Date: Sun, 2 May 1999 from Leroy Ellenberger <>

Barbiero's Non-Pole Shift, or How "Instantaneous" Is 85 Minutes

F. Barbiero claims to have a model, published in Aeon IV:6, 1997, and the subject of a presentation at the conference this June in Milano/Bergamo, for producing an axial tilt on Earth of, say, 20 degrees, almost instantaneously" by the triggering effect from the impact of a 1/2 km asteroid that somehow establishes a new equatorial bulge, leading to the axial tilt. Most critics, such as those in Aeon V:2, erroneously equate the torque impulse from the impact with the total effect on the Earth, which Barbierothen takes great delight in pointing out is not what he is talking about.

What he claims is that an axial tilt will occur when an asteroid impact's torque lines up optimally with the luni-solar tidal torque, producing initially a new oceanic "equatorial bulge" displaced from the present one.

He claims that Hapgood's evidence in Earth's Shifting Crust supports three such events within the past 100,000 years. But all of Hapgood's evidence can be accounted for in conventional terms that do not include any "pole shifts" or "axial tilts". Furthermore, there is no evidence on Earth for any such recent impacts by ca. 1/2 km. or larger asteroids. [BTW: this scales down to a 1.0 mmbolide/grain of sand hitting a 25 meter granite sphere, abstracting from the hydrosphere.]

As Barbiero describes his scenario, the new oceanic equatorial bulge would, per force, have over-ridden many islands, such as Hawaii (since the water deforms faster than the crust/mantle); but there is no indication that any such excursions have occurred recently (while lesser excursions, such as on Lanai, are in evidence), as Roger Ashton pointed out in another context at the San Jose, CA, Conference in 1980 and later in C&C Workshop 1986:1, p. 5. But Barbiero ignores all such evidence. Isn't is interesting how many self-made catastrophists ignore all the evidence that contradicts their idee fixe?

When his model was discussed on the Cambridge Conference Network in April 1997, Barbiero replied to Paul Heinrich's criticism, but he ignored mine then, and ever since. I wonder why.

Barbiero claims such a readjustment of the equatorial bulge would be "almost instantaneous", but it takes 85 minutes for the effects of an impact to reach the opposite side of the Earth, something he acknowledges in Aeon V:2, but fails to appreciate fully. Any impact that occurs when the solar and lunar tides are optimal will no longer be optimal 85 minutes later when the Earth finally "feels" the full effect from the impact, for surely no stretch of a catastrophist's imagination would equate 85 minutes with "nearly instantaneous", would it? Barbiero postulates the new oceanic bulge at the same time as he acknowledges the 85 minute delay without,evidently, realizing that the oceanic bulge would not be global for at least that same 85 minutes!

But there is more. Barbiero claims that first a new equatorial bulge is formed in the oceans and that shortly thereafter the stiffer mantle and crust follow suit, readjusting in consonance with the new oceanic bulge. But this ignores the fact that the Earth's shape is still adjusting to the melting ofthe ice caps in Laurentia and Fennoscandia ca. 10,000 years ago. Surely, Barbiero does not believe that 10,000 years is "nearly instantaneous"? You see, the 1/e relaxation time for the body of the Earth is 3,400 years. That means that it takes 3,400 years for 1/e (where e = 2.71828...) of any total change in viscous relaxation of the mantle to happen. There is no way the equatorial bulge in the solid Earth would migrate to, or equilibrate with, the new oceanic equatorial bulge -- and thereby effect an axial tilt. And the new, displaced oceanic bulge by itself cannot counterbalance the present bulge in the mantle, as Barbiero's scenario seems to require. This model is a transient, rheological monstrosity. This ol' dog just won't hunt!

When I posted remarks similar to those above to the Cambridge Conference Net in April 1997, Barbiero ignored them. If anyone thinks they have merit, orcould be improved, perhaps they might keep them in mind this June when they attend the conference in Milano/Bergamo and thereby confront the elusive Barbiero who takes such care in picking and choosing to whom he will deign to respond. I would also appreciate any comments the reader would choose to offer to this forum.

My 1997 comments, along with those of Pib Burns, can be accessed at the following URLs: and

Leroy Ellenberger, "Per Veritatem Vis" Compiler of "Top Ten Reasons Why Velikovsky Is Wrong About Worlds in Collision":; see, esp., No. 10 at the top and No. 4.

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