Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Another Geological Myth Refuted

Geological science fiction refuted: A ‘cool’ new picture of early Earth.

The first 700 million years of Earth’s 4.5-billion-year existence are known as the Hadean period, after Hades, or, to shed the ancient Greek name,

That name seemed to fit with the common perception that the young Earth was a hot, dry, desolate landscape interspersed with seas of magma and inhospitable for life. Even if some organism had somehow popped into existence, the old story went, surely it would soon have been extinguished in the firestorm of one of the giant meteorites that slammed into the Earth when the young solar system was still crowded with debris.

Over the last decade, the mineralogical analysis of small hardy crystals known as zircons embedded in old Australian rocks has painted a picture of the Hadean period “completely inconsistent with this myth we made up,” said T Mark Harrison, a professor of geochemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Those same zircon crystals also show that the modern oceans didn't exist in the Triassic and the Earth was half it's present diameter. Maybe now people can start to realize the mantle is also cold and therefore mantle convection is a myth.


Music Row Blogger said...

Just found your excellent blog. The expanding earth material is especially interesting to me, and once taken as an assumption, explains a lot of things that hadn't made sense to me before.

E.g., why do the mid-ocean ridges all show displacement perpendicular to the spreading axis in a manner that resembles stretch marks? And why, if they are caused by mantle plumes in certain places, are the ridges so perfectly continuous around the globe, showing no localized pile-ups?

Why and how did "Pangaea" split apart right down the middle 200 mya? If 70 percent of the earth was ocean crust then, as today, why would the massively thick continental plates have been the ones to break up?

From wikipedia, for example:

"The Central Atlantic magmatic province (CAMP) was formed during the breakup of Pangaea during the Mesozoic Era. ... CAMP activity is apparently related to the rifting and breakup of Pangaea during the Late Triassic through Early Jurassic periods, and the enormous province size, varieties of basalt, and brief time span of CAMP magmatism invite speculation about mantle processes that could produce such a magmatic event as well as rift a supercontinent."

They do indeed invite speculation!

Anaconda said...


Geology uses a general to specific model of deductive reasoning in its formation of hypothesis.

As the posted article reflected, geologists were surprised by the findings, but instead of questioning the general theories of geology, instead they attempted to quickly shoehorn the new findings into the old general theory.

How many times will "surprising" observations be "shoehorned" into universal theories?

Too many times, because to throw away the universal theory is to consign the overall community to embarrassment and division (division because not all geologists will want to give up the old general theories).

It's extremely important to confront geologists or any other science where it appears another "surprising" finding is being swept under the universal theory "rug".

Remember why it's "surprising", because the observation doesn't fit the theory.

And the reason maybe because the universal theory is wrong.

OilIsMastery said...

Music Row Blogger,

Welcome! Glad you like it.



Raptor Lewis said...

Very Interesting!! I think I'm gonna like this blog. :) Interesting thought. However, my "field" is Paleontology, well the Biologic half. So, go easy on some lingo. As for the time periods, I know about that. Oh, and, welcome to PaleoQuest. Sorry i didn't get a chance to welcome you over there. Good to have a newcomer to the PaleoQuest community.

OilIsMastery said...

Hi Lewis,

Welcome. Love your blog.

Quantum_Flux said...

Well, I think this is right, the Earth and all the planets started from unstable elements that are denser than anything on the periodic table and then fission took it's course. If that were true, well, the Earth would be very hot at the formation, and would expand due to fission. But, I'm not sure if that fits with observation (where are these elements in newer star systems?), perhaps it actually was a cold Earth at the beginning.

Anaconda said...


The scientific fact that the mantle is at worst cold (cold is a relative term) and brittle and at best ductile, is significant in the subduction controversy.

The idea that continents "roam" the surface of the planet, and come together periodically in the Wilson Cycle or Supercontinent cycle is ludicrous.

"One complete Supercontinent cycle is said to take 300 to 500 million years to occur."

And in addition:

"Continental collision makes fewer and larger continents while rifting makes more and smaller continents. The last supercontinent, Pangaea, formed about 300 million years ago. The previous supercontinent, Pannotia, formed about 600 million years ago, and its dispersal formed the fragments that ultimately collided to form Pangaea. But beyond this the time span between supercontinents becomes more irregular. For example, the supercontinent before Gondwanaland, Rodinia, existed ~1.1 billion to ~750 million years ago - a mere 150 million years before Pannotia. The supercontinent before this was Columbia: ~1.8 to 1.5 billion years ago. And before this was Kenorland: ~2.7 to ~2.1 billion years ago. The first continents were Ur (existed ~3 billion years ago) and Vaalbara (~3.6 to ~2.8 billion years ago)."

Please, the hubris to think geologists have any real solid scientific evidence to support the idea contintents go wondering around the Earth's surface and periodically "form up" is stunning.

The "roots" of the continents can go down several hundred kilometers.

Although, let's be clear, science isn't sure what is down there that deep or the geological mechanics that deep.

What is clear is that geologists need to take a "fresh look" at the underlying assumptions of their scientific discipline and be prepared to set aside many of those assumptions.

Including, the "grand-daddy" of them all -- subduction and "wondering tectonic plates".

The evidence, while disputed, is stronger for an expanding Earth than for subduction.

Remember those trenches that geologists say "proves" subduction?

It may turnout those trenches are evidence of the exact opposite geological process: A "pulling apart" or stretching of the Earth's crust due to an expanding Earth.

In other words, if the ocean basins are giant rift valleys. then the trenches are a rift within a rift.

I suggest the evidence is stronger for the above proposition than for subduction.

Music Row Blogger said...

Anaconda -- I was reading an article from the late 1960s on the geologic debate at that time, and it seems what happened was this: paleontologists proved, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the continents must have all been connected in a previous era. This forever laid to rest the "fixed-continent" position, and left only two alternatives:

1) The continents must slide around the earth like bumper cars, or

2) The earth is getting bigger.

So continental drift was never a hypothesis deduced from the facts -- instead, with geologists having quickly rejected the expanding earth, they were left with the task of fitting the continental drift model to the facts as they existed. Once the theory was established, no matter how poorly it fit observed conditions, it was a much simpler matter to shoehorn new, contradictory observations into the model as they arose.

OilIsMastery said...

Music Row,

There was a third possibility that was taught before the discovery of the Mid-Atlantic was taught that the Earth was contracting due to degassing, atmospheric loss into alleged "empty" space, and radioactive decay.

And of course, the fourth possibility is pulsation, a combination of expansion and contraction.

Anaconda said...

Music Row Blogger:

Music Row Blogger stated:

"So continental drift was never a hypothesis deduced from the facts -- instead, with geologists having quickly rejected the expanding earth, they were left with the task of fitting the continental drift model to the facts as they existed. Once the theory was established, no matter how poorly it fit observed conditions, it was a much simpler matter to shoehorn new, contradictory observations into the model as they arose."


Couldn't agree more.

Louis Hissink said...

I am blissfully unaware of this data - well I was until I write this - cold mantle?

I need to study this in detail as its one idea I haven't considered.

But Anaconda, your understanding of the geological deductive method is spot on - I call it Lyellian Lyricism and one of the tasks confronting us is to refute Lyell's methodology.

George Grinnell's excellent paper on the origin of modern geological thought is a starting point - its on the Thunderbolt's site in the resources section.

The same process is being adopted by the climate changers in our time - hijacking a science for political purposes, and the same group are involved - Whigs, etc. Lyell and the Whigs hijacked geology to gain political control of the UK Parliament in the early 19th century,

This blog is getting very interesting - material here I would never have found easily by myself.

OilIsMastery said...


My friend Stavros Tassos, the best seismologist alive at the National Observatory of Athens taught me this: "No matter what the temperature of the outer core is, and most likely it is quite high, the mantle is cold, and its rigidity increases with depth, because otherwise seismic wave velocity cannot increase with depth, for example for P waves from 6-7 km/sec in the surface layers to about 14 km/sec at the mantle-core boundary."

Anaconda said...


The Oil Is Mastery Website has previously covered Shell Oil's Perdido ultra-deepwater drilling platform.

It's a record setter!

Published on Cincinnati.Com:

Shell oil well in Gulf sets undersea record, December 3, 2008 (AP) -- Houston - "Shell Oil Co. said Tuesday it has set a world water-depth record by drilling and completing an oil well in 9,356 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico.

The well is part of Shell's Perdido Development project about 200 miles south of Houston. It easily topped the previous record of 6,950 feet - also set by Shell in the Gulf of Mexico. Anadarko Petroleum Corp. has completed natural-gas wells in about 9,000 feet of water in the Gulf.

Production at Perdido is scheduled to begin around 2010. Shell says the project, which dates to a lease sale in 1996, will be capable of producing 130,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day."

And the oil deposit is over 15,000 feet below the surface of the sea-floor.

A successful abiotic oil project from Shell Oil Co. Now, if the economy will bounce back a little to support the higher oil prices necessary for these ultra-deepwater, ultra-deep drilling projects.

Louis Hissink said...


There goes the molten core idea then.

I wonder why then the persistent belief if a molten core.....

Have to think about it some other time - having peer review issues with a submitted article to deal with this weekend.