9 May 2017

Gary Gilligan sent in this link, suggesting it was not that different from his theory on the origin of sand as outlined in his book, reviewed in SIS Review during 2016. More than ninety per cent of the continental crust is made up of silica rich minerals such as feldspar and quartz - but where did this silica enriched material come from? Mainstream theory holds that all of the early Earth's crustal rocks were formed by volcanic and seismic activity. Now we have a new addition to this theory - a twist of the mainstream tail. Dan Baker and Kassandra Sofonio of McGill University have said that some of the chemical components of this material settled on the surface of the Earth after falling out of the steamy atmosphere that prevailed in the past. However, they still adher to the mainstream theory that 4.5 billion years ago a Mars sized object crashed into the Earth turning it into an ocean of hot magma - which also created enough debris to form the Moon. This is one of those theories that have got repeated several times and has become glued to mainstream as alternative theories on the origin of the Moon are in short supply. Hence, they started out by assuming very high temperatures ensued in the wake of the volcanism generated by the big thump causing the atmosphere to literally steam as it was so hot and humid. It was so hot it absorbed chemicals from earth rocks and debris like a hot mug of coffee absorbs a spoon full of sugar. The innovative factor they introduce is that the described minerals rose into the atmosphere rather than remaining near the surface, as high as the upper atmosphere in fact (which is what fascinated Gary). They eventually fell back to the ground as a silicate rain. Clever idea but is it true? Se

Meanwhile, the next day we had this one - see ... earth was barren, flat and almost entirely under water 4.4 billion years ago. Who do you believe, especially as these claims are generated by computer simulation. There were a few small islands we are told. The information was derived from zircon grains preserved in sandstone rocks in the Jack Hills of western Australia, and reputably the oldest fragments of the Earth's crust ever found. They are at least on firm ground when they declare, 'the history of the Earth is like a book with its first chapter ripped out with no surviving rocks from the very early period. At least there was silica - which is the base of sandstone. However, the title of the piece published in Nature Geoscience is not as contradictory as the news release implies as the title is, 'Formation of Hadean granites by melting of igneous crust' ..which is not a lot different from a volcanic or igneous outburst prior to 4.4 billion years ago. 

And after those two views we have another one courtesy of New Scientist - go to ... which is definitely an alternative to the collision hypothesis. How the Moon originated is unclear. The idea of a hyperactive Sun is a good one as it explains some things the current consensus does not. According to standard dictate the planet building process began when dust particles orbiting the newly born sun stuck together, forming rocks that built still larger rocks and objects. According to Alexander Hubbard of the Natural History Museum in New York, Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars are made of rock and iron, particles that do not readily stick together. In 1936 an infant star, Orionis, was seen to brighten, eventually shining 100 times more brightly than it did originally. It has stayed bright ever since - which intrigued Hubbard. Could our own sun have done the same thing in its infancy? Such an outburst might have melted dust grains and made them sticky enough to become the seeds of the four rocky planets (see also