To geologists it is no longer a hypothesis. It is now a theory. Every Earth scientist believes it is true. Right? And what is “it”? What I'm talking about is the theory of sea-floor-spreading and plate tectonics.
As a result of a comprehensive review published late last year, sea floor spreading and its plate tectonics corollary are shown not to explain correctly the origin of our planet's ocean basins and continents. And what if the current “theory” is incorrect? If it proves to be wrong, a huge barrier is removed to the acceptance of the Cayce readings' story on the lost continents of Atlantis and Lemuria.
No longer will it be delusional to consider vertical crustal movements to explain the origin of Earth's ocean basins. “Elevator tectonics” will be in, and “shuffle-board” (plate) tectonics will be out, almost entirely. Although sea-floor spreading will still have a small place in geoscientists' understanding of certain aspects of the origin and maintenance of continents and ocean basins, the really big picture, of elevation of ocean floors and - to a lesser degree - continents will rest upon a model that is driven by mantle surges.
Geologists know, for example, that a global surge of Earth's mantle began in Mesozoic time. At its peak in the Cretaceous period, ocean floors in the Atlantic and Pacific were elevated above sea level. The resulting oceanic continents were full of volcanic terranes. The Mesozoic mantle-surge event was then followed by gradual cooling and collapse of the oceanic volcanic edifices.
To understand this radical departure in our understanding of mantle convective behavior, and its effects on Earth's crustal structures, we need to review briefly the current model of sea-floor spreading and plate tectonics.
Current Sea-Floor Spreading Hypothesis. As shown in Figure 1, geologists currently believe that thermal plumes of hot magma are semi-continuously moving upward beneath ridges found in all of the world's oceans. This semi-fluid basalt rock is exuded here and there along a ridge crest. The process forces sea-floor crustal plates on either side away from the ocean ridge and toward the continents. The continents may either be carried along by the adjacent sea floor, or the spreading sea floor may under-thrust a relatively immovable continent. See Figure 1 for examples of both hypothetical situations.
A given pulse of magma, over a relatively short distance along an ocean ridge, becomes magnetized when the semi-molten material cools below a specific temperature. Iron minerals in the basalt magma are then frozen in the rock and they point in the direction of the prevailing magnetic field. Geophysical survey methods can then used to detect whether the sea-floor rocks were magnetized in a normal geomagnetic field (like today's) or in a reversed field. Because Earth's magnetic field is moving and/or reversing through time, magnetic orientation directions of basalt exudations allow the sea-floor rock slabs be correlated with one another. This process results in a sort of “tape-recording” of the formation and movement of rock masses of the spreading sea floor - or so the hypothesis goes.
The crystallized rock of each new exudation then splits in two along an axis coinciding with the central valley of the ocean ridge. In Figure 2, two brown-colored slabs of newly crystallized, ocean-floor basalt are separated by a black line representing the central valley of a mid-ocean ridge.
The presence of magnetic stripes on the ocean floor has been thought to be prima facie evidence for sea-floor spreading, and the basis for the plate tectonics (PT) model of crustal motion. Note in the diagram that segments of magnetic stripes of the same age are confined on either end by transform faults that run perpendicular to the ocean ridge. It was assumed early-on in the development of the PT theory that striped segments of the same age were offset from one another due to different amounts of subsequent effusions of magma at the ridge crest. Larger effusions would push the plates farther apart than would smaller ones.
Here then, is an abbreviated description of the sea-floor-spreading and plate tectonics model for the dynamic behavior of the crust and underlying mantle. Most geologists have assumed this model correct for the last 25 years or so. Its acceptance by geoscientists has, quite naturally, caused great difficulty for those who want to accept the Cayce readings' story of Atlantis and Lemuria. How could there ever have been continents in the Atlantic or the Pacific oceans where there are now ocean floors? For doesn't all the evidence point to stability of the submerged ocean floors and to the basically horizontal movement of crustal plates the world over?
Now comes a convincing treatise on what may really be happening in the realm of global crust and upper-mantle dynamics. I will be basing the rest of this article on MacKenzie Keith's comprehensive examination of sea floor spreading and plate tectonics, published last fall.1 His paper has about 300 references and is the product of Keith's life of research and teaching in the field, laboratory, and classroom. Upon his death last year he was Emeritus Professor of Geochemistry at Pennsylvania State University.
Dr. Keith begins modestly by saying that although the essential features of the PT hypothesis are widely accepted, some aspects of the model are open to question. Quite simply, they conflict with known properties of Earth's materials and the global crust/mantle dynamic system. Keith's first objection is to the hypothesis that the plates are internally rigid. If a stress is applied to one side, it is transmitted to the opposite side with no deformation of the plate interior. But this is inconsistent with the results of experiments on rock strength and with the factors that govern the strength of large masses of rock over geologic time. Actually, large rock masses are weak, and they deform under the influence of heat.
Keith next states that there is a need to re-examine the hypothesis of upwelling of magma beneath the axis of an ocean ridge. Computer models of heat flow beneath ocean ridgesare based upon evidence of a wide plume of ascending molten basalt to produce the magma effusions along the ridge. But how, asks Keith, can broad plumes generate the narrow zone of axial ridge volcanism, the “knife-edge” separation of adjacent flow regimes on either side of a transform fault (see Fig. 2), and the unbelievable “overlapping spreading centers” advocated by some geologists?
Further questions are related to the concept of ocean floor spreading and the tape-recorder model for generating the oceanic magnetic stripes. Different rock chemical compositions are often found on opposite flanks of the ocean ridges. The rocks should be of the same composition if they come from the same magma effusion. And what of the failure to find the required narrow zone of crustal accretion, with the property of dividing neatly so that matching halves move to either side?
Keith now moves ahead with certainty to answer these questions. He asserts that no spreading is required to account for the observed sea-floor features. Instead, the oceanic magnetic stripes can be explained by narrowing of a formerly very wide mid-ocean volcanic zone and by consequent crestward migration of something he calls the “blocking temperature,” discussed below. He hypothesizes that a Mesozoic surge of mantle flow and volcanic- zone expansion that peaked in Cretaceous time (between 66 and 144 million years ago) produced a different “volcanic face” on Earth. Elevated ocean floors then began to collapse over millions of years, leading to the features we find today.
Finally, Keith postulates an alternative model of upper mantle flow to the current one. His conceptual model involves mantle upwelling beneath continents, flow of mantle from beneath continents to beneath oceans (for Atlantic Ocean type margins), and convergent sub-ocean mantle flowtoward the axes of mid-ocean ridges. He asserts that the mid-ocean ridges are principal boundaries of convection cells in the mantle. He then summarizes a wide variety of information in the rest of his review paper to conclude that “the weight of evidence clearly supports the alternative model [his model] and is contrary to the [sea-floor] spreading model of plate tectonics.”
How the Keith Model Works. We'll begin by considering what happens relative to the mid-Atlantic ridge (MAR) of the Atlantic Ocean in the vicinity of the now submerged Reykjanes Ridge south of Iceland. Instead of hot, plastic upper mantle material having flowed away from the mid-ocean ridge, as shown in Figure 1, it has flowed toward it and elevated the entire ocean floor, as shown in Figure 3.
I have taken the liberty on Figure 3 of labeling the emerged part of the Reykjanes Ridge “Atlantis.” There is truly no better name to use for this formerly elevated, now- submerged oceanic continent. For actual physical evidence that parts of the mid-Atlantic ridge were above water during recent time, see below.
To continue now to elucidate Keith's explanation of the origin of the magnetic stripes on the ocean floor, we quote from his p. 268, as follows.
“An essential feature of the proposed ocean ridge system is that all of the abnormal features that resulted from the Mesozoic surge of mantle flow: ...uplift of the ridge, accelerated volcanism, broadening of the active volcanic zone, were subject to gradual Mesozoic to Recent relaxation and retreat, toward a steady-state system, a predictable effect of the slowing of convective overturn and volcanism, and the gradual diminishing, via return-flow gyres, of the accumulated large volume of sub-ridge subduction mixtures. The age-denominated sequence of magnetic anomalies, conventionally attributed to sea-floor spreading, is proposed to result, instead, from gradual narrowing of the active volcanic zone.”
Magnetic Banding According to Keith's Cooling Model. Figure 4 may help to explain the above quote, as it applies specifically to magnetic banding. The basic idea is that a narrowing of the zone of mid-ocean ridge basalt volcanism (Fig. 4, reddish portions of bars) will be accompanied by crestward migration of the blocking temperature isotherm (Fig. 3). This is the temperature at which the magnetic minerals acquire remnant magnetism and thus record reversals of Earth's magnetic field.
Keith proposes that fracture zones and transform faults (see Fig. 2) are ocean-floor surface expressions of the boundaries of “convective rolls” in the underlying mantle. Such rolls are judged to be “the principal form of secondary convection within the upper boundary layer of sub-ridge mantle, a low-viscosity region estimated at 75-125 km thick....” (p. 240). Translating Keith's words for the non-geologist reader, imagine that the primary, heat-driven flow of the uppermost mantle is outward from beneath a continent like Africa, and toward the MAR. As the mantle moves there is subsequent heat loss in the oceanic region. In the downstream region of lateral flow and heat loss there is development of an upper mantle boundary layer that eventually becomes unstable and yields a regular pattern of upper mantle “rolls” aligned in the direction of principal flow. Boundaries that develop along each edge of a roll result in ocean floor fractures and transform faults. (A transform fault is merely a near-vertical surface over which one side slips past the other, but is unique in that the displacement suddenly stops or changes form).
To end his description of the formation of magnetic stripes on the sea-floor, Keith cites relevant laboratory, numerical modeling, and field measurements. He concludes by saying that the evidence is consistent with his proposed upper-mantle convergent flow and contrary to the plate tectonics model of mid-ocean upwelling and divergent flow.
To quote Keith on the implications of Figures 3 and 4, “the proposed ridge-cooling model of magnetic stripe formation does not involve spreading or continental splitting, and there are no implications regarding continental drift, except that the continents are presumed to be floating in the mantle, each focusing one or more upwelling plumes, and free to move in response to changes in the global [mantle] convection pattern. The principal continental drift will be related to mantle surge episodes, and there will be a strong tendency for continents to re-establish their separate positions as part of a return to a steady-state flow regime.”
Keith's Hypothetical Model of Proposed Mid-Ocean Ridge Dynamics and Structure. Keith proposes a structure for a mid-ocean ridge tosatisfy geophysical observations and his intuition about how, dynamically, the ocean-floor crust and underlying mantle behave. He calls this structure a “flexload syncline.” A syncline is simply a fold in Earth's rocks, the core of which contains younger material and which is generally concave upward. The adjective flexload is used to emphasize the effects of gravity-produced flexure on the crustal stress regime. In his proposed ocean-ridge model, the structure of the crestal zone is attributed mainly to gravitational deformation that results from two types of loading: crestward-increasing volcanic loading and downward increasing densification. Keith cites evidence that major flexload sinking “is not restricted to the near-axial zone but is broadly effective beneath the ridge flanks and formerly extended over the full width of Mesozoic to Early Tertiary ocean ridges.”
What will a cross-section diagram of a mid-ocean ridge structure look like for Keith's crustal-collapse-under-cooling model? Figure 5 gives us the picture.
Incidental, almost, to Keith's efforts to buttress one of his points about a former emergent continent in the Atlantic ocean is the material that he summarizes on former shallow water or emergent sites sampled by the Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP). The sampling sites are currently underwater in the region of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR). Locations for three of these sites (Keith, 2001, Table 1) are shown by large red dots on Figure 6, a relief map of the Azores region we have used in previous articles on THC's website. The red dots are rather large because, while the sampling coordinates that are listed give degrees north latitude, they do not give degrees west longitude. It is understood, however, that the samples were taken in the vicinity of the MAR axial valley, clearly visible on Figure 6.
Here's what was found at point A, at a depth of 12,802 ft: highly vesicular basalt, weathered and oxidized basalt, and a major gap in the basal sedimentary section that indicates subaerial erosion. At site B, at a depth of 12,440 ft, basaltic pebbles and weathered and oxidized basalt were found. And at site C, in 12,313 ft of water, once again basaltic pebbles and weathered and oxidized basalt were found. All of the above findings are strong indicators of a formerly emerged MAR. And they suggest that this volcanic terrain has sunk a minimum of 12,300 ft since being exposed to the atmosphere. Note that Keith's Table 1 lists six additional MAR sampling sites-to the south of those plotted on our Figure 6 and on down to the equator. Two of these sampling sites show ridge tops flattened by wave erosion, one revealed Tertiary-age shallow water sediment, and another revealed Cretaceous-age shallow water sediment. A final, rather startling finding consists of canyons and a trellis drainage system, quite possibly formed subaerially at a depth greater than 9800 ft. The MAR location is between 26° and 27°N.
As quoted from Keith (p. 266), additional evidence of former exposure of the MAR consists of
“...extensive denudation of oceanic crust [and] development of deep canyons and trellis drainage patterns along fault scarps of the MAR (Tucholke et al., 1997). Tucholke et al. attributed the modified topography to sub-ocean mass wasting but erosional features ... out to about 300 km [185 miles] from the axis, favor Recent subaerial exposure and erosion of the ridge crest. Former broader subaerial exposure, and progressive subsidence, is indicated by borehole intersections at off-axis sites....The stratigraphy of those borehole sections provides evidence of broad exposure of the ridge followed by ridge subsidence, [and] narrowing of the active....” (Keith, p. 266).
To illustrate the above process in map view, we have modified Keith's Figure 9 and turned it into our Figure 7.
Figure 7 shows four map views of a northern portion of the narrowing active volcanic zone of the slowly cooling, contracting, and sinking oceanic continent called here “Atlantis.” The two outermost bands of the 78 Ma panel are not seen in panel Ma 55. This is because, over the 23 million years between 78 Ma and 55 Ma, the trailing edges of the crestward cooling mantle and crust have fallen below the blocking temperature. These trailing edges have moved progressively to become the outer edges of the volcanic zone at 55 Ma. In the process, the formerly plastic rocks of the outermost bands of Figure 7, panel 78 Ma, have crystallized and locked-in the magnetic orientations of their contained ferromagnetic minerals. This gives rise to the type of ocean-floor stripes shown in Figure 2.
To appreciate this process in vertical cross-section view, refer to Figure 3. Here one finds four snapshots through time of a cross-section of the western half of the continent. Panel 38 Ma on Figure 3 corresponds roughly to panel 35 Ma on Figure 7. The movement of the blocking temperature isotherm B on Figure 3 relates roughly to the trailing edge of the western red band on panel M 35 of Fig. 7. Note that the highly schematized representations of the changes in the continent in Figures 3 and 7 cannot capture all natural variations in land-sea relationships. Thus, panels 16 Ma and 2 Ma in Figure 3 show a completely submerged surface of “Atlantis,” and the MAR has narrowed greatly to a narrow band in panel Ma 8 of Fig. 7. The response of rock masses to the contracting oceanic crust and uppermost mantle is not quite that straightforward, however. One can assume that local elevations of the sea floor to above-sea-level positions would have survived generalized continental sinking in some places, remaining there much longer than indicated by the diagrams. Thus, the Poseidonis of Zhirov's research (Fig. 6) and the Poseidia of the Cayce readings could well have existed above sea level until as late as
This article would be too long if I were to go into any more of the aspects of the professor's marvelous analytical piece of work. The evidence for emergence of Lemuria will be dealt with in a separate article. Keith's application of the results of his literature review to continental rifts and their associations with oceanic rifts, to oceanic island-chain dynamics in the Pacific, and to a number of other important topics like hotspots must also be deferred.
Suffice it to say that Keith believed that the essence of his proposed global model “is that oceanic crust is a principal reservoir and that selective recycling of its components is a counter to weathering and riverine [sediment] transport from continent to ocean, and a key process in the self-regulating Earth system” (p. 282). He has little to say about the forces that drove the Mesozoic mantle surge, other than to say that there is a strong possibility that it may have been triggered by a cluster of meteorite impacts in the western equatorial Pacific. These impacts may have reactivated lower mantle, during a surge-promoted change from layered to whole-mantle convection. Deep “roll-margin” mantle recycling associated with the proposed impact-triggered change from layered to whole-mantle convection, and resultant mantle surge is deduced to have formed a range of mixtures that apparently constituted a source of
What The Readings Say. Three reading fragments describe the extent of Atlantis, beginning around 10 million years ago and then down through time to the days of Amilius, which “time” may have begun some 200,000 years ago.
Describe the earth's surface at the period of the appearance of the five projections.
A This has been given. In the first, or that known as the beginning, or in the Caucasian and Carpathian, or the Garden of Eden, in that land which lies now much in the desert, yet much in mountain and much in the rolling lands there. The extreme northern portions were then the southern portions, or the polar regions were then turned to where they occupied more of the tropical and semi-tropical regions; hence it would be hard to discern or disseminate the change. The Nile entered into the Atlantic Ocean. What is now the Sahara was an inhabited land and very fertile. What is now the central portion of this country, or the Mississippi basin, was then all in the ocean; only the plateau was existent, or the regions that are now portions of Nevada, Utah and Arizona formed the greater part of what we know as the United States.
That along the Atlantic board formed the outer portion then, or the lowlands of Atlantis. The Andean, or the Pacific coast of South America, occupied then the extreme western portion of Lemuria. The Urals and the northern regions of same were turned into a tropical land. The desert in the Mongolian land was then the fertile portion. This may enable you to form SOME concept of the status of the earth's representations at that time! The oceans were then turned about; they no longer bear their names, yet from whence obtained they their names? What is the legend, even, as to their names?364-13; November 17, 1932
The position as the continent of Atlantis occupied, is that as between the Gulf of Mexico on the one hand - and the Mediterranean upon the other. Evidences of this lost civilization are to be found in the Pyrenees and Morocco on the one hand, British Honduras, Yucatan and America upon the other. There are some protruding portions within this that must have at one time or another been a portion of this great continent. The British West Indies or the Bahamas, and a portion of same that may be seen in the present - if the geological survey would be made in some of these especially, or notably, in Bimini and in the Gulf Stream through this vicinity, these may be even yet determined.
364-3; February 16, 1932
Q How large was Atlantis during the time of Amilius? [Perhaps beginning roughly 200,000 years ago].
A Comparison, that of Europe including Asia in Europe - not Asia, but Asia in Europe - see? This composed, as seen, in or after the first of the destructions, that which would be termed now - with the present position - the southernmost portion of same - islands as created by those of the first (as man would call) volcanic or eruptive forces brought into play in the destruction of same.
Q Was Atlantis one large continent, or a group of large islands?
A Would it not be well to read just that given? Why confuse in the questionings? As has been given, what would be considered one large continent, until the first eruptions brought those changes - from what would now, with the present position of the earth in its rotation, or movements about its sun, through space, about Arcturus, about the Pleiades, that of a whole or one continent. Then with the breaking up, producing more of the nature of large islands, with the intervening canals or ravines, gulfs, bays or streams, as came from the various ELEMENTAL forces that were set in motion by this CHARGING - as it were - OF the forces that were collected as the basis for those elements that would produce destructive forces, as might be placed in various quarters or gathering places of those beasts, or the periods when the larger animals roved the earth - WITH that period of man's indwelling.364-6; February 17, 1932
Another reading describes the approaching emergence of part of Atlantis. This could result from a several-degree (10° or so?) pole shift, and /or the beginning of a new mantle surge.
It would be well if this entity were to seek either of the three phases of the ways and means in which these records of the activities of individuals were preserved - the one in the Atlantean land, that sank, which will rise and is rising again....
2012-1; September 25, 1939
Refer to Figure 6 for our inferred location of the temple of records preserved in the Atlantean land.
Now if a new mantle surge is to begin - and it would begin very slowly from our time perspective - then the following reading might be relevant. The “fire” in this reading fragment would refer to the volcanic activity associated with a new mantle surge. Extensive worldwide volcanism might include huge exudations of flood basalts on land, reminiscent of the Deccan traps in India, the flood basalts of the Pacific Northwest, and the Siberian traps.
Will this entity see such again (the Deluge) occur in the Earth? Will it be among those who may be given those directions as to how, where, the elect may be preserved for the replenishing again of the Earth?
Remember, not by water - for it is the mother of life in the Earth - but rather by the elements, fire.
3653-1; January 7, 1944
Three more readings relate clearly to the part of Keith's model that deals with the cooling, narrowing, and collapse of the edifice we call Atlantis. One of the events cited, however, has a human origin. This was the man-made eruption that caused a part of the, by then, narrowed volcanic ridge (the MAR) to go “into the depths,” some 19,400 years ago. Table 1 provides a summary of all of the geophysically related dates that I could find for the demise of Atlantis.
Table 1. Dates of Important Geophysical Events
(Events from various related scientific studies are in italics)
In addition, several readings provide undated references to “the period of the second destruction.” These are readings 5096-1, 2344-1, 3022-1, 2987-1, 2390-1, 2157-1, 1610-1, and 268-3. I do not think that this period is the same as the period of the “second of the eruptions.” The second destruction is probably the one at 19,400 B.P., but this needs further research. The third, or final destruction is said to have been “nearly ten thousand years before the Prince of Peace came.” (288-1) This makes the final destruction roughly 11,900 B.P., assuming that “nearly” equates to roughly 100 years.
Comparing The Relationships. It's difficult to know how well the readings' story of Atlantis compares to Keith's model of an emergent MAR called Atlantis and its final destruction after about 78 million years of existence. Figure 7, for example, shows (bottom panel) that 78 million years ago (“78 Ma”) Atlantis could have conformed reasonably well to the description of it given in readings 364-3 and 364-13. But a very narrow linear strip of the MAR, perhaps bulging outward as the strip trended toward Iceland, would have to satisfy as Atlantis, per reading 364-6. It is impossible to say much more on this subject in view of the lack of more definitive information from the readings.
Important information missing from the readings would provide data on the extent and shape of Atlantis at various moments in time. And each of those moments would need to be related to the various phases of the history of the Atlantean civilization. All of these things will become much clearer once the records of the history of Atlantis are recovered from the three repositories for such information mentioned in the readings. The locations of these records - according to the readings and to our interpretations of them - can be found in our article entitled, "LOCATIONS OF THE RECORDS OF THE ATLANTEAN CIVILIZATION AND ITS FIRESTONE" on this site.