Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Right now is an outstanding time of year to view the constellation Virgo the Virgin, high in the southern sky (for northern-hemisphere viewers) right around 10 pm.  And, as the moon is not rising until after midnight right now, the hours after sunset and before midnight provide a wonderful opportunity to gaze at the breathtaking array of stars along the ecliptic path.

Due to the turning of our earth on its axis, all stars appear to make an arcing path from the eastern horizon to the western horizon, reaching their highest point in between as they pass through (or transit) the "local meridian" -- that meridian of the celestial globe that runs through the celestial north pole and continues to the "due south" point on the southern horizon to the celestial south pole (which is out of sight below the horizon for many northern hemisphere viewers).  The crossing of this line marks the highest point of the sky for any star in its circular path, and is known as the star's "transit." 

Currently, the brightest star of Virgo -- the star Spica -- is transiting or reaching the highest point on its arc at about 10pm (and a few minutes earlier each night). 

One of the easiest ways to find Spica is to look for the small, bright, distinctive constellation of Corvus the Crow, who is always perched near Virgo, staring intently at the jewel of Spica.  In the diagram above, you can easily make out Corvus below Virgo.  

In the diagram above, I have added some lines to the outline of Virgo in order to correspond to the system of H.A. Rey, which I believe is much more user-friendly than any other constellation-outlining system I've ever seen (and which is the one I've used from the time I was a child, and which is described in the first two books discussed in this previous post, the top one for young children and the second one for older children and adults).

The planet Saturn is still passing through the constellation Virgo, just as he was two years ago when discussed in this post from 2011.   Then, Saturn was close to Porrima (the star marked by a green arrow in that previous post), but is now east of Spica, below the star that is connected to Spica (which is marked by a red arrow) by a line going straight to the left from Spica in the diagram in that previous post.  That previous post diagram is included below for ease of reference.

Saturn should be very bright and fairly golden in color.  You will have no trouble finding it, once you have followed Corvus to Spica.  Take some time to trace out the entire outline of Virgo, which is easy to do right now (but which is not always so easy).  It is a large and incredibly important constellation.  Further wast from Virgo, you should also have no problem spotting the majestic constellation of Leo the Lion.  If you haven't already done so, you might want to check out this previous post on some of the fascinating connections of these two constellations.

Further east from Virgo, you will also have no trouble finding the sinuous shape of Scorpio rising up from the horizon.

This is truly an excellent time to enjoy the dazzling panoply of the heavens.  I hope you can do so if at all possible.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Deep earthquakes

(Mobile readers please scroll down to read the post).

This past week, a very powerful deep earthquake of magnitude 8.3 originating 378 miles beneath the Sea of Okhotsk (west of the Kamchatka Peninsula) has scientists wondering whether this is the most powerful deep earthquake ever recorded.

At 3.8 miles deep or 609 kilometers below the surface, it is not quite as deep as the 395-mile deep (631 kilometer) earthquake that occurred below Bolivia in 1994, but at 8.3 it was more powerful than the Bolivia deep earthquake, which was judged to be 8.2.  

Here are two articles describing the recent deep earthquake below the Sea of Okhotsk, one from the "newsblog" of the journal Nature, and one from the website LiveScience.

Deep earthquakes present some challenges to geologists.  In fact, until the Bolivia earthquake, conventional geologists did not believe that deep earthquakes could approach the power of shallow earthquakes.  That's because conventional geologists believe that earthquakes are primarily driven by the engine of heat, primarily by the heat created by the friction and pressure at plate boundaries, which causes rock to suddenly squeeze into a denser form, leading to rapid realignment of material below the surface that creates a chain reaction from the epicenter which is felt as an earthquake.  

Deep earthquakes pose a problem for that theory, in that the heat and pressure so far below the surface are so great that the mechanism used to explain earthquakes at shallower depths would not seem to be a plausible explanation for deep earthquakes.  Whatever caused deep earthquakes, scientists did not believe that deep earthquakes would be as powerful as shallow earthquakes, but the Bolivia quake challenged that view.

As this New York Times Science Page article published in 1995, in the wake of the powerful Bolivia deep quake,  explains:
These upheavals [deep earthquakes], which occur 200 to 400 miles below the earth's surface, are puzzling in that they ought to be impossible. The pressures and temperatures at that depth are so great that rock should undergo no frictional sliding, the mechanism of garden-variety earthquakes near the surface. So most geologists came to believe that the crushing pressures and increasing heat below a certain depth squeezed the rock into forms that were suddenly denser, creating huge cracks that developed into big temblors.

No more. An extraordinarily big earthquake 395 miles beneath Bolivia last June not only shattered records by jolting cities as far away as Toronto but also left the squeeze theory shaken.

A new analysis of shock waves from that earthquake show its fault zone was 30 miles long and 20 miles wide, too big to be explained by the leading theory. In fact, experts say, the quake bears a disturbing resemblance to big ones that occur near the earth's surface.

"It's embarrassing," said Dr. Paul G. Silver, a geologist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington who questions the old theory. "It looks and acts and talks like these shallow earthquakes. But it shouldn't exist."

As the article goes on to explain, "The mystery is how earthquakes happen at all at remote depths where temperatures may exceed 2,900 degrees Fahrenheit and pressures are 240,000 times greater than those at the surface of the earth. In theory, any rock there should have the consistency of putty, ruling out the brittle fracture and frictional sliding found in faults near the surface."

In spite of the embarrassment of the "experts," that article reassures the reader that: "No matter who wins the intellectual battle, experts agree that deep earthquakes are a general expression of plate tectonics."

Well, that's comforting.

Except that proponents of plate tectonics still have a king-sized problem providing valid explanations for the characteristics of deep earthquakes, as Dr. Walt Brown -- the originator of the hydroplate theory -- explains in great detail in his discussion of the phenomenon.  Here is the beginning of an extended section of his book (the entirety of which can be read online here, or purchased to read in hardcover from his site or from Amazon) dealing with the phenomenon of earthquakes, and discussing the importance of deep earthquakes.

According to the hydroplate theory's model, the reason conventional geologists have a hard time explaining deep earthquakes is that their explanation of all earthquakes is incorrect.  On this page of his book (and the one that follows it), Dr. Brown presents an extended chart that lists features of earthquakes and then compares the hydroplate theory explanation to the tectonic theory explanation for each.  

At the heading of the two columns (hydroplate and tectonic), he explains the two different explanations that the two theories provide for the phenomenon of earthquakes (and the related phenomena of the Pacific basin, including the "Ring of Fire" and the deep Pacific trenches).  

The tectonic model explains earthquakes, deep Pacific trenches, and the "Ring of Fire" (surrounding the Pacific basin) as the product of "subducting plates that have been diving into the mantle for hundreds of millions of years."  As noted above, this explanation sees earthquakes and the related phenomena as primarily driven by heat.

In contrast, the hydroplate theory has a very different explanation.  According to Dr. Brown, "Trenches, earthquakes, and the Ring of Fire are a result of shifts inside the earth during the flood, including the rising of the Atlantic floor and the subsidence of the Pacific floor."  Rather than being driven by heat, these phenomena are primarily driven by gravity, according to the hydroplate theory.

You can explore the list of geological evidence in the two columns and decide for yourself which of the two explanations explains the evidence more satisfactorily.

According to the hydroplate theory, earthquakes today are the result of a cataclysmic event that took place at the time of a global flood.  The initial eruption of floodwaters from under the crust removed the weight of the continents above and led to an upward bulge of the basement rock beneath.  This series of events caused the mid-Atlantic ridge, and led to tremendous friction and melting inside the earth, in a widening cone whose base on the other side of the earth corresponds today (roughly) to the edge of the Pacific basin and the Ring of Fire.

In figure 95, found in note 37 on this page of Dr. Brown's online book, he presents a simplified diagram showing the effect on the inner earth of the proposed upward springing of the floor of the Atlantic after the release of the floodwaters and the erosion of the sides of the continents, which removed weight above the basement rock that forms today's Atlantic floor (this event was discussed in some detail in this previous post). The caption accompanying the image at figure 95 explains:
The mass rising to fill in the blue region of the top cone (the new Atlantic floor) would, as a first approximation, equal the mass passing through the center of the earth. The rock in the yellow cone would experience extreme shearing stresses and deformations, so rock first melted as it approached (and was extruded through) the constriction at the center of the earth. (This is how the earth’s core, shown in red, began.) As the extruded rock melted, it also shrank, by about half, because it was far below the crossover depth. That, in turn, collapsed the deepest foundations on the Pacific side of the earth and produced more shearing deformations and melting immediately above. A runaway situation quickly developed which formed the ring of fire (shown in green), and produced a myriad of fractures in and below the Pacific plate [to see the different colored areas he is describing, visit figure 95 in his book].
(This same sequence of events was also responsible for the creation of our planet's very strong magnetic field, as discussed in this previous blog post). 

Figure 86 (located almost halfway down this page discussing earthquakes, trenches, and the Ring of Fire) shows that earthquakes with magnitudes of 5.0 or greater have a distribution with two peak depths -- one at 22 miles and one at 370 miles beneath the surface.  The distribution chart shows that very few earthquakes originate at 222 miles -- the distribution curve has two distinct groupings of shallow earthquakes and deep earthquakes, with very few at the "crossover point" in between the two groups.  It also shows that earthquakes do not originate at depths greater than 410 miles.  

Dr. Brown's theory has an explanation for this surprising evidence.  His theory argues that earthquakes are caused when rock converges upon a point beneath the surface.  But how could rock converge on a point, unless rock that had been at that point were to somehow disappear to allow the surrounding rock to rush in?  Dr. Brown explains that due to the principles of physics, magma (molten rock) will expand and move upwards (towards the earth's surface) if it is above the crossover depth (of 222 miles), and that it will contract and move downwards (towards the earth's core) if it is below the crossover depth.

Shallow earthquakes are often caused when molten rock expands and moves upwards -- like a beach ball being held under the surface of the water, it wants to get up and eventually paths will open up for it to do so, often quite suddenly and with a chain reaction of further melting of the rock around them.  As this takes place, rock in the area will rapidly rearrange and cause an earthquake.

Deep earthquakes are caused by the same process, except that below the crossover depth the magma contracts and seeks to sink down to the core.  When it manages to do so, the rearrangement of rock that takes place creates a deep earthquake.

These are very broad outlines of the forces involved; for a more complete explanation, the reader is invited to examine the several pages of detailed discussion and diagrams in Dr. Brown's book on this topic.  However, it is important to point out that Dr. Brown's theory links deep earthquakes, the Ring of Fire, and the deep ocean trenches to a single originating event that connects all of them.  As you can see from the maps of this recent powerful deep earthquake, it originated in the vicinity of the Kuril-Kamchatka Trench (see map above from the USGS, with last week's earthquake location pointed out by a black arrow that I added based on the USGS report here).

The conventional explanation for the origin of these trenches, as well as the deep earthquake that took place last week, is that the Pacific plate is subducting or diving underneath another plate along these trenches, and that this subduction creates the trenches and the earthquakes.  As the article linked above from the journal Nature explains, the conventional view is that, "The crust is descending fast enough — about 8 centimetres per year — to remain cool enough to rupture even at great depths. The diving plate is thus seismically active down to 650 kilometres or greater."

Never mind the fact that a thirty-to-sixty mile thick plate diving beneath another plate would create intense pressure and intense heat, which would increase dramatically the deeper the plate went (making the above explanation somewhat problematic), the very idea that subduction is responsible for the deep ocean trenches is fraught with problems.  

One of the biggest of these, as Dr. Brown points out, is the shape of the ocean trenches -- they are frequently arcs, and sometimes they have dramatic cusps.  How could a diving plate create an arc?  As Dr. Brown points out, if you bend a thick paperback book in half (to simulate a plate that is subducting), you will have a very difficult time making that bend resemble an arc (in fact, you won't be able to do it).  

The cusps create an even bigger problem.  In the map above, you can see that the recent deep earthquake near the Kuril-Kamchatka Trench was located almost due west of a point where the trench takes a dramatic 90-degree turn.  What kind of subducting plate could create a trench shaped like that?

There are numerous other problems with the tectonic explanation for the deep ocean trenches (including the fact that almost all of them are located along the western portions of the Pacific basin).  Some of those are discussed in previous blog posts, such as this one and this oneMany more are discussed in detail in Dr. Brown's book.

On the other hand, the mechanism proposed by the hydroplate theory explains the shape and distribution of the deep Pacific ocean trenches very comprehensively, as part of the events of the catastrophic global flood, when the inner earth rose towards the Atlantic and "sucked" the Pacific basin towards the center of the earth.  The evidence supporting this explanation is detailed in Dr. Brown's discussion in points 43 through 56 towards the end of this page in his book.

All of this discussion is not a mere academic argument with no real consequence to our day-to-day lives.  According to Dr. Brown's theory, there could be reasons that powerful and deep earthquakes are becoming more common, and if his theory is correct we could see a tremendous increase in earthquakes at some point in the future.  At the end of the discussion accompanying Figure 87 on this page of his book, Dr. Brown writes:

Drainage into the outer core continues today, releases gigantic amounts of heat throughout the mantle and core,31 and will eventually produce many powerful earthquakes.  When this will happen is uncertain.32
In the footnote at the end of that statement (footnote 32), he restates the same disturbing conclusion:
Nevertheless, earthquakes will someday increase substantially, because heat is building up inside the earth and the shrinkage of rock that melts below the crossover depth increases stresses in the crust and upper mantle. Also, these microscopic movements inside the earth generate heat thousands of times faster than heat escapes at the earth’s surface. This increasing heat melts rock, especially along the relatively hot walls of faults extending from trenches down to the liquid outer core. That melt then lubricates and facilitates further internal movements. [See Endnote 31.]
This prospect for earthquakes increasing "substantially" someday is not exactly comforting.  However, it points to the importance of maintaining the ability to critically examine and question the dominant geological paradigms that inform our understanding of the world around us.  Powerful deep earthquakes such as the one that originated below the Sea of Okhotsk last week expose the weaknesses of the conventional models.  

Events such as this one should cause scientists to consider alternative explanations, such as the theory offered by Dr. Walt Brown, which has a lot of evidence to support it.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Golden Gate

Above is a beautiful image from Wikimedia Commons of the Golden Gate, the narrow strait opening from the San Francisco Bay (on the left in the image above) into the vast Pacific Ocean (to the right in the image above, which was taken from the North Bay looking south towards San Francisco).  

The Golden Gate is of course spanned by the world famous Golden Gate Bridge, designed and supervised by Joseph Strauss (1870 - 1968) and completed in 1937, which is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful bridges in the world (who are they kidding -- it is undoubtedly the most beautiful bridge in the world).

The Golden Gate is about 1.7 miles wide at the point where the bridge is built across it, and its relative narrowness in comparison to the much larger bodies of water on either side of the strait means that the tides create very swift and powerful currents as the waters flood in from the ocean and then ebb back out in accordance with the tidal cycles each day (for a more detailed look at the tides and the celestial forces which influence them, see this previous post: "Moon, turn the tides . . . gently, gently away").

To understand why the tidal currents through the Golden Gate are so powerful, it may be helpful to imagine the "jet sprayer" faucet feature found on many modern kitchen sinks.  When you turn on your regular kitchen faucet, the water will come out at a certain moderate rate, but when you pull out the "jet sprayer" and depress the trigger, the water will suddenly come out with greatly increased force and pressure, even though you did not increase the water flow at the tap in any way.  Why does the water increase in power so much?  Because it is being forced through a much smaller opening (typically, through many pinhole openings, rather than through one larger faucet opening).  This is similar to the effect you get with a garden hose, when you suddenly constrict the opening with your thumb (again, the smaller gap creates an immediate increase in stream pressure, even though you did not increase the water flow at the tap in any way).

This same principle acts to greatly increase the power of the flood tide and ebb tide through the Golden Gate.  The strength of these tidal currents, and the generally cold water temperatures, helped make the notorious Alcatraz one of the most difficult prisons in the world from which to escape.  Alcatraz is pictured below, to the left of the left-hand tower in the photo as the viewer is looking at the image:

What mighty forces created this narrow gap between the San Francisco Bay and the great Pacific?  Wikipedia vaguely tells us that "San Francisco Bay is thought to represent a down-warping of the Earth's crust between the San Andreas Fault to the west and the Hayward Fault to the east, though the precise nature of this remains under study."  The entry goes on to speculate that a confluence of rivers flowing into this unexplained "down-warping" from the Great Central Valley then created the Golden Gate.

Such an explanation is typical of the kind of "hand wave" often given in place of a rigorous explanation when the conventional models have a hard time dealing with the details of the case.

In contrast, the hydroplate theory of Dr. Walt Brown offers a different hypothesis, based upon the overarching framework of Dr. Brown's comprehensive theory -- a hypothesis which finds evidence to back it up at other narrow straits around the world, and one which makes predictions about what someday will be found beneath the silt that currently blankets the bottom of the Golden Gate.

In the section entitled "Canyons" found near the end of this long webpage in his online book detailing his theory, Dr. Brown explains:
Drainage of the waters that covered the earth left every continental basin filled to the brim with water. Some of these postflood lakes lost more water by evaporation and seepage than they gained by rainfall and drainage from higher elevations. Consequently, they shrank over the centuries. A well-known example was former Lake Bonneville, part of which is now the Great Salt Lake.    
Through rainfall and drainage from higher terrain, other lakes gained more water than they lost. Thus, water overflowed each lake’s rim at the lowest point on the rim. The resulting erosion at that point on the rim allowed more water to flow over it. This eroded the cut in the rim even deeper and caused much more water to cut it faster. Therefore, the downcutting accelerated catastrophically. The entire lake quickly dumped through a deep slit, which we today call a canyon. These waters spilled into the next lower basin, causing it to breach its rim and create another canyon. It was like falling dominoes. The most famous canyon of all, the Grand Canyon, formed primarily by the breaching of what we will call Grand Lake. It occupied much of southeast Utah, parts of northeastern Arizona, and small areas of Colorado and New Mexico. [See the map on page 201 and pages 202235.] Grand Lake, standing at an elevation of 5,700 feet above today’s sea level, quickly eroded its natural dam 22 miles southwest of what is now Page, Arizona. As a result, the northwestern boundary of former Hopi Lake (elevation 5,950 feet) was eroded, releasing waters that occupied the present valley of the Little Colorado River.

With thousands of large, high lakes after the flood, many other canyons were carved. “Lake California” filling the Great Central Valley of California carved a canyon (now filled with sediments) under what is now the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The Strait of Gibraltar was a breach point as the rising Atlantic Ocean eventually spilled eastward into the Mediterranean Basin. The Mediterranean Sea, in turn, spilled eastward over what is now the Bosporus and Dardanelles, forming the Black Sea.
Note that this explanation is rigorous and detailed, it is built upon the fundamental principles of Dr. Brown's overarching theory, and that overarching theory is supported by extensive geological evidence from around the globe (see for instance"The Grand Canyon and the Great Flood," "The Ganges Fan, the Indus Fan, and the Great Flood," "The submarine canyons of California's Central Coast," "Geoids, relative gravity differences, and the deep Pacific trenches," "The bizarre 'barbed tributaries' of Marble Canyon," "Extraordinary sediment deposit from Pakistan to Bhutan supports hydroplate theory," and many others on this blog and in Dr. Brown's book).

It is also important to note that Dr. Brown's theory provides a comprehensive model from which it is possible to make predictions, and that Dr. Brown has published many such predictions in the past.  The ability to make predictions is one of the hallmarks of a true scientific hypothesis. Many of Dr. Brown's predictions have already been proven correct; others have yet to be proven.

In the case of the "downcutting" action described in the passage quoted above, in which large bodies of trapped water, left over from a global flood event, catastrophically breached, leading to the carving-out of V-shaped canyons, Dr. Brown has predicted that:
The crystalline rock under Gibraltar, the Bosporus and Dardanelles, and the Golden Gate Bridge will be found to be eroded into V-shaped notches. (This prediction, first published in 1995, was confirmed for the Bosporus and Dardanelles in 199890 and for Gibraltar in 2009.91)
In other words, Dr. Brown has applied this theory to the straits at the Dardanelles, the Bosporus, and the Straits of Gibraltar (all in the region of the Mediterranean), as well as to the Golden Gate.  He predicted in 1995 that V-shaped canyons could be found under the silt of each of these straits, because he believed that all were carved by the same type of event (the violent breaching of a narrow barrier by a large, trapped body of water). His predictions were later found to be correct in the Bosporus, the Dardanelles, and the Straits of Gibraltar.  

You can see images with cross-sections of the Dardanelles Strait in this scientific publication from September, 2012, showing the type of V-shaped notch predicted by the hydroplate theory.   Dr. Brown's prediction has yet to be proven at the Golden Gate, but perhaps it will be in the future.

The evidence would appear to suggest that the beautiful Golden Gate represents yet another strong supporting argument in favor of the hydroplate theory of Dr. Walt Brown.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Just three things . . .

I have just three things to teach:
simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.

Tao Teh Ching, 67.  Translation by Stephen Mitchell.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Why does earth's inner core spin differently from the rest of the planet?

Here's a link to a recent article entitled "Earth's center is out of sync," which discusses recent work by scientists which reveals more information about earth's inner core, thousands of miles beneath our feet.

The article discusses a new study published in Nature Geoscience entitled "The shuffling nature of Earth's inner core revealed by earthquake doublets," by Hrvoje Tkalčić, Mallory Young, Silvie Ngo and Malcolm Sambridge of the Australian National University, Canberra, and by Thomas Bodin of UC Berkeley's Berkeley Seismology Laboratory.

The scientists used measurements of the waves sent through the earth by earthquakes and determined that, not only does earth's solid inner core rotate at a different rate than does the outer earth (which similar studies of earthquake waves had previously suggested) but that this different rotation rate of the inner core varies with time.

Why does the earth's inner core, which is thought to be a solid ball of nickel and iron (primarily) at the very center of the earth, surrounded by a molten outer core, rotate at a different rate -- and in a slightly different direction -- from the rest of the earth?

The answer to that question (as with many other questions involving earth geology) will depend upon the framework or model that informs the person giving the answer.  

As you might expect, the hydroplate theory of Dr. Walt Brown provides an answer for this phenomenon, and one which fits in with the hydroplate theory's description of events which would have taken place surrounding the catastrophic global flood which shaped so many of the features we see around us on the planet's surface.

The hydroplate theory argues that the eruption of massive amounts of water trapped beneath earth's crust removed enough continental material to cause the basement rock to bulge "upwards" (away from earth's center), which created the mid-oceanic ridge.  This upward-bulge motion created massive frictional heating and melting inside the earth, but that's not all -- it also caused a massive suction "inwards" (towards the earth's center) on the opposite side of the planet, creating the "hole" that today is known as the Pacific basin.  This shifting of material inside the earth caused enormous friction and melting.

This event also caused the continents to slide away from the center of the Atlantic and towards the newly-created Pacific, a slide which led to the creation of almost all the terrain features we see around us.

Dr. Brown explains how the internal shifting of mass and the accompanying friction and melting led to the creation of both the solid inner core and the liquid outer core of the earth (found in the chapter entitled "The Origin of Ocean Trenches, Earthquakes, and the Ring of Fire" in his book, available online in its entirety here):
Suppose the inner earth initially had a more uniform mixture of minerals. Heating would first melt minerals with lower melting temperatures, which would allow denser grains to settle and lighter grains to rise, a process called gravitational settling. This would generate much more heat and produce more faulting, melting, and gravitational settling. After many such cycles, the earth’s core would form with solid, denser minerals (containing iron and nickel) settling to form the inner core and the melt forming the liquid outer core. Shifting so much mass toward the center of the earth and doubling the density of the rock melting below the crossover depth would increase earth’s rotational speed. Today, the earth spins 365.256 times each year, but there are historical reasons for concluding that a year once had 360 days.35 [For details, see "Melting the Inner Earth" on pages 535538.]

We saw that the skater in Figure 81 spins faster as she draws her arms closer to her spin axis. Likewise, as denser minerals settled through the magma toward the center of the earth, the inner core spun faster than the outer earth. The inner core is still spinning faster (by about 0.4° per year),36 because the liquid outer core allows slippage.
The above quotation, along with helpful illustrations and diagrams, can be found on this page of that online chapter.  

The sequence of events proposed by the hydroplate theory clearly explain the origin of a solid metal core suspended in a liquid molten outer core.  The situation arose from the massive changes wrought by the bulging upwards on the Atlantic side which pulled rock upwards all the way through the earth to pull rock inwards and downwards on the Pacific side.  Molten rock below a certain depth (called the "crossover depth") sank towards earth's center, where the heaviest and densest materials (primarily nickel and iron) formed the inner crust, and the less dense molten liquid material remained as the outer core.

Dr. Brown explains this process more fully, with plentiful technical details and supporting formulas, in notes referenced and linked in the above block quotation, which can be found here.  Part of that extended discussion reads:
[. . .] during the flood, mass shifts within the Earth generated internal friction, heating, and melting. Melting, especially near the center of the Earth where pressures (and thus frictional heating) were greatest, was followed by gravitational settling of the denser minerals and chemical elements. Rock that melted below the crossover depth contracted. [See “Magma Production and Movement” on page 154.] This produced further mass shifts (faulting), frictional heating, melting, and gravitational settling.  [. . .]

Particles that melted after they fell added to the liquid outer core; denser particles that did not melt or that solidified under the great pressure near the Earth’s center formed the solid inner core. 
The details given also explain why the core of the earth is so hot, and why it spins at a different rate than the rest of the earth.  Like an ice skater going into a spin and pulling in her arms and legs, this process sped up the rotation of the solid inner core inside its liquid outer core.

Dr. Brown once explained to me in a telephone conversation that if the earth were to somehow become transparent so that we could see all the way down to the inner core, we would be able to see that it was rotating at a different speed and direction that we are out here on the earth's surface.  We don't perceive the earth's rotation, so we would feel as though we were staying still, but even so we would see the earth's inner core rotating -- a most amazing thought!  It is probably a fact of which most people are completely unaware -- I was certainly unaware of it until he explained it to me that day.

The hydroplate theory proposes a mechanism by which this startling situation could have come about, and one which fits in with the series of events that would explain so many other pieces of geological evidence on our earth's surface.  The ongoing findings of scientists regarding the inner core appears to be additional supporting evidence for the hydroplate theory.

On the other hand, conventional explanations run into some problems in explaining how the earth's solid inner core and molten outer core originated, as Dr. Brown explains in note 21 on this page of his online book.  This discussion is also very closely related to the question of how earth obtained such a strong magnetic field, which is also covered by the hydroplate theory and discussed in this previous blog post.

Based on the truly astonishing amount of geophysical evidence which Dr. Brown's theory explains, it should be carefully considered as a strong contender for understanding our planet.

Monday, May 13, 2013

GMOs in the news, and in your summer barbecue

Genetically-modified crops have been in the news lately, and as this blog has pointed out before, there are many food items that are literally impossible to find at a normal, non-premium grocery store in the United States that do not contain ingredients from one of the eight often-transgenic crops currently approved for sale as human food.

Those eight crops (as of time of publication -- more may be approved in the future) are: corn, soy, cottonseed (consumed by humans as cottonseed oil), canola, sugar beets, more than half of Hawaiian papaya, and a small percentage of zucchini and yellow (crookneck) squash.  A previous post discussing this list, and some of the arguments of those concerned that genetically-modified organisms may pose hazards to humans who eat them, can be found here.

The first crop on that list, corn, is overwhelmingly transgenic in the US at this time, with over 80% of corn produced now GMO.  Unless specifically told otherwise by a label that reads "GMO free," a consumer who is trying to avoid consuming genetically-modified organisms for any reason (personal conscience, health concerns, or suspicion that these foods might potentially be unsafe in some way) would have to assume that a product containing corn-based ingredients is likely to contain GMOs.  Corn-based ingredients can include corn flour, corn starch, corn oil, or the nearly-ubiquitous high-fructose corn syrup.   

It is not uncommon to encounter entire sections of a typical grocery-store aisle in which none of the options can be safely purchased by someone trying to avoid GMOs.  For example, the hamburger bun aisle at a typical American grocery store is likely to contain seven or eight different brands and styles of hamburger bun, but each and every one of them will contain corn products and none of them will state that they are GMO-free.  Some might prominently state that they have "no high-fructose corn syrup," but an inspection of the ingredients of these will often reveal other corn products instead.

Some will also contain soy products (as do the buns pictured above, in addition to high-fructose corn syrup).  Over 90% of the soy produced in the US is now genetically modified.

Note that you don't have to be a meat-eater to want to purchase hamburger buns.  Even those avoiding the consumption of meat from animals might want hamburger buns with a veggie burger or a giant sauteed portobello mushroom once in a while.

Of course, there are hamburger buns available without corn syrup, other corn products, or soy products, but to find them in the US you will probably have to visit a more "premium" grocery store, one that specializes in a higher percentage of organic ingredients and which caters to a more ingredient-conscious clientele.  These premium stores, of course, also cater to a more affluent consumer.  

One wonders if the general public is aware that so many food categories their grocery aisles seem to deliberately contain ingredients from GMO-approved crops in every single product offering in their category.  One also wonders why manufacturers seem to almost perversely include some corn and/or soy in products that do not seem to call for corn or soy products (even "potato flour" hamburger buns often have corn and soy ingredients!).

Of course, many people believe there are absolutely no dangers to consuming genetically-modified ingredients.  This is an area in which everyone should do their own research and analysis and reach their own conclusions.  However, it almost seems that for the members of the general public who do not have access to a premium grocery store in their area, or who cannot afford to pay a premium for the most-common food items, the choice has already been made for them. 

Friday, May 10, 2013


Above is an image of a beautiful mosaic depicting Okeanos, displaying truly inspired artistry (here is a link to the image on Wikimedia commons). 

As you can see from this mosaic, Okeanos (or Oceanus) was almost invariably depicted as horned.  This previous post contains an image of a different mosaic showing Okeanos, also horned.  

In Hamlet's Mill, Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend explain that Okeanos is a very important figure in ancient myth, and they cite Professor R.B. Onians Origins of European Thought who believes Okeanos is an aspect of Achelous, the primal river "conceived as a serpent with human head and horns" (189).  

They quote an extensive passage from Professor Onians, who argues that:  "Okeanos was, as may now be seen, the primeval psyche and this would be conceived as a serpent in relation to procreative liquid" and who made the important connection from there to "the procreative fluid with which the psyche was identified, the spinal fluid believed to take serpent form" (189). De Santillana and von Dechend remark that this idea is undoubtedly related to "the 'kundalini' of Indian Yoga" (189).

They also argue that Okeanos does not refer only to the earthly ocean which surrounds all continents, but to the celestial ocean, for Okeanos is described with attributes suggesting silence, placidity, untiring regularity, stillness, and rotation -- all attributes which belong "to the starry heavens" (190 -- see also the previous blog post linked above, where this connection is discussed further).

If so, and the evidence is compelling, this is another important ancient indicator of the connection between microcosm and macrocosm (see this previous post).  Okeanos is simultaneously the untiring circle of the heavens, and the "psyche" inside every one of us, "the spinal fluid believed to take serpent form."

The Orphic Hymn 83 is addressed to Okeanos.  Here is the 1792 translation by Thomas Taylor of that 83rd Hymn:
OCEAN I call, whose nature ever flows,
From whom at first both Gods and men arose;
Sire incorruptible, whose waves surround,
And earth's concluding mighty circle bound:
Hence every river, hence the spreading sea,
And earth's pure bubbling fountains spring from thee:
Hear, mighty fire, for boundless bliss is thine,
Whose waters purify the pow'rs divine:
Earth's friendly limit, fountain of the pole,
Whose waves wide spreading and circumfluent roll.
Approach benevolent, with placid mind,
And be for ever to thy mystics kind.

De Santillana and von Dechend note that the ninth line, which Taylor has here translated "Earth's friendly limit, fountain of the pole" is yet another indication that Okeanos refers to the starry heavens.  The actual Greek here reads terma philo gaies, arche polou -- "beloved end of the earth, ruler of the pole" as de Santillana and von Dechend put it.  Okeanos is addressed as the ruler (arche) of the pole, that point in the sky around which the entire heavens appear to turn (the point in the heavens above the earthly pole).

The final line of the Orphic Hymn to Okeanos refers to mystics, which also suggests the macrocosm-microcosm theme.  The mystics of Okeanos ("thy mystics") would be those who are able to achieve a mystic union or identification or merging with Okeanos, "whose nature ever flows."

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Embryonic Lufengosaurus fossils and the hydroplate theory of Dr. Walt Brown

Special thanks to Farmer Dan V., an old friend from the airborne days, for alerting me to this fascinating account of the discovery of fossilized dinosaur embryos in southern China (Lufeng County, Yunnan Province), identified as Lufengosaurus, a sauropod reaching lengths of 30 feet.  An adult skeleton of a Lufengosaur is shown above.

The article discusses a report published in the journal Nature, entitled "Embryology of Early Jurassic dinosaur from China, with evidence of preserved organic remains," was written by a team of scientists led by paleontologist Dr. Robert Reisz of the University of Toronto, Mississauga campus.

The fossils are unique in that, unlike other fossilized dinosaur eggs, these allow the paleontologists to study the bones of the developing fossils that are usually inside and unable to be studied.  This enables the bone sizes to be studied in order to determine growth rates of this species before they hatched.  Scientists had previously studied growth rates of young dinosaurs after they hatched, but had not been able to study growth rates that dinosaurs might have undergone before hatching.  As the abstract to the paper explains:
The preservation of numerous disarticulated skeletal elements and eggshells in this monotaxic bone bed, representing different stages of incubation and therefore derived from different nests, provides opportunities for new investigations of dinosaur embryology in a clade noted for gigantism.
The fossils suggest very rapid growth, as well as the development and flexing of muscles while still in the egg (something the paleontologists deduced from the asymmetric development of the cross-sections of the leg bones, suggesting that muscle attachments and embryonic muscle flexing were influencing the shape of the developing bones).

How was this monotaxic archaeological treasure trove (a monotaxic site contains the remains of a single taxon or species form, which can be very valuable for comparison and analysis) preserved in the first place?  As the article notes, the scientists believe that "a flood swept through a dinosaur nesting site in what is now southern China. Dozens of embryos were suffocated in their eggs and their bones were separated from each other, carried away, and buried under sediment."

Note that this explanation is in fact consistent with the hydroplate theory of Dr. Walt Brown.  Preserving dinosaur embryos would require some extremely unusual conditions, including the rapid flooding and burial under thick wet sediment described above, in order to prevent total bacterial decomposition that eventually takes place under ordinary circumstances. 

In fact, not only are embryonic fossils difficult to preserve, but all fossils fall into this same category: under normal circumstances, bacteria and other organisms break down all dead creatures, whether full-grown or unhatched.  Thus, the existence of fossilized bones from an adult Lufengosaurus is just as incredible as the existence of these embryonic fossils.  For more on this subject, see this post and many others previously published on this blog.

Perhaps the most astonishing piece of information revealed in the study published last month by Dr. Reisz is the revelation that the paleontologists also found "preserved organic remains" in these embryonic fossils -- meaning actual dinosaur tissue that had not been turned to mineral but still contained protein!  This article in PhysOrg gives more detail on that astounding discovery.  In it, Dr. Reisz is quoted as saying:
The bones of ancient animals are transformed to rock during the fossilization process," says Reisz. "To find remnants of proteins in the embryos is really remarkable, particularly since these specimens are over 100 million years older than other fossils containing similar organic material.

Read more at:
The bones of ancient animals are transformed to rock during the fossilization process.  To find remnants of proteins in the embryos is really remarkable, particularly since these specimens are over 100 million years older than other fossils containing similar organic material.
The scientists believe that the Lufengosaurus fossils come from a period of time between 190 million and 197 million years ago.  The other fossils with preserved soft tissues to which Dr. Reisz is referring are those found in the bones of a T. Rex from "only" 68 million years ago, which means that these Lufengosaurs, if properly dated, predate those preserved tissues by almost another 130 million years!

This previous post entitled "Soft tissue in T. Rex fossils" explains the king-sized problems those T. Rex tissues caused scientists devoted to the conventional models of geology and fossil dating. The problem was that other scientific research had shown that such soft tissue structures could not last more than 10 million years.  Instead of questioning whether their model for dating the fossils might be based on faulty assumptions, they revised their estimate of the length of time that soft tissues could survive.  Looks as though they will have to revise it again!

Of course, they could also consider the possibility that all the strata were laid down rapidly, at the same time, during a cataclysmic global flood, as literally hundreds or even thousands of other independent pieces of evidence around the world appear to suggest.  This possibility is discussed in this previous post and this previous post, among others. In that case, these soft tissue fossils may be far less than 68 million years old (for the T. Rex) and 197 million years old (for the Lufengosaurus).  

However, there appears to be very little chance that such reconsideration will take place, even after this amazing discovery and article by Dr. Reisz and his colleagues.  Most people are too wedded to their foundational assumptions to question them to that extent, just as they were when Alfred Wegener first proposed his radical (for their time) geological theories back in 1912.

In any event, this new fossil discovery appears to be incredibly important in many ways, not least the fact that it adds substantial additional evidence that may support a completely different geological model than the one that is currently dominant.
The bones of ancient animals are transformed to rock during the fossilization process," says Reisz. "To find remnants of proteins in the embryos is really remarkable, particularly since these specimens are over 100 million years older than other fossils containing similar organic material.

Read more at:
The bones of ancient animals are transformed to rock during the fossilization process," says Reisz. "To find remnants of proteins in the embryos is really remarkable, particularly since these specimens are over 100 million years older than other fossils containing similar organic material.

Read more at:

Monday, May 6, 2013

Is bee pollen one of nature's perfect foods?

(if reading this on a mobile device, please scroll down to read the blog post)

Some previous posts have discussed ancient knowledge about medical science which appears to have been lost (or suppressed) somewhere along the way, and which is no longer common knowledge today.  

For example, the post entitled "Basking in the sun" noted that ancient historian Herodotus recounted stories of the healthful benefits of a daily sun bath, and that Pliny the Elder apparently indulged in a daily sun bath for health as well.  However, few today are told that a sun bath promotes good health, although that post presented some links to modern sources who believe that sun baths are good for health, and who present evidence to support their assertions.

Another practice that was recommended by the ancients, but about which conventional medical professionals remain largely silent, is the consumption of bee pollen for human health.  Again, Pliny speaks extensively of bees, as well as of the beneficial aspects of their products including honey, propolis, and pollen (see his Natural History, which can be read online here, where he discusses bees and their products in Book XI, beginning in chapter 4).  There is evidence that the ancient Egyptians were skilled beekeepers and that they buried honey and possibly bee pollen in their tombs (suggesting a high regard for its properties).  Traditional Chinese medicine also appears to have long recommended the health benefits of bee pollen.

Many voices in the modern alternative medicine community have high praise for the health effects of bee pollen.  This article, for example, on Dr. Mercola's website praises the positive effects of bee pollen so extensively that it is difficult to believe that something so beneficial could be so unrecognized by the general public and the medical community. 

On the other hand, some authors claim that bee pollen's benefits are overhyped and warn that some portion of the population will find bee pollen to cause digestive or other problems.  In Letters from the Hive, Stephen Buchmann argues that:
[. . .] none of the health claims made for pollen have been substantiated in properly controlled clinical trials.  Though it is high in proteins, lipids, antioxidants, and vitamins, these nutrients can be obtained in other, more easily digested foods at considerably less cost.  

And then there are the side effects some people experience when taking pollen.  The major adverse reactions are stomach pain and diarrhea, reported by up to 33 percent of individuals in some studies.  Irritation and itching of the mouth and throat are also sometimes reported.  So leave bee pollen to the bees, and enjoy their honey instead.  247.
While the amazing claims about bee pollen's benefits touted by some proponents might seem somewhat excessive, the arguments against bee pollen in these paragraphs may go too far in the other direction.  Bee pollen is "high in proteins, lipids, antioxidants, and vitamins" but we should "leave bee pollen to the bees" because all of those nutrients can be better obtained elsewhere?  Where else are all of these attributes found, one wonders?  What other single food has such a combination?  

The adverse effects reported for bee pollen should certainly be taken into account, but again the warning that these are experienced by up to 33 percent of individuals seems remarkably high.  Of course, the author says that this was "in some studies," but since those studies are not identified, it is difficult to know how large the studies were or whether other studies had lower incidences of adverse reactions.

There are many areas in which the consensus of "expert opinion" can be completely wrong for decades, a phenomenon which has been discussed in many other posts on this blog.  It is also clear that much ancient wisdom has been lost or even deliberately destroyed or suppressed.  

In Serpent in the Sky, John Anthony West presents evidence that the ancient Egyptians possessed extremely sophisticated medical knowledge, among the other advanced sciences that seem to have appeared "full-blown" at the earliest stages of ancient dynastic Egypt, which together are very difficult to explain under conventional historical models.  Whether the ancient Egyptians were the source of the apparently widespread ancient reverence for bee pollen and other bee products as beneficial to human health is not yet clear.  However, it is an intriguing question.

Readers may be interested in pursuing this subject further on their own.

Friday, May 3, 2013

May 4 is the birthday of Eddie Aikau

May 4 is the birthday of Hawaiian surfing legend and exemplary human being Eddie Aikau, born this day in 1946.  (here's the video link to the video above)

Here is a link to a blog post I wrote a year ago about this tremendous waterman, family man, and North Shore lifeguard.

Below is another short video about Eddie:

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Fluoridation of the water supply

Above is a link to hour one of a recent Red Ice interview with Dr. Paul Connett, a chemist and retired university professor who specialized in environmental chemistry and toxicology, and who presents some cogent arguments for examining the consensus view (in the United States) that fluoridation of the water supply for the general public is safe and effective for the prevention of dental cavities.

One of Dr. Connett's strongest arguments is the observation that, even if we grant the premise that fluoride is a medically or dentally beneficial substance, the delivery of a medical agent through the water system creates a situation in which there is absolutely no supervision over the amount of the dosage (some individuals may drink gallons of water each day, others very little), and there is absolutely no way to adjust for the bodyweight or other factors of the individual being dosed (tiny infants may be exposed to dosages completely inappropriate for their system and level of development).

He also argues that some recent research strongly suggests that the ingestion of fluoride provides no systemic benefit: fluoride might not go through the body to strengthen the teeth from the inside, the way water fluoridation proponents have argued as one of their main reasons for introducing it into the water supply.  While fluoride applied topically (to the teeth from the outside, through toothpaste or oral rinses) might be beneficial, if fluoride does not act systemically, then there is no need to ingest it.  Individuals who need or want fluoride for topical application can easily obtain it for themselves and monitor the amount they apply.

Further, the introduction of fluoride into the water supply removes individual choice -- fluoride becomes a mandated treatment, rather than a choice left up to individuals and families.  This fact alone shows that fluoridation of the water supply does violence to the free will of men and women and thus represents a violation of human rights which everyone should reject.  The fact that this violation is perpetrated on behalf of a substance of questionable efficacy makes it even worse, but even if fluoride were found to be of unquestioned value, the forceful administration of this chemical to every member of society whether they will it or no would represent a grave injustice, in addition to the medical problems of dosage already discussed.

One of the most troubling aspect of this topic is the fact that the defenders of the status quo (the proponents of the fluoridation of the water supply, particularly in the United States where the practice is extremely common) engage in the ridicule of those who question fluoridation, rather than in honest debate and examination of the arguments for and against the practice.  This type of behavior would seem to be extremely unscientific, and even suspicious.  Such tactics have been discussed in previous posts, such as "There is no such thing as quasicrystals, only quasi-scientists," and "Read Dr. Daniel Botkin's article, 'Absolute Certainty is Not Scientific'."

Dr. Connett further points out that he is more than happy to engage in public debate over this issue, but that this offer is very rarely accepted by those who prefer to ridicule from afar.  Doesn't an issue of this importance deserve more scrutiny, and public debate?

Because this question of fluoridation is one that impacts a huge number of people every day.  As Dr. Connett points out in his Red Ice interview, fluoridation of the water supply does not just impact those who choose to drink several glasses of water from the tap each day: it impacts the water which is in just about every canned or bottled beverage we consume, whether ice tea, beer, soda (which often contains genetically-modified ingredients to boot), as well as the water that is used to make a huge variety of other foodstuffs from sauces to soups and everything in between.

And, don't forget that if you cook at home and you make pasta using your fluoridated tapwater, or make rice using fluoridated water, or boil potatoes or corn or artichokes, then you are consuming fluoride every time you do so.  If you go to a restaurant and order spaghetti, or sushi made with rice, then those items are probably made using fluoridated water, if you live in a place where the water supply is fluoridated.  In fact, it is incredibly difficult to avoid ingesting more fluoride than you want to think about, once the government starts putting it into the water supply, even if you go to great lengths to avoid drinking it straight out of the tap. 

A topic of such importance deserves open and honest debate and careful examination and analysis of the evidence, not obfuscation, name-calling, and marginalization of anyone who dares to question the dominant paradigm.

Here is a link to the website of the Fluoride Action Network, an organization which also opposes the mandatory fluoridation of the water supply.  The site contains numerous embedded videos with arguments against mandatory fluoridation, including the video below from actor Ed Begley, Jr.