Thursday, June 20, 2013

Great Unconformity as a new piece of support for Expanding Earth model

I wrote for some years ago to "Genes and Memes" a chapter entitled Expanding Earth model and Precambrian evolution of continents, climate and life . Single hypothesis - a sudden phase transition increasing the radius of Earth by a factor 2 natural in the many-sheeted space-time of TGD - explains Cambrian explosion in biology (a sudden emergence of huge number of life forms after very slow Precambrian evolution, and also provides a model for Precambrian evolution of continents, climate and life.

Already Darwin realized that the absence of fossils from Precambrian era is a deep problem for his theory and assumed that this is an artefact due to the incomplete fossil record. Fossils of Precambrian origin have been indeed found after Darwin's time but they are simple and very rare, and the conclusion is that Cambrian explosion meaning huge diversification was real. Two mysteries therefore remain. Why the development of life was so slow during Precambrian era? Why the diversification was so incredibly fast during Cambrian explosion? Various explanations have been proposed. Did the oxygen content of the atmosphere reach a critical value and lead to the diversification? Or did predation pose the evolutionary pressure making the pace of evolution dramatically faster?

In New Scientist geologists Robert Gaines and Shanan Peters describe a geological finding perhaps related to the Cambrian Explosion: the mysterious "Great Unconformity", which is a juxtaposition of two different types of rock of very different geological ages along a prominent surface of erosion. This surface represents a very long span of "missing" time. More than 1 billion years of geological record is missing in many places! From the figure of the Wikipedia article about Great Unconformity visible in Grand Canyon the thickness of the missing layer can be estimated to be about 12.6 km. Somehow before the Cambrian the uppermost rocks of the continents were stripped away exposing the underlying crystalline basement rocks. The cause of this gap remains a complete mystery so that we have three mysteries! Plus the mysteries related to the evolution of climate (problems of Snowball Earth model).

The authors suggest that the formation of Great Unconformity relates to the Cambrian explosion. Large scale erosion and chemical weathering of the the exposed crystalline rock caused mineralization of the sea water. The hypothesis is that this led to bio-mineralization: animal groups possessing mineral skeletons - such as silica shells and calcium carbonate shells - emerged. This hypothesis looks rather plausible but does not solve the three great mysteries.

The authors indeed leave open the question about the origin of Great Unconformity and of Cambrian explosion. The TGD based explanation of Cambrian explosion comes from the model realizing the old idea about Expanding Earth in terms of TGD inspired new physics. Already Wegener observed that continents can be fit together nicely and this led to the recent view about plate tectonics. Wegener's model however fits only "half" of the continent boundaries together. One could however do much better: the observation is that the continents would fit nicely to cover the entire surface of Earth if the radius of Earth were 1/2 of its recent value! Expanding Earth model postulates that the radius of Earth grows slowly. Geologists have not taken Expanding Earth model seriously: one good reason is that there is no physics allowing it.

TGD predicts this physics.

  1. At given sheet of the many-sheeted space-time cosmic expansion is predicted to take place as sudden phase transitions in which the size of some space-time sheet suddenly increases. By p-adic length scale hypothesis the preferred scaling factors are powers of 2 and the most favored scaling factor is just two. The proposal is that during the Precambrian era life resided in underground seas being thus shielded from meteor bombardment and cosmic rays. This explains the scarcity of the fossil records and the simplicity of the fossils found. The sudden phase transition was a very violent process increasing the area of the Earth's surface by a factor of 4. The area of continents is 29.1 per cent from the recent area of the Earth's surface - not too far from the naively predicted fraction 1/4.

  2. It is easy to imagine that the uppermost rocks of the continent covering the entire Earth were stripped away and correspond nowadays to 100 km thick continental tectonic plates consisting of mainly silicon and aluminium). This expansion created split first the topmost layer as continental plates and regions between them giving rise to oceans. The magma which was uncovered by the process cooled down and solidifed and the continued expansion gave rise to ocean plates with different composition (mainly silicon and magnesium).

  3. The expansion phase corresponds to criticality so that fractality of the expansion is expected. At least for continental plates this process could have been fractal occurring in various length scales characterizing the thickness and the area of the sub-plates generated in the process. p-Adic length scale hypothesis suggests that the scales involved should appear as powers of 21/2 or 2. Generation of Great Unconformity as a process in which the underlying crystalline basement rocks were uncovered could correspond to a splitting of a layer of the continental plates to pieces. The length scale characterizing the thickness is 12.6 km from the above estimate and with 1 per cent accuracy by a factor 1/8 shorter than 100 km length scale for tectonic plates. This conforms with p-adic fractality. If the process of expansion involved a cascade of scalings by factor 2, one can wonder whether it proceeded from long to short length scales or vice versa. In other words: did continental and oceanic tectonic plates form first and after than the smaller structures such as the Great Unconformity or vice versa?

  4. Note that the p-adic length scale L(237) corresponding p∼ 2237 is 88 km - ten per cent smaller than 100 km. Maybe thermal expansion could account the discrepancy if the original thickness was L(237). There is a nice fractal analogy with cell membrane. The p-adic length scale L(239) defined by the Gaussian Mersenne Mk,G=(1+i)k-1 , k=239- the first one after the Gaussian Mersenne M167,G defining the size of cell nucleus - equals 2× L(237). Remarkably, also M241,G is Gaussian Mersenne. What it interesting that the scale L(127)=88 km would be in the same relation to L(239) associated with Mk=239,G as the thickness L(149) of the lipid layer of cell membrane to the cell membrane thickness L(151) characterized by Gaussian Mersenne M151,G. The two kind tectonic plates (continental and oceanic) would be analogous to the lipid layers of cell membrane. Note that 88 km is rather precisely the thickness of the atmosphere above which begins ionosphere. The thickness of Kennelly–Heaviside layer inside which radiowaves used in terrestrial radio communications propagate, has thickness about 150 km which roughly corresponds to L(239). Also the fact Continental litosphere has typical thickness of 200 km (L(239)) whereas oceanic litosphere is 100 km thick (L(237)) fits nicely with the proposed formation mechanism of continental tectonic plates.

  5. The rapid expansion process could have also brought in daylight the underground seas and the highly developed life in them so that Cambrian diversification would have been only apparent. Skeptic can of course ask whether it is necessary to assume that life resided in underground seas during Precambrian era. Could just the violent geological process be enough to induce extremely fast diversification? This might of course be true.

  6. There is one further argument in favor of the Expanding Earth model. The fact that the solar constant was during proto Earth period only 73 per cent from its recent value, is a problem for the models of the very early evolution of life. If the radius of Earth was 1/2 of its recent value the duration of day and night was from conservation of angular momentum only 1/4:th of the recent value and thus 3 hours. This could have made the environment much more favorable for the evolution of life even at the surface of the Earth since the range for the temperature variation would have been much narrower.

This model relates also to the Snowball Earth model of Precambrian climate in an interesting manner. The reader interested in details should read the chapter Expanding Earth model and Precambrian evolution of continents, climate and life of "Genes and Memes".


At 9:20 PM, Blogger L. Edgar Otto said...

At 11:06 PM, Anonymous Matti Pitkanen said...

Thanks for the link. This is just the article that I am referring to.

By the way, I recalled some new puzzles that the Expanding Earth model (which follows from quantum variant for continuous cosmological expansion) solves.

*From angular momentum conservation the duration of day was 1/4:th 3 hours- before the expansion. This might resolve the old puzzle caused by the fact that the intensity of solar radiation was too low for life to develop: this by shortening the duration of night period during which cooling occurs.

*One can understand the emergence of gigantic animals and plants from the weakening of gravitation by factor 1/4.

Solving puzzles of biology, geology, climate evolution, and cosmology with single idea is nice but I have full reason to expect reactions of angry skeptics from four different disciplines! Maybe I have gone too far;-)!

At 5:59 AM, Anonymous Stephen Hurrell said...

That’s an interesting article. One of the interesting questions about the Expanding Earth theory is what was happening on the Precambrian Earth. Certainly the atmospheric density was great enough to allow water to form – but is this related to the Snowball Earth theory? Maybe. It certainly needs further study.

You should be ready for the angry sceptics. One professor of Geology has even been trying to convince people I am a creationist for simply supporting the Expanding Earth theory! So be ready for anything.

All the best.

Stephen Hurrell

At 6:36 AM, Anonymous Bill Erickson said...

Expansion, if it happened, would certainly have been related to, or caused by, mineral phase transitions in the mantle (e.g. spinel->olivine) on a global scale. Most EE proponents (e.g. Carey, Maxlow) favor gradual and more or less continuous expansion over time. However, a sudden phase transition in the mantle would conceivable cause the earth to expand very quickly in a relatively short period of time. This may have happened not only in the Precambrian, but also in the Mesozoic. Indeed, the marine geological evidence indicates that "continental displacement" leading to the current configuration of the continents was largely restricted to the Mesozoic, with very little displacement in the Cenozoic. (See Lester C. King, 1983). In other words, expansion wasn't a continuous process but occurred in discrete pulses. Episodic expansion might also explain the orogenic "revolutions," such as the Laramide in the late K and Eocene.

At 6:46 AM, Anonymous Bill Erickson said...

Critics who might dismiss this as impossible remind me of what my U of Arizona geology prof Peter J. Coney said, "If something happened, it's probably possible."

At 8:36 PM, Anonymous Matti Pitkanen said...

To Stephen Hurrell:

Whether the Earth was covered by water or not is certainly a key question. I am not able to answer this question. In the article I have assumed that there was no water or ice covering. I have also assumed water underground as a seat of life sheltered from cosmic rays and meteoric bombardment and that the relatively rapid increase of Earth radius brought these water reservoirs and life to daylight.

At 9:23 PM, Anonymous Matti PItkanen said...

To Bill Erickson:

The original argument assumes that the phase transition leading to the formation of tectonic plates began at precambrian era and continued after that: this conforms with Mesozoic as a period of expansion. I have proposed estimate for the duration of the transition using quantum critical cosmology unique apart from duration (time scale is short cosmologically but could be rather long geologically). I did not check whether the estimates are consistent with Mesozoic-option.

How the jumpwise cosmic expansion induced other processes is an interesting question. Cosmology provides an analogy. One have Einstein's equations which define the background space-time in which densities of various elementary particles obeying kinetic equations evolve. In principle both sides of the equation can be seen as driving the process.

Now the evolution of Earth in scales smaller than the size scale of Earth replaces this evolution. Does one have phase transition only at the space-time sheet of Earth? Or also at some smaller space-time sheets such as the layers of thickness of order 100 km as the argument of posting suggests (the phase transition leading to Great Unconformity)?

Do these phase transitions proceed from short to long scales or vice versa? The first option conforms with the identification as thermodynamical phase transitions beginning from a seed. Some phase transitions such as formation of quasicrystals cannot proceed in this manner (Penrose discussed this in his "Shadows of Mind"). This would suggest macroscopic quantum coherence and quantum criticality at relevant space-time sheets.

At 6:08 AM, Blogger jan peter de jong said...

Interesting. Since I know about the expanding earth theory I have been looking for more ideas that could confirm the theories of Peruvian Alfredo Gamarra. What did he say? Earth came from the sun and is now at the 365 days per year orbit, but has formerly been in orbits closer to the sun. The growth of the planet was with leaps, so with each orbit change earth also increased in mass and size. Not a gradual steady going on growth but, something as you say, a sudden phase change. He said it is a general mecanism that could be applied to other planets also. Also, a smaller solar constant would have been compensated by earth being closer to the sun. The sun is also an expanding celestial body, which could explain why it had less force in the past.

At 12:31 AM, Blogger Ulla said...

At 10:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Came by your blog as a hit while searching pre cambrian granodiorite
pluton's Antarctica.

Have been an expanded earth follower near 2 decades now.

Expanded Earth as stand alone brings the stone throwing by the mainstream,
plug Exp Earth into Electric Universe theory and the raging gets way louder.

Life could form and survive vs the pounding galactic radiations,
yet with the disclosure now of the large numeric of Brown Dwarf stars in the cosmos,
these may be Nursery worlds as forwarded at or Thunderbolts forum.

Saturn [Saturn Theory] Dwardu Cardona,
Saturn is viewed as a phase state changed L Type Brown Dwarf captured into our solar system.

Mars,Earth and possibly a 3rd cored world the original children of Saturn with their 20 something degree axial tilts to parent Saturn.
Inside the protective sheath of a Brown dwarf star....360 warmth,various light wave values,
which could explain the tropical poles as per fossils.

after release from Saturn to AU capture by our Sun,
Earths weather dramatically changed,
Poles exp freezing and ice building.

Our Earth at present and atmosphere pressures will just support a large Elephant.
Mr Dinosaur would fall to the ground and suffocate if it appeared in a wallmart parking lot: )


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