MAPS (Meteoritics and Planetary Science), a farce of a review process

MAPS (Meteoritics and Planetary Science), a farce of a review process – the enigmatic acceptance of the paper

Angel L. Cortés, Enrique Díaz-Martínez, Enrique Sanz-Rubio, Jesús Martínez-Frías and Cristina Fernández: Cosmic impact versus terrestrial origin of the Azuara structure (Spain): A review. – Meteoritics & Planetary Science 37, 875-894 (2002) 


by K. Ernstson and F. Claudin

We basically appreciate that Meteoritics & Planetary Science (MAPS) decided to publish this paper, because it exemplarily illustrates that some geologists now as before have their problems with impact structures and impact cratering as a geologic process (Melosh!), especially when they see that their work on the regional geology is “endangered”.

Certainly, the MAPS review process must be considered a farce. The reviewer were Marcos Aurell from the Zaragoza university, an avowed opponent of an impact origin for the Azuara structure, and Kord Ernstson who, together with his working group, as is known established the impact nature of this structure.

Although K.E. suggested a complete revision of the manuscript before publication, the very poor quality of the first draft of the paper has remained, and it was printed without significant changes. As to the reasons for this odd review process, we have to rely on guesswork.

Why did MAPS, a respected scientific journal, publish an article of this quality? That’s just colleagues from all over the world were also wondering. It is an enigma. Or not? We remind of the fact that Alexander Deutsch is an Associate Editor of MAPS. And, in connection with the Azuara impact, Alexander Deutsch has been reproached by K. Ernstson with scientific dishonesty (see the full story here).

The Cortés et al. article – a retribution ?

We also remind of the fact that Christian Koeberl belongs to the Publication Committee of the Meteoritical Society, publisher of MAPS. And, in connection with the Azuara and Rubielos de la Cérida impacts in Spain, Christian Koeberl (as the Chairman of the European Science Foundation IMPACT programme!) has been reproached by us with his hampering any discussion of these impacts. Against his better judgement, Christian Koeberl always and everywhere claims a non-impact origin of the Spanish structures, although he never put his foot on the Spanish impact craters terrain. And we also point to the fact that Christian Koeberl is one of the editors of the unutterable article of Diaz Martínez, E., Sanz Rubio, E. y Martinez Frias, J. (2002): Sedimentary record of impact events in Spain. Geological Society of America. Special Paper 356: 551-562. (also see Comment on the Shapman et al. article, and the Review of the Diaz-Matínez et al. article).

The Cortés et al. article in MAPS – a retribution? Paying back ?

What is the aim of Cortés, Diaz-Martinez, et al. ? They ardently want that the Azuara impact structure disappears from the maps of established craters. How can anyone be so naive! Cortés, Diaz-Martinez et al. obviously believe that the Azuara impact structure disappears from the field when the label disappears from the maps. Whenever Cortés, Diaz-Martinez et al. will go to the field, the Azuara impact structure with all its overwhelming evidence will await them.

In the first draft of their MAPS paper, Cortés, Diaz-Martinez et al. lengthily compared the Azuara impact structure with the well-known Ries impact crater to show the alleged distinct differences.Thus, they did not realize the deep irony that their useless defendence of an Azuara endogenetic origin is an exact copy of the vehement opposition of most German geologists against the impact origin of the Ries crater some 35 years ago. Cortés, Diaz-Martinez et al. haven’t learned anything from history!

A more comprehensive comment on the MAPS paper and on the MAPS strange review process is given by Ferran Claudin on the Spanish site .