Robert M. Schoch: Miscellaneous News and Events

Illustration for comet versus Sun comments.

Images courtesy of NASA.

Controversies Regarding the End of the Last Ice Age: Comet/Impactor or Solar Activity?

Extreme climate/temperature swings and Earth changes occurred at the end of the last ice age, in particular at the beginning and the end of the approximately 1200-year period known as the Younger Dryas. Earth had been gradually warming overall, but then there was a cold spell (strongest in the Northern Hemisphere) around 10,900 BCE, initiating the Younger Dryas, which lasted some twelve centuries until the Earth was abruptly snapped out of the last ice age circa 9700 BCE (the end of the Younger Dryas, corresponding to the end of the last ice age).

What caused the beginning and ending of the Younger Dryas has long been a point of contention, and the debate heated up when a “comet theory” or “impact hypothesis” was proposed in the 2000s. Various journalists, popularizers, and writers of semi-fiction and science fiction have picked up on and sensationalized the “comet theory” despite the weakness of the evidence. I have to admit that at first I was favorably disposed toward such a theory (I write about the effects of comets, meteors, asteroids, and other impactors in some of my earlier books); however, after carefully analyzing the purported evidence put forward to support such ideas, I am not convinced. I believe that solar activity can better explain the major changes at the beginning and end of the Younger Dryas. For the interested reader, I offer a few links below that give some background regarding this controversy.

Here is a link to a short video posted by Ben Davidson of Suspicious0bervers where it is pointed out that "unusual" solar activity (which may not be so unusual from a geological and astronomical perspective; indeed, it may be cyclical) can explain the features and evidence pointed to by the proponents of the "comet theory/impact hypothesis". The beginning of the video includes portions of a 2014 interview of me, but please make sure to watch the entire video to the end for some provocative new ideas proposed by other researchers, including the concept of "solar micronovae".

This is a short article I wrote in 2015: An expanded and updated version appears as Appendix 9 of Origins of the Sphinx.

The following two links give some background on the controversies regarding the “comet theory”: and

The following article discusses the evidence indicating that it was not a comet, but rather a massive glacial flood (which, I would point out, could have been caused by solar activity melting ice dams and glaciers) that changed ocean circulation patterns in the Atlantic, thus initiating the Younger Dryas cooling:

Regarding the Hiawatha Glacier in northwest Greenland: Reading the actual journal article, and looking at the details of the stratigraphy, it does not appear to me to be Younger Dryas. As the authors write: "The sum of these tentative age constraints suggests that the Hiawatha impact crater formed during the Pleistocene, as this age is most consistent with inferences from presently available data.” (p. 9) The Pleistocene dates from 2.6 million years ago to 11,700 years ago. Impactors collide with Earth, no doubt, and this is evidence of such. But it has yet to be dated to the Younger Dryas, as so many apparently wish it to be.

Picture of Robert Schoch and John Anthony West together in Sandane, Norway

With John Anthony West in Norway (on an unexpectedly cold day!).

John Anthony West (1932 – 2018):
A Tribute to My Friend

Even though he had been fighting a battle with cancer for over a year, I was not fully prepared to learn the news that my dear friend John Anthony West (JAW) had parted from this world. There are no words to express the profound sadness and loss that I feel. One of the themes of his research, apart from our work together on the Great Sphinx, was dying and death from the perspective of the ancient Egyptians. I find solace in pondering some of JAW’s own words on the subject. Please click here to read more. And wherever he is now, I wish my friend a blessed journey. I will miss him greatly.

Boston University's New Institute for the Study of the Origins of Civilization (ISOC)!

I'm so pleased to announce that the College of General Studies at Boston University, where I have been a full-time faculty member for over thirty years, has established the Institute for the Study of the Origins of Civilization (ISOC) - in part inspired by my research into the antiquity of civilization (now supported by sites around the world, most notably at the breathtaking Göbekli Tepe in Turkey dated to the end of the last Ice Age). I am pleased to add that I have been appointed the institute's first director.

A New Discovery! The Great Sphinx was Originally a Lioness Named Mehit who Guarded an Ancient Archive

A new discovery has been made, by Dr. Manu Seyfzadeh, which supports my contention that the Great Sphinx (in its earliest form, prior to the dynastic re-carving of the head) existed on the Giza Plateau before the reign of Khafre and that it guarded a chamber beneath it. We now have evidence that it was referred to in writing by the earliest Egyptians. Furthermore, the original form of the Sphinx was that of the lioness Mehit. This discovery was first published in the peer reviewed journal Archaeological Discovery. However, I've also written about it here on my website. Click here (or on the accompanying photo) to stay on this site and read more...

Click the following if you would like to go directly to Archaeological Discovery where you can read online or download as a pdf the original publication (authored by Manu Seyfzadeh, Robert Bauval, and myself). Note: Lovely photos and illustrations accompany both postings; however, the journal article includes a few rare photos for which I could not obtain copyright for posting here. On the other hand, you may find the article posted here on this website a little easier to read (a little less "academeeze").

An ancient plasma strike right near the Great Sphinx and Giza Pyramids.

Ancient Plasma Strike on the Giza Plateau

During the summer of 2016, while leading a tour of Egypt, two friends and colleagues, Yousef Awyan and Mohamed Ibraham, showed me a feature on the Giza Plateau that they suspected would catch my attention. Indeed, it did: a potential ancient lightning strike right in front of the immense Second Pyramid. Here is a video (initially posted to YouTube) of a few of us examining the site. I wrote an article about this important discovery for the November-December issue of Atlantis Rising, and I plan to discuss it further in forthcoming publications. Additionally, the banner image at the top of this page shows this plasma strike in greater detail.

Robert Schoch being awarded honorary professorship at the Bulgarian Naval Academy

Awarded an Honorary Professorship

On 28 November 2014 I was awarded, in recognition of my ongoing research into ancient civilizations, the title of Honorary Professor at the Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy in Varna, Bulgaria.

Video trailer for a master class Robert Schoch conducted at Boston University in 2015

My Research in a Nutshell

Not long ago I was asked by Boston University to give a master class of my research to a select group of its alumni. This video trailer was made by the University for the event. Compressed down to less than two minutes, it encompasses highlights of my research over a quarter century, from my initial work re-dating the Great Sphinx (based on the geological evidence of water erosion on the monument and on the walls of its enclosure, seismic analyses, and much more) to my findings regarding a major solar outburst as a cause of the end of our last ice age and the decimation of the high civilizations of the time. More detail regarding this research can be found in my book, Forgotten Civilization: The Role of Solar Outbursts in Our Past and Future.

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