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Subduction Denialism, Part 3: Sedimentation in the Cascadia subduction zone

November 14, 2008

Note: This post is the third in a three-part series — please see Part 1 and Part 2 from earlier today before continuing — you’ll need the context. The numbering of the figures in this post continues from Part 2.

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Geophysical Imaging of the Cascadia Continental Margin

Let’s get back to the Cascadia region — if you need a refresher of the area, go back to Part 2 and look at Fig. 1a for the regional bathymetric/topographic map of this continental margin. The seismic-reflection data shown below (from Calvert, 2004) is from the northern part of this region, near Vancouver Island.

(a) Unmigrated seismic cross section and (b) migrated section superimposed on P-wave velocities of Cascadia margin; black circles are earthquakes (from Fig. 2 of Calvert, 2004; Nature, 428, p. 163-167)

Fig. 15: (a) Unmigrated seismic-reflection cross section and (b) migrated section superimposed on P-wave velocities of Cascadia margin; black circles are earthquakes (from Fig. 2 of Calvert, 2004; Nature, 428, p. 163-167)

Click on it for a bigger and less fuzzy version. Calvert interprets the package of higher amplitude reflectors (darker color) as the underthrusting Juan de Fuca plate. Earthquakes, shown by the black dots, along with the P-wave velocity structure shown in color are depicted with the reflection profile in the lower figure.

A USGS study from 1999 by Stanley et al. investigates crustal-scale structure of this region to evaluate models of deformation as they relate to earthquakes (this one is an Open File report that can be found here).

http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/1999/ofr-99-0311/

Fig. 16: Stanley et al., 1999; USGS Open File Report: http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/1999/ofr-99-0311/

The profile above (one of many transects shown in report) is again showing the seismic wave velocity structure across this continental margin.

The two illustrations above are just a couple of many crustal-scale studies of the Cascadia region (see references within each for more). Now, let’s zoom in a bit on the accretionary complex.

Bathymetric map of Cascadia margin (created in GeoMapApp)

Fig. 17: Bathymetric map of Cascadia margin (created in GeoMapApp)

I didn’t put annotation on the map above on purpose, no interpretation, no arrows, nothing — this is the physiography of this margin, plain and simple. The region in the reddish-orange to yellow-green colors marks the boundary between the oceanic Juan de Fuca plate (to the west) and the continental North American plate (to the east).

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Sedimentation History of Cascadia Convergent Margin

A great paper on the evolution of the Cascadia margin is a 1978 paper from Barnard in Marine Geology. The paper presents numerous seismic-reflection profiles that were acquired across the continental slope — the image below is just one of the many in the paper.

Seismic-reflection profile of Cascadia margin (from Barnard, 1978; Marine Geology, v. x)

Fig. 18: Seismic-reflection profile of Cascadia margin (from Barnard, 1978; Marine Geology, v. 27)

You definitely want to click on this one to see the details. This profile is essentially at the latitude of the Columbia River mouth, which is the large east-west trending estuary near the upper-right corner of the map in Fig. 17. Note the ridge and basin topography. The reflectors in the ridges are concave-down suggesting incremental uplift and folding of older strata. The areas between the ridges are relatively flat with horizontal to slightly inclined reflectors that ‘onlap’ the basin margins indicating that sediment as filled in these basins.

The next image below, which I’ve shown before in the Sea-Floor Sunday series, shows this ridge and basin topography very clearly.

Fig. 19: Perspective bathymetric image looking southeast of Cascadia margin (from Pratson & Haxby, 1996; Geology, v. 24)

Also note the submarine fan that has developed (near the bottom of the image) outboard of the deformation front. It has a beautiful fan valley/channel that connects back to the shelf area, which is consistent with previous observations mentioned above regarding terrigenous sediment being transported across the accretionary wedge and out onto the Juan de Fuca plate. If you look back up at the bathymetric map in Fig. 17, you can see this submarine fan and the submarine canyon that fed it.

Underwood & Moore (1995) synthesize the history and magnitude of sedimentation in the Cascadia region:

…the continental margin of Oregon and Washington has several impressive submarine canyons. Barnard (1978) calculated the late Pleistocene sediment volume for Cascadia Basin (seaward of the deformation front) and compared that value with estimated volume for the Washington slope; he concluded that roughly two-thirds of the sediment delivered to the shelf edge bypasses the slope completely through the dominant submarine canyons.

In other words, two-thirds of the continentally-derived sediment makes it beyond the continental slope (where those trench-slope basins shown in Barnard’s seismic-reflection profiles shown in Fig. 18 are).

Underwood & Moore (1995) continue:

Rates of turbidite accumulation within Cascadia Basin have been exceptionally high (Kulm et al., 1973), particularly during lowstands. The most important features are the Nitinat and Astoria fans, and the Vancouver and Cascadia channels … The basin floor is unusually shallow (2,400-3,000 m) because the subducting oceanic crust (generated by sea-floor spreading along the nearby Gorda/Juan de Fuca Ridge system) is young, warm, and buoyant; the rate of plate convergence is also relatively slow. As a consequence, the trench is completely obscured as a bathymetric feature.

Emphasis mine. They go on to discuss more details of component depositional systems, their respective thicknesses, histories, and relationships to the coastal staging areas in that review paper.

So, why is there so much sediment being transported to and deposited along the Cascadia margin? The size of the Columbia River drainage basin is a major factor. While many continental arc margins have numerous and high sediment-flux rivers along there length, few have rivers the size of the Columbia. It is the largest river flowing into the Pacific Ocean from North America (as measured by volume of flow). Big rivers generally deliver a lot of sediment.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Columbiarivermap.png)

Fig. 20: Map showing Columbia River watershed (credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Columbiarivermap.png)

By contrast, if you look at a map of Peru and Chile (another oceanic-continental convergent margin) you’ll notice that the continental divide runs down the spine of the Andes Mountains, which is pretty close to the plate boundary. The Columbia River watershed reaches ~900 km back into the North American continent from the plate boundary. The headwaters for rivers that flow from the Andes into the Pacific Ocean, however, are generally 200-300 km from the plate boundary. But it’s not just distance — the Columbia River drainage basin area is huge and has several large tributaries. While the river systems coming off the Andes may have high sediment flux locally, they are numerous and are spread across the orogen.

If you go back up and look at the map in Fig. 17 you’ll notice that the mouth of the Columbia River is not very close to the continental slope. Remember that the last million years or so has fluctuated between ice ages and ‘interglacials’ — sea levels were >100 m lower than they are today just 18,000 years ago in the latest Pleistocene. The lower sea level pushes the shoreline out to the modern continental shelf edge. In other words, the mouth of the Columbia River emptied directly into (and helped create) the submarine canyon head you see near the continental shelf edge.

A great paper by Normark and Reid (2003) discusses Pleistocene-aged turbidite deposits in the greater Cascadia region. You have most likely heard about those famous catastrophic late Pleistocene mega-floods that created the Channeled Scablands. What happened when these mega-floods reached the sea?

normarkreidfig12

Fig. 21: Map showing extent of Pleistocene terrigenous deposition on the Juan de Fuca and Pacific plates (credit: Fig. 12 from Normark & Reid, 2003; The Journal of Geology, v. 111)

The map above summarizes the extent of turbidite sediments showing them nearly 1000 km (!) to the west, beyond the Blanco Fracture Zone, and on the Pacific Plate. The inset diagram in the lower left (click on it to see bigger version) shows the volumes for the initial outburst flood. Normark & Reid also show an ODP core in Escanaba Trough has a >300 m thick section of turbidites that have been deposited since ~30,000 years ago. The details and implications of this paper are endlessly fascinating (to me), so I’ll save a more thorough discussion of it for another time. But what’s important to reiterate for this post is that the Cascadia region has received ridiculous amounts of sediment in recent geologic history.

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Concluding Remarks

This series of posts is in no way a comprehensive review of subduction — it is not a comprehensive review of the Cascadia example. It is not even a comprehensive review of sedimentation in the Cascadia region for the Pleistocene. Although these posts are lengthy as blog posts go, I’m barely scratching the surface.

One of the last comments from Anaconda in that long exchange was:

Why is it so hard for you to admit a harmless mistake (jumping to the conclusion that Cascadia has a “trench overfilled w/ sediment”), or that subduction theory has weaknesses for that matter?

First of all, I hope that this series of posts demonstrates that I did not “jump to a conclusion” regarding Cascadia’s history of sedimentation. If my summary of the numerous studies doesn’t convince you, then I encourage you to look at the specific studies and evaluate them yourself.

Secondly, I have no problem discussing the uncertainties with respect to subduction — obviously there is a lot we don’t know. But, Anaconda is talking about “weaknesses” in the entire concept … as in weaknesses compared to a model of the Earth that has no subduction. This is confusing logic (at least to me) … the subduction denialists must, at some point, explain the physiography of plate boundaries within the context of their conceptual model of the Earth. They can try and debunk plate tectonics theory all they want … be my guest … but that won’t create a paradigm shift or revolution in thinking. That will only happen when a comprehensive and integrated model (with data and observations from all over the Earth) is presented, tested, and evaluated by others. If they want to resurrect geosynclinal theory for the formation of orogenic belts — go for it. But do it with data and do it systematically. Broad assertions don’t cut it.

Of course they will shout back “No, the burden of proof is on you!”. And then when I point them to either a single paper, several papers, or nearly 70 papers and several textbooks full of thousands of references from several decades of research, they’ll rebut “Don’t give me a laundry list! If you can’t convince me in your own words, you fail!” or something like that. And then, of course, there will be a rebuttal that discusses dogma, history/philosophy of science, other meta-science arguments, persecution from the ivory tower, or even conspiracy theories that, in my opinion, simply evade actually doing any real research.

I’ve been called arrogant and disgrace to my profession by Anaconda before (really) … and before that, when I attempted to have a civil discussion, he accused me or “trying to appear reasonable”. So, I think it’s safe to assume it’s a no-win situation with them.

So, let me state this clearly — I don’t believe OIM or Anaconda (or any other hard-core subduction denialist for that matter) will be swayed in any way by these posts. It’s not in their nature. This post isn’t really for them — I put all this together for: (1) genuinely interested people that may have come across contrasting ideas while surfing the web and (2) for myself because I’m a nerd and think it’s fun.

But, if Anaconda, OIM, or any other subduction denialist wishes to respond to this post I would ask that you do as I have done — provide full citations and links (if available) for any data, figures/illustrations, and papers/studies you reference. Being thorough and diligent with references may seem trivial but is necessary to avoid confusion.

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References Cited (below are cited in this post, for longer list of subduction references, see here):

Barnard, 1978, The Washington continental slope: Quaternary tectonics and sedimentation: Marine Geology, v. 27.

Calvert, 2004, Seismic reflection imaging of two megathrust shear zones in the northern Cascadia subduction zone:Nature, v. 428, p. 163-166.

Normark and Reid, 2003, Extensive Deposits on the Pacific Plate from Late Pleistocene North American Glacial Lake Outbursts: The Journal of Geology, v. 111, p. 617-637.

Stanley et al., 1999, Subduction zone and crustal dynamics of western Washington: A tectonic model for earthquake hazards evaluation: USGS Open File Report 99-311; http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/1999/ofr-99-0311/

Underwood, M.B. and Moore, G.F., 1995, Trenches and trench-slope basins: in Busby & Ingersoll, eds.; Tectonics of Sedimentary Basins, Blackwell, p. 179-219.

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Postscript: While most of the papers I cite (or are cited within the papers I cite) are not freely and easily available to the public, there is a wealth of data that is available for anyone to do science. In the past, sifting through some of these data portals was cumbersome and time-consuming. These days, many have GoogleEarth portals so you can search in the area of interest.

Two of these are the Integrated Ocean Drilling Project (IODP), and its legacy progams DSDP and ODP, and the USGS National Archive of Marine Seismic Surveys. The screenshot below shows both of these data portals for the greater Cascadia region.

Screenshot of IODP and USGS Nat'l Archive of Marine Seismic Surveys data portals in GoogleEarth

Screenshot of IODP and USGS Nat'l Archive of Marine Seismic Surveys GoogleEarth data portals

When you are within GoogleEarth and click on the information, a window pops up that has links to where you can download the data and read the reports with details of acquisition. These datasets are available for you to do some science!! If you have a hypothesis that needs testing, get at it.

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UPDATE #1 (11/17/2008): Instead of addressing any specific place or dataset presented in these posts, OilIsMastery has responded with generalities. He is suggesting that the western Pacific Plate boundary is a spreading center. He pointed to this map of oceanic crustal ages as support for this. As you can see in the comments, I’ve asked him repeatedly how the older oceanic crust (~160-120 million years old) came to be juxtaposed against the boundary — if this was a spreading center, where is the young (i.e., new) crust?

To help focus and avoid confusion … the map below zooms in on the area of interest.

oceanage-inset

agebar

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UPDATE #2 (11/18/2008): Okay … OilIsMastery is now saying the above plate boundary is not divergent, but is called ‘orogenic’ or ‘volcanic’ … or something like that. The Nazca-South American boundary, which he originally claimed was divergent (because those are the only kind that exist, remember?), also has volcanoes and is an orogenic belt … so, I’m not quite sure how to distinguish. Hopefully he will clarify his classification scheme for everybody – bonus points if data is involved!

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155 Comments leave one →
  1. November 14, 2008 8:59 pm

    very well researched and presented Brian. Its going to take me a couple of days to read through all this. I appreciate the effort you have taken.

    And I don’t think this is a waste of time as LabLemming put it. You might not convince the deniers but you have put out a great educational package.

  2. November 15, 2008 1:49 am

    filled in trenches still show up in gravity, don’t they? Also, the carribean is a great place to see the effect of sediment, as the north end is open ocea, while the south end is the Orinoco Delta.

  3. November 15, 2008 5:22 am

    These are a really exceptional package of posts, Brian. Thanks of all the research and effort.

  4. November 15, 2008 3:33 pm

    Wow… an impressive series of posts. This is what geoblogging is all about. I gotta say: Nice job!

  5. CamArchGrad permalink
    November 15, 2008 7:04 pm

    Anothr source of sedimentation (with more influence further north) on the sedimentary record of the Cascadian trench is the deglaciation of Vancouver Island and the adjacent mainland. During each deglaciation, vast volumes of sediment were flushed from the mountains into the nearby oceans, where they form thick beds(eg the Tofino Basin).

    And this process happened over 20 times (if the OIS data is to be believed).

  6. November 17, 2008 4:45 am

    Hi Brian and hi all.

    Those surely are some elaborate mathematical models and pretty pictures you have there.

    Unfortunately, and no offense to you personally Brian, since I wish to criticize and discuss ideas only, it is obvious that none of those models correspond to physical actuality and are all mental artifacts.

    “In the oral session, except for one presentation that was clearly pro plate tectonics, and another one that did not address the issue of global and large scale geology specifically, there was general consensus that subduction, and therefore plate tectonics, is mechanically impossible.” — Stavros T. Tassos (seismologist/geoscientist) and Karsten M. Storetvedt (geophysicist), November 2007

    “Five propositions in Geology, namely Plate Tectonics, Constant Size Earth, Heat Engine Earth, Elastic Rebound, and the Organic Origin of Hydrocarbon Reserves are challenged as Myths because their potential truth is not confirmed by Observation, and/or Experiment, and/or Logic. In their place the Excess Mass Stress Tectonics – EMST, i.e., a Solid, Quantified, Growing and Radiating Earth and its implications, such as the Inorganic Origin of Hydrocarbons, claims to be a Comprehensive Proposition.” — Stavros T. Tassos, seismologist/geoscientist, November 2007

    “Around the lovely Ring of Fire we have what are commonly called ‘subduction zones’. Cue Disney “Rites of Spring” music and animation. … Are we in some kind of hell where facts are thrown out, en masse, no matter how they accumulate? You know, when this blows up, there’s gonna be an awfully big splatter.” — Neal Adams, artist/computer animator, February 2007

    “Ganymede’s grooved terrain likely formed during an epoch of global expansion….” — Michael T. Bland and Adam P. Showman, planetary scientists, 2007

    “The idea of an earth which is constant and unchanging has been restated so often throughout history that it has now become established as a firm fact. It needs no proof — which is lucky since there is none.” — Stephen Hurrell, engineer, April 2006

    “Since planets and moons did not pop into existence at their current size, everyone agrees they must have expanded at some point in their history.” — Dennis D. McCarthy, geoscientist, November 2005

    “In fact, it is now widely accepted that the Jovian moon, Ganymede, has experienced significant, internally-generated, post-formation expansion. As Prockter (2001) writes: ‘The bright terrain formed as Ganymede underwent some extreme resurfacing event, probably as a result of the moon’s increase in size’. Collins et al. (1999) agree that the formation of the grooved terrain on Ganymede was likely the result of post-formation ‘global expansion’. ” — Dennis D. McCarthy, geoscientist, November 2005

    “The insinuation that we do not know a physical process responsible for an accelerated Earth expansion is not a scientific counter argument. The physical nature of many processes has regularly been recognized in science, long after they were first recognized as real phenomena.” — Stefan Cwojdzinski, geologist, 2005

    “The causal understanding of Earth expansion is not yet fully understood, but the empirical processes involved are confirmed by such numerous and different sets of data that this should be considered fact.” — Stefan Cwojdzinski, geologist, 2005

    “There is now a lack of reference or any factual basis in plate tectonic discussions.” — Stefan Cwojdzinski, geologist, 2005

    “When studying the history of the creation and formulation of plate tectonics one can come to the conclusion that it is, and was at best only a hypothesis. A hypothesis, which uses an assumption at its basis. This is the assumption that the Earth has retained a constant size during its geological evolution. This assumption however is not supported by facts.” — Stefan Cwojdzinski, geologist, 2005

    “At a conference on the expanding Earth in Sydney in 1981 Peter Smith did a test survey of people attending: sixty people interviewed expressed disbelief in the hypothesis, but none of them had read Carey’s book on the topic.” — Cliff Ollier, geologist, 2005

    “To date however, there is no direct unambiguous evidence that mantle convection and/or mantle circulation actually takes place; in fact, there is some evidence to the contrary. Moreover, there is no evidence that oceanic basalt can be repeatedly recycled through the mantle without being substantially and irreversibly changed. Yet, mantle convection/circulation and basalt recycling are fundamental necessities for the validity of plate tectonics. Furthermore, plate tectonics theory does not provide an energy source for geodynamic activity.” — J. Marvin Herndon, geophysicist, 2005

    “It is important to note that all the periods [Earth's orbit and year] were likely of different duration in the geological past.” — Rajat Mazumder (geologist) and Makoto Arima (geologist) 2005

    “This implies that slow Earth expansion might have occured if G varies (Runcorn 1964, pg. 825).” — Rajat Mazumder (geologist) and Makoto Arima (geologist), 2005

    “It’s a mess out there. We are seeing that planets have a long, rocky road to go down before they become full grown.” –George H. Rieke, astronomer, October 2004

    “Currently, the moon is moving away from the Earth at such a great rate, that if you extrapolate back in time — the moon would have been so close to the Earth 1.4 billion years ago that it would have been torn apart by tidal forces (Slichter, 1963).” — Dennis D. McCarthy, geoscientist, 2003

    “All marine fossils from 200 million years ago or earlier are found exclusively on continental locations — just as expanding Earth theory predicts. That’s because all large marine environments pre-Jurassic were epicontinental seas — not oceans. Incredibly, if we deny expanding Earth theory, all the pre-Jurassic oceanic marine fossils must have vanished, along with all pre-Jurassic oceanic crust, as well as all of the fossils of all the trans-Pacific taxa that simply “walked” from one location to the other. Hmmm. Even your mainstream fixist geologist counterparts of the first half of the twentieth century didn’t have to accept that many miracles.” — Dennis D. McCarthy, geoscientist, October 2003

    “Biogeographic arguments for a closed Pacific (just like biogeographic arguments for a closed Atlantic and closed Indian) are based on evolutionary theory. Specifically, according to the theory of evolution, you can’t have a host of closely-related, poor dispersing taxa suddenly appearing on opposite sides of an ocean — when it is highly improbable for any of the ancestral taxa to cross oceans. So according to the referenced paper above, unless plate tectonic theorists want to rely on divine intervention, a slew of creation stories or a myriad of impossible trans-oceanic crossings of terrestrial taxa, their paleomaps are wrong. Panthalassa could not have existed between all of the hundred plus referenced taxa, which is to say, it didn’t exist.” — Dennis D. McCarthy, geoscientist, October 2003

    “The most reasonable mechanism for planetary expansion, in my opinion, involves fluid-sink views of gravity which involves the collection (not the spontaneous generation) of ultra-mundane matter at the cores of astronomical bodies.” — Dennis D. McCarthy, geoscientist, October 2003

    “There is no known physical principle, no known physics law, no known physics theory, and no known physics equation which remotely suggests that planets and stars cannot gain mass via collection of sub-sub-sub atomic particles. None. There is no violating regarding known laws of physics. Indeed, the Earth does gain some mass (a small amount) due to being pelted with solar wind, neutrinos, etc. Does this change all of physics? It does not change or alter basic physics — or even modern physics. It merely reinterprets the equations of general relativity. It is consistent with mass conservation and energy conservation. I really can’t state this any more simply.” — Dennis D. McCarthy, geoscientist, October 2003

    “[Bruce C.] Heezen interpreted the medial rift as evidence in support of the expanding earth hypothesis.” — Naomi Oreskes, geologist, 2003

    “Natural geo-fusion in the earth occurs in or near the core of the earth, in the hot, hydrogen-bearing metals and minerals which are subjected to extreme off-equilibrium conditions deep in the earth. This hypothesis can be tested by measuring tritium and helium-3 in magmatic fluids from hot-spot volcanoes which tap magmas from plumes arising from the core-mantle boundary. In particular, magmatic waters of Kilauea, Loihi, and Icelandic volcanoes are predicted to contain significant tritium. We predict that tritium is also present in Jupiter, originating from ‘cold’ fusion in or near its metallic hydrogen core.” — Steve E. Jones (physicist) and John E. Ellsworth (physicist), 2003

    “The helium results, which agree with what is found in deep-source lavas, such as Hawaii and Iceland, provide the first strong, direct evidence for a nuclear reactor at the center of the Earth.” — J. Marvin Herndon, geophysicist, 2003

    “Researchers now believe that Ganymede’s more youthful-looking half could be due to a crust that stretched–as has happened in the past few million years on Europa–rather than any sort of icy volcanism, as many had assumed.” — Richard. A. Kerr, physicist, 2001

    “The bright terrain formed as Ganymede underwent some extreme resurfacing event, probably as a result of the moon’s increase in size.” — Louise M. Prockter, physicist, 2001

    “The implications of employing the present rate of tidal energy dissipation on a geological timescale are catastrophic. Around 1500 Ma the Moon would have been close to the Earth, with the consequence that the much larger tidal forces would have disrupted the Moon or caused the total melting of Earth’s mantle and of the moon.” George E. Williams, geologist/geophysicist, 2000

    “No evidence whatsoever of subduction has been found on any other planet or moon of the solar system.” — David Ford, geologist, 2000

    “No longer a rebel – they now believe it! At least, they all will eventually. It takes some people a while to catch up.” — Samuel W. Carey, geologist, 2000

    “The nebular hypothesis is completely false and one day will be recognized as one of the greatest errors in the history of science, possibly surpassing the centuries-old dogma of geocentrism overturned in the 16th and 17th centuries by Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler. However, the prevailing dominance of religion in that era makes that error less egregious than the adoption of subduction in the 20th Century.” — Lawrence S. Myers, cryptologist/geoscientist, 1999

    “Subduction is not only illogical, it is not supported by geological or physical evidence, and violates fundamental laws of physics.” — Lawrence S. Myers, cryptologist/geoscientist, 1999

    “My research, based on irrefutable evidence of constant accretion of meteorites and meteor dust, concludes that Earth began as an asteroid remnant of an earlier comet captured by the Sun. The proto-planet then grew over uncountable years (possibly many more than the 4.5 Ga now believed) in an accretion process that is still underway and will continue into the future at an accelerating pace because of Earth’s constantly increasing mass and gravitational power.” — Lawrence S. Myers, cryptologist/geoscientist, 1999

    “The greatest disturbance of traditional geological views came from the concept of oceanic seafloor spreading. By now, this has developed into a well-balanced theory which is in agreement with the results of geological and geophysical observations.” — Yury V. Chudinov, geologist, 1998

    “Now that the subduction concept has been developed for almost 30 years, it can be said that it has not been fruitful geologically.” — Yury V. Chudinov, geologist, 1998

    “There is no doubt that the subduction model constitutes the weakest link in the construction of plate tectonics, as has been repeatedly pointed out.” — Yury V. Chudinov, geologist, 1998

    “About twenty years ago, when I expressed my reservations about the plate tectonics theory to one of its supporters, I got the answer, ‘You either believe in it or not.’ Unfortunately the religious mentality of the supporters of plate tectonics did not change in the years to come.” — Stavros T. Tassos, seismologist/geoscientist, 1997

    “The many geophysical and geological paradoxes that have accumulated during the past two or three decades are apparently the consequences of forcing observational data into an inadequate tectonic model.”– Karsten M. Storetvedt, geophysicist, 1992

    “There is nothing more contentious in global tectonics at this time than the expanding Earth concept.” — Hugh Owen, geophysicist, 1992

    “The most likely site for error is in the most fundamental of our beliefs.” — Samuel W. Carey, geologist, 1988

    “I have no doubt that our own orthodox dogma still has falsities within the self-evident axioms we believe we know to be true.” — Samuel W. Carey, geologist 1988

    “The balance of evidence seems to require an expanding Earth.” — Derek V. Ager, biogeographer, 1986

    “The hypothesis of an expanding Earth is inescapable.” — Derek V. Ager, biogeographer, 1986

    “The Expanding Earth Hypothesis goes back to at least 1933, a time when the Continental Drift Hypothesis was accorded the same sort of ridicule. Now, Continental Drift is enthroned; and ironically many of its strongest proponents are vehemently opposed to the Expanding Earth, ignoring the lessons of history.” — William R. Corliss, physicist, 1985

    “The geological and geophysical implications of such Earth expansion are so profound that most geologists and geophysicists shy away from them. In order to fit with the reconstruction that seems to be required, the volume of the Earth was only 51 per cent of its present value, and the surface area 64 per cent of that of the present day, 200 million years ago. Established theory says that the Earth’s interior is stable, an inner core of nickel iron surrounded by an outer layer that behaves like a fluid. Perhaps we are completely wrong and the inner core is in some state nobody has yet imagined, a state that is undergoing a transition from a high-density state to a lower density state, and pushing out the crust, the skin of the Earth, as it expands.” — Hugh Owen, geophysicist, 1984

    “I have been continually amazed that the simplicity with which Earth expansion answers so much of the Earth’s evolution has been so delayed in universal adoption.” — Klaus A. Vogel, engineer, 1983

    “Well if you say it took a long time to abandon it, it took a long time for people to accept it.” — Samuel W. Carey, geologist, 1981

    “People don’t want to see it. They believe in subduction like a religion.” — Samuel W. Carey, geologist, 1981

    “I had taught subduction for more years than any of the present generation of people had been with it. And when they have been in it as long as I have they’ll abandon it too.” — Samuel W. Carey, geologist, 1981

    “Subduction exists only in the minds of its creators.” — Samuel W. Carey, geologist, 1976

    “American thinking has now arrived pretty much at where I was twenty years ago.” — Samuel W. Carey, geologist, 1972

    “The continental drift may be explained by an expanding Earth only.” — Laszlo Egyed, geophysicist, 1960

    “We have to be prepared always for the possibility that each new discovery, no matter which science furnishes it, may modify the conclusions that we draw.” — Alfred L. Wegener, astrophysicist/geoscientist, 1928

    For the other side of the story, see here:

    Harrison, L., The Migration Route of the Australian Marsupial Fauna, Australian Zoologist, Volume 3, Pages 247-263, 1924

    Egyed, L., Some Remarks On Continental Drift, Pure and Applied Geophysics, Volume 45, Number 1, 1960

    Cox, A., and Doell, R.R., Palæomagnetic Evidence Relevant to a Change in the Earth’s Radius, Nature, Volume 189, Page 45, 1961

    Carey, S.W., Palæomagnetic Evidence relevant to a Change in the Earth’s Radius, Nature, Volume 190, Page 36, 1961

    Slichter, L.B., Secular Effects of Tidal Friction Upon the Earth’s Rotation, Journal of Geophysical Research, Volume 68, Page 4281, 1963

    Meservey, R., Topological Inconsistency of Continental Drift on the Present-Sized Earth, Science, Volume 166, Number 3905, Pages 609-611, Oct 1969

    Jeffreys, H., Imperfections of Elasticity and Continental Drift, Nature, 225, Pages 1007-1008, Mar 1970

    Carey, S.W., The Expanding Earth, 1976

    Steiner, J., An Expanding Earth On The Basis of Sea-Floor Spreading and Subduction Rates, Geology, Volume 5, Number 5, Pages 313-318, 1977

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  7. November 17, 2008 7:56 am

    OilIsMastery … for the benefit of my readers can you be more specific with respect to how that map of oceanic crustal age indicates that subduction doesn’t occur?

    Simply pointing to a map and saying “no subduction” is insufficient. If you are busy and need time, just say so … and we’ll wait. We all have day jobs and understand (it took me a few weeks to find the time to finish these posts).

    If I don’t hear any response I’ll assume you are unwilling to elaborate on the oceanic crustal age map. Thanks.

  8. November 17, 2008 9:00 am

    The map I provided does not show subduction anywhere in the oceanic lithosphere. To me, that says it all right there.

    However/therefore, plate tectonics fundamentalists came up with the post hoc hypothesis that subduction only occurs at the continental margins.

    This is absurd of course because the East Pacific Rise is spreading as indicated by the age of the oceanic crust (zircon dating) literally tearing California in half up the San Andreas Fault, e.g Baja California and Sonora torn from eachother creating the Gulf of California aka Mar de Cortes.

    But even more obvious than the geological arguments are the biogeographical arguments showing poorly dispersing disjunct sister taxa on opposite sides of the Pacific that exist nowhere else in the world.

  9. November 17, 2008 9:11 am

    OilIsMastery, regarding the oceanic crustal age map … how does ~160-120 million year-old oceanic crust become juxtaposed against a plate boundary? (i.e., from Kamchatka south through Japan and then to the Mariana arc)

  10. November 17, 2008 9:57 am

    Vertical orogenesis. The vertical emplacement of rocks upwards forming mountain ranges. A little bit of folding, but no subduction.

    “The Andes and their accumulated detritus, together with this one great bed of crystalline rocks compose South America. – The whole has been raised from beneath the ocean into dry land by the action of one connected force.” — Charles Darwin

  11. November 17, 2008 10:09 am

    In other words, seafloor spreading.

  12. November 17, 2008 10:14 am

    OilIsMastery … you are incredibly skillful at not answering questions.

    I’ll repeat it — how does ~160-120 million year-old oceanic crust become juxtaposed against a plate boundary?

    Saying ‘vertical orogenesis’ does not answer that question. I’m not referring to the orogenic belts and the arcs … I’m referring to the ~160-120 million year-old oceanic crust on the Pacific Plate. If the western Pacific plate boundary is a spreading center, where is the young crust?

  13. November 17, 2008 10:39 am

    The youngest crust is closest to the East Pacific Rise indicating that new basalt spreading and ocean formation originates from that rift.

  14. November 17, 2008 10:39 am

    OilIsMastery … also, I realize you enjoy providing quotes … but if you wouldn’t mind please provide full citation, including page numbers for quote, so readers can evaluate for themselves if the quote is relevant to the specific topic. A quote without any context is not useful.

  15. November 17, 2008 10:40 am

    OIM … again, you’ve dodged the question. Please answer it.

    If the western Pacific plate boundary is a spreading center, where is the young crust?

  16. November 17, 2008 10:57 am

    The San Andreas is a transform fault line.

  17. November 17, 2008 11:19 am

    OilIsMastery … see update at the bottom of this post … this is the western Pacific plate boundary. You are suggesting this is a spreading center. Where is the young (i.e., new) crust? Be specific.

  18. November 17, 2008 11:24 am

    Brian R: when did I say the Western Pacific Plate boundary is a spreading center? The spreading in the Pacific is occuring primarily at the East Pacific Rise. Although zircon dating shows the Marinara Trench is also very young.

    QF: what evidence leads you to believe the San Andreas fault is a transform fault?

  19. November 17, 2008 11:26 am

    Mariana (lol) excuse me. Food on the brain…=)

  20. CamArchGrad permalink
    November 17, 2008 11:40 am

    We’ve heard from Darwin to Disney Animators and from the 1850’s to the 2000’s.

    A few more questions

    If oceanic crust doesn’t subduct how do eclogites form? Or Blueschists?

    If there is no subduction how are rift zones destroyed? What is the wilson cycle?

    If there is no subduction has does oceanic material end up hundreds of kilometres from the oceanic edge?

    Moreover since oceanic lithosphere is more dense than the underlying mantle (3300 kg m3 compared to 3220 kg m3) and as oceanic lithosphere older it cools and becomes denser, how does it keep afloat over tens of millions of years?

    Simple physics indicates that over time that the more dense material would sink(subduct) into the less dense material.

  21. November 17, 2008 11:44 am

    OIM says: “when did I say the Western Pacific Plate boundary is a spreading center?”

    Really? I need to lay this out for you? It’s all right above.

    I asked you this question: “how does ~160-120 million year-old oceanic crust become juxtaposed against a plate boundary? (i.e., from Kamchatka south through Japan and then to the Mariana arc)”

    You replied: “Vertical orogenesis. The vertical emplacement of rocks upwards forming mountain ranges. A little bit of folding, but no subduction.”

    To which, you immediately added: “In other words, seafloor spreading.”

    So, either you are suggesting the western Pacific boundary is spreading, or you dodged my question and provided random information.

    Basically, you can’t explain the western Pacific oceanic crustal ages on the map you pointed to as support that subduction doesn’t occur.

    My readers would like to know how you explain this. Can you?

  22. November 17, 2008 12:00 pm

    OilIsMastery says: “zircon dating shows the Marinara Trench is also very young”

    Wrong. Look at the map again … the young crust is in the back-arc, not in the trench.

  23. CamArchGrad permalink
    November 17, 2008 12:10 pm

    For instance here are pillow basalts from the Archaen of Ontario.

    http://ocw.mit.edu/ans7870/12/12.753/s05/imagegallery/pages/07.html

    How did they get there?

    http://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2001AM/finalprogram/abstract_22467.htm

    And here they show that all these oceanic based terranes “including Yukon-Tanana, Slide Mountain, Quesnellia, and Cache Creek, are confined to the upper crust above pericratonic North American strata” Some process has taken these terranes, that are proven to be created in the middle of the ocean and thrust them on top of North American Craton.

    http://www.lithoprobe.ca/Contributed%20Abstracts/Poster%20Presentation/Hammer-Toronto_cjes-Abstract.pdf (further information on the above)

  24. Laurel K permalink
    November 17, 2008 12:58 pm

    Clastic Detritus, thanks for the very clear and concise summary of papers which outline the evidence for subduction.

    I would suggest that OIM visit a University with a Department of Geosciences and spend some time in their library, many of the sources he deems proprietary are readily available. The history of the development of Plate Tectonic Theory from Wegener’s theory of Continental Drift is fascinating and covers over 50 years of research which began with heated controversy. The best test of a theory is its ability to predict and explain phenomena that are outside the original scope of the theory (dipping seismic reflectors at continental margins, magnetic stripes in the seafloor, paleomagnetic evidence for movement and accretion of oceanic and continental terranes, etc.).

    During the Cold War there was not much scientific exchange of information between the USSR and the West. The Russian-derived and supported theory of inorganic origin for petroleum was conceived in isolation. It has yet to be proven. The end of the Cold War and the free exchange of ideas over the Internet is a fairly recent occurence, many of the Eastern bloc countries have become conversant in Plate Tectonic theory in just the last decade or so, and thus many of the arguments against Plate Tectonics have been resurrected. Go back to Western geoscience literature of the late 60’s and through the 70’s to find answers to your many objections to the theory (I noticed many of your quotes were from slavic-sounding names).

  25. November 17, 2008 3:21 pm

    Hi Camron, long time no see.

    “If oceanic crust doesn’t subduct how do eclogites form?”

    Very easily. I refer you to the following articles:

    Griffin, W.L., and O’Reilly, S.Y., Eclogites in the SLM: The Subduction Myth, IAVCEI, 6, 2006

    Griffin, W.L., and O’Reilly, S.Y., Cratonic Lithospheric Mantle: Is Anything Subducted?, Episodes, Volume 7, Number 1, Pages 43-53, 2007

    I’ll get to your other questions once you acknowledge the answer to this one.

  26. November 17, 2008 3:25 pm

    BrianR,

    As I have already said, the growth and extensional spreading of the Pacific Ocean originates in the East Pacific Rise. The Western Pacific originated in the East Pacific Rise.

  27. November 17, 2008 4:17 pm

    OilIsMastery says: “As I have already said, the growth and extensional spreading of the Pacific Ocean originates in the East Pacific Rise. The Western Pacific originated in the East Pacific Rise.”

    I’m not talking about the East Pacific Rise … we are in agreement. Yes, oceanic crust is being generated there.

    Given your model of the Earth, the western Pacific plate boundary is not subducting. Correct?

    One more time: How is it that ~160-120 million year-old oceanic crust of the westernmost Pacific Plate is juxtaposed against the plate boundary?

    Explain this. You don’t even need to mention the East Pacific Rise.

    I know you understand the question … I think you are avoiding answering it. Prove me wrong and explain those relationships in your model of the Earth.

    This is one example out of potentially thousands of specific instances where you need to test your conceptual model of how the Earth works with data/observations (in this case, data that you provided the link for).

    Explain it (and you can paraphrase somebody else, just refer to them). If you truly want to but will think it’ll take time to prepare the answer, which is totally fine, then respond that that’s what you’re going to do. We can wait, research takes time.

  28. November 17, 2008 4:24 pm

    OilIsMastery — you ought to read the Griffin and O’Reilly abstract. Here’s the first paragraph:

    “It has become conventional wisdom that eclogite and garnet pyroxenite xenoliths derived from cratonic subcontinental lithospheric mantle (SCLM) represent fragments of subducted ocean floor, implying that the SCLM has grown by lithosphere-stacking mechanism involving repeated shallow subduction beneath cratons. However, the implied behaviour of those ancient ‘slabs’ is markedly different from what we observe in the modern Earth; seismic-tomography images clearly show slabs descending steeply to at least 660 km depth, rather than layering at shallow depths beneath the continents.”

    In other words, they are challenging details about the slab geometry, not that subudction doesn’t occur. If it helps, let me isolate this statement verbatim from that paragraph:

    “seismic-tomography images clearly show slabs descending steeply to at least 660 km depth”

    So, the reference you pointed to that supposedly supports your subduction denialism does no such thing. My guess is you goggled ‘subduction’ and ‘myth’, found this absract, but never actually read it. If you did read it and thought it did support your position, you’ll need to explain to the rest of us just how.

    But … I would rather you deal with western Pacific Plate problem first.

  29. November 17, 2008 4:36 pm

    “One more time: How is it that ~160-120 million year-old oceanic crust of the westernmost Pacific Plate is juxtaposed against the plate boundary?”

    Brian, it is not my intention to evade the question and I apologize for not understanding it. I think I understand the question now, although you’ll have to confirm that.

    The answer is this: Because the vast majority of the Pacific Ocean did not exist 120-160 million years ago.

  30. CamArchGrad permalink
    November 17, 2008 4:43 pm

    From your second reference, 3rd paragraph.

    “Eclogites, clearly formed by the high-P metamorphism of
    basaltic rocks, occur in some ophiolite sequences, where they are easily interpreted as subducted ocean floor.”

    It is to those eclogites I am referring to.In fact on page 47 the authors display a geochemical distinction between cratonic and subduction related eclogites.

    Your reference is referring to Cratonic (eg in continental cores, such as the exposed Archean of Africa, Australia & Canada), and has no bearing on my question.

    Again I ask. how do eclogites form? and Blueschists?

  31. November 17, 2008 5:19 pm

    OilIsMastery … let’s do a quick review, this is your quote from your original post:

    “Of course it is a divergent boundary since those are the only kind that exist. Convergence and subduction are myths.”

    That was about the Nazca-South American boundary … but, since you are saying that divergent boundaries are the only kind that exist, then the western boundary of the Pacific Plate would also be a divergent boundary, correct?

    So, if the western boundary of the Pacific Plate is divergent, why is the oceanic crust so old adjacent to it. If it was a divergent boundary, the age of the oceanic crust just to the east of the boundary would be very young, right? As I’ve pointed out, it’s not … it’s >100 million years old. Where is all the young crust at that supposed divergent boundary?

  32. November 17, 2008 5:53 pm

    “if the western boundary of the Pacific Plate is divergent, why is the oceanic crust so old adjacent to it.”

    Because the oceanic crust adjacent to it was formed, as you acknowledged,”~160-120 million” years ago.

    “If it was a divergent boundary, the age of the oceanic crust just to the east of the boundary would be very young, right?”

    No. Not if it was formed “~160-120 million” years ago (which it was).

    “As I’ve pointed out, it’s not … it’s >100 million years old. Where is all the young crust at that supposed divergent boundary?”

    It’s not young anymore, it’s “~160-120 million” years old now. The young crust is where the Pacific rift is namely the East Pacific Rise.

  33. November 17, 2008 6:04 pm

    To Camron,

    In response too: “‘Eclogites, clearly formed by the high-P metamorphism of basaltic rocks, occur in some ophiolite sequences, where they are easily interpreted as subducted ocean floor.’

    It is to those eclogites I am referring to.”

    “In expanding Earth theory (EE), all deep marine bodies pre-Jurassic were intra- and epicontinental seas, and ophiolites, in this view, are just vertically emplaced remnants of these marine formations.
    The conventional assumption that these are obducted segments of extra-continental oceanic material that have been shoved onto continents — as opposed to being part of epicontinental seafloor material — is dubious. Moreover, the relevant prediction of EE was that all current ocean floor of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans would be less than 200 million years old. And conventional assumptions about ophiolites are not relevant to this correct prediction (and EE requirement) of the juvenile nature of current ocean floor.” (McCarthy)

    Ophiolites

  34. November 17, 2008 7:42 pm

    OilIsMastery …

    Look at the map I put at the bottom of the post (under ‘UPDATE’).

    What kind of plate boundary is that?

  35. November 17, 2008 7:53 pm

    BrianR,

    Just to clarify, perhaps your confusion stems from the assumption that I think the western pacific continental margin is a divergent spread around the Ring of Fire? For the record I do not think that. The divergence is shown in red on the blow up you added.

  36. November 17, 2008 7:58 pm

    BrianR,

    “What kind of plate boundary is that?”

    I would say “orogenic” or “volcanic” or something like that. Not converging. Converging boundary is absurd because subduction is a myth.

  37. November 17, 2008 9:15 pm

    OilIsMastery says: “I would say “orogenic” or “volcanic” or something like that.”

    You would say? Something like that?

    Just makin’ stuff up as you go, eh … good stuff.

  38. Karen permalink
    November 17, 2008 9:52 pm

    BrianR, you are my hero. You have the patience of a saint.

    OilIsMastery: “Moreover, the relevant prediction of EE was that all current ocean floor of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans would be less than 200 million years old.”

    Old oceanic crust might also be less than 200 Ma because the older stuff was subducted; being heavier, when oceanic crust meets up with continental crust, it’s bound to be the downgoing plate. So this “relevant prediction” addresses nothing that subduction theory doesn’t already handle.

    Back to the old oceanic crust sitting next to a plate boundary, though, I still don’t understand your argument. Either the plate boundary is converging, which you don’t allow for, or it is a transform boundary, in which case there should be some significant fault evidence (a la the San Andreas system), or it is a divergent boundary, in which case there should be some adjacent young crust. Are you seriously suggesting that the plate boundary is sitting on it’s metaphoric ass doing nothing for 160 My?

    (Oh, and if the abbreviations “Ma” and “My” — “million years ago” and “million years”, respectively — are unfamiliar, I suggest looking through a beginning book on geology to get familiar with some of the terminology before you haul yourself down to your friendly neighborhood university library and look up some of those references that BrianR graciously provided.)

    Unlike BrianR, I’m not overly endowed with patience.

  39. November 17, 2008 11:11 pm

    Karen … patience is a virtue, as they say.

    OilIsMastery prefers the back-and-forth idiotic banter of online forums … for him it’s all about the one-liner responses that never actually answer the question. He tries to “trap” his “opponent” into calling him a moron so he can cry foul. It’s all so mature. Combined with all that is the attempt to exhaust his opponent with a barrage of quotes out of context (typically w/ little or no citation info). I get the sense that he simply likes to “debate” and “challenge” people on the internet for fun … he could be 14 years old for all I know.

    Perhaps I appear patient because, as I say in the post above, I don’t think OilIsMastery will be “convinced”. I’m not waiting for him to be reasonable, it’s not going to happen … why would he do that? What would he spend his hours doing?

    Actually, I’m surprised he leans so heavily on the oceanic crustal age map … it’s based on mainstream geologic ideas of geochronology … GASP! MAINSTREAM IDEAS!! A true contrarian would be challenging the entire field of geochronology! I suppose that’ll be next on his list. Or, actually … I bet Hollow Earth is next.

  40. November 17, 2008 11:55 pm

    FASCINATING SITE , MINDBLOWING ONFO !!!!!!!!!!!

  41. November 18, 2008 3:52 am

    Karen,

    “Old oceanic crust might also be less than 200 Ma because the older stuff was subducted.”

    What’s the difference between saying that and saying Noah might have had unicorns on the Ark?

    “Back to the old oceanic crust sitting next to a plate boundary, though, I still don’t understand your argument. Either the plate boundary is converging, which you don’t allow for, or it is a transform boundary, in which case there should be some significant fault evidence (a la the San Andreas system), or it is a divergent boundary, in which case there should be some adjacent young crust. Are you seriously suggesting that the plate boundary is sitting on it’s metaphoric ass doing nothing for 160 My?”

    All divergent rifts also have so-called “transform” activity aka planetary stretch marks because the Earth is growing in all directions (latitudinally as well as longitudinally) — good analogies are the stitching on a baseball or a zig-zag.

    If Convergent Boundaries require subduction, then there is no such thing. If it is possible for Convergent Boundaries to cause vertical orogenesis and volcanism without subduction occuring, then I grant they exist.

  42. November 18, 2008 7:51 am

    OilIsMastery …

    Let’s see here – originally, you had told me that the Nazca-South American plate boundary was divergent because that is the only kind that exist.

    Then, regarding the western Pacific plate boundary, instead of explaining the crustal ages with your divergent-boundary-only model of the Earth you all-of-the-sudden created a new type of plate boundary that you decided would be called ‘volcanic’ or ‘orogenic’ … or something like that.

    Now, since the Andes, which is on orogenic belt (with volcanoes in places), is it now one of these volcanic/orogenic type of plate boundaries? Or, is it still divergent as you originally stated?

    Just trying to sort all this out.

  43. November 18, 2008 7:54 am

    Besides all this he-said-she-said stuff, which you clearly enjoy, you haven’t addressed any of the data I present in these posts.

    Your very first comment in reponse to these three posts was to simply dismiss them based on your belief/opinion:

    “Those surely are some elaborate mathematical models and pretty pictures you have there … it is obvious that none of those models correspond to physical actuality and are all mental artifacts.”

    Let me get this straight – the seismic-reflection and seismic-tomographic data are “mental artifacts”?

    Are you saying the fields of seismology or geophysics in general are entirely flawed? In what way? What specifically about these methodologies do you deem “mental artifacts”.

    I know there are geophysicists reading this who would like to hear what you come up with.

  44. November 18, 2008 8:44 am

    Brian,

    In order to clarify, the Nazca Plate is bound by diverging spreads to the North, West, and South, and by vertical orogenic uplift (aka the Andes) to the East. No subduction.

  45. November 18, 2008 9:16 am

    OilIsMastery … you originally said:

    “The Nazca plate cannot possibly be subducting as zircon data shows conclusively that it is spreading in all directions”

    Now, you say just divergent on north, west, and south … what changed your mind? It was so conclusive before.

    In a similar fashion to the western Pacific boundary, the eastern Nazca plate (directly adjacent to the South American plate) has older oceanic crust than at the Nazca-Pacific boundary. Yes, I realize the new crust is being formed at the divergent East Pacific Rise – you don’t have to mention it again, we are in agreement – the question again is what is the nature of the eastern Nazca boundary (or the western Pacific)? What is the mechanism for uplift of the orogen and magmatism?

    If one were to sketch a crustal-scale cross section across the Nazca-South American plate boundary, what would it look like? Are the oceanic and continental plates simply fused together? Do they look like passive (i.e., rifted) margins (e.g., Atlantic margins of North and South America)?

  46. CamArchGrad permalink
    November 18, 2008 10:44 am

    OIM,

    1. Ophiolites are composed of a specific sequence of rocks which can only have been formed at a spreading center. We know this because oceanic ridges have been drilled, photographed and dredged and the Physical/Chemical signature of the MORBS (Mid Ocean Ridge basalts) matches those found on land ( eg Bay of Islands Complex(BOIC) in Newfoundland).

    http://www.geo.umass.edu/courses/volcanology/MORB.pdf

    To have formed on continents (the definition of epicratonic) would require continents to open up and let mantle material through, with no geochemical contamination, and then heal, with no trace other than isolated ophiolite sequences. Moreover it would require that continental sediment sources be stopped, just over that specific area (to have the deep marine sedimentary record, as I’m sure Brian can elucidate). Going back to the BOIC, comparing it to the Ordovician in New Brunswick, New York and Quebec(continentally derived clastic sequences of the same age and the Ordovician of Wales (because don’t forget Baltica was joined to North America at that time), we see a radically different sedimentary pattern. You would literally have to wall off the BOIC to prevent continental sedimentation, yet your quote indicates that it came from an epicratonic sea. The different sedimentary pattern directly contradict the idea of epicratonicty.

  47. November 18, 2008 11:49 am

    Expanding Earth Theory (at best, driven by a High Fissionable Initial Planetary State or something related to Quantum Foam), apparently, also allows for torsion of continental plates to scrunch up mountains. I’ve seen (possibly non-mathematical or non-physical) animations, but no equations for mountain formation:

    Expanding Earth Mountain Formation

    I’d certainly like to see the equations for this particular parametric animation if there are any:

    Neil Adams: Expanding Earth Theory

  48. November 18, 2008 11:52 am

    However, I did see some basic geometrical equations similar to this having to do with an expanding radius and a constant arclength, perhaps that does model what happens to the continents with an expanding Earth.

  49. CamArchGrad permalink
    November 18, 2008 12:04 pm

    Eh. My comment got eaten. Here it is again.

    2. Vertical emplacement. If these ophiolites are vertically emplaced, why are they bounded by horizontal thrust faults?

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3721/is_199909/ai_n8859329/pg_1?tag=artBody;col1 (himalayan Orogent)

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3721/is_/ai_n8765781 (Caldonide Orogrny)

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/1994/93JB02061.shtml

    (Klamath mountains)

    http://monarch.gsu.edu/pdf-docs/poster-The%20Ophiolite%20Complex%20at%20Khoy%20Iran.pdf (Zagro Orogeny)

    Thrust faulting indicates lateral compression. Something was pushing these rocks so hard they detached from the mantle and rode up on continental crust.

    To go back to a link I posted earlier, In the northern Canadian Cordillera continental sediments of Proterozoic age have been traced for up to 700km underneath suspect oceanic terranes. To have been verticaly emplaced, without disrupting the underlying sedimentary sequences is well nigh impossible.

    http://www.geologia.unam.mx/~gustavo/Terrenos/ProterozoicWedgeAndTerranes-SeismicEvidence.pdf

    Hence I find your quote about how Pre-Jurassic ophiolites are vertically emplaced unsupported by by, sedimentary and structural evidence. On the contrary it’s much more parsimonious to agree with subduction, which provides the necessary P/T conditions for Eclogites, the necessary lateral force to obduct, and thrust these ophiolites and the process by which pieces of oceanic crust are brought from the mid ocean to the interior of continents.

  50. November 18, 2008 12:18 pm

    quantum_flux — again, as I said in Part 1, these posts are not focused on discussing theoretical aspects of Expanding Earth Hypothesis.

    I’m interested in data and observations from the Earth – and, specifically, the examples I’ve presented in these posts.

    Those skeptical of, or flat-out denying, subduction have yet to address any of this information. I keep hearing arguments about speculative ‘big picture’ aspects that are inherently subjective and/or simple dismissal based on … well, I don’t know what.

    What do you think about the data?!?! I don’t care about Neal Adams’ cartoons … nice art, but …

    I’ve shown a tiny slice of actual DATA in these posts. Focus on them. If you’re interested in global-scale geodynamics and kinematics, then research some studies.

    You can discuss quantum foam or whatever elsewhere.

    (btw, your ‘Expanding Earth Mountain Formation’ link doesn’t lead to anything)

  51. November 18, 2008 3:57 pm

    Camron,

    If subduction and recycling were actually taking place, then the composition of the new rocks might be expected to vary, according to the nature of the crustal material recycled.

    In reality, as Ollier points out, all new mid-ocean ridge material is basalt of uniform composition (mid-ocean ridge basalt, commonly known as MORB).

    Ollier, C.D., A plate tectonics failure: the geological cycle and conservation of continents and oceans, 2004.

  52. November 18, 2008 4:00 pm

    OilIsMatery … please provide FULL citation for the Ollier reference (journal/book title, vol #, etc). You don’t have to provide a link if you don’t want to, but give the readers more info so they can find it themselves.

  53. CamArchGrad permalink
    November 18, 2008 10:20 pm

    OIM,

    From your reference “The downgoing slab consists of basalt, and an unpredictable load of sediments with differentchemical compositions depending on the continental rocks that provide the offshore sediments. After remelting, contamination, segregation of minerals, emplacement of batholiths and eruption of andesitic
    volcanoes, the basalt returns to the mid-ocean ridge.Miraculously the subduction-associated processes have cleaned up the basalt so that what appears in the mid-ocean seafloor spreading sites is not justbasalt, but a specific type of basalt, the Mid-Ocean Ridge Basalt (MORB)”

    And

    “Furthermore, helium comes in two isotopes. Helium-4 is not a surprise, as it is a product of the radioactive decay of uranium and thorium. Helium-3 is more mysterious, as there is no mechanism
    for its production in the Earth. It is generally assumed it is primordial, left over from planetary for-mation 4500 Myr ago (Holland, 1984; Gold, 1987). Alternatively, perhaps it is produced in the Earth. Herndon (2003) believes it is as formed by a nuclear generator deep in the Earth. In either case, it is
    very remarkable that the highest values for helium-3 are at spreading sites and rift valleys. Once again
    we see new material produced at spreading sites, not evidence of re-cycling.”

    So given that being near continental crust would contaminate basalt and make in chemically distinct from MORB’s and given that Helium 3 only occurs at spreading centers, How is it that we find Pre Jurassic Ophiolites with MORB’s emplaced continental crust? Were there spreading centers in Newfoundland? In Baltimore? In Quebec?

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2002AGUFM.T61A1233M

    Did Russia open up, somehow create (in the middle of a continent) the conditions found currently in deep marine spreading centers (no sediment, no chemical contamination of the MORB’s) in a shallow epicratonic sea, while the magmatic plume underlying the center did not melt the surrounding rock (which it would have had to come up through)which is unlike any other large basaltic intrusion on record (Duluth Complex anyone?)

    http://www.geo.arizona.edu/geo5xx/geo527/Urals/ophiolites.html

    And where are these large gabbroic complexs that would have fed these rift zones? Did they disappear back in the mantle, dirty work done? They certainly aren’t underneath Baltimore.

    Or are these Pre – Jurassic Ophiolites remnants of oceans long gone, obducted onto the craton while the rest of the plate was subducted?

  54. CamArchGrad permalink
    November 18, 2008 10:30 pm

    Finally, there is a very simple test.

    If the earth is expanding in all directions at once it should really obvious from ground based fix points. Like points on an inflating ballon every fix point in the world should be expanding away from every other fix point as the surface area of the earth increases.

    The world has been surveyed repeatedly since the 1850’s and in places like Europe fix points are over a century old.

    There will be noise of course due to the local tectonic/sedimentary/anthropogenic conditions but the trend and correlation between ground measurements and satellite observation should either definitively prove or disprove an expanding earth.

  55. November 18, 2008 10:37 pm

    Pardon the poor citation. It’s here:

    Ollier, C.D., A plate tectonics failure: the geological cycle and conservation of continents and oceans, Annals of Geophysics, Volume 49, Number 1, Pages 427-436, 2006

  56. November 18, 2008 11:03 pm

    Camron, you are quite correct.

    Expanding Earth Theory has been tested (and confirmed) by satellite observation e.g. VLBI, SLR, and GPS.

    The incontrovertible results are ignored.

    Here are actual peer reviewed references:

    For example Smith 1990:

    “The relative motion of Hawaii and Arequipa is 80±3 mm/yr from our solution compared to the geologically predicted 66 mm/yr.”

    Reality 1-Geology 0

    If the Nazca Plate is subducting as required by plate tectonics, how is it possible Peru is moving away from Hawaii?

    Smith, D.E., et al., The Determination of Present-Day Tectonic Motions From Laser Ranging to LAGEOS, Developments in Four-Dimensional Geodesy, Volume 29, Pages 221-240, 1990

    Another example is Shields 1997:

    “The Pacific would have to contract fairly rapidly to maintain a constant Earth diameter since the Atlantic is widening and Antarctic plate is also growing in size….Instead, the SLR geodesic data in the South American frame of reference show Pacific Basin perimeter expansion, more pronounced in the South Pacific than the North Pacific, despiteconcurrent geodesic convergence at Pacific trenches. This is startling since convergence rates at the Tonga Trench are the world’s fastest (Bevis et al., 1995)”

    Shields, O., Geodetic Proof of Earth Expansion?, New Concepts In Global Tectonics, Volume 4, Pages 17-18, 1997

    Yet another example is Vita-Finzi 2002:

    “On the whole, the notion of an expanding Earth is not in favour, but the topic may be revived by global geodesy, witness the recent claim that SLR to LAGEOS (Laser Geodynamics Satellite: see Frontispiece) and VLBI data for stable continental regions indicate an increase of 4.15 +/- .27 mm/yr in terrestrial radius since the techniques came into operation (Scalera 2000).”

    Vita-Finzi, C., Monitoring the Earth: Physical Geology In Action, 2002

    Scalera thinks Vita-Finzi’s date is wrong and provided these possible sources:

    Scalera, G., Paleogeographical Reconstructions Compatible With Earth Dilation, Annali di Geofisica, Volume 41, Number 5-6, Pages 819-825, 1998

    Scalera, G., The Global Paleogeographical Reconstruction of the Triassic and the Paleoposition of India, Annali di Geofisica, Volume 44, Number 1, Pages 13-32, 2001

    Scalera, G., Relations Among Expanding Earth, TPW, and Polar Motion, Annali di Geofisica, Proceedings of the International Symposium on New Concepts in Global Tectonics, Pages 137-50, 2002

    Scalera, G., The Expanding Earth: a Sound Idea for the New Millennium, Why Expanding Earth? A book in Honour of Ott Hilgenberg, Pages 181-232, 2003

    But perhaps the most careful and complete treatment is Maxlow’s PhD thesis:

    Maxlow, J., Quantification of an Archaean to Recent Earth Expansion Process Using Global Geological and Geodetic Data Sets, Curtin University of Technology, Department of Applied Geology, 2001

  57. November 19, 2008 6:36 am

    Comments with multiple links are thrown into spam folder automatically … sorry about that … I will try and fix.

  58. November 19, 2008 7:40 am

    Anaconda says: “If the Nazca Plate is subducting as required by plate tectonics, how is it possible Peru is moving away from Hawaii?”

    Hawaii is not on the Nazca Plate.

  59. November 19, 2008 7:48 am

    NOTE ABOUT COMMENTING: I will be away from a computer for several hours today, I want discussion to continue but cannot turn the spam filter off completely (I get a lot).

    Any comments that have more than 4 links in them will be automatically held in moderation queue. Sometimes this doesn’t work perfectly and it puts any comment w/ links in there so I apologize in advance. If your comment doesn’t come up even with a single link, simply re-comment w/out any links and I’ll approve it later.

  60. November 19, 2008 8:10 am

    OIM … your comment above states that expanding Earth hypothesis has been “tested (and confirmed)”.

    So, I assume that means that each of those refs/links you list support that confirmation.

    If you actually read parts of the Vita-Finzi book, however, you would see that he/she does not deny subduction. For example, on p. 72:

    “Subduction modeling may also provide an estimate of the energy release accounted for by recorded seismicity. Where the Nazca and South American plates meet, the boundary zone is 500-1000 km wide. Here too, shortening is thought to occur be elastic deformation on locked parts of the plate interface at the trench, to be released subsequently by large thrust earthquakes and possibly also by aseismic sliding, by permanent crustal thickening in the Andes, by thrust faulting and folding in the foreland belt east of the Andes, and, as convergence is oblique, by strike-slip motion in the fore-arc.”

    Here’s another:

    “Three years of GPS data from Mongolia point to crustal thickening rather than lateral extrusion; and, as the measured rates are faster than is to be expected from the India/Eurasia collision, they suggest that other agencies, such as subduction at the Pacific and gravitational forces, may play a role in the deformation.”

    These don’t sound very anti-subduction to me.

    But, these are quotes pulled out of there somewhat randomly … what do they mean? Well, we’d have to look at the context. They don’t mean much by themself. Just as most of the quotes you provide mean very little w/out context.

  61. CamArchGrad permalink
    November 19, 2008 9:19 am

    OIM,

    The expansion would be in in an x,y,z direction. So the points would be expanding away from each other both horizontally, and vertically.

    I read Curtin’s Thesis looking for such proof but there was none.

    However, he predicts

    “The present secular rates of Earth expansion derived from the above formulae
    at time t0 are:

    Radius dR/dt0 = 22 mm/year
    Circumference dC/dt0 = 140 mm/year ”

    So, since 1983 when the last major satellite based survey(Hence the NAD 83 Datum), the z dimension of all the fixpoints of the earth should have risen by (22 mm by 25y = 550 mm or Half a meter) for older fix points such as those in europe the dislocation should be even more dramatic on the order of 2.2 metres for those a century old.

    Given the order of dislocation predicted you’d think it would be obvious by now.

    However, when we go to CORS

    http://www.ngs.noaa.gov/cgi-cors/corsage.prl?site=TN43

    and look at various base stations there is no evidence for any upward movement, on any such such scale.

  62. CamArchGrad permalink
    November 19, 2008 9:27 am

    The lack of movement is even more striking, given that continental crust is lighter then oceanic crust. If there is any expansion it should be concentrated on the continental crust.

  63. November 19, 2008 12:08 pm

    Camron,

    Curtin is a University not a person. Are you sure you read the paper?

    (Emphasis added)

    “Calculations of a potentional increase in Earth radius based on published GSFC VLBI baseline vectors (Ma & Ryan, 1998) now indicate a mean global increase in radius of 4.1 +/- 3 mm/yr.

    “In contrast when Robaudo & Harrison (1993) combined SLR solution UT/LLA9101 (including all data from 1976 to the beginning of 1991) and VLBI solution GBL66- (containing data up to the end of 1990) data sets to derive observation station horizontal motions for plate motion studies, they allowed all stations to have three independent motion velocities. These calculations, based on a global observational network, gave A ROOT MEAN SQUARED (RMS) VALUE OF UP-DOWN [INCREASE IN EARTH RADIUS] MOTIONS OF OVER 18 MM/YR” (ROBAUDO & HARRISON, 1993, PG. 53.) This value was considered by Robaudo and Harrison (1993) to be extremely high when compared to expected deglaciation rates, estimated at les than 10 mm/yr (Argus,1996).

    “It is significant to note that Robaudo & Harrison (1993) ‘expected that most VLBI stations will have up-dwon [radial] motions of only a few mm/yr’ and RECOMMENTDED THAT THE VERTICAL MOTION BE ‘RESTRICTED TO ZERO, BECAUSE THIS IS CLOSER TO THE TRUE SITUATION THAN AN AVERAGE MOTION OF 18 MM/YR” (ROBAUDO AND HARRSION, 1993, PG.54)….’ “As recommended by Robaudo & Harrison (1993) the EXCESSES IN VERTICAL MEASUREMENT ARE GLOBALLY ZEROED, RESULTING IN A STATIC EARTH RADIUS PREMISE BEING IMPOSED ON SPACE GEODETIC OBSERVATIONAL DATA.”

    Here is another reference for you, this one from the Institute of Geodynamics at the National Observatory of Athens:

    “…a global rate of radius increase of about 2.6 cm/yr. This rate is in excellent agreement with the rate of 2.8 +or- 0.8 cm/yr measured by NASA with the use of satellites and with several other caluculations, i.e. 2.6 cm/yr and 2.4 cm/yr (Parkinson in Carey 1988, Ciechanowicz and Koziar 1993, Blinov 1993).” (Tassos 1998)

    Tassos, S.T., Excess Mass Stress (E.M.S.): The Driving Force Behind Geodynamic Phenomena, Proceedings of the International Symposium On New Concepts In Global Tectonics, Pages 26-34, Nov 1998

  64. November 19, 2008 2:28 pm

    OilIsMastery … I don’t want to interrupt the discussion you and CamArchGrad are having, but I was hoping you could address what I said above regarding the nature of oceanic-continental plate boundaries.

    If one were to sketch a crustal-scale cross section across the Nazca-South American plate boundary, what would it look like? Are the oceanic and continental plates simply fused together? Do they look like passive (i.e., rifted) margins (e.g., Atlantic margins of North and South America)?

    This is just simple physiography and crustal-scale structure … what does your model of how plates interact on the Earth predict?

  65. CamArchGrad permalink
    November 19, 2008 3:56 pm

    It is Maxwlow’s paper that I am citing from. Apologies for the mistake.

    “Looking at the quote a global rate of radius increase of about 2.6 cm/yr. This rate is in excellent agreement with the rate of 2.8 +or- 0.8 cm/yr measured by NASA with the use of satellites and with several other caluculations, i.e. 2.6 cm/yr and 2.4 cm/yr (Parkinson in Carey 1988, Ciechanowicz and Koziar 1993, Blinov 1993).” (Tassos 1998)”

    Tracing the NASA reference back lead to this:

    http://books.google.ca/books?id=l_0l0KOdHLoC&dq=Theories+of+the+Earth+and+Universe&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=G9xGIswaJl&sig=ls6kwjvewK9Tb7RIm_ZClS74yrM&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result#PPA169,M1

    Where it quite clearly states that it is Dr. Parkinson’s calculation of the NASA data, NOT the NASA data itself which indicated the expansion of the radius.

    However as the CORS data show across the US there has been no great increase in radius, unlike that predicted by the expanding earth, theory for the past 14 years.

    Let’s look at the Australian data.

    http://www.ga.gov.au/servlet/BigObjFileManager?bigobjid=GA5097

    Now this seems initially be more promising for an expanding earth. However, as can be seen from the data, most of the rises are less than 2 cm which works out to ~ 2mm a year, far less than the ~2.8 cm pa quoted above. Moreover it’s multi-directional eg up and down with no clear vector overall. If the earth were expanding, both the US and the Australian Data should show a clear unidirectional pattern. It doesn’t.

    Re station movement:

    From Maxlow p.76 “where values for radial motion have a
    calculated global average value of 0·35 mm/yr over 144 stations (established from Geocentric Positions Velocities solution 1102g6, Ma & Ryan, 1998). ” Not even a millimetre.

    Also on p.78 – 79 he shows four graphs. 2 are flat as a pancake. and 1 shows no coherent pattern and one rises as an artifact of the data.

    To look at his phd.

    http://espace.library.curtin.edu.au:1802/view/action/nmets.do?DOCCHOICE=9645.xml&dvs=1227137363482~828&locale=en_US&search_terms=adt-WCU20020117.1457&usePid1=true&usePid2=true

  66. November 21, 2008 6:51 am

    Brian,

    As far as what the sketch might look like, here is the model:

    “…there is not any physically observed discontinuity between deep crust and upper mantle at around 100 km depth, and the continents are observed to have continuous mantle rock roots extending as deep as 600 km (Grand, 1987; Grand et al., 1997). So the question is naturally raised: How is it possible for the upper 100 km of a continent, e.g., North [or South] America, to move horizontally by several thousand kilometers at all, under any circumstances, when global seismic tomography data indicate deep continuous roots from the surface down to 600 km depth?” — Stavros T. Tassos (seismologist) and David J. Ford (geologist), 2005

    “More realistically, the appropriate and credible physical metaphor for subduction would be of a wooden nail being projected very slowly into a cannon ball. This is, of course, impossible, even over infinite time….” — Stavros T. Tassos (seismologist) and David J. Ford (geologist), 2005

    Tassos, S.T., and Ford, D.J., An Integrated Alternative Conceptual Framework to Heat Engine Earth, Plate Tectonics, and Elastic Rebound, Journal of Scientific Exploration, Volume 19, Number 1, Pages 43-90, 2005

  67. November 21, 2008 7:33 am

    OIM … that doesn’t answer my question, it is talking about vertical relationships (i.e., crust-mantle boundary) – I was asking about the transition from oceanic to continental crust, laterally, along the Nazca-South American boundary, for example. Conventional plate tectonic theory depicts a descending oceanic slab, which you reject, we all know that by now – so you need not even mention subudction in your answer.

    What is the nature of this lateral transition from oceanic to continental crust in the model of the Earth you advocate?

  68. November 21, 2008 10:13 am

    The Andes. Vertical orogenesis.

  69. November 22, 2008 9:27 am

    OilIsMastery, it’s been about a day since your comment above … I assume this is your full answer? I thought you were going to elaborate, maybe you still will.

    Just to recap for everybody, I asked OIM this question: What is the nature of this lateral transition from oceanic to continental crust in the model of the Earth you advocate?

    This is in reference to the eastern Nazca (oceanic) and western South American (continental) plate boundary.

    OIM’s answer is simply: “Vertical orogenesis”

    Care to elaborate?

  70. November 24, 2008 11:27 am

    Brian:

    The inability of an EE advocate to fully flesh out the model’s explanation for a particular phenomenon does not invalidate the basic claim, supported by the evidence, that the Earth is expanding.

    Your biggest issue appears to be with how EE explains the Andes. Again, if you want to falsify EE, then you must demonstrate how the Andes are inconsistent with EE. I have heard no such demonstration.

    In the absence of such a demonstration, throwing out “How does your model explain the Andes” is no more relevant to the validity of the model itself than the question “How does evolution explain fingernails?” We may not know how it is explained, but neither do we know why it’s particularly inconsistent.

    Hypotheses? I have a few.

    1) The Andes may predate the oceans — i.e. they may have existed before the continents split.

    2) The Andes may be the result of vertical uplift as the expansion of the oceanic crust presses into the continent

    3) The Andes may be the result of limited subduction, which occurs an an inadequate pace to compensate for new crust, resulting in a net increase in surface area.

    All of these hypotheses should be tested — as well as others I’m not smart enough to think of. I’d be interested to see if any meaningful tests have been conducted to falsify any of the alternatives.

    But if you think the inability of EE theorists to explain the Andes invalidates EE, you’re way off base. On the contrary, in order to invalidate EE, you are obliged to show how the characteristics of the Andes are inconsistent with EE.

    The issue here is the strong evidence invalidating a static Earth size — namely:
    1) Continental fit across the Pacific
    2) Inadequate subduction to account for observed increase in oceanic crust
    3) Seacrust ages inconsistent with the standard model
    4) No subduction zones to account for the observed expansion of the Antarctic plate.

    ALl those facts are inconsistent with PT, and consistent with EE. That’s why some of us prefer EE. If those facts are wrong or irrelevant, please explain why. But don’t run around declaring that EE is invalid because it is not yet comprehensive. That’s simply non sequitor, for the reasons explained above.

  71. November 24, 2008 12:03 pm

    ungtss says: “…you must demonstrate how the Andes are inconsistent with EE. I have heard no such demonstration.”

    The Andes include well-mapped and well-documented fold-thrust belts with significant shortening interpreted to be a result of compressional tectonics … I’d have to spend some time looking up the best and most relevant references for you, I simply don’t have time right now. Besides, whenever I provide a long list of references I seem get accused of supplying a ‘laundry list’ — damned if I do, damned if I don’t.

    Significant compressional tectonism along convergent plate boundaries explains this – a model of no convergence or ‘stretching’, as you suggest, is not consistent with those observations.

    Re your hypotheses:

    “1) The Andes may predate the oceans — i.e. they may have existed before the continents split.”

    Timing of compressional deformation is established to be well within the Cenozoic and ongoing. Again, I don’t have references at my fingertips … it would take some time. To start, google ‘cenozoic deformation andes’ and start exploring on your own. As you can see, researchers have and continue to address the issue of timing of tectonism … you can draw upon a wealth of data to help test your hypothesis.

    “2) The Andes may be the result of vertical uplift as the expansion of the oceanic crust presses into the continent”

    I’ve heard this model cited many times, but have yet to see or read any DETAILS about the actual mechanism, with data from exposed geology along the orogenic belt. If you don’t agree with the published explanations, there are detailed geologic maps of most of the range … interpret the geology and propose a detailed mechanism.

    Additionally, what do you mean by “presses” into the continent? This is vague. Is this similar to geosynclinal ideas from decades ago? If so, how similar? Any fundamental differences in light of data they didn’t have pre-1950s?

    “3) The Andes may be the result of limited subduction, which occurs an an inadequate pace to compensate for new crust, resulting in a net increase in surface area.”

    I’ve heard this argument before … what does limited mean? How is ‘limited’ measured? Areal extent of subducted crust? Rate? Both? Something else? Where is the boundary between ‘limited’ and ‘extensive’? What is that based on? I also haven’t seen the details of this argument laid out … again, using DATA from the Earth (not theoretical and speculative constraints).

    Let’s stick to details … your other list at the bottom of your comment are so vague and subjective that trying to discuss it will devolve into me asking you to be very specific about what you mean, which leads to a debate about the debate and other semantics … this is time-consuming and unproductive in my opinion.

    As you’ve seen on these posts, I’m trying to get OIM and Anaconda, and now you, to address specifics and actual data. If you want to stick with the Nazca-SA boundary, the Andes, and related features, that’s cool with me.

  72. November 24, 2008 1:10 pm

    The Andes include well-mapped and well-documented fold-thrust belts with significant shortening interpreted to be a result of compressional tectonics …

    Based upon what facts are they “interpreted to be a result of compressional tectonics?”

    Significant compressional tectonism along convergent plate boundaries explains this – a model of no convergence or ’stretching’, as you suggest, is not consistent with those observations.

    If indeed “stretching” can be falsified at the Andes, I’d agree with you. However, I don’t see how “stretching” has been invalidated, because no facs have been presented to support that conclusion. Further, even given that conclusion, it would be a strictly limited conclusion. It still would not exclude the possibility of stretching elsewhere (as on the Asian side of the Pacific) or the possibility that compression occurs, but is inadequate to fully compensate for spreading elsewhere.

    Timing of compressional deformation is established to be well within the Cenozoic and ongoing.

    Upon what facts is this based? When I google “cenozoic deformation andes,” I find work peripherally related to this conclusion, but not directly establishing it. How do we know when the mountains formed?

    “2) The Andes may be the result of vertical uplift as the expansion of the oceanic crust presses into the continent”

    I’ve heard this model [vertical uplift] cited many times, but have yet to see or read any DETAILS about the actual mechanism, with data from exposed geology along the orogenic belt. If you don’t agree with the published explanations, there are detailed geologic maps of most of the range … interpret the geology and propose a detailed mechanism.

    Well, since this is not my preferred explanation, I can’t say I’m the one to ask for a detailed mechanism. Nevertheless, I can’t see any fundamental reason it is not possible — and without any reasons to see why it’s impossible, I don’t see why this hypothesis can be discounted.

    “3) The Andes may be the result of limited subduction, which occurs an an inadequate pace to compensate for new crust, resulting in a net increase in surface area.”

    I’ve heard this argument before … what does limited mean? How is ‘limited’ measured? Areal extent of subducted crust? Rate? Both? Something else? Where is the boundary between ‘limited’ and ‘extensive’? What is that based on? I also haven’t seen the details of this argument laid out … again, using DATA from the Earth (not theoretical and speculative constraints).

    Again, since this is not my preferred explanation, I am not the one to ask. However, I can see no reason why it is not possible that expansion takes place at rate X, subduction takes place at rate Y (which is above zero but less than X), so that surface area increases at rate X-Y. Data to substantiate this hypothesis would be, essentially, direct measurements of how much crust is subducting every year in the subduction zones. But of course, we don’t have those direct observations, so we can’t do those calculations. Which side does that cut against?

    Let’s stick to details … your other list at the bottom of your comment are so vague and subjective that trying to discuss it will devolve into me asking you to be very specific about what you mean, which leads to a debate about the debate and other semantics … this is time-consuming and unproductive in my opinion.

    No, I don’t think those facts are vague or subjective. I think they are very clear and specific, and that they are significant. I think the puzzle piece fit between South America, the East Pacific Rise, and Australia is specific and significant. Are you saying you don’t think they fit, or that you don’t think it’s significant? I also think it is specific and significant that there is expansion without convergence around Antarctica and Africa, and that the Pacific and Atlantic are the same age (where the standard model would predict an older Pacific). Please address those. Thanks.

    As you’ve seen on these posts, I’m trying to get OIM and Anaconda, and now you, to address specifics and actual data. If you want to stick with the Nazca-SA boundary, the Andes, and related features, that’s cool with me.

    I’ll stick with whatever you want to stick with, as long as it’s factual. I am far far FAR from being an expert. I’m hoping to learn from those who know more than I do — if they’re willing to stick with the facts and the scientific interpretation thereof.

  73. November 24, 2008 1:25 pm

    I just came up with another hypothesis, incidentally. The Andes may have been formed by compression at the very beginning of the event that caused the seams of the Earth to crack open and the Earth to begin its expansion — a sudden, violent compression as the seam opened up — followed by a long period of expansion without additional compression or subduction.

    The point is, there are many hypothetical mechanisms to be explored. But whatever the mechanism, the basic concept of EE fits the facts better than the present model, IMO.

  74. November 24, 2008 2:10 pm

    ungtss says: “Based upon what facts are they “interpreted to be a result of compressional tectonics?”

    ungtss says: “However, I don’t see how “stretching” has been invalidated, because no facs have been presented to support that conclusion.”

    ungtss says re timing of deformation: “Upon what facts is this based?”

    I’m glad you desire facts so strongly. Obviously, this would take significant time and effort on my part to try and lay this out for you (and do it correctly and comprehensively). If I point you to textbooks or tell you to take some geology classes, you’ll probably tell me you don’t have time. If I provide just a few very general review papers that attempt to synthesize all the details briefly and succinctly (and thus can’t possibly present all the details) you’ll shout back “I want facts!!!”. If I give you a list of 1,000 studies from over decades of research full of facts (detailed case studies and data), you’ll tell me you’re not an expert and can’t possibly evaluate all that. If your goal is one of exhaustion … to get me to do a bunch of work so you can simply dismiss it all in one sweeping assertion, then why would I do that? There is plenty of data on these posts and issues w/in the comment threads associated with those data to ponder. Maybe I’ll put some work into some posts about the Andes at some point in the future. But, this demand of facts from you is absurd — do at least some research on your own.

    Many of your questions (e.g., timing of mountain building) can generally be addressed in introductory geology classes – I encourage you to take a class. I realize you don’t want to hear that, but for me to explain it all sufficiently and correctly would require writing a book – and since they already exist, why not just read one!

    This tactic of demanding all the detailed facts and then turning around and saying I’m not an expert and can’t evalute those facts is, in my opinion, silly.

  75. November 24, 2008 2:48 pm

    For anyone reading this … there are several textbooks out there to learn about the details ungtss desires.

    They are meant for those taking courses at college level, but I think anyone who is motivated enough could probably learn a lot going through the books systematically on their own.

    The Solid Earth – by Fowler: This one is good for getting familiar with a lot of the geophysical data that is used for investigating larger-scale features on the Earth. Seismology, gravity, magnetics, and much more is discussed.

    Tectonics – by Moores and Twiss: I actually don’t own this one, but have looked through it many times.

    These are just two … the links take you to Amazon where they show similar books. For many of these books you can peruse the table of contents where you can see what they cover specifically.

  76. November 24, 2008 8:59 pm

    I’m glad you desire facts so strongly. Obviously, this would take significant time and effort on my part to try and lay this out for you (and do it correctly and comprehensively).

    I don’t see why that’s necessarily so. I think that if such facts truly existed, you would be able to lay them out in summary, briefly and succinctly — much as we have been doing with the basic facts supporting EE as against PT. I think your refusal to explain the facts supporting your conclusion is fair evidence that you don’t know what they are, either because you do not remember them, they were never presented to you, or they do not exist.

    And I’ll tell you why I believe that. The typical writing format of a geology text is not to explain how each theoretical conclusion is supported by facts, and to go through the reasoning of those who made the conclusion. Typically, such texts present the theoretical conclusions as “facts,” without presenting the evidence and reasoning behind those conclusions. That, in my opinion, is why so many scientists these days are incapable of critical thinking. Their education has consisted in adopting a paradigm, not learning to analyze and criticize paradigms based on the facts.

    If I point you to textbooks or tell you to take some geology classes, you’ll probably tell me you don’t have time. If I provide just a few very general review papers that attempt to synthesize all the details briefly and succinctly (and thus can’t possibly present all the details) you’ll shout back “I want facts!!!”. If I give you a list of 1,000 studies from over decades of research full of facts (detailed case studies and data), you’ll tell me you’re not an expert and can’t possibly evaluate all that. If your goal is one of exhaustion … to get me to do a bunch of work so you can simply dismiss it all in one sweeping assertion, then why would I do that? There is plenty of data on these posts and issues w/in the comment threads associated with those data to ponder. Maybe I’ll put some work into some posts about the Andes at some point in the future. But, this demand of facts from you is absurd — do at least some research on your own.

    If I were in court, prosecuting a case, and the judge said, “Present your case,” and I said, “Oh please — just go read all the police reports I read in preparing for this trial — don’t demand that I present the facts — you’re just being lazy,” how do you think the trial would come out?

    But that is exactly what you are doing. I am asking you to make your case through facts for discussion and consideration. But rather than presenting those facts, you are telling me to go find them myself, elsewhere. In the legal world, that would be malpractice. Here, it’s just “evading the issue.”

    This tactic of demanding all the detailed facts and then turning around and saying I’m not an expert and can’t evalute those facts is, in my opinion, silly.

    Well, considering I never said I can’t evaluate the facts — rather, I said I insist on evaluating the facts myself, not taking predigested conclusions from geology texts that teach interpretation as fact and neglect to present the facts themselves. So your tactic above of setting up and knocking down a straw-man is the true silliness occurring here.

  77. November 24, 2008 9:36 pm

    ungtss says: “I think your refusal to explain the facts supporting your conclusion is fair evidence that you don’t know what they are, either because you do not remember them, they were never presented to you, or they do not exist.”

    I’m sorry I couldn’t summarize the complex geology of a mountain range that is thousands of miles long and summarize the implications to plate interactions within a couple of hours for you. I guess I should’ve been able to do that over lunch!

    Ungtss, your resistance to reading/researching books, papers, and studies in the science while at the same time demanding that I quickly lay out all the data and conclusions (briefly and succinctly just for you) is quite bizarre. And your resistance to learning some basics and foundational aspects is … well, I don’t know what … it’s interesting.

    Based on my apparent inability to think critically and communicate effectively, it’s obvious that you are the ‘victor’ in this exchange. That’s fine by me … unless you want to discuss any of the data in Part 2 or the post above, there’s no need for you to comment on these posts again.

    Like I said, maybe I’ll tackle a summary of the structural geology of the Andes someday (when I find the time). That could be a lot of fun!

  78. Anaconda permalink
    November 24, 2008 11:49 pm

    Wow, I just read through the comments for the first time!

    Brian, you ask OilIsMastery to explain something (repeatedly), but when somebody calls you on a question and asks you to explain, you offer reasons why you don’t have to. That seems inconsistent to me.

    And then when ungtss responds politely, but firmly, you tell him to “leave the website” in effect. Brian, you’re the Ph.D. candidate in geology and posted the material and invited the discussion.

    It seems that ungtss is perceptive to your “professorial” tactics: “I get to ask the questions, but I don’t have to answer when questions come my way that I don’t like.

    Brian, you want to focus on one tree as the forest burns around you.

    Sure I’m biased, I’ve seen your “act” before, but ungtss comes off more resonable than you. It looks like ungtss’ questions and comments are all within reason, but you don’t have an answer so you make up excuses. In a crowd that favors your side of the argument that style may get you by, but in a neutral forum you just lost.

  79. November 25, 2008 12:20 am

    I’m sorry I couldn’t summarize the complex geology of a mountain range that is thousands of miles long and summarize the implications to plate interactions within a couple of hours for you. I guess I should’ve been able to do that over lunch!

    If you don’t know enough about the geology of the Andes to explain how it is relevant as evidence for PT and against EE, then it was a poor example for you to select. Pick something you know enough about to discuss — thanks.

    (Snip More useless ad hominem.)

    Based on my apparent inability to think critically and communicate effectively, it’s obvious that you are the ‘victor’ in this exchange. That’s fine by me … unless you want to discuss any of the data in Part 2 or the post above, there’s no need for you to comment on these posts again.

    You came to my blog and asked me to comment on the “basic facts” you had raised, that you alleged the EE advocates could not respond to. I understood that to mean the question about the Andes that you had repeated a dozen times to OIM. Clearly, however, you don’t know enough about the Andes to discuss that topic in the context of EE — and I know I don’t. So if you would like me to respond to a different set of “basic facts” that support PT as against EE, please identify them specifically and we can take them one at a time.

  80. November 25, 2008 6:37 am

    ungtss says: “Clearly, however, you don’t know enough about the Andes to discuss that topic in the context of EE.”

    You just need to get that last insult in, eh?

  81. November 25, 2008 6:44 am

    Anaconda says: “Brian, you ask OilIsMastery to explain something (repeatedly), but when somebody calls you on a question and asks you to explain, you offer reasons why you don’t have to. That seems inconsistent to me.”

    That’s right, I asked OIM questions. And I also said that if he needed time, just say so and we could wait.

    Ungtss got upset when I didn’t deliver info immediately after I said it would take some time. You, Anaconda, graciously allowed time to gather information. I prefer to gather information from the literature, get examples from collected data — this takes a lot of time (at least for me). And right now, I don’t have that time — what can I say, I have a day job and a life — I don’t see this as unreasonable. I’m not going to start making stuff up about the Andes or pull data off random websites. I’m sorry if I’m slow w/ this stuff.

  82. November 25, 2008 7:47 am

    I hate for this thread to devolve into a detailed discussion about the discussion (this usually signals it is nearing its end) but just for those who may be a bit confused reading the last group of comments, here’s a recap:

    ungtss mentions how this thread became focused on the Nazca-South American boundary and the Andes Mts, and says:

    “…you must demonstrate how the Andes are inconsistent with [expanding Earth hypothesis]. I have heard no such demonstration.”

    I replied: “The Andes include well-mapped and well-documented fold-thrust belts with significant shortening interpreted to be a result of compressional tectonics … I’d have to spend some time looking up the best and most relevant references for you, I simply don’t have time right now.”

    That was my real, real short answer … I didn’t want to give a non-answer. I’ll admit that it’s incomplete and needs something to back it up. And I noted how it would take me time to dig up such relevant references and examples.

    ungtss replied to my answer by saying: “Based upon what facts are they “interpreted to be a result of compressional tectonics?””

    Although I already stated the first time that it would take time/effort to do that research, I stated it again: “Obviously, this would take significant time and effort on my part to try and lay this out for you (and do it correctly and comprehensively).”

    To which, ungtss replied: “I don’t see why that’s necessarily so. I think that if such facts truly existed, you would be able to lay them out in summary, briefly and succinctly”

    This is essentially what this last bit of back-and-forth is about.

    Remember, the evidence (facts) ungtss seeks is for my statement: “The Andes include well-mapped and well-documented fold-thrust belts with significant shortening”

    To correctly provide the evidence, I would have to include evidence that (1) the geology is well mapped – I would have to show a lot of geologic maps, (2) show cross sections that document the fold-thrust deformation, (3) show balanced/restored cross sections that document the shortening, (4) do this for multiple transects across the orogenic belt, and (5) synthesize those data w/in the context of proposed mechanisms.

    Or something like that … maybe I’ll take the time to do that someday. Maybe somebody already has … point is, research takes time. I doubt I would get to it for another month. Again, ungtss, I’m sorry I can’t provide you info immediately. I’m not sure what else to say about it.

  83. November 25, 2008 8:51 am

    Over on ungtss’ blog, Anaconda congratulates him on the exchange above:

    “You handled Brian with a finesse that clearly made him uncomfortable and maybe even exposed his weaknesses to those inclined to side with his side of the argument.”

    Good times.

    A logistical note to those commenting – I will be traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday starting tomorrow and will have to turn on full comment moderation. If I don’t, spam could take over (nothing like a viagra ad to kill a discussion!). Just an FYI.

  84. November 25, 2008 9:21 am

    Brian:

    You just need to get that last insult in, eh?

    If you had read the rest of the post, you would have noticed that I also acknowledged that I don’t understand the Andes sufficiently to analyze them in the context of EE and PT, either. I did that in an effort to point out that if neither of us understand a particular topic enough to speak intelligently about it, we’re wasting our time using it as an example. I followed the comment immediately by asking you to use examples on which you can speak intelligently.

    But you still haven’t done that.

    To correctly provide the evidence, I would have to include evidence that (1) the geology is well mapped – I would have to show a lot of geologic maps, (2) show cross sections that document the fold-thrust deformation, (3) show balanced/restored cross sections that document the shortening, (4) do this for multiple transects across the orogenic belt, and (5) synthesize those data w/in the context of proposed mechanisms.

    You’re setting your standard too high for this forum. I’m not asking you to write the thesis you suggest. I’m asking you to pick a topic that you know something about, and analyze it with respect to EE and PT. Alternatively, you could point me to a specific paper on the topic that I can access that does so (keeping in mind that I live in Turkiye, so I do not have access to an English-language library, so I’m basically limited to sources available only on the web).

    And by analyze, I mean identify specific facts and lay out a theoretical framework to show how they are consistent with PT and inconsistent with EE.

    Unless you’re willing to do that, I’m going to stop wasting my time trading jabs with you.

  85. November 25, 2008 9:36 am

    ungtss says: “You’re setting your standard too high for this forum. I’m not asking you to write the thesis you suggest.”

    No, I’m not setting it too high … what I outlined wouldn’t be a thesis. Theses/dissertations, in most cases, collect new data. I’m certainly not going to go do that (although it would be fun). I would be compiling existing data. To do it correctly and comprehensively would require me to do something like I mentioned. If I were to ask someone for evidence of a statement like that, that’s what I would expect. Giving you a single paper wouldn’t do it. Whenever single papers are provided, they are too easily dismissed for one reason or another. Regional-scale relationships require synthesizing A LOT of data. Just my opinion.

    ungtss says: “Unless you’re willing to do that, I’m going to stop wasting my time trading jabs with you.”

    Like I said … perhaps I’ll do what I think it takes to provide you the evidence at some point in the future. So, for now, yes, you can stop wasting your time here.

  86. Anaconda permalink
    November 25, 2008 9:53 am

    I’m not particularly “gracious”. I’m hard edged and I play rough when I think somebody is “pulling my tail” And it was instructive to read the interaction between you, BrianR, and ungtss.

    I don’t think ungtss exhibited indications of being upset (mischaracterizing ungtss’ tone was poor form), rather he adroitly pointed out how you kept it up on the Andes with OilIsMastery, but then when ungtss asked you a question on the exact same geological feature, the Andes, you punted.

    Fine.

    I look for patterns — one of the pattern I see with you, BrianR, is that you’re happy to lead the parade, but when one of the spectators dares notice the lack of clothing and calls out a question on their terms you shut down and offer plausible excuses — you’re a master of “plausible deniability”.

    Also, BrianR, I notice you run around the web and give one-sided versions of the discussion behind the back of the other participants in that discussion, so they can’t object to your one-sided version. Again, poor form.

    No, I’m not gracious — because slick customers like you would run over people like ungtss and myself — while people on your side of the argument would never pick up on these tactics that while not strictly part of the debate in scientific terms — frame the debate — and thus go along way to determining which side comes off best.

    I point out tactics because, sadly, it’s apparent even in science discussions on the web the way the argument is conducted seems to be half the battle.

    The only way to disarm tactics is to name them and explain them and call out the offender.

    The purpose of needling OilIsMastery was two-fold, one, make him look uninformed and discredit his position, but just as important, distract from the the strengths identified by him and others and distract from an inabiltiy to respond effectively to those strengths (actually weaknesses, falsifications, of PT theory in this instance).

    And in science, 90% of the time the debater is just a messenger — the science stands on its own merits independent of the messenger’s ability to answer any one question, but, okay, I’ll admit from time to time I do the same thing: Attack the messenger.

    So needling someone on a particular point is really a waste of time.

    Brian, for you to complain about ungtss getting in that last “insult” is laughable, talk about the kettle calling the frying pan black. Not to mention it wasn’t really an insult at all.

    (Why is it an insult to note you don’t understand enough about EE to address the Andes on EE’s terms?)

    I think the real problem is that ungtss knows his own mind and won’t bow down to your position or your tactics.

    Just my opinion.

  87. November 25, 2008 10:18 am

    Anaconda says: “…when ungtss asked you a question on the exact same geological feature, the Andes, you punted.”

    Do I have to explain this again? I answered his question simply and then said it would require more research to provide him the relevant info. Stating I need to do some research is punting? If I didn’t quickly answer, I would’ve been chided for not answering. If I hastily gathered limited info, I would not have satisfied myself. If I had simply made something up out of the blue to satisfy the urgent demand, I would’ve been (correctly) called out.

    Regarding my ‘needling’ of OIM … I stated that if he wanted time to respond to my questions, that would not be a problem. Usually people say something like ‘I’ll provide more later’ … or, like you, Anaconda, have been doing on Part 2, say ‘more later’ at the end of the post. Something along those lines. This is completely understandable. He never did, and he has left … no big deal. What’s the problem here?

    I think ungtss and I have come to a semi-stable understanding regarding me compiling evidence for compressional tectonism in the Andes. I may do something in the future … in the meantime, we can all move on. We are getting close to discussing the discussion about the discussion. You’ve made your case to anyone reading this regarding your opinion of me and my tactics, I think they get the picture. They can evaluate for themselves.

    I don’t know, maybe we can talk about sedimentation in Cascadia (?) which is what this post is about.

  88. Anaconda permalink
    November 25, 2008 10:38 am

    BrianR:

    I’ve said my piece, so will move on as you suggest — to the merits of the post — too bad the readership has mostly moved on — I do regret missing out on most of the fireworks.

    I take the time — well…because I have the time, but also I do believe in being able to articulate the scientific evidence both for and against a particular position. I also, in spite of my failings and they are legion, believe passionately in the scientific method which means responding (about half the time) to the terms and strengths identified by the other side in the discussion (the other half, I want the other side to respond to my terms).

    That seems to be a fair trade-off.

    So I will respond even though the trail is cold at this point.

  89. November 25, 2008 10:46 am

    (1) the geology is well mapped – I would have to show a lot of geologic maps, (2) show cross sections that document the fold-thrust deformation, (3) show balanced/restored cross sections that document the shortening, (4) do this for multiple transects across the orogenic belt, and (5) synthesize those data w/in the context of proposed mechanisms.

    All you really need to do to answer my question is to explain what physical characteristics of rock are interpretted as fold-thrust deformation and shortening, and the reasoning that goes into said interpretation.

    The other question you didn’t answer was of course how geologists determine when mountains formed — a simple description of the experimental process would be sufficient.

    These questions do not require a thesis, man.

  90. November 25, 2008 11:04 am

    ungtss says: “All you really need to do to answer my question is to explain what physical characteristics of rock are interpretted as fold-thrust deformation and shortening”

    I realize that … meaning, I would want to provide specific evidence and examples, right? If I simply answer with a general answer about fold-thrust belts, you’ll say ‘so what, where’s the evidence?’. I don’t know how many times or different ways I can say this: It would take time to search for relevant papers about studies along the belt that document this. What do you want from me!?

    ungtss says: “The other question you didn’t answer was of course how geologists determine when mountains formed — a simple description of the experimental process would be sufficient.”

    Generally — and I hesitate to do this, because I have a feeling you will respond demanding specific evidence, which, again, will take time — if you can date the rocks within a mountain belt you can help constrain their timing. For example, if a volcanic ash bed is dated as 30 Ma (+/- some error) and that volcanic ash bed is folded and faulted, you would know that the deformation is younger than 30 Ma. That is, the volcanic ash bed had to be deposited first before it could be deformed. That is a straightforward example … there are many other examples utlizing detrital geochronology, thermochronology, and so on. It is a very active area of research actually.

    Is that answer okay? It is very general … if you do want specific examples, IT WILL TAKE TIME TO DO THE RESEARCH. Do you understand where I’m coming from?

    I’m trying to answer your demands as best I can and as quickly as I can …

  91. November 25, 2008 11:21 am

    ungtss … not sure if you can access this link … it is just one of many sessions at the upcoming AGU meeting in December that deals w/ constraining timing (as well as other aspects) for orogenic belts. A look at the abstracts might give you a sense of some of the analytical techniques being applied. This is just more info, I haven’t studied every single one of those abstracts in great detail, so I can’t speak to many of the details — that would take time and effort.

  92. November 25, 2008 11:35 am

    ungtss says: “All you really need to do to answer my question is to explain what physical characteristics of rock are interpretted as fold-thrust deformation and shortening”

    Brian says: I realize that … meaning, I would want to provide specific evidence and examples, right? If I simply answer with a general answer about fold-thrust belts, you’ll say ’so what, where’s the evidence?’. I don’t know how many times or different ways I can say this: It would take time to search for relevant papers about studies along the belt that document this. What do you want from me!?

    Naw, man — much simpler. What does “fold-thrust” look like? How is it differentiated from other configurations? I googled it but couldn’t find anything on point. If you were going to tell a dense freshman what distinguishes a “fold-thrust” belt from something else, what would you tell her?

    ungtss says: “The other question you didn’t answer was of course how geologists determine when mountains formed — a simple description of the experimental process would be sufficient.”

    Brian: Generally — and I hesitate to do this, because I have a feeling you will respond demanding specific evidence, which, again, will take time — if you can date the rocks within a mountain belt you can help constrain their timing. For example, if a volcanic ash bed is dated as 30 Ma (+/- some error) and that volcanic ash bed is folded and faulted, you would know that the deformation is younger than 30 Ma. That is, the volcanic ash bed had to be deposited first before it could be deformed. That is a straightforward example … there are many other examples utlizing detrital geochronology, thermochronology, and so on. It is a very active area of research actually.

    I’m not asking for specific examples — I’m concerned with the experimental framework here. If you date a volcanic ash bed, you have the date it was laid by the volcano, but not the date it was formed into a fold-thrust belt mountain chain. In other words, that method would not establish when the Andes became the Andes, but only when the ash that would someday be the Andes cooled, at some time prior to the Andes. You said it had been “well established” when the Andes formed. This method could not do that. Is there some other, reliable way to tell when the mountains formed?

  93. November 25, 2008 11:54 am

    ungtss says: “Naw, man — much simpler. What does “fold-thrust” look like? How is it differentiated from other configurations? I googled it but couldn’t find anything on point. If you were going to tell a dense freshman what distinguishes a “fold-thrust” belt from something else, what would you tell her?”

    Sorry, we’ll have to agree to disagree … I don’t think it is this simple. I will repeat again – this would take time to show you examples from around the world. While each orogen has unique features, they also share commonalities. To get a sense of those, one needs to see many examples (preferably in the field). If I were teaching a class to that freshman, that’s what I would do.

    ungtss says: “If you date a volcanic ash bed, you have the date it was laid by the volcano, but not the date it was formed into a fold-thrust belt mountain chain. In other words, that method would not establish when the Andes became the Andes, but only when the ash that would someday be the Andes cooled, at some time prior to the Andes. You said it had been “well established” when the Andes formed. This method could not do that. Is there some other, reliable way to tell when the mountains formed?”

    Whoa … see what I mean. I provided a VERY GENERAL example of one TECHNIQUE and you immediately claim that I haven’t demonstated timing of the Andes is well established. This is what I’m talking about. For me to demonstrate this would take numerous specific examples from along the orogen. I will repeat: to do this would take a lot of time and effort. How clearly can I put this? What do you want from me? You are demanding an answer that is not possible to give without doing some research and synthesis.

    BTW, you misunderstood what I said about dating the volcani bed … I said it would constrain the timing. Read my comment again, I’ll include it again exactly as I said it:

    For example, if a volcanic ash bed is dated as 30 Ma (+/- some error) and that volcanic ash bed is folded and faulted, you would know that the deformation is younger than 30 Ma. That is, the volcanic ash bed had to be deposited first before it could be deformed.

    The age of deformation could’ve been 5, 10, or 20 Ma — but it cannot be older than 30 Ma. You can’t deform something that isn’t there. So, in this ONE GENERAL EXAMPLE this helps constrain timing. You’re right, it doesn’t directly date the deformation but it helps.

    ONE MORE TIME: If you want multiple examples of different techniques from different places, it will take time and effort.

    Either you don’t get this or you are trying to exhaust me by pretending you don’t get it.

  94. November 25, 2008 12:14 pm

    ungtss says: “Naw, man — much simpler. What does “fold-thrust” look like? How is it differentiated from other configurations? I googled it but couldn’t find anything on point. If you were going to tell a dense freshman what distinguishes a “fold-thrust” belt from something else, what would you tell her?”

    Brian: Sorry, we’ll have to agree to disagree … I don’t think it is this simple. I will repeat again – this would take time to show you examples from around the world. While each orogen has unique features, they also share commonalities. To get a sense of those, one needs to see many examples (preferably in the field). If I were teaching a class to that freshman, that’s what I would do.

    What I’m gathering here is that either there exists no clear definition of a “fold-thrust” belt, or you don’t know what it is. Instead, it is a “know-it-when-you-see-it” phenomenon. If true, that is profoundly unscientific. Science requires observation and testing against criteria. You have provided no criteria except “this one is and this one isn’t.” Teaching this to freshmen would do them a great disservice, as it would conflate “fact” and “interpretation.”

    ungtss says: “If you date a volcanic ash bed, you have the date it was laid by the volcano, but not the date it was formed into a fold-thrust belt mountain chain. In other words, that method would not establish when the Andes became the Andes, but only when the ash that would someday be the Andes cooled, at some time prior to the Andes. You said it had been “well established” when the Andes formed. This method could not do that. Is there some other, reliable way to tell when the mountains formed?”

    Whoa … see what I mean. I provided a VERY GENERAL example of one TECHNIQUE and you immediately claim that I haven’t demonstated timing of the Andes is well established. This is what I’m talking about. For me to demonstrate this would take numerous specific examples from along the orogen. I will repeat: to do this would take a lot of time and effort. How clearly can I put this? What do you want from me? You are demanding an answer that is not possible to give without doing some research and synthesis.

    No no no. Specific examples are irrelevant here — we must lay out a conceptual framework before we can adequately account for specifics.

    Let’s get to the basics. You said “Timing of compressional deformation is established to be well within the Cenozoic and ongoing.”

    Are you saying that:

    a) There was no compression prior to the cenozoic? Or

    b) Compression has been shown to have occurred both before and during the cenozoic?

    If the former, does that mean no deformed rock in the Andes is older than 65.5MY and that all the deformation occurred in the last 65.5MY?

    If the latter, how can one differentiate between deformation that occurred before the cenozoic as opposed to during the cenozoic?

  95. November 25, 2008 12:35 pm

    ungtss … for (hopefully) the last time: to correctly address your questions, it would take me time to gather relevant references. Starting a discussion about general concepts typically leads to wanting to discuss the evidence for concept. IF I were to do this (and given your incessant and unreasonable demands, I’m not feeling very motivated) I would start with the general descriptions you desire and then go on to present evidence and examples. What is wrong with that? I realize that this perturbs you to no end. How many times do I have to say it? Twenty? Fifty?

  96. November 25, 2008 12:35 pm

    With regards to techniques used for helping constrain timing over geologic time, ungtss wants: “…a simple description of the experimental process would be sufficient.”

    Ungtss doesn’t care for my answers (so he need not respond to this particular comment) … but for anyone else reading this, you know that short, simple, and good descriptions are very difficult to come by. Really good teachers can do a pretty good job, but even then it is with an hour-long lecture. This is why experts put the time and effort into writing textbooks.

    I know ugntss doesn’t care for textbooks … so, again he can completely disregard this, but for everybody else wondering about good references for geo- and thermochronology, check out these:

    Geochronology and Thermochronology by the 40Ar/39Ar Method

    Radiogenic Isotope Geology

    Isotopes: Principles and Applications

    Look in the respective tables of contents for what they cover exactly w/r/t geochronometric techniques. I’m sure you all have others you like to, feel free to mention them here.

    While I am trying my best to satisfy ungtss demands, I also want others to take something away from this exchange.

  97. November 25, 2008 12:39 pm

    ungtss … one more time, just in case you didn’t get it – I am done defending my position that I would like to spend more time doing the appropriate research.

    If this means you want to declare victory or whatever … then do so now. Otherwise, check back from time to time, maybe I’ll become motivated enough in the future to put together that post.

    As I said, I will be traveling in the coming days and mostly away from a computer — state what you wish to state, but I can’t answer any more quetions. I’ve tried my best, I hope you see that.

  98. November 25, 2008 8:14 pm

    Brian:

    For the fourth time, if you don’t know enough about the Andes to talk about the Andes, then pick something to talk about that you know something about.

    Similarly, if you don’t know enough about the methods and evidence upon which PT is based (and upon which EE has allegedly been falsified), then select topics for your blog you know enough about to discuss.

  99. November 25, 2008 8:44 pm

    ungtss says: “…if you don’t know enough about the methods and evidence upon which PT is based (and upon which EE has allegedly been falsified), then select topics for your blog you know enough about to discuss.”

    Zing! First, you incessantly demand immediate answers from me … and now you’re telling me what I should and shouldn’t blog about? What’s next, I wonder.

    Clearly, you don’t care for me or my blog … hey, don’t read it. Simple as that.

  100. November 26, 2008 4:42 am

    I care for you Brian. I like your blog.

    Can you unmoderate my comment in the Patagonia thread?

  101. November 26, 2008 9:36 am

    OIM says: “I care for you Brian. I like your blog.”

    Nice try. I don’t believe you for a second. Like when you said:
    “To the average sedimentary geologist the most basic scientific phenomena are absolute mysteries.” [link]

    What a guy.

    OIM asks: “Can you unmoderate my comment in the Patagonia thread?”

    Your comment must have had a bunch of links in it and was thrown into the spam folder … it’s probably long gone by now. I didn’t have a close eye on that thread.

    I’m pretty confident it had nothing to do with the Rio de las Chinas anyway. Let me guess – something about the topics being discussed here? If so, just put them here.

    If you start spamming my other posts w/ random info and links, I will treat it as spam. There are scores of blogs and discussion forums that will allow you to copy/paste in all your quotes and links. If you think this is unfair … tough break. [cue the persecution-from-the-establishment responses]

  102. November 26, 2008 9:39 am

    Clearly, you don’t care for me or my blog … hey, don’t read it. Simple as that.

    I don’t know enough about your blog to have an opinion — but at first glance, your other posts look very interesting.

    I came here because you asked me on my blog to discuss “simple facts” that you claimed the EE “denialists” here could not or would not address. When I opened discussion on those topics with you, you were not willing to address either the facts I raised or the facts you had raised previously. Forgive me if I’m a bit miffed.

  103. November 26, 2008 9:44 am

    ungtss … you’ve made your point numerous times, I have made mine numerous times … do you really want to continue discussing the discussion? Boring.

  104. November 26, 2008 9:47 am

    NOTE TO COMMENTERS: I will be traveling and away from computer – I am shutting down comments (too much spam). I will comment again right here when it is open.

  105. November 30, 2008 4:16 am

    comments are open again

  106. November 30, 2008 9:35 pm

    Feel free to drop me a line on my blog if/when you do the research you said you intended to do. Otherwise, take care –

  107. December 1, 2008 5:19 am

    ungtss … I will do. I doubt it’ll be anytime soon … I’m working on papers for other research (not related to these posts) in my “free” time these days.

  108. Canuck Bill permalink
    December 1, 2008 9:29 am

    My sympathies to Brian

    I can’t believe your tolerance for these people. If they are so passionate about this subject, why have they not gone to university and got themselves academic standing.

    As a long time skeptic, I have constantly had to put up with these sorts throwing out example after tiresome example (UFO’s, psychic abilities, bible predictions etc) which take time and effort to refute. You refute one, they ignore it and go find another to waste your time with. The similarities are painful to this blog.

    Sorry guys, but unless you can convince the mainstream scientific community you will be looked at as tiresome fanatics. And the only way to get respect is to go do the hard work, not just look up 100’s of sources that appear to be questionable.

    My kudos to you Brian for patiently dealing with their endless mundane arguments.

  109. Canuck Bill permalink
    December 1, 2008 3:26 pm

    Brain, on a separate note are you aware of any sites that show all of the subduction zones in the world? I am curious on the number that could provide 8.5 + (or so) earthquakes, and if they have an average time between occurances for them, and when the last date each of them occurred.

  110. December 1, 2008 7:59 pm

    Canuck Bill … good questions … off the top of my head I don’t know of a website that has that exact info … if it were me I would check the various pages on USGS site first, but it may take a while to compile all the info you want.

  111. Canuck Bill permalink
    December 2, 2008 2:47 pm

    I have tried through a variety of internet sites to compile this information.

    Please give your opinion of the following statements:

    1 – There are a limited number of known locations that can provide a subduction earthquake. Probably less than 50. ( I understand that these earthquakes vary in intensity because of length of time between events, and length of the actual rupture.) I assume that the rate of subduction is fairly consistent.

    2 – It is possible to calculate both an average time between occurances, and a rough idea when the last occurance was, for each and every one of the locations.

    3 – Shouldn’t one be able to create a map showing the various boundaries, last occurance date for each, expected magnitude range of an earthquake and a probability curve of each happening for various time periods (i.e. one year, 50 years, 300 years etc.)

    I expect if one were able to put this map together it would be very popular for both media as an easy source to understand, and for experts to tear apart each others predictions.

    Being a WA resident near Bellingham I have some interest in the “big one”.

  112. December 3, 2008 5:01 am

    Canuck Bill says: “It is possible to calculate both an average time between occurances, and a rough idea when the last occurance was, for each and every one of the locations.”

    Paleoseismicity studies, including earthquake recurrence data, are abundant in the literature. This site might give you a bit of background on methods of recurrence analysis: http://www.earth.northwestern.edu/people/seth/research/eqrec.html

    For starters, if you are interested in the Pacific Northwest, you might try this site: http://www.pnsn.org/CATDAT/welcome.html

    I didn’t spend much time on it, but looks like they have various catalogs and databases, including historical seismicity.

    I think all the information you are seeking is probably out there … but the kind of comprehensive and global compilation (‘one-stop shopping’) you are looking for might not be … I don’t know. My guess is you could probably find maps like that specific to regions, but you might have to integrate them yourself for a global view. Or, who knows, maybe that was somebody’s thesis somewhere! Honestly, I’m not the best person to ask about these things. If the USGS doesn’t have exactly what you are looking for, go ahead and contact the earthquake hazards folks with your inquiry — these kinds of questions from the general public are exactly what they are for.

    Good luck!

  113. erfie permalink
    December 10, 2008 9:30 am

    This is a bit random and off-topic, but another huge shot of sediment to the Columbia River probably would have come from the ice-age Lake Bonneville in Utah when it broke through the Red Rock Pass in Idaho and catastrophically flooded into the Snake River drainage.

  114. December 10, 2008 10:40 am

    erfie … although your comment may be off-topic to what the thread evolved into, it is quite relevant to the actual post, so thanks.

    I had never read about the Lake Bonneville emptying into Snake River … can you recommend any papers/books on the subject?

  115. December 11, 2008 4:11 pm

    Saintly BrianR,
    let me pause from reading your blog to answer the Lake Bonneville Flood question. I believe it was Hal Malde of the USGS field office in Boise who did the original and still cited research on this interesting episode of Pleistocene geology. In a nutshell, Lake Bonneville did indeed infiltrate up the Basin and Range Valley where Logan Utah is now located and breached the divide between the Bonneville interior drainage and the ancestral watershed of the Snake River. You can get a quick and dirty geology-lite overview of the Lake Bonneville Flood at the digital atlas of Idaho hosted on the Idaho State University Geology Dept website. The section that deals specifically with the flood is at:
    http://geology.isu.edu/Digital_Geology_Idaho/Module14/mod14.htm. Subsequent work by Hal Malde, Paul Link and many others has shown that Lake Bonneville flood sediments were carried hundreds of miles downstream into the Columbia R. Forgive me that I can not remember off the top of my head the study that contended that Lake Bonneville sediments were deposited on the shelf west of the mouth of the Columbia R. but if I’m not totally senile, that work was based on geochemical and isotope evidence, mostly because the grain-sizes and volumes of seds involved were rather small compared to the boulders that were carried WEST of Twin Falls.

    best regards,
    from this old used stratigrapher

  116. December 11, 2008 8:49 pm

    Dr. Helm-Clark … thank you for the link, I will definitely take a look at that.

  117. Florian permalink
    May 3, 2009 12:02 pm

    Hi Brian,

    If you want to truly understand what are Wadati Benioff Zone, then you should read some true EE litterature like Scalera, Yu chudinov, Andrew Kugler or Carey. Those guys figured out that there is no underthrusting but overthrusting resulting from diapirism. Diapirism is the key mechanism for earth expansion.
    If you don’t understand what I mean, then look at the structure of the Heide salt Dome (Figure 10.3, p155) in “Holmes Principle of physical geology”, and try to identify where would be the region equivalent to the WBZ…

    EE has been highjacked by cranks for too long time. It’s time for us to take it back where it should have always been: at the heart of the geosciences.

    Regards,

  118. May 7, 2009 9:28 am

    Florian … geoscientists that advocate expanding Earth hypothesis should take it back from cranks. They would do this by collecting/compiling new data and writing/submitting papers for the community to evaluate.

  119. Florian permalink
    May 8, 2009 12:43 am

    Brian, the advocates have been doing that for a long time, but usually, their work is ignore and never discussed. You should have a look at Giancarlo Scalera paper at earth-prints. He makes very strong arguments in his papers and reviews.
    Of course, some of his arguments are wrong. Still that could be a good starting point for a clever discussion.

    You can have a look at the New Concepts in Global Tectonics newsletter as well, though this is not really a pro-earth expansion newsletter. Sometimes, there is very interesting stuff there.

    One big issue is that today’s geoscientists never did extensive research on the different concepts related to earth expansion. I understand you’re a young geologist. You should spend some time to figure out what it is really about, because you are among the ones who have to question what has been taught to you, and eventually overthrow obsolete concepts.

    Again, try do do some real bibliography research on the subject. You’ll never regret it. I can help you in that quest if you want.

    Another point. I urge you to read Kuhn’s “the structure of scientific revolutions”. It helped me a lot to understand why such a situation in geosciences exists.

    Regards,

  120. May 8, 2009 7:29 am

    Florian … sorry, I’m not going to get into this with you. I simply don’t have the time anymore for these back-and-forth internet discussions with anonymous people. I’ve learned the hard way that they almost always turn into a gigantic waste of time. You may perceive that as unfair, but it is a function of my interaction with pseudo-/anti-science trolls who simply want to hijack threads. If there are reasonable EEers out there, they ought to work to stamp out the irrational zealots that are the most vocal with respect to their hypotheses.

    p.s. I have Kuhn on my bookshelf, it is indeed a great read.

  121. May 8, 2009 12:38 pm

    Florian, Carey was correct about diapirism, but his truth is solidly part of the “subductionist” paradigm today. He could not imagine how subduction could correlate with extension in the rest of the lithosphere, but we are not bound by the limits of his (admittedly prodigious) imagination, and we have infinitely more data than he had. In citing Carey et al as “true EE’ers,” you might as well be quoting Priestley as a “true phlogistonist.” Expanding-Earth theory is a DEAD PARROT. You will never make any headway until you learn some detail about plate tectonics. Yes, that would take some concerted study, and time away from the blogs. While you’re studying, I recommend Anthony Hallam’s classic “Great Geological Controversies” as the next step after Kuhn.

  122. Florian permalink
    May 11, 2009 2:09 pm

    Florian … sorry, I’m not going to get into this with you. I simply don’t have the time anymore for these back-and-forth internet discussions with anonymous people.

    Actually, I’m not anymous at all. You can write to me at auxotectonics@nachon.net.

    I’ve learned the hard way that they almost always turn into a gigantic waste of time. You may perceive that as unfair, but it is a function of my interaction with pseudo-/anti-science trolls who simply want to hijack threads.

    Funny, considering that I’m a senior scientist (h-index about 8), that hardly makes me an anti/pseudo-science guru, right?
    On the contrary, I’m trying pull the alarm when I see so many young scientists confusing facts and interpretations of data.
    We definitively have a big issue in the way we teach science to students.

    If there are reasonable EEers out there, they ought to work to stamp out the irrational zealots that are the most vocal with respect to their hypotheses.

    Hmmm, may be, But that might take a lot of time if young scientists lack the critical mind necessary to sort these things out.
    Anyway, what is reassuring is that, in science, the correct model always win at the end. It’s just a question of time. Hopefully short as a continuous stream of data supporting the theory is flowing, notably from the observation of the solar system (Ganymede, Miranda, Ariel, Enceladus, Europa are good examples).

  123. Florian permalink
    May 11, 2009 2:14 pm

    Florian, Carey was correct about diapirism, but his truth is solidly part of the “subductionist” paradigm today. He could not imagine how subduction could correlate with extension in the rest of the lithosphere, but we are not bound by the limits of his (admittedly prodigious) imagination, and we have infinitely more data than he had.

    You’re wrong. Carey had already a very good idea of what are these special shear zones. I remind you that he was among the first to propose the subduction concept in the 50s, and had notably an important influence on Hess. Too bad that the later died so soon. Yes, we have much more data to refine the model by now and there is now no doubt that these zones are the margin of a rising diapir.

    In citing Carey et al as “true EE’ers,” you might as well be quoting Priestley as a “true phlogistonist.” Expanding-Earth theory is a DEAD PARROT.

    Hmm, Actually, you’re the true parrot here. You should examine the basic arguments used to refute Earth Expansion (as I did), may be you would figure out that despite they could have been acceptable 30 years ago, they are flawed with the hindsight.

    You will never make any headway until you learn some detail about plate tectonics. Yes, that would take some concerted study, and time away from the blogs.

    Interesting that you make such a representative mistake. You assume that I don’t know plate tectonics, but forget that it is only an assumption. And as every assumption, it might be simply wrong. The fact is that you’re wrong, as I know plate tectonics quite well. But do you know it so well?
    For example, did you read the funding papers like Hess “History of Ocean Basin (1962)”, Isacks “Seismology
    and the New Global Tectonic (1968) JGR , 73 5855″ or Le Pichon’s “Sea-Floor Spreading and Continental Drift (1968) JGR, 73 p3661″? Do you know their basic assumptions and if these assumptions are still valid today?
    And do you know what is the current state of the theory, the fundamental issues as highlighted by Doglioni’s “What moves slabs (2006) Bollettino di Geofisica Teorica ed Applicata 47, p227″ or Stern “When and how did plate tectonics begin? Theoretical
    and empirical considerations (2007), Chinese Sci. Bull. 52, p578″

    While you’re studying, I recommend Anthony Hallam’s classic “Great Geological Controversies” as the next step after Kuhn.

    Funny, it happens that I read it already. But did you read Carey’s “theories of the Earth and Universe: A History of Dogma in the Earth Sciences”, or Yu Chudinov “Eduction Concept Of The Earth’s Expansion Theory: Main Grounds, Paleomagnetic And Geodetic Evidences, Metallogenic Consequences”. Probably not, and you still want me to believe that you have all the cards to judge what is correct and what is not?
    You should think about this quote of David Loper and subsequent comment in Shawna Vogel “Naked earth”:

    “All of us are in awe of the astronomers and astrophysicists who are able to predict the composition of the stars. But in fact they have a pretty easy job. They can see what they are working on. In geophysics we have a little bit of a problem. There are about three thousand kilometers of rock between us and what we want to look at. And we have to use all the ideas and observations that we have available to us to find out what’s going on down there.”
    That sometimes means making educated guesses. Unable to see beneath a volcano, researchers can only theorize about what causes the pulsing tremors they hear within. Similarly, they must use their imaginations to picture how rock currents stir the deepest reaches of earth’s mantle. For that reason the modern-day vision of the planet is still part science, part invention. In subtle ways religion, history and popular culture may still be influencing how geophysicists see the earth, just as they influenced the ancient philosophers who wrestled with the same subject.

    Indeed. It is ok as long as geophysicists remember it. The problem is that a lot of them in the young generation, completely forgot it.

  124. May 11, 2009 2:34 pm

    Florian … I never said *you* were a crank, I said I’d rather not engage in this discussion because of experiences w/ crackpots/trolls in the past and the general style of what passes for ‘discussion’ on the internet … you may very well be a highly respected senior scientist and have good intentions. But I don’t have the time/energy these days to sort it all out (especially since I apparently lack critical thinking skills, thanks).

    You and Andrew are welcome to use this thread to continue discussing if you like. Enjoy.

  125. Florian permalink
    May 12, 2009 1:00 pm

    Florian … I never said *you* were a crank, I said I’d rather not engage in this discussion because of experiences w/ crackpots/trolls in the past and the general style of what passes for ‘discussion’ on the internet … you may very well be a highly respected senior scientist and have good intentions.

    Well, it was not so clear. Thank you for clarifying this point.

    But I don’t have the time/energy these days to sort it all out.

    Your call.
    Note that it proves my case: this debate has been so polluted by cranks that the true debate has been abandonned, something scientists should never do.

    I got in touch with Don Anderson suggesting him that the debate should be reopen, as in my humble opionion, it could certainly solve the plume debate. Surprisingly, in his opinion, there is nothing new since Carey’s time that merits reopening the debate. Quite a strange position if one considers the wealth of new data, like those from space probes: yes, in case you miss it, planet’s growth is quite universal jugdging from the surface stigmata of the numerous telluric planets/moons in the solar system.

    I truly think you miss a huge train. The kind of train taking off only once a century. What a waste.

    (especially since I apparently lack critical thinking skills, thanks).

    Be sure that I blame your professors more than I blame you.

  126. May 12, 2009 1:25 pm

    Florian says “…this debate has been so polluted by cranks that the true debate has been abandoned”

    Well, we can agree on that.
    I will certainly keep an eye open for a true, unpolluted debate. In the meantime, if you think it’s polluted by cranks, engage them and call them out on their nonsense – they live for internet ‘debate’.

    Florian says: “Be sure that I blame your professors more than I blame you.”

    Not sure what to say about that … that’s rather nasty – if you don’t mind, I’d rather you not come around here and insult my mentors … they aren’t here to defend themselves against your charges.

  127. May 12, 2009 2:14 pm

    Carey had already a very good idea of what are these special shear zones. I remind you that he was among the first to propose the subduction concept in the 50s, and had notably an important influence on Hess.

    He proposed a subduction concept. And then he decided that Benioff-zone earthquakes had to involve motions the opposite of what we know today. That was an admirable stance to take while the data allowed that speculation. Satellite geodesy proved him wrong, although he argued until his death that it was the whole universe, not just the subduction quakes, doing the opposite of what we know.

    About diapirism, he was right to invoke it at the time, because no one had yet imagined how else the crust could show such pervasive signs of extension. But extension does not demand expansion.

    You should examine the basic arguments used to refute Earth Expansion (as I did), may be you would figure out that despite they could have been acceptable 30 years ago, they are flawed with the hindsight.

    I don’t doubt that plate-tectonic ideas of the 1970s were less evolved than today. I was alive at the time. More importantly, when were seafloor paleomagnetism, MOR black smokers and satellite geodesy refuted?

    For example, did you read the founding papers like Hess “History of Ocean Basin (1962)”, Isacks “Seismology
    and the New Global Tectonic (1968) JGR , 73 5855″ or Le Pichon’s “Sea-Floor Spreading and Continental Drift (1968) JGR, 73 p3661″?

    Yes I did, although not contemporaneously. I also read Carey’s monumental “The Tectonic Approach to Continental Drift” of 1958.

    Do you know their basic assumptions and if these assumptions are still valid today?

    I’m sure you’ll tell me that their assumption of a static Earth radius is wholly refuted.

    And do you know what is the current state of the theory, the fundamental issues as highlighted by Doglioni’s “What moves slabs (2006) Bollettino di Geofisica Teorica ed Applicata 47, p227″ or Stern “When and how did plate tectonics begin? Theoretical
    and empirical considerations (2007), Chinese Sci. Bull. 52, p578″

    Thanks for these citations. May I recommend in return Don Anderson’s “Theory of the Earth,” second edition, for the state of plate tectonics. Oh, but he doesn’t think Earth expansion is worth revisiting, so maybe you should ignore him.

    [D]id you read Carey’s “theories of the Earth and Universe: A History of Dogma in the Earth Sciences”, or Yu Chudinov “Eduction Concept Of The Earth’s Expansion Theory: Main Grounds, Paleomagnetic And Geodetic Evidences, Metallogenic Consequences”.

    Yes I did, very closely, and no I don’t think I have seen Chudinov.

    You should think about this quote of David Loper and subsequent comment in Shawna Vogel “Naked earth”: [quote on mantle studies and the possibility of prejudices] . . . It is ok as long as geophysicists remember it. The problem is that a lot of them in the young generation, completely forgot it.

    Yes, Vogel did a very good job, and it’s a pleasure to find someone else who remembers her book. As for the young, we can’t make them wise, but they seem to gain wisdom without our help.

  128. Craig permalink
    May 21, 2009 10:53 am

    Brian,
    Thanks for the info. I’m a masters student at West Virginia University working on trying to identify the geologic controls on methane hydrate formation along the Cascadia Margin. I’ve been trying to find specific (published) information about sedimentation rates in this area, and have not come across a specific number. Specifically Pleistocene-Holocene sedimentation off of northern Washington and Vancouver Island. Can you point me in the right direction?

    I’m looking specifically at a methane vent site dubbed “Bullseye Vent.” Lots of volcanic minerals (olivine, hblende, glass, other amphiboles, etc), as is expected. I’m thinking about trying to tie together the late cenozoic volcanism in the area with sedimentation rates, and possibly trying to tie together the time of deposition with possible thermal alteration of those minerals from the vent site, to figure out how long it’s taking these minerals to get altered by the vent gas, and to what extent the vent plays in alteration.

    Feel free to email me

  129. Florian permalink
    May 26, 2009 1:09 pm

    Florian says: “Be sure that I blame your professors more than I blame you.”

    Brian said: Not sure what to say about that … that’s rather nasty – if you don’t mind, I’d rather you not come around here and insult my mentors … they aren’t here to defend themselves against your charges.

    What insults? You apparently confuse critics and insults. One can certainly critic the work of people by examining the product of their work. It looks like these mentors failed to teach not to confuse models/concepts and facts. For example, “subduction”, i.e., lithosphere is plunging in the mantle (absolute displacement) is a concept not a fact. And there is truly zero evidence supporting that the absolute motion of the oceanic lithosphere is a plunge. On the contrary, many facts are at odd with this concept, like GPS measurements in the agean/anatolian region to name one:

    Here we have typical spreading related to diapirism.

    Andrew said: [Carey] proposed a subduction concept. And then he decided that Benioff-zone earthquakes had to involve motions the opposite of what we know today. [...]

    Opposite is not the right term, because relatively, the motions are the same.

    Andrew said: Satellite geodesy proved him wrong [...]

    On the contrary see above.

    Andrew said: About diapirism, he was right to invoke it at the time, because no one had yet imagined how else the crust could show such pervasive signs of extension. But extension does not demand expansion.

    And expansion does not demand extension only. This is a growth and diapirism explains very well convergence zones by lateral spreading, and folding.
    See the example I gave a few messages above, the Heide salt dome, (Figure 10.3, p155) in “Holmes Principle of physical geology”.

    Andrew said: I don’t doubt that plate-tectonic ideas of the 1970s were less evolved than today. I was alive at the time. More importantly, when were seafloor paleomagnetism, MOR black smokers and satellite geodesy refuted?

    Is it a joke? I hope so, because none of the above refutes Earth Expansion. No, look rather at the calculations of paleoradius and paleorotations.

  130. May 26, 2009 1:44 pm

    Florian says: “…many facts are at odds with [subduction], like GPS measurements in the agean/anatolian region to name one.”

    You should create a blog where you lay out these facts one by one … one post per fact would be a cool format. Commenters could then stay focused on that one fact and go through all the relevant data and such.

    You can create a blog for free; the software these days doesn’t require any HTML skills, it’s incredibly easy! If you know how to comment on blogs (which you do) then you already know how to do it. I recommend wordpress.com, but there are others.

  131. May 26, 2009 3:10 pm

    Florian, No it’s not a joke. Kindly show me how satellite geodesy allows the Earth to expand–preferably, as Brian requests, on your own website.

  132. Florian permalink
    May 27, 2009 1:29 pm

    Brian,

    I’m seriously thinking about creating my own blog. I don’t have much time though (Research is very demanding as you probably know).
    Meanwhile, could you just allow in your blog this link to a figure from my website : http://tinyurl.com/rxlp65 or tinyurl dot com slash rxlp65.

    It is not a real readable website, just a place to put figures.

    This figure shows de GPS velocity in the agean/anatolian regions.

    Clearly, the mediterranean sea is not “subducting” beneath Crete/Greece. This area is interpreted as a mass flowing south-westward, burying the oriental Mediterranean basin. Note that the surrounding regions from Africa to Europe are stationary relatively to this flow. This illustrates lateral spreading from an upwelling center.

    In general, the whole subduction interpretation around the mediterranean sea is completely bogus.
    Giancarlo Scalera has an interesting paper about it, entitled “The Mediterranean
    as a slowly nascent ocean”, recently published in ANNALS OF GEOPHYSICS, SUPPLEMENT TO VOL. 49, N. 1, 2006.

    You should go to earth-prints, the paper is freely available there. See paragraph 10.3.6 in particular.

  133. Florian permalink
    May 27, 2009 2:20 pm

    Andrew,

    There is currently no geodetic technic independent from the reigning paradigm at the global scale.
    Satellite Laser Ranging, Lunar Laser Ranging, Global Positioning System, these technics are all affected by Earth’s growth. And very Long Baseline Interferometry data are biased toward a constant radius model: vertical displacements are smoothed during data processing, because they are considered as being negligible compared to horizontal displacements. Garbage in Garbage out: this results in a bias of the ITRF.
    Look at he GPS time-series at the global scale: http://sideshow.jpl.nasa.gov/mbh/series.html

    There is an apparent concerted displacement of all the continents toward the Pacific. It truly looks like a continuous field. Such a field is what one can expected in case of a bias.

    However, regional measurements are less affected and are more easily interpreted. See the example of the agean/anatolian region above.
    Another example with the marianas: http://tinyurl.com/ou9aud
    The two circles highlight pacific GPS stations that are fixed relatively to each others, and are a good reference frame. It is obvious that the stations on the mariana islands display different velocities, compatible with irregular outward spreading of the mariana arc, not regular subduction of the pacific plate. Besides the convexity of the arc toward the oceanside, the heavy deformations of the arc geological structures compared to that of the oceanic lithosphere, strongly support outward spreading from and uplift center.

  134. May 27, 2009 3:15 pm

    Florian … your link to the Kreemer et al. (2003) data in your comment above seems to work fine. It would be nice if you created a blog and expanded on your interpretation of that data … simply pointing to a figure of geodetic data and saying “see, no subduction!” isn’t very convincing (at least to me). If I find the time, I’ll look at the Kreemer et al. (2003) paper and also check out the Scalera ref you mention. When/if you post about these data, feel free to provide a link to it in this comment thread for other readers. Cheers.

  135. Florian permalink
    May 28, 2009 4:55 am

    BrianR says: your link to the Kreemer et al. (2003) data in your comment above seems to work fine. It would be nice if you created a blog and expanded on your interpretation of that data …

    Yes. I thought that http links were systematically discarded in most blog comments. Not the case here.
    The figure is not from a paper, but from the Unavco server: http://jules.unavco.org/Voyager/Earth
    A very good tool for anybody interested in geosciences.

    BrianR says: simply pointing to a figure of geodetic data and saying “see, no subduction!” isn’t very convincing (at least to me).

    I don’t expected to convince anybody with a couple of figures. I’m just pointing to factual data to make people understand that another interpretation of active margins is possible, and actually more plausible than the current one.

    BrianR says: When/if you post about these data, feel free to provide a link to it in this comment thread for other readers. Cheers.

    I certainly will.

    Regards.

  136. May 28, 2009 7:34 am

    Florian says: “The figure is not from a paper”

    hmmm … the figure you link to says “Kreemer et al., 2003″ in the upper right corner and is essentially the same as Fig. 8b here: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/2003GeoJI.154….8K . The data in that image from the UNAVCO portal is derived from the Global Strain Rate Map Project (http://gsrm.unavco.org/intro/), which clearly says for users to cite Kreemer et al. 2003 when referring to the data.

  137. May 28, 2009 3:24 pm

    Florian, it’s clear that you don’t understand the subduction paradigm these days. Google “slab rollback” and you’ll see that the Marianas arc is a textbook, nay paradigmatic example of same. Subduction is not a universally compressional mechanism. In this respect both Carey and Hess were wrong.

  138. Florian permalink
    May 28, 2009 11:09 pm

    BrianR Said: The data in that image from the UNAVCO portal is derived from the Global Strain Rate Map Project (http://gsrm.unavco.org/intro/), which clearly says for users to cite Kreemer et al. 2003 when referring to the data.

    Yes, the data are related to the paper by Kreemer et al, but I wanted to avoid any confusion by stating that the figure itself is not extracted from the paper, it is made using the UNAVCO server. Nevermind.

  139. Florian permalink
    May 29, 2009 7:09 am

    Andrew said: it’s clear that you don’t understand the subduction paradigm these days

    And one more time, you assume too much! I know quite well all the latest development about WBZ.
    Do you really? For example, about slab rollback and slab pull concept in general, check that paper by Doglioni et al: http://tinyurl.com/lxwzuf

  140. May 29, 2009 7:20 am

    Florian says: “…it is made using the UNAVCO server.”

    I know, and thanks for the link … you’re right, it is a good resource. But I think it’s crucial to put the original source in case people want to know the details about the data, how it was collected/computed, the limitations, uncertainties and so on.

  141. May 29, 2009 3:40 pm

    Florian, make it a little easier for me–use a URL that works. I can’t crawl down Sapienza’s ridiculous Flash-based site to find this paper.

  142. Florian permalink
    May 29, 2009 4:15 pm

    Oups, the “f” of “pdf” was missing in the url. Try this one: http://tinyurl.com/2fz29v

  143. May 29, 2009 4:49 pm

    Florian … thnx for fixing the link to the Dogliani et al. paper, I have yet to study it in detail … at first glance, it appears to be a thought-provoking treatment of subduction dynamics and hypothesized mechanisms (e.g., slab pull, mantle convection, rotation forces, etc.). Did I miss something though? They are discussing mechanisms and uncertainties related to subduction, not that it doesn’t occur.

  144. Florian permalink
    May 30, 2009 5:16 pm

    Brian says: They are discussing mechanisms and uncertainties related to subduction, not that it doesn’t occur.

    Doglioni et al do not say that there are no shear zones with some lithosphere below another lithosphere, they put forward arguments to show that the mechanism by which a lithosphere is *plunging* into the mantle is not on firm ground. The issue is that none of the data used to classically describe subduction (sismology and geochemistry) allow to determine the absolute displacement of a slab: Is the oceanic lithosphere actively plunging into the mantle, or is it passive, being overthrusted by lithosphere laterally spreading away from an upwelling center?
    Curiously not many people tried to address this simple question, simply because everybody always assumed that the slab can only be plunging. But it is far from obvious, and on the contrary, there are plenty of evidence supporting the second hypothesis (I cited a few above).

    Sometimes ago, I read a treatrise discussing this point. It is written by a geologist, Andrew Kruger: http://www.lulu.com/content/421591.
    I do not agree with all his ideas, but he has pretty good evidence (lot of geological data) supporting overthrusting vs underthrusting.

    This make a huge difference, because while de subduction concept allows to destroy thousand kilometers of oceanic lithosphere, the overhtrusting interpretation can’t. Of course, there is a significant amount of old crust that get buried/destroyed in the process, but not more than a few hundred kilometers.
    For example, look at this figure I made using GMT, representing the philippine sea and age of seafloor (isochrons each 5 Ma): http://tinyurl.com/ny4d56

    It appears that successive episodes of seafloor emplacement destroyed part of old pacific crust (150 Ma or so) bit by bit. But the amount of new ocean crust that formed in the backarcs can only be equal or larger that the amount of ocean crust that got destroyed, not smaller. All things considered, surface is created at these zones, not destroyed.

    By the way, look at the region of the Banda arc with the new crust forming at the center (bottom of the figure). Here, the arc makes a full 180 degrees turn. That is easily conceivable as a rising diapir which margins are spreading outward. But how would you conceive that ocean crust is coming from all directions over 180 degrees to sink below the arc? It just does not make any sense. Scalera makes the same comment for the mediterranean sea where direction of subduction are improbable (see figure 10.5 in this paper http://tinyurl.com/l77ub8).

    Another point I wanted to mention. In a message above, I cited the Heide salt dome as an analogy to what happens at active margins. I scanned the figure from Holmes book: http://tinyurl.com/mvzk2n
    Carey suggested that a WBZ is equivalent to the shear zone between the rising salt diapir and the sequence on the right. In this context, rapid exhumation of UHP rocks is easily explained as a layer carried along the rising diapir. No need to invent weird channels where UHP rocks are creeping upstream along a descending slab…

    I’m sure that if you do your own research, you’ll find a lot that can be easily explained using the planetary growth paradigm.
    And keep in mind that this is a universal phenomenon, while plate tectonics is not. The surface features of moons like Ganymede (http://tinyurl.com/n8e7ma), Ariel (http://tinyurl.com/lcveeo), Miranda (http://tinyurl.com/kmgp2v), dramatically show the effect of a large inner growth.

    I know that it sounds completely crazy, but I remind you that all scientific revolutions sounds crazy at first.
    Actually, one of my favorite quote is from Arthur Schopenhauer:
    “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. ”

    Regards.

  145. May 31, 2009 8:55 am

    Florian … thnx for the links, I’ll try and look at them soon … I’ll reiterate again that you should create your own blog. All this time you spent writing these comments here you could’ve created your own post (with figures/images embedded).

  146. June 1, 2009 3:53 pm

    Florian, Doglioni’s hangup is with the “hotspot reference frame,” which is vigorously disputed by Anderson’s camp. Spend some time at http://www.mantleplumes.org, if you haven’t already, for a taste of truly progressive thought on Earth dynamics that takes plate tectonics seriously. Doglioni does not cite evidence that trenches are stretching apart, does he? No, he’s merely pointing to the inadequacy of the hotspot reference frame.

    It is a provocative paper, and I thank you for the link. But seeing it as bolstering Earth and universal expansion is just living in a contrarian’s mirror-land. That can be fun–I used to enjoy it in the mid-1970s after reading Carey–but most of us give it up. You’re grasping at straws and looking only for confirmatory evidence.

  147. Florian permalink
    June 2, 2009 6:13 am

    Andrew says: Florian, Doglioni’s hangup is with the “hotspot reference frame,” which is vigorously disputed by Anderson’s camp.

    Interestingly, there was a recent paper in Science about “mantle wind” affecting upwellings at hotspots and kill the “hotspot reference frame” [John Tarduno et al, The Bent Hawaiian-Emperor Hotspot Track: Inheriting the Mantle Wind (2009) Science, 50, p324.]. It would be interesting to check if hotspots remain stationary in case of an asymmetrical planetary growth (just an hypothesis). Maxlow already made a remarkable work showing that poles apparent wander is well explained by such an asymmetrical growth (http://tinyurl.com/kklg6y).

    Anyway, as you guess, I read mantleplumes.org on a regular basis. In my opinion, the plume controversy could lead to the kind of crisis triggering Kuhnian revolutions, especially because diapirism is the main mechanism by which the mass is redistributed toward the surface during planetary growth. Yes, convection is crucial, but that is a “one way” convection (advection toward the surface without return flow).

    Andrew says : Doglioni does not cite evidence that trenches are stretching apart, does he?

    What a strange idea? Why would a trench be stretching apart? Or did you refer to flexural faulting of the oceanic crust (evident on some seismic profiles)?
    No, an active margin is about overthrusting, not stretching. Except eventually during eduction, that to my knowledge, do not currently takes place.

    Andrew says: It is a provocative paper, and I thank you for the link. But seeing it as bolstering Earth and universal expansion is just living in a contrarian’s mirror-land.

    One more time, I do not cite this paper as a support to earth expansion, but to illustrate that, contrary to common belief, geophysics is not mature yet.

    Andrew says: That can be fun–I used to enjoy it in the mid-1970s after reading Carey–but most of us give it up. You’re grasping at straws and looking only for confirmatory evidence.

    Actually, everywhere I look, I see evidences that either do not falsify planetary growth and plate tectonics, or falsify plate tectonics and support planetary growth. Thus, I logically conclude that planetary growth is the valid theory.

    Andrew, please forget any prejudice and look carefully at the pictures of the moons I posted a couple of message above. Dare you tell me that the most logical explanation for their apparence is not that they did experience an important inner growth?

    Look at the older brownish upper terrains of ganymede (http://ciclops.org/media/mr/2007/3628_9052_1.jpg). No objective scientist who examines this image could reasonably doubt that Ganymede has massively inflated from its deep interior, causing its old dark crust to pull part as the globe expands. A new lighter coloured crust is being emplaced between older, darker crustal shards. The entire surface of ganymede illustrates tensional pull-apart rifting with global extensional chasms and multiple dilatational contiguous rift systems.
    Actually, in a first article about ganymede’s surface, Prockter mentioned that the surface was likely the result of a massive inner growth. Evidently, Prockter abandoned the hypothesis because it sounds so odd at first sight. However, with the hindsight, it is expected that other bodies should grow if Earth is growing, because there is no reason to believe that Earth is a special planet. The good news is that comparing planets/moons lead to the conclusion that most telluric planets have experienced, or are experiencing a significant growth. It follows that planetary growth theory is also a much better theory than plate tectonics, because it provides a universal framework for a wider range of data.

    Well, sorry to digress… Hope I don’t get too much boring…

  148. November 7, 2010 4:46 pm

    I am sorry to comment regarding the subduction it is obvious, but referring to FIGURE 17

    which I find most interesting. what is the dateing of the underwater meandering of the river located under the sea surface? How old could that be? Another question and I am assuming it is some type of error in the drawing figure 17 what are those parallel lines ( dimple looking things running up and down to the left side of the drawing. Is that real?

    That can’t possible be real unless it is very VERY large in which case the thought of subduction in this zone is totally not important as it is a very small effect.

    Sorry to irritate any one, I am not a scientist, but are those parallel lines ( submerged ) ( not the obvious wrinkles cause by the pacific thing going under the coast )

    those dimples lined up in two parallel lines. ……. this is interesting. please email me if you have an inkling on this.

    Stephanie R
    http://www.memphissigncompany.com

    or info@memphissigncompany.com

  149. November 22, 2010 7:29 am

    Stephanie, when you leave your company website address and e-mail I consider that spam. If you’re interested in these topics we can discuss on this thread but please don’t include unrelated links/emails

  150. Peter Ravenscroft permalink
    June 22, 2011 7:07 pm

    G’day all,

    A waste of time? What rot. This superb blog, including the sniping, is going to be hugely useful, for decades. I am trying to rethink the plte tectonics model of Holmes (1928, Transactions, Geological Society of Glasgow 1929) et al, only at this geo stuff 40 years, a nanosecond in geotime, so still immensely confused as yet. So ta, one and all.

    Peter Ravenscroft

    Geologist. Oz

Trackbacks

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