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Continents – are they adrift?

12 June 2011

At http://davidpratt.info/sunken.htm there is a provocative article on continental drift which questions some of the assumptions basic to Plate Tectonics theory. We forget that it is still a theory and assume it is a proven scientific concept – as it is consensus science. Read the article and you might be surprised by what is said. For example, what caused Plate Tectonics to be accepted as mainstream science was the discovery in the 1950s and 1960s of a series of magnetic stripes in the rocks on the seabed of the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, this was one of those eureka moments that brought plate tectonics, the Milankovitch theory of small orbital changes causing climate change, and the idea of 100,000 year cycles of Ice Ages and interglacials all together in one fell swoop. Hence, any criticism of the magnetic stripes as evidence of the continents moving apart is not to be trifled with. Whilst the evidence presented is not overwhelming it is however worth a look at the arguments as the consensus model is all about the continents moving at an extraordinarily slow rate in order to have a cosy fit with uniformitarianism. In the Atlantic, it is thought the continents on both sides are moving away from each other – not during sudden and sharp events but slowly and inexorably. The magnetic stripes are central to this theory as they are supposed to show equal movement either side of the Mid Atlantic Ridge. This is sustained by dismissing the possibility there are older sediments beneath the basalt basement and ignore numerous anomalies such as older rocks popping up here and there in various parts of the oceans. David Pratt says the claimed correlations are poor when analysed in detail and a more likely interpretation of the magnetic stripes is that they are caused by fault related bands of rock – or, I might add, marker points perhaps of past geological upheavals. These magnetic stripes, Pratt continues, are located in a concentric manner and location to older continental shield formations – such as Scandinavia or North America and this, he says, implies they are really sites of ancient fracture. Earthquake zones near ocean trenches, in addition, he says are interpreted as subduction zones in Plate Tectonics theory – where plates are being sucked into the bowels of the earth as the continents move. He says they are earthquake related fractures as trenches are absent from the  margins of the Atlantic, Indian and Southern Oceans, where plates are also thought to be moving. In addition, Africa and Antarctica appear to display no actual evidence of plate movement – or pressure/ stress being exerted by plate tectonics. There are 80,000 km of midocean ridges around the world, he claims, but just 30,500 km of trenches – so where is all the continental crust disappearing? Many ancient tectonic events, or trends, are visible on both the continents and under the sea but they do not necessarily show any respect for plate tectonics. At this point I discovered that David Pratt is into the Blavatsky 'Secret Doctrine' (published in 1888) and in this theory the earth's crust is constantly rising or sinking, sometimes catastrophically. Uniformitarianism is therefore diametrically opposed to the Blavatsky view of geology but David Pratt is unabashed and continues by saying that nine tenths of all sedimentary rocks on the continent were laid down 'under the seas' and the continents, in effect, have suffered repeated marine inundations. Marine transgressions and regressions are usually attributed mainly to eustatic change of sea level. He seems to be suggesting that blocks of rock or crust are moving up and down all the time in order to account for such transgressions whereas the Shennon sea level curve is a quite different kettle of fish – for example. The Blavatsky theory is out of date but David Pratt appears to want to revive it – and good fortune to him in the exercise. The web site as a whole is interesting from a catastrophist angle – but bear in mind the Blavatsky doctrine is somewhat of a minority theory and involves the submergence of Atlantis, or Lemuria, or something like that.

Pratt says there are one hundred submarine plateaus and ridges scattered through the world's oceans, many of which were once above sea level – sometimes on a number of occasions (see the post on the Kerguelen Plateau south of Australia a few weeks ago). He quotes various geological anomalies catalogued by William Corliss – well known to SIS and presumably some of this data comes courtesy of him (cited in the bibliography). Pratt says these bits of stranded continent are actually obstacles to the idea all the continents fit together as they are outside the jigsaw pattern – and so too are many of the submerged continental shelf systems. This may in fact be a matter of opinion rather than fact but he claims that in addition, boreholes in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans, have demonstrated that many parts of the present ocean floor were once shallow seas, shallow marshy zones, or even dry land (but deep in the geological past as I understand the geochronology). Some islands have apparently sunk as recently as the Late Pleistocene – on the Mid Atlantic ridge for example. He ends by saying plate tectonics has problems and is a theory that is constantly being patched up in order to keep it floating as a consensus model – much like a lot of consensus science. It is being modified as an ongoing process. Theosophy, as Platt calls it, indicates periodic alternation of land and sea – supposing vertical movements, upwards or downwards. However, a quite similar situation could derive from periodic adjustments of the geoid following catastrophic movements at the axis of rotation – the oceans of the world realigning themselves to a new geoid shape with some areas becoming submerged whilst other regions were at the same time emerging.

Further information on geology with an alternative interpretation than plate tectonics can be found at www.ncgt.org/newsletter.php 

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