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Mississippi Mud and Antarctica

31 August 2023

How did the ice  cap first form on Antarctica? At https://phys.org/news/2023-08-mssissippi-mud-reveals-secrets-antarctica.html … professes to know the answer. Wegener’s continental drift is not mentioned. This is essentially the Eoecene-Oligocene boundary event. Temperatures at this time are said to have dropped so low that ice formed on the Antarctic continent. No mention of where the continent was situated at the time. In the press release. Low temperatures forming ice seems to sound like an obvious link – but is it?

The event is also called the Grande Coupure, after a French location where it was first recognised. See for example https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031018211000083 … or go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eocene_Oligocene_extinction_event … which appears to capture the extent of the Grande Coupure, and it sounds very much like another global catastrophic event. One might even hazard a guess that it might have involved another space rock. Hence, the chilly weather. But did it herald in the Antarctic ice sheet?

Cores from mud drilled in Mississippi, not far from the Gulf Coast by the look of the map, suggests there was a major transfer of carbon from plant remains in coastal environments of south and east North America. The carbon was leached into the atmosphere, it is said. This is back to the hoary idea that co2 causes warming – a temporary brake on the cooling event that went fully viral once the carbon had been used up. Hence, from this we may take it that there was also evidence of heating – as well as cooling [at the boundary event]. I did have to read that twice, or even three times. This is because it is usually the other way round – plants absorbing carbon from the atmosphere. The mud itself is derived from the ancient flood plain of the Mississippi river – as it then was. The event also coincided with a drop in sea levels around that part of North America – revealing what is known as the Gulf Coastal Plain [basically, the continental shelf]. The researchers claim this occurred, not because it is self evident the continental shelf system was once dry land but that ice forming on Antarctica was responsible for the massive change in sea levels. This is mainstream consensus at its best. Ice forms at the poles and sea levels drop. It is especially favoured to account for the disappearance of the Pleistocene ice sheet in NW Europe. Ice locks up water but most of the Antarctic ice sheet sits on the continent – above sea level. It is formed by snowfall – frozen rain rather than iced up sea water. The latter may partially account for the ice sheet on the West Antarctic peninsular, the bit that sticks out in the direction of South America and it clearly was once an integral part of that land mass. The catastrophic nature of the breakaway is clearly seen, in an atlas, by the contorted nature of the narrow strip of land dividing South America from the peninsular. When did that happen? As the  Grande Coupure is described as an extinction event one might hazard the guess that the cooling event was created by the catastrophe hiding in daylight but dutifully ignored. If there was any heating involved that too would have been associated with the vector.In other  words, we don’t really know if the ice cap formed on Antarctica at this time. Is it a matter of interpolation by the research team, desperate to find a reason for that ice cap coming into being. It is worth noting that if pole shift, however slight it might have been, might explain not just the sudden appearance of ice as Antartica was transported to a position astride  the south pole, but the lower sea levels in eastern North Ameria. A movement of the poles would naturally involve a lowering of sea levels in some parts of the globe – and a raising of sea levels in other parts of the world. The press release is silent on sea levels outside the North Atlantic. One may also note that if a catastrophic event caused continental drift to accelerate that might also explain the new situation of the Antarctic continent. It is a matter of uniformitarian consensus science that the plates move at such a slow rate of movement that cannot be detected, even by sophisticated instruments. That may be the situation in the present time but it was not necessarily so in the past [that  sounds like a song}.

We are informed that the Eocene-Oligocene boundary event was probably the earth’s biggest climate cooling  event. We can choose to take that with a pinch of salt. In retrospect, I missed out the point that in a pole shift situation sea levels around the world would have to conform to the new geoid. In some places, the tide would go out and not come back. In other places the tide would come in – and keep on coming in until the new equilibrium, or balance, was achieved. It does not necessarily involve anything specifically catastrophic. That arrives from the vector. A space rock, or major geological upheaval, could have spawned a tsunami as the oceans realigned themselve. Hence, all that mud in the ancient Mississippi flood plain. How all that might conform to the research conclusions I don’t know but reader are free to speculate.

Note .. you have to bear in mind I am speculating. I opinionate that uniformitarian thinking is past its sell by date. This is obvious if you read Derek Ager’s ‘The Stratigraphical Record‘ Wiley: 1993, but is his tome somewhat lame in  order to keep his peers onboard – not upsetting them too much.




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