I will take as a given that an axial shift of the earth occurred and that it was caused by a celestial intruder. Comets, meteors and asteroids are not big enough.
The size of the object would be on the order of the size of the earth. If it is too small then it doesn't have a big enough effect and it gets "consumed" by the earth. If it is too big then the earth gets "consumed" by it.
Also it should be moving at a very fast velocity. As it races through space it acquires electromagnetic charge. The charge allows the intruder to "couple" with the electromagnetic field of the earth and change its axis. The charge also works to prevent an actual collision of physical bodies. The two objects more bounce off each other in space.
Novae erupt about 40 per year in our galaxy.
However, it should be bigger. It should be a supernovae. Then it can have the magnitude and the necessary velocity to make a difference. The speed is critical. As I remember it, a supernovae chunk can travel at up to one fifth of the speed of light - very very fast. But maybe Shawn can give an more accurate number. Also, maybe Shawn can say more surely, but as I remember it, a supernovae is thousands of times more powerful than a mere novae explosion.
Concerning a supernovae chunk, Cataclysm writes:
"Certainly, on such a lengthy journey through an all-pervading plasma of dissociated ions and electrons, any such high-speed object could be expected to acquire a high electromagnetic potential in addition to any electrical or magnetic field it already possessed. Such an object would be extremely dangerous." (Cataclysm p 209)
Supernovae erupt about 1 every 30 years in our galaxy. In the last 15,000 years some 500 supernovae have erupted in our galaxy. At least 5 have exploded between 17,000 BC and 13,500 BC.
One of these, star G263.9-3.3, exploded unusually close at a distance of 45 light years from the solar system. It is a likely candidate. It is called the Vela supernovae. The date of that explosion is estimated at some 14,300 years or about 11,000 years ago. Both of these dates fall in the "right" time period. If the supernovae chunk traveled at only 1/50 of the speed of light it could reach earth at about the right time. So, following the suggestion of Cataclysm (p209) I will say that a chunk from the Vela supernovae was the culprit.
There is one other piece of evidence that specifically a supernovae chunk has entered the solar system at the time in question.
There is a Kuiper belt outside the orbit of Pluto. It consists of perhaps 1,000 objects in orbit around the sun. Various estimates suggest the biggest of the pieces are 100's of miles in diameter and that collectively their mass is suitable for a planet-sized object. Now there is something highly coincidental.
"The gamma-ray spectrometer on the Third High Energy Astronomical Observatory satelitte (HEO 3) has lately detected a high concentration of cloud of Aluminium-26 (AL) in space, surrounding the solar system. AL is a radioactive isotope with a half-life of about one million years, and, according to theoretical studies, is readily produced in supernova explosions. Ultimately AL decays to Magnesium-26, but as this cloud is apparently still very much Aluminium-26 and not Magnesium-26, its decay is not very far advanced and suggests that the cloud may be as young as a mere 10,000 years." ( Cataclysm p 210).
Cataclysm adopts the name from Greek myth (for good reason) of "Phaeton" to name this intruder. It then says:
"On the basis of the above -mentioned details, we suggest that Phaeton was spawned in an astronomically-near supernova explosion, and that Phaeton was a portion of exploded astral matter. We further suggest that, being of that nature, Phaeton precipitated a second astronomically far smaller explosion on coming into confrontation with the combined gravitational and electromagnetic fields of the huge outer planets of the solar system, and that this produced the Aluminium-26 cloud now known to exist on the edge of the solar system. The above-cited detail that the astronomically-close Vela supernova exploded some time between 14,300 and 11,000 years ago indicates that, allowing for the time taken by Phaeton to traverse interstellar space between the point of its original disruption - 45 light years distant - and the outer confines of the solar system, the planetary derangements under discussion probably took place approximately 11,500 years ago!" p 210.
So Brian, there you have it. The culprit was Phaeton in Greek terms or Vela supernovae in scientific term.
Of course there is more detail to examine concerning exactly what effects this would have on earth. Also, now that we know what happened, things fall into place. Mythology makes sense. We can explore the effect of such an encounter on the crust and how this explains all the details that have been described so far. All of them.
Here is the most important effect. As the Phaeton approached earth it gravitationally pulled the waters of the oceans toward it - like the moon causes tides. But it did this very extremely so. Phaeton was much much bigger than our moon.
That would have been very bad but what happened next was the horror of horrors. After Phaeton reached its closest point to Earth -- it kept on going! That released all the water from the gravitational pull of Phaeton. The standing wave returned !!! Unthinkable. Erratics were hurled a thousand miles. Rock surfaces were polished, striations carved and Till deposited - all from North to North West toward South to South East around the globe. Existing topography did not stand in the way of the "global tsunami". The crust of the earth heaved and buckled, mountains chains around the earth rose up together, continental land masses sank, species extinguisted. Mammoths flash frozen standing up with food in their mouth as they were hurled from a warm to permanently frigid climate. The Carolinas and more, sprayed with exploded debris from the sky. The oceans rolled like puddles into the new topography. Poseidonis sank 2 miles deep. The Pleistocene epoch completed in its entirety in a geological instant rather than 2 million years. The axis of the earth wobbled and restabilized. We were lucky the earth survived. All in about a "day and a night" as Plato phrased it. (How did he know?) Damage that boggles and staggers the mind. And we find yet toda the debris of that broken world around us.
That event was remembered in mythology around the globe. Some myths even refer to the on-coming wall of water! Remembered for 12,000 years!
Also because of the electromagnetic charge, bolts of lightning were exchanged with Earth. This is seen in myth. It is seen in remnants of burned forests. (This paragraph added for Lenny to help decide between two models.)
Yet despite all this and the other troubles not yet documented here -- humanity survived! A few at first. Then more. We are the survivors of that calamity! Now we can learn our history!
But there is a detail concerning how this relates to Theosophy. Theosophy knew about this disaster and preserved in its memory a most important item concerning this event. In my view it warrants all this scientific detail just to get to the next letter.