The Interactive Maps:
The function of the interactive map section of this website is to serve as a geographic guide to various features across the North American continent that are of relevance to the New Catastrophism. The types of sites to be included are primarily geological, paleontological and archaeological. They will include features created by catastrophic floods, glaciers and ice ages, asteroid and comet impact features, sites of major volcanic events, mortality sites related to mass extinction events, and sites of human occupation that may have been affected by severe or intense climate or environmental change. It is our hope that the user will gain an appreciation of the widespread prevalence of such remarkable features and the phenomenon of natural catastrophe of which they are the end product. And, finally, this website is offered with the hope that it will inspire people to get away from the contemporary urban reality and traverse this ancient land, experiencing the largely unknown heritage for themselves.
We will launch this branch of the site by focusing on features related to the great Missoula Flood in the northwestern states of Washington, Idaho, Montana and Oregon. Eventually, it is our goal to include all states in the U.S. as well as regions of Canada and Mexico. Our efforts to document and understand the catastrophic history of our world will be limited only by our access to resources.
We are presenting a number of timelines to help clarify the chronological relationships amongst various catastrophic episodes in Earth history and to summarize the discoveries and research by which man has come to the recognition of this legacy of violence in the natural history of planet Earth. Each timeline focuses upon a different scale of events. Suggestions for additional inclusions are welcome.
Historical Timeline: It chronicles significant discoveries in the field of Catastrophism and the New Catastrophism by scholars, scientists, researchers, explorers, etc. that has contributed to our evolving awareness and understanding of Earth’s violent past. This timeline begins at the dawn of the 18th century and will, when complete, extend to the present.
Catastrophes in Earth History: chronicles the great mass extinction episodes that have happened repeatedly throughout the time that life has existed on Earth. This timeline covers the Phanerozoic Eon, that is, the time of visible life, from roughly 600 million years ago to the present. The events depicted here are the major crisis events in Earth history, where a significant percentage of species and/or families underwent rapid extinction.
Catastrophes in the Time of Man: is intended to underscore the number of extreme climatic and environmental events that have transpired since the appearance of more or less anatomically modern humans upon the Earth. The principal criterion in the selection of events has been to focus upon those that would have had global effects, events that, if happening in the present, would provoke calamitous social consequences, if not outright extinction of modern civilization. The timeline covers the last 150,000 years.
Catastrophes in the Holocene: chronicles major environmental events since the termination of the last ice age, a period of approximately 10,000 years. It was during this time that civilization arose and recorded history began. Until very recently, most researchers thought the Holocene to be exceptionally stable within the larger framework of global environmental change. As the increasingly well documented succession of events depicted in this timeline comes more clearly into focus, our sense of comfortable stability evaporates. Many environmental and climatic upheavals have occurred during the Holocene, which, were they to re-occur, would impose dire consequences upon modern societies. It is imperative that we understand the catastrophic history of this planet that we inhabit. The irony inherent in the long view of global environmental change, in the context of non-human factors, is that human influence may be utterly transitory and insignificant.