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12 May 2015
Climate change

At http://phys.org/print350561270.html … ocean acidification has been ruled out in the wake of the K/T boundary event (the end of Cretaceous extinction event). A paper in PNAS claims other factors must be looked for in order to account for the disappearance of so many marine life forms, such as ammonites and planktonic calcifera. The amount of soot and aerosols thrown up by the impact event is one avenue to explore – including intense and prolonged darkness.

A circular argument on global copper deposits is being published in Nature Geoscience – see http://phys.org/print350561981.html Apparently, copper is thought to form around 2km under the ground. That is a long way down. It is brought to the surface, or near the surface, by erosion processes over a long period of time. Given enough time it is possible for rocks to erode 2km deep – and the fact this may have happened is taken as nothing out of the ordinary. The idea that erosion processes may sometimes take place much more rapidly is not a part of this paper. It is left unmentioned. Anyway, the circle starts with the fact that rain is one of the agents of erosion – and it rains a lot in the tropics. Funny thing is that most copper deposits are not found in the tropics – and some of them occur in desert environs (such as the Atacama on the dry side of the Andes, or the dry regions of the South West (USA). Obviously, it ignores copper deposits in temperate areas – such as the Great Orme on the north coast of Wales (near Llandudno), or Katanga (in what is now Zambia, located in a balmy part of Africa). A surprising number of fallacies appear to exist in this argument – but never mind. Assuming copper deposits are more common in desert and semi desert environs the authors go on to suggest this is because the erosion processes take longer – giving more time for copper to form a significant deposit. They are saying that in the tropics copper doesn't occur as commonly as in the dry zones because it erodes too quickly. Wow. Rain in the tropics erodes rocks down to 2km deep quickly – in a uniformitarian sense I suppose.

We may also note it is hypothetical that porphyry copper deposits form as deep as 2km only – and do not form nearer the surface. Finally, the authors fly their badge of honour as they go on to say that because erosion takes so long in the first instance there is only a finite amount of copper on the planet – and because most of the world is eroding too fast for new deposits of copper to form.

At http://phys.org/print350566411.html … we are informed a global warming event 55 million years ago triggered a corrosive deep water current in the North Atlantic – and again, we are back on the new favourite cash cow, ocean acidification. We might ask ourselves how deep the Atlantic Ocean was 55 million years ago as it was supposed to be a shallow sea during the Cretaceous – just 10 million years previous. How far had the Atlantic split apart – was it a stepping stone from Newfoundland to the Hebrides off the coast of NW Scotland? Are the authors assuming there was an Atlantic Ocean not much different to the one that exists at the moment when during the Cretaceous the Midlands of England were by the sea side. It is a given that ocean acidification took place when in reality what they are looking at is the after effects of a catastrophic event of some kind – probably another impact. It also relies on the assumption that ocean acidification caused by rising levels of co2 in the atmosphere warmed the corrosive bottom waters which then became less dense and were replaced by denser water above. This is quite unlike the conclusion of the first link (above) that ruled out ocean acidification as a cause of extinction of marine organisms. We may also note that current geological theorising is that during the Cretaceous global warming was a fact of life because the poles were much warmer than they are in the modern world. Here we have authors ignoring this and positioning global warming effects much later – so why were trees growing in the Arctic 66 million years ago – but a corrosive current spawned by global warming only occur at 55 million years ago?

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