CRETACEOUS GRAVEYARD


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A CRETACEOUS GRAVEYARD

By
Tommy R. Woodward
and
J. Frank Woodward II
SEPTEMBER 2006 (updated August 2011)

          Somewhere in the vast arid desert area of the Big Bend National Park of Texas lays a graveyard. A huge graveyard. A prehistoric Mesozoic Age graveyard. I will leave it to the National Park Service to allow me to identify exactly where because it is located within the Park boundaries. This site is currently a small hill approximately 150-200 feet (45-60 meters) in thickness and covers maybe twenty acres. Of course, nowadays it is only a small brecciated siltstone hill among many others, but it is unique in that it consists almost entirely of bones: a huge jumble of numerous fossils and bones of creatures that lived thousands of years ago in the Cretaceous Period. These bones have now all been calcareously replaced, but their shapes and features still exist. The unique part about these bones is that these animals had all apparently died and their bones scattered before being washed into this “pile” of debris because no two bones appear to be identified as belonging to the same creature. Further study might prove that statement wrong.

          What happened?

          First, it is known that the Cretaceous Period came to an abrupt halt about 65 million years ago (see the Needle Peak geology story). In the early Cretaceous Period, most of the western part of North America was inundated by the Western Interior Seaway. Flowering plants and water, land, and air reptilian dinosaurs were being developed. The latest acceptable explanation of their rather sudden demise - is an impact theory. Not just any meteorite impact but one large enough to affect life as it was then known around the globe. The meteor impact near Chicxulub, Mexico on the Yucatan Peninsula fits that description. It also passes numerous tests required by scientists before accepting it as possibly one of the causes of such a huge alteration in flora and fauna all over the world.

          Structure: the affected area has been identified by geophysicists as a much disturbed anomalous subsurface geological structure that includes material typical of meteorites. Shock quartz is abundant in breccia at various depths. Certain mineral elements typical of meteor impacts have been found. Some have been found in the proper geologic sequence and time around the world that fits this meteoric description.

          Size: the Chicxulub asteroid was approximately 6 miles (10 kilometers) in diameter. Seismic and gravity survey anomalies indicated that upon impact it had created a circular crater described as being up to 90-110 miles (145-180 kilometers) in diameter. Time frame: It well correlates with the end of the Cretaceous Period and the beginning of the Tertiary Period as we know it. Currently this time period is identified as the K/T Extinction (Cretaceous/Tertiary Extinction).

          Now, please allow me to present a logical scenario that should explain this event as it related to this graveyard.

          At that particular time the Big Bend of Texas was covered by a shallow sea (called the Very Late Cretaceous Sea). This part of the North American continent was much closer to the equator and the shore was lined with lush lowlands and tropical forests. Reptiles, dinosaurs, turtles, sharks and other fauna of the region were in abundance. In other words… it was a tropical “Eden” for all living things.

          Had you been there at the time you might have noticed a large and bright meteorite heading toward earth no more than 1000 miles (1600 kilometers) away (about one time zone). You likely would also have felt the impact. But you would also have likely gone back to blissfully grazing, or whatever you had been doing – totally unaware that a huge tsunami had been created and was heading your way. This tsunami was probably several 100 feet (or meters) high and went many tens of miles inward, totally wiping out and drowning all living land creatures in its path. Some destructive paths have been identified as far north as the Rockies in Colorado.

          Minute particles of the meteorite were cast upward into the atmosphere and created a tragic alteration in the world-wide food chain. Vaporized limestone caused world-wide CO2 to increase by 50%. This secondary effect resulted in the eventual extinction of many more flora and fauna the world over. So, what the tsunami didn’t drown, the lack of food later caused the rest of these creatures to starve to death.

          As the tsunami subsided, and time passed, these dead creatures and dinosaurs decayed and rotted leaving only their bones exposed. Further rains sent these bones crashing down gullies and canyons until they were all jumbled and deposited into an eddy near, or in, the shallow sea. They were soon covered with other debris and limestone-secreting sea life.

          Now, millions of years later, this eddy has been exposed as we see it today – a jumble of indistinct bone skeletons and other Cretaceous forms of life. The bone material has been completely replaced with limestone: however, as it was replaced, the bones kept their shapes and we can now identify a few bones from this pile. The area is solidly covered with various bone skeletal parts. My favorite find was the horn of a triceratop. The horn had been broken, but the object was easily identified. Other triceratop bones have also been found.

          Most individual bones would not be identifiable except by qualified paleontologists. Scientists have been told of the existence of this find, but since these bones are individually exposed and not connected to a skeleton, no one seems interested. This type disaster can, and will, happen again…. Someday.

          REFERENCES:

          About Archaeology.com.

          University of Arizona.

          Yahoo News.

          Is There Credence in the Bolide Impact Theory at Chicxulub? By Susan Woodward (Spriggs), Sul Ross University, Alpine, TX, unpublished, about 1995.

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