Monday, December 30, 2013

[Geology2] I'm Baaack! More Impact Theory with Antipodal Volcanism

Dear Lin,

The last time I wrote in to the group was back in late May, 2013, as I was getting heavily involved in the busy season for our businesses. Things have calmed down and I can devote some time to proper responses to the several questions that were raised about my theory of extinction level volcanism at the antipode of a very large impact.

The discussion last spring was positively Rumsfeldian for me. I found out that there were several things that I didn't know that I didn't know. Of course, finding these things out was a major purpose in contacting the group, so that was a good thing.

The major things that I didn't know that I didn't know were:

1.  SIMA VS. SIAL — I didn't know that the surface of the Earth was composed of two different types of material, with the lighter continents floating higher than the heavier basaltic material. I had assumed it basically all the same stuff, rather than being differentiated. (thanks, EMAN)

2.  LIQUID MANTLE — I found out that the mantle isn't really liquid in the ordinary sense. Rather, it is more like wet cement. It's only liquid in reference to a geological time scale. For all intents and purposes, it acts more like its solid. (thanks, ChuckB)

3.  TRAPPED EXTRUSION — I found out that the impact from a six-mile-in-diameter rock (the Chicxulub impact object) was not nearly big enough to force extrusion of material at the antipode of impact. I found that my mechanism for trapped extrusion (as in the cold heading business) would only work in the case of a much, much bigger impact (because the cold heading trapped extrusion process is a near field phenomenon). (Thanks, ChuckB)

4.  RAPID SURFACE MOVEMENT — I found out that I could not have continents "pinwheel around" into position in a way that would be much too fast  for them to get there (specifically my movement explanation for Western Antarctica). (Thanks, EMAN)

All of these factors have to be integrated into my theory if my theory is to make any sense. And, mostly, they can.

But, I think that there is an even bigger issue involved here. And that issue is the question:  "Why is Ben even bothering to pursue this theory when so many of the premises have been proven wrong?"

I believe that it is legitimate for members of the group to wonder why discussion of this theory is not unlike trying to answer the question:  How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

First, you have to show some evidence of the existence of angels before anyone is going to take you seriously. Unlike the angel question, I actually do have some evidence to present for the case of extinction level volcanism at the antipode of a very large impact. The evidence is statistical.

The initial statistical evidence was the very reason that I started looking at this possibility in the first place. In an informal way, I asked myself this question about the Chicxulub impact and the Deccan traps: What are the odds that the largest (by far) impact of the past 100 million years would occur at virtually the same time as the largest (by far) igneous province eruption of the past 100 million years?

As I examined impacts and possibilities of antipodal volcanism, I found more statistical evidence. The odds these were random, unrelated coincidences grew smaller and smaller.

During the summer and fall of this year, I approached this statistical question in an even more organized and methodical way. I will present my findings in the next email.

The reason that I did not bring up the statistical question to begin with was due to the fact that I had not developed it fully and because I didn't think that it was necessary. I thought that I had a theory that worked, that was internally consistent and that fit the facts. Why bother with the reason why I began looking into the matter to begin with?

At this point, I believe that it is important to share the mounting evidence of statistical improbability that large impacts and antipodal volcanism are unrelated.

But, even if I present a convincing statistical case for extinction level volcanism at the antipode of a very large impact, that will not be enough. Without a viable mechanism for this activity to occur, the theory will be ignored. As Alfred Wegener found out, evidence without a convincing mechanism does not win the day.

Will I be doomed to wander the earth in search of a mechanism until I die in a blizzard in Greenland? Not an appealing prospect. Not even a posthumously commemorative song by the Amoeba People is likely to relieve the bitterness of unrequited  vindication.

So, my second email will present a revised mechanism. This mechanism will actually conform to geological reality. I promise to do this without relying on Ancient Aliens, Cryptozoology or even a Sharknado Apocalypse. However, I may need to invoke the wisdom of that eminent musical geologist, Elvis Presley.

And, of course, I will be looking for comments.

After I get through these first two detailed emails, I will address the other questions that have been posed, as well as some interesting additions. These include:

1.  EMAN's question about rapid surface movement.

2.  Lin's question asking why the Indonesian island chain isn't just a convergent subduction zone as opposed to being a hotspot trail leading to a mantle plume at Lake Toba in northern Sumatra.

3.  The creation of the moon.

4.  Explaining India's rapid movement during its journey to a crash landing in Asia, as compared to the significantly slower movement of other tectonic plates.

Is this ambitious enough?


Ben Fishler


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