Ragnarok : the Age of Fire and Gravel eBook

Ignatius Donnelly
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 362 pages of information about Ragnarok .

In the first place, it is, of course, impossible at this time to say precisely how the contact took place; whether the head of the comet fell into or approached close to the sun, like the comet of 1843, and then swung its mighty tail, hundreds of millions of miles in length, moving at a rate almost equal to the velocity of light, around through a great are, and swept past the earth;—­the earth, as it were, going through the midst of the tail, which would extend for a vast distance beyond and around it.  In this movement, the side of the earth, facing the advance of the tail, would receive and intercept the mass of material—­stones, gravel, and the finely-ground-up-dust which, compacted by water, is now clay—­which came in contact with it, while the comet would sail off into space,

{p. 92}

demoralized, perhaps, in its orbit, like Lexell’s comet when it became entangled with Jupiter’s moons, but shorn of a comparatively small portion of its substance.

The following engraving will illustrate my meaning.  I can not give, even approximately, the proportions of the

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THE COMET SWEEPING PAST THE EARTH.

objects represented, and thus show the immensity of the sun as compared with our insignificant little orb.  In a picture showing the true proportions of the sun and earth, the sun would have to be so large that it would take up the entire page, while the earth would be but as a

{p. 93}

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THE SIDE OF THE EARTH STRUCK BY THE COMET {left}

THE SIDE NOT STRUCK BY THE COMET {right}

{p. 94}

pin-head.  And I have not drawn the comet on a scale large enough as compared with the earth.

If the reader will examine the map on page 93, he will see that the distribution of the Drift accords with this theory.  If we suppose the side of the earth shown in the left-hand figure was presented to the comet, we will see why the Drift is supposed to be confined to Europe, Africa, and parts of America; while the right-hand figure will show the half of the world that escaped.

“The breadth of the tail of the great comet of 1811, at its widest part, was nearly fourteen million miles, the length one hundred and sixteen million miles, and that of the second comet of the same year, one hundred and forty million miles."[1]

On page 95 is a representation of this monster.

Imagine such a creature as that, with a head fifty times as large as the moon, and a tail one hundred and sixteen million miles long, rushing past this poor little earth of ours, with its diameter of only seven thousand nine hundred and twenty-five miles!  The earth, seven thousand nine hundred and twenty-five miles wide, would simply make a bullet-hole through that tail, fourteen million miles broad, where it passed through it!—­a mere eyelet-hole—­a pin-hole—­closed up at once by the constant movements which take place in the tail of the comet.  And yet in that moment of contact the side of the earth facing the comet might be covered with hundreds of feet of débris.

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Ragnarok : the Age of Fire and Gravel from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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