See first article in this series: https://larryemarshall.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/rationale-for-a-young-age-earth-yae/
The scientific revolution in the Earth sciences that unfolded during the decade of the 1960s established the plate tectonics paradigm as the reigning framework for explaining not only present day geophysical processes but also the large-scale geological changes that are thought to have occurred in the past.
While this scientific revolution correctly recognized many important aspects of the Earth’s dynamics and how near surface processes are coupled to phenomena in the Earth’s deeper interior, the prevailing uniformitarian mindset prevented the revolution from reaching its logical end, that Earth had experienced a major tectonic catastrophe in its recent past.
The development of sonar technology that helped to develop and detect and track submarines during World War II has provided the means to map the topography of the ocean bottom at high resolution for the first time. With further development of 3-Dimensional X-Ray topography, fascinating changes in how we look at the continents have come about.
(Here we can see on the West side of Florida a wide expanse of the continental shelf narrowing as it gets to the Mississippi delta and getting even narrower as he winds around the west of the gulf of Mexico becoming almost a deep drop off. Then it starts to widen as it goes around the Yucatan peninsula and then once more becomes a deep drop off as it heads south. Part way down the coast a deep trench goes up and meanders towards the middle of Cuba with another section of a trench going out at about a 45 degree angle to the East end of the island.)
Not only did accurately determining the margins of continental shelves reveal the striking jigsaw puzzle fit of North and South America with Europe and Africa,1 but the global mid-ocean ridge system, running like a baseball seam some 37,300 miles around the Earth, was unveiled.2 This jigsaw effect leads some credence to the original idea of the giant landform known as Pangaea. (
This ridge system, representing a long chain of mountains on the ocean bottom, contained topography some 1 1/4 miles higher than the ocean’s abyssal plains.3
(This is a cross-sectional view representing what the Gulf of Mexico image and the World image below would look like. It displays all of the features shown in the cross-sections but does not represent any particular real spot on the maps. Some of the features will be mentioned later on so you should familiarize yourself with the image.)
Moreover, its axis displayed curious lateral jumps that came to be known as fracture zones[.4,5,6] As technology became available to measure heat flow from the ocean bottom, it was found that exceptionally high values of heat flow occurred along the axis of the mid-ocean ridge system.7
One can make a logical inference that the elevated topography of the ridge was a consequence of higher temperatures and hence lower densities in the rock beneath. We will get into that further on another posting: https://iamnotanatheist.wordpress.com/2015/11/16/earths-magnetic-field/
For now we will concentrate on more general concepts at this point in time.
Geologists identify various processes by which the face of the Earth is being and has been shaped. These processes may be placed into five groups:
- Erosion, weathering and sedimentation.
- Impact cratering.
- Surface fracturing and distortion.
- Mountain-building, plate tectonics and continental drift.
At this point I am going to ask that you click on the link below to go to the following page which will discuss the above 5 items in more detail:
If you have just returned from the other page on the similarities of the geographic features of other planets then you are ready to continue after this paragraph summary of that page. If you haven’t read the page, then the following summary will probably not make sense to you.
At the bottom end of the scale we have plate tectonics, which is believed to be evidenced by continental drift and mountain-building by folding. It is the least understood of the 5 categories (mainly because we do not see much evidence of it). If continents are moving slowly in the directions suggested, the forces required are absolutely immense; volcanic forces being trivial by comparison. No satisfactory explanation for the source of such forces has yet been provided. But it should also be noted that scientists are far from unanimous about whether it is really happening. Actual observational evidence is highly ambiguous, and a growing number of scientists are rejecting the whole concept of continental drift.
- Heezen, B.C., Tharp, M. and Ewing, M., The floors of the oceans, 1, the North Atlantic, Geol. Soc. Amer. Spec. Pap. 65, 122pp, 1959
- Heezen, B.C., The rift in the ocean floor, Sci. Amer. 203:98–110, 1960
- Heezen, B.C. and Ewing, M., The mid-oceanic ridge; in: Hill, M.N. (Ed.), The Sea, 3, Wiley-Interscience, New York, pp. 388–410, 1963
- Menard, H.W. and Dietz, R.S., Mendicino submarine escarpment, J. Geol. 60:266–278, 1952.
- Vacquier, V., Measurement of horizontal displacement along faults in the ocean floor, Nature 183:452–453, 1959.
- Menard, H.W., Fracture zones and offsets of the East Pacific Rise, J. Geophys. Res. 71:682–685, 1966.
- Sclater, J.G. and Francheteau, J., The implications of terrestrial heat flow observations on current tectonic and geochemical models of the crust and upper mantle of the Earth, Roy. Astron. Soc. Geophys. J. 20:509–537, 1970.
- Snelling, A.A., What about continental drift? Have the continents really moved apart?, Creation 6(2):14–16; Wieland, C., Snelling, A.A., Has continental drift been measured?, Creation 9(3):15–18.