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Subduction Denialism, Part 1: The Backstory

November 14, 2008

My regular readers are going to need some context and backstory to what motivated writing this series of posts. It’s a three-part series — here is Part 2 and Part 3.

I recently had an exchange with some Earth hypothesizers* on a blog that claims convergent plate boundaries are a “myth” and in fact the Earth has expanded significantly (about double the size it was ~200 m.y. ago). The post in question can be found here and has all the information you need to learn about the expanding Earth hypothesis.

Here’s the gist: since subduction doesn’t occur but crustal generation at spreading centers does, the result is net growth of the Earth. There is all sorts of theoretical evidence for expansion as argued by subduction denialists — geometric constraints, that the universe is also expanding, lack of Earth-like plate tectonics on other planetary bodies, claims that subduction violates fundamental laws of physics, and — every denialists favorite — emphasizing and amplifying any and every uncertainty or anomaly in plate tectonic theory^.

I’m really not that interested in discussing speculative theoretical constraints. I’m also not interested in arguing about whether or not the size of the Earth has remained exactly constant (to some unmentioned level of precision). There might be some interesting discussions to be had in this regard and perhaps a topic for the future, but for these posts I will focus on the claim that plate convergence does not occur. This is a specific claim that we can address by investigating observable patterns. Theoretical discussions and “thought experiments” can indeed be entertaining and, in some cases, intellectually rewarding — but for this specific claim I’d rather stick to data and observations.

The specific context for my posts is in the comment thread on that blog. It’s quite long and has several off-topic tangent discussions, so I will provide you the highlights:

(1) After reading the contents of the post, I inquired about the Nazca plate specifically (to help focus discussion) and the blog owner, called ‘Oil Is Mastery’ (whom I will hereafter refer to as OIM and make his comments this color), replied by saying:

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

OIM is referring to this map from NOAA’s NGDC website showing ages of oceanic crust. I replied (my comments shown in this color):

The Nazca plate is older (the yellowish color on the NGDC map) right near the ‘armpit’ of the South American continent. If it was “spreading in all directions” … then where is the eastern divergent boundary?

OIM then replied by saying:

The eastern so-called “divergent boundary” of the Nazca Plate is the Andes Mountain Range.

Interesting. The Andes Mountain Range is a spreading center? Hmm. I was confused so I asked for clarification. At first I got some other stats, so I asked again, and then OIM proclaimed his position clearly and succinctly:

Of course it [Nazca and South American plate boundary] is a divergent boundary since those are the only kind that exist. Convergence and subduction are myths.

Emphasis mine. I then asked:

Can you draw a sketch cross section showing that spreading center in relation to the Chile-Peru trench and the Andes? I’m interested in how fold-thrust belts form w/out compression. Thanks.

OIM was never to be heard from again on that thread — I assume that means he either can’t or is unwilling to expand on his Andes divergent boundary hypothesis. He did, however, go on to post about his calculations proving increase in Earth’s diameter since the ancient Greeks, showing biogeographical evidence that subduction does not occur, and a rather bizarre conflation of fascism and plate tectonics (?).

(2) It is at this point that I then engaged with a loyal follower and prolific commenter on OIM’s blog … a commenter named ‘Anaconda’. Anaconda’s comments on OIM are typically quite lengthy and comprehensive. I’ve sparred with Anaconda in the past on a different topic, but that’s a story for another day.

To his credit, Anaconda initiated the discussion with a short review of some of the information on Wikipedia’s page on subduction, which you can read for yourself. Wikipedia may be useful for trivia, but is more often than not unsatisfying when it comes to scientific topics. But, it does typically come up first in searches and can sometimes be a good place to start. After that brief review Anaconda started his assault on plate convergence by saying (I’ll put Anaconda’s comments in this color):

An interesting note is that the Wikipedia entry for subduction offers little scientific evidence in its favor.

Oh, there is a long description, but these descriptions are based on the presumption that subduction does exist.

It seems to be held “self evident” that subduction occurs.

So, it’s interesting that the best scientific evidence for subduction is not listed under subduction, itself, but as a counter-argument to Expanding Earth theory.

In reponse to this, I replied:

In many scientific ideas, it’s difficult to point to a single, or even a handful, of papers that provide all the evidence. The evidence comes from the totality of decades of work. The very fact that there is so much work done makes it challenging to show the work.

In that spirit I’ve listed below enough references about subduction to give you a taste (i.e., this is not a “complete” list). These include geophysical (especially seismic tomography and seismologic), geochemical, petrological, mapping/observational, and experimental studies. Not all, but many, of the Earth’s subduction zones are covered in this list. At the end I’ve also included a list of textbooks … these are the best place to start. As bonus, I’ve included some relevant websites.

I’m not here to defend each and every one of these studies …  Take some time and familiarize yourself with the literature and the concepts. There’s a wealth of data presented in these papers that need reinterpreation and re-evaluation if you disagree with their conclusions.

I won’t reproduce the list here, but you can see it in my comment on that thread (in case it gets deleted, I’ve reproduced the list here). It includes nearly 70 peer-reviewed papers, five textbooks, and several websites. At first, Anaconda appreciated this list … later he dismissed it as a “laundry list” and was upset that he didn’t have access, which I’ll discuss more below.

(3) The thread went off-topic for a few comments, but then came back to subduction. Earlier in the thread I asked OIM how fold-thrust belts (i.e., large-scale compressional tectonics) develop in the absence of convergence. I never received and answer from OIM, but Anaconda stated:

An issue has been brought forth that one must explain the presence of thrust-fold belts without subduction for Expanding Earth theory to have any merit at all.

And among the list [Wikipedia’s list of fold-thrust belts] are many areas that are not and never have been associated with subduction.

So the idea that without subduction zones you can’t have thrust-fold belts is inaccurate.

I asked Anaconda which fold-thrust belts from that list were not or were never associated with subduction zones, to which he responded with a list of major orogenic belts from the North American Cordillera. I honestly don’t know as much about the geology of mountains in Mexico or Canada — just my own location bias. If others do, please comment below. But, the “Wyoming-Utah Thrustbelt”, called the Sevier in the literature, is Cretaceous in age and associated with the convergent western margin of the continent at the time (which also produced the now-partially-exhumed magmatic arc of the Sierra Nevada).

The Rocky Mountains are on this list, although I’ve never thought of them as a typical fold-thrust belt, but I suppose they can be considered as such within this very general context. The Rockies are a bit younger, involve thick- vs. thin-skinned deformation, high-angle reverse faults, basement uplifts, reactivation and/or inversion of older tectonic features, and are interpreted to be a result of a shallowing of the subducting slab. The details of this interpretation are still hotly debated and more work is always being done.

But, this post isn’t about explaining every detail of these fold-thrust belts. There are entire books and entire series of books written on the subject (GSA’s DNAG series from the 1980s comes to mind). The fundamental question in my mind is how compressional deformation of rocks over large regions (i.e., reverse faulting, thrust faulting, folding) can even occur without convergence? If there is only divergence and extension, how is something like this, for example, produced? What is the mechanism?

When Anaconda wondered what geologists thought the mechanism for orogenesis (i.e., mountain building) was pre-plate tectonics and I told him it was geosynclinal theory, to which he replied:

Briefly, [geosynclinal theory] held that vertical crustal movement was primarily responsible for orogeny development.

Do I hear echoes of an expanding Earth?

Huh? And then:

Yet, each and every Geosynclinal theory paper was cast aside, never the less. Apparently today’s geologists don’t feel the need evaluate each and every paper because they are derivative of a theory today’s geologists think is wrong.

Wrong. The papers weren’t cast aside, the idea was. The sign of a good paper is a clear separation of data, observations, and measurements from the interpretation and implications. When plate tectonics concepts were being postulated and discussed in the literature and at conferences in the 1950s and 1960s researchers went back to these old papers and re-evaluated them. They revisited the old datasets and saw them in a different light. In many cases, new papers were written. As for the suggestion that modern geologists don’t evaluate old papers, Anaconda couldn’t be more wrong. Look at the list of references for papers that deal with surface geology and I bet that the majority of them have a reference to a pre-plate tectonic paper or, in many cases, a published geologic map. For my master’s degree, I leaned heavily on P.B. King’s classic 1940s work on west Texas geology. A lot of his ideas about how the patterns came about have been revised over the years, but the documentation of the patterns themselves are robust and everlasting. In other words, I was able to use his data and observations to support a different interpretation.

So, do I think Anaconda (or any other subduction denialist) needs to debunk each and every single paper in the literature that documents compressional features? No, of course not. But, they should be able to explain the data and observations presented in these papers within the context of their mechanism for their formation.

(4) Okay … now on to what dominated the remainder of the thread and what is the focus of Part 3 in this series — the Cascadia subduction zone (Pacific Northwest of the United States).

In addition to fold-thrust belts that Anaconda thought were unassociated with convergence, he also wondered about trenches:

The Cascadia Subduction Zone doesn’t have a trench, other alleged subduction zones have a trench.

The suggestion being that since not all subduction zones have a distinct physiographic trench expressed on the sea floor (i.e., linear trough-like bathymetric depression between the subducting plate and the overriding plate) then there must be something erroneous about the whole concept. For the time being, let’s put aside the question of how trenches develop in some places and not in others on an Earth with no convergence … we’ll let the subduction denialists explain that (as they should). But, this is a great question — I responded:

Cascadia trench is over-filled with sediment, does not have sea-floor expression … also has significant accretionary complex.

That is my unedited comment … in retrospect, it’s incomplete and oversimplified. I thought it required more explanation so I offered to do some research on the particular topic of the Cascadia subduction zone, especially with respect to sedimentation, and put together a post (which you are reading right now). Anaconda agreed that would be a good idea:

Yes, the Cascadia Subduction Zone is a good place to start.

But a bit later he got peeved at me when I suggested he conduct some of his own research in the meantime. With regards to not having internet access to some journals, he stated:

Laundry lists of papers that aren’t available on the internet are not helpful. One must also be careful that laundry lists are not a substitute for actually presenting a case.


Lists without ready access for the reader tend to be a substitute for substantive scientific argument.

…and, finally

Your Eminence,

We, unwashed groundlings patiently await your return from the great ivory tower. Master of the academy have forbearance, not all the little people of the internet have access to the great libraries hosted in the hollowed halls of academia.

We humbly await your discerning directions to the great trench of Cascadia.

Your most obedient internet groundling,

Anaconda of the little people

Clever. A bit of a persecution complex I think … as if “we” are keeping the truth from “them” … very conspiratorial. Open access is a much talked about issue and continues to be debated in academia. That is beyond the scope of this post but, in this case, it would be valuable if more peer-reviewed articles were freely and openly available to the public.

Finally, I told Anaconda multiple times that it would take some time to do this — real research takes a lot of work and I’ve got other things going on, so I end up working on this stuff bit by bit in the evenings:

This may not be posted for another week or two due to other things going on in my life…

Less than 90 minutes later, Anaconda replied:

I’m still patiently waiting for a paper demonstrating a “trench overfilled w/ sediment”

First of all — I said a week or two, not an hour or two. Secondly, even though earlier in the thread I described how it’s often difficult to point to a single paper for specific questions, Anaconda now twists the words as if I claimed I was going to give him a single paper. Typically, researchers need to spend the time searching and reading what’s already been done and do some synthesis on their own. We all know this.

Well, sorry Anaconda … I never claimed there would be a single paper neatly addressing the topic on hand. Compiling and synthesizing existing research requires referring to numerous studies. I will, however, try my best to high-grade the list to the most relevant and not just inundate you with a long list.

Part 2 of this series briefly reviews the physiographic expression of subduction zones, in general, and Part 3 goes into some detail regarding the Cascadia subduction zone specifically.

* I‘m not sure what else to call them, they aren’t scientists (by their own admission) – I don’t know, perhaps “enthusiasts”?

^ I’m not saying that anomalous observations that challenge our understanding shouldn’t be investigated … in fact, quite the opposite. That’s what makes an interesting research project and that’s how science progresses. But the subduction denialists aren’t doing any actual analysis — they don’t take it the next step and propose mechanisms SPECIFIC TO THAT DATA — they generalize and claim that the anomaly once and for all disproves plate tectonics and, by default, supports their hypothesis.

36 Comments leave one →
  1. rockbandit permalink
    November 14, 2008 10:57 am

    Great post and you posted a lot of good arguments and information.

    Reading that thread was a frustrating though. I feel like you just can’t argue with people who are so set on an idea.

    It’s similar to the people who discount human induced climate change because there are 3 scientists who say so, despite an overwhelming number of scientists and a large body of research that say the opposite.

    Anyway, it will be interesting to read your other two parts.

  2. CamArchGrad permalink
    November 14, 2008 11:16 am

    I admire your tenacity.

    Some questions for this expanding earth lot. (i’ve had a cursory glance at their arguments.)

    Oceanic Obuction: How does oceanic crust end up on continental crust (eg the slide mountain terrane, cache creek, franciscan complex).

    Terrane migration: How do pieces of oceanic crust and other fragments of continents migrate across oceans(eg wrangellia, avalonia, stikine terrane)? repeatedly?

    Which leads to the wilson cycle: If the earth is constantly expanding how do you explain rift zone destruction? How is it that continents split apart only to be re-welded together in different configurations?

  3. November 14, 2008 12:59 pm

    Brian: you sir, have a STOMACH OF IRON!

    Seriously, you put up with some wacked-out shit there.

    And now, you’ll get to put up with some wacked-out shit right here! Looking forward to it!

  4. November 14, 2008 1:07 pm

    I applaud your effort! You obiously did a great amount of preparations for these thorough posts.

  5. Anaconda permalink
    November 15, 2008 8:54 am

    I appreciate the work you put in. You are to be congratulated on following through with a detailed work product. I will read and digest your presentation and repond accordingly.

    However I may respond on the merits of your work, I must state again, you are to be commended for the work.

    Hopefully, it has been a positive endeavor for you.


  6. November 15, 2008 9:04 am

    Anaconda … thanks, I hope you find the information valuable.

    “However I may respond on the merits of your work…”

    The only work that is “my” work is simply compiling information … none of this is my original research. When you respond to the merits, address the relevant references.

  7. Ikenna permalink
    November 16, 2008 3:07 am

    Thanks Brian for having the stomach to take on one ofthe many funy ideas going around. I won’t be surprised find sites advocating a flat earth or that the earth goes round the sun!

  8. November 17, 2008 6:41 am

    OilIsMastery … you left the same exact comment on all three parts of this series … I only kept it on Part 3 … if you have something specific about this post, do it here.

    Everyone else … go to Part 3 to see OilIsMastery’s general comment.

  9. November 17, 2008 10:11 am

    Well, you’re the guy with the Masters Degree in geology, so I give your arguments for subduction the most weight. I used the analogy of how a rigid trawl can be pushed down through the much less rigid wet mortar, but that when the mortar dries up it becomes very rigid and the trawl can be pressed into it anymore.

    In favor of subduction: I think that decompressional and flux melting of the upper mantle/lithosphere allows for subduction to occur which entails a combination of continental volumetric displacement (like putting a rock into a glass of water) and thereby thickening of the continental crust from below, also continental crust formation occurs due to oxidation of the magma to a less dense state as well. Subduction of course being driven by expansion zones on the opposite side of the plates.

    :::Here is where I go off topic:::

    In argument against subduction: The upper mantle is too rigid for oceanic crust to penetrate via the forces applied on the spreading side of the plates by expansion. In that case, the Earth doesn’t have continental drift much in the same way that Mars doesn’t have continental drift.

    Of course, I’m not so sure about the crustal activity of other planets, Mars, and in particular Mercury which still has active volcanos. I’m not about to make any conclusions either way, since Mercury volcanism could be driven by some entirely different means related to Electric Cosmos Theory (although I buy into only some of that one) or radioactive decay or iron phase change due to cooling, etc. However, it is widely known that Mars had volcanism at one time but now is geologically inactive and that Mercury still does have active volcanism, and regardless what the main contributing factors of that volcanism, is there any evidence of present or past tectonic drift activity on those surfaces like on Earth? Or are there other unique factors that are required for tectonism to occur on an astronomical body? Anybody have thoughts or ideas?

  10. November 17, 2008 10:19 am

    quantum flux … like I said, for these posts I’m not interested in theoretical arguments. They are a distraction and, in my opinion, evade staying on topic.

    If you don’t want to address the specifc topic of what have been interpreted as convergent margins (and the data that support that) then fine … just don’t comment.

  11. November 17, 2008 11:30 am

    If I don’t raise objections directly that typically means I don’t have any. Good work Brian.

    I’m always in the process of research though, nothing wrong with a little thought provoking from different topics though. I however do think there is a combination of Continental Drift and an expanding/contracting Earth with time as per the evidence for the Wilson Cycle, the material phase change properties of cooling Iron (similar to freezing water), the mere fact that fission creates a rise in specific volume by spitting out alpha particles, protons, and electrons (also used in dating methods). Therefore, there must have been some degree of net planetary expansion since the birth of the solar system by these means, albeit not necessarily on the Neil Adams scale of things. Take it or leave it though, it’s completely unrelated so go ahead and delete this comment.

  12. November 17, 2008 11:47 am

    QF … I won’t delete your comment … but I hope you understand why I am trying to focus discussion on very specific places and data.

  13. November 18, 2008 3:28 pm


    I’ll address each post in it’s respective space for comments.

    You say “subduction denialist”, I say Expanding Earth theory advocate, or objective scientific observer.

    BrianR states: “[Expanding Earth theory advocates spend time]emphasizing and amplifying any and every uncertainty or anomaly in plate tectonic theory.”

    What’s wrong with that? Isn’t that part of the scientific method?

    All lines of reason applicable to a scientific question are relevant.

    The question to consider is how much weight to give to each line of reasoning and that’s up to each individual observer.

    BrianR states: “…but for this specific claim I’d rather stick to data and observations.”

    You mean the “data and observations” YOU want to focus on. But that’s okay, the balls in your court and I’ll respond to the data and observations you want to focus on at the appropriate comment section.

    Anaconda stated: “Briefly, [geosynclinal theory] held that vertical crustal movement was primarily responsible for orogeny development.

    Do I hear echoes of an expanding Earth?”

    BrinaR responds: “Huh?”

    Simple enough, Expanding Earth theory postulates that the Earth expands outward, “vertically” from the center point in the radius.
    Some areas, mountains, have more vertical crustal movement than other points in the Earth’s surface.

    Anaconda stated: “Laundry lists of papers that aren’t available on the internet are not helpful. One must also be careful that laundry lists are not a substitute for actually presenting a case.


    Lists without ready access for the reader tend to be a substitute for substantive scientific argument.

    …and, finally

    Your Eminence,…”

    I stand on my statement; providing a list of papers that are unavailable to be viewed, do not edify the readers.

    My jocular comment was meant to emphasize my point that readers on a website do not necessarily have the time, the inclination, nor even the ability to get to a specialized set of publications.

    BrianR, context is important.

    After, you indicated you needed time to research, I did research of my own and linked a paper addressing a specific area off the Oregon coast and noted there was no reference to a trench overfilled w/sediment.

    You responded by trying to distinguish why the paper didn’t invalidate your contention of a “trench overfilled w/ sediment.”

    That’s when I indicated, “I’m still patiently waiting for a paper demonstrating a “trench overfilled w/ sediment.”

    At that point it seemed appropriate to remind you.

    And, Yes, a “trench overfilled w/sediment” seems to be a significant geological feature in a alleged subduction zone, so that there would be a published paper that would stand for that proposition.

    Finally, BrianR, on this comment thread before I address the other substantive posts at the respective comment threads, while you and others may dismiss my characterization, I would call myself a objective scientific observer. I’m not an enthusiast, I came to this position reluctantly after examining the evidence for each side of the debate. I followed the evidence without having a institutional, preconcieved position. I believed in Tectonic Plate, Continental Drift theory, all the comments I made at Oil Is Mastery prior to studying the scientific evidence in depth for and against the respective theories were based on Tectonic Plate, Continetal drift theory including subduction.

    And possibly my worst stain in yours and others eyes is that I was convinced of Tectonic plate, Continental Drift theory. But after studying the evidence, I reluctantly concluded the evidence was stronger for Expanding Earth theory. The paradoxes and anonmalies of Tectonic Plate, Continental Drift theory were too extensive to simply ignore and sustain my prior belief in the theory. There were too many assumptions that were not adequately explained.

  14. November 18, 2008 3:32 pm

    It’s subduction that I deny, not convergence. If convergence requires subduction then yes I deny it.

  15. November 18, 2008 3:40 pm

    Anaconda says: “I did research of my own and linked a paper addressing a specific area off the Oregon coast and noted there was no reference to a trench overfilled w/sediment.”

    Just so everyone knows what Anaconda is talking about, the paper he found is: McMeill, et al., 2000, Tectonics of the Neogene Cascadia forearc basin: Investigations of a deformed late Miocence unconformity. GSA Bulletin, v. 112; no. 8; p. 1209–1224. You can find it here.

    Anaconda is correct – the paper does not precisely refer to what he is seeking. This is because it is dealing with the forearc region (as stated in the title); none of the data presented in that paper even extends beyond the deformation front of the accretionary complex/forearc area.

    In other words, that particular study, as interesting as it may be for other questions or for general background of Cascadia, does not address his question.

  16. November 18, 2008 3:44 pm

    Anaconda says: “I stand on my statement; providing a list of papers that are unavailable to be viewed, do not edify the readers. My jocular comment was meant to emphasize my point that readers on a website do not necessarily have the time, the inclination, nor even the ability to get to a specialized set of publications.”

    Had I not listed all those references and simply stated there were a lot of references, wouldn’t you have asked me to prove it?

  17. November 18, 2008 3:53 pm

    Anaconda says: “But after studying the evidence, I reluctantly concluded the evidence was stronger for Expanding Earth theory.”

    So, you’re already done … you’ve made up your mind!

    So, now what? To me this suggests that any comments/questions you’ll pose about all the information I’ve presented in this series of posts will be attempts to discredit the collection, acquistion, processing, etc. of seismic data, for example, thus rendering any interpretation erroneous and invalid.

    Or, maybe your goal is something else?

  18. November 18, 2008 4:40 pm

    Neal Adams here. I’m the originator of this small disturbance in the force. Vids on Youtube and many more on my site, and some writing. Physics explanation of “MATTER CREATION at the outer(plasma) core.
    (I know, I know.)
    As to “Expanding Earth” The name originally given to the theory by Professor of Geology, Sammuel Warren Carey of Sidney (University, I think.) in his first and second books in the 60’s and 70’s.
    As you may or may not know, ‘Sam’ was a leading light in the NEW theory of tectonics when he stepped forward and basically said “We have not gone far enough.”
    Through Geology Sam showed that the evolving Pangea theory was short-sighted and Atlantic Ocean-European-American centric, and that ALL the oceans of the Earth showed exactly the same ribboning of ages as the Atlantic, that they were virtually the same in all the oceans.
    And that, with natural variations all deep oceanic spreading began , Atlantic and Pacific at the same general time starting about 180 MYA and has been proceeding and EXPONENTIALLY INCREASING until now.
    (I added the “exponential “part.)
    Well,of course the shit really hit the fan. Sam’s Geology was impeccable and irrefutable. Hell, he had been writing papers as Tectonics moved forward, since 1925. Many Geologists supported his theory. The problems came from ‘science’ and Physics.
    What was the mechanism for the creation of NEW MATTER? (Because, scientifically, the only way this could be possible is for there to be introduced, new matter. Not “expansion” Nor “accretionary material” or anything? What was the mechanism?
    Even so, the theory gained adherents. More and more with time.

    Then one fine day two fellows named Wadaddi and Benioff discovered a descending oceanic plate FAR OFF the coast if SAMOA. AH-HA!
    SUBDUCTION had been discovered. Geology had been saved. Geology breathed a deep sigh of relief. They needn’t worry about that New Zealander from Australia EVER AGAIN.

    An interesting note: No one, ever, really successfully attacked Carey’s work. They just sort of “went around it”. Didn’t NEED it. The Earth ATE it’s own skin, and that was that.

    Well, not it’s whole skin. there’s billions of years old continents, Earth ate it’s own oceanic crust, right back to 180 MYA,….um, well, no, most of the very small area that is between 180 and 160 Million Years Old hasn’t been eaten at all. It still sits there, and oddly enough any deep oceanic plate that should be WITHIN, or NEXT TO this oldest plate,..doesn’t exist. That is pretty strange. It’s as if there wasn’t actually any oceanic plate older than 180 MYO. and, darn little of that. It’s as if deep tectonic spreading BEGAN 180 MYA.
    A new-ish and amazing new discovery finds a very small deep rift that began about 300 MYA in the upper Mediterranean. It’s small and seems to be the only rift, that’s that old. and it took about 100 Million Years to spread. Then 180MYA North America and Africa began their rift and a THREE WAY RIFT began in, what became, the Pacific.

    I don’t usually take this long to get to my point, I’m sorry.
    Anyway, as a young artist, I could easily see how perfectly the continental granitic crust fit together. Like an archaeologist with pieces of a vase I put the plates together in my mind, then with tracing paper and balls of differing sizes. Each bit of valid and strong Geology supported Carey’s conjecture. Theories hardly ever did. The mechanics was a lock. But the Physics???? A mechanism?

    Thing is Carey was a Geologist, not a Physicist. How could he “FIND” the mechanism? He could study Physics and the Standard theory, (And he did) but to strike gold twice?!!!
    Worse , when his theory was popular he encouraged Geologists, NOT PHYSICISTS! And now,… he had shot his wad, and lost. Who would voluntarily help him?
    Even if he got the help, his theory was so FAR-OUT , it went against, as I said, standard theory, who would throw away their career on such a fruitless endeavor?
    As soon as such a Physicist would open his mouth, he’d lose tenure, FRIENDS, and likely his JOB.
    WHAT IDIOT…??????????? Heh, heh. Well, I went to an art high school and became a successful cartoonist/illustrator/writer. I didn’t go to college, I hate higher math, elitist and exclusionary language, but I love and have always loved science.
    I discovered that I could get the books I wanted, and they were in a reasonable English, I could learn what I needed to learn.
    So, I decided to look for and find the Mechanism. I figured 2 or 3 years; Id write and draw it up in a graphic novel and I could rid myself of it.
    It took 35 years. Bitch, huh? During that time, I’ve had an incredible career and am actually admired by far too many people.
    Now, I’m going to throw it all away on this.
    Thing is…I actually do do my homework. I’m not thought of as a “NUT”……..YET! And I’m hardly ever wrong. So there you have it. I’m getting to my point.
    Is there ‘subduction’ the way Geology thinks of it, Eating ALL THE OCEANIC PLATE? Of course not.It’s a fairy tale fantasy.
    Is there Compressive subduction at the ring of fire and some few other places?
    SURE!. There is also Compressive “Obduction”. There is also COMPRESSIVE MOUNTAIN BUILDING. You can’t have massive spreading SO EVENLY that you don’t get “some” compressing. Hell, it’s a “GROWING PLANET-GROWING UNIVERSE” . Yep, that’s what the theory is called now.
    A bit cumbersome, I’ll admit, but I’m not selling tickets to a movie, I’m being descriptive.

    Heres a couple of ?”FACTS” 1. According to the Crustal Age Map, if you examine it VERRRY carefully, Subduction began about 60 MYA.
    What caused it to happen??
    Well, compression, of course, But as it turns out about 60 MYA Antarctica tore loose from Australia, AND ALL AROUND BEGAN THAT MASSIVE NEW SPREADING Antarctic Ocean.
    Thing is,….with spreading happening all around Antarctica 360 degrees… it all pushes away against itself. Even the rift is traveling upward!
    So UPWARD-PUSHING the Australian plate is shoved like a battering ram. The western pacific is no longer spreading and Australia SHATTERS the OCEANIC PLATE INTO PIECES.

    The CURVED Western Pacific oceanic plate on a RE-CURVING EARTH digs its edges into the broken plate and begins to subduct under the shattered plate there at the ring of fire , about 60 MYA.
    In some areas nearly a hundred miles of oceanic plate may have subducted.
    But IT COULDN’T HAVE subducted under 60 km thick solid-bottomed Asia
    Or gone past the asthenosphere into the DENSE SOLID MANTLE.
    But the Atlantic is 4,000/5,000 miles wide.
    Neal Adams
    P.S. Of course there’s more. But , hey, that’s a lot, right?

  19. November 18, 2008 5:57 pm


    I wasn’t going to comment on this thread again because I addressed the minimum points I wanted to cover as a response to your “backgrounder”, and I tried to honor your request to stay focussed on your material. I didn’t want to get distracted in a tit for tat, which seems to happen when we debate an issue.

    But your 3:53 PM comment can’t go without a response.

    BrianR states:

    “Anaconda says: “But after studying the evidence, I reluctantly concluded the evidence was stronger for Expanding Earth theory.”

    So, you’re already done … you’ve made up your mind!”

    Please, Brian: If I didn’t conclude the evidence was stronger for Expanding Earth theory would I even be, here, making comments?

    To make the above comment before I address the merits of the material you presented seems like a pre-emptive strike designed to invalidate whatever I might say, and prejudice your readers before they even read my comments.

    BrianR, that’s poor form in a scientific forum.

    Let me make my comments and then you can respond anyway you like.

  20. November 18, 2008 7:57 pm

    Anaconda says: “If I didn’t conclude the evidence was stronger for Expanding Earth theory would I even be, here, making comments?”

    I see … actually, this could make things a bit clearer for everybody. Since you have already concluded that subduction doesn’t occur (from the evidence laid out by OIM in this post), my readers look forward to how a non-subduction model of the Earth explains the data I present in these posts.

    Conventional plate tectonic theory, or whatever you wish to call it, does not spend time actively debunking the expanding Earth hypothesis. It doesn’t even need to bring it up. Your model of how plate tectonics works on the Earth need not even mention subduction if it doesn’t occur.

    Any model of the Earth should be able to generally and consistently account data/observations such as margin physiography, earthquake distribution/depth (Fig. 10 in Part 2), seismic-reflection/-tomographic images (Figs. 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, and 16), distribution of volcanism, and so on and so forth.

  21. November 19, 2008 6:33 am

    OIM says: “It’s subduction that I deny, not convergence.”

    Okay … you did state convergence was a myth, now it’s not … thanks for the update.

  22. November 19, 2008 11:02 am

    Hi Neal,

    Excellent work.

    If you have a chance, please take a look at my blog and tell what you think:

    Take care,


  23. Eclectamaniac permalink
    October 5, 2009 8:57 pm

    I was so disappointed to read this blog. At first it started out promising, but then it disolved… as nearly everything interesting was deemed “beyond the scope of this post”.

  24. October 5, 2009 9:07 pm

    Elcectamaniac … there are millions of blogs out there … hopefully you’ll find one to satisfy your desired scope. If not, do the work and write your own.

  25. Radman permalink
    May 2, 2010 11:01 pm

    Brian – some of these people you argued with probably also believe the Earth is flat and the Sun revolves around it… :)

    I did my thesis over the Nazca and Cocos plate boundaries along the Middle America Trench. You can SEE the downgoing plate on seismic profiles. I now work in Jakarta and the quake that hit here a year ago is a reminder that convergent plate boundaries are indeed a reality: big time.

  26. Ken Howarth permalink
    January 11, 2017 9:52 pm

    Brian, I like your posts particularly as they are evidenced based. When the time is right would you be interested in being part of a project to unify earth science to achieve a far more accurate understanding of all of the processes at work within our planet? Or, would you know of others who may have an interest?
    Regards, Ken

  27. Bill Erickson permalink
    November 28, 2018 1:49 pm

    Serious expansion researchers recognize the reality of “subduction,” i.e. reverse motion along the upper/lower plate interface. However, the basic question is whether that motion is caused by the lower oceanic plate UNDERthrusting the upper continental plate, or the upper plate OVERthrusting the lower plate. According to the Plate Tectonics paradigm, which assumes axiomatically that the Earth’s radius has remained constant since the Archean, the former is the case, as it MUST to conserve surface the Earth’s surface area over time, whereas Expansion Tectonics is open to both possibilities.

    For example, it seems quite clear that North America has been moving westward (away from the Mid-Atlantic ridge) and has overridden the “subducted” Farallon plate, rather than the Farallon driving eastward beneath North America, given that the spreading ridge from which the Farallon plate originated has already been “subducted” beneath North America. Current PT thinking attributes plate motion to “slab pull” or, more precisely, “hinge rollback.” (Few geologists nowadays endorse the 1960ish theory that plate motion is driven by convection; indeed, Bob Stern has argued that Plate Tectonics should be renamed “Subduction Tectonics.”) Hinge rollback probably works elsewhere (causing fore- and back-arc extension), but it is difficult to conceive how hinge rollback can pull North America westward when the hinge has already been “subducted” beneath the continent.

    • Bill Erickson permalink
      November 28, 2018 2:07 pm

      Incidentally, there is plenty of evidence for “subduction” (or “overthrusting”), e.g. the Franciscan Melange and the island of Barbados, which IS an “accretionary wedge.” But the question remains: are they the result of plate underthrusting (“subduction” sensu stricto) or overthrusting? Kinematically, subduction and overthrusting are identical.


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