Monday, March 26, 2012

James Cameron and the first solo descent to the floor of the Mariana Trench

Earlier in the past 24 hours, director James Cameron became the first individual to descend solo to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, to a depth of 35,756 feet (6.77 miles) and remaining for three hours. It was not the first manned dive to the deepest part of the ocean: two explorers (Lt. Don Walsh of the US Navy and Jacques Piccard of France) had ventured there inside the US Navy bathyscaphe Trieste in January of 1960, remaining at a depth of 35,814 feet for about 20 minutes before rising again to the surface. No humans have been there since 1960, although two previous unmanned submersibles had successfully made the dive in the intervening years.

Here is a link to a Wall Street Journal discussion of the dive and the fact that -- although the dive did not succeed in bringing back the samples hoped for -- the successful descent by a human to the bottom of the deepest trench in the deepest ocean in the world can "fire the public's imagination" just as the moon landing or the films of Jacques Cousteau fired the public's imagination in previous decades, leading to greater awareness and exploration.

The great trenches of the deep constitute an extraordinarily important set of evidence regarding the forces that have shaped our planet. We have seen in several previous posts that the evidence of the trenches poses some serious problems for the reigning tectonic theory of earth geology.

For example, this post discusses the fact that -- as West Point and MIT graduate Dr. Walt Brown has explained -- the deep Pacific trenches (including the Mariana trench) form a distinctive "arc-and-cusp" pattern that is very difficult to explain using the idea of plate subduction (the conventional hypothesis proposed as the causative mechanism for these trenches). Take a look at the trench patterns shown on the image of the Pacific floor shown on this page of Dr. Brown's online book (which he generously makes available in its entirety on the web at no charge) and try to envision the plate mechanics that involve the ongoing subduction of a single plate that would cause this arc-and-cusp trench pattern (if you can).

Elsewhere in his book, Dr. Brown gives fifteen reasons (each of which is listed next to a series of linked page-numbers that will take the reader to discussions of the evidence supporting that reason) to believe that "subduction" does not actually occur anywhere on earth, let alone as the cause for the deep ocean trenches.

Among these reasons is the powerful evidence that underneath the trenches there are "mass deficiencies" rather than "mass excesses" such as we would expect to find if trenches were really created by the force of one miles-thick plate "subducting" under another miles-thick plate. This previous post, entitled "Geoids, relative gravity differences, and the deep Pacific trenches" discusses the way that recent very precise gravity measurements have revealed this mass deficiency beneath the trenches.

Dr. Brown's hydroplate theory (an alternative to the currently-popular tectonic theory), however, proposes a very cogent explanation for the formation of the deep ocean trenches. In a detailed discussion found here in his book, Dr. Brown explains that, during the eruption of the "waters from under the earth" which led to a global flood (and which are described as coming from under the earth in the ancient Hebrew Scriptures as well as in the traditions of many peoples around the globe), the violent erosion of millions of tons of earth by the escaping waters created the cliffs we know today as the continental shelves, and the removal of this weight led the basement floor beneath to spring upwards, beginning at the center of what is today the Atlantic Ocean:
As the flood increasingly altered the earth’s balanced, spherical shape, growing gravitational forces tended to squeeze the earth back toward a more spherical shape. Once a “tipping point” was reached, the portion of the subterranean chamber floor with the most overlying rock removed, rose at least 8 miles to become today’s Atlantic floor. This caused the Pacific floor—the region inside the ring of fire—to subside (sink) and buckle inward, producing folds called ocean trenches. (Measurements and discoveries near trenches confirm this subsidence and the absence of diving plates.) Shifts of material inside the earth began producing “oceans” of magma, most of which became earth’s outer core. Other magma escaped to the earth’s surface, especially onto the subsided Pacific floor. Mass imbalances in the earth remain, so earthquakes now occur and continents sporadically shift—not drift—toward the trench region of the western Pacific.
Previous posts have demonstrated that Dr. Brown's explanation of the evidence provides a much better model for the cause of earthquakes -- and a scientific reason why changes in electric charge in earth's ionosphere might be accurate early warning for powerful earthquakes -- than the conventional tectonic explanation. The likelihood that Dr. Brown is correct, and that the tectonic theory is flawed, should be carefully examined by scientists, and studies should be funded to see if changes in ionosphere at altitudes of 40 miles and more above the earth can be used to help save lives and prevent suffering.

Dr. Brown's theory does not in any way reduce the awe we should feel when we consider the deep ocean trenches -- quite the contrary. He describes these magnificent features of our planet in quite dramatic terms:
Imagine standing at the edge of a vast depression that reminds you of the Grand Canyon, but this “canyon” is several times deeper. Its smoother walls are almost as steep as the Grand Canyon’s, but the view across the 60-mile-wide depression is never obstructed by intermediate land forms. This “canyon,” thousands of miles longer than the Grand Canyon, does not have sharp turns. Such depressions, called ocean trenches, would be the leading natural wonders of the world if water did not hide them. (Average ocean depth is 2.5 miles; the deepest trench reaches 6.86 miles below sea level.)
Congratulations are due to Mr. Cameron for his bold and courageous descent to a point on our planet covered by so many miles of ocean, where the pressure is over 1,000 times that of our atmosphere at sea level. We can all hope that, just as the Wall Street Journal discussion cited above opines, this accomplishment will "fire the public's imagination" regarding these wonders of the natural world.