» Home > In the News

Silica and Sand formation – an alternative view

13 July 2013

In a follow up post on July 3rd Tim Cullen expands further on the geological jigsaw puzzle associated with chalk formation – and includes on this occasion the flints found within the chalk – go to http://malagabay.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/the-chalky-cretaceous-2-the-ey…

I like the way he sets the scene, the props behind the curtain, arranging them like a line of skittles. Many of the players have been assigned geologic stage names that obscure their true identity, he says, and their character, smoke and mirrors obscuring the facts from the audience. This is not just the casual reader but includes geological students, and geologists themselves – and indeed anyone dipping into a text book in order to try and understand what it was all about. Sedimentary blocks are rather like stage names – beguiling in their simplicity but obscuring they very nature. Sediments should be material that seeps to the bottom of a liquid (such as water), fragments of inorganic or organic material that comes from eroision and weathering and is carried by water or ice. This includes sands, muds, and clays.

Geology is the major player in the uniformitarian hypothesis and this assumes sediments in ancient rocks were laid down in the same way as sediments that are being deposited on the Earth's surface in the modern world. The present is the key to the past, a fundamental driver of the consensus view. The author then picks through the entrails and begins with the role played by oxygen.

Oxygen forms 10 per cent of the atmosphere, 47 per cent of the crust, and nearly 85 per cent of the oceans, he says. Other rock constituents of the crust are nearly all oxides. These are principally silica, alumina, iron oxides, lime, magnesia, potash, and soda. The silica functions principally as an acid, forming silicates, and all the commonest minerals of igneous rocks are of this nature, he says.

How did the oceans form – or the atmosphere? He claims mainstream misdirects the enquiring mind by bringing in extra-terrestrial water and oxygen (from meteoric material). Lots of asteroids, comets, and meteors are thought to have blasted the early Earth – another assumption. An even bigger assumption is that comets are mainly composed of ice and gases when those comets visited by modern space probes have shown them to be rocky and somewhat akin to asteroids. If this is so why doesn't the Moon have an atmosphere and an ocean – there have been plenty of extra-terrestrial strikes if we go by the pock marked surface. It clearly does not have an atmosphere or an ocean in spite of the fact it has been bombarded over a long period of time. The author's answer is planetary outgassing – and this is still happening in the modern world. Sea vents, or hydrothermal vents found on the sea bed appear as black chimney like structures that emit a cloud of black material (hence the term, black smokers). These are formed in fields hundreds of metres wide where superheated water from below the crust seeps through the ocean floor. These deposit metal sulphides. White smokers, on the other hand, emit lighter hued minerals such as those containing barium, calcium, and silica. Are we now at the core of chalk formation – an algal bloom in association with white smokers, but at an extraordinary level of activity, enough to create a very rapid deposition in what is thought to have been shallow Cretaceous seas.

Alkaline hydrothermal vents also generate acetyl thioesters providing a start point for more complex organic molecules – and energy. These are thought to be ideal hatcheries for the origin of life.

Silica rich emissions associated with white smokers (and with geysers and hot springs) have their origin at least as early as the Jurassic when oceanic sea floors started to stretch. For example, the opening up of the Atlantic from what was Pangaea. Silicon oxide is formed when silicon is exposed to oxygen (air) and its solubility depends on its crystalline form (but read what he says). However, he continues by saying there is a fascinating aspect of dissolved silicon dioxide as when the solution cools the silicon dioxide forms crystals which precipitate out the water to form a family of natural minerals – and these include chert, flint, quartz, silicate, minerals that form rocks. Silica is also found in the cell walls of diatoms – a type of algae, one of the most common types of phytoplankton (and what chalk is really all about). Diatom cells are ensconsed within a cell wall made of silica (hydrated silicon dioxide) known as frustrules. Fossile evidence suggests frustrules emerged during, or before, the Jurassic.

The author then turns his attention to the origin of sand, made from quartz, and to deserts in particular. An erg is a sand sea or a sea of sand dunes with little vegetative cover. Mainstream consensus theory claims ergs, vast tracks of uniform quartz sand, are formed by wind erosion, or downwind from sources of sand (dry river beds, glacial outwash, dry lakes and beaches etc). The author then says, 'this annoying, and amusing, display of circular logic by the mainstream is a very sad indictment of geology. Clearly, mainstream cannot locate any precursor mountains of quartz to support their narrative of 'long continued' erosion and deposition. Geologists are loathed to admit that quartz crystals precipitate when silicon rich hydrothermal water cools and evaporates'.

The author then picks up on SIS member Gary Gilligan who has been rooting around for the origin of the sand in the Sahara – and other deserts – see his web site at www.gks.uk.com/Sahara_Desert_Chaos/ … where he proposes it had an extra-terrestrial origin. Malaga Bay then declares the Sahara sand mystery can be found in the sedimentary basins of North Africa. In one of these the sediments are 6,000m deep. In this particular basin, in Mauritania, there is an extinct source of low temperature hydrothermal waters that is 40km wide – the so called 'Eye of the Sahara'. This feature, at some point in the past, outgassed water, silica, and carbonates, and helped sustain a lush vegetation in the Sahara. Did it also create quartz sand?

All this took place in the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, referring back to geochronology time, and provides a nice link between sand sea formations and chalk formation, occurring at basically the same time (and providing chert in North Africa and flint in Europe and N America). According to the author this is due to outgassing from the interior of the Earth and is bound up with the theory of an expanding Earth, rather than the consensus Plate Tectonics model. It is a most remarkable explanation. In addition, as far as the mantra 'the present is the past' does not apply to chalk – as it is not being formed in the modern world, and is confined solely to the Cretaceous. Mainstream geologists will say outright that the formation of flint is a mystery – and several explanations will be offered. In addition, the creation of sand dunes are explained – and those deep and thick deposits of sand found under the surface of South Bedfordshire, exploited by the building trade, excavations that become huge holes in the ground many feet deep – and the sand is still soft and malleable, just like the sand you find on a beach. It has not hardened. In addition, thinking of hard sandstone deposits, there is another geological mystery surrounding the sarsen stone from which the great stones at Stonehenge were constructed from (dug out of the ground). A bed of hard sandstone, or sarsen, once covered much of the chalk formation from Wiltshire to East Anglia – but has never been found in situ (to the extent that no geologist is reputed to have written up a conclusive report of its relationship to i) the chalk (below) and ii) the clays (above). That is remarkable in itself. It is explained by the fact that people have been using the sarsen as a building material for thousands of years – and in the Chilterns it was dug out of the clay beds on the chalk hill tops and used to make cobblestones for the surrounding towns, including London. So much so that finding an in situ and undisturbed deposit has proved to be difficult. On the geological time scale the sarsen sandstones were formed much later than the chalk and this idea is strengthened as the clay deposits on the hills formed in shallow depressions – suggesting the top of the chalk had eroded to a great degree (by water or ice) but the position of the sarsen in relation to the chalk is unclear. In Wiltshire and the Berkshire Downs the sarsen lies on the surface or is dug out of the ground – and again, the relationship to the chalk is unclear. Hence, it could very well be a much later deposit, which conforms to mainstream theory. Rather, the hard formation of what may already have existed as a sand deposit, may date to a later period. Interesting ideas to float.

Skip to content