20200529

Coronavirus Hates the Outdoors


PSI Blog 20200601 Coronavirus Hates the Outdoors


Pardon the teleology, but I just had to do a little off-topic speculation on our current predicament. It is becoming clearer every day that air-borne viruses do not do well in the outdoors. Mom’s advice to “get some fresh air” seems well-taken. The energy-saver’s advice to tighten up every window and door seal might just give those little buggers plenty of time for you to breathe them in. The advice to put on that mask when you leave the building might be backwards—maybe you should put it on when you go inside. Instead of “sheltering in place,” maybe we should “shelter out place.”


There now are plenty of data showing that being inside with carriers during a pandemic is not a good idea. The coronavirus is spread many ways, but it looks more and more like the finest aerosols (less than 5 um) are the top culprits in most cases. The mainstream press is finally waking up to the aerosol problem.[1]

1.    The first indication ignored for far too long was the 2.5-hr Skagit County, WA choir practice in which 53 of 61 singers became infected with COVID-19 by a single carrier.[2] The time from exposure to onset was 3 days, 12 days for hospitalization, and 14 days to death for the two that died.
2.    A single carrier in Guangzhou, China dining at a restaurant infected four at her own table along with five others at adjoining tables.[3]
3.    A single carrier in South Korea partied at three nightclubs, infecting 54 people.[4]
4.    In another incident, a “super spreader” in South Korea infected 37 people in a church.[5]
5.    After an employee got the virus, a huge grocery in China had 8,244 shopper visits and only 2 (0.02%) infections, while the 120 employees had 11 infections (9%), showing that duration and closeness of contact was important.[6]
6.    Two buses in China “brought people to the same temple, where they mixed and mingled. But who was most at risk of getting sick? Those who rode the bus with an infected person. Twenty-four out of 67 people on that bus got sick. No one on the other bus did.”[7] Lesson: Close quarters and duration.

Meanwhile, “in a study of 1,245 cases that occurred across China from January 4 to February 11, only two cases were traced to contact with an infected person out of doors.”[8]

To get infected, you only have to be exposed to someone’s breath for less than the 15 minutes. The breath aerosol can stay in the air for hours. Where ventilation is poor, as in a bar or bus, that aerosol remains in the air and is replenished continually by the infected person. Six feet of separation is not enough, particularly when the air is continually stirred up by the motion of others in a small enclosed space. “Super-spreaders” typically do not cough or sneeze on every one, they simply breathe, filling the trapped air with tiny particles that take a long time to settle even when not stirred. A runner or biker going fast past you is extremely unlikely to do that.

Conclusion: Ventilation

Indoor air bad; outdoor air good. That is why we have many more colds and flu in winter than in summer—it is not simply due to the temperature—it is what the temperature makes us do to ourselves—breathe bad indoor air. Being with a large group outside on a windy day would be much less risky than being with the same group on a calm day.  Athletics played outdoors would be much less risky than those played indoors, etc. Voting in a well-used booth verges on suicide, while voting at a table outside might be as safe as mailing a ballot; teaching classes outside would be safer than teaching inside; political demonstrations outside would be safer than those inside.

Again, the key to all this simply is ventilation, and plenty of it. Note that in the restaurant case, there was an exhaust fan on the left side of the room and an air conditioner on the right (Figure). It was 79oF outside [9] and the investigators assumed the air conditioner was on even though swabs of the conditioner and the exhaust fan indicated no virus. The infection pattern does not support air flow from right to left. My conclusion: The air conditioner either was turned off or was insufficient. Looks like we need more powerful ventilators before we get sick so we won't need them later.

In sum: We should avoid breathing used air.



Figure. Sketch showing arrangement of restaurant tables and air conditioning airflow at site of outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus disease, Guangzhou, China, 2020. Red circles indicate seating of future case-patients; yellow-filled red circle indicates index case-patient. Modified from: Lu and others (2020) https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/7/20-0764_article#tnF1.




[2] Hamner, Lea, and others, 2020, High SARS-CoV-2 Attack Rate Following Exposure at a Choir Practice — Skagit County, Washington, March 2020: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, v. 69, no. 19, p. 606-610 [Here is the summary: https://go.glennborchardt.com/Skagit-summary]
[7] Ibid.


20200525

Vortex Formation of a Planet's Birth


PSI Blog 20200525 Vortex Formation of a Planet's Birth



SPHERE IMAGE OF THE YOUNG STAR IN POLARIZED LIGHT. IMAGE: ESO/BOCCALETTI ET AL

I usually don’t do gee-whiz science, but this one is too good to pass up. In our book "Universal Cycle Theory: Neomechanics of the Hierarchically Infinite Universe" Steve and I emphasized Descartes' Vortex Theory.[1] Vortices form when macrocosmic pressures force small microcosms to be pushed toward large ones, with the intervening space providing protection from the onslaught of the macrocosm.  The rotation occurs because collisions are never perfect—there always are glancing blows, forcing both the large microcosm and the small microcosm to rotate on their axes. This occurs throughout the infinite hierarchy, from the largest galaxy cluster to the tiniest aether duo.[2]

And so, I was especially interested in seeing what appears to be a picture of the birth of an exoplanet. Normally, the associated star is so bright that such planets cannot be seen easily. Although there are 4,260 exoplanets, this seems the first to be little more than a rotating dust cloud. But through a special technique in which the parent star’s light was blocked, the photo could be taken. This appears to be a magnificent confirmation of Descartes’ Vortex Theory:[3]





[1] Puetz, Stephen J., and Borchardt, Glenn, 2011, Universal cycle theory: Neomechanics of the hierarchically infinite universe: Denver, Outskirts Press, 626 p. [http://www.scientificphilosophy.com/]. 
[2] See Chapter 16.4 Where does matter come from? in Borchardt, Glenn, 2017, Infinite Universe Theory: Berkeley, California, Progressive Science Institute, 337 p. [http://go.glennborchardt.com/IUTebook].
[3] Descartes, Rene, 1644 [1991], Principles of Philosophy: Boston, MA, Kluwer Academic, 324 p. [http://go.glennborchardt.com/Descartes1644].


20200518

Elderly Black Hole in the Infinite Universe


PSI Blog 20200518 Elderly Black Hole in the Infinite Universe



It had to happen. Finally, astronomers have found a bare-naked black hole—it has no stars around it. And it’s only 1,000 light years away. Now, according to anyone’s theory, black holes form at the center of galaxies. What prey tell could this one be doing all by itself? Why is it not surrounded by a galaxy full of stars like all its sisters complying with the 13.82 billion-yr universe? Now, as we have mentioned previously, “black holes” are not “holes” and they are not black. They are the nuclei of galaxies much like the one found in the Milky Way recently.

A naked black hole probably means it is what happens to a galaxy when, given enough time, all its surrounding stars and planets have been pushed into it, jamming all those neutrons and electrons into an extremely dense body. That would have taken a very, very, very long time. The Milky Way is supposedly only 13.7 billion years old, and yet its black hole is less than 1% of its mass—an indication of its youthfulness. The nuclei of cosmological vortices gradually become increasingly dense and increasingly massive over time. The Sun, for instance, has 99% of the mass of the solar system, and it will last at least another 4.5 billion years. In “Universal Cycle Theory” we speculated that the Milky Way, because its nucleus is so tiny, will take trillions of years to fully mature.[1]

In tune with our speculations on the Milky Way, the naked black hole probably is trillions of years old. Looks like Big Bangers will have to invent a new ad hoc to handle that falsification!








[1] Puetz, S.J., and Borchardt, Glenn, 2011, Universal Cycle Theory: Neomechanics of the Hierarchically Infinite Universe: Denver, Outskirts Press, 626 p. [https://go.glennborchardt.com/UCT].


20200511

Elderly Galaxies Again


PSI Blog 20200511 Elderly Galaxies Again

Thanks to Pierre Berrigan for this heads up:



These three panels show, from left to right, what the galaxy XMM-2599's evolutionary trajectory might be, beginning as a dusty star-forming galaxy, then becoming a dead galaxy, and perhaps ending up as a "brightest cluster galaxy," or BCG.
(Image: © NRAO/AUI/NSF/B. Saxton; NASA/ESA/R. Foley; NASA/StScI.)


With the Big Bang universe having a time limit of only 13.82 billion years (Ga), astronomers are continually shocked when they find evidence for elderly galaxies. These don’t fit the paradigm. In other words, they falsify the entire Big Bang Theory. As I mentioned in “Infinite Universe Theory,” this is not the first time the Big Bang Theory has been falsified (disproven) by elderly galaxies at extreme distances where only young stars (not galaxies should be seen). This particular galaxy supposedly is 12 billion light years away and has finished its star forming phase, which supposedly took place in only 1.82 Ga. Wow! That was miraculously fast, in view of our Sun alone having taken 4.6 Ga to form. Our own galaxy, the Milky Way, forms about one star per year and is 13.7 Ga, and it isn’t done yet.

If that BCG is similar to the Milky Way, it was over 13.7 Ga when the light we see left on its journey to us. That would make it 25.7 Ga—quite a problem for the cosmogonists at Riverside!



20200504

Is the Universe Conscious?


PSI Blog 20200504 Is the Universe Conscious?




Here is the latest regressive outrage. We always can count on New Scientist to come up with the biggest absurdities. I won’t waste much time on this as Jerry Coyne has beat me to it. Panpsychism claims that every part of the universe, down to the tiniest particle, has consciousness. That’s funny, I always thought nervous tissue was necessary for interpreting sensory signals. I never once thought the NaCl crystals in my salt shaker had consciousness. So, believe it or not, some mathematically possessed folks think just that—immaterialism at its finest.

As Jerry writes in his recent blog post: Panpsychism is quack philosophy, and New Scientist is the National Enquirer of science.

Here is Jerry’s take on it:


He has a link to the New Scientist article. You might want to read that to keep up with the fantastic world of regressive physics. Who knows? You just might get to go through one of Einstein’s wormholes if you are lucky!

20200427

Do We Live in a Lopsided Universe?


PSI Blog 20200427 Do We Live in a Lopsided Universe?

Here is the latest falsification of the Big Bang Theory. A real explosion is not lopsided. Cosmogonists have assumed their imagined “expansion of the universe” was homogeneous. That trope was sent to bed when Kashlinsky and others showed some galaxy clusters were heading off to parts unknown. They were supposedly being “attracted” to some massive object outside the observed universe. That was helpful for the oxymoronic “multiverse” theory—an ad hoc that was another insult to common sense. Now this lopsided thing comes along. How will they handle this one? Ditch the Big Bang Theory? Don’t hold your breath. Good thing the Infinite Universe, not being finite, does not have be perfectly spherical.

Have a shot at this one. A prize to anyone who can guess what the next ad hoc will be:



20200420

Block Universe Theory



From Jesse Witwer: “I can’t decide if these folks actually think Einstein’s paradigm is deterministic or are just trying to mathematically prove that it isn’t.”

[GB: Before you read this, let me give the definition of Block Universe Theory from Wikipedia: “According to the growing block universe theory of time (or the growing block view), the past and present exist while the future does not. The present is an objective property, to be compared with a moving spotlight. By the passage of time more of the world comes into being; therefore, the block universe is said to be growing. The growth of the block is supposed to happen in the present, a very thin slice of spacetime, where more of spacetime is continually coming into being.

The growing block view is an alternative to both eternalism (according to which past, present, and future all exist) and presentism (according to which only the present exists). It is held to be closer to common-sense intuitions than the alternatives.”

Note the use of the word “exist” here for time. As readers know, time is motion, and cannot exist. Only portions of the universe having xyz dimensions can exist. Time occurs, it does not flow. Time is motion. Only things can flow. Einstein’s turning motion into a thing (objectification or reification) was his biggest blunder. He did the same for light in his Special Relativity Theory as well. Note in this link how it is admitted that General Relativity Theory equations lead to the “Block Universe Theory.” Egads!]





20200413

Expanding Earth Theory-A Critical Review, Part 3


PSI Blog 20200413 Expanding Earth Theory-A Critical Review, Part 3


[GB: Readers have been asking us to review the Expanding Earth Theory. Although that is a bit removed from our usual focus on regressive physics and cosmogony, PSI member Bill Howell, a professional geologist, has consented to do the job. His review consists of three parts.]

Bill Howell


Part 3: Possible Synthesis of the EET and PTT Models

5)  Assessment of the Expanding Earth and Plate Tectonic Models

It seems to me that the only reason for Maxlow to propose that solar plasma somehow created an additional 50 percent of the Earth’s mass (in only the past 200 million years) and the only reason to ignore the seismic evidence for deep crustal subduction, is to support the hypothesis that the Earth’s radius has expanded.  But it also seems to me that the only reason to even need that hypothesis is because the continents can seem to be fitted together into a single landmass that encompasses the globe by reducing the Earth’s radius in half.

Although this causal chain of thought is not irrational, it reminds me of the Ptolemaic method of building epicycles upon epicycles.  There is a simpler ‘alternative interpretation’ than an expanding Earth radius that can account for the existence of such a single landmass, but which also accepts subduction and a constant Earth radius.  In the remainder of this essay I will describe this alternative interpretation and provide some facts, interpretations, and speculation that support its validity.  But it does get a little complicated...

During the 1950’s, there was no professional consensus on how the ocean basins had formed nor any consensus that the continents had once been joined together, and mantle convection was considered a radical hypothesis not widely accepted by geologists and geophysicists.  But new geophysical data forced the geological community to reconsider Alfred Wegner’s continental drift hypothesis, which had previously been dismissed because a possible mechanism for moving the continents across the ocean basins could not be found. 

During this period of reassessment, serious scientific consideration was also given to the concept of an expanding Earth by Australian geologist Warren Carey (who subsequently inspired Dr. Maxwell’s interest in EET).  Carey had initially supported the concept of continental drift but later proposed that an expanding Earth could also explain the data.  Interestingly, Carey believed that only a cosmological perspective would provide a final solution to the problem [4]. 

Some of the new data that were obtained during this time were collected by the geophysicist Vening Meinesz.  Meinesz conceived of a model that H. H. Hess later developed into a 1962 paper titled History of Ocean Basins [7].  This paper subsequently acquired the nickname: ‘An Essay in Geopoetry’ and it is credited with leading the scientific community toward the theory of Plate Tectonics. 

The Meinesz-Hess model involved a unique event early in the history of the Earth that Hess called the “great catastrophe”.  It proposed that a single convective cell within the Earth’s interior had overturned.  This resulted in the formation of a nickel-iron core as denser materials descended toward the core, and lower-melting and lower-density silica-rich material was extruded onto the surface to form a single primordial continent.  An apt analogy is slag that will rise to the surface of a vat of molten material when metal is being extracted from ore by smelting.  Another analogy, which incorporates the effect from the Earth’s rotation, is what occurs when a fluid is spun in a centrifuge and the lighter materials are separated out.  Figure 5, which is taken from Hess’s 1962 paper, illustrates his concept of the “great catastrophe”.

 

   
Figure 5
Single cell (toroidal) Convective Overturn of Earth’s Interior
(After Vening Meinesz, 1952, from H. H. Hess, 1962: History of Ocean Basins)

In this ‘essay in geopoetry’, Hess wrote: “It is postulated that this heat and a probably much larger amount of heat resulting from the energy involved in the accumulation of the Earth were not sufficient to produce a molten Earth...  The proposed single-cell overturn brought about the bilateral asymmetry of the Earth, now possibly much modified but still evident in its land and water hemispheres.  After this event, which segregated the core from the mantle, single-cell convection was no longer possible in the Earth as a whole”.  (Note: in using the term ‘bilateral symmetry’, Hess is referring to the topographic elevation difference between the continents and ocean basins).

Hess went on to write that: ‘On the basis that continental material is still coming to the surface of the Earth from the mantle at the rate of 1 km3/year, accepting Sapper's (1927, p. 424) figure on the contribution of volcanoes over the past 4 centuries, and assuming uniformitarianism, this means 4 x 109 km3 in 4 aeons or approximately 50 per cent of the continents. So we shall assume that the other half was extruded during the catastrophe’ (emphasis added).

By removing the ocean basins, Dr. Maxlow’s model can reduce the present radius of the Earth by 50 percent; however, Dr. Maxlow has also constructed models that join continental crust together that are much older.  These models are based on the continental cratons that are the oldest crustal material found.  Cratons are billions of years old and are thought to be the original nucleus of all continental landmasses.  Dr. Maxlow writes (on page 57) that by removing all seafloor volcanic, continental sedimentary basin sediments and magmatic rocks, and any remnant Proterozoic orogenic rocks, his model can be extended back to the early Archaean (1,600 million years ago), and the remaining cratonic landmasses can be assembled into a single landmass encompassing the globe that reduces the size of the Earth by another 50 percent, or to about 27 percent of the Earth’s present radius. 

What Dr. Maxlow is saying then, is that the aerial extent of the continental landmasses during the Archaean is about 50 percent of the aerial extent that we see today.  Interestingly, this 50 percent reduction coincides with the volume of the primordial landmass that Hess assumed had originally been extruded during the ‘great catastrophe’.  So both Hess and Maxlow are suggesting that the original primordial cratonic landmass of the Earth was about 50 percent of the landmass that presently exists.  In order for this landmass to encompass the globe, Maxlow interprets this to mean that the Earth’s radius during the Archaean was even smaller than it was during the Jurassic, while Hess interprets this to represent the volume of landmass that was extruded from the Earth during the ‘great catastrophe.’ In other words, Hess and Maxlow simply have different interpretations about what the data mean.

6)  Conclusions Regarding the Validity of the Expanding Earth Theory

It seems to me that the fundamental factor that drives the EET is that it’s possible to reassemble the continents into a single primordial landmass, and that these ‘data’ are what led to the interpretation that the Earth’s radius has expanded over time.  The Meinesz-Hess model indicates that an overturning of the Earth interior could account for the same primordial landmass without requiring an expanding Earth.  Although the idea of a single primordial landmass is apparently a current controversy within PTT, such a concept is not a fundamental problem.  PTT simply interprets the ‘data’ (and evidence) to explain the shapes and positions of the continents using the process of subduction instead of interpreting it to mean that the Earth’s radius has expanded.

So it seems to me that the EET and PTT models are not in conflict with regards to the continents having once been assembled into a single landmass.  And if the Meinesz-Hess model is accepted, then there is also not even a controversy regarding whether a primordial continental landmass once existed.  The controversy then, is actually about how to interpret the data.  In my opinion, the evidence from deep earthquake foci, seismic tomography, geodetic and gravimetric data, paleontology, and the missing mass problem clearly support the interpretation of the PTT model and clearly discredit the interpretation of the EET model. 

End of Part 3

The synthesis proposed above could resolve the controversy among expanding Earth believers.  Of course, acceptance of the Meinesz-Hess model requires that there was once a single “great catastrophe”.  Meinesz developed his concept during the 1950’s based simply on the mathematics and geophysics of spherical harmonics.  He did not have any physical evidence to support it.  The study of the rocks brought back from the Moon landings appears to provide that supporting physical evidence.  But that is a Geostory for another day.

Bill Howell, 2020 howellb004@gmail.com

References


[7] History of Ocean Basins, H. H. Hess, Petrologic Studies - Princeton University, 1962



20200407

COVID-19 Info from Steve Bryant

PSI Blog 20200407 COVID-19 Info from Steve Bryant

To all readers:

Hope you are all well, escaping the virus, and enjoying the solitude. Thanks to reader Steve Bryant for this great link for reliable COVID-19 info. Looking forward to seeing some really stylish masks!

https://go.glennborchardt.com/Bryantmasks4all

And cheer up! Remember Newton had some of his best ideas sheltering-in-place on his mother's farm over 300 years ago during the plague!

Infinity forever,
Glenn

20200406

Expanding Earth Theory-A Critical Review, Part 2

PSI Blog 20200406 Expanding Earth Theory-A Critical Review, Part 2

[GB: Readers have been asking us to review the Expanding Earth Theory. Although that is a bit removed from our usual focus on regressive physics and cosmogony, PSI member Bill Howell, a professional geologist, has consented to do the job. His review consists of three parts.]

Bill Howell

Evaluation of the Expanding Earth and Plate Tectonic Models


4)  Evaluation of Dr. Maxlow’s Expanding Earth Theory

The last blog identified two expanding Earth models proposed by Dr. Maxlow.  They are the Increasing Earth Radius and the Partial Increase in Earth Radius models.  The Increasing Earth Radius model does not accept that significant subduction of crustal material into the mantle of the Earth has occurred.  According to this model, the continents moved and the ocean basins formed as a direct result of the Earth’s radius expanding during the past 200 million years.  Accordingly, definitive evidence of subduction would not just invalidate, but would falsify the Increasing Earth Radius model.  It would not, however, falsify Maxlow’s Partial Increase in Earth Radius model which does accept a limited form of subduction based on the physical principle of isostasy. 

[Side bar: Isostasy is a geophysical concept that describes the buoyancy of a mass that is immersed or embedded within another substance of higher density.  Common examples are a floating cork and an ice cube in a glass of water.  Continental crustal material is less dense than oceanic crustal material, and both materials are less dense than the material composing the mantle.  A table of data on the webpage at http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/Geophys/earthstruct.html supports the theory of Isostasy.  This table lists the average densities and depths for different layers of the Earth and also indicates that these densities increase with depth.  The continental crust averages 2.2 g/cm3, the oceanic crust averages 2.9 g/cm3, the upper mantle ranges from 3.4-4.4 g/cm3, the lower mantle ranges from 4.4-5.6 g/cm3, the outer core ranges from 9.9-12.2 g/cm3, and the inner core ranges from 12.8-13.1 g/cm3.  End Side bar]

According to Isostasy theory, crustal material (called the Lithosphere) essentially floats upon a layer of denser material that it is embedded in.  The Wikipedia entry at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isostasy describes three models of isostasy, one of which is the Vening Meinesz or flexural isostasy model.  In the Meinesz model, the Lithosphere acts like an elastic plate and its rigidity distributes the local topographic loads over a broad region by flexing.  The Wikipedia article also states that when continents collide, crustal material can thicken at the edges of the collision and be forced downwards by obduction.  Obduction is a geologic process in which rock material is thrust over and also under other crustal material by the compression that results from collision. 

If surface crustal material is pushed down into the subsurface (termed underplating), it is no longer in isostatic equilibrium because it is less dense and therefore more buoyant.  This is analogous to pushing an ice cube into a glass of water.  Like the ice cube, the crustal material will subsequently ‘float’ upwards to reestablish equilibrium.  The phenomenon called isostatic post-glacial rebound is an example of isostasy that explains why measurements of land that had been buried under ice sheets until about 10,000 years ago is now rising. 

In Dr. Maxlow’s models, mountains can be formed as a result of plate collisions pushing (obducting) material into the subsurface, followed by uplift via isostatic rebound as the density of the subsurface material reacquires equilibrium.  Because of the physics of density and buoyancy, crustal material can not be pushed (obducted) to any significant degree very much beyond the base of the continental crust.  In contrast, the PTT model states that while obduction can and does occur, oceanic material, being denser than crustal material is subducted into the mantle and often drags crustal material with it.  This distinction provides a test for the EET and PTT models.

The thickness of the earth’s crust varies from about 10 to 70 kilometers (km) and averages about 40 km.  The USGS webpage at (https://earthquake.usgs.gov/data/crust/) states that continental crust exceeding 50 km thick is exceedingly rare and accounts for less than 10% of all crustal material.  Therefore, in accordance with the isostatic rebound aspect of Maxlow’s model, earthquakes much below a depth of 70 km should not occur.  


Figure 2 shows the distribution of earthquake foci with depth below Japan.  Deep earthquake foci have occurred at depths of about 700 km below the surface, which is 10 times deeper than Dr. Maxlow’s model predicts can be obducted into the Earth at continental/oceanic margins.  A Google search provides other examples of deep earthquake foci at continental-oceanic boundaries around the world.

The evidence from deep earthquake foci supports the PTT model that crustal material is subducted into the mantle and invalidates the Increasing Earth model.  It does not necessarily invalidate the Partial Increase in Earth Radius model however, because Dr. Maxlow counters that this evidence of deep earthquake foci could be an indication that the Earth’s expansion during the past 200 million years has been so rapid that crustal material is still in the process of attaining isostatic equilibrium. 

Dr. Maxlow’s claim could be difficult to definitively refute were it not for the relatively new science of seismic tomography.  Figure 3 is an image created from seismic tomographic data.  It reveals that the Farallon Plate has been subducted into the mantle to depths of more than 2,400 km.  This evidence from seismic tomography of crustal material subducted deep into the mantle does invalidate the Partial Increase in Earth Radius model.  I don’t know how Dr. Maxlow counters this evidence because the term ‘seismic tomography’ does not appear in his book. 
  


Figure 3

But there are additional issues that Dr. Maxlow would need to address before his extraordinary claims could be accepted.  One that is also related to subduction involves the Geological Map of the World (Figure 4 below).  The bands of different colors indicate the relative ages of oceanic crust that was deposited on either side of mid-oceanic ridges where new crustal material forms.  Dating of sediments from the ocean floor reveals that the age of the oceanic crust in these bands increases with distance away from their mid-oceanic ridge.  This Figure of the age-banding of oceanic crust is a key feature that Dr. Maxlow cites in his book.
  


Figure 4. From Tectonics: The Road Not Taken, Figure 1.1 Geological Map of the World.

In the center of Figure 4 is the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.  It provides a great example of an interpretation that oceanic crust has filled in the gap created by the separation of the American and African-Eurasian continents.  Lighter and darker shades of green are shown along the margins of both the continental landmasses.  This symmetry, however, is not seen in the banding from the Pacific Ocean basin.  Although the western portion of the green-shaded banding extends across the entire Pacific Ocean basin, its symmetrical compliment to the right of the mid-oceanic rise along the west coasts of the American continent is completely missing.  This lack of symmetry is most clearly illustrated by the lack of any green (and dark-brown) shading along Peru and Chile.  These color bands do not appear on the eastern side of South America and seem to have simply disappeared somewhere.

Dr. Maxlow could argue that this missing oceanic crust has been obducted beneath the continents, and this argument is supported by the illustration at https://go.glennborchardt.com/EET-F4b which depicts obducted crustal material underplating under Chili.  However, seismic data reveals that beneath the Andes mountains there is a very steeply dipping Wadati-Benioff zone similar to what is shown in Figure 2 above.  The Wikipedia article at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep-focus_earthquake#Andes states that deep earthquakes occur beneath the Andes mountains at depths of up to 670 km.  This is well below the depths that could occur from isostatic equilibrium.  PTT contends that obduction can occur, but that most crustal material is subducted.  In contrast, EET contends that such deep subduction can not occur.

Another issue Dr. Maxlow needs to address is the existence of the San Andreas Fault in California.  The San Andreas is a type of transform fault that results from the relative motion between the North American and Pacific tectonic plate boundaries.  It is a northwest-southeast trending strike-slip fault that runs almost the entire length of California.  South of San Jose, California, and adjacent to the San Andreas Fault zone, is the Pinnacles National Monument.  Pinnacles N.M. is a volcanic remnant whose stratigraphy has been correlated with the Neenach Formation located near Lancaster, California, 300 km to the south.  The correlation of these two formations is an historic event in the history of geologic science because it established that large scale strike-slip displacement has, occurred along the San Andreas Fault during the past 23 million years.  The PTT model can easily account for this motion, but the EET model apparently cannot since the term ‘San Andreas’ does not appear even once in Dr. Maxlow’s book.

Still another issue for EET to address is the evidence of marine fossils that lived during the Paleozoic Era 350 to 250 million years ago.  Marine fossils from this era existed long before the Jurassic Period when Dr. Maxlow’s model predicts that ocean basins began to form.  Accordingly, marine fossils from the Paleozoic would appear to contradict his model.  They don’t, however, because Dr. Maxlow states that inland (epicontinental) seas covered the continental landmasses prior to the formation of ocean basins and so these fossils could represent animals that lived in seas rather than oceans.  How one goes about differentiating a marine fossil that lived in an inland sea from one that lived in an ocean is a rabbit hole I’m not going down. 

Yet another issue for Dr. Maxlow to address is that if the Earth has doubled its radius during the past 200 million years, then there should be observational geodetic and gravimetric data to support this claim.  Amazingly enough, there is such data, but it indicates that the radius of the Earth over the past few decades has only increased by an average of 0.2 millimeters/year [6].  As Dr. Maxlow acknowledges, this rate of increase is 100 times smaller than the 22 millimeters/year he calculates are required to support an expanding Earth model. 

A final issue Dr. Maxlow needs to explain is what I call ‘Another Missing Mass Problem’ (in reference to the astrophysical problem that resulted in our current paradigm about Dark Matter).  If the Earth has doubled in size during the past 200 million years, where did this additional mass come from?  Dr. Maxlow speculates that electrons in the solar plasma are captured by the Earth’s magnetic field and converted into matter within the interior of the Earth. 

I don’t know whether or not it is possible for solar plasma to enter into the Earth and be transformed into matter, but the concept seems to be another ad hoc speculation required by his model in order to explain how the Earth’s radius could have doubled during the past 200 million years.  Dr. Maxlow acknowledges that this solar plasma solution is speculative, but that only makes it yet another extraordinary claim requiring extraordinary evidence.  And with no evidence (much less any extraordinary evidence), I don’t know how anyone can evaluate such an idea.  It feels like going down yet another rabbit hole.  After a while, chasing down so many ‘alternative interpretation’ rabbit-holes begins to feel like a game of Whack-a-Mole. 

End of Part 2

In the third and final part of this essay, I describe a possible synthesis of both the EET and PTT models which could resolve the controversy for those who are attracted to the theory of an expanding Earth.

Bill Howell, 2020 howellb004@gmail.com

References

[6] Shen, Sun, Chen, Zhang, LI, HAN, & Ding. Evidences of Earth Expansion from Space-Geodetic and Gravimetric Observations. Ettore Majorana Foundation and Centre for Scientific Culture, 37th Interdisciplinary Workshop of the International School of Geophysics, Erice, Sicily, 4-9 October 2011, 131-134


20200330

Expanding Earth Theory: A Critical Review, Part 1


PSI Blog 20200330 Expanding Earth Theory: A Critical Review, Part 1

[GB: Readers have been asking us to review the Expanding Earth Theory. Although that is a bit removed from our usual focus on regressive physics and cosmogony, PSI member Bill Howell, a professional geologist, has consented to do the job. His review consists of three parts.]

Bill Howell

Geologist, Retired

1)  Introduction

About 10 years ago I watched an interesting video by Neil Adams about the expanding Earth [1].  His video illustrates how all of the Earth’s continents can be fit together into one land mass by removing the ocean basins and shrinking the Earth’s radius.  I found Adams presentation both impressive and intriguing.  It was also a bit frustrating though.  The Earth’s rotation is too fast to be able to observe the details, the music is too loud (and cheezy) and over-rides some of the narration, and the Earth rotates in the wrong direction.  Overall, the video struck me as just a snazzy Hollywood entertainment piece.  It left me feeling like the expanding earth idea was not credible and I dismissed it out of hand.  When I recently looked into the concept again, however, I was surprised to discover that it has gained considerable attention, and that the initial YouTube video I had watched now has over two million views! 

I was even more surprised to discover that serious scientific research on what’s called the Expanding Earth Theory (EET) has actually been conducted, professional papers published, and presentations given at international conferences.  EET is a radical alternative interpretation of the accepted paradigm of Plate Tectonics Theory (PTT).  The fact that professional scientists would conduct serious research to investigate a theory that runs counter to an accepted paradigm speaks to a larger issue of the role of dissident science in our quest to understand the natural world.  That by itself warrants a more serious consideration of the concept than I had previously given it.

The expanding earth concept speaks to the issue of how we interpret the data science is so good at producing.  This, in turn, has sociological ramifications about how scientific information is communicated to the general public.  I suspect that the rise in conspiracy theories over the past few decades is just as much due to the general public misinterpreting data as it is from a lack of understanding about what the data mean.  The presence and proliferation of believers in a Flat Earth is one example of what I mean.  In my opinion, improving the way that scientific information is communicated to the general public is part of the solution for countering the irrational beliefs and superstitions that perpetuate debunked conspiracy theories, and which also continue to plague our civilization (and species).

So, I looked more closely into the arguments supporting EET to assess and compare them objectively with PTT.  I have only a B.S. degree in Earth Sciences but have been a student of the natural sciences and of Nature for over 50 years.  I suspect that most supporters of an expanding earth do not have a background in the physical sciences and so I’m writing this essay in a casual style that provides explanations for some of the concepts involved.  I have kept the technical jargon to a minimum and included some illustrations, links, and references to help the interested reader.  In addition, I’ve included a hyperlink to some references.  With the exception of the first link (below) to that Neil Adams video, none of these hyperlinks are necessary to activate before continuing to read this essay.  They are there for the curious who want to know more about a statement that was just made and/or for the skeptic who needs to validate something that was just written before they can move on. 

My goal is to make this essay understandable and interesting to both the general public as well as to those who have studied the physical sciences.  My ultimate reason for writing, however, is that in the process of investigating the EET-PTT controversy, I developed some ideas that synthesize elements from both models which might build upon our current understanding of the Earth.  This idea incorporates a concept developed by Dr. Glenn Borchardt regarding a univironmental analytical approach to the interactions between a microcosm and its macrocosm [2] [3].  To better understand the ETT-PTT controversy and the concept of univironmental analysis, I ask that you begin by watching the initial video Adams created at: http://nealadams.com/science-videos/.  This one is free, it’s entertaining, and it will help get everyone on the same page.  Thanks... 

2)  Dissident Science

I think you will agree that the video makes an intriguing and persuasive argument.  Although it’s a cartoon and fudges the details, it does do an impressive job of fitting the continents back together.  I suspect it is this singular feature that accounts for most of the support among its believers.  The Wikipedia entry on Expanding Earth [4] provides a short but good summary of the idea, and states that a consensus of the scientific community rejects the idea that significant expansion or contraction of the Earth has occurred.  The leading proponent of EET is Dr. James Maxlow, a retired professional geologist who has researched and written about this concept for many years.  I think it is impressive that a professional geologist will research, publish, and give presentations about a concept that the scientific community has evaluated and rejected.  Dr. Maxlow’s work is a testament to the ideals of dissident science. 

The value of dissident science is that it can help us think about ideas from a different perspective.  It can reignite our curiosity, shake our dogmatic slumbers, motivate further investigation, and sometimes even result in a paradigm shift in our beliefs.  Viewed in this way, dissident science can be seen as essential to the scientific process and to scientific progress.  History provides numerous examples where dissident science has confronted dogmatic belief and (eventually) produced a paradigm shift in our thinking:

                  In the 1500s, Copernicus questioned the geocentric model of Ptolemy, whose system of epicycles had been the accepted paradigm for centuries.  By using more precise data, he developed an alternative (and controversial) heliocentric model which was subsequently deemed heretical by the Catholic Church. 

                  In the 1600s, Galileo improved on the design of the telescope and conducted astronomical observations that led him to support the heliocentric model.  The Catholic Church forced him to recant his claim and placed him under house arrest for the rest of his life.  But Galileo’s heresy prevailed and in 1992 (only 359 years later), Pope John Paul II expressed regret for how the Galileo affair was handled and acknowledged that the Church had erred in condemning him for asserting that the Earth revolves around the Sun.

                  In the 1910s, Alfred Wegner published his hypothesis on continental drift.  Despite a large amount of observational evidence to support it, his concept was met with skepticism from geologists for decades.  The American Association of Petroleum Geologists specifically organized a symposium to oppose Wegner’s idea, but his concept subsequently evolved into the Plate Tectonic Theory that we have today.

                  In the 1920’s, geologist Harlen Bretz suggested that the Columbia River Plateau of eastern Washington state had been sculpted by a series of cataclysmic floods.  He was ridiculed by the American geologic community for his “outrageous” hypothesis because it resembled accounts of the Biblical flood and implied support for Catastrophism, which contradicted the current paradigm of Uniformitarianism.  Bretz defended his theories for over 40 years before it was acknowledged as being accurate by the Geological Society of America.

So, given the role that dissident science has played in our quest to understand the natural world, I sincerely do respect the efforts of Dr. Maxlow to look at Earth’s geologic history from a different perspective.  Of course, simply having a different perspective does not mean it is correct.  A relevant example is that in 200 BCE, Aristarchus of Samos proposed the first heliocentric model.  It was not adopted because a geocentric model was the accepted paradigm at that time.  The Ptolemaic system was developed 350 years later and was simply a refinement of previous Greek geocentric models, but it was accepted because it was more accurate in explaining the motions of heavenly bodies.  It worked so well that it became the accepted paradigm for over 1,400 years! 

The reason this system endured was because, as more precise data revealed discrepancies in the existing model, additional epicycles could be added to restore its accuracy.   Although Ptolemy’s system of building epicycles upon epicycles worked well for over 14 centuries, it was always wrong (theoretical mathematicians take heed), and it never would have been replaced until dissident scientists investigated.   

So, while dissident science may be essential to scientific progress, we must also be cautious about accepting its assertions.  This same caution applies of course to accepted paradigms like the Big Bang and Quantum Physics.  In applying this caution, the best advice we have was given by Dr. Carl Sagan who quipped: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence".  This aphorism will help in assessing the expanding earth concept. 

Dr. Maxlow presents his research supporting the theory of an expanding Earth in an extensive, carefully constructed, and impressive 320-page book that was published in 2017 titled: TECTONICS: The Road Not Taken - A scientific argument for an alternate tectonic understanding of our physical world [5].  My assessment of EET is primarily based on a review of some specific chapters and sections in Dr. Maxlow’s book.  I have not extensively studied the EET concept very much beyond this book.  This may seem unfair to ‘EET-ers’, but in accordance with Dr. Sagan’s advice, I am looking for some very specific evidence that Dr. Maxlow needs to provide to support his extraordinary claim that PTT is not the correct solution and that a significant expansion of the Earth’s radius is responsible for the existence of ocean basins and the current shapes of the continents. 

3)  Synopsis of the Expanding Earth and Plate Tectonic Theories

Dr. Maxlow identifies a spectrum of four possible models to explain the Earth’s geologic history.  These models are: 1) Increasing Earth Radius (new crustal material is created at mid-oceanic ridges and is not subducted into the Earth but occupies the space created by the expansion of Earth’s radius); 2) Pulsating Earth Radius (crustal material is compressed to form mountains during times of expansion and is subducted during times of contraction); 3) Partial Increase in Earth Radius (some crustal material is subducted into the Earth’s mantle but only during limited and non-continuous times when the radius is increasing); and, 4) Constant Earth Radius (the current plate tectonics model where crustal material is subducted into the mantle to compensate for the creation of new crustal material at the mid-oceanic ridges, and Earth’s radius does not expand).

These models basically range from one extreme to the other.  One end of the spectrum involves a significant expansion of the Earth’s radius such that no subduction of crustal material occurs (the Increasing Earth Radius model), and the other end of the spectrum involves no significant change in Earth’s radius and crustal material is subducted (the Constant Earth Radius model).  The two other models are basically a hybrid of these extremes.  Dr. Maxlow himself states that the Pulsating Earth model is not supported by any evidence, and so only the Increasing Earth Radius and Partial Increase in Earth Radius models warrant further discussion.

Both of the two remaining EET models state that the Earth was only about half its current size 200 million years ago.  As illustrated in Figure 1 (below), continental landmasses encapsulated the entire planet, and it was the Earth’s expansion that created the ocean basins.  The PTT model assumes the planet has always been essentially the same size as it is now, and that continental landmasses were once joined together in the geologic past but have since split apart and rafted to their current positions as a result of mantle convection and crustal subduction. 

The controversy between the two EET models and PTT is the result of three fundamental facts:

1. The shapes of the continents look like a global jig-saw puzzle which can be fit back together into one piece (as the Neil Simon video illustrates).

2. Although continental crust over 3 billion years old has been found, no oceanic crust has been found that is older than 170 million years.

3. New crustal material is created at, and extends away from, the mid-oceanic ridges. 

Both the EET and the PTT models accept these three facts.  The controversy is about the interpretation of what these facts mean.  The key feature that differentiates the EET and PTT models is subduction.  Accordingly, evidence for or against subduction is the key critical component to evaluate in assessing the validity of Dr. Maxlow’s extraordinary claims about the Earth having expanded. 



 

Figure 1 From: Tectonics: The Road Not Taken, Dr. James Maxlow, Terrella Press, 2017 (p. 38) Figure 7.3 Atlantic Ocean small Earth sequential spreading history, extending from the present-day back to the early-Jurassic.

End of Part 1

With the background material presented above, I can now move onto presenting some of the evidence that Dr. Maxlow provides to support the Expanding Earth alternative interpretation.  In Part 2, I will describe the Increasing Earth Radius and the Partial Increase in Earth Radius models in more detail, and compare the evidence for them with the interpretation that’s offered by Plate Tectonic Theory.  Part 2 also includes some cool graphics and some neat hyperlinks too!  I hope you found Part 1 enjoyable, or at the least, interesting.  Part 2 is even more interesting!  See you next week :-)

Author’s Note:

This is the first of a 3-Part Blog series evaluates the data that resulted in an alternative scientific interpretation of Earth’s history called the Expanding Earth Theory, and then compares this concept with the currently accepted paradigm called Plate Tectonics Theory. 

howellb004@gmail.com

References

[1] Neil Adams Expanding Earth video: http://nealadams.com/science-videos/

[2] The Scientific Worldview - Beyond Newton and Einstein, Glenn Borchardt, iUniverse, Inc., 2007

[3] Infinite Universe Theory, Glenn Borchardt, Progressive Science Institute, 2017


[5] Tectonics: The Road Not Taken, Dr. James Maxlow, Terrella Press, 2017