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Comprehensive analysis of nanodiamond evidence reported to support the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis

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  • Tyrone L. Daulton
  • Sachiko Amari
  • Andrew C. Scott
  • Dr Mark Hardiman
  • Nicholas Pinter
  • R. Scott Anderson
During the end of the last glacial period in the Northern Hemisphere near 12.9k cal a BP, deglacial warming of the Bølling-Ållerod interstadial ceased abruptly and the climate returned to glacial conditions for a ≈ 1,300 year interval known as the Younger Dryas stadial. The Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis proposes that the onset of the Younger Dryas climate reversal, Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions, and disappearance of the Clovis paleoindian lithic technology were coeval and caused by continent-wide catastrophic effects of impact/bolide events in North America. While there are no known impact structures dated to the Younger Dryas onset, physical evidence of the impact/bolide events is argued to be present in sediments spanning several continents at stratigraphic levels inferred to date to the Bølling-Ållerod / Younger Dryas boundary (YDB). Reports of nanometer to submicron-sized diamonds in YDB sediments, in particular the rare 2H hexagonal polytype of diamond, lonsdaleite, have been presented as strong evidence for shock processing of crustal materials. We review the available data on diamonds in sediments and provide new data. We find no evidence for lonsdaleite in YDB sediments and find no evidence of a spike in nanodiamond concentration at the YDB layer to support the impact hypothesis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7–34
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Quaternary Science
Issue number1
Early online date19 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


  • Comprehensive analysis of nanodiamond evidence reported to support the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis

    Rights statement: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Daulton, T. L., Amari, S., Scott, A. C., Hardiman, M., Pinter, N. and Anderson, R. S. (2017), Comprehensive analysis of nanodiamond evidence relating to the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis. J. Quaternary Sci., 32: 7–34, which has been published in final form at 10.1002/jqs.2892. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 1.59 MB, PDF document

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