotational radiation of para-H2 (J = 2 → 1), such that DM paleons need some mechanism to regulate their temperature to remain dark. CO will adsorb onto dust grains in molecular clouds and protoplanetary disks rife with dust; however, paleons are presumed to be dust free due to sedimentation. Thus, for a paleon to be dark, it would need an alternative mechanism to regulate gaseous CO, which suggests condensation in a high-density atmosphere over an icy nucleus.
    Gaseous CO snows out at the triple point temperature and partial pressure of 67.9 K and 15.35 kPa, respectively. An excess concentration of gaseous CO will lower the gas temperature below the triple point, causing CO to snow out where the partial pressure of CO exceeds 115.35 kPa. The resulting loss of gaseous CO will cause the temperature to drift up toward the regulating triple-point temperature. Likewise, an insufficient concentration of gaseous CO will allow the gas temperature to exceed the triple-point temperature, causing sublimation of CO ice from the icy nucleus. The resulting increase in gaseous CO will cause the temperature to drift down toward the regulating triple-point temperature. Thus the gaseous CO concentration presumably regulates the temperature over the icy nucleus around the 67.9 K triple-point temperature, assuming the atmospheric pressure over the moon-mass nucleus is sufficient to raise the partial pressure of CO to 15.35 kPa.
    For paleons to be dark, the CO concentration may have to be regulated to a couple orders of magnitude below the ~ 1% solar metallicity level, or so, which would require a high-density atmospheric pressure over icy nuclei of several hundred bar, or higher. An Earth-mass paleon with (an improbable) solar metallicity would possess an icy-nucleus with a mass equivalent to Earth’s Moon. The thought of Earth’s Moon having a several hundred bar atmosphere seems improbable, until one considers that the icy nucleus is surrounded by an almost an infinite source of gas to compress.
    Paleons acquire a majority of their energy input from cosmic rays that dissipate their energy through collisions in the outer envelope of gas globules, with the vast majority of photons passing straight through without absorption or scattering. Paleons also actively accrete stellar metallicity across their vast AU-scale surfaces, including gaseous CO. While the outer envelope may be warmer than the bulk globule due to cosmic ray input, the overall temperature profile of paleons may trace the radial specific concentration of gaseous CO, and in the case of active accretion, the outer envelope may acquire higher concentrations of stellar metallicity than the bulk globule. And elevated stellar metallicity in the outer envelope may cause a temperature inversion, resulting in sinking plumes toward the core. Thus, a positive radial metallicity gradient, due to active accretion may result in thermal convection, causing sinking plumes of cooler, denser higher-metallicity gas falling from the envelope toward the warmer center of mass where the icy nucleus resides. And metallicity enrichment in sinking plumes must continuously radiate away the temperature rise due to increasing head-pressure compression as the plume sinks toward the center of mass, where its metallicity snows out due to the high pressure over the icy nucleus.

Bok globules:
   Bok globules are small high-density molecular clouds, with a roughly spherical shape < 100 M☉. Bok globules are often embedded in larger, less-dense molecular clumps with indeterminate shapes, which is unsurprising if Bok globules are bloated paleons feeding on the larger molecular clumps. When paleons are in an active feeding frenzy, they become visible, due to the accreted stellar metallicity that hasn’t had a chance to settle at the center of mass. The mass definition of Bok globules, being less than 100 stellar masses, may indicate a progressively increasing propensity to nucleate stars with increasing mass. Stellar wind from embedded star formation may fragment Bok globules into smaller ‘droplets’, many of which are likely to be self gravitating, but which haven’t yet concentrated their stellar metallicity.
  When spiral density waves compress interstellar gas, the resulting turbulence may make direct collapse problematic. Fortuitous paleon interlopers in the vicinity of gas concentrations may act as low entropy seeds, overcoming the turbulence hurdle. The high density of hydrostatic paleons may be adept at converting the turbulence of accreted gas into thermal energy that can be radiated away as infrared photons. Additionally, the compact high-density gas in paleons reduces its specific radiation exposure by nearby hot stars and cosmic rays, making accreting-paleon Bok globules cooler than the surrounding gas they’re devouring. The density of Bok globules in molecular clouds may be a good indication of the density of paleons in the solar neighborhood of the disk plane. And the presumed relative paucity of paleons in the disk plane of spiral galaxies presumably affects the IMF of the resulting stars, possibly skewing the stellar IMF toward more massive stars, compared to gas starved globules in dSphs.

Self-gravitating gas globules as hydrogen snow clouds:

    The above speculation of gas globule temperature regulation by CO concentration regulation is challenged by rigorous scientific modeling of hydrostatic spherical gas globules across the range of scales from 10-8 M☉ to 0.1 M☉, from a minimum self-gravitating gas-globule mass up to about a Jeans mass, which predicts and calculates the occurrence of hydrogen snow.

    This scientific model predicts predicts the occurrence of hydrogen snow and quantifies its physical effects. The density and pressure of hydrostatic gas globules decreases radially outward, where the vast majority of the mass is contained in a densified ‘core’, surrounded by a more-rarified ‘envelope’. This scientific model predicts a temperature inversion caused by hydrogen snowfall, where the core temperature is higher than the surrounding envelope. Hydrogen snow condenses in the cold envelope and falls by sedimentation into the warmer core where it sublimes. This hydrogen snowfall depletes hydrogen in the envelope and enriches it in the core creating a H-He stratification density inversion. This resulting density inversion drives buoyant convection which pumps heat from the cold envelope to the warmer core up a heat gradient, like a heat pump, forcing portions of the envelope to drop below the CMB temperature. This simplified scientific model model does not address the radiant cooling effects of stellar metallicity, instead assuming radiant cooling by hydrogen snowflakes and by the pure rotation line of para-H2, with radiant cooling predominantly occurring from the warmer core.
(Walker and Wardle, 2019)

    This Walker-Wardle model predicts that hydrogen snowfall creates an H-He density inversion that results in a temperature inversion—this despite the major source of energy input that drives the temperature and density inversion, in the form of incident cosmic rays, dissipates its energy in the cooler envelope, since cosmic rays can not penetrate to the core, and despite the phase change of hydrogen snow that pumps heat in the opposite direction, from the core to the envelope, where exothermic freezing of hydrogen snow in the envelope is followed by endothermic sublimation in the core.

Evolution of helium collapse centers into globular clusters and dSphs:

    In the warmer densified cores of proto-spiral galaxies (rebound-bifurcated neutron collapse centers), second-helium recombination lagged behind recombination in more rarified regions. One might assume that lagging second-helium recombination resulted in delayed helium collapse in densified proto-spiral galaxies; however, the tiny temperature anisotropy in the CMB today, on the order of 1 part in ten thousand, appears to preclude staged helium collapse, which suggests instead that helium collapse was nearly simultaneous everywhere. For helium collapse to be a near simultaneous event rather than a staggered progression, helium collapse in the cooler relative voids between proto-spiral galaxies must have quickly spread through the denser proto-spiral galaxies at the speed of gravity. Thus, local helium collapse in the cooler relative voids presumably triggered global helium collapse.
    Second-helium recombination lagged in the warmer densified regions of proto-spiral galaxies, with the percentage of recombined neutral helium affecting the Jeans mass scale at triggered helium collapse. A lagging rate of second-helium recombination in densified regions dictated a larger Jeans mass, resulting in the triggered collapse of oversized helium collapse centers that underwent sub-fragmentation as second-helium recombination ran to completion, progressively lowering the Jeans mass due to progressive second-helium recombination.
    The scale of sub-fragmentation collapse centers may have been less massive than helium collapse centers in the relative voids between proto-spiral galaxies that did not undergo sub-fragmentation. The result of a low mass due to sub-fragmentation may have been insufficient mass to retain the vast majority of paleons born by coronal mass ejection from TP-AGB Pop III stars, with paleons born with ejection speeds of 10s of kilometers per second; i.e., most paleons may have been born with escape velocity from low-mass sub-fragmentation collapse centers. And a dearth of retained paleons reduced the competition for gas, allowing the retained paleons to grow fat by accretion, with many exceeding a Jeans mass which collapsed to form Pop II stars, converting low-mass sub-fragmentation collapse centers into globular clusters. Globular clusters often possess at least two generations of Pop II stars, which is in line with a paleon model, where sub-Jeans mass paleons were pushed over the Jeans mass threshold while mopping up the aftermath of first-generation Pop II stars, and the early demise of massive Pop II stars.

    Alternatively, perhaps a dearth of paleons in helium collapse centers formed in densified regions could be attributable to an altered initial mass function (IMF) of their Pop III stars. An elevated or lowered IMF that resulted in fewer Pop III stars expiring as TP-AGB stars would have also formed fewer paleons. And with less competition for gas, more of the sparse paleons exceeded a Jeans mass, forming Pop II stars.
    The extreme pithiness of dSphs and the diminutive masses of globular clusters compared to dSphs suggest the former possibility (sub-fragmentation) rather than the latter (altered Pop III star IMFs), for the conversion of collapse centers in the densified cores of proto-spiral galaxies into globular clusters; however, a diminutive sub-fragmentation mass might be the cause of altered IMFs by some unimagined mechanism.

Luminosity-size plane comparing globular clusters (GCs) with dwarf spheroidal galaxies (dSphs)borrowed from Norris et al., 2015, Is There a Fundamental Upper Limit to the Mass of a Star Cluster?

    Dwarf spheroidal galaxies are small spherical galaxies with little dust and gas that tend to be very dim, and can span several orders of magnitude in luminosity. They have older stellar populations, like globular clusters, but with radii that are many times larger than globular clusters. And unlike globular clusters, dSphs tend to be DM dominated–indeed, they may be the most DM dominated of all galaxies. “Despite the broad range of observed luminosities, the dark matter masses for all of the pre-SDSS satellites are constrained to within relatively narrow range, approximately ∼ [1 − 6] × 107 M☉ within their inner 600 pc.” (Strigari et al., 2007) Visually, low-luminosity dSphs can be difficult to discriminate from star clusters of the Galactic plane; however, dSphs exhibit more complex star formation histories than star clusters, where dSphs typically contain stars of distinctly different ages, indicating multiple star bursts at distinct intervals.

    Giant elliptical galaxies have many times as many globular clusters as spiral galaxies, with M87 having as many as 13,000 globular clusters. Additionally, some studies have concluded that giant elliptical galaxies have little or no dark matter at all. While rotation is difficult to measure in ellipticals, a 2013 gravitational lensing study eliminates this difficulty by measuring Einstein rings of quasars by gravitational lensing. They concluded that DM if present at all does not exceed the amount of luminous matter and its density follows that of luminous matter, in sharp contrast with spiral galaxies (Margain and Chantry, 2013). Giant elliptical galaxies are often understood to have formed from the merger of large spiral galaxies, and a higher proportion of globular clusters suggests that giant elliptical galaxies may have formed in particularly dense regions with a particularly-large proportion of oversized helium collapse centers that underwent sub-fragmentation to form a particularly-high density of globular clusters.

Fornax dSph has 5 globluar clusters:
    Fornax dSph is the only known dwarf spheroidal galaxy to possess globular clusters. This arrangement suggests that Fornax dSph may have formed in the densified core of a proto-spiral galaxy with an elevated Jeans mass scale. As the proto-Fornax collapse progressed, second-helium recombination ran to completion, progressively lowering the Jeans mass scale, causing the oversized proto-Fornax helium collapse center to gravitationally fragment into 5 smaller collapse centers that were gravitationally bound to one another.
    If these proto-Fornax sub-fragmentation centers were too diminutive to retain the majority of the CKs ejected from their Pop III stars, then the sub-fragmentations may have evolved into globular clusters. And if the greater proto-Fornax collapse center retained the CKs lost by the sub-fragmentations, then the greater proto-Fornax collapse center would have a super abundance of paleons that failed to reach a Jeans mass. Sub-fragmentation may have been very common in the core of the Milky Way, whereupon Galactic tidal forces ripped the globular clusters from their oversized collapse centers. Presumably, the proto-Fornax collapse center was ejected from a nearby spiral galaxy core, likely either the Milky Way or one of the Magellanic Clouds, allowing Fornax dSph to retain its sub-fragmentation globular clusters. By comparison, less-massive helium collapse centers in the proto-Milky Way halo presumably did not experience sub-fragmentation and thus did not spawn globular clusters.
    The fact that dynamical friction hasn’t pulled any of these globular clusters into the center of the galaxy may say something about the nature of paleon DM.

Helium enrichment in the cores of globular clusters:
    Helium collapse at second-helium recombination predicts helium enrichment in the cores of helium collapse centers that translates to helium enrichment in the cores of sub-fragmentations that evolved into globular clusters, where early star formation may preserve the helium enrichment. Indeed a number of globular clusters exhibit a distinct population of helium-rich stars in their cores, which are surrounded by a more distant population of normal-helium stars. The measured primordial helium mass fraction of the universe is Y = 0.247, where the most helium-enriched stellar populations in globular clusters can be as high as Y = 0.4 (Fare et al., 2018).
    Stars with elevated helium evolve faster than normal-helium stars, converting the more-massive enriched-helium stars into less-massive stellar remnants, such that the average enriched-helium stars in the core are less massive than the average normal-helium stars in the periphery. This top heavy mass distribution promotes mass segregation, causing the more-massive normal-helium stars to displace the elevated-helium stars in the core in a dynamic flip-flop.

    DM-dominated dSphs are the DM subhaloes sought after by ΛCDM, although their origins are the catastrophism of gravitational collapse of neutral helium DM at second-helium recombination, rather than the gradualism of accretion.

Cometary knots (CKs) in the Helix nebula:

    The Helix planetary nebula is estimated to possess 40,000 cometary knots (Matsuura et al 2009).
    (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 1025 g to 4 x 1026, with a CK mass range of ~ 4 x 1025 g to 4 x 1026 g and radii of 60-200 AU, based on the distance to the nebula of 213 pc. This suggests a circa Mars mass (6.4 x 1026 g) upper range for CKs. CKs are non-existent less than 115″ from the host star, and increase in number to the point of overlapping at a distance of 180″. “The fact that there are none in the innermost region argues that the Cometary Knots are confined to a flattened volume rather than being spherically distributed.”
    (O’Dell and Handron, 1996) suggest Rayleigh-Taylor instability for CK formation, either in the late planetary nebula phase or early ‘primordial’ accretion disk phase of the young stellar object.

    Manly Astrophysics (Walker et al. 2017) presumes preexisting self-gravitating planetary-mass paleons become gravitationally bound within the Hill spheres of their host stars at stellar formation, with the cometary knots of the Helix nebula as a luminous example of this otherwise dark form of baryonic matter.

    The alternative suggested here is CK formation by massive CME during the terminal TP-AGB phase of moderate mass stars.

    CKs in planetary nebulae today are suggested here to be the modern analogs to primordial CKs of Pop III stars that swelled with accretion then went dark to become DM paleons. The analogy may be almost exact, or it may be somewhat more distant, due to differences in stellar metallicity and ambient conditions, such that modern CKs might not be be self-gravitating gas globules, although they very likely are.

Quasar scintillation:

    Manly Astrophysics (Walker et al., 2017) proposes baryonic DM in the form of planetary-mass globules of self-gravitating gas in hydrostatic equilibrium, coining the term ‘paleons’ for their presumed old age. Their evidence for paleons comes from the scintillation of distant quasars by foreground plasma. Recent publications have isolated these scintillating plasma masses within or just beyond the Hill spheres of hot A stars. Curiously, the scintillating plasma in the vicinity of hot A stars is radially elongated toward the hot stars, and the plasma has a relatively-small differential velocity with respect to their presumed host stars. The quantity of gas globules (~ 105) necessary to explain the rate of observed quasar scintillation around hot stars is calculated to be on the order of the mass of the host star itself, assuming paleons are long-lived hydrostatic objects that require a planetary-mass to be self gravitating. Manly Astrophysics hypothesizes that ~ 105 paleons are gravitationally bound within the Hill spheres of hot stars, which are nominally detectable only by quasar scintillation around hot stars, but may become fully visible in bright planetary nebulae.
    The evidence that gas globules within the Hill spheres of hot stars are approximately equivalent to the masses of the host stars themselves presumes that the scintillation is caused by self-gravitating gas globules and secondly, from a piece of indirect logic. The radial scintillation pointing to Iota Centauri (Alhakim) is 1.75 pc from its presumed host star, but for a distance of 1.75 pc to lie within the Hill sphere of Iota Centauri requires an additional 5 M☉, with the additional mass presumably in the form of paleons.

    Alternatively, it is suggested here that hot-star quasar scintillation is caused by hot-star ionization of their own CMEs, with hot-star CMEs having a log-scale intermediate mass between the diminutive mass of solar CMEs and the planetary mass of CKs in planetary nebulae. This requires a continual production of CMEs with escape velocity to keep the Roche spheres sufficiently populated to explain the frequency of observed quasar scintillation.
    Solar CMEs have varying ejection velocities, some slower than the mean solar wind velocity of 145 km/s and some faster, where solar CME interaction with the solar wind speeds up the slower ones and slows down the faster ones. The 40 km/s expansion rate of the inner ring of the Helix nebula (O’Dell et al., 2004) has apparently overtaken the CKs to create cometary tails, indicating a lower radial velocity for the CKs themselves, suggesting that larger CMEs may have lower speeds.

    The expansion rate of solar CMEs reduces the electron density to about 10 cm-3 at a radial distance of 1 AU, falling off rapidly as a function of R-3 (University of Reading, PROPAGATION OF INFORMATION WITHIN CORONAL MASS EJECTION). Coincidentally, the 1 AU solar electron density of 10 cm-3 is the calculated electron density responsible for intra-day variability (IDV) quasar scintillation (Tuntsov, Bignall and Walker 2013).
    The Manly Astrophysics calculated quantity of scintillating plasma masses (105) within hot star Roche spheres should not be an impediment for a CME origin, considering that solar CME are created at a rate of about 3 a day near solar maxima, and one every 5 days near solar minima (NASA archive, ‘Coronal Mass Ejection’); however, exponential expansion of CMEs may not require nearly as many ejections to create the observed rate of quasar scintillation, if exponentially-expanding hot star CME become become significantly larger than hydrostatic paleons at parsec-scale distances from hot stars.
    The first stellar CME was measured in 2019 around OU Andromedae (HR 9024), with a calculated CME mass of 1.2 +2.6 -0.8 x 1021 g and a velocity of 90 +/- 30 km/s (Argiroffi et al., 2019), which is about 6 orders of magnitude more massive than solar CMEs. By a naive calculation (beginning with the same volume as a solar CME but 106 more massive and expanding at a constant R-3 rate) an OU Andromedae mass CME would only drop off to an electron density of 10 cm-3 at a distance of 4-1/2 pc, well beyond the Roche sphere of even the largest A type stars. More realistically, the original CME volume of an OU Andromeda-mass CME would be considerably larger than a solar CME, but presumably by the mass factor of 106, and the expansion rate for a vastly-larger initial mass might differ from the solar CME expansion rate.

    Additionally, there may be a connection between variable stars and massive CMEs, considering TP-AGB stars as the mother of all variable stars that eject planetary-mass CKs. And indeed, the first CME event recorded on a star beyond the sun is a variable star with fast rotation, OU Andromedae (HR 9024). Additionally, 2 recent quasar scintillation studies, with ionization attributed to hot stars, involve variable stars. A 2019 study (Bignall et al., 2019) of scintillating quasar, PKS B1322−110, attributes scintillating ionization to hot variable star, Spica. A 2017 study (Walker et al., 2017) of two scintillating quasars, J1819+3845 and PKS1257-326.
– J1819+3845: Quasar line of sight passes through the Hill sphere of the rapidly-rotating hot variable star, Vega at a radial distance of 0.461 pc.
– PKS1257-326: Quasar line of sight passes through the Hill sphere of the hot variable star HD 112934 at a distance of 0.16 pc; however, the orientation of the scintillating plasma is not parallel with the line joining the star and the radio source, so HD 112934 is rejected as the host star in favor of Iota Centauri (Alhakim), at more than 10 times the radial distance of 1.75 pc. But for the 1.75 pc radial distance of Alhakim to lie within the Hill sphere of Alhakim would minimally require an additional mass of 5 M☉, tripling the mass of the system, which the authors presume to be composed of planetary-mass paleons.

Molecular filaments in molecular clouds:

    Circa .1 parsec wide molecular filaments in IRDCs are counterintuitive from a gravitational collapse perspective, and suggest electromagnetic involvement. Electromagnetic involvement might arise from paleon streams from disrupted dSphs plowing through molecular clouds that have an ionized component. A paleon stream on an inclined orbit around the Galaxy that passes through a densified interstellar cloud will tend to entrain gas into parallel moving streams like cometary tails. And if these parallel moving streams incorporate ionized gas, then the parallel moving charges will create parallel magnetic fields that tend to pinch together, like two parallel wires carrying electric current flowing in the same direction, which may form the ~ .1 pc wide molecular filaments.
    If densified molecular filaments fortuitously incorporate primordial paleons, or their modern CK equivalents, these self-gravitating gas globules will feed on the magnetically-densified gas and may quickly grow to the scale of Bok globules that exceed a Jeans mass. Molecular filaments are well known stellar nurseries, and their star formation is suggested here to be likely attributable to preexisting gas globules fortuitously incorporated into molecular filaments.
    Molecular filaments are sometimes associated with a higher-level structure, where filaments bunch together to form ‘hub filaments’. Again this may be a magnetic effect, causing magnetic filaments to pinch together to form a higher-level structure with the central hub as massive as ≳ 1000 M⊙ pc-1 (Tokuda et al., 2019).

Broad-line region (BLR) clouds and G-objects around SMBHs:

  Extreme conditions around SMBHs may make paleons visible by subliming and/or vaporizing a significant portion of their metallicity. These extreme conditions also highlight the durability of paleons.

BLR clouds:
  X-ray absorption variability is a common feature of active galactic nuclei (AGN). Short-term X-ray variability of the AU-scale X-ray emitting accretion disk around AGN, on time scales as short as a few hundred seconds, is modeled by occultation of dense AU-scale clouds orbiting thousands of gravitational radii from the SMBH. Modeling suggests the following parameters for the occluding clouds:
– column densities of at least a few 1023 cm-2
– linear dimensions of the order of 1013–1014 cm
– orbital velocities in excess of 103 km s-1
– densities n∼1010–1011 cm-3
– orbital distance corresponding to 1016–1017 cm, for black hole mass in the range from 106 to a few 107 solar masses
(Risaliti et al., 2010)

  Additionally, 6 gassy ‘G-objects’ have been discovered orbiting our Milky Way’s SMBH, SgrA*, with orbital periods ranging from 170 to 1,600 years. One G-object, G2, survived SgrA* periapsis in 2014, but experienced tidal elongation and revealed a dusty interior. Subsequent, to periapsis, G2 appears to be becoming more compact again.
  A recent analysis of 13 years’ of near infrared data from Keck Observatory tripled the number of G-objects from 2 to 6 (Ciurlo et al., 2019). The authors suggested recent binary-stellar mergers for the gassy/dusty objects, where binary mergers may have been induced by interaction with SgrA*, but they can not rule out gas globules as the composition of G-objects.


    Three epochs of baryonic DM is more predictive and explanatory than exotic DM, and far more specific on timing. Three epochs predicts top-down formation of twin-binary pairs of proto-spiral galaxies at BBN, complete with primordial SMBHs, and predicts fragmentation at second-helium recombination into collapse centers that evolved into DM-dominated dSphs and globular clusters, explaining the origin and nature of DM in dSphs and its absence in globular clusters. Additionally, three epochs explains star formation today as accreting paleons larger than a Jeans mass, and possibly explains stellar-nursery molecular-hydrogen filaments, in a baryonic-DM context.
    By comparison, exotic DM struggles to explain early SMBHs (> z = 6), and struggles to explain the relative absence of luminous baryonic matter in dSphs, with the ’too big to fail problem’. And exotic DM relies on fine tuning or secondary mechanisms to explain away the complete absence of DM in globular clusters, such fine tuning the temperature of warm DM or secondary mechanisms, such as exotic DM ejection by globular cluster supernovae.

    The canonical baryon-to-photon ratio predicts the observed D/H ratio within uncertainties, whereas the observed D/H ratio is problematic for a baryonic DM theory requiring a 6-fold increased baryon-to-photon ratio. Neutron collapse predicts a deviation in canonical conditions at BBN. In particular, an increased expansion rate in the relative voids between neutron collapse centers may have increased the amount of unreacted deuterium at the conclusion of BBN, fortuitously offsetting the effect of a 6-fold increased baryon-to-photon ratio required by a baryonic DM theory. Additionally, electrostatic rebound in neutron collapse centers caused an increased expansion rate by the end of BBN in proto-spiral galaxies as well, again fortuitously offsetting the effect of a 6-fold increased baryon-to-photon ratio. But in rebounded (proto-)spiral galaxies there is some indication that the increased expansion rate over compensated for the increased baryon-to-photon ratio, resulting in an enriched D/H ratio.
    This fortuitous offsetting of a a 6-fold increased baryon-to-photon ratio on the primordial D/H ratio by an increased expansion rate caused by neutron collapse is perhaps the greatest hurdle for any baryonic DM theory.

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    Our former binary Sun is suggested to have spiraled in and merged in a luminous red nova (LRN) at 4,567 Ma, creating a solar-merger debris disk from which asteroids and chondrites condensed by streaming instability. The stellar merger presumably created many of the live short-lived radionuclides (SLRs) of the early solar system, alleviating the proximity, timing and mixing problems of external injection of SLRs into the dark core from which our Sun formed. In particular,
53Mn is copiously produced in core collapse supernovae, whereas our early solar system has a relative absence of 53Mn.

    Additionally, carbonaceous chondrite anhydrous minerals (CCAM), including CAIs and chondrules, are significantly enriched in 16O compared to Earth. This may point to stellar-merger core temperatures having exceeded 100 million Kelvins, where helium burning (triple-alpha process) begins. Helium burning would also have enriched the Sun and its (4,567 Ma) stellar-merger debris disk in 12C as well as 16O; however, 12C enrichment is difficult to discriminate from mass fractionation. Oxygen-16 enrichment has the advantage of having two other stable isotopes to compare with (17O and 18O), thus washing out the effects of mass-dependent fractionation.

    Carbonaceous chondrite anhydrous minerals (CCAM), including CAIs and chondrules, plot with a slope near 1 on the 3-oxygen-isotope graph of δ17O vs. δ18O. A slope of 1 represents 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 processed material off of the slope of 1.) By comparison, complete fractionation plots with a nominal slope of 1/2, where 17O is almost exactly half as fractionated as 18O with respect to 16O. The terrestrial fractionation line (TFL) plots with a slope of .52, nominally 1/2.

    The Mars fractionation line lies slightly above the TFL on the 3-oxygen-isotope plot, indicating a slight 16O enrichment in terrestrial materials compared to Martian meteorites. By comparison, most CCAM materials condensed from the stellar-merger debris disk are much more enriched in 16O than Earth, causing them to plot significantly below and to the left of most terrestrial materials, indicating lower δ17O (plotting below the TFL) and lower δ18O (plotting to the left of most terrestrial materials).

3-Oxygen-Isotope Plot

A solar system origin of the SLRs and stable isotope enrichments eliminates the necessity for a nucleosynthesis event close to solar formation, potentially removing several ad hoc variables. Both the fortuitous proximity and fortuitous timing of nearby nucleosynthesis injection is eliminated by using the first condensates of the stellar merger (CAIs) to define t = 0 for the solar system. And if CAIs with canonical 26Al/27Al concentration were condensed from polar jets squirting from the merging stellar cores, then the symmetry of the binary spiral-in merger may explain the canonical 26Al/27Al homogeneity, which otherwise requires ad hoc homogenous mixing of material injected from a nearby supernova or asymptotic giant branch (AGB) star. And, the ad hoc dilution factor of nearby nucleosynthesis is effectively eliminated, if all but a sprinkling of pristine presolar grains are stellar-merger debris. And finally, the late nucleosynthesis event would be scaled back by the ‘dilution factor’, where the dilution factor is the ratio of late remote input by a supernova or AGB star to the diluting background gas. A stellar merger also eliminates the dynamic disruption of an energetic event close to solar formation on the gravitational collapse of a Jeans mass.

So far, no modeling of local Galactic chemical evolution, core collapse supernovae, AGB stars and/or neutron star mergers can provide the recipe of our early solar system, particularly for f-process radionuclides which still can not be well modeled. A binary spiral-in merger, which would certainly engender a degree of nucleosynthesis, would eliminate at least 3 variables of the early solar system in the form of timing, proximity and dilution factor of a fortuitous event. The bullseye symmetry of a defining event (versus the offset asymmetry of a fortuitous event) also eliminates the improbable outcome of homogenous mixing (canonical 26Al/27Al) of external input from a high-energy event into a delicate Jeans mass.


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

Ptygmatic folds in gneiss, Helsinki Finland
–used with permission of Sameli Kujala,


    Gneissic continental basement rock is suggested here to be extraterrestrial in origin, from aqueously-differentiated Kuiper belt objects (KBOs), with terrestrial emplacement during the late heavy bombardment (LHB), circa 4.1-3.8 Ga.

    An extraterrestrial origin for gneiss requires an alternative solar system origin, with hot classical KBOs ‘condensing’ by streaming instability against Neptune’s outer 2:3 resonance from a siderophile-depleted debris disk reservoir prior to 4,567 Ma that lay on the 3-oxygen-isotope terrestrial fractionation line. The siderophile-depleted composition of the debris disk and its oxygen isotopic signature is a requirement of an alternative planet formation mechanism that predicts and explains the three sets of twin-binary planets of the solar system, namely, Jupiter-Saturn, Uranus-Neptune and Venus-Earth.

    ‘Condensation’ of KBOs by streaming instability converted the potential energy of the dust and ice into heat during freefall collapse, with ‘large’ KBOs exceeding the melting point of water ice, initiating ‘aqueous differentiation’.
    Aqueous differentiation was accompanied by authigenic crystallization of silicates within a saltwater core, precipitating mineral grains with a gneissic composition that fell out of aqueous suspension at a mineral grain size determined by the microgravitational acceleration and by the local circulation rate. This formed authigenic sedimentary cores with a gneissic composition.
    Much of the authigenic sedimentation was modulated into banded migmatite sediments, presumably by sawtooth pH variations resulting from subsidence shocks that caused dissolved carbon dioxide to catastrophically bubble out of solution, raising the pH. Aluminous mineral-species solubility is particularly pH sensitive, such that when subsidence shocks catastrophically raised the pH, aluminous minerals rapidly precipitated, predominantly as felsic feldspars. Thus felsic-leucosome mineral grains are suggested to have precipitated rapidly following subsidence events, while more-mafic melanosome mineral grains precipitated in the relative quiescence between repeated subsidence shocks.
    Slump folding occurred during lithification, accounting for a majority of supposed metamorphic folding in continental basement rock.

    Geochronology of KBO rock dates to its apparent age at its closure temperature. As gneissic KBO core rock exhumes from deep within its LHB-era impact basins within hte lithosphere, the rock undergoes retrograde metamorphism during cooling and depressurization. When KBO rock cools to the ‘closure temperature’, its mineral grains begin to retain the daughter products of radioactive decay, initiating the geochronological clock that had been reset by the high temperatures inherent in terrestrial metamorphism at its impact-implanted depth.


    In conventional geology, migmatite differentiation occurs at sufficient depth and temperature to initiate partial melting of a protolith, accompanied by physical segregation of the partial melt into enriched felsic leucosomes and depleted mafic melanosomes, with residual mesosomes, where lower-melting-point minerals are extruded 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 of migmatite can not explain the local enrichments and depletions of felsic and mafic layering, and so externally-derived melt is needed for mass balance. “Commingling and mixing of mafic and felsic magmas” is also suggested as an explanation for alternating felsic/mafic layers. (Sandeman et al., 2000)

    Aqueous differentiation presumably occurs at formation by streaming instability, where the potential energy released during gravitational collapse melts water ice and liberates nebular dust, that dissolves and crystallizes into authigenic mineral grains that fall out of aqueous suspension at a mineral grain size dependent on the microgravitational acceleration and on the local circulation rate.
    Felsic-mafic modulation is suggested to be caused by pH modulation controlled by the concentration of carbonic acid in solution. Carbonic acid solubility is shock sensitive, such that subsidence events during KBO cooling are suggested to control the alternating felsic-mafic deposition. Since precipitation is governed by solute loads and pH excursions of the overlying saltwater ocean, the mass balance problem of conventional geology is moot.

    Metamorphic overprinting is nearly an exact science in conventional geology, often revealing timing, degree and direction of multiple tectonic episodes. Compared to overprinting, however, the origin of primary folding is often much more problematic. Primary isoclinal folding is often dismissed as sheath folds, fortuitously sectioned through their nose, since randomly-oriented isoclinal folds on various scales can not be explained by conventional geology.

    Alternatively, primary folding in migmatites is suggested to be simple slump folding in KBO sediments during the destruction of voids phase of lithification, long before Earth impact.

    Ptygmatic folds in migmatites are the most challenging types of folds for conventional geology, particularly in the most dramatic specimens where ptygma fold back on themselves like ribbon candy. Two unconventional explanations for terrestrial folding are presented that attempt to circumvent the most glaring shortcomings of partial-melt theory alone.

Stel (1999) theory of ptygma:
    One suggested solution to ptygma enigma is a progressive replacement front which migrates away from the vein boundary, in which “volume loss takes place in the vein mantles, while the limbs of the folds increase in volume” (Stel, 1999). Harry Stel agrees with Brown (Brown et al.,1995) that “ptygmatic structures are not ‘diagnostic’ for the presence of partial melt phases in migmatites”, and “[t]he most direct evidence for the relation of fluid activity and mica breakdown is the presence of offshoot veinlets”, with some veinlets exhibiting relict foliation of the host rock, indicating that veinlets are not melt-injection structures, where ‘fluid’ is understood to be an aqueous brine.

Stel critique:
    The typically narrow melanosome ‘shadows’ surrounding much-fatter ptygmatic leucosome veins would require additional distant felsic input for mass balance. Additionally, no motive force is offered as an explanation to drive the replacement front, and no explanation is provided for why here and not there.

Shelley (1968) theory of ptygma:

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

The ptygmatic veins, having a relatively
small surface area for internal volume,
were formed as a result of expansion of
the vein material during growth and
simultaneous accommodation of the host.
Possible mechanisms are that the initial
cracking of the rock is the result of high
water pressures developed during
metamorphism and that the vein expansion
results from internal forces created during
crystallization of the vein mineral from
highly supersaturated solutions.
(Shelley 1968)

Shelley critique:
    Shelley states that the force of crystallization within veins creates expansion of veins into the accommodating surrounding host. Shelley does not waffle between melts and (aqueous) ‘solutions’ as Stel appears to do with his “not ‘diagnostic'” remark, and Shelley is does not confine himself to (superficial) replacement fronts, but states that the driving force is caused crystallization on bulk mineral grains in the vein.
    Shelley’s mechanism is essentially the very mechanism suggested to operate in an authogenic sedimentary KBO setting, but Shelley is constrained to operate within dense lithified rock undergoing metamorphism at depth and temperature on Earth. By comparison, crystallization during lithification of KBO sediments operates on unconsolidated/partly-consolidated sediments, where the ptygma are able to fold into the voids vacated by escaping hydrothermal fluids during lithification.

Gneiss domes:
    “Most gneiss domes are elongate parallel to the strike of the orogen” (Whitney et al., 2004)
    “Domes with long dimension ≤90 km have a ratio of long to short axes of ~2:1–3:1.” “Despite
the wide range of dimensions, most gneiss domes have map-view axial ratios between 1:1 and 3.5:1, independent of the size of the dome (Fig. 5B), indicating that the elliptical shape is independent
of dome size.” (Whitney et al., 2004)
    In linear belts of gneiss domes, there may be a characteristic spacing between domes (Fletcher, 1972; Yin, 1991); e.g., 40–50 km in the northern Cordillera (e.g., the Frenchman Cap, Thor-Odin, Pinnacles, Passmore-Valhalla domes of the Shuswap metamorphic complex; Whitney et al. [2004]), 25 ± 5 km in the northern Appalachians (Fletcher, 1972), and 8–22 km along ridges in the Karelides gneiss domes of eastern Finland (Brun, 1980)” (Whitney et al., 2004)
    Gneiss dome formation is far from settled science in conventional geology, with numerous proposed mechanisms representing differing theories and differing contexts.
    Alternatively, gneiss domes are suggested here to be anticline wrinkles on the former KBO sedimentary core, as the core densifies by expelling aqueous solution during lithification, like the skin of a grape wrinkling as it shrivels to form a raisin.

(Revised 20200911)
Alternative solar system dynamics:

(optional reading)

    An extraterrestrial origin for continental basement rock places stringent constraints on the composition of hot-classical KBOs, namely a siderophile-depleted composition that lies on the three-oxygen-isotope terrestrial fractionation line (TFL), with sufficient buoyancy to float above the terrestrial ocean plates and stand proud above sea level. The inner solar system asteroids and chondrites possess none of these properties, requiring that the high-angular-momentum hot classical KBOs formed from a different reservoir than the low-angular-momentum reservoir that formed the inner solar system asteroids and chondrites.

‘Symmetrical FFF’ and ‘trifurcation’:
    A former binary-Companion and three sets of twin-binary planets in our solar system-Jupiter-Saturn, Uranus-Neptune, and Venus-Earth-are suggested here to have formed in 4 generations, like Russian nesting dolls from a former ‘Brown Dwarf’, the original stellar core of our solar system.
    Brown Dwarf formed at the center of a massive accretion disk, where the accretion disk was much-more massive than the diminutive brown-dwarf-mass protostellar core. The accretion disk underwent a bilateral disk instability (symmetrical flip-flop fragmentation (FFF)), condensing a twin-binary pair of disk-instability objects, which were much more massive than the Brown Dwarf core. During a brief period of orbital interplay, the protostellar disk instability objects progressively ‘evaporated’ Brown Dwarf into a circumbinary orbit, with the disk instability objects collapsing to form ‘binary-Sun’. And the orbital dynamics that evaporated Brown Dwarf into a hierarchical circumbinary orbit around former binary-Sun also caused Brown Dwarf to ‘spin up’ and undergo centrifugal fragmentation, by way of ‘trifurcation’.
    In orbital close encounters between objects with differing masses, the principle of ‘equipartition’ of kinetic energy dictates that the less massive object typically leaves the close encounter with a kinetic-energy kick at the expense of the more-massive object, tending to evaporate Brown Dwarf into a circumbinary orbit at the expense of the much-more-massive stellar components, which sank inward into a close-binary pair. But not only did Brown Dwarf gain orbital energy and angular momentum kicks, but it also received rotational spin up to the point of centrifugal fragmentation. Brown Dwarf was evaporated into a circumbinary orbit around binary-Sun at a distance of about 15 AU, but not before centrifugal fragmentation (trifurcation).
    Spin up causes a gravitationally bound object to deform into an oblate sphere. Continued spin up deforms the oblate sphere into an ellipsoid and finally into a bilaterally-symmetrical bar-mode instability that fails (fragments) when the bar gravitationally fragments by way of trifurcation, forming a twin-binary pair in orbit around the much-less-massive residual core (gravitationally fragmenting into 3 components, hence ‘trifurcation’).
    Thus, Brown Dwarf orbited by the much-more-massive twin-binary disk instability objects induced trifurcation, fragmenting Brown Dwarf into a twin-binary pair of super-Jupiter-mass objects orbiting a much-less-massive residual core. And first-generation trifurcation promotes second-generation trifurcation, and etc,, like Russian nesting dolls, forming;
– 1st gen, binary-Companion + SUPER-Jupiter residual core,
– 2nd gen. Jupiter-Saturn + SUPER-Neptune residual core,
– 3rd gen. Uranus-Neptune +SUPER-Earth residual core, and
– 4th gen. Venus-Earth + Mercury(?) residual core.
    Binary-binary resonances caused eccentricity pumping of the twin-binary trifurcation pairs, causing the trifurcation pairs to escape from binary-Companion and be captured by binary-Sun. Jupiter-Saturn, with Venus-Earth in tow, were captured via binary-Companion’s inner L1 Lagrangian point, while Uranus-Saturn were captured via binary-Companion’s outer L2 Lagrangian point. Then Venus-Earth-Mercury escaped from Jupiter-Saturn via Jupiter-Saturn’s inner L1 Lagrangian point, resulting in the following configuration, listed in increasing radial distance from the solar system barycenter;
– Binary-Sun,
– Venus-Earth-Mercury
– Jupiter-Saturn
– Binary-Companion
– Uranus-Neptune
– Trifurcation debris disk.
Additional eccentricity pumping by binary-Sun caused all trifurcation pairs to separate except binary-Companion.
    Because Brown Dwarf had internally differentiated into a siderophile-enriched iron core, the resulting trifurcation debris was necessarily siderophile depleted. All trifurcation products presumably lie on the 3-oxygen-isotope Brown Dwarf fractionation line, which we know as the ‘terrestrial fractionation line’, including the hot classical KBOs that condensed from the siderophile-depleted ‘trifurcation debris disk’.

    Shortly after the trifurcation era, the stellar components of former binary-Sun spiraled in to merge at 4,567 Ma in a luminous red nova that scrubbed the solar system of the earlier trifurcation debris disk, leaving behind its own low-angular-momentum ‘solar-merger debris disk’
that condensed asteroids with live stellar-merger radionuclides, and later, chondrites, largely after the short-lived radionuclides had decayed away.

Late heavy bombardment:
    Perturbation of binary-Companion by the newly-merged Sun caused the super-Jupiter-mass binary components to spiral in, transferring their close-binary potential energy to progressively-increasing the heliocentric eccentricity of binary-Companion over time, which also progressively increased binary-Companion’s heliocentric period. The progressively-increasing heliocentric period of binary-Companion caused its 1:4 mean-motion resonance to migrate through the Kuiper belt, perturbing KBOs into the inner solar system, causing the late heavy bombardment that embedded gneissic KBO cores into Earth’s lithosphere, ~4.2-3.8 Ga.

    Binary-Companion overran Uranus’ orbit, resulting in Uranus’ severe axial tilt. As spiral-in progressed, the super-Jupiter components progressively accreted their own moons, fogging the solar system, which caused the Sturtian glaciation of Snowball Earth. Ultimately the super-Jupiter components merged at 650 Ma in an asymmetrical merger explosion that gave newly-merged Companion escape velocity from the Sun, with the merger debris causing the ‘Companion-merger debris disk’, which condensed the young, cold classical KBOs against Neptune’s outer 2:3 resonance by streaming instability and caused the Marinoan glaciation of the Cryogenian Period.


Aqueous differentiation of KBOs:

    Aqueous differentiation is defined here as the melting of water ice in the core of a minor planet or smaller planetesimal. ‘Spontaneous aqueous differentiation’ is presumed to have occurred in large KBOs at the time of formation by gravitational collapse, presumably by streaming instability, converting the kinetic and potential energy of the component dust and ice to heat.
    Another form of aqueous differentiation may have occurred in the spiral-in merger of binary KBOs, forming contact binaries. This would be particularly significant in binary KBOs too small to have undergone spontaneous aqueous differentiation at the time of formation. Perturbation by the Sun-Companion tidal inflection point presumably caused many former binary KBOs to spiral in to merge, whether or not they were subsequently perturbed out of the Kuiper belt.

    Aqueous differentiation was followed by an exponential rate of radiative heat loss, which began freezing the core saltwater ocean from the outside in. The temperature at the icy ceiling was clamped to the freezing point of saltwater, with a temperature gradient with depth driving thermal circulation.
    Nebular dust released into aqueous suspension at the time of differentiation would have both dissolved into solution and also nucleated new crystallization. This suggests that trifurcation debris disk condensates should be represented in crystalline gneiss; however, these condensates may differ significantly from the condensates of the solar-merger debris disk that condensed asteroids and chondrites in the inner solar system. But there should be a minor component of presolar mineral grains in crystalline gneiss, similar to those in inner solar system chondrites.
    Solute solubility is variously dependent on temperature, but the solubility of most mineral species is proportional to temperature, tending to cause crystallization near the icy ceiling cold junction during thermally-driven circulation. Additionally, freezing saltwater tends to exclude solutes from water-ice crystals, increasing the dissolved solute load to and above the saturation point, so as KBOs gradually cooled and froze solid, ‘freeze out’ caused mineral grains in aqueous suspension to grow by crystallization until falling out of suspension by sedimentation, adding to a growing authigenic sedimentary core. And exponential cooling of differentiated KBOs reduced thermally-driven circulation rates, tending to progressively decrease the mineral grain size in aqueous suspension over time; however, violent subsidence shocks would have repeatedly interrupted quiescent thermal circulation, creating bright lines with larger mineral grain sizes.

    A majority of the sand on Earth is suggested to be authigenic, KBO mineral grains that fell out of aqueous suspension at a characteristic sand-grain scale in the microgravity of KBO oceans. Authigenic mineral grains also precipitate on Earth, but on our high-gravity planet, they fall out of aqueous suspension on the scale of clay particles, sometimes forming authigenic mudstone on Earth.

Felsic-mafic layering in migmatite:

    Conventionally, migmatites form by the secondary mechanism of partial melting (anatexis) of a protolith under elevated temperature and pressure at great depth beneath the Earth’s surface, resulting physical segregation of a partial-melt into felsic-enriched leucosomes and felsic-depleted melanosomes.

    Alternatively, the felsic-mafic layering in authigenic sedimentary migmatites is formed by modulated felsic-mafic deposition, with a variable degree of secondary slump folding superimposed during lithification. This felsic-mafic layering is suggested to be caused by sawtooth modulation in pH of the overlying saltwater ocean.

    The solubility of aluminous species is particularly pH sensitive, so the concentration of carbonic acid would effectively control the reservoir of dissolved aluminous species in solution. Aluminous species solubility is U-shaped with respect to pH, with an inflection point at about 6-1/2 pH (Driscoll and Schecher, 1990). An abrupt rise in pH from 3.5 to 6.5 would decrease the aluminous species solubility by a factor of more than 100,000, effectively precipitating the entire reservoir of dissolved aluminous species, presumably predominantly in the form of feldspars, the simplest aluminous silicates.

Solubility of aluminous species vs. pH

    Carbon dioxide solubility can be catastrophically reduced by physical shock, as can be demonstrated by shaking a carbonated beverage. And when dissolved CO2 bubbles out of solution, carbonic acid breaks down into gaseous carbon dioxide to restore the carbonic acid-CO2 equilibrium, raising the pH. Thus, subsidence shocks (KBO-quakes) of aqueously-differentiated KBOs could cause rapid super saturation of aluminous species, causing a frenzy of aluminous mineral grain nucleation and crystallization on aqueously-suspended mineral grains, presumably resulting in sedimentation of feldspar mineral grains.
    So KBO aftershocks are suggested to nucleate feldspar mineral grains that grow by crystallization until falling out of aqueous suspension at a mineral grain size characteristic for the increased agitation rate following subsidence shocks. And the increased circulation following an subsidence shock may also induce crystallization of other minerals whose solubility is proportional to temperature, such as quartz/silica, caused by the increased circulation of saltwater past the cold icy ceiling.

    (Super) saturation of aluminous species may favor crystallization on existing mineral grains in aqueous suspension for simple minerals, like the feldspar group, whereas the same conditions may favor nucleation of new mineral grains for more complex minerals, like biotite. Crystallization and nucleation requires the proximity of the constituent ions and cations (species); however, the more complex the silicates, the smaller the chance that the necessary species converge on suspended mineral grains, forcing nucleation where the mineral species happen to converge. So simple feldspars may tend to crystallize on existing mineral grains, forming large feldspar mineral grains, whereas more complex minerals, like biotite, may tend to nucleate new mineral grains, forming more numerous but much-smaller mineral grains. Thus, the simplest minerals, such as felsic quartz and feldspar, may rain down on the sedimentary core immediately following subsidence shocks, creating felsic leucosome layers, with mineral grain size decreasing over time until the smaller more numerous mafic mineral grains come to predominate sedimentation during intervening the quiescent intervals between subsidence shocks, creating mafic melanosome layers. Thus, authigenic sedimentation should be upward fining following subsidence events, with large felsic mineral grains in light-colored leucosomes gradually grading to fine mafic mineral grains in dark-colored melanosomes.
    Therefore, in the crystallization urgency of super saturated aluminous species, feldspar mineral grains may quickly grow to sufficient size to fall out of aqueous suspension in the agitated circulation rate following an subsidence shock, whereas smaller, more complex aluminous species may remain in aqueous suspension until the agitation rate approaches quiescence.

    Additionally, KBO subsidence shocks may dislodge oversized euhedral mineral grains trapped in the slush of ice crystals floating at the ice ceiling.
    Progressive heat loss by differentiated KBOs presumably causes ice crystal nucleation, which float to the ice ceiling to form a slush of ice crystals. And since most mineral species solubility is reduced at colder temperatures, mineral grains may grow by crystallization to outsize proportions when supported by icy slush at the ice ceiling until possibly becoming dislodged by the vibration of subsidence events.
    The vibration and agitation of subsidence shocks may free enlarged euhedral mineral grains from their slushy prison, which fall through the water column to nominally become incorporated into the margins of felsic leucosomes. Thus, outsized euhedral mineral grains in metamorphic rock that are not pegmatites to possibly have a dropstone origin.

Gneiss-dome mantling rock, typically consisting of quartzite, marble/dolomite, and schist:

    Gneiss domes are often mantled with metasedimentary rock, typically comprised of quartzite, marble/dolomite, and schist. The compositional differences between the gneiss core and its surmounting mantle represents differing depositional conditions of the various regimes.
    Gneiss dome mantling rock is suggested here to be the authigenic frosting on the gneissic cake, with gneiss dome mantling rock representing the final authigenic deposition of the KBO sedimentary core prior to the ocean freezing solid, ending authigenic deposition.

    In his seminal 1948 paper, The problem of mantled gneiss domes, Eskola notes the composition of Finland’s gneiss domes, “the basement stratum is a layer of quartzite, above which follow dolomite and micaschist; and in still others, dolomite forms the basement”. “In some, the lowest horizon of the mantle consists of basal conglomerate with boulders of the same gneiss that forms the dome.”
    Baltimore gneiss domes also appear to have the same gneiss-quartzite-marble-schist sequence noticed by Eskola in Finland’s gneiss domes, as illustrated in the following sketches.

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

    Authigenic gneiss is suggested to be primary precipitation from the overlying ocean, whereas authigenic schist is suggested to be secondary precipitation from hydrothermal fluids emanating from hydrothermal vents in the sedimentary core. Lithification of the core entails the expulsion of hot aqueous fluids from the lithifying sediments with leached minerals through hydrothermal vents into the overlying ocean, and when the hot hydrothermal fluids enter the cold overlying ocean, the leached mineral species become (super) saturated and precipitate schistic sediments.
    Schist is often named for its primary mineral constituent, with its wide-ranging variability presumably attributable to variable hydrothermal chemistry related to its leached mineral content. The frequent proximity of chemically different schists in the geologic record points to highly localized deposition, suggesting chemical modulation of hydrothermal fluids, perhaps after the overlying ocean is mostly frozen solid.
    Euhedral-crystal dropstones, such as garnets and staurolite, are particularly prevalent in schist, which may be liberated from the icy ceiling when hydrothermal vents increase their flow rate, melting portions of the overlying ceiling which liberate oversized euhedral-crystal dropstones.
    The origin of the schistosity of schist is unclear, with the flat sheet-like grains (mica, talc, and etc.) likely forming by secondary metamorphism from clay-like precursors.
    Schist can also contain prominent ptygmatic leucosomes like migmatite gneiss, and presumably from the same cause, forming as aqueous drains where the constituent mineral grains grow by crystallization, sometimes buckling outward into the surrounding matrix as ptygmatic folds.

Euhedral staurolite as an extraterrestrial dropstoneAttribution: Rob Lavinsky, – CC-BY-SA-3.0

    Quartzite is typically the first mantling layer overlying basement gneiss in gneiss domes. Quartz being the simplest silicate may be the most likely silicate to crystallize on suspended mineral grains, while more complex silicates tend to nucleate more-numerous but smaller mineral grains. Thus quartz sand may be the first mineral to fall out of aqueous suspension in new hydrothermal vents or reactivated hydrothermal vents, tending to form a layer of quartz sand over gneissic sediments that may go on to lithify and metamorphose into quartzite.

    Notably, calcium carbonate solubility has a negative temperature dependence, such that hot hydrothermal fluids that locally warm the overlying ocean saturated in carbonates or locally melt the ice ceiling will tend to calcium and magnesium carbonates that may lithify into dolostone or limestone and may metamorphose into marble.

Domal structure of gneiss domes:
    The domal structure of gneiss domes as the anticline wrinkles of a former KBO sedimentary core is suggested to be the expected outcome of densification of a sedimentary core during lithification.
    Lithification involves the destruction of voids, expelling the aqueous fluid that filled the interstitial voids through hydrothermal vents into the overlying saltwater ocean. This shrinks the diameter, circumference and volume of the sedimentary core, causing the sedimentary surface to map onto a smaller area, forcing it to crumple into synclines and gneiss-dome anticlines, like the wrinkling of a grape dehydrating to form a raisin.
    Presumably the scale of gneiss domes is proportional to the scale of the originating KBO and its gneissic core, with larger gneiss dome systems corresponding to larger former KBOs. Gneiss domes exceeding 100 km in length presumably belonged to former KBOs exceeding 1000 km Dia.
    “Most gneiss domes are elongate parallel to the strike of the orogen” (Whitney et al., 2004) While wrinkling of all types is invariably elongate, gneiss-dome alignment with the strike of exhumed orogens is surprising, with orogeny driven by tectonic collision; however, the underlying basement geometry may dictate the strike of the local orogen. I.e., orogen exhumation apparently typically follows the long axis of underlying gneiss domes.
    Anticline domes on a lithifying sedimentary core may cause the dome to grate against the ice ceiling that may be the origin of gneissic conglomerate that
Eskola states sometimes comprises the lowest horizon of a gneiss-dome mantling regime. This suggests that gneiss-dome conglomerate forms prior to the deposition of overlying mantling rock.

Slump folding in metamorphic rock:

Slump folding in migmatite IMAGE

    Conventional geology suggests that metamorphic folding occurs at elevated temperature and pressure in lithified rock, deep below Earth’s surface, with the fold type illuminating the cause of the folds. Indeed tectonic orogeny creates the synclines and anticlines of mountain ranges by large-scale folding of rock up into the void of the atmosphere, but this form of tectonic folding is many orders of magnitude larger than the centimeter-scale folding typical in migmatites, and solid rock at depth-partial melting or no partial melting-has no voids to fold into. Conventionally, migmatite folding is generally dismissed as being self evident, and when addressed in particular, sharp (isoclinal) folding is identified as 2-dimensional sheath folding, fortuitously sectioned through the nose of the fold, since sheath folding can be credibly explained by shear forces, although the origin of shear forces within blocks of rock 10s of km on a side is best left to the imagination.

    Alternatively, migmatite folding can be simple slump folding, if the protolith of metamorphic gneiss is sedimentary rock. On a macro scale, slump folding generally entails briefly fluidizing unconsolidated sediments driven by density inversions, where denser sediments exchange places with less-dense sediments, and where sediment density is largely a factor of buoyant water concentration. On a micro scale, densification during lithification is driven by the destruction of voids between authigenic mineral grains, driven by metasomatism, pressure dissolution at pressure points between mineral grains, and crystallization, and etc. And micro-scale heterogeneity in lithification creates the macro-scale density inversions that drives slump folding.

    Additionally, the densification of a spherical sedimentary KBO core has geometry driving slump folding. During lithification of a spherical sedimentary core, not only does the thickness of each sedimentary layer decrease during lithification, but the circumference of every layer also decreases as the spherical core densifies, forcing ‘circumferential slump folding’. On Earth, the vast circumference of the planet means that the circumference change of lithifying sediments is imperceptibly small, whereas in a sedimentary KBO core undergoing lithification, not only does the radial thickness shorten during lithification, as it does on Earth, but the lateral (circumferential) dimensions shorten as well. Bulk KBO sediments are forced to undergo circumferential slump folding for the same reason that spherical grapes are forced to wrinkle when dehydrating into raisins, whereas paint drying on a flat surface is not forced to wrinkle. Something similar to circumferential slump folding can occur on Earth under unusual conditions, such as the lithification of sediments in a V-shaped trench or crevice, where pithy sedimentary layers are forced to fold as they densify toward the pointy end of a trench or crevice during lithification.
    Migmatite may be particularly susceptible to slump folding due to the dramatic variation in mineral grain size and composition between juxtaposed felsic leucosomes with large mineral grains, and mafic melanosomes with small mineral grains, resulting in differential rates of lithification, resulting in frequent density inversions.

IMAGE: Ptygmatic folding with radiating dikelets
Copyright 2004-2016 by Roberto Weinberg

Ptygmatic folding:

    The most exaggerated examples of a physical phenomenon will cause a genuine theory to shine, while forcing flawed theories to differentiate an unexplainable phenomenon into potentially explainable sub phenomena. Thus the genuine theory will tend toward simplicity and unification, whereas flawed theories will tend toward complexity and differentiation.
    The most extreme examples of ptygmatic folds, that repeatedly double back on themselves like ribbon candy, are clearly most dramatic of all metamorphic folds, so it’s not encouraging for academic petrology that these folds are typically played down in significance.

    The conventional anatectic explanation for ptygmatic folding appears to engender a contradiction. Felsic leucosomes are presumed to form by felsic-melt segregation, where felsic minerals tend to melt at lower temperatures than mafic minerals following Bowen’s reaction series; however, ptygmatically folded veins rely on the felsic vein having greater competence than the host rock, which presumes that more-mafic surrounding matrix (mesosome) is dramatically more plastic than the ptygmatically-folded leucosome vein which supposedly formed by partial melting. The circa 6:1 matrix shortening required to fold the leucosome back onto itself, resembling ribbon candy, invariably fails to balloon out adjacent felsic-mafic layering, requiring matrix shortening to fortuitously extrude the supposedly less competent host rock perpendicular to (into and out of) the section plane.

    While the majority of folding in KBO migmatite is suggested to be slump folding, ptygmatic folding requires a different explanation.

    In lithifying KBO cores, the destructed voids between sedimentary particles were once filled with brine that buoyantly escaped into the overlying ocean through hydrothermal vents. Brine naturally followed path of least resistance though the variably-porous lithifying sediments, preferentially flowing through the coarse mineral grains of felsic leucosomes, which acted as French drains. When acting as aqueous drains, these felsic leucosomes are designated ‘veins’. Felsic leucosome layers were laid down the bedding plane, but to vent aqueous brine to the surface required additional cross bedding veins as well.

    Hot brine tends to leach minerals from leucosome veins, but as the brine cools on its buoyant ascent, leaching transitions to crystallization, enlarging the mineral grains in the veins. And the growth of felsic mineral grains within veins creates outward pressure, both lateral and longitudinal. “The grain size of quartz and feldspar in the veins is between 10 and 25 times larger than in the host rock (0.2 mm in the latter” (Stel, 1999).
    Growth of mineral grains by crystallization caused 3-dimensional expansion of the veins, fattening veins in the two lateral dimensions and buckling veins in the longitudinal dimension, creating ptygmatic folds. Again, this is the mechanism suggested by Shelley, “[t]here 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). Shelley, however, envisioned ptygmatic folding under the stringent conditions of lithified rock undergoing metamorphism, requiring high water pressure to crack the rock, whereas the buckling of unconsolidated sediments in an extraterrestrial setting is much more intuitive.

    The following image shows a pair of white (quartz or calcite?) veins cutting through two very different matrix types, apparently tan sandstone at the bottom and black shale above. The veins were presumably former aqueous veins, which developed very differently in the contrasting mediums. The black shale sediments were apparently much more compliant than the former tan sandy sediments, such that the vein was evidently able to buckle ptygmatically into the soft shale sediments, while the stiffer sandy sediments effectively prevented longitudinal buckling, forcing the volume increase of the vein growth to manifest itself exclusively in the lateral direction by way of fattening the vein. In this case, the ptygmatic folding may be terrestrial, albeit by the mechanism suggested for extraterrestrial ptygmatic folding in migmatites.

Ptygmatic folding vs. no folding in contrasting matrix material
Image credit, Mountain Beltway, Callan Bentley structral geology blog

    Three-dimensional expansion of veins due to internal crystallization explains the tendency to maintain constant vein width in ptygmatic folds; however, superimposed slump folding may locally thin or break veins, and variable plasticity of the confining mafic matrix may variably constrain longitudinal buckling into ptygmatic folds. When progressive lithification stiffens the surrounding matrix to the point of preventing longitudinal ptygmatic buckling, veins may still be able to fatten in the lateral direction. And as lateral fattening is resisted by still-greater lithification, the force of crystallization may balloon into aneurysms at points of relative weakness in the surrounding matrix, forming boudinage.
    Finally, resistance from the lithifying matrix prevents any further lateral or longitudinal growth of the veins when impinging mineral grains within the veins become more susceptible to pressure dissolution at points of contact than growth by crystallization, with subsequent crystallization confined to filling in the remaining voids.

Neptunism vs. Plutonism: Authigenic S-type vs. Plutonic I-type Granites:

    S-type granites are suggested here to be intrusive, authigenic felsic sediments that may be terrestrial or extraterrestrial, and I-type granites are exclusively-terrestrial, intrusive igneous granites. Both authigenic S-type and igneous I-type granites are presumed to be emplaced by intrusive hydraulic pressure.

    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)

    “S-type granites crystallizes from the viscous, relatively water-saturated magma at great depths. They can form autochthonous bodies and may be surrounded by gneisses and crystalline schists, very similar in composition. I-type granites are formed from the drier and more mobile magma melted deeper, but crystallize at higher levels. Their contacts are well defined, and high grade metamorphic rocks are usually not observed in the frame. ” (Anna Soboleva, 2016)

    Blockage of a hydrothermal vent in a lithifying KBO core may have created hydraulic pressure that delaminated the country rock, creating aqueous pockets that cooled in situ and precipitated authigenic sediments with a typically granitic composition. Freezing solid of the overlying ocean may have been a common cause of hydrothermal blockage, forcing buoyant fluids to intrude the surrounding country rock. And the low density of intruding hydrothermal fluids would not support partially-lithified ceiling sediments from ceiling collapse, resulting in the observed gneissic or supracrustal xenoliths and enclaves, common in S-type granite.

    In Black Hills National Forest, the Calamity Peak Granite of the Yavapai Mazatzal craton is texturally stratified into alternating textures of fine-grained granite, with < 2 mm grains, and coarse-grained pegmatite, with perthite crystals up to 1 meter long. Additionally, the granite layers are themselves laminated on a millimeter scale, with laminae, 2-20 mm thick. This laminated fine-grained granite is known as ‘line rock’, composed of alternating bands of light and dark minerals, with tourmaline constituting the bulk of the dark mineral.
    The textural granite-pegmatite lamination, with superimposed millimeter-scale laminae suggests a state of orbital perturbation while still in the Kuiper belt. The millimeter-scale laminae suggests the circa 300 year orbital period of the former KBO itself, while the wider textural granite-pegmatite layering suggests the much-longer period of the former Sun-Companion orbits around the solar system barycenter. In this orbital barycentric setting, perhaps granite formed near apoapsis (greatest Sun-Companion separation), when the tidal inflection point created active aphelia precession (orbital perturbation), actively squeezing water from the core. Then perhaps pegmatite layers may formed during the quiescent remainder of the Sun-Companion orbit, with low flow rates promoting metasomatism, forming massive pegmatites under nearly quiescent conditions.
    The above scenario suggests a LHB age for the granite, with a > 4,567 age for the surrounding gneissic/schistose country rock. Late granite formation from latent aqueous fluids also suggests that core lithification was not complete at the time of the LHB, and perhaps tidal torquing by the Sun-Companion tidal inflection point was even significant in lithification. I.e., perhaps tidal torquing by the Sun-Companion tidal inflection point was significant in pumping water from the sedimentary core.


    This conceptual approach offers several alternative primary mechanisms for structure in metamorphic rock that is academically attributed to secondary metamorphic mechanisms; however this alternative approach does not dismiss the attribution of secondary metamorphic grades based on index minerals, secondary metamorphic foliation. Some index minerals may have an alternative primary authigenic origin with a mechanical element, such as the suggested crystallization of large euhedral almandine crystals in slush at the ice ceiling that are mechanically liberated when hot hydrothermal fluids melt ceiling ice, but this type of mechanical origin creates a concentrating effect that differs from the in situ conversion of low-pressure minerals into higher-pressure minerals.
    Metamorphic petrology at a mineral grain scale is beyond the scope of this conceptual approach, although it’s suspected that so-called metamorphic index minerals may not have the same relationship to pressure if formed authigenically, rather than igneously or metamorphically as generally supposed.

    Metamorphism of continental basement rock may be partially extraterrestrial and partially terrestrial. Extraterrestrial metamorphism might be caused by tidal torquing during orbital perturbation of KBOs by the former Sun-Companion tidal inflection point. Additionally, the freezing solid of the overlying ocean would develop pressure on the core, since water expands when it freezes. Shock metamorphism may have occurred at impact, followed by annealing of shock effects at depth and temperature within LHB-era impact craters/basins. Then a degree of retrograde metamorphism may occur during exhumation to the surface. Foliation, such as mica schistosity, seems more likely in the presence of aqueous fluids (metasomatic), suggesting a extraterrestrial metamorphism, although this could also occur on Earth at depth.

    Pegmatites in continental basement rock are presumably metasomatic, and as such more likely to have been formed during extraterrestrial lithification than subsequently during terrestrial metamorphism. Largely-felsic pegmatites presumably formed as part of vein systems that once served as the conduits of buoyant aqueous fluids during the lithification of KBO cores, with more voluminous instances forming S-type granitoids by hydrothermal intrusions.
    The foliation of mica schistosity in schist reveals the importance of vertical pressure in forming oriented mica flecks in bulk schist. Additionally, large centimeter-scale mica books appear in pegmatites, but foliation typically disappears in pegmatites, with randomly-oriented mica books appearing to grow from large quartz crystals. If oriented mica schistosity is indicative of vertical pressure, then pegmatite book mica may also be indicative of pressure, but perhaps in the form of unoriented hydraulic pressure with little mineral grain impingement, where euhedral minerals are free to grow in random directions. These conditions would tend to be most prevalent in hydrothermal intrusions into authigenic sediments.
    Foliation can also be caused by elongation of mineral grains that may be partly due to mineral-grain dissolution in the vertical direction, between impinging mineral grains, and possibly crystallization in the horizontal direction into voids between mineral grains. Again pressure solution/dissolution requires aqueous fluids that would be more prevalent prior to Earth impact.

KBO impacts:

    The ‘bulk modulus’ (inverse of compressibility) of granite is more than 20 times that of water, such that water ice would absorb more than 20 times as much compressive work energy of an impact shock wave of an icy-body impact, compared to an equal volume of silicates. Thus a thick mantle of relatively-compressible water ice surrounding a gneissic KBO core would absorb the lion’s share of the kinetic energy of a KBO impact as compressive work energy. Thus the icy mantle of a KBO is suggested to have acted as a sacrificial envelope that clamped the impact shock wave pressure below the melting point of silicates.

    The shock absorbing potential of relatively-compressible ices, however, would not have been sufficiently protective to prevent the formation of high-pressure polymorphs in silicates, such as coesite, so their absence is presumably due to prolonged dwell time at metamorphosing temperatures and pressures on Earth within their impact craters, deep below the surface.

    Terrestrial metamorphism deep within LHB-era impact basins presumably erased high-pressure polymorphs and reset the radiometric age of authigenic mineral grains, with geochronology recording the ‘closure temperature’ during exhumation at which mineral grains, such as zircon, began to retain the daughter products of radioactive decay.

    The continental tectonic plates are suggested to be a mash-up of KBO cores that impacted during the LHB following numerous supercontinent mergers and breakups. Tectonic collisions appear to promote exhumation of gneiss domes oriented along the strike of tectonic orogens.


    Hot classical KBOs are suggested to have ‘condensed’ by streaming instability (gravitational collapse) against Neptune’s strongest outer resonances from a siderophile-depleted reservoir that lay on the 3-oxygen isotope terrestrial fractionation line.
    Large KBOs underwent spontaneous aqueous differentiation at formation, melting saltwater oceans in their cores. Aqueous differentiation was accompanied by authigenic precipitation, with felsic-mafic modulation mediated by sawtooth pH fluctuations, forming sedimentary cores with a gneissic composition.
    KBO core rock slump folded during lithification, as the densifying core expelled brine through a network of felsic veins that acted as French drains, channeling the buoyant brine out of the core. Lithification was accompanied by slump folding, which is most prominent in migmatites. Additionally, ptygmatic folding occurred in felsic veins that channeled brine from the core, due to the outward pressure of crystallization, forcing some felsic veins to buckle into ptygmatic folds.

    A former binary-Companion to the Sun is suggested to have caused orbital perturbation of hot classical KBOs, causing the LHB of the inner solar system, circa, 4.1–3.8 Ga.

    S-type granite is suggested to be the intrusive precipitation of authigenic sediments with a granitic composition, much of which may have intruded during the LHB, caused by tidal torquing by the Sun-Companion tidal inflection point.

    The vast majority of gneissic continental KBO rock was presumably delivered to Earth by way of very-large >> 100 km KBO impacts of the LHB era, with subsequent impactors being substantially smaller and unlikely to have undergone aqueously differentiation. An extraterrestrial origin for continental basement rock also depends on its surviving Earth impact without melting or vaporizing. Presumably the relatively-high compressibility of thick icy mantles surrounding the gneissic sedimentary cores absorbed the lion’s share of the impact energy, protecting the silicate cores from melting on Earth impact.
    Then, a variable degree of metamorphism of KBO core rock occurred on Earth, 10s of kilometers beneath the surface within their KBO impact craters. Geochronology of KBO core rock, however, dates to closure temperatures as it cools during ascent and exhumation at the surface in orogenies.


Bosbyshell, Howell, (2012), Presentation at Northeastern Section – 47th Annual Meeting

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.


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

Loose, B.; McGillis, W. R.; Schlosser, P.; Perovich, D.; Takahashi, T., (2009), Effects of freezing, growth, and ice cover on gas transport processes in laboratory seawater experiments, GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 36, L05603

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

Soboleva, Anna, (2016), in response to the ResearchGate question, “I-type granite and S-type granite, how can we distinguish in these granite.”, ResearchGate

Stel, Harry Stel, (1999), Evolution of ptygmatic folds in migmatites from the type area (S. Finland), Journal of Structural Geology, Volume 21, Issue 2, February 1999, Pages 179-189

Whitney, Donna L.; Teyssier, Christian; Vanderhaeghe, Olivier, (2004), Gneiss domes and crustal flow, Special Paper of the Geological Society of America, Volume 380

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


Hickory Run boulder field, Hickory Run State Park Pennsylvania

Hickory Run boulder field, Hickory Run State Park Pennsylvania


    Discrete boulder fields attributed to the last glacial maximum (LGM) are suggested here to have had a catastrophic origin similar to that of the 500,000 Carolina bays distributed along the Atlantic seaboard and Gulf Coasts of the continental United States.  Carolina bays are suggested by others to be secondary impact basins from the ejecta curtain of Laurentide ice-sheet fragments from a primary bolide impact on or airburst above the Laurentide ice sheet in the Great Lakes region, 12,800 B.P.  Ballistic trajectories that fell short of the coastal regions and landed on thin soil may have fractured the underlying bedrock, in some cases creating discrete boulder fields that are still devoid of vegetative cover almost 13 thousand years later.
    YD impact boulder fields appear to come in two varieties; in situ (or predominantly in situ), and debris-flow boulder fields.  Large boulder fields and boulder fields on steep terrain are more likely to have experienced catastrophic downhill movement, presumably in the form of a debris flow.  Hickory Run boulder field and Blue Rocks boulder field are examples of debris-flow boulder fields. , while Ringing Rocks boulder fields are examples of (mostly) in situ boulder fields.
    Some LGM boulder field boulders exhibit unusual properties uncommon outside of the boulder fields, such as deeply-incised surface features, such as cup marks and striations.  Additionally, “Ringing Rocks” diabase boulder fields variably exhibit an ability to ring when sharply struck, a property not exhibited by diabase boulders outside these discrete boulder fields.  Finally, smaller cobbles in the Hickory Run boulder field exhibit 2 unusual forms of rock scale.
    ‘YD impact boulder fields’ formed by the percussive impact of massive chunks of ice-sheet fragments in ballistic trajectories above the atmosphere, with ice-sheet fragments traveling thousands of kilometers at speeds of several kilometers per second.  Gradual melting during reentry and flash-melting at impact created super-high-velocity slurries that abrasively scoured the surfaces of impact brecciated boulders, like sandblasting, cutting cup marks (pits) and striations (grooves).
    Some Ringing Rocks diabase boulders exhibit the ability to ring when struck, which appears to be caused by surface stresses, since breaking or cutting “live” boulders creates “dead” rocks that don’t ring.  Thus the ability to ring is not due to bulk rock properties imparted during intrusive cooling, miles underground at tremendous pressure.  Super-high-velocity impacts creating super-high shock-wave pressures, are the suggested surficial stressing mechanism for creating the ringing attribute.
    Finally, cobbles tumbled in Hickory run in the Hickory Run boulder field, exhibit 2 kinds of rock scale, both commensurate with a catastrophic super-high-energy phenomenon.  Black rock scale is suggested to be condensed ‘smoke’, baked at high temperature, and brown nodular rock scale is suggested to be high-velocity impact spatter, largely comprised of extraterrestrial material with a high iron content.


    Evidence of a Younger Dryas (YD) impact or airburst is revealed in Greenland ice sheet cores in the form of a platinum spike, circa 12,800 BP (Petaev et al., 2013).  Additionally, a thin layer of magnetic grains, microspherules, nanodiamonds, and glass-like carbon have been unearthed at various locations across North America, Europe and beyond, generally overlain by a ‘black mat’ with a high carbon content.  The black mat is nearly coincident with megafauna extinction in North America and the disappearance of the Clovis civilization (Firestone et al., 2007; Firestone, 2011), and “extinct megafauna and Clovis tools occur only beneath this black layer and not within or above it” (Firestone, 2009).

Magnetic glass spherule from Pennsylvania

Magnetic glass spherule from Pennsylvania

    An impact hypothesis for large, shallow oval depressions known as Carolina bays originated in the 1940s.  Then a more-plausible secondary impact theory was advanced in the 21st century, suggesting a primary impact on or over the Laurentide ice sheet that showered North America and likely beyond with an ejecta curtain of secondary ice-sheet fragments (Firestone, West and Warwick-Smith, 2006).
    Carolina bays are a series of 500,000 oval depressions that range in size from 50 m to 10 km in length that are concentrated along the Atlantic seaboard and the coastal plain of the Gulf of Mexico.  The long axes of the Carolina bays point back to one or more primary bolide impacts on the former Laurentide ice sheet in the Great Lakes region, and perhaps over Hudson Bay, that lofted massive ice sheet fragments into ballistic trajectories of 1000s of kilometers to form elongated secondary-impact depressions, presumably when they landed on soft waterlogged soil along the coastal plains.

    If the YD-impact ejecta curtain was at all isotropic, then the rest of the North American continent was similarly showered with secondary impacts, but the harder inland terrain typically experienced less physical damage, and/or has been largely obscured by subsequent erosion and infill from subsequent flooding, whereas coastal Carolina bays presumably exist in areas that have not experienced repeated flooding.  When secondary ice-sheet fragments traveling several kilometers per second slammed into exposed bedrock or bedrock under a thin cover of soil, the impulse may have brecciated the bedrock to a depth of several meters, but without sufficient energy to eject the boulders into an excavated crater or sculpt them into raised rims like the elliptical-shaped Carolina bays.

    Isolated boulder fields in Pennsylvania are classically attributed to a periglacial freeze-thaw process during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), where frost action fractured bedrock by ‘frost wedging’.  Then boulders were transported downhill, either gradually by ‘solifluction’, or suddenly by ‘gellifluction’.  The frozen subsurface acted as a barrier to the percolation of water, trapping the water in the thawed soil at the surface, creating slick greasy soil over a solid, icy subsurface during seasonal thaw cycles.  Solifluction suggests gradual creep of boulders downhill, whereas gellifluction suggests catastrophic liquefaction of waterlogged soil, presumably causing a mudslide/rockslide.

Wikipedia entry on “Ringing rocks”:
    The Wikipedia entry on Ringing rocks is the most comprehensive summary on the subject at this time; however, the most significant sections, pertaining to boulder composition, bolder field formation, and origin of the ringing quality, provide no footnote citations, partly relying the long list of references at the end, and partly expressing the opinions of its author.
    Curiously, the two boulder fields in Bucks County; Ringing Rocks County Park, and Stony Garden, are stated to have formed from a basal olivine unit, presumably formed from olivine cumulates of the intrusive Jurassic diabase sills.  The basal olivine unit is stated to be harder, denser and more resistant to weathering than diabase that crystallized higher in the sill.  According to the included figures, the boulder fields formed mostly in situ over top of the olivine seams, not downhill of the seams from which they are derived, although a portion of the Ringing Rocks County Park boulder field apparently extends below the olivine seam, indicating a modest degree of boulder movement.  This in situ evidence would seem to rule out downhill accumulation by solifluction or gellifluction for these particular boulder fields, conventionally requiring the improbable outcome of in situ formation by periglacial frost wedging, creating boulder fields many boulders deep that are subsequently jumbled by frost heave, or similar mechanism.
    The pitting/cup marks, pot holes, and grooves/striations surface features are suggested in the Wikipedia entry to be chemical weathering along the joint surfaces prior to being broken out by frost heave, followed by the mechanical removal of chemically-softened material to reveal the deeply-incised surface indentations.  This despite the fact that the Ringing Rocks boulders have barely reached a sufficient state of oxidative weathering to create a rust-colored patina, which is the first stage in developing a oxidized rind that exfoliates.  Additionally, this unsupported hypothesis does not attempt to identify or suggest the origin of the presumed periglacial acids involved in the chemical weathering, nor why this form of weathering creates these peculiar surface features, nor why this process is not apparently occurring today under similar conditions closer Earth’s North Pole.
    The ringing quality of boulders is attributed by the author to internal stress formed by compression at a depth of 2-3 km during igneous cooling.  This stress can be relieved by fragmenting a ringing (“live”) boulder, in which case the broken fragments do not ring (“dead” boulder).  In the 1960s, a Rutgers University professor compared sawn slabs of live boulders to slabs of dead boulders from the same boulder field.  By means of strain gauges, he discovered that the live boulder slabs exhibited a distinctive expansion or relaxation within 24 hours of being cut, compared to the dead boulder slabs.  The Wikipedia author concludes that the bulk rock is loaded at the time of crystallization, due to the head pressure of 2-3 km of overlying rock, and that the slow weathering rate of the boulders keeps the stresses from dissipating (by some unspecified mechanism).
    Alternatively, the weather-resistant basal olivine unit causes it to stand out in relief above softer country rock and less weather-resistant upper portions of the diabase sill, such that an ice-sheet fragment impact could only create a boulder field from weather-resistant rock exposed at the surface.  The apparent in situ brecciation of the basal olivine layer of the Jurassic diabase sill dismisses one of the chief arguments supporting periglacial frost wedging, which is downhill concentration of boulders by solifluction or gellifluction.  An impact theory is particularly suited to the exquisite discreteness of boulder fields dating to the last glacial maximum, particularly in situ boulder fields not concentrated by downhill boulder movement.
    Secondly, super-high-velocity ice/supercritical fluids capable of brecciating bedrock would be expected to scour the exposed surfaces of brecciated boulders, resulting in incised surface features, whereas suggested chemical weathering along joint surfaces is an ad hoc explanation for an observed phenomenon not predicted by periglacial frost wedging.
    Thirdly, the ringing property is clearly the result of surface stresses, rather than bulk stresses, otherwise breaking a live boulder would create two smaller live boulders, due to the bulk stresses of the broken pieces.  Super-high pressure blast waves, by comparison, would only stress the exposed surfaces of boulders, since the internal portions would be protected by the low compressibility of silicates, as indeed appears to be the case.  The 1960s slab study demonstrates that dead boulders are unstressed, which also argues against an inherent formational bulk stress.

Ringing Rocks Park and Stony Gardens park, in Bucks County, PA, showing derivation of mostly in situ diabase boulder fields from the basal olivine unit of the Newark Supergroup diabase sillsImage credit: Andrews66 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, ’Ringing Rocks’ Wikipedia page (unmodified)


Multiple primary impacts on the Laurentide ice sheet:

    In a seminal work on the secondary impact theory for the formation of Carolina bays (Firestone, West and Warwick-Smith, 2006), it was noticed that a small minority of Carolina bays had a major axis orientation that pointed much further north than the bulk of the bays.  The majority of Carolina bays converge toward the Great Lakes Region, while a small minority converge over Hudson Bay.  This suggests at least 2 primary strikes or cluster of strikes on the Laurentide ice sheetone on Hudson Bay and one on the Great Lakes Region.  Hudson Bay is further from anywhere in the contiguous United States than the Great Lakes Region, such that the ballistic speed of ice-sheet fragments from a Hudson Bay strike would have been significantly higher than the ballistic speed of ice-sheet fragments from a Great Lakes Region.  And since kinetic energy is a squared function of velocity, the kinetic energy would have been several times higher in Eastern PA.
    A cluster of Carolina bays with a particularly north-south orientation in the Delmarva Peninsula indicate ice-sheet fragments trajectories across Eastern Pennsylvania.  Ice-sheet fragments that fell short of Delmarva coming from the Hudson Bay region may have rained down across Eastern Pennsylvania, and these longer ballistic trajectories would have had much-greater kinetic energy than ice-sheet fragments from the Great Lakes Region.  Perhaps high-kinetic-energy trajectories from Hudon Bay Region are necessary to form impact boulder fields, with the cluster of trajectories from Hudson Bay across Eastern PA explaining the cluster of LGM boulder fields in Eastern PA.  In the following figure, ice-sheet fragment trajectories from one or more primary strikes on Hudson bay are indicated in red, showing their passage across Pennsylvania, bordered in green.

From Firestone, 2009, Figure 3, predicting the locations of primary strikes on the Laurentide ice sheet, 12,800 B.P., derived from the orientations of Carolina bays, The ballistic trajectories of ice-sheet-fragment ejecta curtains are indicated in red and blue. Red trajectories point back to a suggested primary impact over Hudson bay, with a cluster of red trajectories passing over Eastern Pennsylvania (bordered in green) Ice-sheet-fragment impacts from the Hudson Bay Region are suggested here to have formed a cluster of ‘YD impact boulder fields’ in Eastern Pennsylvania.

    Coincidence can be a positive attribute, supporting a theory, or a negative attribute, steepening the odds against a theory.  An impact theory for the origin of Carolina bays and impact boulder fields that requires multiple (2 or more) impacts on the Laurentide ice sheet would appear to steepen the odds against the theory; however, the passage of Earth through a (Taurid) meteor stream of a disrupted Kuiper belt object might plausibly cause Earth to sustain multiple nearly-simultaneous hits by meteor-stream debris.  Indeed, the Taurid meteor stream has been suggested elsewhere (Wolbach et al.,1., 2018) as the likely origin of the YD bolide, from the breakup of a 100 km diameter Kuiper belt object (comet).
    A possible positive coincidence links Eastern PA boulder fields with suggested ‘YD impact comet crust’ meteorites.  Suggested YD impact comet crust closely resembles industrial iron furnace slag in its appearance and in its major chemical composition; however, unlike iron furnace slag, it often contains millimeter-to-centimeter-scale metallic iron inclusions that could not be suspended in an igneous melt on a high-gravity planet, and some comet-crust specimens exhibit apparent fusion crust, presumably from ablation during passage through Earth’s atmosphere.  Additionally, some large pristine specimens of suggested YD impact comet crust resonate like Ringing Rocks when sharply struck with a hammer, whereas industrial iron furnace slag is not known to possess this acoustic property.  The Eastern PA overlap between YD impact boulder fields and YD impact comet crust suggests that comet crust may originate from a primary strike in the Hudson Bay Region, rather than the Great Lakes Region, with the red trajectories suggesting other areas with possible comet crust contamination.  (See section, YD IMPACT COMET CRUST)

Debris-flow boulder fields:

    The Ringing rocks Wikipedia entry provides evidence for in situ boulder fields, but the ¾ kilometer-long Blue Rocks boulder field at Hawk Mountain, PA, with 5:1 length-to-width aspect ratio, demonstrates that some boulder fields were apparently created by (catastrophic) downhill flow.  The Blue Rocks boulders are stacked high above the surrounding terrain, making in situ formation an impossibility.

    Classically, boulder fields attributed to the LGM are presumed to have formed by periglacial freeze-thaw cycles, with boulders cleaved from the bedrock by ’frost wedging’.  If Ringing Rocks County Park boulder field, and Stony Garden boulder field are substantially in situ boulder fields, fractured from the basal olivine unit of the Jurassic diabase sills, then classically we are asked to believe that in situ frost wedging and associated heaving can fracture, displace and stack boulders 10 feet deep, creating discrete boulder fields immediately adjacent to undisturbed bedrock of the same kind.

    Classical processes with no good explanation are often glossed over as self evident, such as sharp isoclinal folding in metamorphic rocks, and particularly dramatic cases of ptygmatic folding that resemble ribbon candy.  Solifluction or gelifluction for the formation of periglacial boulder fields is another example, where invoking the term itself is apparently due diligence, although modern examples of these phenomena fall many orders of magnitude short of producing boulder fields.  Solifluction occurs during seasonal surface melting over a permafrost subsurface, where the permanently-frozen subsurface acts as a barrier to downward percolation of surface water, turning the thawed surface into a greasy lubricant.  Solifluction implies a slow mass wasting, whereas gelifluction involves sudden liquefaction of thawed soil over frozen ground, as in a periglacial-induced mudslide.  Alternatively, invoking a (self evident) downhill debris flow in a secondary impact is quite another thing, when the ice-sheet fragment impact carries the punch of a small atom bomb and provides its own water for the (aqueous) debris flow.

    The crumbly, heavily-tumbled and heavily-weathered Tuscarora sandstone boulders of Blue Rocks boulder field do not exhibit and may not have retained deeply-incised surface features scoured into impact brecciated boulders by super-high velocity slurries, forming cup marks, pot holes and striations.  Incised surface features in boulder field boulders are suggested to be the most-reliable indicator of secondary ice-sheet fragment impacts, and without this evidence, the Blue Rocks boulder field can not be definitely attributed to a secondary YD impact.  But if Blue Rocks is indeed a YD impact boulder field, the impact elevation may have been as high as the mountain pinnacle, perhaps at ‘Pulpit Rock’, some 300 meters in elevation above the bottom of the boulder field, in which case the impact shock wave may have blown out the cliff face, which rushed downhill in a hook-shaped rockslide or debris flow.

Hickory Run boulder field, PA:
    The main Hickory Run boulder field is accompanied by several smaller nearby boulder fields that may telegraph the location of an ice-sheet-fragment impact in Hickory Run State Park.  Alternatively, the smaller associated boulder fields may be due to separate ice-sheet fragment impacts in their own right, from a sub-fragmentation that occurred upon reentry; however, the greater specific wind resistance on smaller sub-fragmentation masses would should cause the smaller masses to fall short of the larger primary impact, whereas the ‘Southern boulder field’ would represent an overshoot of the primary impact, suggesting that the associated boulder fields were caused by secondary effects of a single primary impact.  The secondary effects were presumably caused by a trifurcated debris flow.
    The proposed impact site is on the relative high ground of a valley between two ridges, where the valley dips both to the east and to the west between a ridgeline to the north and a ridgeline to the south.  See following figure, A & B.  Additionally, the southern ridgeline has a pass directly south of the proposed impact site, like an enormous bite out of the southern ridgeline.  The secondary ice-sheet impact is suggested to have resulted in a trifurcated debris flow, with the east branch creating the main boulder field, the west branch creating the ‘Western boulder field’ and the south branch spilling through the southern ridgeline pass to create the ‘Southern boulder field’.
– East branch of a trifurcated debris flow.  The ‘Eastern boulder field’ appears to lie behind a slight rise in the terrain, which suggests that a hill may have stalled the debris flow, dropping the boulders on the leeward side.  The slight rise in the terrain may have shielded the trees on the leeward side from the impact blast wave, such that the stand of trees contributed to stalling the debris flow.
– West branch of a trifurcated debris flow.  The “Auxiliary boulder field” exhibits particularly-large and tabular-shaped boulders, which is located between the suggested secondary impact site and the “Main boulder field”.  Apparently the larger tabular-shaped boulders were the first boulders to fall out of debris flow suspension, forming the Auxiliary boulder field.  The rest of the boulders continued on for another 300 meters, or so, before coming to a rest to form the Main boulder field after reaching Hickory Run.
– South branch of a trifurcated debris flow.  The southern branch of the debris flow had the forward momentum of the ice-sheet fragment, but it was also slightly uphill through the pass in the southern ridgeline.  The elevation rise to the pass shielded the trees beyond the pass, such that the southern debris flow may have had to knock down trees for the distance of about 1 km trees before finally coming to rest to form the diminutive “Southern boulder field”, and a majority of the boulders in the south branch of the debris flow may have stalled along the way from the work of plowing through a dense stand of trees, shielded from the impact blast wave.
– “Unrelated talus slope(?)”.  The large boulders in the Unrelated talus slope lie at the bottom of a steep 100 meter high slope, which may have nothing to do with the suggested ice-sheet fragment impact, or a rock slide may have been triggered by impact ground tremors.
    Many of the smaller boulders and cobbles in the main boulder field are suspiciously rounded and smooth, as if by long-distance tumbling in Hickory Run itself, and many exhibit variable degrees of suggested secondary YD-impact rock scale, which is not apparent on larger boulders.  Suggested impact rock scale presents in two varieties; brown/orange nodular rock scale, and black rock scale.  Black rock scale can so easily be confused with black lichen that a black coating on rocks should be considered suspect, except when it exhibits a shiny graphite-like sheen.  Additionally, these smaller boulders and cobbles are composed of a smaller clast size than the larger boulders, with the cobbles composed of fine-grained sandstone or quartzite and the particularly-pink large boulders composed of coarser-grained sandstone.  A minority of the smooth cobbles appear to have indurated somewhat-glossy surfaces, which in some cases appears to be the result of a thin coating of impact rock scale.  For the smaller boulders and cobbles to have retained impact rock scale, cobble rounding and smoothing would have had to preexist the secondary impact, suggesting the cobbles were smoothed by tumbling in Hickory Run itself, although the nearest point to Hickory Run is about 1 km distant from the suggested location of ground zero.  The pink boulders of the Hickory Run boulder field are apparently Devonian sandstone from the Catskill Fm, Duncannon Member.  Upward fining suggests a smaller clast size upstream, where the well rounded and smoothed smaller boulders and cobbles presumably originated in the hills north of the boulder field.  The cobbles of Hickory Run were presumably spattered by the nearby impact, imparting YD-impact rock scale, and then bulldozed by the Western branch of the debris flow to become part of the main boulder field.

Hickory Run State Park, showing the suggested ice-sheet-fragment impact location, creating a suggested trifurcated debris flow, with each branch of the debris flow terminating in a boulder field. ‘A’ (terrain view) shows the suggested impact location with the red oval, with a trifurcated debris flow, showing the three branches in red translucent streaks. ‘B’ (satellite view) identifies the resulting boulder fields, and shows the location of Hickory Run (intermittent stream)

Incised surface features on impact boulder field boulders:

    The seismic impulse of ballistic ice-sheet fragments traveling at several kilometers per second shattered target bedrock.  Super-high-velocity (supercritical) fluids presumably contributed to brecciation.  Additionally, these super-high-velocity fluids abrasively scoured exposed rock surfaces, like sand blasting or high-pressure water jet cutting, inscribing deeply-incised surface features in brecciated boulders.
    Three of four Boulder field boulders examined exhibit a high incidence of incised surface features, that typically take the form of pock marks or pits (elsewhere called ‘cup marks’), as well as linear striations and pot holes, where pot holes are defined here as deep pits, often with flat bottoms shaped like a pan, and often with associated ‘handle’ striations.  Striations are defined here as deep straight grooves, sometimes crossed.
    ‘Cup and ring marks’ on boulders and bedrock exposures are well known in Europe, where they’re understood to be petroglyphs.  Indeed, some cup marks are circumscribed by concentric rings that are very evidently man made, although the central cup marks could be natural, from secondary ice-fragment impacts, and subsequently decorated by concentric rings, perhaps to appease the gods who rained down fire and ice.  By comparison, incised surface features on boulder field boulders in North America are not considered to be petroglyphs, and are not decorated by concentric rings, but instead are attributed to unusual weathering.  If ballistic ice-sheet fragments reached Europe from the Laurentide ice sheet in North America, they would have had higher speeds than any secondary impacts that formed the Carolina bays and impact boulder fields in North America.  Perhaps the wind-resistance stress on ballistic speeds necessary to reach Europe and beyond exceeded bulk ice strength, causing the ice to shatter upon reentry, such that the scale of the shattered sub-fragments was insufficient to form boulder fields and Carolina bays in Europe and beyond, but sufficient to abrasively scour exposed bedrock and boulders, creating cup marks and striations.

Hickory Run boulder field
Sandstone boulder with possible percussion mark

Ringing Rocks boulder field
Diabase boulder with broad parallel striations

Ringing Rocks boulder field
Diabase boulder with deep pot holes and striations

Cup marks in cairn boulder, Inverness Scotland

    Ring art around what could be naturally-incised cup marks in this IMAGE from Fowberry Cairn, UK

    Presumably only the cup-marked top portion of the rock was exposed above the soil line at the time of a local iceberg impact, in this IMAGE from Farnhill Moor, UK.

    Note the distinct pitting in the largest cup mark on the right side of the image below.  The total effect is more random than artistic, suggesting a natural origin.

Rock with granular cup marks and striations, Val Camonica, Italy
Image credit: Luca Giarelli / CC-BY-SA 3.0


Secondary impact rock scale:

    There appear to be two types of impact rock scale; a common black rock scale, and a less-common brown/orange rock scale.  Both types of rock scale must be particularly inert and tenacious to have survived 12,800 years at the surface in such relative abundance.

    Black rock scale, which can have a graphite-like sheen, is suggested here to be condensed smoke, baked on by high temperatures and pressures in the impact vicinity.  Black rock scale tends to be relatively uniform in thickness, somewhat resembling fusion crust on a meteorite, but the coverage will not be ubiquitous, since the portions of rock in contact with the ground at the time were shielded from smoke exposure.  Black rock scale can so easily be confused with black lichen or forest-fire scorching that perhaps only black rock scale with a metallic graphite-like sheen can definitely be attributed to an impact origin; however, when other attributes of a secondary impact are locally present, black rock scale that does not have a graphite-like sheen can be more confidently attributed to an impact origin.
    The much less common orange/brown rock scale often presents in the form of brown nodules on smooth river cobbles, since river cobbles were commonly exposed above ground 12,800 B.P. as they are today, and even small amounts of nodular rock scale stands out prominently on smooth rocks.  Thicker coatings of impact spatter show prominently on coarser rocks.  Impact-spatter rock scale is suggested here to be the result of high-velocity spattering of predominantly extraterrestrial material with a high iron content, hence the rusty brown to orange coloration.  Thin spatter coatings may be more orange in coloration, where the coating may impart an indurated surface effect on relatively-smooth rocks.  Nodular rock scale is almost invariably present on ‘one side only’ of exposed rocks, unlike black rock scale from smoke exposure that can encircle rocks, so only the side of a rock that could ‘see’ the incoming ice-sheet fragment will have been exposed to high-velocity impact spatter, and presumably only to a distance from ground zero where the spatter arrives at high speed.  The relative rarity of nodular rock scale compared to black rock scale is presumably due to the requirement for high-velocity line-of-sight exposure, such that nodular rock scale may have occurred only a modest number of impact-basin radii from ground zero, whereas black rock scale may have occurred many impact-basin radii distant, including on the leeward side of hills and etc., shielded from line-of-sight impact spatter.  Brown nodular rock scale is found on rough boulders on mountain tops as well as on river cobbles.

    Both kinds of rock scale are absent from brecciated target rock boulders in suggested impact boulder fields.  In debris-flow boulder fields, any rock scale was likely abraded off by debris-flow tumbling, and in diabase boulder fields, orange/brown nodular rock scale would be almost indistinguishable from the orange weathering rind that appears on diabase boulders due to oxidative exposure over time; however, black rock scale would stand out nicely on diabase.  Curiously, the sand in the southeast rims of Carolina bays has been bleached white, compared to nearby sand, and perhaps brecciated boulders are similarly bleached by exposure to super-high-temperatures and -velocities by supercritical fluids.

Hickory Run cobble with black graphite-like rock scale

Hickory Run cobbles/boulders with black rock scale

Susquehanna River cobble with black graphite-like rock scale

Hickory Run cobble with brown nodular rock scale

Boulder with smooth brown rock scale resembling induration

Suggested YD impact comet crust from Harrisburg, PA. Close up image to the right highlights its coating of brown nodular rock scale

    The following two images show nodular rock scale on Devonian conglomerate and sandstone on Stony Mountain, north of Fort Indiantown Gap, PA.  Stony Mountain is covered with boulders, giving the mountain its name, suggesting the possibility of the mountain being ground zero of a large secondary impact.

Stony Mountain north of Fort Indiantown Gap
A thick coating of nodular brown rock scale
(40.48301, -76.62908)

Stony Mountain north of Fort Indiantown Gap
Brown nodular rock scale
(40.48116, -76.62837)

    The greywacke ‘shoe stone’ from the Susquehanna River, Millersburg, PA exhibits millimeter-scale nodules on one side only (left side and bottom).  One small area on the sole, circled in red, exhibits apparent human modification, presumably to more closely resemble a human shoe.  If the nodular rock scale is indeed YD impact splatter, then its presence at the surface 12,800 years ago raises the probability that the sole modification was Clovis, perhaps a child-sized moccasin last, or a child’s toy.

Presumably Clovis greywacke ‘shoe stone’ from Susquehanna River, Millersburg, PA, left side with nodular brown rock scale

Presumably Clovis shoe stone from Susquehanna River, Millersburg, PA, bottom side with minimal nodular rock scale. The area circled in red has faint chip marks, presumably indicating human modification to more closely resemble a shoe.

Presumably Clovis shoe stone from Susquehanna River, Millersburg, PA, right side, no nodular rock scale (one side only)

Close up of shoe stone nodular rock scale


Magnetic spherules in Pleistocene tusk and bone and in Clovis chert flakes:

    Firestone et al. (2006) discovered magnetic spherules embedded in Clovis chert flakes, apparently caused by high-velocity spherule impacts, with attendant particle tracks.  Similarly, magnetic spherules with entrance wounds were found in earlier Pleistocene tusk and bone, circa 33 ka.  Since early days, these claims of embedded spherules have not been pursued by the the Comet Research Group, due to the lack of a plausible origin story.  While a date long before the Younger Dryas can be defended by evoking repeated passage of Earth through the Taurid meteor stream, YD impact skeptics have dismissed the suggestion of high-velocity ground-level magnetic spherules, as in the contrarian paper, The Younger Dryas impact hypothesis: A requiem (Nicholas Pinter et al., 2011).

    Indeed, microspherules can not maintain high velocity in their passage through the atmosphere, although they might splinter off at the last second from a larger high-velocity bolide.  Alternatively, a rain of spherules falling at terminal velocity from the Taurid meteor stream might receive a high-velocity kick from the sonic boom of supersonic bolide or its explosion overhead in the upper atmosphere.  A sonic-boom shock wave would instantly accelerate particles small enough to be entrained by a shock wave compression.  So extraterrestrial microspherules from the Taurid meteor stream freefalling through the atmosphere in the immediate vicinity of a wooly mammoth could be accelerated to speeds approaching that of the Mach 1 shock wave itself, enabling locally-accelerated spherules to penetrate hide, tusk, bone, or even silicates.


    An impact origin for coastal Carolina bays presumes a similar density of inland impacts, which appears to fit with discrete boulder fields dating to the LGM.  Conventionally, a periglacial, freeze-thaw, frost-wedging solifluction/gelifluction model strains credibility to explain the exquisite discreteness and concentration of LGM boulder fields.

    Deeply-incised surface features, such as cup marks and striations are predictive in an ice-sheet fragment impact, but require ad hoc mechanisms to explain them away in a conventional periglacial frost-wedging context, particularly since there are no contemporary examples under similar freeze-thaw conditions today.

    The resonant quality of Ringing Rocks diabase boulders is evidently a surficial skin effect, rather than a bulk-rock effect due to cooling of igneous intrusions under high pressure, since cutting or breaking boulders relieves the stress, which it would not due if the stress were an intrinsic bulk-rock property.

    Rock scale associated with boulder fields and beyond fits with a high-velocity high-temperature impact of an ice sheet fragment containing traces of extraterrestrial bolide material, whereas conventional theories have thus far overlooked this phenomena.

    Finally, microspherules embedded in bone, tusks and Clovis chert flakes suggest a Taurid meteor stream that’s at least 33,000 years old.  It’s more probable that the Taurid meteor stream is at least that old than it is that another meteor stream appeared and disappeared since then.  Presumably, high-energy sonic booms from multiple Taurid meteor stream meteors locally accelerated meteor-stream mineral grains in freefall up to a velocity sufficient to penetrate chert, bone and tusks.

Hickory Run boulder field
Sandstone boulder with cup marks

Ringing Rocks boulder field
Diabase boulder with deep pot holes

Ringing Rocks boulder field
Diabase boulder with deep crossed striations

Ringing Rocks boulder field
Diabase boulder with cup marks and striations


Dietz, R. S., Barring, J. P., (1973), Hudson Bay arc as an astrobleme: A negative search, Meteoritics, Vol. 8, p. 28-29

Firestone, Richard; West, Allen; Warwick-Smith, Simon, (2006), The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes: Flood, Fire and Famine in the History of Civilization, Bear and Company

Firestone, Richard; Allen West;, and Simon Warwick-Smith, (2006), The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes, Bear & Company, Rochester, Vermont

Firestone, Richard B., Analysis of the Younger Dryas Impact Layer, (2007), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Firestone, R.B.; West, A.; Kennett, J.P. et al., (2007), Evidence for an extraterrestrial impact 12,900 years ago that contributed to the megafaunal extinctions and the Younger Dryas cooling, PNAS October 9, 2007, vol. 104, no. 41

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, Cosmology, October 27, 2009

Petaev, Michail I.; Huang, Shichun; Jacobsen, Stein B.; Zindler, Alan, (2013), LARGE PLATINUM ANOMALY IN THE GISP2 ICE CORE: EVIDENCE FOR A CATACLYSM AT THE BØLLING-ALLERØD/YOUNGER DRYAS BOUNDARY?, 44th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (2013)

Pinter, Nicholas; Scott, Andrew C.; Daulton, Tyrone L.; Podoll, Andrew; Koeberl, Christian; Anderson, R. Scott; Ishman, Scott E., (2011), The Younger Dryas impact hypothesis: A requiem, Earth-Science Reviews, Volume 106, Issues 3-4, June 2011, Pages 247-264

Wolbach, Wendy S. et al, (2018), Extraordinary Biomass-Burning Episode and Impact Winter Triggered by the Younger Dryas Cosmic Impact ~12,800 Years Ago. 1. Ice Cores and Glaciers, The Journal of Geology, Volume 126, Number 2, March 2018


Sectioned igneous slab with metallic-iron inclusions
Suggested igneous YD-impact comet crust
(Snowball Solar System)

The attendant alternative solar system ideology predicts a siderophile-depleted igneous crust on hot classical Kuiper belt objects, but, whether this material is that material is more problematic.


    Comet-crust meteorites are suggested here to be a new class of outer solar system meteorites, comprising the igneous crust and associated metasomatic magnetite of hot-classical Kuiper belt objects (KBOs). KBO comets are exceedingly rare in the inner solar system, compared to inner solar system asteroids and chondrites, therefore comet crust meteorites should be proportionately rare in present-day meteorite falls. But 12,800 years ago, the ‘YD impact hypothesis’ or ‘Clovis comet hypothesis’, suggests that fragments of a 100+ km KBO impacted Earth, likely landing on the Laurentide ice sheet (present day Canada. The Laurentide ice sheet was apparently struck by multiple fragments of the YD comet, with multiple impacts in the vicinity of the Great Lakes and also Hudson Bay. The impact cataclysm presumably caused the extinction of 90 genera of megafauna in the Americas and the onset of a 1000 year period of cooling, known as the Younger Dryas. An impact ejecta curtain of ice sheet fragments were launched into ballistic trajectories across North American and beyond, widely distributing comet crust, embedded in the ballistic ice sheet fragments.

    Comet-crust meteorites require an alternative solar system ideology that predicts a siderophile-depleted composition for hot classical KBOs, with the comet crust also depleted in silicates. Hot-classical KBOs are suggested here to have condensed from a siderophile-depleted ’trifurcation debris disk’, > 4,567 Ma, that lay on the 3-oxygen-isotope terrestrial fractionation line, resulting in siderophile-depleted comet crust material, depleted in iridium and nickel, unlike chondrite-normalized inner solar system meteorites.
    Large KBOs presumably underwent spontaneous ’aqueous differentiation’ at formation by streaming instability (gravitational collapse), internally melting water ice, which precipitated authigenic sedimentary cores with a gneissic composition. The liquid water refroze to form icy mantles surrounding sedimentary gneissic cores, with the icy mantles depleted in gneissic silicates.
    An igneous crust on hot-classical KBOs presupposes a former binary-Sun, whose binary components spiraled in to merge in a luminous red nova (LRN) at 4,567 Ma. The solar-merger LRN briefly enveloped the solar system out to and including the Kuiper belt, melting the surface regolith into an igneous ‘comet crust’, and forming secondary metasomatic magnetite.
    A sizable percentage of comet-crust meteorites exhibit fusion crust and occasionally due to atmospheric ablation.

High-density rock specimen with cratered surface from City Island, Harrisburg, PA
Suggested YD-impact Clovis-comet meteorite


    Sedimentary cores dated to the onset of the Younger Dryas, 12,800 BP, from the Americas, Europe, and Asia exhibit iron-rich spherules, glass-like carbon, glass spherules, nanodiamonds, and platinum enrichments.  Additionally, closely-dated glacial cores exhibit platinum enrichments and numerous markers for extreme biomass burning.  Some sedimentary horizons from this time period are so enriched in black carbon/soot deposits as to engender the term ‘black mat’ for their distinctive appearance.  Significantly, 90 genera of megafauna went extinct in the Americas by 12,700 BP.  A thousand year period of glacial conditions known as the Younger Dryas followed the brief warming of the Late Glacial Interstadial at the end of the Last Glacial Maximum.
    A group of 63 scientists from 55 universities in 16 countries have created the Comet Research Group to pursue the likelihood that a comet impact on or over the Laurentide ice sheet 12,800 BP was the cause for this unusual combination of anomalies.

    Petaev et al., 2013 analyzed Greenland ice sheet cores from the Greenland Ice Sheet Project 2 and discovered a large platinum anomaly at the onset of the Younger Dryas,  not accompanied by an iridium anomaly, with the Pt/Ir ratios at the Pt peak exceeding those in known terrestrial sediments.  The Pt concentrations rise by at least 100 fold over ~ 14 years before dropping back during the subsequent ~ 7 years.  The Pt anomaly precedes the ammonium and nitrate spike in the GISP2 ice core (2) by 30 y and, thus, this event is unlikely to have triggered the biomass burning and destruction thought to be responsible for ammonium increase in the atmosphere and the Greenland ice (11).”
    Subsequently, a platinum anomaly was documented in bulk sedimentary sequences from 11 widely-separated sites across the continental United States.  (Moore, West et al., 2017)  This article constrains the Greenland ice core Pt anomaly, from Petaev et al. 2013, to ~12,836–12,815 cal BP.

    In a recent study measuring biomass burning proxies, 23 sites with previous YD impact markers were examined across North America and northern Europe, including one site in northern South America and one site in the Middle East.  The study revealed a major peak in biomass burning at the YD onset that appears to be the highest during the latest Quaternary.  (Wolbach et al.,2., 2018)

    In a related article, biomass-burning aerosols were discovered in 4 ice-core sequences from Greenland, Antarctica, and Russia.  The perturbations on CO2 records from Taylor Glacier, Antarctic suggest the combustion of ~9% of Earth’s terrestrial biomass.  (Wolbach et al.,1., 2018)
    This 2018 paper, which includes 24 scientists from the Comet Research Group, states that the “cosmic-impact hypothesis is based on considerable evidence that Earth collided with fragments of a disintegrating 100 km-diameter comet, the remnants of which persist within the inner solar system ~12,800 y later”.  (Wolbach et al.,1., 2018)  Elsewhere, Comet Encke and the Taurid meteor stream are suggested as the possible debris stream of a former KBO that fragmented in the inner solar system in the last 20,000 to 30,000 years, whose debris stream once included the former YD comet.
    No crater has been positively identified for the one or more posited Younger Dryas (YD) impacts on the Laurentide ice sheet in the Great Lakes Region, circa 12,800 BP.  This absence of a primary impact crater reduces the likelihood of recognizing primary bolide material, particularly if it belongs to a new class of outer solar system meteorites that is radically different from inner solar system asteroids and chondrites.

45 kg metallic-iron ‘ring-of-flames’ from Conshohocken, PA
Suggested YD impact comet-crust meteorite

YD impact comet-crust overview:

    The former YD impact bolide is suggested to have possessed an igneous crust that constitutes a new class of siderophile-depleted (low nickel, < 2 ppb iridium) meteorites on Earth.  This suggested comet crust contains frequent millimeter-to-centimeter-scale metallic-iron inclusions that appear to have solidified in a microgravity environment, and thus extraterrestrial.
    The primary impact was presumably on the Laurentide ice sheet, with comet crust ferried into SE PA and elsewhere as bolide contamination within a secondary ejecta curtain of Laurentide ice sheet fragments.

    Comet crust was fortuitously preserved on Earth impact by the cushioning effect of the relatively-compressible target ice of the Laurentide ice sheet. The relative compressibility of water ice, compared to bedrock silicates, presumably clamped the impact shock wave pressure below the melting point of silicates, preserving bolide material from melting on impact, with the relative endothermic compressibility of water absorbing the lion’s share of the impact energy. The target ice sheet absorbed the lion’s share of the energy in the form of PdV compressive heating, likely raising the temperature of the target ice to thousand of Kelvins. Thus in addition to atmospheric ablation, some of the surface scorching observed on comet-crust material may have occurred at impact.

    As many as 500,000 elliptically-shaped Carolina bays are located along the Atlantic Seaboard and Gulf Coast of the US, which have been suggested by members of the Comet Research Group to have been caused by secondary impacts from an ejecta curtain of Laurentide ice sheet fragments from a primary impact on the ice sheet, circa 12,800 BP. Many ice sheet fragments apparently traveled over 1000 km in ballistic trajectories above Earth’s atmosphere at 3 km/s and impacted with 1% of the specific kinetic energy of primary YD comet fragments traveling at 30 km/s.

    Presumably a similar density of secondary ice-sheet-fragment impacts occurred inland from the coastal Carolina bays, but secondary ice-fragment impacts on harder inland terrain caused less collateral damage, which has been visually erased by subsequent weathering during the intervening millennia.
    The impulse of secondary ballistic impacts of ice-sheet fragments on exposed bedrock or thin soil over bedrock is suggested here to have fractured target bedrock, occasionally forming discrete boulder fields, particularly when ice-sheet fragments hit the leeward side of mountains and slopes, where the forward momentum of the ice-sheet fragment was directed downhill, promoting downhill debris flows. (See section, YD IMPACT BOULDER FIELDS). In Eastern Pennsylvania, the Hickory Run boulder field and the Ringing Rocks boulder fields are both suggested to be YD impact boulder fields, where the several Ringing Rocks bounder fields are largely in situ bounder fields, while the larger Hickory Run boulder field is most-likely a debris-flow bounder field. And innumerable smaller concentrations of sharp-edged boulders that are nominally-weathered could also be secondary impact sites.
    There is some indication, from the orientation of Carolina bays, that ice-sheet-fragment ballistic trajectories over Central and Southeastern Pennsylvania came from primary impacts in the Hudson bay region, much-further north than the Great Lakes region, resulting in higher-speed ballistic trajectories, as indicated on the following figure from Richard Firestone, 2009.  And these higher ballistic speeds may be necessary, or at least significant, in creating sufficient impact brecciation to form impact bounder fields. Additionally, if these same ice-sheet fragments from Hudson bay region were particularly contaminated with comet crust, this could explain the convergence of impact boulder fields and comet crust in Southeast Pennsylvania.

From Firestone, 2009, Figure 3, predicting the locations of primary strikes on the Laurentide ice sheet, 12,800 B.P., derived from the orientations of Carolina bays, The ballistic trajectories of ice-sheet-fragment ejecta curtains are indicated in red and blue. Red trajectories point back to a suggested primary impact over Hudson bay, with a cluster of red trajectories passing over Eastern Pennsylvania (bordered in green) Ice-sheet-fragment impacts from the Hudson Bay Region are suggested here to have formed a cluster of ‘YD impact boulder fields’ in Eastern Pennsylvania.

    If the YD comet fragment included any of its gneissic KBO core, its indistinguishably from metamorphic Earth rocks would render it inconspicuous, where the metamorphic basement rock of the continental tectonic plates on Earth are suggested HERE to be the authigenic sedimentary cores of hot-classical KBOs, emplaced on Earth during the late heavy bombardment. And ironically, the similarity of suggested igneous comet crust to industrial iron furnace slag also renders igneous comet crust inconspicuous, particularly in light of its economic exploitation for its iron content, which frequently mingles pristine comet crust with an industrial slag waste stream. Finally, multiple primary impacts on a transitory multi-kilometer-thick ice sheet that launched a lively trajectory curtain of secondary impacts, resulting in a fantastic distribution of secondary impacts across the North American continent and beyond, with the ejecta curtain overwhelmingly composed of fresh-water ice that disappeared without a trace.
    All aspects of the suggested YD comet impact deviate from the classical understanding of rocky-iron asteroids/chondrites on target bedrock, from its suggested siderophile-depleted gneissic core composition and igneous composition of comet crust, to its multiple impacts on a transitory ice sheet, generating a singular spray of secondary ice-sheet fragments in ballistic trajectories above Earth’s atmosphere.

YD comet-crust exhibits a number of typical features that occur with variable frequency:
– Gray igneous matrix; constituting variable-sized chunks of dense, gray igneous matrix, having a particularly-high calcium-oxide content, with specimens often containing variable-sized metallic-iron inclusions. Some matrix material is highly-vesicular, like scoria, while some matrix material lacks vesicles altogether.
– Metallic iron; consisting of variable-sized masses of metallic iron, from millimeter-scale inclusions in the gray igneous matrix to isolated masses of metallic iron as large as 100 kg. Some iron is massive (cast) and some is nodular, where nodular iron often appears in aggregates that appear to be sintered together, with little or no accompanying matrix material.
– Magnetite/hematite; while metallic iron was evidently molten, while associated magnetite/hematite appears to have formed by aqueous deposition, likely by metasomatism in internal fissures.
– Some matrix material exhibits one smooth undulating surface, with a typical 10-15 cm undulation radius, with the matrix material typically fractured into pie-shaped ‘slices’, having one rounded smooth surface, with the other surfaces being fractured, resembling a slice of pie.
– Some matrix material exhibits apparent fusion crust, and a small percentage of fusion crust exhibits apparent flow lines.
– All types of YD comet crust are typically coated with a white, gritty cement-like coating, to the extent that this cement-like coating is one of the best indicators of comet crust.

Aqueous differentiation of KBOs:

    Large KBOs presumably underwent aqueous differentiation during formation by streaming instability, a form of gravitational instability, with aqueous differentiation defined here as the melting of water ice by the conversion of potential energy to heat during gravitational collapse. Large KBOs in which all water ice either melted or sublimed presumably processed all their trifurcation-debris-disk dust and ice through internal saltwater oceans, largely dissolving nebular dust suspended in saltwater, and/or with nebular dust acting as nucleation sites for mineral crystallization. In the microgravity of internal KBO oceans, authigenic mineral grains grew by crystallization until falling out of aqueous suspension at a sand grain size or larger, forming sedimentary cores with a bulk gneissic composition. Gneissic banding is attributed to intermittent KBO-quake subsidence events that modulated mineral-species solubilities by way of pH variations, where subsidence shock waves caused CO2 to bubble out of solution, sharply raising the pH.
    Over time heat loss caused internal KBO oceans to freeze solid, trapping solutes and suspended mineral grains in the saltwater ice, with the solutes deficient in the bulk chemistry of the gneissic sediments (and siderophile depleted). This depletion of gneissic silicates left the icy mantle and crust highly-enriched in water-soluble solutes, notably salts, iron, magnesium, carbonates, and calcium oxides.

    The subsequent plasma immersion of old-classical KBOs in the 4,567 Ma binary spiral-in solar merger LRN is suggested here to have sublimed the volatiles and melted the remaining volatiles into an igneous crust, with gaseous volatiles percolating through the igneous crust, creating voids in the igneous crust.

    The chemically-reducing nature of ionized hydrogen and carbon monoxide in the LRN solar plasma chemically reduced exposed iron oxides to metallic iron, with iron droplets merging into centimeter-scale metallic iron inclusions in comet crust before falling out of suspension within percolating igneous matrix. Coincidently, carbon monoxide is the reducing agent for converting iron oxide to metallic iron in industrial iron-smelting furnaces.


Alternative solar system model:

Symmetrical flip-flop fragmentation:
    An alternative star formation mechanism, designated ‘symmetrical flip-flop fragmentation’, is suggested to have ‘condensed’ a twin-binary pair of disk instability objects around a large brown-dwarf-mass protostellar core, where the twin disk instability (DI) objects were much-more massive than the diminutive core. Orbital interplay progressively transferred kinetic energy and angular momentum from the massive twin DI-objects to the diminutive brown dwarf by the mechanism of equipartition of kinetic energy, which evaporated the former brown-dwarf-mass core into a circumbinary orbit around the twin-binary DI-objects, as the DI-objects spiraled inward, conserving potential energy and angular momentum. The DI-objects evolved into our former binary-Sun.

Trifurcation and the trifurcation debris disk:
    It’s well known that equipartition of kinetic energy transfers orbital kinetic energy and angular momentum from more massive objects to less massive objects in close orbital encounters, which is the principle used in ‘gravity assist’ routinely used by spacecraft, and equipartition in triple-star systems causes unstable chaotic orbits to evolve into stable hierarchical systems, with the least massive component in a circumbinary orbit around the more-massive central binary pair.
    Equipartition is suggested here to also transfer rotational energy and angular momentum from more-massive to less-massive objects in close orbital encounters, increasing rotation rate, causing them to ‘spin up’. Equipartition is suggested to have caused our former brown-dwarf-mass protostar to spin up until it distorted into a tri-axial Jacobi ellipsoid and then into a bar-mode instability. Additional pumping of rotational energy caused the bar-mode instability to centrifugally fragment in a well constrained manor, designated ‘trifurcation’, for its suggested fragmentation into 3 components. Bar-mode-instability fragmentation occurs when the self gravity of the bar-mode arm pinches off into a twin-binary pair of objects orbiting a diminutive residual core at the center of rotation.
    First-generation trifurcation creates a Mini-Me version of the original brown dwarf core orbited by a much-more massive pair of disk-instability objects (protostars), such that first-generation trifurcation promotes second-generation trifurcation, and etc., like a set of Russian nesting dolls, where the residual core of the previous generation becomes the trifurcating core of the next generation. Thus, 4 trifurcation generations created the twin-binary objects in our solar system;
– 1st gen. ― ‘binary-Companion’ (with super-Jupiter-mass components)
– 2nd gen. ― Jupiter-Saturn
– 3rd gen. ― Uranus-Neptune
– 4th gen. ― Venus-Earth + Mercury (residual core)
    Trifurcation is presumably an inefficient process, spinning off or vaporizing a substantial percentage of trifurcating objects in the form of gas and dust debris. Assuming that our trifurcated brown-dwarf-mass protostar had been internally differentiated into an iron-nickel (siderophile) core, the resulting spin-off debris would necessarily have been siderophile depleted. Thus, four generations of trifurcation created a siderophile-depleted ‘trifurcation debris disk’ from the homogeneous brown dwarf reservoir, which lay on the 3-oxygen-isotope, brown dwarf fractionation line, which we know as the terrestrial fractionation line.
    And the trifurcation debris disk condensed siderophile-depleted (hot-classical) Kuiper belt objects (KBOs), presumably by streaming instability, against Neptune’s outer 2:3 mean motion resonance.

Binary-Sun spiral-in merger luminous red nova (LRN) at 4,567 Ma:
    Secular perturbation between former binary-Sun and former binary-Companion caused binary-Sun to spiral in and merge in at 4,567 Ma in a luminous red nova (LRN), which briefly created a plasma fireball that apparently enveloped the classical Kuiper belt, vaporizing volatiles from the surface of KBOs and melting the refractory regolith into an igneous, siderophile-depleted rocky-iron crust.
    The red giant phase of (stellar-merger) luminous red nova LRN M85OT2006-1 would have reached far into the Kuiper belt, with a fireball estimated at R = 2.0 +.6-.4 x 10^4 R☉, and a peak luminosity of about 5 x 10^6 L☉. (Rau et. al. 2007) “Previously published line indices suggest that M85 has a mean stellar age of 1.6+/-0.3 Gyr. If this mean age is representative of the progenitor of M85 OT 2006-1, then we can further constrain its mass to be less than 2 M☉.” (Ofek et al. 2007) If the size of the less than 2 M☉ LRN M85OT2006-1 fireball was in the range of 74–121 AU (R = 2.0 +.6-.4 x 10^4 R☉), then it’s readily conceivable that our greater than 1 M☉ LRN fireball, at 4,567 Ma, should easily have scorched a preexisting Kuiper belt reservoir centered around 43 AU.
    The solar-merger LRN quickly retreated, leaving a low-angular-momentum ‘LRN debris disk’ in the inner solar system that ‘condensed’ rocky-iron asteroids by streaming instability, presumably against the Sun’s greatly expanded magnetic corotation radius, and later condensed chondrites by streaming instability against Jupiter’s strongest inner resonances, but the low angular momentum content of the solar-merger debris disk precluded forming a high angular momentum debris disk at the distance of the Kuiper belt.
    The dynamic temperature profile of the luminous red nova may partly explain the large centimeter-scale metallic-iron inclusions, which are too large to have been held in molten igneous suspension within the supporting matrix, even in the microgravity of a KBO. The LRN temperature profile over time caused top down melting of the surface regolith, followed by bottom up solidification, during the exponential cooling phase, measured in months. Once reaching a peak melt depth, the receding solar plasma allowed the igneous crust to gradually solidify (cool) from the bottom up, even as iron oxide was still being chemically reduced to a molten metallic-iron state at the surface. Thus as metallic-iron globules rained down onto the rising matrix solidification front, the iron spherules piled up, but since the melting point of iron is higher than the melting point of the surrounding (basaltic) mafic matrix, the iron spherules would be solid at the matrix solidification front; however, prolonged exposure to elevated temperatures may have sintered these iron spherules into solid iron masses below the melting point of iron.

Binary-Companion spiral-in merger at 650 Ma:
    Almost 4 billion years after the binary-Sun merger at 4,567 Ma, the super-Jupiter components of binary-Companion spiraled in to merge at about 650 Ma in an asymmetrical merger explosion that gave the newly-merged Companion escape velocity from the Sun. The resulting ‘Companion-merger debris disk’ presumably condensed a young (650 Ma), cold, classical KBO population against Neptune’s outer 2:3 resonance. And this Companion-merger debris disk may have coated the old (> 4,567 Ma) hot, classical KBO population with a thin veneer of binary-Companion merger dust and ice that was not siderophile depleted. This late veneer on otherwise siderophile-depleted hot classical KBOs may be the origin of the platinum spike found in black mats across North America and in the Greenland ice sheet, dating to 12,800 Ka.

The three debris disks of our highly-unusual solar system:
– Trifurcation debris disk―>4,567 Ma―forming siderophile-depleted hot-classical KBOs
– Solar-merger debris disk―4,567 Ma―forming inner solar system asteroids and chondrites
– Companion-merger debris disk―650 Ma―forming cold classical KBOs


Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel:

    In 1883 Ignatius L. Donnelly, US congressman from Minnesota, wrote a treatise on a suggested comet strike 12,000 years ago. For evidence he points to an often unstratified layer of “drift”, “till”, or “hard-pan”, composed of clay and gravel, with occasional inclusions of larger cobbles and boulders. Allochthonous cobbles and boulders in the till are often scored with striations, as from being scraped with great force. Donnelly descriptions indicate that unstratified drift is often overlain with stratified drift.
    Ignatius Donnelly is not merely describing well-defined terminal moraine that is deposited at the maximum reach of ice sheets during glacial maxima, which is frequently marked on geologic maps, but Donnelly describes a much-more widespread phenomenon that is different in kind and extent. This drift may represent material deposited by the sudden collapse (melting) of the Laurentide ice sheet precipitated by the YD comet impact, flushing Canadian sediments into the contiguous northern states of the USA. Unprecedented flooding would have been accompanied by unprecedented debris flows, as ice dams repeatedly formed and catastrophically failed.

INAA/mass spec analysis of suggested YD impact comet-crust meteorites

YD comet crust characterization:

    In another unfortunate coincidence with industrial iron-smelting slag, YD comet crust has a high calcium oxide content. The fire assay of two comet crust samples yielded 25.69% and 40.28%, which is in line with industrial iron-smelting slag (41.7%) (Chemical composition of iron and steel slag). The high iron and calcium content of YD comet crust are suggested to be the refractory solutes of the saltwater ocean after precipitation of the gneissic sediments, and after volitalization by the solar plasma of the binary-Sun merger LRN.

Gray igneous matrix with metallic-iron inclusions:
    Comet crust is highly variable regarding specimen size, density, matrix to metallic iron ratio, void prevalence, void size, and surface texture. Specimen size ranges from millimeter- to centimeter-scale gravel up to igneous boulders more than a meter across. Igneous matrix density is highly variable, varying by iron-oxide concentration, void prevalence and metallic-iron concentration, but its density is noticeably greater than industrial iron-furnace slag, which has very little remaining iron content. Sectioned slabs of mafic matrix have a greasy appearance, with smearing sometimes evident after cutting with a wet saw.
    Metallic-iron inclusions typically range in size from millimeter- to centimeter-scale, with isolated iron masses up to 100 kg (and maybe much higher).
    Internal voids in gray igneous matrix range in size, and prevalence from millimeter-scale voids, with almost the appearance of volcanic scoria, to centimeter-scale voids, to specimens with a complete absence of voids.

Massive and nodular metallic iron:
    The centimeter-scale of metallic-iron inclusions, which are nearly 2-½ times as dense as the surrounding comet-crust matrix, have too much negative buoyancy to remain suspended in molten igneous matrix, even in the microgravity of KBOs, and certainly on Earth, given the low-viscosity of mafic melts (compared to felsic melts). Thus Special conditions are required for the formation of suspended centimeter-scale metallic-iron inclusions anywhere but in zero gravity. These special conditions are suggested to be the prolonged (months-long) exposure to reducing conditions that chemically reduced iron oxide to metallic iron, with an underlying floor, against which spherules of metallic iron could fall out of suspension and aggregate into larger masses, and in sufficient time to sinter together. In KBOs immersed in LRN plasma, the effective floor was the phase transition between molten matrix and underlying solidified matrix, which cooled from the bottom up, once reaching maximum melt depth. The spherules may have variably sintered together over time, with incomplete sintering creating masses of nodular iron.
    The contorted shapes of many iron inclusions and masses is notable, with many 3-dimensional shapes that would typically have to be cast in a 3-dimensional mold on Earth, due to the high density and low viscosity of molten iron.
    Metallic iron falls into several categories,
1) metallic iron inclusions completely surrounded by gray igneous matrix,
2) massive metallic iron, often with little or no associated igneous matrix, and
3) nodular metallic iron composed of nodules that appear to be sintered together, also with little or no accompanying igneous matrix.
    Compared to the millimeter- to centimeter-scale metallic-iron blebs in suggested comet crust, glassy iron furnace slag from historic Joanna furnace, PA contains only microscopic iron spherules clearly evident in thin glass flakes, backlit under 40X magnification, with the spherules appearing to have a distinct upper size limit.

Nodular metallic iron
Suggested YD-impact comet crust (meteorite)
(Snowball Solar System)

Sectioned igneous slab with metallic-iron inclusions
Suggested YD impact comet crust

Broken boulder with magnet attached to metallic-iron inclusion
Suggested YD-impact comet crust

Nodular metallic-iron mass with whitish cement-like coating
Suggested YD-impact comet crust

Metallic-iron specimens from Doe Run, PA
Suggested YD impact comet crust

Small metallic-iron blobs, Conshohocken
Suggested YD impact comet crust

Gritty, whitish, cement-like coating as a reliable YD comet crust indicator:
    Comet crust meteorites typically exhibit a whitish, gritty, cement-like coating. Calcium carbonate may constitute the glue holding authigenic mineral grains together, because the coating fizzes when exposed to weak acids like vinegar. The cement-like coating is apparently surface contamination acquired at impact, at primary and/or secondary impact, since it often coats surfaces apparently broken on impact. Cement-like coating often overlies fusion crust, but occasionally is melted into the fusion crust itself.
    Cement-like coating is common on both grey igneous matrix and on comet-crust hematite/magnetite, but it’s uncommon on massive and nodular metallic iron, likely because of rust exfoliation. Cement-like coating is suggested to be one of the most reliable indicators of YD comet crust; however, its absence is not proof against membership, because weathering can remove it. Whitish cement-like coating is can be helpful in discriminating between comet crust and iron furnace slag, when the two are mixed in the waste stream.
    Gritty cement-like coating contains variable concentrations of shiny black magnetic spherules, which are visually similar to spherules found at the bottom of the 12,800 year old (YD) black mat across North America and elsewhere, but curiously, the cement-like coating does not also contain transparent glassy spherules, which are also common at the bottom of the YD black mat. The significance of the presence of black spherules and absence of clear glassy spherules has not been fathomed.
    Finally, ‘steam cleaning’ at impact may be partly responsible for bleaching cement-like coating white. Bleached-white sand white has been noted in the rims of Carolina bays.

Note the typical gritty, whitish, cement-like coating characteristic of suggested YD impact comet-crust meteorites

Spherules embedded in cellular matrix from whitish cement-like coating on surface of suggested YD impact comet-crust meteorite

Shiny black spherule gleaned from whitish cement-like coating on the surface of suggested YD impact comet-crust meteorite

Shiny black spherules gleaned from whitish cement-like coating on the surface of suggested YD impact comet-crust meteorite

Shiny black spherules gleaned from whitish cement-like coating on the surface of suggested YD impact comet-crust meteorite

High-density magnetite/hematite:
    Some comet-crust iron is in the metallic state, some blended into igneous matrix, and some concentrated in iron ore with varying degrees of purity. Comet-crust iron ore comes in two forms, hematite, which is slightly ferrimagnetic with a reddish-brown streak, and magnetite, which is strongly ferrimagnetic with a black streak, both which typically exhibit gritty, whitish cement-like coating.
    Magnetite in an igneous context on Earth is often a cumulate rock, where dense cumulate crystals precipitate out of a fractionating magma chamber, but cumulate precipitation can not occur in the brief time frame and not in microgravity. Instead, comet-crust magnetite and hematite are suggested to have formed by metasomatism. The continuous cover of molten igneous rock during the LRN created a pressure cooker environment underneath, with temperatures and pressures likely above the triple point (273.16 K, 611.657 Pa) of water, creating supercritical conditions that may have been particularly adept at the physical transport of dissolved mineral species necessary for metasomatism. With a cooler floor, supercritical water may have condensed below, dumping its solute load in the form of precipitation/crystallization. Comet crust iron ore is not found in physical contact with metallic iron or igneous matrix, which might be expected if comet-crust iron ore is metasomatic, while comet-crust matrix and metallic iron is igneous.
    Comet-crust iron ore may exhibit a sinewy surface in hematite, a reniform shape in goethite, a blocky appearance characteristic of pegmatites, or millimeter-sized magnetite grains that are reflective like glitter.

Magnetite with cement-like coating
Suggested metasomatic YD-impact comet crust

Magnetite and hematite with cement-like coating
Suggested metasomatic YD-impact comet crust


Magnetite with cement-like coating. Note that a large percentage of the cement-like coating is comprised of SPHERULES. Suggested metasomatic YD-impact comet crust


Comet crust with one rounded surface:
    Many comet-crust specimens from Phoenixville, PA are roughly triangular in cross section, with one rounded side, resembling a thick slice of pie. The rounded surface was presumably the outer surface of the KBO, directly exposed to LRN plasma, while the other surfaces are fractured. The brief multi-month immersion of KBOs in LRN plasma presumably caused significant volatile loss to the YD KBO, accompanied by densification of the surface regolith during igneous melting. This volatile loss and densification caused subsidence that may have expressed itself in the form of wrinkling, causing the observed degree of undulation in the surface. The radius of the rounding is typically in the range of 10-15 cm.
    Specimens with rounded surfaces have only been found in Phoenixville, which seems suspicious for a natural source; however, specimens exhibiting fusion crust are also more prevalent in Phoenixville, which suggests that the Phoenixville material is from the surface of the former YD KBO, which had greater exposure to ablation during atmospheric transit, hence more fusion crust.

Large metallic-iron mass with gray igneous rocky matrix. The undulating top surface is suggested to be the surface crust of the former Kuiper belt object, wrinkled due to subsidence while exposed to solar plasma
Suggested YD impact comet crust

Pie-slice-shaped specimen, with the rounded side as a fragment of the undulating wrinkled surface of the former Kuiper belt object
Suggested YD-impact comet crust

Pie-slice-shaped specimen, with the rounded side as a fragment of the undulating wrinkled surface of the former Kuiper belt object
Suggested YD-impact comet crust

Note spherules in dark-brown fusion crust from the rounded wrinkled surface of the former Kuiper belt object. Bottom image shows rounded surface in profile, middle image shows fusion crust with flow lines on rounded surface, upper image shows close up of spherules in flow-line crevices of fusion crust.
(Snowball Solar System)

Absent to strongly vesicular:
    Suggested comet crust is often dismissed by meteorite experts due to the prevalence of vesicles, since vesicles are very uncommon in inner solar system meteorites. Some comet-crust specimens are so saturated with vesicles as to resemble terrestrial volcanic scoria, and presumably formed in a similar fashion, from pressurized outgassing through weak spots in the molten surface of the YD KBO, whereas some comet crust specimens exhibit no vesicles at all. The observed millimeter- to centimeter-scale variability in vesicle size, when present, does not seem like a likely range of variability in a well-regulated industrial process.

Specimen from Harrisburg, PA with large vesicles
Suggested YD-impact comet crust

Fusion crust, some with flow lines:
    Suggested fusion crust on comet-crust specimens varies in coloration from brown to jet black, where black coloration may be pristine, whereas brown coloration may represent subsequent oxidation. Fusion crust is relatively rare, suggesting that most comet crust was physically protected from the ablative atmosphere during its entry through Earth’s atmosphere. Of small hand-sample-sized specimens exhibiting fusion crust, the fusion crust is frequently evident on all sides, whereas on larger (> 10 cm) specimens that fractured upon impact, the impact-fractured surfaces contain no fusion crust. An industrial iron-furnace slag origin can not readily explain a fusion-crust-like surface on all sides of small hand-sample-sized specimens.
    Fusion crust is common on well-documented inner solar system meteorites, as are regmaglypts on iron-nickel meteorites. While there does seem to be some indication of regmaglypts on comet-crust magnetite, there are no comet-crust iron specimens exhibiting apparent regmaglypts.
    Additionally, several comet-crust mafic-matrix specimens with fusion crust specimens appear to exhibit flow lines as well.

Front and back of specimen showing complete coverage by fusion crust. Note that gritty cement-like coating covers fusion crust, suggesting that coating occurred after impact.
(Snowball Solar System)

Fusion crust on suggested YD impact comet crust

Fusion crust on specimens from Phoenixville, PA
Suggested YD-impact comet-crust meteorites

Fusion crust on specimen from Phoenixville, PA
Suggested YD-impact comet-crust meteorite
(Snowball Solar System)

Fusion crust with flow lines and embedded spherule in YD-impact Clovis-comet-crust meteorite
(Snowball Solar System)

Fusion crust with flow lines
Suggested YD-impact comet-crust meteorite

Industrial-slag imitation of comet crust:
    Early 18th century industrial bloomers slag can resemble comet-crust iron ore, but bloomery slag never exhibits the gritty cement-like coating that marks comet crust as genuine.  In Phoenixville, PA, early bloomery slag (likely from the 1716 Pool Bloomery Forge near Pottstown) is mixed with later blast-furnace slag and comet-crust material in the waste stream dumped over the south bank of French Creek.
    Comet crust was apparently sometimes melted (rather than smelted) for its metallic-iron component in small auxiliary furnaces to larger iron-smelting blast furnaces, leaving behind high-density slag with a high iron-oxide content, but minus its metallic-iron component.  Comet crust melted for its metallic iron content will not exhibit the gritty, whitish cement-like coating.

Bloomery slag, presumably early 18th century from Southeastern Pennsylvania


Comet crust as a mimic of industrial iron-furnace slag:

    Comet crust concentrations are almost invariably associated with historical iron manufacturing, due to the high iron content. Complicating matters, some comet crust appears to have been melted rather than smelted for its metallic-iron content, creating high-density ‘comet-crust slag’, which still contains the original iron-oxide content, but is devoid of its metallic-iron and is often rife with broken fire brick inclusions. Comet-crust slag, however, will never possess the whitish, gritty cement-like coating, which almost ubiquitous on large chunks of pristine comet crust. Comet-crust melting, rather than smelting, for its metallic-iron content likely occurred in small ad hoc furnaces on the grounds of larger smelting operations, creating cast iron with embrittling contaminants for undemanding ballast applications like window sash counterweights. Indeed, broken chunks of window sash counterweights can still be found on the west bank of the Schuylkill River in West Conshohocken, PA.

    Another unfortunate coincidence is the similarity in chemistry. Siderophile depletion at trifurcation, followed by gneissic sediment depletion at aqueous differentiation, followed by volatile depletion during solar plasma immersion has concentrated the iron and calcium oxides in comet crust, which are the very oxides most concentrated in iron ore and in industrial iron-furnace slag respectively. The high density of typical comet crust in the form of high iron oxide content and high metallic-iron content should raise eyebrows, but this glaring inefficiency would likely be dismissed as primitive processing in early colonial manufacturing. Two assayed comet-crust specimens measured 12.31% and 9.61% for Fe2O3.

    The extreme variability of comet-crust material across its various types argues against an industrial origin, where repeatability is critical for consistent outcomes and thus, profitability. Manufacturing strives to reduce variability and reduce waste, where the high iron content in the waste stream at multiple sites telegraphs a natural origin.

Association with the iron industry:

    Secondary-impact concentrations of comet crust concentrations exploited in the 19th and 20th century for its iron content were presumably assumed to be poorly-processed 18th century iron-furnace slag.  Native iron is exceedingly rare on Earth, such that slag-like concentrations in the subsoil containing metallic-iron inclusions and posessing elevated calcium-oxide percentages would naturally be mistaken for poorly-processed colonial iron-furnace slag.
    The close connection between comet crust and the iron industry in a siderophile-depleted material so similar to industrial iron furnace slag makes radiometric dating the only chance of establishing comet crust as extraterrestrial.

    Presumably metasomatic comet-crust iron ore has significantly-less contaminating embrittlements compared to igneous comet-crust matrix and igneous comet-crust metallic iron.  The apparent extraction of metallic iron from comet crust matrix by simple melting in dedicated auxiliary furnaces suggests that comet crust matrix material was unsuitable for smelting for its iron oxide content in primary blast furnaces.  The brittle metallic iron in comet-crust matrix was apparently a bonus that could easily be extracted with low technology auxiliary furnaces with low energy expenditure by simply melting rather than smelting comet-crust matrix, but the reason so much comet crust material survives is presumably due to the limited market for non-critical ballast applications of brittle comet-crust iron, such window-sash counterweights.

    A small ‘failed’ iron furnace is moldering in the woods in West Conshohocken.  The home made iron furnace constructed of fire brick contains several cubic feet of cast iron that apparently solidified before it could be tapped to make pig-iron ingots.  A 1938 nickel found in the immediate vicinity suggests the age of the furnace.
    Nearby rests another cottage-industry-scale iron furnace that was considerably more sophisticated, in the form of a 4 ft diameter Bessemer-style furnace.

Comet-crust locations in Southeastern Pennsylvania:

Conshohocken, PA:
    A large volume of comet crust has been dumped on a triangle of land just off Light Street, Conshohocken, PA (40.0807, -75.3127), readily identifiable on Google satellite due to the herbicide properties of granulated comet crust. West Conshohocken also exhibits numerous diabase boulders with sharp edges formed by relatively-recent catastrophic fracturing, rather than gradual weathering, suggesting brecciation by a secondary impact of an ice-sheet fragment. Conshohocken combines two elements of secondary impacts; relatively-recently fractured boulders with evidence of catastrophic fracturing and comet crust material.
    Comet-crust material in Conshohocken is variably mixed with iron furnace slag and comet-crust slag. Broken window sash weights on the west bank of the Schuylkill River point to possible small-scale melting, rather than smelting, of comet crust.
    Calvary Cemetery in West Conshohocken has diabase boulders with sharp edges, indicating recent catastrophic fracturing. Also, comet crust specimens can be found in the wooded areas (40.0613, -75.3271).

Author in front of a mound of granular material with a high ferromagnetic content from from Conshohocken, PA (40.0807, -75.3127)
Suggested YD-impact ‘comet-crust slag’. Pristine comet crust was presumably processed by melting (rather than smelting) for its metallic-iron content, then sprayed with cold water to fracture it to form the observed granular material. Melting removes only the metallic iron, leaving behind high-density slag with a high iron-oxide content. The tan foreground material is pristine, while the grey mound material was presumably industrially processed.

Loose metallic-iron nodules from Conshohocken, PA
Suggested YD-impact comet-crust metallic iron

Doe Run, PA (East Fallowfield Township):
    Park at the Speakman Number 1 Covered bridge (39.9293, -75.8228), and particularly scout the high side of Covered Bridge Rd., where the farmer appears to have tossed comet crust matrix and metallic iron to the edge of his field, some of which has tumbled down the slope to the road’s edge.

Phoenixville, PA:
    In Phoenixville, PA, a significant quantity of triangular chunks of comet crust, with one rounded surface like slices of pie, are mixed with a smaller quantity of industrial iron furnace slag from the nearby historic Phoenixville iron works. Here, the industrial slag appears to be of two types, low-density slag smelted in the primary Phoenixville iron works blast furnace, and high-density slag, presumably melted comet crust in small adjunct furnaces with its iron oxide content intact. The high incidence of pie-shaped slices of comet crust in the waste stream may be due to the low iron content of comet crust from the surface of the former YD KBO.
    The slag and comet-crust material has been tumbled into the French Creek ravine along the south bank, between N. Main St. and Ashland St. (40.135, -75.513), just east of the Phoenixville Foundry.

Harrisburg Area:
    As elsewhere, comet crust has been used as clean fill in the Harrisburg Area. Comet crust in combination with iron-furnace slag has been used to build what appears to be an abandoned road spur off Paxton Ave. between Paxton Ministries and Faulkner Honda (40.2545, -76.8505).
    Comet crust has also been used as clean fill on the East Shore of the Susquehanna River for residential parking on the river side of Front St. in Enola, PA, and the material has been spotted as far west as Wesley Dr. in Mechanicsburg, PA.

    A strong rare earth magnet is the only necessary prospecting tool for finding potential comet crust in Southeastern Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Early spring may be most the productive time to search, before obscuring vegetation begins to grow, and after the fall leaves have compressed over winter.

Rare-earth magnet attached to metallic-iron inclusion in specimen
Suggested YD-impact comet crust (meteorite)


Finds of presumed comet crust by others:

    Several finds across Midwestern states (Southern Indiana & Southeastern Ohio) and Mid-Atlantic states (Southeastern Pennsylvania & New Jersey) suggests a concentrated strip of comet-crust deposition.

Metallic-iron on igneous matrix from New Jersey.

– Metallic iron and igneous matrix from Southern Indiana (see following image).

Presumed comet crust from Southern Indiana. Right image (below) appears to show combination of igneous matrix (grey arrows) and rusted iron (brown), with thin edges of fusion crust (red arrows) partially flecked off. (Images used by permission of owner.)

Metallic iron from Southeastern Ohio at “Day’s Knob”, site 33GU218 in the Ohio Archaeological Inventory (see following image).  Alan Day, author, attributes metallic-iron objects to “direct-reduction smelting” by American Indians from the “Early Woodland Period”.  Note the whitish cement-like coating on the object attributed to “iron slag”, which may instead be comet-crust magnetite formed by metasomatism.  Secondarily, suggested “rock paintings” may instead be secondary YD-impact spatter, and incised line art may have been incised by super-high velocity material in secondary impacts (see section, YD IMPACT BOULDER FIELDS).

Metallic iron from Southeastern Ohio at “Day’s Knob”, site 33GU218 in the Ohio Archaeological Inventory. (Images from Note the similarity of these specimens with similar-sized specimens from Conshohocken, PA. Best find by someone other than the author, find location unknown.

Igneous matrix from California.

– “U.C.L.A. studied this specimen for a few months before coming back with terrestrial. Here is the information given to me: ‘Manganese-rich terrestrial metamorphic rock containing metallic copper, copper-iron sulfide, cobalt-rich metal, and manganese-rich olivine.’ “

Nodular metallic-iron, location unknown.

Fusion crust on igneous matrix, location unknown.

Theory weakness:

– The apparent lack of iron tool usage by indigenous peoples of North America is a significant obstacle to the hypothesis, even if the vast majority of comet crust material had been deeply embedded into the subsoil at impact.  Although, see, from

Future work:

– Several comet crust samples were analyzed by INAA, including one analysis on a metallic-iron inclusion, but no iridium was found down to 5 ppb. INAA does not detect platinum, however, which is a prevalent YD black mat marker, and platinum was found in Greenland ice cores from 12,900 B.P., so an assay for platinum-group elements should be made.

– An old age determination (4,567 Ma) for comet crust would be the gold standard for a new class of siderophile-depleted, igneous-origin, outer solar system material that lacks nickel and iridium, but date testing is apparently the exclusive domain of academia—Act Labs in Canada did not answer my email inquires on date testing.

Additional Images:

Comet crust conglomerate with black fusion crust

Conshohocken, PA

Close up of sectioned comet crust, with shiny metallic iron and grey igneous matrix


Comet crust with fusion crust
(Snowball Solar System)


Phoenixville, PA


Conshohocken, PA



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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

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