Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Palm trees discovered in Antarctica!

Scientists drilling through thick ice in Wilkes Land, in East Antarctica (the part of Antarctica facing towards Australia) have reported evidence of "the growth of highly diverse, near-tropical forests characterized by mesothermal to megathermal floral elements including palms and Bombacoideae [a subfamily of the mallow plant or malva]" according to an article published earlier this month in the science journal Nature.  Here's another description of the discovery.

The astonishing aspect of this story is that the evidence of these ancient palms and mallows and other near-tropical flora was discovered by drilling through ice sheets ranging from 1.9 miles to 2.5 miles thick!  

That's quite a contrast in climates!  The article published in Nature by the scientists asserts that these near-tropical forests once grew on this continent that is today covered in ice and characterized by temperatures that drop well below 100° below zero (Fahrenheit -- that's colder than Celsius, which pegs its zero at 32° Fahrenheit) because somehow the global climate back then was a "greenhouse world" and "winters were extremely mild (warmer than 10° C) and essentially frost-free despite polar darkness."

They do acknowledge that this assertion about the ancient climate may require some adjustments to "climate models." 

Let's pause to think about that again.  Antarctica is so cold that no month of the year has an average temperature above 0° F.  It is located so far south that the tilt of the earth's axis plunges it into sunlessness for long months.  It is one of the driest places on earth today, with extremely low levels of precipitation (the coastlines get only 8 inches of precipitation per year, and further inland the precipitation levels are even less, with some areas receiving essentially no precipitation for thousands of years, according to scientists).  And yet scientists have discovered ancient palm trees and mallow plants under two miles of ice.

One explanation is that the world was so warm back then that Antarctica was like a tropical island, so hospitable that luxuriant forests could survive there even through sunless winter months.  This appears to be the only option discussed in the recent article.

However, this certainly is not the only explanation -- nor is it a particularly good one.  However, because most scientists are wedded to the tectonic theory, they are pretty much stuck with it, because explaining how Antarctica could have "drifted" to its current location poses some other problems, as discussed in previous posts on this topic (such as this one). 

If all of Antarctica were on a single tectonic plate, it could perhaps have drifted from a more temperate climate.  However, it would still be difficult to explain why all the palm trees and mallow plants did not decompose and rot away during such a proposed tectonic drift from the tropics (unless it was on a really fast tectonic plate that did not give the mallows time to disappear). 

The hydroplate theory of Dr. Walt Brown does not have difficulty explaining this fossil discovery -- in fact, this newest finding of sub-tropical fossils under miles of Antarctic ice accords perfectly with the timeline of events proposed by the hydroplate theory. 

According to that theory, which explains the geological evidence of our planet by a catastrophic mechanism rather than by the gradual mechanism favored by conventional tectonic theory, the continents slid one time in the distant past, as part of the events surrounding a global flood.  The violent buckling these continents underwent at the end of that rapid drifting created huge mountains and in places great thickening of the continents.  

The region of the highest mountains and greatest thickening is now the part of our planet with the highest elevations -- the Himalayas (home of Mount Everest and numerous other peaks, all the highest in the world).  The sudden creation of this region caused a major roll of the entire planet, in accordance with the known principles of physics.  Earth continued to rotate upon its axis, but the entire orientation of the planet was altered dramatically by this past event.  The roll caused by the Himalayas moved the regions of the planet that were at the poles by as much as 35° to 45°, and at the same time it moved regions down to the Antarctic and up to the Arctic that had not previously been Arctic or Antarctic at all.

Further, the aftermath of this event was characterized by very warm oceans and much colder continents than we have today, creating the conditions for heavy precipitation, much of it falling in the form of snow and creating great sheets of ice.  This was the Ice Age, which later retreated as the oceans cooled and the continents sank into the mantle in the centuries after the cataclysm.  However, the very different weather patterns following the flood could explain why Antarctica, which today receives so little precipitation, has such massive ice sheets.  The "Big Roll" of the planet also explains why scientists continue to find the remains of near-tropical flora in such an unlikely location as Wilkes Land.

Previous posts have discussed this "Big Roll" of our globe in greater detail (see "Earth's Big Roll" and "90° East Ridge" for example).  

This most recent discovery of palm trees and mallows is by no means the only discovery of distinctively non-Antarctic remains that have been found under the ice either.  Previous posts have discussed the discovery of the remains of turtles and marsupials in Antarctica, as well as the remains of Titanosaurs -- huge plant-eating dinosaurs that weighed up to 100 tons!  

The hydroplate theory may strike some as extreme, but you can decide for yourself if you believe it is more likely than the conventional arguments that want you to believe that a rainforest once grew and all these near-tropical animals (and enormous dinosaurs) once cavorted upon a warm Antarctica with mild frost-free winters.  

If an extreme event such as the "Big Roll" really did take place (and there is extensive evidence to support the conclusion that it did), then the hydroplate theory is not extreme at all, but rather the best way to understand the discovery of palm trees in Antarctica.