WATERMARK: The Disaster That Changed the World and Humanity 12,000 Years Ago

Joseph Christy-Vitale, Author . Pocket/Paraview $14 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7434-9190-7

The pyramids of Egypt and Central America; diluvial deposits high up on mountain sides; strange collections of animal bones in North American caves— Christy-Vitale, amateur scientist and travel industry consultant, believes these seemingly unconnected phenomena hint at a cosmic catastrophe 12,000 years ago: a supernova 45 light-years from Earth that shot a chunk of the star (which he calls Phaeton) into our solar system, shattering a 10th planet between Mars and Jupiter into what we know as the asteroid belt, killing off thousands of animal species and almost extinguishing an advanced human civilization. Memories of this event live on in stories of a golden age destroyed in a worldwide flood. While Christy-Vitale seems never to have met a myth he didn't like, he ignores some basic scientific facts. If a supernova had exploded in our vicinity even in the last 100,000 years, its glowing shell would still be visible. Also, supernovas don't shoot off ministars—rather, these cosmic explosions tend to pepper the surrounding cosmos with an iron isotope; scientists haven't found a layer dating from this era. There is also no evidence of a genetic "bottleneck" in humans dating back a mere 10,000 years. Christy-Vitale believes that the chunk of star dust zooming past us caused Earth to flip back and forth on its axis, resulting in, among other things, the current configuration of the continents. So much for continental drift. Christy-Vitale's scenario is an interesting one, but he seems more a New Age Erik Von Daniken than someone advancing a revisionist theory that will attract serious scientific attention. (June 1)

Reviewed on: 05/10/2004
Release date: 06/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-1-4391-3642-3
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