The night that Europe died: June 8366 BC

Stuart Harris BS, MS, MBA

The Middle Stone Age Of Europe ended abruptly near midnight in June 8366 BC, when pieces of Comet Cluster Encke disintegrated over Europe and terminated life over much of the region. Perhaps the night in June was the solstice, which people tend to carefully follow. Afterwards began the New Stone Age, the Boreal, with new tools and a different suite of plants. Two sources concur on the year, an ammonia spike in Greenland GISP2 ice core and a plot of repeated double strikes of Comet Cluster Encke.

On the night that Europe died, pieces of Encke ignited forests from Russia to Ireland. Northern Europe blazed like an inferno, consumed the available oxygen, incinerated any animal not sheltered deep in a cave. Directly beneath the impacts, heat high enough to melt bricks extinguished entire plant families,baked seeds and roots deep underground. It was a comet, not a meteor, because no trace of magnetic material or iridium occurs in a closely measured deposit in Sweden. Fierce winds rushed in to fill the void. Pieces that landed inthe sea spawned hurricanes. Parts of the Scandinavian ice sheet in Sweden and Norway slid into the Atlantic and Lake Ancylus, precursor to the Baltic Sea.