A geology lesson (was Re: pole shift)

E. Shaun Russell (e_shaun@uniserve.com)
Sat, 19 Jul 1997 01:20:14 -0700

Anton Sherwood wrote:

>: That is pole shift! Except the continent moved in a day. Actually the
>: trees from antarctica are recent(i cant remember when exactly). They are
>: recent enough that they can still be burnt, caught on fire. Also, pole
>: shift theory states that all the plates slide over the magma at once,
>: so it doesnt have anything to do with continental drift.
>M-hm. I won't ask what weird force brings this about.
>Instead I'll observe that if it happens as often as danny implies,
>there shouldn't be a Hawaiian chain, because the crust would slip
>away from the hot-spot before the volcanic cone is more than an
>unremarkable lump on the seafloor.
>Alternatively, if the great shimmy happens every N million years,
>there should be several chains like Hawaii, scattered about the globe,
>appropriately staggered in age.

Actually, there may be a *little* bit of truth in what Danny is
saying. Feeding off of my geology experience, I seem to recall that there
are two different forms of tectonic movement: convergent and divergent.
When a divergent tectonic movement takes place, the plates split apart,
causing magma to escape...a perfect example is Iceland which is always
splitting and growing igneous rock. Convergent movement is when two plates
collide or "converge" producing magma in that way. What I presume Danny is
getting at is that there may be a large convergent movement without a
head-on collision, causing the pole or continent to move. However, though
this is conceptually a possibility (isn't everything!?), it has never
happened before on this planet (as far as anyone knows) and the odds of it
happening are tremendously infinitessimal.

P.S.: Just to clarify something, Hawaii is a bit of an anomaly. It was
--and is being-- formed by weaknesses in the seafloor which were
punctured under pressure. These punctures sent up spits of magma in
the form of pillow basalts which, in turn, created the Hawaiian
islands. The punctures still prove to be very active in Hawaii
judging by the high amount of volcanic activity...it is probable that
within the next million years there will be many more Hawaiian
islands...and more opportunities to trap future tourists! ;~)

E. Shaun Russell Poet, Musician, Atheist, Extropic Artist
==============================> Transhumanities editor for Homo Excelsior
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