The day the sea invaded the Sahara

10 Jul 2019

At ... in the Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History (summer of 2019) we have a paper based on an accumulation of 20 years of research in what is now the Sahara desert. It is set between 100 and 50 million years ago = the Late Cretaceous and the early Paleogene (on the geological ladder). It concerns what is described as a sea way and the blame is placed squarely on rising sea levels. It is an established fact of mainstream that the Cretaceous period was extremely warm as trees are known to have been growing near the North Pole. It is assumed the poles have not shifted - even though an asteroid crashed into the Yucatan at the K/T boundary. The easiest way to get trees growing at the current North Pole is to have the pole situated elsewhere in the Cretaceous - which gets rid of the problem of trees growing where it is darkness for six months of the year. A pole shift might even explain why the sea invaded what is now the Sahara - a redistribution of the geoid and its ocean water.

However, the article doesn't touch that possibility and works within the mainstream gradualist model - which one would expect they would. This is not an article about rocking the boat it is primarily a classification of the fossils found in the process of three separate expeditions to the Sahara (primarily with a focus on Mali). As it included a great number of marine animals the logical explanation is that the sea invaded the land - and as geologists and others think the Cretaceous was inordinately warm they have the perfect mechanism - global warming in the dinosaur era. In the modern world we have a self regulating atmospheric system that has evolved to shunt excess heat out into space. Did the atmosphere behave differently in the Cretaceous?

Three expeditions, mainly to Mali, in 1999, 2003 and 2008, looked at rock exposures in West Africa. Giant sea snakes and catfish were recorded (but gigantism was a feature of the late dinosaur era). Giant fish of various kinds, tropical invertebrate and long snouted crocodilians are mentioned, and various mammals and even mangrove forest (all buried in the rocks). The seaway is said to have changed in size and geography on several occasions - which may indicate different channels of water. However, the feature I found most striking is the fact the K/T boundary event is smack in the middle of the period in question. As such the impact could have created huge tsunami waves on the opposite side of the pond. In this instance, West Africa. Is the seaway a relic of uniformitarianism? Was the seaway, and its fossils, the result of massive tidal waves generated by the asteroid - or by pole shift (or any other factor)? Were the sedimentary layers at the K/T boundary event laid down quickly rather than over millions of years? By avoiding catastrophism mainstream loses out on a lot of out of the box thinking - and alternative explanations. Merely keeping the uniformitarian paradigm alive and kicking seems to be a primary motive of certain kinds of research. This is not the case with this article. The researchers are working within the geological model they have been bequeathed. This is no different to oil explorers working within the system to search for possible new sources of the black stuff. How the layers were laid down is neither here nor there as it doesn't affect the oil deposits, as such, or the fossil classification. They are simply there and that is all there is to it. However, if oil is produced by vegetation that has been super heated and by other processes one can get an even better picture of catastrophism in the rocks.

One problem for catastrophism and not for the mainstream position is the presence of mangrove forest in the rocks in central West Africa. Mangroves grow on the coast. Were they growing in Mali or had they been uproooted by a wall of water and transported to Mali?