Tropical Antarctic

5 Apr 2020

At ... the mid Cretaceous was one of the warmest periods in the history of the earth - which is why it pops up in research so often, as a result of modern climate change. It is like picking low hanging fruit, as they say, unable to get at the nice fat damsons a bit higher on the tree. You could use a walking stick I suppose and give them a biff to dislodge them so they fall - but they've tried that with a hockey stick. A  sedimentary sequence from the West Antactic shelf indicates a lowland rainforest environment existed from 92 to 83 million years ago. The sediments contain fossil roots embedded in a mudstone matrix containing a diverse set of pollen and spores. In fact, the sediment core is 3m long and although described as a sequence it could very well be a contemporary bed created by the amount of mud laid down. In addition, if the Cretaceous as a whole, or a substantial part of it, was laid down at the K/T boundary (the missing sediments created by the asteroid strike) one has to wonder if the dinosaur age was really as warm as claimed - or if the asteroid strike had something to do with it (with volcanism and tectonic forces causing a massive upwelling of co2). However, the discovery of a rainforest environment is somewhat anomalous - as the Antarctic is in darkness for several months during the winter period. Of course, the first thing one thinks of is continental drift - but this is not mainstream. Nowadays we have Plate Tectonics which is a bit different. Never the less it would allow a shift of position of the peninsular - but by how much?

The same story is at ... researchers estimate carbon dioxide levels were over 1000 parts per million compared to around 400 today. They assume this amount of co2 caused the high temperatures and melted the ice at the poles - even allowing rainforest to grow. At 1000 parts per million we have an extraordinarily high number which must require an extraordinary explanation - but that is not forthcoming. It is just accepted that it was warm in the Cretaceous - but if 400 parts per million are not warming the earth and then it is likely that 1000 parts per million may not have done so either. How firm is the co2 causes global warming theory. It has never been tested and is never analysed as the message is controlled - for the consumption of the public. We just do not know what the real effects of co2 on temperatures and climate might be - it is a closed shop. Nobody is allowed to investigate it (and if they do they are quickly under attack for disputing the favoured message and dismissed as a climate denier).

Of course one might also argue that the Antarctic was nowhere near the poles in the Cretaceous - and the asteroid strike caused the poles to shift. Just an idea. I prefer continental drift - but how do you get Antarctica to move the necessary distance.

Meanwhile, at ... Zealandia, which was above sea level in the Cretaceous and is thought to have separated from Gondwana 85 million years ago (notice that is within the dates assigned to the Antarctic rainforest). Zealandia, we learn, underwent a paroxysm of some kind between 50 and 35 million years ago. This is thought to be due to a continental collision in which subduction began in the western Pacific. At this time parts of Zealandia rose by 1.8 miles and other parts of it dropped in elevation by the same amount. Subduction occurs when one plate collides with another sinks underneath it. It also coincided with buckling of rock layers and the formation of underwater volcanoes throughout the western Pacific - the birth of the Ring of Fire. Sounds like another catastrophic event. The elevation was determined by tiny fossils from sea floor cores in the Tasman Sea (in mud and sediment on top of rocks formed in the Cretaceous). Notice - rocks formed in the Cretaceous (covered in mud dated 50 million years ago - possibly as late as 35 million years ago). This is precisely what Peter James, an Australian geologist wrote in his book (the missing rock strata of the Atlantic ocean bottom). Note - the same thing in the western Pacific. What is that telling us?

The fossils suggest that between 50 and 35 million years ago northern Zealandia had shallow reef ecosystems. Later, the entirety of Zealandia sunk by around 1km in depth - which suggests a fault (possibly indicated by the New Caledonia Trough) that caused a slip of one side of the fault line, spreading sideways into adjacent fault systems around the western Pacific.

Note ... Zealandia is a chunk of continental crust next door to Australia. Australia, in turn, is thought to have been joined to Antarctica (splitting apart in the dinosaur era). It is almost totally submerged, apart from New Zealand and New Caledonia. Zealandia is not made of ocean crust, we are told, it is not magnesium and iron rich. Now, if the poles shifted (at some point in time) the ocean waters would have been redistributed - submerging Zealandia (and perhaps shifting Antarctica into the polar zone). Just a thought.