This is the seventh chapter of the serialised story.

The first chapter is here:-

https://somersetwriters.wordpress.com/2016/12/06/is-this-the-way-the-world-ends-not-with-a-bang-but-with-a/

Chapter 7  The Future

Note:

This account has been transcribed into antique English from the original Xoas in the  hope of a greater understanding.

*

Che Ga called his boss, Professor of Geo-physics Gha La. ’Have you got a minute, there’s something I need to talk to you about?’

‘Yes, certainly, come along now.’ Gha La put the phone down. She tidied her desk as she waited for Che to arrive.

‘Come in, she said in response to a knock on the door, ‘take a perch over there. What do you need to talk about?’

‘It’s about our survey party at the Vredefort Crater. They have all become sick and have had to be evacuated from the Free State to our medical centre here in Accra. We have got most of the survey done and can confirm that it was caused by a bolide impact. The impacter was probably about 10km across and travelling at 10km a second just before impact. The resulting crater is some 300 km across and at least half of it can still be seen.’

‘Do we know what is wrong with them?’ asked Gha La.

‘They all have burns to the skin and have depleted T. Leucocytes. This is indicative of exposure to radioactivity.’

‘But there are no nuclear power stations within 2,000 miles.’

‘We have sent a party, protected by rad. haz. suits to monitor and measure the radioactivity to try and determine the source and calculate the team’s exposure.’

‘And…?’

‘There is a small source deep underground. The exposure was from a tunnel path at 300 to the horizontal, giving a disc of exposure at the surface of 10 m diameter. The team’s exposure was relatively low and they should all fully recover in about three weeks..’

‘What is the tunnel pointing to and what type of radiation is it?’

‘The horizontal vector of the tunnel is practically due West and the radiation  is mostly alpha although there is a small amount of gamma. The ratio suggests that most of the nuclide is Uranium 235 with a very small quantity of Plutonium 239, most of which will have decayed over time to Uranium. The plutonium has a half life of 24,000 years whereas the Uranium’s is 704 million years. If the original source was pure plutonium then the present day ratio suggests that the plutonium has been there for about 200 million years.’ exposited Che Ga.

‘OK, so I’ll let you into a secret. We have also had a survey team carrying out the same work at the Sudbury crater in Canada. The complete team is at present in hospital with the same symptoms. The radiation ratios are the same and there is a radiation transparent tunnel from the source deep in the Earth. The difference is that the tunnel is pointing due South.’

‘To summarise,’ Gha La went on. ‘We have found two very long lived nuclear sources under the two oldest and biggest bolide impact craters in the history of the Earth – Vredefort is 2.22 billion years old, while Sudbury is about 2 billion. Each has a radiation finger from a long half – life nuclide pointing in different directions. We have a computer model of the tectonic plate movement over the Earth’s surface. Run the Wilson cycle model backwards for 200 million years, plot the radiation lines on the computer and see where they cross.’

*

 ‘They cross almost exactly on the Barringer crater in Arizona in the USA.’ said Che Ga, looking up in amazement.’

‘So, we thought until now that the Barringer Crater was also formed by a bolide impact but, what if it was made by a nuclear explosion as a marker to indicate where something is buried for us to find? You will note that the two impact craters used are very old, on different tectonic plates and set in the centre of very stable cratons. Arrange for an aerial radiological survey of the area around Barringer Crater and get me the results by tonight.’

‘Yes, boss.’ He flew off.

*****

The final chapter will follow soon.

© Richard Kefford                                                                                                        Eorðdraca

*****

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