Rain of Iron and Ice: The Very Real Threat of Comet and Asteroid Bombardment

Rain of Iron and Ice: The Very Real Threat of Comet and Asteroid Bombardment

Rain of Iron and Ice: The Very Real Threat of Comet and Asteroid Bombardment

Rain of Iron and Ice: The Very Real Threat of Comet and Asteroid Bombardment

Synopsis

Rain of Iron and Ice shows us the unmistakable evidence- from spaceprobe flybys of the planets to the scars on our own Earth- of cataclysmic comet and asteroid impacts. By comparing what we know about the earth's geology and paleontology with the ages of the other planets and moons in our solar system, Lewis makes the strongest case yet for sudden, dramatic extinctions and assesses the risks to planet Earth.

Excerpt

It was a warm, clear afternoon in the capital. The bustle of metropolitan commerce and tourism filled the streets. Small sailing vessels dotted the sheltered waters within sight of the government buildings, riding on a soft southerly breeze. The Sun sparkled on the gentle swells and wakes, lending a luminous glow to the poppies and tulips nodding in the parks along the water's edge. All was in order. But suddenly the sky brightened as if with a second, more brilliant Sun. A second set of shadows appeared; at first long and faint, they shortened and sharpened rapidly. A strange hissing, humming sound seemed to come from everywhere at once. Thousands craned their necks and looked upward, searching the sky for the new Sun. Above them a tremendous white fireball blossomed, like the unfolding of a vast paper flower, but now blindingly bright. For several seconds the fierce fireball dominated the sky, shaming the Sun. The sky burned white-hot, then slowly faded through yellow and orange to a glowering copper-red. The awful hissing ceased. The onlookers, blinded by the flash, burned by its searing heat, covered their eyes and cringed in terror. Occupants of offices and apartments rushed to their windows, searching the sky for the source of the brilliant flare that had lit their rooms. A great blanket of turbulent, coppery cloud filled half the sky overhead. For a dozen heartbeats the city was awestruck, numbed and silent. Then, without warning, a tremendous blast smote the city, knocking pedestrians to the ground. Shuttered doors and windows blew out; fences, walls, and roofs groaned and cracked. A shock wave raced across the city and its waterways, knocking sailboats flat in the water. A hot, sulfurous wind like an open door into hell, the breath of a cosmic ironmaker's furnace, pressed downward from the sky, filled with the endless reverberation of invisible landslides. Then the hot breath slowed and paused; the normal breeze resumed with renewed vigor, and cool air blew across the city from the south. The sky overhead now faded to dark gray, then to a portentous black. A turbulent black cloud like a rumpled sheet seemed to descend from heaven. Fine black dust began to fall, slowly, gently, suspended and swirled by the breeze. For an hour or more the black dust fell, until, dissipated and dispersed by the breeze, the cloud faded from view.

Many thought it was the end of the world....

Reconstruction of events in Constantinople, A.D. 472

Earth, like its sister planets, experiences an erratic but unceasing rain of comets and asteroids which has profoundly affected its geological . . .

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