"A 'universal conflagration' (if possible) would certainly not last long enough to leave any sort of recognizable stratigraphical record, whereas a few centuries or millennia of occasional heath or forest fires, during a particularly dry spell, would probably do so without requiring any special mechanism." 
Even to speak of a universal conflagration gives a geologist cause to blush, as Derek Ager, the author of these lines, remarks in another context. Without the "special mechanism", forest fires, started by lightning, and volcanos, started by hot spots in the deep crust or mantle, must do the full job of whatever we see as signs of burning on Earth and whatever the ancient voices are fearfully asserting. If this were all, and it certainly is not all, we would still have to ask about lightning and hot spots; neither is a simple autodynamic mechanism, as we have seen already in the case of lightning and will see in regards to hot spots.
The legendary and early historical record is replete with assertions that global burning has occurred. Writing apparently about historical experiences, Seneca, the Roman stoic philosopher, gives a common ancient view of the holocaust:
And when the time is come when the world destroys itself to be renewed, then (Earth, seas and life) will destroy themselves by their own strength. Stars will fall upon stars. And when all material things are in flames, everything which now shines according to a planned distribution will rise up into a single fire  .
Of course, Seneca does not declare that a stratigraphical record will be thereafter available; the Earth is "renewed," which implies that few marks would have been left upon the rocks and no bed of ashes would have formed and persisted. Where are the ashes of single or multiple events, for that matter? Sometimes they are present, sometimes not. In certain parts of the world, extensive beds of ashes of possibly local type can be found. They are thin. We can find the ashes of Troy, on several levels of destruction, but can the ashes of the countryside around be found? If not found, does that means that Troy alone was burned, or that ruined Troy alone preserves its ashes? Paleocalcinology -such a science hardly exists -will help us someday to measure the words of Ager and Seneca.
The "ordinary" fire mechanism of volcanos and forest fires sometimes incite rains, but these are hardly conspicuous. On the other hand, the legendary coupling of fire and water is so flagrant as to pass notice, except when a progressive rabbi, for example, finds it easy to explain to his children why the heavens are of fire and water; ish-vamayin (fire and water) make up shamyin (heaven) because the ancients thought of sunlight as fire, and the rains, of course, come from the sky  .
G. R. Carli, writing in 1780, was already asserting that "the idea of a deluge of fire and a deluge of water was present among all peoples... This idea of fire and water... seems to recall tradition of an event of which the memory has endured. It is certainly odd that the indications manifested by a seaflood should have suggested the idea of a deluge of fire  . Carli cites Clement of Alexandria for the observations that Stenelas, father of the king of the Ligurians, lived at the time of the fire of Phaeton and the flood of Deucalion. So fire and flood occurred together. Reasoning from effect to cause, Carli then assigns the coal deposits of the world to burning and water acting in quick succession, a theory now coming into prominence again. He argues that only a comet could burn up the world, drop vast amounts of water, and bring great tides at the same time. Probably this line of argument will stand up: a large body encountering Earth, even if it were not dropping water or ice, would bring both conflagration and flood. Whether it crashed or not, the effects would still be similar. Donnelly produces an abundance of legendary accounts of the world in flames: from Druid mythology, Hesiod's Greek account, the Eddas of Scandinavia, Ovid's Roman account of Phaeton, the meso-American Toltecs' Codex Chimalpopoca, the Persians' Zend-Avesta, the Hindus' myth of Ravana and Sita, and the legends of the Tupi, Aztecs, Tacullies, Ute, Peruvian, Yurucares, Mbocobi, Botocudos, Ojibway, Wayandot, and Dog-Rib Indians, that is from one end of the Americas to the other, and across both continents. He quotes the Gothic Surt of the flaming sword, "He shall give up the universe a prey to the flames," and also the Algonquins, whose god "will stamp his foot upon the ground, and flames will burst forth to consume the habitable land." 
Job of the Bible hears from a retainer that "the fire of God is fallen from heaven and hath burned up the sheep [to the number of 7000], and the servants, and consumed them, and I only am escaped alone to tell thee." (In our days cases of a score or more animals being electrocuted by a lightning bolt are recorded.) There begins then the woes of the stubbornly patient Job against frightful divine tests. It is only one of many references to naturally caused combustion in the Bible. The story of Job may be exceedingly old; there Elohim (Heavenly One) is addressed; it happened in full Neolithic times, perhaps at the ending of the age of predominantly Saturn worship  .
Later in reference to fire is the "flaming sword", east of the Garden of Eden, "which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life." This was after the "Fall from Grace."  The image of a sword in the sky may refer to the Great Central Fire of early Greek Philosophy and, as we elaborate in Solaria Binaria, to a then intermittent arc between Jupiter and the Sun. (We treat the image in detail in Solaria Binaria.) The seasons begin; it must be now the period of the gods Jupiter-Jehovah, the Jovean Age I have elsewhere termed it. In a later incident, the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed by a fall of fire and brimstone and swallowed up. Then, as earlier described, the Tower of Babel succumbed to fire in part. During and after the Exodus, repeated references to the heavenly fire are encountered. It comes in all its forms; lightning, gas blasts, burning naphtha falls. These are elaborately treated by Velikovsky in Worlds in Collision and by the present author in God's Fire: Moses and the Management of Exodus. In all, von Fange quotes 37 different passages from the Bible referring to, or prophesying, destructive fire from heaven  . Both Donnelly and Velikovsky claim the myth of Phaeton -the one writer for a Great Comet of an earlier age, the other for the events of the mid-second millennium, where we too have decided to place it. The Latin author, Ovid, is the principal source of Phaeton. The Babylonian cuneiform expert, Kugler has explained Ovid's as a true history of a comet  . Phaeton is the inexperienced son of Phoebus who demands to be let to drive the chariot of the Sun one day. He prevails, but loses control of the steeds and burns up sky and earth. The constellations are disturbed. The flames turn whole nations into ashes. The ground bursts asunder, the rivers dry up. Smoke billows bring darkness to the world. The ocean shrinks. Ashes cover the Earth.
Mother Earth trembles and sinks below here usual place. She pleads with Jupiter. "If the sea, if the earth, if the palace of heaven, perish, we are then jumbled into the old chaos again. Save it from the flames, if aught still survives, and preserve the universe." Jupiter responds by demolishing Phaeton and the chariot; Phaeton, his yellow hair streaming in flames, is hurled to the earth like a falling star.
The Sun, Father of Phaeton, mourns as in an eclipse. The earth was lit only by its own flames. He would not resume his daily journey until all the gods supplicated with him. The days appeared once more, and Jupiter restored order and life to the heavens and earth.
No one disputes the fact that the earth has been badly burned. Provided, of course, that the statement is properly qualified. The ocean basins are of melted rock; they are fashioned almost entirely of basaltic lava. Ocean abyssal sediments are thin and loose, and composed of organic and dust fall-out for the most part, including some products of combustion. Of the continents, part of the surface that is exposed to view is igneous, a product of old or new melting. Another portion is metamorphic, a word meaning rock transformed mostly by heat and pressure, both old and new; this emerges from both sedimentary and igneous rocks. (It is significant that whereas observers are compelled by the sight of volcanism to say that some lava beds are new, they are reluctant to name any metamorphosis of rock that has taken place very recently.) Igneous rock, if not witnessed as it forms, is also invariably given old dates.
A Phoenician vase of around 1500 B. C. was found embedded in the copious lavas of the Jezreel Valley of Palestine, where volcanism had supposedly ended in prehistoric times  . At Nampa, Idaho, in 1889, a well-worked human image carved of pumice stone was found amidst coarse sand of an old lake bed beneath 300 feet of alluvium, lava and clay  . The lava had been and still is classified as late tertiary or quaternary, a million or more years before mankind is supposed to have arrived in America. The Nampa image, now lost, is disregarded; given the strong testimony concerning it, one may wonder how much of natural and human history would be erased under the same strict rules of appraisal.
Granites are the continental structure: nearly all come from an ancient cooling of molten rock. They rest below the recent igneous rock, metamorphic rock and sedimentary rock on all continents. We have direct information downwards only on a couple of miles of crust; it is considered that granites carry on down to a basalt not unlike that of the ocean bottoms. When and how the granites formed is unclear; their chemistry is distinctive.
A final part of the continents is covered by sedimentary rock. Sedimentary rock is formed from transports of materials by wind, water, and ice. Donnelly argued that much of the clay, gravel, and till that composes it descended from a cometary train recently in " the age of fire and gravel," rather than from other rock being ground up and spread around by moving ice. From the standpoint of human primevalogy, the uppermost layers of rock and debris are highly important. These are usually termed unconsolidated, or loosely consolidated, or aggregated, or conglomerate. High energy expressions of "earth, air, fire and water" will produce large quantities of this material and their origins, dating, and relation to the biosphere are hard to discern.
Everywhere one is likely to find soil, a catch-all work for any layer from the thinnest film up to a few meters in which life forms take hold or dwell. Fossil soils often rest between layers of the several types of rock.
Besides the soil, too, exist metals, soda ash, peat, various ashes, coal, oil, natural gas, salt, and other deposits. Some of these are thermal products. Billions of tons of glassy microtektites are strewn over the globe; whatever their origin, they may have fallen in as hot rain on land and sea. Layers of ash are found over vast stretches of the oceans bottoms, perhaps everywhere, since the searches have just begun. Ash is fairly distinguishable; it is more difficult to detect whether the much more profuse sedimentary clays are not themselves in part the products of combustion, carried over and dropped upon the sea or drained off the continents onto the slopes and shelves.
On the land, too, ashes mix readily with soils and detritus to form clays. It is not impossible to detect calcination in soils and clays, but the subject has attracted few geo-chemists. Soils and young marine sediments of northeastern and offshore America reveal, under chemical analysis, evidence of a fiery origin in that they contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons  . These are carcinogenic and mutagenic. It is possible that their incidence is world-wide. If so, it would indicate that the whole world suffered one or more fall-outs of burning or burnt material. The burning could have been caused by super-terrestrial impact explosions or gases. Or the products of atmospheric fire (burning naphthas and brimstone or sulphur, as the Bible would have it) descended. Or both might have happened. The authors of the report cited here considered the effects to have been possibly produced by giant forest fires and air transport, and unfortunately, did not consider exoterrestrial origins of the widespread combustion products, or for that matter, of the fire that consumed the biosphere. T. M. Harris  , in describing "Forest Fire in the Mesozoic," found much fusain in many layers at many places, including the deltas of Greenland and Yorkshire. The admission that cosmic lightning and cosmic fire were prevalent at quantavolutionary points is avoided by placing layers of time between layers of ashes.
We cannot readily separate ash from human, at least not without chemical tests of a degree of sophistication hitherto undeveloped because of the theory of gradual accumulation of soils over long eons. Commenting upon Ager's search for ash, Hans Kloosterman speaks of a "black horizon" of soil "that seems to have been covered with sediments immediately after its formation," this in Derek Ager's work; and despite Ager's retreat into what Kloosterman calls "crypto-uniformitarianism," the latter defends the idea that there might be identified only" one enormous forest fire, which is moreover correlatable from Southern England to the Great Lakes of North America. Doesn't that sound somewhat like a universal conflagration? 
Kloosterman goes on to discuss the "dark bank" he witnessed in Brazil. Despite deliberate tropical burnings that are regular and go back hundreds of years, "no charcoal-rich layer is formed anywhere; the ash is incorporated into the human layer or washed away."
Whereupon, this author adds evidence by Wendorf, Said, and Schild that in Egypt, at claimed dates around 10,550 B. C. a burnt layer appears over a large region of the Upper Nile Valley, which the investigators guess to have been caused by brush fires, but which to de Grazia seemed to have been associated with holospheric catastrophe and world-wide conflagration and/ or incredibly heavy ash fall-out.
J. Lamar Worzel of Lamont Geological Observatory (Columbia University) published important findings in 1969, entitling them "Extensive Deep Sea Sub-Bottom Reflections Identified as White Ash."  The analyzed deep sea cores came from the east-central Pacific, from Mexico to Peru, an area of a million and a quarter square kilometers. The piston-corer was not long enough to probe the nature of echoes, possibly representing other ash layers, obtained from below 78 feet.
The layer of ash measured differently in the various drilled cores but ranged from 5 to 30 cm of thickness. "Since the layer is fairly near the surface and is not discolored and contains nothing but the glassy ash material, it must have been laid down fairly quickly." At depths of 1000 to 3000 fathoms, the ash was under great pressure, also the original atmospheric and hydrospheric conditions might have dissipated and disintegrated some of the initial deluge.
The fall was so heavy and quick, "that it may be difficult to ascribe it to the Andes... Perhaps sub-bottom echoes from other areas can also be correlated with this white ash layer. If so, it may be necessary to attribute the layer to a world-wide volcanism or perhaps to the fiery end of bodies of cosmic origin."
In a critique of "The Significance of the Worzel Deep Sea Ash," Maurice Ewing, Bruce C. Heezen and David Ericson, also of Lamont Geological Observatory, advanced reasons why the white ash layers might be found elsewhere: citing the sounding of the vessels Albatross, Galathea, and Verna from different part of the world, they conjectured that the same sub-bottom echoes and possible ash layers existed over much of the globe  . Sedimentary mixing would often subdue or annul the echoes.
The ash deposits observed by Kuenen and Need and Bramlette and Bradley were mixed through a column of sediments several times the thickness of the original ash bed. In addition to this mechanical mixing, solution may vastly alter the sediment before permanent burial is accomplished. Devitrification and alternation, proceeding at rates dependent on the environment, may transform an ash bed into products whose origin is not readily recognized.
"Extensive ash layers are now recognized in continental areas throughout the geological record," they point out, citing C. S. Ross. They declare too that "ash of similar composition has been logged in boreholes in many of the dry lakes of the western United States." (These dry lakes are all very young, post-glacial.) As mentioned, Wengret and others showed extensive ashes and calcination in the Nile Valley to which they assigned fairly recent ages; one can only wonder, for similar reports simply are not registered generally, how many cuts and profiles around the world reveal such calcination and why, as has been observed, the older rock-strata show almost no calcination -except that metamorphics, granites, igneous rocks, and perhaps limestones themselves are sign of heavy thermal activity.
Until very recently, geologists, like archaeologists, have been incurious about thin beds of ashes. An alerted surveyor, Heladio Agudelo, wrote this author (Oct. 4, 1977) saying, "In my work... while helping build a new street I noticed a black line in the gravel formation." It was a "one inch thick black line in otherwise homogeneous alluvial(?) formation." Within several weeks it became invisible due to erosion "but it will take no bigger a tool that a hand shovel to expose it again. This is in Londonderry, N. H., no more than an hour's drive from Boston Airport." Thin beds of ashes represent enormous fire, the effects of ordinary forest and construction fires disappear quickly.
The Ewing group, quoted above, comments that "Murray and Renard identified volcanic particles in practically all of the Challenger surficial samples of deep sea deposits, demonstrating that volcanic detritus is an important component of modern deep sea deposits throughout the world. They suggested that the abyssal clays are largely the result of alternation of volcanic ash." Later on, the authors themselves conclude: "It is necessary to study the alterations of fine pyroclastics in the sea and to set up criteria for recognition of the alteration products formed under the full range of environmental conditions." (I proposed such procedures for heavy combustion products in many archaeological levels, exemplified in the "Burnt City" of Troy IIg). The Worzel ash consists of colorless shards of volcanic glass without sorting by particle size. "In all important respects it is similar to material which has been classified as volcanic ash in the deep-sea deposits of the world." Analysis of the surrounding sediment in the Worzel cores indicates that the bottom waters "must have contained some oxygen" and that the sediments "probably represent no more than 100,000 years and conceivably far less." Whatever the date, mankind was very much present and concerned. Certainly years of darkness, disease, distress and terror occurred around the world with this deluge.
"The ash is entirely unlike material described as meteoritic dust. Only the wide geographic extent of this layer suggests any source other than volcanic eruptions. "To this proposition, with which Worzel might differ, given his quoted remarks, one might take exception. "Meteoritic dust" is too imprecise a term to use in argument, considering that we may have to consider lunar material and the 50 to 150 million mile tails of comets. If, as the authors grant, there is a need to examine and re-examine numerous types of sediment, there is also a need to distinguish, if at all possible, "cosmic dust" from "terrestrial dust". If world-wide volcanism can only originate from an externally interrupted motion of the Earth, or from a titanic large-body encounter, then "terrestrial dust" is also an effect of exoterrestrialism.
Heezen and Hollister write that the Krakatoa eruption of 1883 "produced an insignificant sprinkling of ash" by comparison with six great eruptions of the past "million" years that blanketed thickly the ridge and basin of the Java Trench. "Indeed how great must have been the earlier eruptions if the greatest known to man was too small to produce significant record. Powerful eruptions in the Japanese, Kurile, and Aleutian arcs have produced so much ash that these airborne volcanic products dominate the scenery of the Northwest Pacific in a belt almost 1000 km wide  . (We note again that human were already present during these great ash storms and presumably coining legends.) Heezen added elsewhere the Mediterranean Sea bottom as a depository of several heavy ash layers.
Walter Sullivan describes " a succession of ash layers" encountered on the edge of the continental slope before striking the lava basalt of the true ocean bottom. Might this not indicate that the continental slope was laid down subaerially, collected its sedimentary and ash layers and was then inundated by the ocean? Drilling in the Atlantic "has begun to paint a picture of the awesome events that accompanied the birth of that ocean  .
To all of the ash layers referred to, and much more exist, one must accredit exponential ash storming that has dropped to relatively tiny amounts during historical times. Max Blumer led the discovering and detailing of paleochemicals in soils. His group found polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon from pyrolysis in many places and wondered at the great conflagration of ancient times.
Blumer even suggested that these carcinogens and mutagens played a role in the mutation of species  , Beadle has explained the origins of a peculiar ancient Mexican corn as a case of thermal polyploidy, genetic gigantism brought on by subjection to environmental heat, a feat he duplicated in the laboratory  . Gigantism, and possibly dwarfism, and associated polyploidy in plants and animals have, then, as a possible contributing cause, heat stress.
The work of Edward Komarek Sr. on fire and lightning stresses the role of these agents in prehistoric as well as modern times. He regards many species of plants and animals as fire-prone, including mankind. They have become adapted at some time in the past to naturally caused fires and are inclined to make the best of it. Komarek has been active in instituting controlled forest fires to imitate natural fires which strengthen growth, rather than weakening it as is popularly believed; the observed quick recovery from fire is one more indication that the great conflagration can occur without citation in the geological record.
Fires in prehistory may have been much more extensive than they are today and their part in animal adaptations may have been considerable. He quotes Harris on "Forest Fire in the Mesozoic," where the author describes vast fusain deposits, identifies them as fossil charcoal, and says "the objection usually used against accepting fusain as charcoal produced by fire is that there is too much of it and in too many layers. It would make the past a 'nightmare. '" Fusain is intimately associated with coal beds and thus reinforces the Carli and Velikovsky thesis, seconded by Francis and Cook, that coal is what remains of a bulldozed burning biosphere, buried deeply and tamped down promptly by successive waves of other material.
Animal fossils are sometimes found amidst ashes. "Ancient Ashfall Entombed Prehistoric Animals," heads an article by M. H. Voorhies  where a Middle Miocene prodigious ashfall over hundreds of square miles snuffed out over 200 species at one waterhole alone. When geologist Louis Lartel was excavating Cro-Magnon man (fragments of 15 individuals) near Les Eyzies-de-Tayec (Dordogne, France) in 1868, he uncovered five archaeological layers that had been covered by ash. The Upper Paleolithic was an age of ashes too. The glacial ice, where such great sheets existed, must have been covered with ash, if today ice drilling reveals no heavy ash fallouts it must mean that the caps are exceedingly young.
Erich von Fange has come upon many a recent report of burnt sites. He mentions towns whose calcinated ruins resemble strikingly what one can read of Troy IIg, "The Burnt City," when reexamining the extensive records of its excavation. His cases come not only from the Near East but also from Western Europe and Britain, Central Africa, the Gobi Desert of Central Asia, the Mohave Desert of the American Southwest, India, Cusco (Peru), and Cete Cidades (Piaui, Brazil). The "Cities of the Plain," including Sodom and Gomorrah, flourished in an area that became a scene of utter devastation to this day, over four thousand years later. All that grew in this Dead Sea Rift area, all who lived there, all that was built there, were wiped out by falls of fiery debris and an upheaval of the earth; asphalt, salt and sulphur are abundantly displayed now. The prophet Isaiah (2: 10,2: 19) has people rushing into holes and caves when the Lord in his majesty "ariseth to shake terribly the Earth." The lowland Indians of Peru put pots on their heads and run for the hills when the earth quakes. So do Kamchatka Siberians. Against softly reasonable explanations of such behavior stand grimly reasonable ones, that in times past, earthquakes and fall-out and heavy tides came together.
Boiling seas have been observed near subterranean volcanos. That large stretches might boil is arguable. Velikovsky adduced legendary accounts around 1450 B. C. Thus, quoting the Zend-Avesta, "The sea boiled, all the shores of the ocean boiled, all the middle of it boiled," when heated by the star Tistrya (Venus)  . Carl Sagan claimed a total boil-off if the Earth abruptly stopped rotating  , but a slowdown would bring limited surficial boiling.
Perhaps the oldest radiocarbon dates of a burnt city come from Dilmun (modern Dahrein) at the North end of the Persian Gulf  . There the lowest level is calcinated. It is located below a thick wall. The burning occurs over the whole area of settlement. The debris contains burnt bitumen and "black masses," producing radiocarbon dates of 19,000 to 36,000 B. P. (in my opinion, valueless). There are "strange" sand "fill" intrusions at this level that carry various artifacts and bits of copper. Below the calcination occurs a meter of sand with shards, and below that, bedrock.
The ruined mysterious city of Tiahuanacu, 18000 feet high in the southern Andes mountains, is believed to have once rested upon the shores of the ocean, now hundreds of kilometers distant. It seems to have had port installations and to have been connected with Lake Titicaca, to the north, which contains living species of oceanic type. Tiahuanacu stands on strange ground. The climate is dry, the foliage is scanty, the weather is cold, the neighboring people wretchedly poor and few in number. The top soil of the plateau is a two-foot dry deposit, now soft stone. Below it stands the lignite of charred tropical plants. Next come a layer of ash deposited amidst rainfall, and then appears an alluvial deposit. All can be considered short- term deposits of the lowlands. Combustion obviously played a large part in the happenings. In such a place, one would normally expect merely a scanty soil, windwept, on rocky ground.
Poznansky, the major investigator, detected three cultures and three natural destructions  . He allows Tiahuanacu a very old age, calling it the oldest known city in the world. Bellamy believed it to be a city that dwelt beneath a terrible sky, with first a satellite that closed into Earth and crashed later, and then a newly captured moon circling above  .
I argue elsewhere for a single event, that the Moon erupted from the Pacific Basin to occasion the destruction of Tiahuanacu; at the same time it was elevated, but not to its present height. Another elevation might have followed in the second millennium B. C. whereupon the city was left in ashes and ruins. That is, an early Tiahuanacu might have flourished before the new-born Moon. Peruvian legend has it that before the Sun and Moon were made, Viracocha, the White One, rose from the depths of Lake Titicaca and presided over the erection of the cities on its islands and Western shores.
The conventional view classifies Tiahuanacu as pre-Inca and places it therefore in the present era. It was never an important Inca site and its resemblances to Inca culture are no more than its resemblances to the earliest Ecuadorian or Mexican cultures or to the Easter Island complex for that matter. Its astronomical observations carved upon stone gates were magnificent  , the Incas were underdeveloped by contrast. Tiahuanacu may then be the oldest of fire-devastated ruins.
Examples of the latest possible world conflagration can be found in Greece. These would be in the -776 to 687 B. C. period, by Velikovsky's chronology, which I accept; owing to a major shift in time reckoning, most of the great destructions in these areas that has been assigned to around 1200 B. C. is now scaled down to the eighth and seventh centuries. The new great destructive sky god was Mars in many forms  . It was now that King Nebuchadnezzar ravaged the Near East believing himself to be the personification of the planet-god Mars- Nergal: " I am Nergal. I destroy, I burn, I demolish, leaving nothing behind me." (He was, of course, not nearly so effective as his model, and was ultimately killed).
The same age began with the downfall of the Mycenean culture. The evidence of the destruction of Mycenean culture by fire has been available for a long time, but put aside for lack of a cause. A. H. Frickenhaus, a German excavating long ago at Tiryns, described how he had located a burnt Mycenean palace with a new Greek-style temple built right over it  . At Pylos, not far away and of the same period, fire was manifest everywhere, burnt rooms, burnt oil, fused metallic implements, scorched pots.
In his analysis of the Pylos event and others, Isaacson has substantially proven the correctness of the revised dating  . Apparently, the Mycenean (Greek) Age changed into the archaic Greek period amidst general conflagration. But so did age upon age before, both geologic and cultural.
I have not mentioned thus far the catastrophes that ended the Old Bronze Age around 2300 B. C. According to Schaeffer: "There is not the slightest doubt that the conflagration of Troy IIg corresponds to the catastrophe that made an end to the habitations of the Old Bronze Age of Alaca Huyuk, of Alisar, of Tarsus of Tepe Hissar, and to the catastrophe that burned ancient Ugarit in Syria, the city of Byblos that flourished under the Old Kingdom of Egypt, the contemporaneous cities Palestine, and that was amongst the causes that terminated the Old Kingdom of Egypt." Egyptian Old Kingdom tombs are generally marked by signs of conflagration, Emery has discovered  . A great many places elsewhere must have become heaps of ashes as well.
At Anemospilia, Crete, a small north-watching hillside temple was excavated  . Of four skeletons unearthed, one was identified as a priest, a second as a youth of 18 who had just been sacrificed. (" The only remains of Minoans heretofore unearthed had been recovered from tombs.") He had been trussed and laid upon the altar. The sacrificial knife lay on his bones. The priest sprawled in an agonized posture nearby, intimating death by sudden collapse of the stone structure. The other persons were perhaps attendants and killed simultaneously. Earthquake was presumed. The youth, an analysis of his bones revealed, had died just before the disaster, half his body had been drained of blood, the upper-most half. Then a fire had swept the premises before the bottom half was drained.
The fire is attributed to tipped oil lamps, but, following the logic employed in my study of Trojan fires, I would suspect an external source, possibly drifting flammable gas pockets, for an ordinary fire would consume the bones, in the unlikely event it could start up in the first place. Perhaps it was not fire, but a scorching blast, that preceded or succeeded a seismic shock. Why, also, were there only three persons in the temple? Were all other people in hiding while the heroic priest and his staff went to offer the sacrifice? Why did not the people return to dig out the bodies and restore the temple? Burial was a holy obligation; an unburied priest would be a holy horror. A presumption of total desolation and death over a considerable area arises.
John Bimson, describing the recently famous Ebla excavation in Svria, finds that the proto-Syrian culture datable sometime after 2300 B. C. by Schaeffer's scheme was destroyed by seismism and fire  . As I stated on several occasions, this finding was predictable, for all known settlements of the time were similarly struck. It would fit among the Mercurian disasters described in Chaos and Creation.
The specific origins of burning are usually in doubt. Catastrophic combustion is a product of earthquake-caused fire, of fissure and cone volcanism, of lightning, of phaetonic atmospheric penetration, of typhonic impact explosion, of fall-outs of combustible materials that are ignited in flight, including gases and naphtha. Donnelly, a century ago, speculated convincingly upon the fall-outs of gas clouds from the tails of comets. His Age of Fire and Gravel, the culminating devastation of all human time, was pictured as a burning of great patches of the world from carbureted hydrogen. Some kind of exoterrestrial gases are often to be suspected in great prehistoric and ancient fires. A combination of gases and lightning, if the gases are not too concentrated, will bring masses and sheets of flame, rather than explosions. I have read few convincing reports of gas and fire explosion -the Pestigo Forest Fire and the Tunguska blast, both modern, being the type of event to look for, nor have I read a report of excavation revealing an exploded city, unless some of the settlements that seem to have been wreaked simultaneously by fire and earthquake do not in fact involve earthquakes. Probably a strict investigation would discover any such explosion affecting human settlements, but the geologic causes would have to depend for evidence upon legends. A gas explosion and flash fire would leave practically no traces within a few years of occurrence.
Volcanos are more obvious sources of fire. Many a volcano has claimed its Pompeii and Herculanum. It has worked its way with mud and lava flows, ashes lofted nearby and afar, and noxious gases. It may be fissure or cone, extinct or live. One of the oldest pyramids, that of Quiquilco in America, stands almost buried in lava. It is probably as old as the oldest pyramids of Egypt.
When a great may volcanos erupt simultaneously, the effects upon settlements are more than proportionate to the effects of a single eruption. Inasmuch as layers of ashes have been discovered over millions of square kilometers of the ocean bottoms, it has to be granted that the same ashes fell upon the land and the biosphere, and upon human settlements, if such existed.
Ashes are apparent to an alerted observer when they lie in belts and heaps. But material dissolution occurs, the destruction and effacement may involve additional forces that remove the ash, incorporate it, or dissolve it. Ash may be washed away by tides, blown away by hurricanes, or subjected to these forces gradually. It may turn to clay, impervious to all but the most exacting chemical analysis and electron-scanning microscopy. The tephra of Thera-Santorini, falling from the plinian explosion of 3000 B. P. (a less likely date is 3500 B. P.) is found in heaps, but also in miocroscopic form amidst debris that may or may not have been of the same occurrence, in widely separated locations. In Thera itself, one bluff is composed of pumice, the next one, higher, contains none. In Kos( Greece) at one place, 40cm of Thera ash is visible; at many other outcroppings of subsoil in Kos, no ash is visible. So in Crete, so also Anafi. Common clay is abundant on land and on sea bottoms. It contains not only the material of slow erosion and ice age drift but of sudden exponential erosion and ice cap avalanche, of volcanic ashes, and of meteoritic and other exoterrestrial fall-out.
To conclude these pages of fire and ashes, we may assert once again that the gradual processes of today were preceded very recently by quantavolutionary processes. More and greater fires burned more widely in the world than during the past two thousand years. More blankets of ashes were laid down. More settlements were ruined. That the fires and ashes may often have had ultimate exoterrestrial causes is probable. Until the basic issue of geological chronology is settled, we are not prepared to affirm that the 85% of the exposed Earth's crust which is of igneous rock is all nearly as young as the ash levels, but the possibility is real. From the standpoint of theoretical mechanics, the Earth's ash layers and all the components of soil and clay originally containing ash may have been the fall-out of global volcanism which produced the igneous rock. But we have yet not covered enough ground in our tour of the Earth's features to determine the matter. And perhaps in the end, we shall still be uncertain.
Notes (Chapter Seven: Fire and Ash)
1. letter, 2 Catastrophist Geologist, 1( June. 1977), 13.
2. "Consolatio ad Marciam"
3. L. Ginzberg, Legends of the Jews, p. 7: 15, 76; cf. H.
Tresman and B. O'Geoghan," The Primordial Light," II S. I. S. R. 2 (Dec. 1977), 40, fn. 102.
4. II Lettres Americanes (Paris: Buisson, 1788), 309.
5. Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel (New York: Appleton, 1883) p. 428.
6. Martin Sieff, "Cosmology of Job" I S. I. S. R. 4 (Spring 1977), 17-21, 32.
7. Genesis 4: 24.
8. Op. cit., 136-7.
9. L. C. Stecchini in A. de Grazia et al., The Velikovsky Affair, 2nd ed. (London: Sphere, 1978), 120ff.
10. Velikovsky, Earth in Upheaval, 197-8.
11. See W. R. Corliss, ed., Ancient Man (Glen Arm, Md: Sourcebook Project, 1978), 457-60, from G. F. Wright, 11 Am. Antiq. (1889), 379-81.
12. Blumer and W. W. Youngblood, "Polycyclic Aromatic Hydracarbons in Soils and Recent Sediments," Science (4 Apr. 1975), 53.
13. 46 J. Ecology 2 (1958), 447-53.
14. 2 Catas. Geol. (1977), 14.
15. 43 Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (15 Mar. 1959), 349-55.
16. 45 Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 351-61.
17. B. Heezen and C. Hollister, Face of the Deep, 476-8.
18. Walter Sullivan, Continents in Motion, (N. Y.: McGraw-Hill, 1974), 147-8.
19. 234 Sci. Amer. 3 (1976), 45.
20. Cf. New Scientist (12 Nov. 1981), 433.
21. Nat. Geogr. Mag. (Jan. 1981), 66.
22. In Asimov et al., Scientists Confront Velikovsky, (Ithaca: Cornell U. Press, 1977); but see Shulamit Kogan, ltr. Physics Today (Sept. 1980), 97-8, repr. VI Kronos 3 (1981), 34-41.
23. Worlds in Collision, 92
24. G. Bibby, Looking for Dilmun (N. Y.: Mentor, 1969), 167-9.
25. Arthur Posnansky, Tiahuanaco, The Cradle of American Man, (N. Y.: Augustin, 1958).
26. A Life History of Our Earth (London: Faber and Faber, 1951); Built Before the Flood (London: Faber and Faber, 1947), especially on Tiahuanacuo.
27. Cf. H. S. Bellamy and P. Allan, The Calendar of Tiahuanaco (1959) and The Great Idol of Tiahuanaco, both published by Faber and Faber, London.
28. Worlds in Collision, Part II; Chaos and Creation, 235-46.
29. August H. Frickenhaus, I. Tiryns (Athens, 1972).
30. In 3 Pensée 2 (Spring-Summer, 1973), 26-32 and 4 Pensée 4 (Fall 1974), 5-20. See also my study: The Disastrous Love Affair of Moon and Mars (1983).
31. Arhaic Egypt (Penguin Books, 1961), 71-3, 92, 97.
32. Y. Sakellarakis et al., "Drama of Death in a Minoan Temple," 159 Natl. Geog. (Feb. 1981), 208-23.
33. "Ebla Reconsidered," V. S. I. S. R. 2 (1980-1), 37-9; Matthias, Ebla: An Empire Rediscovered (London: Hodder, 1980).;