Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2000 12:02:59 -0800
I approached this forum through an exchange with Jim Bowles at EgyptNews. From what I can gather, he suggests the Sphinx's head and body were carved at two different times between which one of these "poleshifts" occurred, causing the carvers to offset the head and body by 4 degrees. So, I started checking out this poleshift thing and found your forum. This forum is a wonderful example of how a fundamentally sound idea (plate tectonics) can be manipulated by purveyors of rubishy alternative hypotheses to whatever end they seek. But, as a good friend of mine says often, the devil is in the details. Before someone decides they have the key to the universe, they should go back to school and learn a bit about what they speak - including several very significant details about the nature of the Earth's crust. There is a fundamental flaw in the "ice accumulation cause." This idea rests on an unevenly distributed change in mass near the poles due to the accumulation of ice. But that isn't what happens. The crust subsides under the ice, displacing the underlying crust/mantle (and its mass) away from areas where ice is accumulating, therefore there is no uneveness in the distribution of mass. The Earth is a mushy ball, sorta like the blobs of water you see floating around the Space Shuttle in orbit, push on one side and the other side bulges out. Dump a bunch of snow/ice on the poles, and anything not under the ice bulges out (just a little - ice is pretty light), but the idea is the same. Remove the glacial ice and the crust/mantle rebounds, maintaining equilibrium. This is called isostatic rebound. Therefore, if there is no uneveness in the distribution of mass to destabilize Earth's rotation, the entire premise of the argument collapses. Every first year geology student knows about isostasy . . . education is a wonderful thing.
Alex Bourdeau USFWS Region 1 Cultural Resources Team
Sherwood, OR 97140 FAX (503)625-4887
Post this in the Thoughts section as well - but you may not like what it says . . . I've perused these other comments and don't quite know where to start. There are clearly some interesting, not to say odd, ideas out there. I realize things like Pole Shifts are really exciting - people like catastrophic events, which is why rubberneckers are such a pain after an automobile accident. BUT, you don't have to resort to Rubbishy Alternative Hypotheses to evoke some really spectacular disasters out of Earth's natural history. These disasters are accepted by "orthodox" scientists and they will discuss them at length with you as long as you don't try to use them as proofs for the lost Atlanteans. For folks who like a little reality, these are much more interesting and thought provoking than Fingerprints of the Latest Psuedoscientist. For example, there are cliff faces in eastern Oregon that stretch over one hundred miles that were erupted during a single event about 7 million years ago. This event left behind the Rattlesnake Formation and is evidence for an eruption of a magnitude unwitnessed by any human being. It left behind a layer of welded tuff up to 30m thick across 12800 square kilometers. The ejecta was so hot it was still welding itself together when it stopped moving 110 kilometers from the vent! The ash cloud was moving in excess of 90kph - nothing in its path survived. What caused it? Not pole shifts or crustal inversions, just "plain" old plate tectonics - the North American continent being ripped apart by convection in the mantle. This same convection has stretched the western margins of the continent by nearly 100% over the last 20 million years (southern Oregon, Nevada, Utah and eastern California are twice as big as the used to be!). How's that for exciting? Knowing this isn't the result of some hair-brained, half-baked speculation by the likes of Hancock, Bauval or West - it's from the work of serious (unless they've had a few beers) geologists who spent a good part of their lives learning how the Earth works from other serious geologists. It's just plain irritating to them when someone like Hapgood (an historian, for goodness sake!!!!!), gets press by suggesting something as bizarre as pole shifts. The real story is every bit as interesting and, as far as I'm concerned, more exciting because I can go out and look at the results of these events. I don't have to take West's word for it that Atlantis is buried under the Antarctic ice - I can climb the Rattlesnake Formation and look at the chunks o' mountain ripped up by the eruption and welded into the tuff. And there isn't anything ambiguous about it, like the "walls" supposedly built by the Atlanteans in the Caribbean (look like pretty ordinary coral reefs to me). Finally, the serious geologists are, contrary to popular belief, always willing to change their minds - IF the data suggests they should. For example, when the Missoula Floods were first proposed by Harlan Bretz, most geologists were very skeptical - sounded too much like Noah's Flood. But, when they went up in airplanes and started looking at the Channelled Scablands it became obvious that eastern Washington had been scoured by LOTS of running water, and Bretz's idea that they were caused by catastrophic draining of glacial Lake Missoula was the best possible explanation. Since then, literally hundreds of geologists have made their careers by studying the Missoula Floods, working out the details of these remarkable events. Once again, no pole shifts, just the simple fact that ice floats on water resulted in the second largest floods we know of in natural history. Wanna guess which was the largest?
Alex Bourdeau USFWS Region 1 Cultural Resources Team
Sherwood, OR 97140 FAX (503)625-4887 firstname.lastname@example.org