Historical Revisionism

One of the reasons geologists don’t involve themselves with human history and the geological record is a result of the dominance of the Darwinian Evolution paradigm and its antecedent, Lyellian geological uniformitarianism. In this paradigm humans and their civilisations are mere afterthoughts at the tail end of the evolutionary process. Except when anachronistic anomalies appear such as aqueducts under Miocene sediments or pre-Columbian stone cities etc illogically located in the Perusian Antiplano and rugged mountains.

I’m presently bogged down in Ollier and Pain’s book on the origin of mountains, most of which were formed during the Cainozoic Era. While reading the book it occurred to me that there is one stumbling block to understanding what had happened to the Earth during the Cainozoic Era – the tendency of researchers to engage in geographical origami by which land masses are studied without the inclusion of the geology under the seas and oceans. From Wegener’s continental drift theory to our present attempts via plate tectonic and earth expansion theories, most of geology’s pontifications are mainly restricted to the exposed lands.

Of course our knowledge of the oceans is rapidly increasing but it’s important to realise that the earliest attempts to reconstruct the geological past had to be restricted to the visible land masses and hence the use of geographical origami.

One fact emerging from Ollier and Pain’s work is the existence of the ancient erosional planes or palaeo-land surfaces, especially the remnants of these surfaces in the very complex Cainozoic Era geology.  The problem isn’t so much their existence, but the implication that these palaeo-land surfaces represented boringly flat plains that cover much of the planet, whether land masses or the abyssal plains of the oceans.  In fact the Earth itself is so close to a perfect sphere that one wonders if we are all not living in some sort of geological matrix.

I continue to plow into Ollier and Pain!

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Venusian Mysteries

Whilst looking for a specific bookmark in my internet browser I encountered one that I forgot about dealing with the tail of Venus and the weak solar wind, linked here, and came across the following sentence:

The ionosphere is created by incoming extreme ultraviolet light and X-rays from the Sun which splits the atoms in the upper atmosphere of Venus and creates a layer of electrons and ions.


As the late Irving Langmuire discovered last century, immersing a conductive object in plasma results in the spontaneous formation of a plasma double layer around the object, insulating it from the enveloping plasma.

This is what happens when you think with a limited number of ideas and mix the physics of plasma and the physics of ordinary inert matter together.  In fact as 99.997% of the visible Universe is comprised of matter in the plasma state, it is a bit of a stretch to assume that the physics of electrically inert matter, namely Newton’s Gravitational theory, is applicable to the other 99.997%.

Update: And the source of the ions isn’t the Earth but space itself, that is filled with low concentration plasma.

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The Scientific Method

This is becoming repetitious but it’s worth doing because it seems clear that what we call science isn’t, and has, instead, started to become a religion or issue of faith.

In mineral exploration searching for buried mineral deposits involves using indirect techniques such as geophysics and geochemistry . Where a mineral deposit is suspected to exist, buried deep underground, it is assumed that this deposit has one or other physical property that can be measured at the Earth’s surface.  So let’s assume that the target is a buried iron ore deposit, more dense than the surrounding rocks and hence producing a ‘gravitational field’ that can be measured by a surface survey using gravimeters.  This is done and some assumptions made concerning iron-ore body density, volume and depth.  Ignoring the technical aspects, a gravity anomaly map is produced that everyone agrees is the correct interpretation. This is the stage in the scientific method when consensus occurs.

The next stage is to test the model by drilling or digging. The drilling is completed but the expected target is not found. The hypothesis, that the gravity anomaly is caused by a buried more dense body, is falsified. The interpreted model is thus found to be wrong, for whatever technical reasons.

We do not adopt the policy that the model is actually correct and that the data, the drilling, was wrong, that the hole was drilled in the wrong spot. This procedure is the prospector’s faith problem, that the prospector knows there is iron-ore under the ground, and we have simply drilled in the wrong place.

Now consider the approach taken by the surveying team surveying the Andes or Himalayas 100 years ago and discovering their survey plumb-bob and line did not deflect as expected by the adjacent mountain.

Instead of concluding that their model or assumption was wrong, the surveyors instead concluded there was a lack of mass in the mountain and thus fabricated or imagined the existence of a low density root to the mountain to explain the lack of deflection.

Instead they should have concluded the belief that mass attracts mass, the geophysical model, had to be wrong. But they didn’t. They assumed it had to be right, and that the data were in error.

This is pseudoscience which is alive and well to this very day.

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Earthly Plasma Effects

I’m studying Ollier and Pain’s book about the origins of mountains and the example of Uluru in central Australia, aka Ayers Rock, as a mountain created by the erosion of all the surrounding rocks.  Ayers Rock is made of steeply bedded arkose and the question of where did all the eroded material or rock go? There’s no evidence of an ancient planation surface, so the erosional circumstances of Ayers Rock remains a geological mystery.

One novel erosional mechanism is plasma machining and it occurred to me that exponents of plasma physics applied to geological processes are ignoring a fundamental factor – the behaviour of electrified plasma in and on water.  All the laboratory scaled plasma experiments, including those made by interested amateurs, involve applying high voltage and amperage electric currents to DRY solid matter, or in the geological sense, dry rocks. Add water, especially ionised water, and literally, all hell could break loose.  There is a very good reason why electricity and water do not mix too well, and modelling wet material subject to plasma arcs in the laboratory environment is almost as dangerous as fooling around with plasma Z-pinch experiments.

On reading Ollier and Pain you discover the enormous volumes of sediment deposited at the Earth’s surface during during the Cainozoic Era. This requires massive erosional events which pose no problem for the Lyellians as they invoke the factor of near infinite time. However the appearance of rounded cobbles and boulders in the Surtsey Island beach deposits suggest that the formation of sediments occurs more rapidly than generally believed.  This fact is seized on by the biblical literalists as supporting their religious beliefs, while the biblical liberalists, or Lyellians, reject this rapid process simply for the lack of any viable mechanism. The secular humanists and atheists have their own creation myth in the astronomical Big Bang event, and hence tend to agree with the biblical liberalists in terms of the efficacy of the long chronology.

The general model of fluvial transport involves crustal uplift and gravity powered water flow with or without ice and wind, along with chemical weathering, to slowly erode the mountains or uplands.  This is all and well until one gets to the base of the mountain or upland that of necessity has to be surrounded by lowlands, and then the problem of moving eroded materially laterally appears. Flowing water can’t actually do it. Well, it can if the eroded material is very fine grained, and the particles remain in suspension. Large particles move downstream via the process of either rolling or saltation, so it is believed, until an obstacle is encountered and movement stops until the channel depression is filled and downstream movement restarts when the sediment load overflows the barrier into the next channel depression.

The problem is that one needs a little bit more than an infinite amount of time to move sediment eroded from mountains into large sedimentary basins, as presently believed.

My experience is that water simply cannot do it and something else must have been additionally involved.  This possibility raises enormous problems for the geological profession for the paradigm of Uniformitarianism requires that only observable presently operating physical processes can be used to explain geological observations. Mysterious external or exogenous processes are simply not permitted as this is a necessary requirement for the application of the scientific method.

The problem is the definition of the present and what primary observations are ‘scientifically’ permissable by that definition.  When native peoples relate historical stories, (their histories) that involve rainbow serpents and other celestial prodigies that sculptured the present day land-forms, then those stories have to be taken at face value and not as some primitive superstition.  They may be considered unbelievable but when reduced to essentials all human observations, and thus beliefs, have to be anchored in historical physical observations, no matter how muddled the memory of those observations became over the ages to the present day.  The ability to make sense of native myths depends on the number of ideas one thinks with, and one’s experience.  I recall a lecture by Prof. Ian Plimer stressing the need for an interdiscplinary approach to university study, when we undergraduates were required to include some social science subjects to our curriculum; the great pity was that we never thought of wandering to the school of electrical engineering for our multidiciplinary subject requirements.

And it strikes me, as a retired diamond exploration geologist, the fact that kimberlites, the primary source of diamonds, occur in all geological terrains, from crystalline basement to sedimentary basins and everthing in between, that I would wander into taboo lands to find new explanations simply because the ideas I was inculcated at University were simply unable to explain what I observed in the field.  That native peoples indicated anachronistic historical knowledge of geological phenomena only strengthened the resolve to travel further into the taboo-lands of  plasma physics.

There’s another taboo-land we need to visit – the land of our mind in order to understand how we think and to explain how many of us, when confronted with new data, refuse to change our minds and to continue to see only what we believe. The inability to change one’s mind is the hall mark of the ossified brain.

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Signals and Noises

A familiar graph in the geosciences is the Greenland ice-core isotope plot.



GISS O16 isotope plot

A first pass ‘look’ at the plot would interpret the data as noise, the red line region, and signal, the blue line region.  Remember the X-Axis is Depth, not age.

One explanation might be that the ice core labelled as “noise” might be very recent ice and that the abrupt change from red to blue marks an icy unconformity below which there is signal. The depth of the red-blue transition is approximately 1250 metres down, so when you work from down to up. and courageously assign an age to the core, then what age is the red-blue transition assigned?

Given the calving rate of the Greenland Ice Cap, (and has anyone actually estimated that?), it seems likely that the ice-conveyor operates to the depth of 1250 metres above which ice is more or less rapidly replaced, leaving behind fossil ice below the icyformity.

When did Greenland ice up? At the end of the Roman Period that in the revised chronology would have been ~950AD.

Update: Electrical resistivity sounding of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, Sion Shabtaie, Charles R. Bentley (Source)

Electrical resistivity soundings using a Schlumberger array have been carried out at Dome C, East Antarctica (74°39′S, 124°10′E, elevation 3400 m), to sound the entire 3500-m depth of the ice sheet. Changes in density and temperature are largely separated in the ice at Dome C, so activation energies for both firn and ice could be determined: we find an activation energy of 0.25 eV in both solid ice and firn between −15°C and −58°C. A common value of the activation energy points to a single transport regime in which the charge carriers and conduction paths are the same in firn and ice. To evaluate the variation of resistivity with density, we have considered five dielectric mixture models that fit the available data on the high-frequency dielectric constant of firn. Only Looyenga’s equation fits the field data for dc resistivity. In the upper 900 m of the ice sheet, where impurity concentrations are known from core samples, we find no correlation between resistivities and the concentrations of salts or acids. Instead, we find it likely that resistivities are correlated with the crystal size, hence with the Holocene-Wisconsin boundary in the ice column. A pronounced increase in resistivity, to a value comparable with that in temperate glacier ice, occurs deep within the ice sheet. We attribute this to a large increase in the size and irregularity of the ice crystals, which destroys the continuity of the impurity shells surrounding the ice crystals that we believe supply the conduction paths (Shabtaie and Bentley, 1994a). High resistivity does not imply removal of the impurities from the system; moderate concentrations of impurities can be accommodated by locating them in disconnected domains. (my boldening LH)

So layering marked by acids or bases, isn’t producing the resistivity layering from the radar surveying.

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Earth Expansion – Spontaneous or Driven?

One of the more peculiar facts surrounding diamond is its apparent crystalline stability at the Earth’s surface, and behind the De Beers’ famous marketing jingle Diamonds are Forever.

This model is based on the standard diamond stability plot.

Why don’t diamonds spontaneously break down into graphite? Why are diamonds used in drilling machines to bore into solid rock at very high temperatures and pressures associated with drilling? I recall a laboratory experiment described by John Hawthorne (De Beers) at the Anglo American Research Labs during 1980/81 when a diamond crystal was placed in a concrete mixer with a grinding media, and left to operate over night. Next morning no diamond was found in the comminuted slurry. Almost magic. And no graphite.

Here’s a photo of a burnt out diamond coring bit used in the GWD01 drill hole associated with a gravity anomaly. Whoops? And the diamonds were still present in the bit matrix.

Pardoo 013.JPG

Diamonds are also the source of the diamond dust used to cut and polish gem quality diamonds; graphite is again conspicuously absent in this material. If grinding diamonds into dust doesn’t yield graphite, even under the high temperatures and pressures of a high-speed diamond drilling machine, then why is diamond so apparently physically stable at the Earth’s surface?

Which leads to the idea of an expanding earth model. Is the Earth continuously expanding or is it, like natural diamond, stable until affected by an external driver to initiate expansion? Which suggests the expansion is punctuated in a similar fashion to Gould and Eldridge’s idea of an evolutionary punctuated equilibrium for the biosphere?

Just mentioning.


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Hot Earth Lacking Heat Source

Real Clear Science published an article lamenting that science can only explain half of the Earth’s internal heat. They believe that the earth’s heat sources are from radioactive decay products and residual heat when the planet was first formed.

Some of the heat is produced by radioactive elements, but there is some really unclear science when they write the following:

The main known sources of radioactivity within the Earth are unstable types of uranium, thorium and potassium – something we know based on samples of rock up to 200km below the surface.

The only rocks that come from those depths are kimberlites, and kimberlites are definitely not radioactive.

So what are the intrepid scientists going to do? Collect sufficient geo-neutrinos to identify which come from uranium, potassium etc.

We must also realise that mainstream science labours under the intellectual weight of Newton’s Gravity theory that has ossified into unchallengeable dogma.

In the previous post I suggested that planets are formed by prolonged plasma Z-pinch mechanisms and if so, and we have a planet like Earth that now has a weak Z-pinch field, (it has to have a weak Z-Pinch field because of the existing plasma configuration), and the previously. highly compressed matter is now slowly changing physical state to a lower pressure, higher volume state. This transition from high pressure, high temperature state to lower pressure and temperature states releases energy, and thus heat.


Earth heat flow map. wikipediaCC BY-SA

So the high heat flows from the various spreading zones around the planet are from the outpouring of basalt from a more dense ultramafic parent in the upper mantle. Note that these zones of high heat source are not radioactive, evidence that they cannot have been sourced from a magma heated by radioactive decay.

The other oddity, and it is Wikipedia after all, is the high heat flow ice caps, Antartica and Greenland. Sort of counter intuitive I would suggest. I wonder if it is due to the presence of Chinese fried ice-cream desserts?

Ignoring gravity and using plasma universe physics, then the missing heat is not really a problem – a simple case of the Earth slowly expanding and degassing over time.

Update: Incidentally, a very weak plasma Z-Pinch field surrounding the Earth would result in a very weak Lorentz force that from symmetry would converge to the centroid of the Earth. Some would call this weak force gravity.

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