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Lake Titicaca

26 April 2015

At www.ncgt.org/newsletter.php … click on the issue, March 2011 (and have another look at that date, 2011 – not 2015) and scroll down to page 44 – 'The Lake Titicaca Enigma' by Peter M James (again). He is a busy bee it seems. In this offering, from 4 years ago, he has a look at the geomorphology of Lake Titicaca, situated high above sea level in the Andes Cordillera (high plains country). It has saline water and sports oceanic fauna – so it was once connected to the sea (probably as a lagoon). The question is, how did it move from sea level – upwards. The Altiplano, it seems, has many other relics of a nearby ocean past – such as a clutch of salt pans, snaking along in a chain like formation. James theory is that these changes occurred as a direct consequence of polar wander or large precessional wobbles.

In mainstream literature it is generally regarded there has been considerable tectonic uplift in South America – in fairly recent times. Lake Titicaca is thought to have been at sea level at some point in the Late Pleistocene. Another opinion that is popular is that the elevation involves changes in sea level – but it requires a substantial amount, so much so the theory is usually dismissed as it would imply sea level had gone down whereas in uniformitarian circles it is an article of faith that sea levels rose at the end of the Ice Age due to the melting of the ice sheets. In other words, the sea level changes are going in the opposite direction to what they are in other parts of the world.

The problem with uplift, as James says, is that it would involve not just a localised region but a large portion of the Pacific side of the South American continent. What mechanism could be involved – and adds that isostacy cannot work as the uplift involved is so great. Not only that, South America was not covered by an ice sheet – so how could it be bouncing back..

Neither is there any real evidence of actual uplift according to James – such as stream profiles on either flank of the Andes Cordillera. Sea level change is more promising, it would seem. If the poles were to shift by 20 degrees, quite large changes in sea level would occur. However, when the equatorial bulge is taken into account, areas along the old bulge would be left high and dry by even quite small polar shifts, while former regions of polar flattening could be flooded (and submerged). A polar ice sheet centred on Baffin Island in the Late Glacial Maximum, 30 degrees from the present polar position, would, he thinks, place Lake Titicaca not far from the equator (and therefore the equatorial bulge). In addition, any change in the poles would not simply be a single shift from A to B but would involve large precessional wobbles in the Earth's mode of spin. Difficulties could arise in differentiating between the effects of polar movements and the effects of precessional wobbles, since precession by itself would have the power to produce wild changes in sea levels. In addition, a likely reduction in the spin rate of the Earth would accompany the wobbling, he says, possibly resulting in a spreading of the oceans away from equatorial regions. At the end of the wobble the Earth's rate of spin would increase once more – like a spinning top.

These points could of course be enhanced by embracing aspects of Peter Warlow's theory of tippe top spinning motion, that has no requirement to change the spin rate itself, and has the ability to resettle down in the original position – or a new position. Occasionally, a tippe top can spin right the way over, again without losing momentum or speed of spin rate. Something has to explain the geological evidence of periodic magnetic reversals – full reversals, that is.

At Lake Titicaca there is a strand line representing an earlier beach level. It continues in a straight line from a high elevation to a lower level and is usually interpreted as evidence of more uplift in the north than in the south – but it could also very well mark the lake level during the former polar location, the sea level being preserved as an upwards slanting beach line. This would be the situation if the poles had moved – and the equator had moved also.

Terraced slopes are also found above Lake Titicaca – and on the slope of the Altiplano from Peru to Bolivia, even continuing to points above the modern snow line. These are interpreted as relics of early agriculture – and this again is pointed out as proof of uplift. However, if the terraces had formed, whether by cultivation or not, when Lake Titicaca was at sea level, it would make more sense. We may bear in mind that Lake Titicaca was not supposed to have been at sea level when humans inhabited South America.

James considers that marine sea level changes also coincide with extinctions – or large numbers of animal carcasses and skeletal material. He says large sea level changes have their origins in polar mobility and that such changes would also have the effect of concentrating bones and debris in tombs, or mud stands, as in the situation many Late Pleistocene deposits are found. In other words, he is referring perhaps to the Alaskan muck and the islands of bones in the Arctic Ocean, swept there from a steppe region that existed in Siberia contemporary with the Late Glacial Maximum.

This sounds an awful lot like Velikovsky in 'Earth in Upheaval' – the raging beast of water dsiplacement. It is in effect, quite exciting. It would of course also explain the infilling of caves and depressions with the bones of Pleistocene animals. In his references he quotes Darwin's 'The Voyage of the Beagle', Thomas Gold, 'Instability of the Earth's Axis of Spin', Charles Hapgood, 'Path of the Poles', PC Hibben, 'The Lost Americans' and so on.

note … we may bear in mind there were large sea level changes around 6000BC. This involved the flooding of the North Sea basin, the inundation of Sunda Land (a former tract of land in SE Asia), changes in the China Sea and around the continental shelf system of Australia. It has been claimed Lake Titicaca was at sea level prior to 6000BC – but mainstream is of the opinion this was the situation deep within the Pleistocene era (on the basis of the slow process of uplift).

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