Videoscript by Karl W. Luckert Copyright
Part One: The Formation of Oceans
Upon Planet Earth we live and move and have our being. Contemporary Earth science, by and large, continues to assume that the size of the globe has remained constant over billions of years. More recently a consensus has formed about the notion that continents and tectonic plates are drifting and colliding. Proponents of the dominant Plate Tectonics theory tell us that, driven by convection currents in the mantle magma, ocean floor crusts are being subducted underneath continental coast lines--to heave up mountain ranges.
But, according to the evidence which I recognize, continents and continental plates on this planet never were randomly adrift or carried about upon convection currents of mantle magma. The subcontinent of India never drifted across the ocean that bears its name; it never has hit the underbelly of Asia to heave up Himalaya Mountains. The great mountain ranges on our planet have been raised neither by collisions nor heaved by ocean floor subduction. There never was a Pangaea, a Laurasia or a Gondwanaland, never a process of "Tethian Shear."
A general theory of Earth Expansion explains the geological phenomena much better. Moreover, Earth expansion can be demonstrated geographically by a method of matching and rejoining the continental coastlines on a successively smaller globe.
The process of Earth Expansion can be verified on hand of recent ocean floor drillings and scrapings which, together, have so far yielded a reasonably complete ocean floor chronology.
To the extent that it is possible for ocean floors to be removed from a globe in the reverse order of their formation, and to the extent that at every stage of removal the remaining continental crusts and ocean floor patterns are sufficient to cover a complete smaller sphere, my theory of Earth Expansion will be proven.
One-hundred-sixty million years ago the diameter of Planet Earth was still approximately 60% its present size. The surface of its crust showed undulating low rises, alternating with bogs and shallow seas. There were no deep oceans yet. Then, at a few places on the globe, during the Jurassic, ditches in the crust began to break open to form deep rifts. The deep rifts widened into oceans, and Earth expansion radically modified the surface of our planet.
Of course, Earth expansion did not begin one nice day one-hundred-sixty million years ago. Surely, this planet has been expanding millions of years before oceans began to open. The outer lithosphere was stretched by expansion pressure from within. This is how the lowering and thinning of continental shelves can be explained. Klaus Vogel has formulated this idea when he reduced his 60% terrella model to 50%. Thereafter, continental drift can better be explained as "continental rise"--as the concentric terrella models of Vogel illustrate.
But going beyond Klaus Vogel, I see specifically in the case of Antarctica and Australia a combination of continental "rising" and interdependent "twisting." The viscous columns of mantle magma, that support Antarctica and Australia, became somewhat intertwined during the Eocene. The relative movements of their crests together created an illusion of random drift at the surface.
The Atlantic Ocean
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 already in 1596. And talking about matching shorelines, I happen to be convinced that during earlier geological periods the other oceans on our planet were equally simple.
The Atlantic Ocean has a clearly defined mid-ocean rift along which east-west expansion happens. Fissures resulting from north-south expansion are distributed evenly along the oceans entire length. The Mediterranean spread between Europe and Africa has remained quite stable since the Cretaceous. By contrast, the northward bend in the West Indies Ridge suggests movement between North and South American plates. None of these features poses a serious problem for showing the evolution of the Atlantic Ocean in seven steps, corresponding to seven geological periods. From the present moment, backward in time, I will simulate a process of ocean floor reduction.
To avoid the distortion of flat map projections, I have transferred ocean floor chronology onto a contemporary 16-inch globe. I am maintaining a consistent color scheme for all the oceans--blue from the Jurassic to the Paleocene, and green from the Eocene to the present. The continental shelves are shown in a lighter brown than the protruding land masses.
To begin, we shrink the most recent 38 million years, including the Oligocene, back to the horizon of the Eocene. We take out the Eocene, back to the horizon of the Paleocene, 55 million years ago. As we retreat to the Upper Cretaceous horizon, we shrink the Paleocene floors. Dinosaurs are ruling the landscape here.
We take out the Upper Cretaceous, back to the horizon of the Lower Cretaceous, 100 million years ago. Ichtosaurs are crawling away from muddy waters to evolve fins into legs.
Shrinking the Lower Cretaceous, down to the horizon of the Jurassic, we retreat back to 136 million years ago.
Finally, closing the Upper Jurassic back to 160 million years ago, we have arrived at a time when the Earth was still without its deep oceans. The rift that opened the Jurassic North Atlantic began as a small trench, destined to separate the bight of North America from the round of Africa.
We are now ready to play forward the process that formed the Atlantic Ocean. One click of the metronome corresponds to the passage of a million years in geological time....
The Indian Ocean
Now we move east across Africa to look at the Indian Ocean. It is somewhat more complicated than the Atlantic, but not impossible to figure out. Of course, it should be understood that whenever in this discussion I refer to four directions--east, west, south or north--I mean only directionality in relation to the present globe. I am not prepared, yet, to speculate where equator or poles might have been during earlier geological periods.
Like the Atlantic, the Indian Ocean has a well defined active mid-ocean spreading rift. In the northwest this rift is in the process of opening up the Red Sea and, and in the south, it is being divided by the wedge of the Antarctic Plate.
To begin with, we shrink the most recent 38 million years, including the Oligocene, clear to the horizon of the Eocene. During this time the Antarctic Plate was still moving into the Indian Ocean from the south. To go back in time we must take this plate back out.
Then we proceed to take out the more complicated Eocene, back to a time when the oceans covered approximately 65% of their present area. The Java Trench and Australia are still stretched along the Ninety East Ridge. The so-called Broken Ridge belongs down under, and Southwest Australia may be aligned to match. The tip of South America is still embedded in the bight of Australia.
We take out the Paleocene back to the horizon of the Upper Cretaceous, 65 million years ago. During the Upper Cretaceous the large island of Madagascar and its plateau have slid southward. These land masses, together with the Seychelles and Mauritius plateaus, have to be brought home into the bosom of the African continent.
Now, to go back to the horizon of the Jurassic, some 136 million years ago, we take out the Lower Cretaceous. Earth Expansionists who derive Australia from the northern Pacific are oblivious to the fact how two Jurassic portions in the Indian Ocean are positioned to match. Indeed, the makers of the Indian Ocean map forgot to indicate the Jurassic portion in the Mozambique Channel; but the missing information can easily be retrieved near the edge of the Atlantic map.
And finally, removing the Jurassic spread we approach a zero-ocean Earth crust, some 160 million years ago. We are now ready to play, forward in time, the process that formed the Indian Ocean. As before, one click of the metronome corresponds to a million years in geological time....
The Pacific-Antarctic Ocean
The Pacific and Antarctic oceans are best examined together. What appear to be problems in one ocean can provide answers to problems in the other. These oceans beg to be explained in the context of the larger Earth expansion puzzle. For a starter, I recommend to think no longer of the Antarctic Ocean as an entity by itself. It always has been an extension of the Pacific.
Taking out all ocean floors including the Oligocene, back to the Eocene horizon 38 million years ago, requires some noteworthy adjustments. Prior to the Oligocene the Scotia Sea was not yet. The round end of the Antarctic Plate was still grinding against the Scotia Ridge and twisting as far as the Sandwich Islands. 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, at either side of this recent spreading rift, do not conform to reality but are a map-makers projections. After all, why should a map-maker who is unfamiliar with Expansion Tectonics suspect a discontinuity at this place? In any case, the Cretaceous horizons, at each side of the present spreading rift, match too well to be unrelated.
Early during the Oligocene the Australian Plate reached its eastern limit. After that it began to return westward, backed by Antarcticas continuous swing. The wedge of the Antarctic Plate continued swinging counter-clockwise into the Indian Ocean and the plates "heel" continued to back away from the tip of South America. The width of the Oligocene Scotia Sea is approximately the distance by which the active spreading ridge has been offset westward. So, becoming separated from the Antarctic Plate by the active spreading rift, Australia continued to rebound westward to tighten the conspicuous knot of the Banda Sea and the Celebes swirl.
Now we come to the most important period for my Expansion Tectonics theory--the Eocene as it played itself out in the Pacific and the Antarctic oceans. Of all the geological periods this one contains the greatest challenges for a scientific illustrator. At the beginning of the Eocene most of what is now the Antarctic Plate broke off from along the Americas. At the same time the round tip of South America broke out of the bight of Australia.
The now north-western flank of the Antarctic Plate had all along been pre-cut along the old Pacific mid-ocean spreading rift. One side of this old rift is detectable in the Pacific, elongated meanwhile by Earth Expansion. It is the boundary between Paleocene and Eocene ocean floors. The other side can be found along the Antarctic Plate as the Paleocene edge that faces Africa. This means that the old spreading rift ran through the middle of the Paleocene Pacific.
But then, together with the crack that separated Antarctica from the Americas, this rift loosened during the Eocene. The enormous soft area left behind by the Antarctic Plate began hardening first along the edges, leaving the soft middle for the rifts to join and to occupy. Prior to the Eocene, Earth Expansion had stretched Austronesia to the tip of South America.
But, when the tension suddenly was released, when the Australian Plate snapped away from the tip of South America, it wrinkled the old Pacific ocean floor northward as far as the Hawaiian Islands, and beyond. The knee that now distinguishes the Emperor Sea Mounds from the Hawaiian island chain may have been bent by these northward reverberations. However, such far reaching effects were made possible not so much by Australias northward pressure as by the void which had resulted from the departure of the wedge-shaped Antarctic Plate from the northeast Pacific.
We know that Australia traveled east during the Eocene as far as the Tongas. With the exception of a small twist-eruption around Fiji, there are no Eocene ocean floors worth mentioning east of Australia between the Paleocene and Oligocene spreads. This means that Australias eastward movement absorbed all Eocene expansion spread that could have taken shape there.
Now is the time to ask the still more basic question. What was it that created a low pressure area that permitted the Antarctic Plate to loosen and to slip southward in the first place?
There was, of course, the general tension created by Earth Expansion. It was a process that stretched Austronesia southward along the Ninety East Ridge. At the end of the Paleocene, the bight of Australia snapped loose from the tip of South America. The same moment that freed Australia also released South America. South of Tasmania is point zero, where Eocene convulsions began to reshape half of the globe.
There are no Paleocene ocean floors to be found along the American Pacific coasts. So for the time being--until the chronology of the UNESCO Geological World Atlas of 1988, and the Challenger drilling cores, can be reexamined in light of my theory--the Eocene, 55 million years ago, will have to be postulated as the period of the great displacements.
We return from the Paleocene to the Upper Cretaceous, some 65 million years ago. Taking out the Upper Cretaceous and returning to the horizon of the Lower Cretaceous, 100 million years ago, significantly simplifies the old ocean. In the greatly simplified Pacific, taking out the Lower Cretaceous is an almost routine matter. And so we get back to the Jurassic horizon some 136 million years ago.
A word of caution is in order here about computerized simulations. A computer cannot furnish proof of Earth expansion. It merely is a convenient tool for illustration. But proof is within reach when pairs of Jurassic ocean floor, like the ones in the Atlantic Ocean, or those in the Indian Ocean, can be re-united on a reduced globe.
And here is another pair of Jurassic ocean floors of which one partner lies in the north-Pacific while the other has to be brought home from the far south. This feat reunites all pairs of Jurassic oceans in the world that have become separated by Cretaceous spreading. To obtain a zero-ocean Earth, only Jurassic ocean floors remain to be closed.
And finally we are ready to play, forward in time, the expansion process that formed the Pacific and Antarctic oceans. I will show this process from two perspectives, and for the first perspective I will keep my camera focused on what has become Antarctica. As before, one click of the metronome corresponds to a million years in geological time....
For the second perspective I will focus the camera on the spot where Australia and South America once were joined. This is the junction where the most intriguing ruptures on our planet have occurred. As we watch, basic assumptions in evolutionary geology, in paleontology and seismology, are being rearranged....
Footnote Concerning the GSA Convention, Denver, CO. October 1996
Part I of "Expansion Tectonics" was shown at the Annual Convention of the Geological Society of America, in Denver, Colorado. Six thousand earth scientists were assembled under one roof and, as far as I could tell, only one of us was convinced that our planet is expanding. Such odds seem overwhelming--but they are not really. After decades of opposing Alfred Wegeners theory of Continental Drift, many people finally have gotten around to copying their first lesson in plate tectonics from his 1915 book. This means that our present lineup is far less lopsided. It is Alfred Wegener and I, one on one. Followers of Wegener now seem to be preoccupied with ocean floor subduction and magmatic convection currents--that is, with hypothetical processes that never have been observed.
The maker of this map has assured me that, while drawing the ocean floor chronology of these hemispheres, the thought of earth expansion never occurred to him. Subduction of ocean floors, in the deep trenches of the Pacific, presumably cancels out all the evidence we have of global ocean floor spreading.
But would not the deep ocean trenches close up if there really was the movement from the ocean side, required for underthrusting. To mind comes the submarine video footage I have seen, of the Japan Trench--a flat bottom with an immense crack running lengthwise. An expert countered with a novel theory of "pulsated underthrusting."
All this is really amazing. Parallels from pre-Copernican logic have returned to haunt us. Convection currents in the mantle magma, invented to do away with expansion movement, correspond to Ptolemaic epi-cycles. Pulsation within those convection currents are the logical equivalent of epi-cycles within epi-cycles.
One person in Denver shared with me a more plausible reason for concern: At certain places upon continental crusts we find pre-Jurassic ocean floors and, in some of these we even have evidence of rifting. I admit that rifting could have taken place in pre-Jurassic seas. Cracks in the lithosphere have opened up continually and everywhere--some under water and some on land. But, the very fact that these ocean floors and their ruptures now lie exposed at the surface of continental plates demonstrates, at the very least, that they were not subducted. It is obvious to me that, at some point in the evolution of our planet, perhaps 200 million years ago, a set of deeper cracks gradually began to open up our present system of oceans. The oldest floors in these oceans are from the Jurassic.
My theory of Expansion Tectonics introduces no new or risky methodological principle. I merely insist on methodological consistency. Yes, Wegeners explanation of Atlantic spreading, starting with zero ocean, was basically sound. But I challenge my fellow scientists to apply their Atlantic presuppositions to all the other oceans as well. In addition, I challenge them to account for the new ocean floor chronology which recently was made available on the basis of data from ocean floor drilling and scraping.
Topography supports my theory of Pacific evacuation equally well. For example, when I prepared my Pacific-Antarctic animation, this 1994 US Geological Survey map was not yet in my hands. Yet, it confirms what I have shown. It reveals the place where Antarctica took a bite out of the cape of South America. On this map we even can see how far South America was pushed eastward, and how the South Sandwich Trench was jarred back in the wake of Antarcticas retreat.
Research Topics for the Twenty-First Century
Like every scientific theory, so also Expansion Tectonics raises more questions than it answers. But these are pleasant questions that shed new light on old problems.
What are the precise dates of Eocene ocean floors along the American Pacific coast?
What are the ocean floor dates throughout the Scotia Sea? My video animation only shows an approximate sequence.
What are the precise dates of ocean floors between the present spreading rift and the Cretaceous floors in the South Pacific, and farther south?
Are there real reasons for assuming underthrusting, other than the fact that the bottoms of deep trenches extend beneath the landward slope? Relative expansion flow explains this phenomenon as well, and better.
(Note added to the Chinese edition, August 1997: Inclined strata, "descending" under the edges of continental crusts, attest not merely to Relative Expansion Flow, but also the occurrence of structural collapse. Similarly, inclined strata of northern India, "descending" under the southern edge of the Himalayas, are likewise best explained as being the result of structural collapse under the extruded weight of the Himalayas).
How, in the light of Expansion Tectonics, will recent theories concerning the "Eocene-Oligocene Climatic and Biotic Evolution" have to be adjusted? It is obvious that the extinction of marine life during the Eocene and Oligocene, in the Pacific and Antarctic oceans, has been associated with movement of the Antarctic and Australian plates.
How much of the "Great Marine Dying" was the result of ocean floor convulsions? And...
How much of it was the result of Antarcticas southward drift into the colder polar region? Presently the research data are intermingled, and little attention is being given to geographical positioning.
To what extent were the Eocene-Oligocene displacements an evolutionary force that drove marginal fauna onto land, away from deteriorating ocean waters?
Where in successive stages, during the past 200 million years, were poles and equator located?
How much of the global cooling, or warming, must now be explained regionally as long-term wobble or tumble of the Earths axis?
What will happen to contemporary geophysical theories when magnetic reversals are correlated with the actual positions of continental plates--and with specific moments in geological time?
What will paleontology teach us, ten years from now, now that a better sequence of continental affiliations has been established?
By taking into consideration expansion tectonics, including the processes of tensile folding, flanging, and relative expansion flow, will seismologists be better able to predict great seismic events?
The questions could be multiplied. For the moment I will end with these. They are sufficient to keep Earth scientists busy the next hundred years.
Part TwoThe Formation of Mountains
Earth Expansionists, by and large, are aware that the formation of mountains ultimately is linked with the process of Earth Expansion. But how?
I have abandoned the traditional way of thinking about Continental Drift, and I have rejected Pangaea-related concepts, Tethyan Shear, as well as the popular notions of mountain formation by continental collision or by ocean floor subduction.
If mountains were not pushed up by collisions, or heaved up by subduction, then by what unified process could they have been raised?
The general answer to this question is simple: "Earth Expansion has raised them." While I recognize only a single process of mountain building, the one activated by Earth Expansion, I will nevertheless explain this single process in three dimensions: first from the perspective of the oceans, second from the perspective of continental crusts, and third from the perspective of mantle magma underneath. My perspective from the ocean side recognizes a process of Tensile Folding; my perspective from the continental crusts considers Flanging; and my perspective from mantle magma acknowledges Relative Expansion Flow.
As far as the process of tensile folding is concerned, north-south tension has initiated the high mountain ranges which run along the western flank of the Americas. Similar north-south tension has begun folding those that extend between Ethiopia and the Cape of Good Hope, in Africa. Tension has started the mountain ranges of Eurasia which, by and large, stretch east and west between the Pyrenees and the Himalayas, also those which run north-easterly from Indo-China to eastern Siberia.
But how did it happen? And what do oceans have to do with the tension that initiated the formation of mountain ranges? With a little effort anyone can understand it. Of course, it helps to wear a coat.
Imagine that the edge of my coat was cut 55 million years ago, by the rift that separated the Antarctic Plate from the western flank of the Americas. Suddenly landward tension was relaxed to zero. With Earth Expansion continuing all the while, longitudinal tension persists and continues to increase. It has nothing else to do but to pull folds along the entire western flank of North and South America--and to crack open the bottoms of synclines for magma to intrude.
Here, in the vicinity of Middle America, the crust has been pulled apart by that same longitudinal stretching. North of the Pacific, the Bering Strait is being drawn apart likewise. Austronesia was elongated in similar fashion until it finally snapped away from South America. Let us consider the east-west tension between Gibraltar and Indochina. Along this stretch the Earth shell was not sheared quite as clean as it happened along the west coast of the Americas, nor to this day has it been completed. Europe remains attached to Africa along the halfhearted Mediterranean spread.
In addition, the southern coast line of Asia has been made complicated by three major peninsulas, or subcontinental flaps, which were torn apart as a result of east-west tension. These cleavages have sent Asias tensile mountain ranges further inland.
Of course, Tensile Folding by itself does not accomplish all there is to mountain formation. It accounts only for relatively low folds and initial cracks along the undersides of synclines. Massive magmatic intrusions, and general uplift, require another agency which I shall explain as flanging.
Our second perspective on mountain formation is from the point of view of continental crusts. There we find the mountains we know best. Mountain building on land also happens by a process of Flanging. A continent is a fragment of the original and smaller Earth shell, and Flanging happens when a continental crust finds itself situated upon an expanding sphere, thus upon a flattening substratum. While the sphere expands, the original curvature of the continent fits less and less upon the decreasing curvature of the substratum. Magma support underneath the domed middle of a continental crust continually decreases and, in response, the original curvature is destined to sag. The slouching vertical weight of the collapsing dome translates into horizontal slippage, outward from the center toward the continents periphery.
In other words, the still more convex continental crust, overhead, slowly sinks at its center and passes excess surface area outward in the direction of the continents perimeter. To the extent that the perimeter holds, the slippage from the continents interior is transformed into additional undulations, folds and wrinkles. Where the cohesive strength of the continents perimeter is less than the horizontal pressure, there the shorelines will stretch or tear. Arabia and India are instances of such tearing. But please note, the flares of Arabia and India were large enough to gradually flange their own coastal mountain ranges.
Here and there some of the extra patches of surface area, supported by remnant bubbles of magma from the sagging dome, have not traveled outward far enough to join the coastal mountain ranges. Regional smaller domes, such as the Black Hills and the Ozarks in North America, are examples.
The counterparts to mountain ranges along continental perimeters are central saucer-shaped plains. Prime examples of continental saucers with flanged edges are the Canadian Shield, the Amazon Basin, the Congo Basin, the Northern European Plain, the Siberian Plateau, and the adjoining Takla Makan and Gobi deserts. By the same token, the Ural Mountains constitute a line where the flanging efforts of two sagging continental saucers have run up against one another, and both have compromised their preferred roundish flange in favor of a straight and rigid boundary line.
These dish-shaped "saucers," surrounded by mountainous rims, characterize all continents on our planet. They are, in fact, collapsing continental domes in the process of adjusting to the flattening Earth curvature. Therefore it can happen that a severe fault, like the Madrid fault by the Mississippi River, interrupts the tranquility of a central plain.
Relative Expansion Flow
Our third perspective on the unified mountain-building process concerns the Earths mantle of viscous magma, beneath the lithosphere. Let us suppose, for a moment, that a continental crust had zero cohesiveness. To the extent that it disintegrates and flows wherever the expanding mantle carries it, no Relative Expansion Flow would be present underneath.
The flow which concerns us here exists only relative to the undersides of continental saucers and perimeters, and there Relative Expansion Flow is a fact to be reckoned with. As a result of Earth Expansion, and of surface flattening, some excessive mantle magma slowly must ooze outward from underneath the continental crusts that sag overhead. While magma oozes outward it agitates the bottom of the lithosphere which rests overhead. The bottoms of segments of continental crust are being carried oceanward while mesa tops are being slanted inland.
The bottoms of synclines are being massaged. Magma is being squeezed into every fold and fissure, from underneath, regardless of whether these folds and fissures were initially caused by Tensile Folding or by Flanging. Some fissures are large enough to create severe slippage and earthquakes. Others are jarred open, wide enough to invite volcanic eruptions or even major surges that squeeze up immense mountain ranges. Mount Shasta, here, is one of several volcanic safety valves that mark the Cascades along the western coast of North America.
While, as a result of Earth Expansion, the viscous mantle curvature continues to flatten, the edges of continental domes--which insist on a more acute antecedent curvature--tend to dig into the substratum. But what is even more significant alongside mountainous continental edges is the fact that ocean water is cooling these edges deep down. Continental rims, when they are stretched to their limits, may refuse to break. They may slip back and jar deep coastal trenches.
When deep down beneath the continental edge an obstacle rim gives way to pressure from outward expansion flow, the edge may be raised, may be flanged upward, and sometimes even turned over onto the coast. That happened along the California coast when, during the breakaway of the Antarctic Plate the deep-cooled rim along the continental coast was deprived of its support at the ocean side.
Materially speaking, the massive uplift of mountain ranges has been accomplished by surplus magma from the steadily collapsing continental domes.
To accomplish general uplift, the magma, under pressure from sagging continental domes, works underneath mountain ranges like a thick hydraulic fluid. The larger and the older a continent, the greater has been the supply of magma for causing uplift. This is why the highest mountain range on Earth is found on the largest continent.
Part ThreeStory of Discovery
Ancient mythology has set the perimeters for the subsequent formulation of theological, philosophical, as well as scientific questions. By influencing our questions, mythological concepts have established the directions in which hypotheses were imagined. Mythology defines the boundaries within which scientific answers can be understood.
For example, in ancient Egyptian mythology we have the seed ideas for both a geo-centric as well as a helio-centric universe. The primeval deity Atum, who rose as a hill from the waters of Nun, implies geo-centrism. The sun-deity Ra, who as divine soul essence emanates from within Atum, implies a sun-centered ontology. Thus, deriving from Atum mythology, Ptolemy and Aristotle gave us a geo-centric astronomy. By contrast, Copernicus was fascinated by Sun theology, and he postulated a helio-centric universe. His words speak for themselves:
"In the middle of it all sits the Sun enthroned... He is rightly called the Lamp, the Mind, the Ruler of the Universe: [Hermes] Trimegistus calls him the Visible God. Sophocles Electra calls him the All-Seeing One."
Small wonder that there was thunder from the center of Christendom that was Rome. After all, Christ was the antithesis to solarized pharaohs and other imperial "sons of God."
The impetus, which the Copernican revolution has imparted onto the science of astronomy, is well known. In a close partnership with the science of physics, astronomy has matured into technology and space exploration. The helio-centric theory of Copernicus thereby has not only been vindicated, but our understanding of the universe has been greatly increased as well. Beyond the simple Copernican model of the heavens has opened up for us an incomparably greater expanding universe.
At the same time, however, the Copernican fascination with a sun-centered astronomy has led to a devaluation of the planet Earth itself. Earth studies have been relegated to lower status. Scientific minds surveyed orderly orbits in the heavens--which from a great distance seems definable in clear mathematical terms. By contrast, the messy layers in the Earths crust, close up, steadily have resisted the precise scientific method of the astronomers.
Modern geophysics was born in 1915 with Alfred Wegeners Die Entstehung der Kontinente und Ozeane in which he formulated the theory now known in the English-speaking world as "Continental Drift."
Initial opposition to the Continental Drift theory was severe. Only in recent years, with the gradual modification of Plate Tectonics theory--more specifically with help from theories that postulate magmatic convection currents and ocean-floor subduction, many Earth scientists have come around to Wegeners views.
Many now admit that the continents may indeed be drifting away from a super-continent like Pangaea, or away from second generation continental clusters like Gondwanaland or Laurasia. They now concede that continents may move, collide, heave, or otherwise disfigure one another.
Even the thoughts of Earth expansionists--who are revisionists along the frontier of the Earth sciences--still tend to dwell on Pangaea-derived encumbrances. The impossible positions assigned to Antarctica and Australia on reduced globes--along with Professor Careys notion of "Tethian Shear," all are carryovers from Wegeners mistakes.
As a historian of religions I happen to be aware that Wegeners central notion of Pangaea has all along been under the spell of a very archaic mythical Flat-Earth geography--something which he, of course, would have denied. But the facts speak for themselves.
While Wegener obviously looked far beyond archaic Mediterranean mythology and geography, he was nevertheless fascinated by continental contours around the Atlantic. He brought together these contours to form Pangaea. He succeeded only because he neglected the continental contours that face other oceans. From Pangaea he let the continents flare out into Panthalassa, the primeval waters which he postulated on the back side of the globe. In principle, how is Wegeners Pangaea so different from the archaic flat Earth that also was surrounded by a primeval ocean--that also flared out into primeval waters?
Yes, the Copernican revolution has overcome geo-centrism, and Renaissance navigators definitely have broken through the shell of Mediterranean-centered geography, but Alfred Wegener has landed us squarely back in a geography that is centered on the Atlantic Ocean. Atlantic provincialism is still a type of Flat-Earth provincialism.
By what authority do I reject the Wegenerian tradition of Continental Drift? And then, by what authority do I reject even the theories of fellow Earth expansionists who in any shape or form start reasoning on the basis of Pangaea or Pangaea-derived postulates?
Regardless of how I might be judged by my critics, I must delineate the sequence of my discoveries--I must disclose the existential outline of my epistemology. I am convinced that our problem is not only what we know but also how we got to know what we think we know. As an outsider to the field, my credentials for doing Earth science consist of two advantages.
My first advantage is the fact that I am not organizationally obligated to Earth Science. In my circle of friends and teachers hardly anybody cared about geology. That happenstance assures freedom. I am by profession a historian of religions who has learned that any doctrine, held by large numbers of people, is in danger of becoming dogma. This happens in organized science as much as it happens in organized religion. Because I am aware of the pitfalls of organized knowledge I believe that I can avoid some of them.
My second advantage has been the misery that befell Germany. Right after World War II, at age eleven, when I should have been transferred from grade school unto the high school track, high schools were closed. So, instead of learning mathematical abstractions in school I eventually learned a handicraft and labored for a master painter and decorator. I learned how to change the appearances of three-dimensional objects.
Therefore, to this day geophysical problems appear to me primarily related to how mud slides, how paint runs, cracks, chips, stretches and wrinkles. Nature, as I have become acquainted with her, never was completely reducible to numbers.
Then, in 1959 a young Kansas farmer named Dick Stirtz showed me a globe and alerted me to the fact how well the coastlines of Africa and South America do match. I looked at the rest of the globe and concluded that such matching could be done all around. My curiosity was satisfied, and I let the matter rest there.
Twenty years later, in January 1979, at the Museum of Northern Arizona--here in this room--I listened to a public lecture by the paleontologist Edwin Colbert who correlated Continental Drift theory with the distribution and evolution of the species. He showed sketches of Pangaea, Laurasia, and Gondwanaland. This was the first time I heard "Pangaea" mentioned.
My astonishment was great, subsequently in 1979, when I discovered that not only paleontologists, but also advocates of Plate Tectonics, and even proponents of Earth Expansion, still try to make sense of Wegeners impossibilities.
Therefore, after the paleontologists lecture I borrowed a globe and bought a plastic ball. I was convinced that I could demonstrate the fact of Earth Expansion by the method of modelling the expansion process in reverseCthat is, by reducing the oceans and rejoining the continents. Without access to substantial ocean floor topography, and without ocean floor chronology, I finished my task by returning Antarctica into the Pacific and the tip of South America into the bight of Australia. I postulated Pacific Evacuation. I was able to make my discovery because at the time I had never heard of anyone else attempting the reduction of a globe.
Seven weeks after I was perplexed by that paleontology lecture, my response was published under the title Mother Earth Once Was a Girl: a Scientific Theory on the Expansion of Planet Earth. I sent copies to geology departments across North America and, in 1981, I mailed more copies to the Expanding Earth Symposium in Sydney. I achieved--instant oblivion!
Recently some Earth expansionists have begun moving Antarctica closer to my 1979 solution, by way of moving it from the Indian Ocean farther east into the Pacific. This generally is accomplished at the expense of pushing Australia northward. But these solutions annihilate the logic of ocean floor topography as well as chronology.
In January 1994, the California earthquake jolted me to clarify my slumbering theory of Earth Expansion. It seemed possible that seismologists, if they no longer were to think Plate Tectonics, but instead would consider my brand of Expansion Tectonics, just might be able to take more meaningful measurements and arrive at better predictions. By the same token, paleontologists who hitherto have tried to correlate the distribution of species with fictitious stages of Pangaea-fragmentation, or with wrongly affiliated continents, could fare better as well.
Generally speaking, my predecessors have tried to fit the continents--as I myself have done in 1979--onto smaller spheres in a single operation. This one-step reduction method was well enough suited for assembling configurations like Wegeners Pangaea. But, in the wake of world-wide ocean floor drilling, by the ship Challenger, this method is no longer satisfactory. Since 1988 we have an approximate ocean floor chronology, published in Choubert and Faure-Murets Geological World Atlas. In light of these new data I prefer to do my ocean floor reduction according to chronological sequence.
"But what is it that makes the Earth expand?" So typical scientists ask in the interest of technology, while secretly hoping to get a handle on that source of energy. Yet, theirs is the wrong question. It really is beside the point. In my 1979 publication I risked a very tentative "hypothesis," thinking that my readers would generously distinguish between the hypothesis and what I presented as "theory." I regret having thought so. We all have accepted, in principle, the Copernican theory of rotations and revolutions without ever having satisfactorily explained the dynamic that causes the Earth to circle around the Sun. Newtons answer, that gravity explains the solar process, is not a real answer. It is wishful linguistics. While I grant that the seven-letter word "gravity" (and a mathematical formula), serves as a convenient cover to camouflage an ontological problem, the power so named remains as mysterious as ever.
If Earth science and the fact of Earth expansion were all that matter, I could stop now. But, being a humanities professor, I owe you a postscript from a broader than scientific perspective. I subscribe to the theory of evolution, indeed. But I do not necessarily endorse the raw mythology of a Big Bang. Such mythology justifies violence, inasmuch as humankind everywhere tend to compete with and imitate the activities of greater than human powers.
In 1979 I hinted, somewhat mischievously, that Mother Earth expands because she is pregnant. I should not have introduced a mythological metaphor into narrow hardened science. But then, how else could a historian of religions publish a scientific treatise, if not as a supplement to his own "American Tribal Religions" book series? In a similar declaration of independence from scientific dogma, I conclude this essay with a metaphor from the history of religions as well. Hard scientists did not like when I softly referred to Mother Earth, so I will focus my camera on a Father in Heaven instead.
The Creator, who at some point during the past few million years has bestowed on Adam a touch of intelligence--enough to study celestial orbits and build space ships but not quite as much to do Earth science--has 160 million years earlier touched the Earth. On his third day of creation he separated her waters from dry land and opened up her deep oceans. He touched what became the Pacific, lets us say, in the vicinity of what became Hawaii. That was long ago, when Eve was still up Gods sleeve, and when Adams dreaming was still happily adrift in pre-scientific innocence.
Carey, S. Warren. Theories of the Earth and the Universe: A History of Dogma in the Earth Sciences. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1988.
Choubert, G. and Faure-Muret, Geological World Atlas. Paris: UNESCO, 1976-1988.
Luckert, Karl W. Mother Earth Once Was a Girl: a Scientific Theory on the Expansion of Planet Earth. Flagstaff: Museum of Northern Arizona Press, 1979.
_____. "A Unified Theory of Earth Expansion, Pacific Evacuation and Orogenesis," in Theophrastus Contributions to Advanced Studies in Geology, pages 61B73. Athens, Greece: Theophrastus Publications, S.A., 1996.
Vogel, Klaus. "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.
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