Thousands of years before Common Era (BCE) events; BCE replacing BC in most calendar events.
The expansion of ancient Greece may be tied to fluctuations in the North Atlantic and global climates.
Persian armies invading Potidaea (Greece) destroyed by a tsunami.
A massive sandstorm supposedly wipes out an army of 50,000 soldiers near the Egyptian-Libyan border.
A Pacific tsunami halts the spread of the Samoan archipelago.
Witze, Alexandra. February 25, 2012. Making waves: Japanese quake gave scientists an unprecedented look at a big tsunami. Science News, Vol 181, No 4.
Pollen and charcoal evidence in Nile sediments indicate a drought as big as the one that destroyed the Old Kingdom
Located in the Andes mountains, this large volcanic outburst formed Cuicocha (lake) and spread many minerals about the fertile region. The volcano and caldera are believed dormant, though they released a VEI 6.
According to Susan Bauer, there was widespread drought, famine, pestilence (perhaps bubonic plague), and war around 1150BCE.
Bauer, Susan. 2007. The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-393-05974-8
Minoan eruption of Thera releases 24 cubic miles of debris and destroys the nearly circular caldera already present. Some speculate that this could have been the seed for the stories of Atlantis. Others speculate that this eruption triggered the plagues of Egypt as mentioned in the Bible. Exact dating remains questioned, and the VEI is estimated at 7.
Mount Aniakchak is an Aleutian volcano in Alaska, which underwent a VEI 6 around the same time as the Minoan eruption, confusing ice cores trying to date the Greek island eruption. The current caldera last erupted in 1931.
Sarasvati River begins to dry up, and the Indus River population begins to collapse.
Four point two thousand years ago, intensely arid conditions brought about the collapse of many of the great civilizations of the world. The cause is thought to be linked to Bond Events, brought about by a periodic cycling of the North Atlantic cycle.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Intermediate_Period_of_Egypt - Fall of Egypt's Old Kingdom
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4.2_kiloyear_event - 4.2ky Event
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bond_event - Bond Event
http://phys.org/news/2014-02-decline-bronze-age-megacities-linked.html - Hindus Aridity
http://phys.org/news/2014-05-climate-empire-fall-tree-reveal.html - Akkadian Aridity
The Biblical Sodom and Gommorah were wiped out at the same time as over 40 other city-states across that face of the world. Evidence points to the Taurid meteors, hitting every 2500 years for several centuries within that mark.
The Henbury Meteorites of Australia impacted during this timeframe, when a meteor(s) broke up into a dozen pieces, each several tons in weight.
Evidence of a global drought has been found in glacial data world wide from this time frame (plus or minus a century or so). Small dust particles, roughly one micron in diameter, are seen in ice cores.
PhysOrg, 19JUN2009, http://www.physorg.com/news164546585.html
This timeframe corresponds to the mass migration of the Ymnaya culture from the grasslands north of the Black Sea into Europe, creating the Corded Ware Culture.
Additional evidence comes from Lake Tana in Ethiopia – source of the Blue Nile. A drought there some 4200 years ago correlates with the collapse of the Old Kingdom in Egypt (this could be moved up 200 years to the time of Sodom and Gommorah).
Planet Earth, 16JUL2011, http://planetearth.nerc.ac.uk/news/story.aspx?id=1019
Bruce Masse as Los Alamos proposes a cometary impact in the southern Indian ocean as a cause of the global mythos of a great flood.
Glaciers in Peru rapidly advanced, covering a tropical marsh and preserving it's plants. Other indicators point to this being a temporary global cooling event, causing arid conditions across much of the globe.
PhysOrg, 19JUN2009, http://www.physorg.com/news164546585.html PhysOrg, AUG2012, http://phys.org/news/2012-08-climate-drought-lessons-ancient-egypt.html#ajTabs
Farming rapidly spreads across Europe in one or two rapid waves.
The Kikai Caldera of Japan put out 36 cubic miles of material. Radiocarbon dating puts it at 4500 BCE instead of 5300 BCE indicated by archaeological evidence.
The Euxine Lake (now known as the Black Sea) is flooded by the rising waters of the Mediterranean, rising 500 feet and transforming the region from a nexus of agriculture and civilization into a salty shore. This is possibly the 'great flood' of Hebrew and Sumerian history.
Brian M Fagan. 2006. “Archaeology: A Brief History”, 9th ed. p235-236. Pearson / Prentice Hall, NJ.
Crater Lake, icon of Oregon, was formed when Mount Mazama collapsed in this VEI 7 eruption. The volcano was estimated to be a 14,000 foot peak before it fell, with part of its remaining caldera forming an 8,000 foot peak today.
Linked to a 1500 year climate cycle, the oscillation was first identified by Swiss botanist Heinrich Zoller. This was a pulse of freezing temperatures not quite as bad as the Younger Dryas event, but still significant, none-the-less. Most scientists apparently agree that the “6.2 kiloyear event” (as it's more commonly called) is linked to a meltwater pulse that threw off the thermohaline current.
Kurile Lake in the Kamchatka range of Russia is the remains of a VEI 7 caldera.
The final draining of Lake Agassiz raised global sea levels by significant amounts (up to three feet by some estimations), and may have played a role in the great flood myths.
Archaeologists interpret the Gobekli-Tepe Vulture Stone to corroborate an ice-core indicator of cometary impact. The devastation of the Laurentide ice sheet, micrometeors in mammoth tusks from the timeframe, and other data seem to support the impact.
The Younger Dryas event was a period of extreme cooling theoretically caused by an abrupt change in the North Atlantic thermohaline current, brought about by the Lockhart phase of Lake Agassiz flooding down the Hudson; this event was probably brought about by an impact event. Recent evidence indicates the cooling occurred within the span of mere months as the thermohaline current shut down. The time period also coincides with 1500y solar cycles, which have been implicated in repeating cooling events. Other evidence points towards this being the start of the Anthropocene, due to men wiping out the huge methane producers of the age, although the cometary impact evidence has begun edging this out. Global de-cooling begins to take place after this event, leading to deluges that heralded many of the great flood stories. Monsoon changes in the Sahara made it a lush plainsland with gigantic lakes, and at least two groups of peoples (the Kiffians first, and the Tenerians at least a thousand years later).
The smoking gun for a cometary airburst or impact creating massive wildfires and instantly melting a great deal of glacial ice (to shut down the thermohaline current) was found with iridium and platinum in ice core samples. A tentative crater has been identified in Greenland beneath the Hiawatha Crater.
A simultaneous VEI 6 in Germany known as Laacher See has been implicated as a factor in the Younger Dryas.
Heinrich Events are evidenced by massive glacial meltings and the stones carried by calving ice bergs. The worst Heinrich Event is known as H1, and appears to be a global megadrought, perhaps brought about by a collapse of the North Atlantic thermohaline current. The events may have been on a 7k year cycle during the ice ages, which could tie in with the 1500 (7k * 2 -ish) solar cycles.
This Japanese caldera on the island of Kyushu is home to Kagoshima and a post-caldera volcano. The original volcano was estimated at VEI 7.
New Zealand's north island volcano of Taupo detonates, leaving behind a lake twenty miles across in the midst of the island. The VEI 8 explosion a hundred cubic miles of pyroclastic flows alone.
The Phlegraean Fields of Naples still has hydrothermal activity from the VEI 7 eruption.
Three separate volcanic eruptions during this time lead to decimation of Europe and Western Asia, where neanderthals tended to live. With humans living in Southern Africa and Eastern Asia, the eruptions appear to have paved the way for human dominance in Western Eurasia.
Bruce Bower of Science News on 23OCT2010 reviews Liubov Golovanova's work from the October Current Anthropology
Supervolcano best known for Pompeii releases a VEI 7.
Modern genetic forensics indicates that humans have a relatively small amount of biodiversity, most probably due to a bottlenecking event some 70-80 thousand years ago. The information indicates that all modern humans descended from between 2,000 and 20,000 people in Africa during that time frame. The timing of this bottlenecking event seems to coincided with the eruption of one of the world's largest known super volcanoes that now forms Lake Toba in Indonesia. The eruption of the Toba caldera plunged the world into an 'instant ice age' akin to a nuclear winter, apparently wiping out all other humans across the world. After this bottleneck, humanity apparently exploded out of Africa, reaching almost all of Eurasia not covered by ice within a few thousand years.
Sixty ton meteorite hits in Namibia and leaves no crater.
Another correspondence to the bottleneck listed for Lake Toba, above, is the inactivation of two components of our immune system – components that made us targets for communicable, infectious diseases. Those diseases (E. coli K1 and Strep B) may have wiped out the infants of all humans that had active targets in the immune system for those two bugs.
VEI 5 level eruption in the Canary Islands contributes to the modern shape of Mount Teide, second only to Mauna Kea in absolute height. If a flank collapse buried or submerged significant archaeological information, then then Teide could still be a source of the tales of Atlantis, with the location more closely matching Plato's descriptions.
The general consensus is that modern man evolved sometime around 200,000 years ago in Africa. The 'Out of Africa' theory is often questioned, as is the timeline for the emergence of modern man. One event directly tied to modern man arising in Africa is the dying down of the elephants.
VEI 8 listed on the main Wikipedia Volcanic Explosivity Index page.
SJA Brown, CJN Wilson, JW Cole, J Wooden. 1998. “The Whakamaru group ignimbrites, Taupo Volcanic Zone, new Zealand: evidence for reverse tapping of a zone silicic magmatic system.” Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. 84(1-2): pp1-37.
A 1.8km crater was excavated in the Maharashtra region of India. Originally thought to be part of the Deccan traps and volcanic in origin, it was excavated by a meteor. Earlier indicators pointed towards a 52k BCE impact.
Yellowstone hot spot releases 240 cubic miles of ash and debris – 280 times more than the 1980 Mount St Helens eruption. An eruption 2.1M BCE ejected 600 cubic miles of ash and debris, while another eruption 1.3M BCE ejected 67 cubic miles. The 'line of fire' Achenback writes about begins roughly 20M years ago in southern Oregon and northern Nevada, with periodic supervolcano eruptions. The McDermitt volcanic field erupted between 16.5 and 18 million years ago, followed by the Owyhee-Humboldt at 13.8M, Breneau-Jarbidge at 12.5M, Twin Falls at 10.8M, Picabo at 10.3M, and Heise at 6.65M years ago, with the majority of these moving through southern Idaho.
Achenbach, Joel. August 2009. National Geographic, p67.
A large magma chamber in eastern California near Mammoth Mountain blows in a VEI 7 eruption. The area still hosts hot springs and a geothermal plant, but very little magma remains in the pool. The crater filled with water at some point and formed a lake that drained roughly 100,000 years ago. Ash from the eruption likely covered much of the western United States.
Darwin Crater in Tasmania forms at the same time as Asia, Australia, Canada, and South American. The unnamed bombardment likely hit with considerable force, but appears to have done relatively minor damage. The Darwin Crater itself may have had a separate impact time from the bombardment.)