Science in Christian Perspective


The Case for Global Catastrophism: 
The Courtroom Ordeal

Department of Mathematics 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 
Cambridge, Massachusetts

From: JASA 25 (December 1973): 129-134.

Few experiences are more gripping than the spectacle of the courtroom. The pomp; the flowing robes of the judge; the pounding gavel; the booming voice of the bailiff; the buzz of the audience all build an aura of pageantry. Simultaneously, the nervous defendant; the flash and oratory of the prosecuting attorney; the compassion of his opponent build an air of intrigue and suspense. Even the very words spoken contribute to the scene: wit and sarcasm; heated diatribe and cool rejoinder; the indignation, the railing; pathos and bathos. And yet in all of these one does not observe the real substance of a trial. The trial substance lies in the witnesses themselves, and in their testimony. Strip away all the pomp and routine and you still have a trial. Strip away the witnesses and there is nothing left. Many witnesses may be called to testify during the course of a trial. There are the eyewitnesses who have actually observed this or that. There are the written witnesses; the letters, the contracts, which are
called to testify. There are the objects brought forth, physical evidences such as the supposed "murder weapon" for example. Indeed, all the available witnesses are called in order to build the most convincing case. Naturally, the composite testimony will seem to contain contradictions; some arising simply from variant vantage points and others possibly arising from false testimony. Each witness is examined and cross-examined to determine the validity of his account.

The courtroom ordeal is not limited to the legal profession but enters into other endeavors, and science is a leading example. In particular, the study of earth history1 involves a courtroomlike drama to uncover the truth about supposed historical events. Here, the terminology is different; a theory is being built and tested. But the process is essentially the same: witnesses must be examined to build the case, and then they must be cross-examined to test it. In this work, a case is built upon the testimony of several witnesses to describe the overall character of earth history.

The Thesis of Global Catastrophism

The last 2600 years of earth history have been peaceful in that the only physical catastrophes have been strictly local in scale (flooding rivers, violent storms, volcanic eruptions, etc.) and not worldwide in any real sense. In contrast, the period from the creation of earth to about 700 B.C. was marked by peaceful periods interrupted by several violent catastrophes of worldwide impact brought about largely by extraterrestrial causes. These great convulsions were generally expressions of divine wrath upon human wickedness. In the following discussions it will he shown that the witness of available records supports this hypothesis.

It must he recognized that if global catastrophism is on trial, then so is the doctrine of uniformitarianism. In particular, so is the teaching of substantive uniformitarianism which presupposes that earth has had a peaceful history, devoid of any catastrophe of global scope. The present article builds the ease for a theory which is in total contradiction with uniformitarian doctrine. Hence if global catastrophism is established (and strong evidence supports it), it stands as a witness of the pitiful inadequacy of uniformitarianism to give a true picture of earth history.

Examining the Witnesses

The case for global catastrophism is built upon the testimony of several witnesses. The three basic categories of witnesses are the divine record (Scripture), human records and physical evidences in the universe. Before calling for the testimony, the general qualifications of the witnesses must be established. And more specifically, we must know how to interpret their testimony so as to draw out a true report.

The first source of information is Scripture which provides two different categories of facts, Uniquely, Scripture gives information on the operation of divine will in the universe. Only in the Bible is found truth regarding the purposes and objectives of the Creator in space-time events. The Bible does not indicate the actual mechanism used by God to bring about an event, but it usually does reveal His purpose. The Bible is also a source of historical data. A comment is needed on the qualifications of the human writers of Scripture. There are those who immediately dismiss the value of the Biblical record as a source of data because of the "nonscientific background" of the human writers. It may rather be argued that the "nonscientific" writer of Scripture recorded exactly what he saw (the eyeball approach) in contrast to a modern scientist who may discard some hit of information if it does not fit into his scheme. The objectivity of the Bible's historical accounts is seers in its recording of many embarrassing events, which (it seems) the human author might have found in his own interest to delete.
Any record (including the Bible) requires proper interpretation. The interpretation of Scripture has been a subject of great controversy, but it seems that the only reasonable method is the literal, or grammatical historical method.

As defined by Bernard Ramm:

The literal method of interpretation is that method that gives to each word the same basic meaning it would
have in normal, ordinary customary usage, whether employed in writing, speaking or thinking.2

In another work, Ramm3 presented a section on the language of the Bible with reference to natural things.

The second source of information is human records, including all written history (excluding the Bible), recorded mythologies, and archaeological artifacts. Ancient writers, like the Biblical writers, used the eyeball approach, writing down what they saw. Thus it is reasonable to use something akin to the grammatical-historical method of interpretation. Regarding the qualifications of the ancient observers, it must be noted that there are many known instances in which they recorded events with great accuracy. Indeed the Chaldean and Egyptian astronomers made very accurate observations and Hipparchus, a Greek, actually discovered the minute precession of the equinoxes in the second century B.C. Recognizing the accuracy of the ancients over against that of a massive extrapolation in modern science, Rene Gallant asked:

One of the two most be wrong! Which? The ancient people who described what they saw, or the astronomers whose calculations were made 4,500 years later? The testimony of eye-witnesses in Antiquity may not be so lightly disregarded!4

If global catastrophism is on trial, so is the doctrine of uniformitarianism.

On the question of authority, human literature must be clearly distinguished from divine revelation. The latter is inerrant as given by God, while the former is subject to error. Therefore even greater care must be exercised in interpreting human records, especially the myths which may contain only a grain of truth in the midst of a volume of untrue trappings. Myths are the victims of substantial transmission errors, the transmitting person throwing in interpretations or even embellishing the story. Frequently, in myths particularly, false ideas on the cause of an event have crept in. Therefore in interpreting a myth, one must be careful to distinguish actual observation from suggested cause (which is sometimes a problem in modem scientific observation as well). A good check system on mythologies is correlation. If several distant cultures have myths describing the same event (with some variations allowed), then one may conclude that such an event is indeed historical.

The third source of information is physical evidences in the universe. This is an important source but in many ways is the weaker of the three, since it gives only the present remains of what has happened in the past. The physical evidence at a point on the earth at the present instant is the sum total of all the events that have happened down through history at that local point, and summations tend to sweep many details into the oblivion of the total. Nevertheless physical evidences may often be the only record available. Furthermore, even when eyewitness accounts are known, physical evidences become invaluable as correlations for testing whatever theory one may develop regarding a historical event.

Testimony of the Witnesses

A. The Scripture: divine wrath amid divine faithfulness. God has a stake in the regularity of natural law and the orderly function of nature, since these things stand as everpresent testimonies of His faithfulness. But as God has revealed Himself through the regularity ad order of nature, He has also demonstrated His ability to suspend its general course. Such interjections usually took place entirely in the sphere of natural law. Indeed a miracle is not necessary to perpetrate a catastrophe: even a global one. This is particularly clear when extraterrestrial materials are involved. One must not think though that God has never resorted to miracles (suspensions of natural law). In fact numerous examples are recorded in Scripture, particularly in the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. Violent natural catastrophes were not the pointless play of a fickle deity but rather the intentional expression of God's righteous wrath upon wickedness:

Fire goes before Him, and burns up His adversaries round about. His lightnings lit up the world; the earth saw and trembled. The mountains melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, At the presence of the LORD of the whole earth. The heavens declare His righteousness, and all peoples have seen His glory. (Psalm 97:3-6)5
The same theme is sung in job 9:6, Psalm 18:7, and Jeremiah 10:10.5

A categorical listing of catastrophes recorded in Scripture include the following.

(1) The Flood (Genesis 6-8) was the expression of God's judgment on the wickedness of man in Noah's day (II Peter 2:5, Genesis 6:5-7). The Genesis account suggests the Flood was global in scope: "all the high mountains were covered . . . and all flesh perished, and all mankind" (Genesis 7:19, 21).

(2) Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18, 19) were two ancient cities destroyed by a judgment from God (Genesis 18:20, II Peter 2:6, Jude 7). Their demise was awesome:

The LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven, . . . the smoke of the land ascended like the smoke of a furnace. (Genesis 19:24, 28) He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes. (II Peter 2:6)

Their destruction was from space, involving the fall of burning firey stones.
Scripture clearly testifies of several catastrophes in history, some of which are global in scope and extraterrestrial in cause.

(3) The Exodus (Exodus 8-19) of Israel from Egypt saw numerous great catastrophes, including the plagues (judgment on the Egyptians), the parting of the Red Sea and its return (also judgment) and the upheaval at Sinai. Some of the disturbances were from space: "thunder, bail, and fire ... rained on the land of Egypt" (Exodus 9:23). The upheaval at Sinai was not judgment but a visible revelation of the awesome power of God:

Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently. (Exodus 19:18)

(4) The fall of Jericho (Joshua 6) was a divine judgment on "disobedience" (Hebrews 11:31), which was perpetrated as "the walls fell down flat" (Joshua 6:20).
(5) Joshua's long day (Joshua 10) saw the execution of divine judgment on the armies of Canaan, through the armies of Israel, in the process, God caused a disturbance in the motion or apparent motion of the sun so that the battle could he carried to a decisive conclusion.6 The altering of the sun's motion suggests an extraterrestrial cause, as does the associated phenomenon:

The LORD threw large stones from heaven on them; there were more who died from the hailstones than those whom the sons of Israel killed with the sword. (Joshua 10:11)

(6) The dial of Ahaz incident (Isaiah 38) in which the sun's apparent motion was disturbed, was not a judgment but the indication that God had heard the prayer of Hezekiab for an extended life. Again an extraterrestrial source of the disturbance seems to be the simplest explanation.6

(7) General reference to catastrophes are numerous in Scripture. Among them are the following: earth shaking (Psalm 18:7, 60:2, 97:4, 104:32, 114:7, Hebrews 12:26), the last reference clearly suggesting a shaking of the whole earth (global catastrophe); mountains shaken and moved (Job 9:5, Psalm 18:7, 114:4); mountains melting (Psalm 97:5); heavens moved (II Samuel 22:8, job 26:11), suggesting a disturbance in or from space; earth moved out of place (Psalm 82:5), indicating a global disturbance from space; change in times and seasons (Daniel 2:21, 22), also indicating a global disturbance from space. Thus, we may conclude that Scripture clearly testifies of several catastrophes in history, some of which are global in scope and extraterrestrial in cause. Scripture also teaches that behind the catastrophes was the purposeful expression of divine judgment on wickedness, or in at least one case, the revelation of God's awesome power to His people Israel.

It should also be noted that many prophetic passages foresaw global upheavals involving extraterrestrial phenomena, which are the judgments of God. Since this work deals with historical events these passages will not he listed, save one of particular significance. The apostle Peter warns of those who might mock the idea of God judging by catastrophe:

Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will conic with their mocking . . . and saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues lost as it was from the beginning of creation.' For they are willfully ignorant of the fact that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. (II Peter 3:3-6)

B. Human records: danger in the skies. Human records describing the era since about 700 bc. picture a rather peaceful environment for man. Not so for more ancient times where there is ample testimony of several great cataclysms of global scope, extraterrestrial origin and severe intensity. A great deal of modern research has dealt with these ancient records, and the following discussion can be only a categorical summary of data that has been accumulated.

(1) Traditions of periodic catastrophes were common among the ancients. Most of the ancient philosophers believed that the earth experienced periodic worldwide disasters which dramatically altered its face, nearly annihilating life. Immanuel Velikovsky listed several ancient philosophers and philosophies that "believed in periodic conflagrations by which the world was consumed and shaped anew. "7 He also listed ancient cultures from every corner of the globe who believed in "world ages" separated by catastrophes. Most if not all of these traditions are classified as mythology. But while they contain many imaginative appendages, there remains much truth to be drawn out. This becomes apparent when one hears the chorus of voices from widely separated (and seemingly unrelated) civilizations calling together for peaceful world ages punctuated by worldwide destructions. The voices of mythologies are supported by another branch of human records, archaeological stratigraphy, which according to C. F. A. Schaeffer points conclusively toward a series of contemporaneous downfalls of civilizations throughout Eurasia.8 Schaeffer concluded that these could only he the result of great catastrophes.

(2) The strange world of the ancients differed in several ways from our own. This fact dues not necessarily imply catastrophes. But a simple extrapolation of present rates and conditions back to ancient times does not account for the differences-suggesting an abrupt alteration from outside forces. Two examples are cited. First of all, there is striking evidence that the pole star seen by the Egyptians in the 25th century ac. was not Polaris but a star in the Great Bear constellation (popularly called the Big Dipper).9 This is in major contradiction with the extrapolation of earth's current axial precession rate which calculates the pole star of the ancients to be very much nearer to Polaris. A second example is archaeological evidence that the downfall of civilizations (mentioned above) were concurrent with abrupt "climatic changes which seem to have brought about transformations in the occupation and the economy of the country.10 Slow climatic changes are known to occur (and still are) but a widespread abrupt change suggests an unusual cause, probably extraterrestrial.

(3) Flood traditions were a part of the folklores of many cultures. This is perhaps the most striking thing to be observed in surveying these ancient traditions. A geographer of the last century named Andree claimed to have compiled flood traditions of 88 different cultures and societies, equally distributed between the eastern and western hemispheres. Many details differ between these myths but a very strong common theme emerges: several people are saved on a boat from a worldwide flood. A summary of flood traditions is given in a book by Alfred Rehwinkel.11

(4) The ancients were preoccupied with the astral.

In the ancient world, following the stars and other celestial bodies was not simply a recreational activity. Rather it seemed to permeate every part of life. Architectural structures were designed to trace by shadow the path of the sun. The obelisk, ziggurat, sundial and similar structures found in both hemispheres were designed for this purpose.12 Furthermore, the ancient religions generally involved the worship of heavenly bodies. The Roman historian Josephus described the patriarch Abraham as being alone in his belief that one should worship the Creator rather than the heavenly bodies themselves.'3 The ancients were preoccupied with the astral for a reason; there had been great irregularities in the heavens which were accompanied by upheavals on earth.14 Hence they tracked celestial bodies with great concern and apprehension in anticipation of further disturbances.

(5) Calendaric changes were necessary in ancient times. The Egyptians are known to have introduced more than one change in the length of their year.'5 Velikovsky has assembled evidence that other peoples of the ancient world made similar changes.16 Only a massive extraterrestrial force could produce such a change in an abrupt fashion.

The ancients report a number of great catastrophes with severe effects on man and his environment.

(6) Details of specific catastrophes pictured in ancient literature and mythology are utterly frightening. Darkness, earthquakes, falling fire, falling stones, massive simultaneous vuleanism, noise and tumult, lightning and strong winds are described.17 All of these may occur on a local scale with limited intensity today. But the frightening accounts of the ancients go far beyond the local and ordinary. Some of these upheavals are likely of extraterrestrial origin (falling stones, fire) and others strongly suggest extraterrestrial forces as the cause (massive vulcanism, widespread earthquakes).

There are other ancient reports of cataclysms in the heavens not directly affecting earth. For example the mysterious disappearance of the planet Electra.18 But the pattern has been established: the ancients report a number of great catastrophes with severe effects on man and his environment.
C. Physical records: disturbance and discontinuity.

A careful observer of earth's great physical wonders is certain to be impressed by the scale and beauty of such spectacles. Many of these great wonders testify of birth by trauma and many exhibit the sears of harrowing destruction. Indeed evidence comes from every quarter that earth's crust has had a history marked by trauma and cataclysm. Geologists have assembled a great volume of facts supporting global eatastrophism. This is in spite of the domination of their science by the uniformitarian axiom of a peaceful earth history. It is feasible to summarize only some of these results in this work.19

(1) Sediments compose the majority of earth's exposed crust. Sedimentary rock is laid in strata by waters bearing soil or minerals. According to uniformitarian assumption, it was believed that these layers were deposited for ages at the same minute rate as can be measured today. In an article on stratigraphy (the study of sediments), Stuart E. Nevins cited several reasons why the sedimentary record could not have been laid in the leisurely manner that sediments are presently being formed.20 First of all, he notes that several types of sedimentary rock are only formed under conditions of violently rushing or turbulent water. Furthermore, there are some kinds of sediment that are not being formed today in contradiction to an axiom of uniformitarianism. Many coal deposits could not have been formed by peaceful sedimentation in a swamp (a popular uniformitarian theory) but reflect violent formation seen in the topsy-turvy orientation of trees and other fossils therein. Finally, it must be noted that these sedimentary layers seem to follow global patterns. This is not yet a firm conclusion but preliminary work seems to support it. If it is true, then one may conclude that the sedimentation was global, as well as catastrophic.

(2) Mass extinction of life forms is apparent in the sediments. If one peers closely into the strata he will find that the solid rock is actually a tomb for countless myriads of fossils-animal and plant; large and small. The basic requirement for the preservation of a fossil is that the creature be buried rapidly, in a time short compared to the decay time of a carcass.21 This is not the kind of burial that a creature would receive at the current sedimentation rate where it may take hundreds of years to bury a medium sized shellfish. In addition to its rapidity, the burial of fossils seems to have been worldwide in extent and simultaneous in timing. This realization led a paleontologist to write: "the worldwide incidence of extinction leads one to look for an extraterrestrial cosmic cause."22 Similar extinctions have occurred due to the massive onset of ice, burying flora and fauna of diverse types in the higher latitudes.23 In many places the ice remains until today, and many of these specimens can be found perfectly preserved in the polar deep freeze. The manner of extinction seems to have been violent as well as rapid. In both cases (fossilized and frozen) many of the creatures were torn and broken as they died. Finally it may be added that these extinctions involved incredible numbers of animals. The creatures were packed together and buried in numbers that boggle the imagination. In other places where fossilization or freezing did not occur, one can find hone graveyards in which literally millions of bones of diverse animals are all mixed together. Indeed mass extinction is one of the strongest physical evidences for global catastrophism.

(3) Meteoric bombardment has left a number of craters on earth. Some were thought to have been volcanic in origin but more scrutiny has shown many to be meteor craters. In his book, Gallant lists a number of known meteor craters and others that are possibly such.24 Some of these are many miles in diameter. Such an impact would certainly generate a major local disturbance, if not a global upheaval due to the tidal waves or earthquakes generated.

It is a firm conclusion from physical evidences that earth has experienced violent catastrophes in the past.

(4) Massive glaciation has left clear marks in large areas in both northern and southern hemispheres. There has long been the theory of repeated ice ages but it has been suggested that physical evidence supports a single great ice epoch.25 It was rapid in onset, as testified by the sudden burial and freezing of many life forms. An extraterrestrial cause seems to he the only one that could produce such a sudden onset of a glacial epoch.26
(5) The unusual world of the past is reflected in the physical record. The outstanding difference between our world and that of the ancients may be the great differences in climate: moistness in today's deserts, temperate and even subtropical vegetation in today's polar regions.27 Furthermore, there is paleomagnetic evidence that earth's magnetic field has experienced reversals (at least locally) in polarity.28 Of course vastly different conditions in the past do not necessarily imply rapid change, but these are seemingly unaccountable by an extrapolation of present conditions.

(6) Extraterrestrial catastrophes have left their mark on the solar system. Among them are the rings of Saturn and the Asteroids, which appear to be the irregular fragments of a body pulled apart by gravitational forces.29 Also, there are huge craters on the moon and Mars (many if not most of which are meteoric in origin). This shows that there have been major collisions of meteors with bodies near the earth, which renders plausible the suggestion that earth has experienced the same.


It is then a firm conclusion from physical evidences that earth has experienced violent catastrophies in the past, some of which were global in scope and/or extraterrestrial in cause. Moreover, as one studies the testimony of all three witnesses, obvious correlations appear. Instead if the witnesses are true, the testimonies should corroborate, and indeed they do. The overall conclusion is that while there were long peaceful periods in ancient times allowing great civilizations to develop, there were also a few violent global catastrophes which left indelible marks on the face of earth and in human and divine records.


1By "earth history" is meant the history of all physical events of planet earth since it origin. It is to be distinguished from human history excepting where man affects earth history, or records the events thereof.
2Bernard Ramn, Protestant Biblical Interpretation (W. A. Wilde; Boston, 1950), p. 53.
3Ramn, The Christian View of Science and the Scripture (Eerdmans; Grand Rapids, 1966), pp. 65-80.
4Rene Gallant, Bombarded Earth (John Baker; London, 1964), p. 148.
5Seripture quotations throughout this article are from the New American Standard Bible.
6There has been much controversy on whether the long day of Joshua and the dial of Ahaz incident were actually interruptions in the motion of the earth. This author believes that the question has not been settled, except that some sort of major disturbance occurred, the details of which are uncertain at this time.
7Imanuel Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision (Delta; New York, 1950), pp. 29-35. A comment is in order on the works of Velikovsky. lie has been a controversial figure due to the material presented in his books. This is largely because he is a catastrophist which goes against the grain of the popular uniformitarian assumptions. It is also partly because most of his theories seem fanciful with no reasonable physical explanation. But Velikovsky's inability to construct meaningful physical theories should not be a reflection on his ability to assemble great masses of ancient records pointing toward catastrophes in the past which he has done. It is a mistake to discard these compilations simply because he missed the mark on physical theories.
8C.F.A. Schaeffer, as quoted in Gallant, op. cit., pp. 214, 215. 
Gallant, op cit., pp. 146-148; Velikovsky, op. cit., pp. 313, 314.
10C. F. A. Schaeffer, as quoted in Gallant, op. cit., pp. 214, 215. 
11Alfred M. Rehwinkel, The Flood (Coneordia; St. Louis, 1951), pp. 127-176.
12Vdikovsky, op. cit., pp. 317-323.
l3Williarn Whiston, Flocios Josephos; The Antiquities of the Jews (M. Slserman; Bridgeport, Connecticut, 1828), pp. 94, 95.
l4Ibid., pp. 94, 95.
15Gallant, op. cit., pp. 212, 213.
16Velikovsky, op. cit., part IT, chapter 8.
171hid., 13p. 53-65 91-93.
18Donald W. Patton, The Biblical Flood and the Ice Epoch (Pacific Meridian; Seattle, 1966), pp. 45, 46.
19Most geologists are of uniformitarian persuasion, and many have made a strenuous effort to force a uniformitarian interpretation on the facts of the physical record. Often this has led to wresting the facts, forcing them into an entirely unnatural interpretation. It is the intention of the author to interpret the facts in this section in the natural and simplest way.
20Stuart E. Nevins, "Stratigraphic Evidence of the Flood", in Symposium on Creation III (Baker; Grand Rapids, 1971), pp. 32-65. Under certain flooding conditions, sediments may be laid at a significantly larger rate than the average rate from the global viewpoint. But the picture presented in the sedimentary record seems to indicate widespreadeven globalsedimentation that took place more or less simultaneously. This is a violation of substantive uniformitarianism which permits only local deviations from the global mean rate of sedimentation (which is taken as constant in time).
21Clifford L. Burdick. "The Structure and Fabric of Geology", Creation Research Society Quarterly, Vol. 7, pp. 144, 145 (1970).
22H. Linger, as quoted in Gallant, op. cit., p. 115.
23A pair of interesting articles have appeared in the popular press on the frozen mammoths that have been found: Ivan T. Sanderson, "Riddle of the Quick-Frozen Giants", Saturday Evening Post, Jan. 16, 1960, p. 39ff, and Charles H. Hapgood, "The Mystery of the Frozen Mammoths", Coronet, Sept., 1960, p. 71ff.
24Gallant, op. cit., part II, chapters 1 and 2.
25Willians A. Springstead, "Monoglaciology and the Global Flood", Creation Research Society Quarterly, Vol. 8 pp. 175-182 (1971). Uniformitarians have seemingly been able to accommodate the concept of ice ages by assuming they appeared slowly-in periods spanning many thousands of years. The evidence assembled by Springstead as well as that on the frozen mammoths (footnote 24) indicates that the ice age(s) had a rapid onset.
26Pattcn, op, cit., chapter VI.
27Dolph E. Hooker, Those Astounding Ice Ages (Exposition Press; New York, 1958).
28Allan Cox, G. Brent Dalrymple, and Richard R. Doell, "Reversals in Earth's Magnetic Field," Scientific American, Vol. 216, pp. 44-54, Feb., 1967.
29Neithcr the catastrophic origin of the Asteroids nor the meteoric origin of lunar and martian craters has been firmly established. But certain facts seem to support these conclusions: for example, the Asteroids are irregular seemingly broken fragments, suggesting a catastrophic origin; and the great similarity between lunar craters and terrestrial meteor craters, suggests that lunar craters were formed by meteoric impact.