Skip to comments.Earth Is Undergoing True Polar Wander, Scientists Say
Posted on 10/03/2012 3:31:34 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
Scientists based in Germany and Norway today published new results about a geophysical theory known as true polar wander. That is a drifting of Earth's solid exterior -- an actual change in latitude for some land masses -- relative to our planet's rotation axis. These scientists used hotspots in Earth's mantle as part of a computer model, which they say is accurate for the past 120 million years, to identify four possible instances of true polar wander in the past. And, they say, true polar wander is happening now...
The scientists -- including Pavel V. Doubrovine and Trond H. Torsvik of the University of Oslo, and Bernhard Steinberger of the Helmholtz Center in Potsdam, Germany -- established what they believe is a stable reference frame for tracking true polar wander. Based on this reference frame, they say that twice -- from 90 to 40 million years ago -- the solid Earth traveled back and forth by nearly 9 degrees with respect to our planet's axis of rotation. What's more, for the past 40 million years, the Earth's solid outer layers have been slowly rotating at a rate of 0.2 degrees every million years, according to these scientists...
The theory suggests that if an object of sufficient weight on Earth -- for example, a supersized volcano or other weighty land mass -- formed far from Earth's equator, the force of Earth's rotation would gradually pull the object away from the axis around which Earth spins. A supersized volcano far from Earth's equator would create an imbalance, in other words.
(Excerpt) Read more at earthsky.org ...
What would that do to communications satellites (GPS) placed in geosychronous orbits? Are they “smart” enough to automatically update their relative polar and equatorial positioning offsets?
Yeah, and the continents are shifting, and the poles are moving around, and the moon is moving away from us 1.5 inches per year and the sun is going to burn out in 4.5 billion years and Bush is to blame for it all.
Otherwise we are doomed.
Magnetic North has been shifting for years. airport runways have to be re designated due to this shift. search north pole shift for related articles. jmho.
It would follow that in places where the earth's crust is thinner ‘hot spots’ would occur and that is what the authors were tracking and extrapolating from those past ‘hot spot’ tracks. It appears the authors are claiming better confirmation rather than any new theory.
I agree with the sentiment you express, assuming we can accurately predict long term behavior of a non-linear system with multiple inputs we don't even know yet is pure hubris.
However, this article isn't about weather. It's about the earths crust moving about. That this could happen was theorized about it the 1950s by a guy named Charles Hapgood; as he put it the crust can move about the core of the earth like the loose skin of an orange being able to move around while the inner orange remained stationary. Einstein bought into it enough to write the intro to Hapgood's book so it's not (on the surface) a nutty idea. He was inspired in part by the famous old Piri Reis map from the 1500s and likely based on much older sources. He claimed this map accurately showed the coast of Antarctica which is currently buried under miles of ice and only recently was mapped by us using radar and the like. He came to the idea that Antarctica must have been at a warmer latitude at some point for man to have been able to observe that coast without ice and map it. He thought that was about 10,000 years ago. I think he also suggested that the pole shift was rapid and probably responsible for cataclysmic events like the global floods described in numerous ancient texts.
Modern analysis of ice cores shows that can't have been true, Antarctica wasn't ice free 10,000 years ago at all. Furthermore, the theory of plate tectonics came to dominate and it seems most dismissed the idea that polar shifts and plate tectonics can both happen. Basically I had thought Hapgood's theory was considered quackery by scientists, so I'm surprised to see some reputable ones now saying it actually does happen. Of course they are saying it happens much, much more slowly.
the Earth and Universe are not that old...
a recent catastrophic Biblical worldwide flood caused a magnetic shift...
Kinda like the one Dr. Walt Brown describes in the hydroplate theory.
I was joking.
No wonder my compass needle wobbles back and forth when it’s pointing north. North keeps moving around............../s
Right, about climate change. Which isn’t what the article is about.
No they would have to be repositioned manually by personnel at the ground station. I used to part of a USAF unit that was “flying” a geosynch bird.
The question would be, do they have enough fuel. Think spray cans. When they’re all out of propellant, they’re done.
The reason being that the model has never actually been tested. It might be valid, it might not be.
Often such models state what appears to be a an impressive time period over-which it has been successfully applied. However, if there are only ten data points that are being matched against the model over a 100,000 million year period, it is still just a model based on ten data points. And one should always raise an eyebrow at a 100,000 million year old data point's accuracy. How does one accurately separate plate tectonics from polar wander? Of the inner core, outer core, mantle, and crust which do we use for our reference? There is no master surveying stake to refer to, when everything is moving.
Ah, I can foresee a new Cause célèbre for “Progressives” when anthropogenic global warming finally collapses! “True Polar Wander: We’re all doomed unless we take DRASTIC action NOW to IMMEDIATELY halt true polar wander in its tracks!” First, we must stop consuming Mother Earth’s resources, and second, we must redistribute trillions of dollars of ill-gotten gains from Western economies to down-trodden, have-not “countries” such as Nauru, Tuvalu, Andorra, and Palau. That should stop true polar wander, right? Right?
(In the mean time, Mongo say, “Fracking bad.”)
Actually to start evening things up, they’re going to make us drive on the left side on MWF and on the right side on TTS. On Sunday morning, left side; on Sunday afternoon, right side.
It’s only reasonable.
Good one! The satellites will wobble just a bit (they do that anyway, it’s an n-body thing) as the Earth shifts, and barring a big shift, remain in their geostationary orbits.
Charles Hapgood talked about this back in the 50’s and 60’s - “Earth’s Shifting Crust: A Key to Some Basic Problems of Earth Science” and “Paths of the Pole”. He argued that the weight of the polar ice caps could cause sudden, catastrophic polar shifts.
If everyone in the western hemisphere pointed their car north and the eastern south and they all punched it at the exact same time could we rectify this? Or more importantly could we move my house a little further south? The winters can be kinda cold.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.