Friday, July 15, 2011

Plate Tectonics gone wrong

(..Not that it was ever right anyway.)
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Fig.1.  Length difference between the spreading ridge and their length-equivalent continental margins.  Which can only mean that the ridges grow away from the continents, .. which can only happen if the continents move up - and keep moving up.

Africa of course, .. is not moving away from the spreading ridge (as in Plate Tectonics), .. it has not shrunk.  There is no need for Doctor Watson or Sherlock Holmes to turn up as invited guests on the Goon Show.  The Atlantic ridge is just longer than its African continental margin, .. and the American one also, once we retrofit for the unhinging of the Americas in the Caribbean region  and the swivelling of the northeastern margin of South America away from Africa.

Fig2. Spreading ridges getting longer.   "Keep moving up."   It's what ridges are, what they do, ..and what the geology says they've been being and doing for hundreds of millions of years.  Are we really to believe this glaringly obvious, in-your-face, first-order element of Earth structure has been ignored by a worldful of scientists?

Unfortunately the answer would appear to be - "YES".  'Fraid so.   And exactly the same myopia has seen the ignore-ance of the Earth's rotation in Plate Tectonics.  In its very name, 'Plate' Tectonics is a denial of the three dimensionality of the Earth.  And no word could be more apt to describe it than 'plate', for 'plate' graphically underscores the two-dimensionality in thinking that has seen that theory come into existence, and worse, perpetuated the failure to address its many conundrums.  Worse still, the Earth's rotation is simply not on Plate Tectonics' theoretical horizon. 

So where did they go wrong?  Is it really possible that  a worldful of geoscientists are cognitively incapable of appreciating these two  facts of global dynamics - 1. that makes the spreading ridges get longer with time (reflected in the growth of fractures on a round Earth), and 2. that the Earth is spinning?  Or are we to believe that the sheer force of homocentric conceit can cast out these dual demons that threaten the sanctity of Plate Tectonics?  Plate Tectonics (we're told by those in favour of it)  is a many-splendoured invention, decked out in wondreous apparel, .. fit for an emperor and a Nobel Prize, but really when scutinised there isn't a warp or a weft of substance that holds a candle to the naked spinning beauty of Earth at this point in her evolution. She's an absolute *honey* of a *Big Gurl*.

So where *did* they go wrong?

Well (this is my take on it), .. two ways : geological and political, .. and both of them serious indictments of Earth scientists.   Geological,  in being railroaded between a conviction-of-convection on one hand, and a perceived lack of mechanism (for expansion) on the other, which forced ignore-ance of the ridge-lengthening apparent in Figure 1 and its implications. Political in questions of funding. 

The money was there (for certain institutions) for instrument-driven research of the oceanic type, so long as there was military application in the climate of the Cold War.  But it would have been entirely different if things had taken a serious geological turn, because that would have taken the focus off the ocean floors.  For somebody (like Carey) to come along and say, "Yes, ocean floors are all very well, but if you are going to posit a geological theory then you need to be more inclusive of geological reality and regard continents as well, .. you're barking up the wrong tree, cobber, if you don't include a geological /continental perspective to support your black-box instrumental inferences."  By so saying, and being centred in the geology, Carey, intentionally or not, was being highly divisive, threatening to part oceanic research from the funds supporting it.

Hess, probably in deference to Carey as a friend, acknowledged the geological evidence for expansion, saying it would solve his three most important problems, but taking a backward step, considered it to be "philosophically unsatisfying" on account (ostensibly) of "no mechanism".  However, with a foot in both naval and academic camps he surely would have felt more keenly than anyone that the way to keep military funds flowing into oceanic 'research' was to avoid getting geologically controversial and follow an indulgent geological path, and not to pontificate the virtues (or not) of Plate Tectonics versus Earth expansion, for which latter there was indeed no mechanism, and in which controversy the military had no interest whatsoever.

The concession to geology therefore was to adopt the safe fall-back position in Arthur Holmes' book, by then running to fifteen reprints, that convection, a thing of the ocean floors - and wholly restricted to the ocean floors -  was indeed the driver of crustal deformation .  With that geological question out of the way, it was possible to get on with the serious business of ensuring that funds continued to flow, for most important of all was that the navy would tolerate geology only so long as it remained oceanic, but would almost certainly not if funds were directed to abstruse geological questions of continental import. A non-controversial position that maintained the importance of the ocean-floor topography, and the use of geophysical methods to define it that ensured only ancilliary geological benefit, was what was required if research was to be kept out of harm's way of bureacratic beancounters.  Had serious geological controversy arisen it could have blown the whole research program out of the water as the accent would have been seen to shift away from an essentially military focus to an esoteric academic one - particularly one for which there was no known mechanism.

So maybe from the point of view of funding it was not "going wrong" after all, for never before was there such massive and unprecendented financial support for the acqusition of data from the ocean floors, and very likely never will there be again. So paradoxically, eschewing the geo-*logic* of Earth expansion at the time and just getting on with the job of collecting data, was, and had to be, the centre of research, .. and if Earth expansion were occurring then it would all come out in the wash.  Regardless of any theory it would surely be written in the physical structure of the ocean floors. This much seems obvious, but in my reading it is very much *NOT* a viewpoint of those at the time, with the particular exception of Bruce Heezen, who was excluded from much of the data.

And it *is* written in the physical structure of the ocean floors, .. beginning with the simple recognition that the spreading ridges today are longer than their initial rupture of continental margins (Fig.1).  And supported by much else.   And you don't need to go dredging around the ocean floors to see it.   On this score alone Earth expansion is as clear as a bell.  There *is* no other way that this length difference can be interpreted. It is just as important, .. probably more important, because of the implications it masks compared to the obvious sideways growth of the ridges.  And it is wholly ignored, even today.
 "To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle." ~ George Orwell
Geologically, there is only one explanation for this, .. that the spreading ridges are moving *away* from the continents and not, as Plate Tectonics would have it (to maintain a convectional model), that the continents are moving away from the ridges. A consequence of spreading across the ridge and along it is that both directions are characterised by structures that define gravitational collapse.  In the structure of the ocean floors this is precisely what we have - WRIT LARGE - in the structures called abyssal hills, ..and, as they were initially (and correctly) called, the structures named as "The Great Cross-Faults",  before Tuzo Wilson invented for them "a new class of faults" and gave them a genetic labelling - "transform faults"). 

And why did he do it?  Because in a convection model the displacement was the wrong way.  As cross-faults superimposed on the ridges, sea-floor spreading by convectional mantle flow would not work.  They implied Earth expansion, .. and that would simply not do.  So they invented the theory of "a new class of faults". Tuzo Wilson came up with it (and gave them a name - 'transform faults'), and everybody else gasped in admiration and relief.  Admiration for his ingenuity, and relief that convection as a driver for continental separation could be maintained. 
" Whenever ideas fail, men invent words. ~Martin H. Fischer ..."
Let's be clear what this lexical pas-de-deux was about.  First we have 'great cross-faults', an admirable name, .. a name which conveys *exactly* what they are, with no genetic connotations, but with a clear chronology indicated with respect to the ridges that they cut across.  According to the principle of structural superposition they are later than the ridges. And next we have them renamed as 'transform faults', coined in denial of this clear cross-cutting relationship, and named entirely for a theory of how they could conceivably behave if you forgot everything you thought you knew about the principle of structural superposition.  In this case all the cross-faults were formed before the ocean floors began to open.
And why did he do it?  Because if the cross-faults had displacements commensurate with ridge offsets, sea-floor spreading by convectional mantle flow would not work. They implied Earth expansion, .. and that would simply not do.  So here we have not only a clear case of denying the data, ..but effectively falsifying it as well, and represented by other 'scientists' as "a truly seminal result", ..and applauded by a media cheer squad into the bargain.  In scientific terms this is effectively "massive academic fraud". 

As 'great cross-faults' there can be no more apt name for these mind-boggling , awe-inspiring structures.  Glossed over in Plate Tectonics as "the manner in which plates move past each other" (and that's about all plate Tectonics has to say about these structures), these structures are every bit as important, and in a sense possibily more important, than the spreading ridges because where 'spreading' can be easily construed as simply transverse ridge-growth (as advocated by Plate Tectonics) (with implications of subduction on a constant sized Earth), the 'great faults' are virtually irrefutable *proof* of continual gravitational collapse of growing, lengthening ridges. 

Fig.3.  The Great Cross-Fault of the Vema Fracture Zone.  Isn't it just a ripper?  Google it up, zoom in and open full screen to do it justice.

Quite apart from the dynamics of normal fault displacement that mark these structures as extensional, ridge-lengthening cannot be accommodated in Plate Tectonic theory, for in the time taken for the ocean floors to get to subduction zones the ridges have already grown longer - and the Earth has consequently got bigger by this amount. It needs no investment in scientific measuring devices to appreciate this, or deductive method to conclude it. It is staring us in the face.

And therewith, by a single logical, natural philosophical point, is the public purse saved from the ravages of the Draculean, blood-sucking,  tool-driven community of deductive scientists,  that prompted Naomi Oreskes to write her book on Plate Tectonics and let them tell their own story.  Though  it's not very clear if she's getting her own back for being misled in her undergraduate years or not ( "the learning that's been paid for") (see 1st and 3rd quotes here), i.e., whether she regards herself as acceptable collateral damage for the big guns of gung-ho, tool-driven, *do-it*, "younger professors" riding on the back of the deductive American Way of doing geology, or whether she is in favour of the more contemplative inductive method practised by the big-name geological gents of Europe, Africa and Australia - and Reginald Daly in America). 

One great thing about the deductive scientific method, so favoured of the gung-ho 'doers' of any-old-hypothesis formulation and any-old-testing,  is that you can keep measuring forever without having to use your head: your measurements tell you what to think, rather than you deciding what your measurements mean.  When it comes to geology, tool-driven measuring is a fantastic fundraiser for the institutionally compromised, lobotomised 'scientist' enthused with the ability of black boxes to tell him what to think.

(Bloody rabbits.... )

They say science should be conducted with decorum and due respect for others' views, but the more closely this Plate Tectonics stuff is examined, the more it is very difficult not to be scathing about the deliberate avoidance of geological fact in order to shore up a manifestly sick consensus, whose only mitigation is that it secures public funds for 'science' of a sort, when a more honest approach often does not.

Fig.4.  Length difference between the spreading ridge and the original continental ruptures in the Indian - Southern Oceans ... indicates upward movement of spreading ridges.  The continents have moved away from their original location near (/at) the Rodriguez Triple Junction. Yellow lines show matching continental margins; arrows show the extent of continental separation along and across the ridge.  The spreading ridge has virtually doubled its length since breakthrough.

[ See also blog for Earth expansion at :- ] 

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