published in Portland, Oregon, by Lufa Studio
and in cyberspace at <www.triplehood.com> ISBN 0-9675806-0-9
Copyright 1999, Karl W. Luckert, all rights reserved
Single copies may be downloaded and printed for personal use
Portions of tomography images, figures 15 and 16, redrawn after Grand, Van der Hilst, Widiyantoro, and Engdahl, in Nature and GSA Today, April 1997¾ please consult the originals for color and precision.
Gray-tone excerpt from NOAA map, Surface of the Earth, 1994, Figure 6.
Drawings and experimental photographs by the author, figures 3, 12, 13, 14.
Return to Hood Two of the Triplehood Institute
The indulgences granted by colleagues, friends, and family over the years, for my espousal of a somewhat controversial scientific perspective in the Earth sciences, are acknowledged and appreciated. Southwest Missouri State University has neutrally supported my participation at the Tsukuba international symposium on New Concepts in Global Tectonics, in 1998. During that same year the university also has recognized my research efforts with a College Award. Both grants have helped defray some of my expenses. Robert Hodgson, of Midwest Multimedia, in Springfield, MO, has hosted my first Expansion Tectonics site on the Internet. Douglas Muzatko, of Multiport Systems, Inc. in Portland, OR, is hosting my present site <www.triplehood.com>.
I thank all those who have responded to my earlier web-site offerings. The ones who honestly have disagreed with me over the years have probably helped me most. I am forever grateful toward them. Thanks to D. C. Dean for reading the manuscript and for detecting some communication pitfalls. Of course, all the mistakes that have survived are mine. Closing this statement on a futuristic note, I thank all those who will open and read this booklet¾ for lending it to a friend.
KWL, Portland, October 1999
During one of his more humble semi-public moments the great Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) opined:
I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.... (emphases added).
Henry William Menard has quoted this passage at the opening of his fourth chapter, in his bookThe Ocean of Truth, a Personal History of Global Tectonics. He thereby has, in effect, acknowledged the source of the title of his book. Menards work was published by Princeton University Press in 1986, the year of his death. Throughout he has made an effort at cultivating his image as that of a wise historian and impartial patriot of the scientific Plate Tectonics revolution. But even at that, the choice of his book title betrays some of the bravado that inspired him and his compatriots. Not only a few smoother pebbles or prettier shells were the discoveries of this scientific revolutionthe whole great Ocean of Truth was claimed as a trophy.
Of course, Menard merely made use of another mans metaphor. When Newton referred to a great ocean of truth, he surely had the whole universe in mind. Menard imploded Newtons metaphor and applied it to the oceans of the world that in the course of the Plate Tectonics revolution, and with the discovery of a continuous earth-encircling spreading ridge or rift, had become a single world ocean. The specific portion of this world ocean, where Menard himself has found most of his pebbles of truth, was the Pacific. William Wertenbaker, the biographer of William Maurice Ewing at the Lamont Geological Observatory, referred to Henry W. Menard, Ewings counterpart at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, as the one who almost single-handedly was discovering and explaining the sea-floor geography of the Pacific.
Since January 1997, when I began posting my Expansion Tectonics theory on my web site <www.kwluckert.com> (now located at <www.triplehood.com> under Hood Two), I received frequent inquires from students who were assigned to write research papers on Plate Tectonics. Yes, occasionally I was tempted to guide them straightway to the Earth Expansion literature. But I did not do so. These students had to earn their grades in established academic environments. Therefore I usually recommended to them that they begin with H. W. Menard,The Ocean of Truth¼ , and work from that body of information outward. At least one graduate student wrote back, thanking me for the good advice. Her paper had turned out well.
Now that I am about to write my own essay, I feel obligated to heed my own advice. Start with Menard! A better inside history of the Plate Tectonics revolution will probably never be written. Typical polemics against the present plate tectonics stampede, against the mindset that has closed itself off to any older and newer considerationsof which I have written occasional pages and usually torn updefinitely seem out of bounds after meeting as fair a man as Henry William Menard.
But no! Neither he nor any of the other heroes of the Plate Tectonics revolutionthe Ewing brothers, Heezen, Dietz, Revelle, Bullard, Raitt, Wilson, Fisher, Worzel, Hess, Vine, Matthews, Meinesz, Heirtzler, Pitman, Sykes, McKenzie, Morgan, and morehave touched bottom in Newtons "great ocean of truth." They explored only one type of ocean, the kind that holds saltwater. And certainly, they came to understand more of it than anyone did before they started. They found many hitherto unnoticed "smoother pebbles" and "prettier shells."
According to Menard, the problem of Continental Drift as Alfred Wegener had defined it, has been solved by the scientists that gave us the Plate Tectonics revolution. However, to this writer it looks as though they only solved half of that puzzle. They have proven the fact that oceans do spread along mid-ocean ridges and rifts. Their evidence implies that while the present set of oceans has been spreading, continents must have been distancing themselves from each other. If anyone asked them for specifics regarding this spreading, the easy Atlantic usually was offered as an illustration. The continents in Wegeners All-Earth (Pangaea), adjoining the Atlantic, now could indeed be shown to "drift apart" as a result of obvious ocean floor spreading.
But "continental drift" is something that happens horizontally, and on that account the idea has been pampered within the limited context of two-dimensional thinking. However, a scientific determination of "drift" depends as well on ones orientation in the third dimension. For example, tree branches that are being swayed horizontally by the wind are not considered to be drifting relative to the third dimension of height and depth. In similar fashion, the continental crusts that became separated as a result of ocean floor spreading may not have been drifting at all if the sphere was expanding. Relative to the core they simply may have been risingas Klaus Vogel has illustrated by way of his concentric terrella models. He happens to explain all apparent continental drift three-dimensionally and, without exception, as continental rising and separation.
Inasmuch as on my own terrella models I have arranged the Jurassic surface of the planet somewhat differently, I personally do make a few exceptions in favor of differential horizontal movement. Uneven mantle expansion and unequal horizontal separation have resulted in above-average expansion in the Pacific and in the southern oceans. In the case of three continents there has been some extra horizontal movement¾ or leaning¾ away from their original position relative to the Earths core. Australia has pulled away from South America, north and eastward, and subsequently has adjusted itself westward. (In this book, all references to directions pertain to alignments relative to the present globe). In the opposite direction, South America has pulled away from Australia, but over a shorter distance. And Antarctica has managed to twist itself out of the Pacific Ocean cavity, away from the general area where it originated. While these irregularities do imply some amount of horizontal "drifting," they do not come anywhere close to supporting Wegeners vagabond paradigm, of "wandernde Kontinente" that supposedly drift about in an All-Ocean.
In any case, "ocean-floor spreading," as it was demonstrated by the Plate Tectonics revolution, is no more and is no less than what its name impliesspreading or widening of the ocean floors. It does not necessitate the "wandering" or "drifting" of continents, nor does it consign patches of ocean floor to a fiery abyss in the mantle. The presence of Benioff earthquake zones and volcanoes along the famous Ring of Fire does not provide meaningful evidence in favor of convection currents in the mantle or ocean floor subduction.
Ocean floor spreading happens along ridges and rifts in the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Arctic, the Antarctic and the Indian oceans. Inasmuch as no one so far has shown that continental crusts are shrinking, the oceans all together cannot be expanding at the expense of the continents. And sediments at the floors of the deep marginal trenches, where subduction of ocean floor crusts is supposed to happen, appeared peaceably undisturbed from the outset. In addition, and in spite of claims to the contrary, global seismic tomography has failed to show subducted slabs of ocean crust in the mantle. Judged solely on the basis of empirical evidence, it does not appear as though, to this day, ocean floor subduction ever has happened outside of a human mind. When it comes to the disposal of fictitious old ocean floor, we must hold ourselves to the same standards of honesty that our scientists were able to maintain while they learned about the creation of the present floors along mid-ocean ridges, amidst magnetic reversals.
"Smoother pebbles" and "prettier shells" were indeed discovered. They were polished as jewels and were inlaid to adorn the crown of Earth science. The crowning achievement of the Plate Tectonics revolution was the discovery of ocean floor spreading based on magnetic, paleontological, and radiometric profiling. The finished crown of the Plate Tectonics revolution was subsequently displayed, and published, in the form of an ocean floor chronology.
For the moment I am satisfied to let Menard explain his revolution. It is always wise to let an insider have the first word.
After a decade, by 1960, the ad hoc explanations for individual groups of observations were no longer very satisfying. It was time to integrate all the new data with the old and to generate testable syntheses.... I shall group them in three classes: (1) "sequential" hypotheses in which ridges are of different ages and convection acts at different times; (2) "expansion" hypotheses in which crust is created but not destroyed by expansion of the earth; and (3) "sea-floor spreading" hypotheses in which crust is created and destroyed by mantle convection. All the phenomena can act at once. The earth can expand while convection subducts some crust into the mantle and ridges are created and destroyed. ...Bruce Heezen synthesized the new data in relation to the expansion hypothesis in 1960, and I [Menard] did the same for the sequential hypothesis.
The second- and third-last sentences of this quotation display Menards resignation to a fate of not having resolved all the issues to his own satisfaction. It is, in effect, a statement of capitulation. When all proposed hypotheses are accepted as possibly being true together, without specific reference to data, then the process of critical scientific investigation has been abandoned.
Bruce Heezens theory of Earth Expansion appears to have contributed considerably to the ferment of the Plate Tectonics revolution. Elsewhere Menard has characterized Heezens synthesis regarding Earth expansion as somewhat indecisive. He bemoans the fact that Heezen has presented papers favoring expansion while also offering alternate hypotheses, such as classical continental drift and mantle convection.
How much of Bruce Heezens conflict with Maurice Ewing, at Lamont, was the result of his rebellious temperament? And how much of that rebellious temperament itself was a result of having been diminished for preferring the expansion hypothesis? The answer will probably never be fully known. The last joint paper published by Heezen and Ewing, in 1961, after which Heezen refused to co-author with his former mentor, discloses their difference: "Ewing favors a mechanism drawn by mantle convection currents, while Heezen believes that the extension results primarily from the internal expansion of the earth." This last joint paper appears to mark the moment, at the Lamont Observatory, after which the expansion hypothesis has become some sort of unacceptable assumption. A lot of ego and personal pride was at stake from then on.
Maurice Ewings hope was to find pre-Jurassic ocean floors. He made no secret of what he was after. In 1963 he described his own agenda as follows:
Some of us hope to find a record of much earlier times, believing that the rough surface of the solid basement rocks beneath the deep-sea sediments may be billions of years old and, in fact, may be the original surface of the planet.
The ocean floor that is "billions of years old" was never found. So far all our present oceans score less than 200 million years. Already in 1963 the same scientist found "thin sediment on bare rock ridge crests, suggesting spreading of some sort. He had not found any disturbance of sediment in the trenches, suggesting¼ that it was not being pushed into the continent." Menard therefore commented, with some amusement, that Maurice Ewing in those days "seemed to be proving that the earth was expanding."
The fluid state of Plate Tectonics theory, in those days, was evident everywhere. Even the famous Tuzo Wilson at one point covered his bases for the eventuality that some day he might go the expansion route. According to Menard, he proposed "expansion of the earth along mid-ocean ridges, but on an acceptable scale." It was the time scale that was objectionable in those days, not the process of expansion itself! Finally, at the very conference where the Eltanin-19 results were announced, Fred Vine referred to convection cells as being "presumed" and "mythical." We are left to contemplate the implications of this statement for as long as the current versions of Plate Tectonics are taught in our schools.
In any case, there is ample evidence that, at the moment of the Eltanin-19 victory in 1966, when Heirtzler and Pitman discovered parallel magnetic anomalies and began to establish sequences of ocean floor spreading, nothing beyond ocean floor spreading itself was theoretically fixed. The speed of spreading was still debated, and at least for Vine and Heezen convection cells and subduction processes seemed unlikely.
The exorbitant rate of Earth expansion that the young oceans called for¾ to the effect that all the deep ocean basins were added to the planets surface in the course of a short 200 million years¾ was a notion that lay quite outside the reach of the Plate Tectonics revolutionaries. Even Heezenas Menard bemoans that factnever formulated his expansion theory in a sufficiently clear and scientific manner. He has not added anything new to what S. Warren Carey had already published.
The Eltanin-19 discovery generated enormous enthusiasm. And when the excitement of this breakthrough rolled over the participating scientists, certain considerations, which until then had been important checks and balances, suddenly ceased to be of great concern. Among the issues that were quickly disregarded was, first, the expansion hypothesis of Heezen. It was most easily rejected because of the estrangement that existed between him and the director of the Observatory. Second, there was the ephemeral or transitory character of the spreading ridges in the Pacific that had impressed Menard all along. And third, there was the general youthfulness of the ocean floors, together with the tranquillity that characterized sediments in the deep trenchesfacts that Maurice Ewing had admitted already in 1963 while he was also still hoping to find ocean floors that are billions of years old.
None of these crucial data seemed to matter anymore in light of the new knowledge and excitement about actual ocean floor spreading. "Create ocean floor crust now and worry about the precise manner of its disposal later," appears to have been the unspoken motto. It all paralleled nicely the manufacture of atomic bombs in those days, with the postponement of the problem of waste disposal. Perhaps the two mind-setsagreeing that a problem of disposal should never stop a processwere not entirely unrelated. But then, euphoria of winning cannot last or hide this problem forever.
It was for these social-scientific reasons and emotions that convection currents in the mantle and the subduction of ocean floors got accepted and became majority opinion. And who can blame these scientists? No law of physics is known that can render possible an increase in the planets volume at a scope that satisfies the new ocean floor chronology. Who in his sane political mind would risk his academic reputation pursuing a theory that disregards physics? Physics reigns as uncontested queen among the sciences. It has done a superb job identifying forces that can be harnessed for the planets modification and destruction¾ but has remained amazingly unable to comprehend the forces of creation.
The question of mechanism vis-à-vis dynamism continues to lurk in the background of the debate. Nevertheless, in this regard the Earth Expansion theory stands at least as strong as does the presently winning hypothesis to which everyone since Eltanin-19 has been flocking. "Convection currents in the Earths mantle" is a mechanical metaphor that often is used ambiguously to help conceal the fact that popular Plate Tectonics, likewise, has no known dynamic. The mechanical metaphor serves to explain the transportation of ocean floors away from the ridges of their creation. So, at that formal level the Convection Currents theory has the same shortcomings as Earth Expansion theory¾ and has a host of additional conflicts with the chronological data. The kinetic paradigm of a beaker, heated by a Bunsen burner, does make sense only if one postulates some kind of beaker walls in the mantle. This is a very unlikely arrangement in a planet with a single core and a continuous mantle. While the new global seismic tomography does show areas of greater and lesser heat in the mantle, these are nevertheless found at the wrong places for convection currents and ocean floor subduction to work (see global seismic tomography, Chapter 10).
"Convection currents" and "ocean floor subduction" are ideas that became attached to "ocean floor spreading" as parasitic hypotheses by reason of a social-scientific accident. They were postulated for no better reason than to avoid having to consider the possibility of rapid Earth expansion. However, trusting the scientific mind as I still do, I believe that it will only be a matter of time before the theory of "ocean floor spreading" will assert its elementary status in the study of Plate Tectonics. I suspect that its ill-sustained freeloaders will sooner or later be shaken off.
The new ocean floor chronology has been available since 1985 from such map compilers as R. L. Larson, W. C. Pitman (III), X. Golovchenko, S. C. Cande, J. F. Dewey, W. F. Haxby, and LaBrecque, inThe Bedrock Geology of the World, Freeman and Co., New York. Internationally the information was made available, in 1988, with the UNESCO Geological World Atlas. And finally, in November 1996 the NOAA map "Age of the Ocean Floor" was released at the Denver meeting of the Geological Society of America.
Figure 2. The realization, that there was
an Eocene tectonic event,
has dawned on me while contemplating the Southern Hemisphere of my chronological globe.
The Bight of Australia still now faces the tip of its partner, South America.
Of course, the layout is made complicated by the intrusion of Antarctica.
On this particular globe the Paleocene is indicated in a lighter tone than the Eocene.
When in 1979 I published my first essay on the expansion of planet Earth, I was still unaware that an ocean floor chronology was being compiled somewhere. I based my work almost entirely on matching continental contours and on common sense geology. At the time I was even unaware of the fact that others before me had attempted making terrella models. Soon it became obvious that I was not the first creature on Planet Earth who independently has noticed its expansion. If I were to do historical research, I reckon that I could identify several dozen of us. Each time, since 1979, when I heard of yet another independent discoverer, I was elated. At least humanitys judgment regarding my mental state was not unanimous. But still, my conclusions have turned out to be different than those of my co-discoverers.
Today there may be three of us who think that ocean floor chronology holds the key for demonstrating Earth expansionJan Koziar in Poland, James Maxlow in Australia, and myself. I have found theUNESCO Geological World Atlas with its ocean floor chronology about five days after the California earthquake, in January of 1994, while I was trying to understand the experts who publicly explained that event, and I began working with it immediately. To this day I feel embarrassed about the fact that this information had been resting in our university library for five years before I found itand to my astonishment, I was still the first person there to open some of the pages and maps.
All the while, I do not believe that I was the first to explain the formation of mountains as a consequence of continental slabs adjusting to an expanding sphere and to its flattening surface. This process seemed obvious to me from the outset. How upon an expanding planet could it be otherwise? As a former craftsman, who apprenticed in the Maler Handwerk, I assumed that many people would know how crusts and skins stick, sag, wrinkle, crack, or peel upon a viscous substratum. How my explanations differ in every detail from those of all my predecessors I gladly leave to future generations to sort out.
There are four points on which I find myself standing alone right now, for which I must take personal responsibility, and without these four points I myself would remain unconvinced of Earth expansion.
First, there is the incremental formation of the Pacific Ocean, marked by isochrons of the new ocean floor chronology, that implies the breaking out of Antarctica as a single round-like segment of crust.
Second, there is the original placement of Australia at the tip of South America. The severance of these two continents has triggered a sequence of position adjustments among Antarctica, Austral-Asia, and South America. By contemplating and synthesizing the chronological maps¾ which the Plate Tectonics revolution has produced and the heirs of that revolution have neglected¾ I have noticed and outlined the Eocene Tectonic Event on a global scale. Whatever explanations of Eocene ocean-floors I am presenting here, they are not topics for mere rhetorical debate. They are recommendations and challenges for more scientific study. They shall either be verified by scientific exploration, or be rejected thereby. My theory presupposes numerous points of former continental association, and these are being suggested for comparative study.
Third, I have become convinced that for continental separation to occur, upon an expanding planet, a proper field of horizontal stresses must be present. The tearing out of Antarctica from the original Earth crust, and all subsequent tearing apart of continents, must be accounted for not only in terms of matching continental areas and contours, but also within the total budget of intercontinental cohesion. The factor of crust-strengthening, by cooling, may be added to that budget. The tensions that are being relieved by stretching, tearing, or rifting may be subtracted. Continental segments were torn away from the total crust by the planets own force of expansion. They were torn apart¾ not born apart to drift in conformity with Wegeners "vagabond paradigm" of Continental Drift.
And fourth, I explain the formation of deep-ocean trenches, together with the seismic activity along Benioff zones, in relation to the breakup of coastal synclines. I explain synclines as a product of continental "flanging." Seismic activity along Benioff zones is the result of high-pressure "inverted erosion" along the undersides of continental edges. "Relative expansion flow" creates for itself the smoothest possible slope of transition, upward from under the thicker continent, toward the bottom of the thinner ocean floor.
* * *
H. W. Menard, in his 1986 book, has erupted with jubilation history. He noted that at some point for him "the revolution was over; the flowering of geology could begin."
While the revolution appears to be only half over¾ let Earth science blossom, all the same! And would that the smoother pebble which I, a lonely wanderer along the shore of that same great ocean of truth, have noticed in the heap of data that celebrating revolutionaries have neglected also unfold as a flower and bear fruit!
* * *
From among all the people who profess a theory of Earth expansion, my approach comes closest to that of James Maxlow, in Australia. Both of us do assign basic importance to the new ocean floor chronology, and both have worked with the same chronological data and maps. Nevertheless, our conclusions are different. Inasmuch as we have arrived at our respective conclusions quite unaware of one another, this happenstance may turn out to be an advantage for both. In science it is equally important to be able to show what something is not, as it is to explain what something is. The difference between our conclusions will help stimulate healthy adjustments at both sides. Without the objections raised by others, this booklet and this chapter surely would have been written differently.
James and Anita Maxlow attended the International Symposium on "New Concepts in Global Tectonics" (NCGT98) at Tsukuba, Japan. I was privileged to be there also, and to present my version of Expansion Tectonics next to James. Our discussion has remained a memorable occasion for me. Between the two of us we could think of only one more person, Jan Koziar, in Poland, who publicly is on record for insisting that the new ocean floor chronology is the key for understanding Plate tectonics and Earth expansion.
Maxlow mentioned three points of criticism against my version of Expansion Tectonics. First, I could have taken more time to discover the obvious match of contours between the bight of Australia and the round of Antarctica. Second, comparative geology on the continents in question does support his own way of arranging the continents, and not mine. And third, the similarity of some marine animals along the coasts of Australia and Middle America lends support to assuming an earlier connection there.
My three-point response, pre-published at my web-site, goes approximately as follows:
First, I have indeed looked at the shapes of both the bight and the round, and I have concluded that they do not match well enough. The round is larger than the bight, and I would have had to postulate that greater stretching has occurred on the part of Antarctica. Had the proportion been reversed, I possibly could have fallen for the match. But upon a growing globe the bight of Australia would probably have been widening faster than the freely floating Antarctica would have enlarged its round. Moreover, I believe that the present age configuration of the Pacific ocean-floors would be impossible if Australia originally had been positioned north of Antarctica and next to North America. Moreover, I interpret Middle America, the Bering Strait, and all of Austral-Asia as circum-Pacific areas where extraordinary stretching occurred. By way of simulating globe reduction backward in time, tightening up these loosened areas will close the Pacific Ocean without leaving a need for Australia to fill a gap up north. Then I also ask myself¾ are the matching Jurassic ocean-floors that I have shown in my video programExpansion Tectonics sheer coincidences?
Second, the geology of the continents in question has, in my opinion, been insufficiently explored to permit reliable matching. No serious attempts have been made, yet, to examine local geology in relation to my hypotheses. Theorists who deal with original inter-continental continuities usually do seek out the supportive similarities that interest them. They never get around to the immense task of checking continuities that might support other theories.
The great Eocene tectonic event, which I have identified in relation to ocean floor chronology, has left its tracks dispersed over two thirds of the globe. There should be no shortage of places at which one can find relevant strata for scientific verification. If I had the vigor, time and resources, I would like to explore the geology of the Great Bight of Australia comparatively with the shelf along the Cape of South America¾ especially along the less disturbed curve running northwest from Cape Horn. Because of the enormous tension that preceded the separation of Australia and South America, I would expect much of the relevant geology on the South American side to be in the continental shelf or beneath. The aforementioned must be studied in relation to the displaced Scotia Ridge and the Falkland Plateau. Next, I would be interested in the comparative geology between the coast of Antarctica that now faces the South Pacific and the corresponding coast of Chile. A comparison of the Jurassic floors in the Northwest Pacific, with those found along Antarctica facing the South Atlantic, is a must. And if I had only one more project to select after that, I would go for a reexamination of all Paleocene, Eocene, and Oligocene horizons along the path that I have postulated for the Antarctic Plate. In addition, I have already written earlier at my web site about what more I would like to learn from the depths. We need from global seismic tomography additional crosscuts, down to the 2750km level, along many lines that do cut across significant areas of the Eocene tectonic event.
Third, take what similar marine life you can find along the coasts of Middle America and Australia, these creatures also could have been in contact along the connecting coast of Antarctica, during the Eocene, while that continent moved out of the Pacific and scraped past New Zealand/Australia. Another chance for contact came later during the Oligocene, farther north, when New Zealand/Australia again came close to South America (see pages 28, 31-32). In any case, the biology of Antarctica was altered if and when that continent became polar. I have a vague anticipation that a comparative study of the evolution of marsupials, and their distribution, will some day help us answer additional questions about geological sequences since the great Eocene continental separation. But all suggestions pertaining to the distribution of the species are secondary to the new ocean floor chronology that still needs to be verified by comparative continental geology.
James Maxlow has published an illustrated booklet,titled Global Expansion Tectonics: Small Earth Modelling of an Exponentially Expanding Earth (January 1996) and has released two CD disks with illustrations and animation bearing that same title. His new web site can be found at <http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Launchpad/6520/>.
Regarding the Atlantic ocean-floor, no disagreement exists between Maxlows interpretation and my ownas also I am in agreement there with proponents of mainline Plate Tectonics theory that exempt the Atlantic of the need for doing subduction. However, our differences regarding the Pacific/Antarctic and the Indian oceans are considerable. I admit that Maxlows solution for the northern Pacific would be an improvement over Klaus Vogels hypothetical slip fault between the Asian and North American crustal massesthat is, it would be an improvement if it worked. Both he and Vogel match the Bight of Australia with the round of Antarctica and place Australia into the North Pacific.
The placement of Australia upon a Jurassic globe and the shape and formation of Austral-Asia during Earth expansion, in relation to a worldwide inter-continental pattern of cohesive forces, constitute our greatest difference of view. According to Maxlows terrella sequences (January 1996, especially pages 43 and 50), the opening of the Jurassic Pacific takes Australia away from North America. And all the while, the southbound Australia pulls away a somehow loose portion of East Asia, southeastward to create Austral-Asia. This process calls for pulling Borneo and the Philippine Islands away from Japan, and Sumatra away from the coast of China.
I can appreciate Maxlows reasoning, and how the chronological puzzle of the Northwest Pacific has led him to his conclusion. For a while, in 1994, I also considered twisting New Guinea out from the Philippine Sea. But that would have run against the logic of ocean floor chronology in that region, as I perceive it. Had Australia pulled all of Austral-Asia out of East-Asias hide, I reckon that the northward-squeezed Mariana scar would now be absent, and the Java Trench and coastline would now coil into Celebes in the opposite direction.
By contrast, I explain the overall shape of Austral-Asia, and the existence of the "marginal seas" along the East Asian coast, as the result of a widespread Eocene tectonic event. Eocene ocean-floors, worldwide, contribute to the overall record and story of this great event.
The western edge of Austral-Asia calls for chronological rethinking, according to my view. (See illustrations on pages 42-43). Sumatra, Java, and I believe even the western edge of Australia, have formerly been aligned and stretched southward along the present Ninety-east Ridge. The latter extended southward and included the so-called Broken Ridge. The triangle of ocean floor, bounded by Sumatra and by the northern one-third of the Ninety-east Ridge, happens to be Eocene. This means that before the Eocene epoch Austral-Asia must have been stretched southward along the line of that ridge for a considerable distance. It must have been bent eastward at the moment when the rift of the Indian Ocean has begun to open northwest/southeast. At the same time Asias marginal seas were being opened and, during the Eocene, the eastern Pacific became a distinct geological entity as well. All this suggests that a major tectonic event occurred during the Eocene.
Where could Australia have come from if it did not come from the northern Pacific? My conclusion has been reached after contemplating the southern hemisphere of my chrono-logical globe (Figure 2). The Bight of Australia still now faces its partner, namely, the tip of South America. Of course, I realize that the layout has been made complicated by the interfering presence of Antarctica. So, according to my theory, an Earth-encircling "rubber-band" of continents¾ comprised of the Americas, Asia, and Austral-Asia¾ has snapped along the bight of Australia and the tip of South America. Austral-Asia was then pulled north and it leaned eastward into the soft trail of Antarctica as the latter was departing from there. The Antarctic plate leaned and "twisted itself" out of the South Pacific and, in counter-clockwise movement, bumped against the cape of South America. After twisting itself into the widening space between Australia and South America, the tip of Antarcticas triangular plate came to rest in the southern Indian Ocean.
Among theoretical assumptions that seem to distinguish my approach from that of Maxlow is my consideration of crustal tensions on a global scale. It is quite true that ocean floor chronology suggests a budget of crustal areas that must be accommodated on terrella models. But in addition to spatial considerations, the Earth expansion process also implies a budget of cohesive forces that must be explained throughout. Various shapes of continents were torn from a total crust under different and constantly modified tensions. I must summarize again. Continents were not born apart to drift, to associate, or to wander as they please. They were torn apart! And the process of tearing them apart has required forces that must be identified tectonically.
For instance, if Antarctica and Australia together were pulling Austral-Asia away from eastern Asia, as Maxlow proposes, then what gave them their foothold and leverage to do the pulling? And if after that feat Antarctica wanted to tear itself loose from Australia, what gave it the necessary foothold and leverage? I suspect we are here up against a vestige of the Wegenerian legacy, which assumes that continents were somehow born as natural wanderers and drifters.
Beyond these basic points there appears to be no need to differentiate, or to explain further what my theory is not. The remainder of this booklet is designed to explain, in a more positive manner, what it is.
The scientists who gave us Plate Tectonics also gave us Ocean-floor Chronology. In 1994 I became fascinated by this chronology and instantly noticed some agreement with my 1979 conclusions about Earth expansion and the original position of continents. I wrote about my updated conclusions in 1994, and the essay was published in 1996. At the time only a few people understood, and fewer still believed.
"Torn apart" by Earth expansion, not "born apart" to drift, were the continents on our planet. They were torn apart with great tensile force. Moreover, specific directional forces were required to break the continentsespecially the first oneout of the planets total shell. I am convinced that such tearing conforms to natural law and that the principles of such law can be experimentally investigated. In order to get a little closer to the suspected principle that determines the shape of a planets first continent, I turn to analogous experimentation.
Already in 1979, at my first reaction to Wegenerian "continental drift," I did a variety of experiments by way of inflating balloons. For instance, I observed slabs of putty upon an expanding and flattening surface. A slab of putty was sprayed with a fast-drying paint to obtain some sort of a brittle crust. Photographs of the basic results were given in my 1979 publication. They illustrate flanging, relative expansion flow, syncline formation, and the breaking away of island chains along continental contours. In 1999 the problem was refocused and a different kind of balloon experiment was devised, pertinent to the following observations:
Antarctica is our most round continent and the Pacific is our most round ocean. Though the continent no longer is located in its ocean, the two are situated still close enough together to suggest a relationship. There seems to be a natural law at work that governs the formation of continental and oceanic contours. At this point in time it is not my aim to define this natural law mathematically, rather, to describe the process just well enough to be visualized.
Already in 1979 I was convinced that a first continent, that is slowly broken out from the crust of an expanding planet, would necessarily have to be round. I had been reflecting back then on tensions that hold the surface of a sphere together. The paradigm that guided me at the time came from the unlikely field of ornithology. Somewhere I have seen a chick hatch from an eggshell by cutting a circular opening with its beak. I assumed that nature usually follows its own easiest path. Personally I had no difficulty applying this logic to the shell of an expanding planet. The "eggshell and breakage paradigm" seemed more appropriate than the "vagabond paradigm" that Wegener has applied to explain merely the behavior of the shell fragments after breakage. It seemed more reasonable even if, in my case, a living chick and its beak in the process of hatching augmented the role of the expansive force. While my own sense of logic was satisfied, it turned out that readers would not easily follow my paradigm leap. Their need for scientific experimental proof, regarding the shapes of first continents, must therefore be acknowledged.
As a first step toward analogous experimentation I propose the following hypothesis: The most natural form of a first continent, broken from the crust of a sphere that internally generates and equalizes expansion pressure, will be a circle.
An experiment was devised that translates the "expanding eggshell paradigm" into a more manageable "expanding balloon paradigm." Applied to a balloon, the problem emerged as follows: When an inflated balloon bursts, air pressure is released radially. The sudden outward pressure tears up the balloon skin differently than a simulation of horizontal crustal tension, caused by slow Earth expansion, would require. Though basically a planets expansion pressure is radial, the pressure is being translated into horizontal tension within its crust¾ thus analogously along the skin of the experimental balloon. The speed of bursting had to be slowed to a degree where slower horizontal tearing would occur.
Of course, every scientific simulation has limitations. The balloons available to me are not exactly spherical. They have the shape of a teardrop oval, and only a little more than half of the shape of a balloon can therefore approximately represent an expanding round planet. But then, the teardrop oval shape of a balloon need not be seen as a disadvantage. The working hypothesis may simply anticipate the possibility of a rounded teardrop oval as a first continental fragment. To slow the breaking process, another balloon was slipped inside the experimental balloon skin. The outer skin was punctured, so that it would start tearing sooner and less violently.
The outer balloon was pre-punctured exactly at the top, and it held to an inflation diameter of about 16 inches. When it finally broke, the skin was divided into equal halves. The result was a truism. Two portions of a spherical crust, broken by expansion pressure into equal halves, necessarily do assume round shapes. This result was achieved several times when the balloon had been pre-punctured exactly at the top. Inasmuch as this result can easily enough be imagined it need not be illustrated here.
The outer balloon was pre-punctured about 20° from the top. This time
the resulting parts were of unequal size. A smaller roundish "continental" patch
was being peeled free, more or less proportionate with the size of Antarctica in relation
to the other continents upon our planet. Several attempts produced a continent with a
genuine Antarctica tail! See the typical figures "a," "b" and
Figure 3. Typical fragments from double-balloon breaking experiments
The presence of these tails is intriguing and appears significant for understanding the formation of a continent like Antarctica as well as of the Pacific Ocean. Tails were formed at the opposite side from the point of puncture. This means that the initial tear traveled in both directions. My balloon skin tore along a curved path, almost symmetrically, in both directions. But because the tension was not quite equal in both directions, the curved paths failed to complete a circle. The distance between the two paths, along their end runs, created the tail.
While the shape of an Antarctica is thus shown to be clearly among the possibilities for first continents upon an expanding sphere, some variations could also happen. If the two paths had met as they did in figures "d" and "f," the continent would now not sport a shrunk "mammalian" but perhaps more of a "reptilian" tail. If the crust would have begun tearing and then hesitated, and the paths would have reversed direction for a while, as in figures "c," "e" and "f," the continent would not have turned out to be very round. If the tearing would have changed direction, and the curves still had met at the other side with force, two stubs could have resulted instead of a tail, as in "e."
The variations do not negate the overall positive result of these balloon experiments. There must indeed be a natural pattern that determines the possible shapes of first continents, as these are broken out of whole crusts upon expanding spheres. If only one of these experiments had produced a shape similar to Antarctica, we would have to accept the
possibility that this continent was the first that was carved by expansion of the planet. This is not at all a question of experimental statistics. The basic reality is that Planet Earth does indeed have one round continent with a tail. And it also does have one expanded round cavity next to it in the shape of the Pacific Ocean. So, insofar as our planet already has these features, we are not establishing the probability of obtaining them by the ratio of positive experimental results. In the case of our planet that probability is a posteriori 100 percent. And inasmuch as no other viable mechanism for these shapes has been suggested, aside from Earth expansion, the probability that Earth expansion has created these features stands presently at 100 percent as well.
The most natural form of a first continent, broken from the crust of a sphere that generates and then equalizes expansion pressure internally, tends to be a circle. Based on careful observation, a more detailed description of the process is now possible. A round continent, breaking out from the crust of an expanding sphere, that on account of irregularities in crustal composition and cohesion, or for reasons of uneven expansion pressure, cannot complete a true circle, may manifest the differential in the form of a tail.
The oldest Jurassic ocean-floor patch on our planet has been found in the northwest Pacific Ocean, where it may be expected if the first and round continent originated in that ocean. A corresponding stretch of Jurassic ocean-floor, albeit not yet very well investigated, is found precisely along the edge of Antarctica where according to my theory such a one should be. The figures on the facing page illustrate this point.
Geological time scale for the beginning of periods and epochs under discussion
Jurassic 205 million years ago
Lower Cretaceous 135 million years ago
Upper Cretaceous 100 million years ago
Paleocene 66 million years ago
Eocene 58 million years ago
Oligocene 37 million years ago
Miocene, Pliocene, Pleistocene, Recent, 24 m.y.a. to present
Wegeners idea of "Pangaea" appears to have been habitually on the mind of most who, since Hilgenberg in 1933, have attempted to reduce the Earth crust to a near zero-ocean globe. Derivative notions like "Laurasia" and "Gondwanaland" were retained as acceptable categories for communicationand so was the habit of fitting a larger arc of Antarctica into the smaller Great Bight of Australia.
To get back to a globe with a single crust, most early terrella makers simply subtracted the oceans and then tried to rearrange Pangaea as the original shell of a smaller sphere. They did not hesitate arranging continental fragments anywhere they seemed to fit, because they were indeed still under the spell of Wegeners vagabond paradigm¾ to the effect that once upon a time the continents have wandered and come together to form the mythical all-lands Pangaea. After the fashion that continents drifted in from anywhere across the mythical all-ocean Panthalassa they also disassembled and dispersed to open up the Atlantic, just as they pleased. Such free drifting seemed all the more reasonable on an expanding globe where extra space was being created continuously to increase the freedom of the continental fragments, to wander.
Until recently all reduced globes or "terrella models" were constructedas I myself have still done in 1979as if to restore the original globe in a single-stage reduction. It was done in the same straightforward manner in which Wegener himself had assembled and then again disassembled his Pangaea. But thanks to worldwide ocean floor exploration, to drilling and magnetic profiling done by ocean-going vessels, and thanks to having obtained a chronology and a better topography of our planets crust, this single-step procedure is no longer satisfactory. Now we have a nearly complete ocean floor chronology. Earth scientists have plotted patterns of magnetic anomalies from along mid-ocean ridges, for relative dating, and they succeeded in establishing the magnetic profile of the sedimentary layers in vertical drilling cores as well. The same sedimentary layers were dated by paleontologists on the basis of fossils they contained, which were already known from parallel strata on land. Basement rock could be dated by measuring radioactivity.
The Pacific Ocean can be divided into three parts, the older Northwest, the younger East, and the greatly irregular Southwest. This ocean is essentially round, a fact that is emphasized by the presence of a seismically active Ring of Firealbeit, the Ring is severely distorted and bent inward in the southwest. I propose that this ring of fire, and of strong
seismic activity, outlines the expanded scar from which the first continent, Antarctica, has been peeled.
However, the first and round continent was torn loose graduallybeginning in the northwestern Pacific by Jurassic ocean-floor spreading. Afterward the process of severance was continued by Cretaceous and by Paleocene spreading. At the beginning of the Eocene the original round continent still was located in the south-eastern portion of the Pacific Ocean. The plate of Antarctica was embraced along the western flank of the Americas.
Land and shallow seas upon the smaller Earth have been undulating up and down, long before and into the Jurassic period (205-135 mya), and the seas have been rifting at shallower depths, producing ophiolites. But during the Jurassic a deeper set of oceans began to open up, by way of deeper rifting. At that initial stage, the spreading of deep oceans naturally happened at the expense of distorting the adjacent coastlines of the future continental segments. The oldest Jurassic patch of ocean floor, in the northwestern Pacific, initiated the separation of four future continentsAsia, North America, Antarctica, and Australia. At that time Australia still was embracing New Zealand and the cape of South America.
The Jurassic ocean in the Northwest Pacific represents the first phase of continental separation on planet Earth. The starting date that is given for this process, in theUNESCO Geological World Atlas (1988), is 160 million years. A revised age of 175 million years (ODP, Leg 129) has since been suggested for the oldest floor in the Northwest Pacific. This contrasts with 150 million years for the North Atlantic (ODP, Leg 149) and with still less for the Indian Ocean. My zero ocean terrella reconstruction returns the Jurassic patches that are found alongside Antarcticas Weddell Sea and Queen Maud Land to the northeastern edge of the Jurassic floor in the Pacificthe two sides were separated by Cretaceous spreading (Figure 4). The irregular edge of the worlds oldest ocean patch corresponds in size approximately to the width of the Jurassic portions that still are adhering to the rim of Antarctica. Such reverse modeling of globe expansion can reunite not only the two remnants of the Jurassic Pacific and Antarctic oceans, but also bring together pairs of Jurassic ocean floor that have become separated by Cretaceous spreading, in the North Atlantic and Indian oceans.
The Eastern Pacific is the younger portion of this great round ocean, and the oldest floors that can be found along the American coasts are Eocene. Therefore, for the time beinguntil the chronology of theUNESCO Geological World Atlas of 1988, and the drilling cores, can be reexamined in light of my theorythe Eocene epoch (58-37 mya) will have to be postulated as the time of the great displacements. Antarcticas exit from the Eastern Pacific must have happened during the Eocene.
The now north-western flank of the Antarctic Plate, facing Africa, had all along been pre-cut along the Pacific mid-ocean spreading rift that functioned from the Jurassic until the Eocene. The other side of this spreading rift is indicated in the Pacific, elongated meanwhile by Earth expansion, by the strip of Eocene floor that now runs longitudinally through the middle of the Pacific. Together with the rift that has cut Antarctica and its older plate away from the Americas, this mid-ocean rift loosened during the Eocene while Earth expansion manifested itself lopsidedly in the Southern Hemisphere. It let the triangular Antarctic plate slip southward. The enormous soft area left behind by the southbound Antarctic plate began hardening first along the edges, leaving the soft middle for the new Pacific spreading ridge to form, ever so gradually.
H. W. Menard has said early on that spreading ridges in the eastern Pacific Ocean are ephemeral. The ridges that he explored have indeed begun to form after the great Eocene upheaval. They could rise as ridges only after new oceanic crust and lithosphere, of sufficient strength, had been cooled to allow hydraulic uplift by plate-wide "flanging" (Chapter 9). By contrast, the spreading rift in the Atlantic Ocean had been in place over three times longer. It had been a spreading rift from the start. In the Atlantic Ocean it is the mountain ranges, at each side of the central rift, that can be characterized as being more temporary and recent than the rift. These mountains could be uplifted only after a certain width of the ocean-floor curvature had been spread and hardened to endure the necessary amount of hydraulic pressure. In the Atlantic Ocean the rift is the central feature, and it should come as no surprise when the Lamont group of oceanographers, who concentrated on that ocean, was adamant about finding the spreading rift as a universal feature in all the oceans. Magnetic profiling was needed to find the hidden "rift" under the Pacific ridges.
Antarcticathe round continent with a tail and shaped like a figure9is outlined by the contour of the Pacific Ocean, along the Ring of Fire. Younger rings of expansion of that oceanic cavity have now come into view. Like a rock thrown into water does broadcast expanding rings of the impact, so the initial violence of tearing out the first continent from the Earth crust is reverberating, still, along its outermost circle in the form of the Ring of Fire. Subsequent geological epochs have contributed echo-outlines of the first continent, and these have recently become visible as isochrons in the new ocean floor chronology, produced by the Plate Tectonics revolution. See Figure 5.
The increments by which the Pacific Ocean expanded have continually maintained the original outline of Antarctica. From the Upper Jurassic through the Lower and Upper Cretaceous, through the Paleocene, and into the Eocenewith Antarctica itself still occupying space west of South America¾ the isochrons conform to the pattern of a9. Of course, one has to retrace the evolution of the Pacific by keeping an expanding scale in mind, beginning with the original size of Antarctica as the smaller figure 9. Even later, after the southwestern region of the Pacific had been "distorted" by Austral-Asias northeastward intrusion, the basic shape of the Pacific Ocean has remained a circular cavity with room for a tail.
My statement about "distortion" is negotiable. By switching ones time perspective it is possible to ask the question differently. What, in this process, has been the real distortion? Our "distorted" ocean still shows the cavity true to the original shape of a9. Perhaps we should think of the extreme circum-Pacific stretching, that preceded Austral-Asias northeastward return, as having been the actual distortion. In this case, what appears as a distortion later during the Eocene could be re-evaluated as an attempt at rectification.
The fact that this immense oceanic cavity has remained true to Antarcticas continental shape suggests a tremendous amount of viscous coherence in the mantle substratum, underneath, possibly even involving the whole depth of the mantle. It may also reflect a tendency for mantle materials to expand evenly overall, by way of changing their nuclear-chemical configuration into something less dense. Either hypothesis explains the preservation of the 9-shape as part of the expansion process. At different levels of depth in the asthenosphere and mantle, both possibilities may be interrelated. Nevertheless, in light of the new global seismic tomography, I am at the moment inclined to suspect that the second possibility dominates in the ocean area itself. On the other hand, the overall twisted shape of Austral-Asia demonstrates that a rubber-like resilience in the asthenosphere must have been available under the continental crust.
Australia, with the rest of Austral-Asia in tow, quickly pulled north and traveled eastward after its severance from the tip of South America. It traveled to a place marked by the Kermadec-Tonga Trench. Inasmuch as the remaining distance to South America consists of recent ocean floor, the Kermadec-Tonga Ridge must at the beginning of the Oligocene epoch have been very close to South America and to the back of Antarctica
Present-day sea depths also attest to the Eocene tectonic event. Looking at the Pacific Ocean overall, I notice that it is most shallow along a broad quadrangular stretch, sweeping from an eastern line marked by the Kermadec-Tonga Ridge northwesterly to a line stretching roughly from Java to Japan. This broad bulging of the ocean floor means that the force with which Austral-Asia has snapped loose and pulled northeastward was powerful enough to push up this entire region. It also means that the "rubber-band" quality that did the northeastward pulling must reside in the asthenosphere.
There are no Eocene ocean-floors east of Australia between the Paleocene and Oligocene spreadsother than a small twist-eruption around Fiji. This means that Australias eastward movement absorbed all the Eocene expansion spread that could have taken shape in that direction. The Australian plate reached its eastern limit during the Oligocene, and after that it began to return westward backed for a little while by Antarcticas continuous swing. The wedge of the Antarctic Plate continued swinging counter-clockwise into the Indian Ocean, and the plates "heel" (which contained the encrusted "tail") began backing away from its collision with the tip of South America. The width of the Oligocene Scotia Sea (Drake Passage) is approximately the distance by which the new South Pacific spreading ridge has in the process been offset westward. So, becoming separated from the Antarctic Plate by the active spreading ridge, Australia continued to rebound westward to tighten the conspicuous knot of the Banda Sea and the Celebes swirl.
The bending and twisting of Austral-Asia will be more convincingly explained in relation to evidence in the eastern Indian Ocean, in the next chapter. For now we must linger a while longer in the Pacific to show additional important results of the Eocene event.
The Marginal Seas of East Asia throw light on events that happened worldwide during the Eocene. Making allowance for a Paleocene sliver in the Philippine Sea that had been rifted earlier, and an Oligocene expansion added laterwhich together bracket an Eocene spreading riftall of East Asias marginal seas have been opened during the Eocene. Such uniformity, ranging from the Bering Sea to the Sea of Okhotsk, continuing to the Sea of Japan and running through the already present Philippine Sea, cannot be accidental. During the Eocene all of East Asia has left segments of its shoreline behind, as island chains in the ocean, anchored along Benioff Zones and deep-cooled trenches that were being jarred in the process (see figures 9 and 10).
The formation of East Asias marginal seas can be visualized best in terms of the larger Eocene tectonic eventnamely, the general release of tension that occurred when Austral-Asia snapped loose from the tip of South America. How is such a sudden and widespread event even thinkable? Yes, within the confines of eastern Asia alone it almost seems unbelievable. However, if one brings the remainder of Austral-Asia and worldwide expansion stresses into the picture, all becomes rather obvious. In the global context one should notice that today not much continental crust remains in the Pacific or along its edges to hug that hemisphere. Consequently there was upon this expanding planet not much continental curvature left by which Asias eastern edgeonce it had been jolted by Austral-Asias slippagecould hold on to the sphere.
"Global circumferential slippage" is a consequence of horizontal tension created by Earth expansion, acting on the cohesive forces that continue to hold together the continental crusts. Inasmuch as our Earth still has a largely coherent pattern of continental crust, and because most of the continents have by now ended up hugging the same hemisphere, continental shores along the Pacific may continue to slip back and widen the marginal seas, and thereby jar still deeper ocean trenches. More will have to be said about this process later, in chapters 8 and 9, in relation to mountain formation on land and in the oceans. While the planets gravity will take care that the continental crusts do not fall off their hemisphere, the Pacific Ocean nevertheless is destined to grow a little faster than the other oceans, as a result of slippage.
The same Eocene tectonic event that initiated circumferential slippage to form Asias "marginal seas" has agitated and readjusted all the continents that host the Ring of Fire. The severance of the Antarctic Plate from the western flank of the Americas has stretched and straightened the western coastlines of the latter. This stretching itself was a process that implied a certain amount of slippage, especially in the case of South America which, after having been stretched, was jolted northeastward. The Eocene tectonic event has agitated the lithosphere and quickened the asthenosphere underneath the western one-third of both Americas. But most severe among all has been the "circumferential slippage" that was experienced by Asias Austral-Asian appendage. The latter had been stretched, on account of its prior adherence to the tip of South America, to a point of disintegration. Loosened from its moorings by snapping away from the tip of South America, Austral-Asias foothold on the Pacific hemisphere remains now rather weak. It cannot possibly counter-weigh the combined curvature of the circumpolar association of all the other continents. This association of continents, at the other hemisphere, includes mainland Asia and Europe which both are still holding on to Africa in the south, Greenland, and then North America which still is holding on to South America.
Intercontinental "stretching" is an important consequence of Earth expansion. Stretching is a phenomenon that scores somewhere between continental "cohesion" and "separation." Stretching and separation are both direct results of Earth expansion. North and South America have been stretched apart along Middle America since the Jurassic. The Gulf of Mexico opened up first, and then followed the Caribbean Sea. More recently a rift has opened at the West Indies Ridge, and another one has developed south of Cuba running east and west. Up north, Asia and North America do seem only superficially separated"superficially" in relation to land-dwelling creatures that dread shallow waters as much as they do deep oceans. By far the highest degree of continental stretching and bending, on our globe, is evident in the thinned and twisted stretch of crust between Australia/New Zealand and Southeast Asia. That topic will be addressed more efficiently in relation to what happened during the Eocene in the Indian Ocean.
"Surge Tectonics" is a geological theory that explains the formation of Asias marginal seas from a more circumscribed perspective, and nothing is expressed in my statement that would amount to a serious disagreement. What Arthur A. Meyerhoff has postulated as low velocity surge channels, carrying partial melt at about 80 kilometers depth, preferentially eastward, can easily be harmonized with my Expansion Tectonics. The "eastward flow" that he recognizes I call "relative expansion flow." It happens to be a westward flow under the Rocky Mountains and the Andes in the Americas. And the "barrier to eastward flow" that he identifies along eastern Asia as the existing Benioff zone, I associate, in addition, with broken synclines and their ability to dam relative expansion flow for uplift. However, the dynamic of the Earths rotation, that Meyerhoff postulates as an efficient cause for spreading the marginal seas, I regard as untenable in light of the seismo-tomographic cross-sections that we now have available. The continental "root" or remnant of the early Jurassic mantle, under East Asia, shows no westward displacement of the continent. Reaching upward, it appears to split at a depth of 600 kilometers to accommodate, overhead, the soft foundation of the "kobergen" that widens the Japan Sea.
I credit Earth expansion, relative expansion flow, and circumferential slippage with having formed the East Asian marginal seas and the circum-Pacific trenches. And of course, one can still continue to use Meyerhoffs "Kobergen" model to explain uplift on a local scale, in terms of surging and spreading on land or in the oceans. All motion on an expanding sphere is relative. What at the local scope of a marginal sea may look like kobergen- or diapir-spreading may, at the continental scale, be observed as margin tearing. At the global scale it may be perceived as circumferential slippage.
The Eocene tectonic event in the Pacific has above all changed the location of the old Antarctic plate. It affected most the continent of Antarctica and its triangular older ocean floor crust that had become attached to its northern end and previously reached into the vicinity of Alaska. It corresponds to the triangular cavity of the post-Paleocene northeastern Pacific. This triangular plate can now be seen pointing into the Indian Ocean. The old Antarctic plate that traveled southward did not yet have attached to it the portion of older Paleocene and Cretaceous ocean floor which now sits at the back of Antarctica and faces the South Pacific. The old Antarctic plate slid southward and then continued to twist counter-clockwise. For a while the plates heel, which includes the continents tail, bumped against the eastern portion of the tip of South America and raised havoc there (Figure 6). After the heel of the Antarctic plate swung away and cleared Drake Passage, its counter-clock swing came to a halt when its former mid-Pacific flank touched the edge of the African plate.
Was there enough space for the Antarctic plate to exit from its Pacific Ocean womb? And what might have triggered the movement? The answer lies in the early Eocene positions of the tip of South America and Australia/New Zealand. Yes, with a little lateral flexibility on the part of Austral-Asia and South Americaand such flexibility during the Eocene is quite evidentthe Antarctic plate could slide through the gap created by the severance of Australia from South America and then twist itself into the Indian Ocean. It was made possible because, in effect, Australia and Antarctica simply exchanged places. While Antarctica twisted itself into the space vacated by Australia, counter-clockwise, the latter was already on its way in a clockwise motion toward the place where Antarctica had been. Australia and New Zealand were leaning north and eastward after their partitionby way of a "twist" as well.
The Scotia Sea or Drake Passage did not exist prior to the Oligocene. The round end of the Antarctic Plate was grinding against the Scotia Ridge and pushing as far as the Sandwich Islands. Then, during the Oligocene the round end of the Antarctic Plate cleared the Scotia Sea and swung westward against old ocean floors that were being shoved unto its bare back by the Australian Plate, with New Zealand up front.
I suspect that the transitional narrow Paleocene and Eocene slivers, indicated on the chronological map, Figure 5, with question marks¾ at either side of the recent spreading ridge that divides the Cretaceous portion¾ do not conform to reality but are a map-makers projection. Why should a cartographer who is unaware of the Eocene tectonic event suspect a discontinuity at this place? Magnetic reversals along these narrow strips, I suggest, are of a later time. The Cretaceous horizons at each side of the present spreading ridge match too well to be unrelated. Moreover, the entire westward path of New Zealand/Australiafrom the scar that delimits the Cretaceous floor at the back of Antarctica to the Campbell Plateau and the Louisville Ridgeis still evident in the topography as a relatively smooth course.
Antarcticas partition from the South Pacific, and its collision with the tip of South America, has been animated in my video-lectureExpansion Tectonics (1966) several months before I chanced upon a good enough map that showed the actual havoc that was created by that collision. Accordingly, my 1996 video may be regarded as a hypothesis for which proof has, unbeknown to me, already been published on the 1994 NOAA map titled "Surface of the Earth." One thing is obvious on this map; this continental collisionthe only significant collision on this planet of which I can find evidencedid not lift up a mountain range after the manner of popular expectations. It only made a mess of the continental edge.
Figure 6. Antarctica leaving the scene of its collision with South America
Austral-Asias pulling away from the tip of South America has sprung loose the Antarctic plate from the embrace of the Americas. Australias actual breakaway happened at a place that, relative to the planets core, is now occupied by Antarctica. From the moment of the great severance onwardafter the "rubber-band" that was stretched by Earth expansion suddenly snappedall of Austral-Asia was pulled north and eastward. At the other side of the globe, South America snapped northeastward as well, though not quite as far. The sheer mass of South America and its continuity with North America absorbed much of the shock. However, the Middle American stretch area was bent, and the isthmus at Panama and the East Indies Ridge were made to buckle northeastward.
As a result of these considerations the present shape of the Pacific Spreading Ridge comes into better focus as well. South Americas separation from Australia and Antarcticas severance from South America, together, have caused South America to pull back northeastward. Antarcticas subsequent collision with the tip of South America has added to that same directional movement. So it happened that South America moved away northeastward from its breakaway scar in the substratum. That scar promptly reinvented itself as a mid-ocean spreading ridge. If one allows for expansion since the Eocene, one can see that the present curve of the Pacific spreading-ridge, south of he equator, still mimics the contour of South America. Moreover, Middle America appears twisted eastward approximately by the width of the so-called Cocos Plate. Approximately the same distance exists in the Atlantic between the Jurassic sliver in the North American bight and its severed toe, east of Trinidad.
The jack-knifed movement that has caused Middle America to buckle northeastward has nudged North America a little westward, from the southeast. The evidence for this event lies along North Americas western edge. One only need to ask the question, why does the Pacific Rift run into the Gulf of California and continue under the mainland the length of the state of California?
Of course, spreading rifts can run under land, and one is doing so elsewhere. The Indian Ocean rift cuts into continental crust to open up the Red Sea. But in that case there exists a situation of intercontinental stress, and it is reasonable to expect that some such separation would want to occur there. But none of these conditions are present along North Americas western edge. Why would a mid-ocean rift want to be so ornery and slice off a narrow continental sliver for no good reason at all?
In answer to this question I suggest that down in the lithosphere and asthenosphere, this hot scar formerly was the boundary line between the Americas and the Antarctic plate. Along that scar the Antarctic plate broke away during the Eocene. In a similar manner, as the Ninety-east Ridge in the Indian Ocean constitutes the scar along which Austral-Asia has been stretched southward, so the East Pacific spreading ridge constitutes the scar along which the Americas and the Antarctic plate were stretched and where they finally came apart. There is a difference, however. The former Ninety-east (coastal) rift has been replaced by an active diagonal (mid-ocean) spreading ridge whereas the eastern Pacific coastal rift became a festering scar running under California. The South Pacific Ocean itself has expanded disproportionately along this area of weakness.
It is therefore not so much the spreading rift that intrudes into the space of California; rather, it is the land of California itself that got shoved on top of a pre-existent wound. Californias presence there confounds the rifts normal function of "ocean spreading." Will the continental edge pacify the ocean rift by weighing it into place, or, will the ocean rift cut off a piece of land? Time will tell.
The simplicity of the Atlantic Ocean literally teases scientific minds to attempt a realignment of its coastlines. The Dutch geographer, Abraham Ortelius, has noted the matching shorelines of the Atlantic Ocean already in 1596. On the basis of fairly regular shorelines it is easy to see how the arc of northwest Africa must have come from the bight of North America, and how the knee of South America once occupied the Gulf of Guinea. Two regular Jurassic slivers of ocean floor are found exactly where they can be expected to be if the Atlantic Ocean experienced simple rifting and spreading. They run along both sides of the North Atlantic curve and indicate that gradual deep ocean-floor spreading had begun there by 150 million years ago.
The Atlantic Ocean has a clearly defined mid-ocean rift along which east-west expansion happens. Transform faults resulting from north-south expansion are distributed evenly along the oceans entire length. During the Upper Cretaceous the Atlantic rift tore into Baffin Bay, west of Greenland. However, its main northern spread, east of Greenland, was opened later during the Paleocene. Iceland was extruded along that main North Atlantic rift, at a point of extra stress between Greenland and Europe. There the Atlantic mid-ocean ridge has erupted to appear above sea level. A triangular peninsula, Greenland, now splits the "fork" of the North Atlantic. If one ponders continental sepa-rations in relation to the deep-rifted oceans, then the so-called "continental shelves" must be counted with the continental crust. By that reckoning, Greenland appears not as a large island, but as a triangular peninsula, somewhat like India and Sinai.
Evidence of the Eocene tectonic event in the Atlantic is limited to two areasMiddle America and the toe of South America. The Panamanian Isthmus and the West Indies Ridge, both were pushed northeastward, and when that happened they passed on their impulse to the Atlantic ocean-floor. Their disfiguration suggests that during the Eocene some differential movement has occurred between the South- and North-American plates. A patch of Paleocene ocean-floor has been pinched off in the Atlantic, above the Vema Fracture Zone, at latitudes corresponding to the West Indies bulge (see chronological map, Figure 7). Even though the map makers have rounded out the primary Paleocene strip near the bulge, it is clear that a significant stretch of Paleocene ocean floor there has been pinched off from the regular Paleocene areas by a sudden onset of Eocene rifting. And this process of separation continued into the Oligocene. At that same event, it appears, the southern tip of the Jurassic curve (now east of Trinidad) was displaced eastward by about 20 degrees of longitude.
Beyond basic ocean floor chronology, recent JOIDES ocean floor drilling (ODP, Leg 165) has all across the Caribbean Sea found some surprising amounts of volcanic ash from the Eocene. ODP, Leg 171B, has in addition noticed an Eocene change of sea level. All across Middle America these anomalies fit into the time frame of the larger Eocene tectonic event that has been unfolding primarily in the Pacific-Antarctic and Indian oceans. Here along the Atlantic, the effects of that event are all related to the sudden northeasterly movement of South America. And that same general event which has caused the Panama Isthmus and the West Indies Ridge to bulge northeastward must also have nudged North America a little westward.
At the southern end of the Atlantic Ocean, at the place where Africas Cape of Good Hope still was embedded during the Jurassic, a portion of the Lower Cretaceous floor has been forced eastward. I am inclined to blame this irregularity on two phases that belong to the aforementioned Eocene event. First there was the partition of the old Antarctic plate from the eastern Pacific that has nudged the southern portion of South America eastward. Then, during the second half of the Eocene tectonic event, the counter-clockwise turning Antarctic plate bumped its rear against the eastern portion along the cape of South America.
The initial severance had left both the South American cape and the Antarctic heel without any adjacent ocean floor crust that could have cushioned their impact on one another. In this manner Antarctica has dozed the Falkland Plateau, the Scotia Ridge, and the Sandwich and Orkney Islands into their state of fractured existence. And it has thereby obliterated the South American contour that once matched the Great Bight of Australia.
The narrowing trunk of South America was sliced southward by horizontal tension from both sides. Three huge continents had their "wedges" sliced in a sequence of decreasing width. In their own ways, all three of them are still trying to point homeward to the place where their mother, the Bight of Australia, used to be! They all tore away from the same continental unit with a final curve. Africa tore out a curve above the toe of South America. Since that severance, during the Lower Cretaceous, South America was stretched and elongated southward some more by the circum-Pacific and circum-global belt that still held together¾ into the Eocene. This amount of stretching, which increased the length of South America, now accounts for the difference that one finds in the match between its longer contour and the shorter one of Africa. Then, in preparation for the great Eocene tectonic event, already during the Paleocene, South America begun cutting its own "liberation curve" along the Great Bight of Australia. At the same time, while these two continents separated, Antarctica completed the severance of its pre-rifted tail from South America.
The Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea must be mentioned in connection with the general worldwide stretching and slicing that happened in the Atlantic. The eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea were being pulled open together during the Jurassic, southward, while Africa still had a foothold on the overall circum-Pacific belt of continents, along the toe of South America. When that toehold was lost, during the Lower Cretaceous, growth in these northern stretches of Eurasian-African "marginal seas" promptly ceased. By contrast, the western Mediterranean Sea was pulled open northward. This happened later, while Europe and Greenland were still pulling at each other, trying to help the Atlantic Ocean break into the Arctic Ocean.
In summary: Already in the beginning, when the round Pacific began to open, and when Antarctica still was being peeled out of the planets virgin crust, the global pattern of tensions for the remaining crust was adjusting and changing. Some 150 million years ago the North Atlantic opened along a westward curve, like a( cutting southward. Eventually it ran southeastward and then reversed itself at a near right angle around the knee of South America. After that it sliced a more-or-less straight line southwest. So, while the Pacific gave birth to its legitimate circular continent with a tail, the Atlantic rift gave us a similar amount of curvature by way of reversing itself midway, to tear away Africa from South America. But by way of cutting the shape of a rather elongated S, the Atlantic has become overall the most linear among our oceans.
The elongated and modifiedS of the Atlantic Ocean suggests that natural laws involving global expansion, gravity, and tensile cohesion were interacting in the formation of this ocean¾ as they did interact to cut out the shape of a 9 for the Pacific. This happenstance also suggests that upon an expanding sphere a crust necessarily tends to tear along curves, as well as the possibility that curves may compromise by changing into opposite curves, angles, or straight lines. It is Earth expansion pressure, affecting overall the tensile pattern in the arched crust, that imposes a preference for tearing the crust along curves. It is the modification of the overall tensile pattern of the crust, by the very fact of tearing, which tends to change these curves into angles and straight lines while the tearing is under way.
Back to Hood Two of the Triplehood Institute
Footnotes Part 1--Chapters 1 through 5
1] William Wertenbaker, The Floor of the Sea, Maurice Ewing and the Search to Understand the Earth. Little, Brown and Co., Boston, 1974, p. 176.
2] Klaus Vogel, "The Expansion of the Earth, an Alternative Model to the Plate Tectonics Theory." In Critical Aspects of the Plate Tectonics Theory, II, 19-34. Athens, Greece: Theophrastus Publications, S.A., 1990.
3] Karl W. Luckert, "A Unified Theory of Earth Expansion, Pacific Evacuation and Orogenesis," in Theo-phrastus Publications, 61-73. Athens, Greece: Theophrastus Publications, S.A., 1996.
4] Volcanoes served as a model for Dantes notion of purgatorya place for reforming and remodeling human souls. In Melanesia some of the volcanoes are proof of the campfires of deceased tribesmen, who dwell beneath in a different state. The subduction and recycling of ocean floor crust seems to belong to a similar category of mythology. Someone has begun the habit of hiding intangible objects of faith¾ old ocean floors¾ in "the magma fires of hell!"
5] This is not to say that proponents of Earth Expansion have as a rule faced new data more objectively. Some among them were frustrated by the new chronology and have rejected the magnetic record outright. The new ocean floor chronology suited neither the preconceived notions of Plate Tectonics revolutionaries nor those of Earth expansionists. However, after solving the puzzle of the Eocene tectonic event, those initial objections do seem unnecessary.
6] H. W. Menard, The Ocean of Truth¼ , , Princeton, 1986, p. 132.
7] Ibid.,pp. 106-107. Reference is made to Heezen, B. C. and M. Ewing, 1961, p. 640. "The mid-ocean ridge and its extension through the Arctic Basin," in Geology of the Arctic, Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
8] Ewing, M. "Sediments of Ocean Basins." InMan, Science, Learning and Education, 41-59. Houston: Rice University, 1963; quoted in Menard, The Ocean of Truth , p. 201.
9] Menard, The Ocean of Truth¼ , p. 203.
10] Ibid., pp. 147-151.
11] Ibid., p. 276.
12] Eltanin-19 refers to the nineteenth research excursion of the ship Eltanin, cruising under the auspices of the Lamont Observatory of which Maurice Ewing was director. They returned with excellent records of symmetric and parallel anomalies along mid-ocean spreading rifts.
13] Menard,The Ocean of Truth¼ , pp. 149-150. pp. 149-150.
14] Menards long insistence on the ephemeral character of the mid-ocean ridges, based on his Pacific data, is most interesting from the point of view of my theory of Expansion Tectonics and Pacific Evacuation. The overall pattern of spreading ridges in the Pacific, and of ridges that surround Antarctica, is indeed younger than that in the Atlantic. The great Eocene tectonic upheaval has created conditions for fresh crusts and spreading ridges to form in the eastern Pacific.
15] This is not to say that theoretically the possibility for an increase in volume does not exist. The simplest notion implies nuclear and chemical reactions happening in the mantle, feeding on older and denser mantle or possibly on the core itself, creating a more voluminous mass. But then, the presence of neutrinos or other micro-particles in the universe, penetrating a planet, offers the possibility that under certain conditions in the mantle environment these can add mass and volume.
16] The demand that any new geological theory should offer a full disclosure of its implied dynamics does here come across somewhat disingenuous. First, there is the typical ambiguity that is being maintained between dynamics and mechanisms. Earth expansion and convection currents in the mantle are both mechanisms, and the implied dynamism in either case is not understood. Copernicus and Kepler described the mechanism of our solar system, and for five centuries we have evolved astronomy from their discoveries without having been able to securely establish the dynamics. Of course, since Newton we have increasingly been talking about the dynamics dimension. But mathematical ratios are not the dynamic itself; they are simply imagined mechanisms constructed of numerically imaginable and manageable "levers" or "pulleys." A serious ethnological study of the evolution and the uses of mathematics, if it were done, would reveal that the application of numbers to nature has always been a theoretical first handle forgaining control¾ not for neutral understanding. Let anyone give me a precise and neutral explanation of our planets dynamics, of the "force of gravity" and of "gravitational variations," and I will rewrite this note.
17] Karl W. Luckert,Mother Earth Once Was a Girl: a Scientific Theory on the Expansion of Planet Earth. ATR Supplement 1. Flagstaff: The Museum of Northern Arizona Press, February 1979.
18] H. W. Menard,The Ocean of Truth¼ , p. 294.
19] See page 22, below. In addition, there is the happenstance that I have matched the tip of South America with the Bight of Australia already in 1979, based on available continental areas and contours. The video program titledExpansion Tectonics has been published in 1996 by Lufa Studio. Content and ordering information can be found at <www.triplehood.com>.
20] I do not know whether Antarctica traveled to the geographical South Pole or whether the pole had always been associated with it. The axis of our planet could have shifted.
21] James Maxlow,Global Expansion Tectonics: Small Earth Modelling of an Exponentially Expanding Earth. Glen Forrest, Australia: Terrella Consultants, January 1996.
22] The actual geometric shapes on the published ocean-floor chronology maps are difficult to visualize. Shapes on any flat map projection are distorted. For that reason I have, immediately upon finding them, transferred the data unto a twelve-inch globe¾ subsequently unto globes with a sixteen-inch diameter.
23] Karl W. Luckert, "A Unified Theory of Earth Expansion, Pacific Evacuation and Orogenesis." InTheophrastus Publications, 61-73. Athens, Greece: Theophrastus, S.A., 1996.
24] A similar round-like continent can be found at the frosted North Pole of the planet Mars. Its placement at a pole, and the presence of round Antarctica at our South Pole, raises the question of whether poles determine the place at which round continents originate or are destined to be. The Martian coincidence suggests at least a working hypothesis. We might begin to investigate whether the axis of our planet has shifted together with the movement of Antarctica, or whether the remainder of the planets crust simply has retreated from Antarctica.
25] This Eocene upheaval, postulated by my theory, sufficiently explains why attempts at ocean floor drilling, in the "Southern Ocean," have so far yielded rather ambiguously stratified cores.
26] The idea concerning "global circumferential slippage" in eastern Asia occurred to me while doing balloon experiments. Continental "skins" that cover only slightly more than one-half of a balloon, have a tendency to creep and to slip from the curvature of the expanding substratum.
27] Whether circumferential slippage may eventually affect the western coasts of the Americas is difficult to tell. The coast of eastern Asia had 130 million years to build up tension for its circumferential slippage. Some forty-three million years ago the latitudinal stress-gauge along the western American coasts was reset to zero.
28] All the continents, with the exception of Antarctica, are still adjoined to their former neighboring continental crusts. Europe and Asia never were but one super continent. From Gibraltar across much of the western Mediterranean Sea, as well as along the Seas eastern shores, Africa still is attached to the Eurasian continental mass. Asia and North America are still nicely connected at the Bering Strait and around the Polar Sea along northern Greenland. Only a small rift in the North Atlantic, at Spitzbergen, cuts NorthAmerica from Europe. The two Americas are still connected across Middle America, and Australia is still geologically part of Austral-Asia. Antarctica appears to be the only fully liberated continent on our planet, but even this "vagabond" still points its tail nostalgically in the direction of South America, the continent that used to be its Siamese twin.
29] Arthur A. Meyerhoff, "Surge-tectonic evolution of southeastern Asia: a geohydrodynamics approach.," inJournal of Southeast Asian Earth Sciences. Vol. 12, No 3-4, pp. 145-247, 1995.
30] See Rob D. van der Hilst, S. Widiyantoro and E. R. Engdahl. "Evidence for deep mantle circulation from global tomography." InNature, vol. 386, 10 April 1997. No such "evidence" is apparent in this article. In all likelihood the configuration in question represents a continental stem, a remnant from a time when the mantle was still smaller. The stem appears split near the top to accommodate the spreading of the Japan Sea. See page 70, figure "d."
31] Had Antarctica not obliterated most of the shoreline of the South American cape, and thereby disguised the match with the Bight of Australia, the content of this book would probably have been discovered long ago on the basis of matching contours, without my contribution. It could have found its way into our schoolbooks long before the dawn of the Third Millennium.
32] The notion of a "Euler pole" may be used to visualize the movement of the Australian plate. But in effect, such movement in the Eocene "global mud slide" was possible because several plates adjusted concurrently and utilized the space that became available after expansion stress in the crust suddenly was relieved. The Euler geometry, as such, is of little practical use to discern these facts.