Pleistocene Nonconformity - 5 - Crustal slipperiness

We now tackle the question of how the crust might be able to move at all. Recall that it was this objection more that anything else that doomed Wegener's hypothesis to obscurity for decades. Our evidence for a crustal shift is similar to his evidence for continental drift. That is, it is obvious to any school boy looking at a globe and following up on a little deduction once the key idea is picked up on.

Crustal slipperiness

The recognition of the reality of plate tectonics is one of the great triumphs of modern earth science. It has created order out of geological chaos and has hugely informed our understanding of all geological processes. In particular, mountain building can be seen as momentum discharge as one crustal plate crashes into another.

The catch is that the movement of the plates, which is measurable and ongoing, represents a serious energy puzzle. Practically, if we reasonably assume that the affected crust is approximately one hundred miles thick, then a one hundred mile wide section, lifted about one vertical mile by underlying fluid pressure and continuously replaced, generates enough force to push a one hundred mile thick plate continuously. Obviously, this could only happen if the underlying friction is negligible. Certainly global hydrostatic energy transmission is inferred and we can additionally infer movement along a low-viscosity fluidic boundary layer in the direction of plate travel. This is still not good enough since crustal integrity will generate overlaps into areas of counter flow. We quickly return to a situation in which it would be nice to see low friction along the crustal slip plane.

That we are dealing with a slip plane is nicely demonstrated by the passing of the Pacific plate over the apparent Hawaiian hot spot. I observe that if the Pleistocene crustal movement hypothesis is correct, then this particular hot spot has been shifted and will take a massive amount of time to re emerge. In the meantime the molten zones developed beneath the main island will continue to expel material. The vast majority of geologically active zones including plate consumption are contained within the crust and these are simply carried along by any crustal movement. The hot spot is an exception.

The absolute need for low viscosity is apparent. We observe that the deepest rocks we encounter on the surface are the Kimberlites, which rocket to the surface from the one hundred-mile depth associated with the deepest basement of the crust. The implied speed of travel of an estimated seventy-five miles per hour infers remarkable fluidity. More importantly, the source temperature and pressure eliminates all but the most chemically bound compounds. In other words, there is no water or other gases migrating to higher levels in the crust.

Perhaps we should take our cue from the Kimberlites, which are the primary host for diamonds. The diamonds precipitate out from pure carbon within the Kimberlites as they rocket to the surface. What is often forgotten is that the Kimberlites are rapidly shedding carbon all the way to the surface. This implies that the rock began as a fluid supersaturated in carbon. The fact that diamond crystals are formed at all presupposes a supersaturated solution. My speculation is that the crustal layer including the Asthenosphere lies on a layer of material supersaturated in pure carbon, thicker than previously supposed that is inherently slippery and having low viscosity. It seems unlikely that at these pressures, that the slipperiness of graphite is retained, but that may well be the case.

One feature of carbon that is often overlooked is its high melt temperature compared to other elements. It becomes molten at temperatures in excess of 3500o C. It boils at temperatures over 4000o C. Of the common elements and minerals entrained in the crust, carbon resists melting the longest. Add this to the fact of its low density as compared to these same materials and we have the necessary conditions for a concentration plane for carbon under the crust. Convection above would send non-molten carbon down into the carbon layer and convection below this layer would concentrate this layer by density. The Kimberlites merely confirm it.

The existence of this layer possibly answers another interesting problem. The implied high natural electrical conductivity of this layer makes it an excellent candidate for handling the massive global electron flow necessary to electrically affect the global magnetic field. The electron flow itself can be physically derived from the daily solar and lunar tides that will cyclically stress and relax the layer, inducing a steady build up of static charge and inducing electron flow within the conductive layer. The zone of maximum charging would be concentrated within belts paralleling the equator with the electron flow possibly either flowing towards the poles or flowing primarily along the equator following the tides.

We can certainly postulate a charging shell. The complexity of the tidal effect resulting from the twenty-three degree tilt of the globe prevents an easy configuration of the electron flow. This shell charging process needs to be cumulative over geological time periods until the process itself must discharge the buildup of electrical energy. The most certain way to do this would be to force the reversal of the earth’s magnetic field. This has in fact occurred often. This process is clearly benign and any shifts will be abrupt. They may even become predictable.

I do not have an exact electromagnetic model to describe this possible behavior pattern, and it may well turn out to be theoretically impossible. The only simple model that occurs to me is one in which the electron flow is nudged along by the daily tides until the electron wave is large enough to collapse and reverse itself jolting the magnetic field into a reversal. Thereupon the flow is reestablished against the new magnetic field and is built up to the point that it once again forces a pole shift draining off some of the accumulated energy. Then once again it builds up and strengthens the magnetic field until the wave once again collapse. This seems possible. On the other hand, I rather think the explanation will prove much more sophisticated.

Right now we simply do not know and any theoretical models will be difficult to prove.

Returning to the subject of crustal movement the possibility of extreme slipperiness does partially open the door to the possibility of the crust been much more mobile than has been reasonably expected. This needs to be investigated thoroughly on a theoretical basis. There may be subtle forms of dynamic instability that are built up by the application of tidal stress and released by floating the crust to a new orientation.

In any event, we have one mechanism in place by the high velocity high-density asteroid that is capable of generating the movements without obliterating all life. It also enables polar shifting as a result of the buildup of the polar ice caps as a second option which would be even more survivable.

We now come to the compelling part of this tale. That is the data itself. Quite bluntly, rotating the crust along the proscribed axis makes a large number of major difficulties with the currently held paradigm disappear. More importantly, the solution seems to be global, as it must. My natural concern is for this type of event to be anomalous and extraterrestrial in origins. A recurring earth based cyclic event would be a catastrophe for the future of our own civilization.

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