Saturday, March 9, 2013

The submarine canyons of California's Central Coast

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One of the strongest pieces of evidence supporting the sequence of events proposed by Dr. Walt Brown's hydroplate theory, in my opinion, are the world's numerous and extensive submarine canyons.  

Submarine canyons are enormous undersea "river systems" which cascade down the sides of the continental shelf of many different continents, often at places where water even today empties into the sea, such as at the mouth of the Ganges River in India, the mouth of the Congo River in Africa, and along the continental shelf beyond the mouth of the Hudson River in North America.  

Submarine canyons are thus very different from the deep ocean trenches, in that they "run off" the continents, plow down the sides of the continental shelf of the various continents, and look a lot like river systems (some even have "tributaries" feeding into them in their upper reaches).  Previous posts have discussed the importance of these dramatic pieces of evidence and their implications for our view of what might have happened in the past to shape our planet's geological features: some of those include "The Ganges Fan, the Indus Fan, and the Great Flood" and "Back from the Great Central Valley." 

Those posts discuss the fact that these huge submarine canyons pose a major problem for the tectonic theory, in that the tectonic theory appears to be a poor fit for the evidence in this case.  They certainly do not seem to be the product of one plate subducting under another plate (the explanation given for the deep ocean trenches by advocates of the tectonic theory -- for some discussion of the problems the deep ocean trenches pose for the conventional tectonic theory, see previous posts such as this one, this one, and this one). 

Anyone looking at imagery of these submarine canyons would immediately suspect that they were carved by rushing water, or by river systems in the distant past, so similar are they to the rivers we see on land.  However the tectonic theory has difficulty with this explanation as well -- if they were carved by water at some time in the past when they were not below the ocean's level, then what mechanism of tectonics brought them down to their current submarine location?  Some of these canyons, Dr. Brown points out, rat stedepths of 15,000 feet below the surface -- did some tectonic mechanism bring them down that far?  And why are these canyons always running off the sides of the continental shelves?  Do tectonic proponents mean to tell us that all the steep continental shelves were once plains upon which rivers flowed, before some mysterious process of tectonics tilted them into their current position?

The hydroplate theory, however, explains these canyons quite well.  It proposes that the catastrophic global flood covered the earth and that the continents slid during that event (still covered with water) to their present location.  The forces which caused the continents to slide during that event are discussed in this post among others, as well as in Dr. Brown's online book in much greater detail.  At the end of that slide, there was tremendous buckling and thickening of the continents, thrusting up the mountain ranges we see today and causing water to run off into the ocean basins (which were created by powerful forces related to the flood event, also described in Dr. Brown's book in greater detail).  This runoff would explain the submarine canyons, as water pouring down the continental shelf of each continent would carve huge canyons before the ocean later rose to submerge them.  Dr. Brown's theory also explains why for some period of many years after this flood (and after the main runoff event), the ocean levels would have been much lower.

This proposed sequence of events explains the evidence that we find today much more reasonably than does the tectonic explanation.  If the geology of our earth were to be thought of as a "crime scene," then the hydroplate theory explains that evidence much better than the other theories that have been put forward to date.  

Above is an image from Google Maps of a distinctive submarine canyon which plunges down the continental shelf off the coast of California at Lompoc, west of Santa Barbara and "north" along California's Central Coast from Santa Barbara (the Central Coast of California is generally identified as the coast area between Santa Barbara in the south and Monterey in the north).  It looks like an enormous hydra, with six major "tributaries" flowing into it just off the coastline, resembling a river delta except for the fact that a river delta usually forms at the lowest area of a river where it flows into the sea, and this "delta" is found at the highest part of the Lompoc sumbarine canyon system.  Below is a closer view of the canyon:

Below is another image, zoomed-in still further, showing just how massive this canyon really is.  Look at the size of the "tributaries," each of which is narrower than the main canyon below the point where they all flow together, and compare it to the size of the town of Lompoc itself:

This dramatic submarine canyon is not alone on California's Central Coast -- further north are numerous others, including the massive and much more well-known Monterey Canyon, an image of which was shown at the bottom of this previous post.  Before reaching the Monterey Canyon, however, you will find other mighty submarine canyons coursing down the steep slope of the continental shelf.  Two of the most impressive snake down below the towering cliffs of the Big Sur coastline, also fed by a major "delta" of "tributaries" as seen in the following picture:

These geological features clearly appear to be the product of flowing water, and yet they are today covered by ocean.  What could have caused the dramatic "fans" seen in the above image, if not running water prior to the ocean filling up to its current levels?  The hydroplate theory of Dr. Brown explains the formation of these canyons quite satisfactorily, while this evidence poses serious difficulties for other geological theories.

Below is a more "zoomed-out" view of a much larger segment of the Central Coast, showing the Monterey Canyon, the two Big Sur submarine canyons, and at the south end of the image the Lompoc sumbarine canyon:

This website, from the US government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and  contains a conventional explanation for these canyons, attempting to fit the evidence into the tectonic theory:
Monterey Canyon cuts across the generally north-south trending offshore faults in Monterey Bay. It is a large submarine canyon that bisects the Bay and has eroded deeply into the Salinian block and the overlying Neogene sedimentary rocks of the Miocene Monterey Formation, Santa Cruz Mudstone, Santa Margarita Formation, and the Pliocene Purisima Formation (Shepard and Dill 1966; Martin 1969; Greene 1970, 1990; Greene et al. 1991). The canyon is the result of tectonic activity occurring ever since subduction of the Pacific Plate ceased and transform motion began, about 21 million years ago (Atwater 1970; Greene 1977, 1990; Greene et al. 1989, 1991). Landslides and turbidity currents created by mass wasting events (Greene et al. 1991, and see Mass Wasting) steepen the canyon's walls, expose basement and bedrock, and erode the canyon. 
So, the author of this explanation declares that the Monterey Canyon "is the result of tectonic activity" that was later augmented by "landslides and turbidity currents."   This explanation strains credulity.  Did tectonic motion create the Monterey Canyon, the two Big Sur submarine canyons with their "fans" feeding into them, and the hydra-shaped Lompoc submarine canyon?  What strange motion of tectonics can be proposed to explain such tectonic features?  Why would these products of tectonics mimic the shape of river channels to such an astonishing degree?  The reader can decide for himself or herself which proposed explanation seems more likely.

Further, as has already been discussed at great length in previous posts, the entire California Coast from the region of these canyons all the way to the north of the San Francisco Bay is marked by distinctive submarine "hogbacks," indicating uplift that was strong enough to split the sedimentary layers and tilt them upwards until they pointed skyward instead of lying horizontal.  This motion parallels the coastline, but the direction of the canyons cuts perpendicular to these hogbacks.  Proponents of tectonics have to posit tectonic motion in one direction, followed by tectonic motion in an almost perpendicular direction to the previous motion.  

It is convenient that they can dream up tectonic plates that move about in just such a way as to fit their desired storyline. However, I believe that the hydroplate theory makes much more sense.  According to the hydroplate theory, the strata were laid down during the "flood phase" of the catastrophic global event described by Dr. Brown, and then the continents began to slide.  The violent forces at the leading edge of the sliding North American continent created the buckling forces that created the Sierra Nevada mountains, and also thickened the continent at the leading edge to such a degree that the sediments split on either side of the "lip" that separates the Central Valley from the Pacific Ocean.  All along this uplifted terrain, on either side, California has long parallel hogbacks running north to south.  These are below the ocean just off the coast, as well as on the western edge of the Great Central Valley.  This previous post, entitled "Hogbacks of the California Coast" discusses the geological evidence and provides some images from Google Maps of the hogbacks of California.  

Incidentally, the hogbacks off the coast at Half Moon Bay appear to be partly responsible for the famous big-wave at Mavericks (see here). 

Below is an image from Google Maps of some of the submarine hogbacks just to the north of the canyon at Lompoc, from the seafloor off the coast of Cambria, California:

Here is another set of now-submerged hogbacks which are even closer to Lompoc, found off the coast of the Montana de Oro State Park just north of the San Luis Obispo Bay:

This previous post also shows hogbacks in the vicinity of Lompoc, including some that are on land along the coastline very close to Lompoc, south and east of the town itself.

All of these hogbacks demonstrate the tremendous and violent forces that accompanied the slide of the continental plates during the flood event, and indicate the direction of the forces that were then taking place.  Tectonic advocates would say that the slow centimeters-per-year drifting of tectonic plates gradually tipped the strata upwards to form the hogbacks found around the world, although this post discusses the laws of physics that argue against the very gradual motion of tectonics to be able to cause all the features that are attributed to this slow motion.  In any event, even if the tectonic advocates argue that all these hogbacks are the product of slowly-drifting plates, the motion is completely in the wrong direction to create the submarine canyons.  One would be tempted to ask them, "Which direction is it?  You can't have it both ways," except that they apparently do think they can have it both ways.  

The submarine canyons of California's Central Coast constitute yet another set of evidence for the examination of open-minded individuals who wish to weigh the various possible explanations for what causes our earth to look the way it does today.  In my opinion, the explanation of Dr. Walt Brown's hydroplate theory is overwhelmingly more rational in explaining the evidence that we do find than is the explanation proposed by the conventional tectonic theory.  Further, there are hundreds of other pieces of geological evidence around the globe which also appear to be better explained by the hydroplate theory than by the tectonic theory.  However, all thinking people should be free to examine the evidence and decide for themselves.