Author Topic: NCGT 2016 OROGENESIS + PLATES  (Read 177 times)


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New Concepts in Global Tectonics Journal, V. 4, No. 4, December 2016.

The Earth as I found it, Part 3, Charles Warren Hunt.....535

Mobile plate tectonics: a confrontation, Peter M. James.....537

Counterclockwise rotation of Australia revisited, Karsten M. Storetvedt.....540

Late Permian coal formation under Boreal conditions along the shores of the Mongol-Tranbaikalian seaway, Per Michaelsen...615

A history of the Earth’s seawater: transgressions and regressions, Karsten M. Storetvedt.....664

The Earth as I have found it, part 3
y letter to the Editor, v. 4, n. 2, discussed 1000 feet of core that I recovered from a corehole drilled in the Palliser River Valley, south of Banff townsite in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. I closed stating that the core should be available for inspection at a BC government core storage facility. Subsequently, thinking I should give the reader a more specific direction, I tried to find the core by enquiry; but had no success at all. The core must therefore, be presumed lost. To make up for its lack I provide here a field reference where a large exposure of injectite rock can be studied.
Injectite rock is exposed on the northern plunge of the Canadian Rocky Mountains between the Pine and Peace Rivers in British Columbia. The oil rights to the area had been acquired by the company of a prominent geologist and friend of mine, John Frey, and as there was no published information on the area in 1974 when he acquired the rights, I was engaged to map the geology in the field, using pack horses for access. That was over 40 years ago.
The topographic apex of the mountains is expressed in Paleozoic strata of Mississippian age, which plunge northward under younger strata. Between the Pine River and the Carbondale Rivers, (the latter a tributary of Peace River) bedded Mississippian strata arch over the plunging nose of the mountains. Beneath these bedded limestones the rock looks like massive carbonate in texture, but with only the vaguest of layering. Contact with Devonian strata is absent. This absence puzzled me at the time, as did the absence of clear bedding planes. However, with no possible alternative interpretation, I mapped the rock as massive Mississippian carbonates, vaguely bedded and without evidence of porosity.
I recommend this area for study in substitution for my “lost” core. These exposures are undoubtedly injectite rock. Petrophysical study is in order and should yield insights into the nature of injectite petrology.
The general case for mountain building by injections of metal hydrides from the mantle
In a letter to the editor of the NCGT Journal v. 4, n 2, I made an initial point that metal hydrides, fluid hydrogen-impregnated metal acting as a gas escapes from the mantle through a crack in the crust followed by hydrogen degassing and instantaneous deposition of rock-forming minerals. I made the point that a new form of rock was thusly created, and I called it “injectite” rock, a new concept in the creation of rock.
In a second letter to the editor of the NCGT Journal v. 4, n.3 I made a point to allay skepticism as to the possible existence of such a “crack in the crust.” Describing a well-known and much studied example comprising reefs of Devonian age in the nearby Alberta prairie. I made the point that such a crack and leakage of mantle material through it actually happened in Devonian time. The evidence is well preserved and much studied for its relevance to oil production. This event of “injectite” rock formation happening in Devonian time and involving only Devonian formations provides the reader as well as this writer a clear introduction to the injectite phenomenon.
Although the Canadian Rockies have long been considered sedimentary in nature, their strata are dated from Cambrian to early Tertiary ages. Now injectites of two forms must be recognized as part of mountain and prairie makeup: 1. the dolostone as seen in my core, and 2. the pure magnesite with base metal oxide inclusions of the Mt. Brusellof mine (Described in NCGT Journals v. 4, n. 2 and v. 4, n. 3 as injectites); the dolostone of my corehole and the ores of the Mt. Brusellof magnesite mine both were raised in Tertiary times with elevation of the mountains, whereas the injectites under the Alberta prairie were not involved in mountain building. Thus, injectite rock may be installed without followup mountain building.
In prairie and mountain circumstances alike it appears logical to me that dynamic injection of fluid metal hydrides through a crack in the crust followed by pressure drop, degassing of hydrogen, and instant deposition of injectite rock fully explain such events. Instantaneously deposited rock would first take the form of a “keel” along the length of the mountain range. A keel would impede further upward injectite deposition. With progress blocked or choked off, new injectite gas would be forced either to flow laterally,

sill-like, or open a new upward channel. The lateral option could spread the gaseous injectite as a thin layer, “underplating” the chamber of deposition, in the process. Repeated underplating could raise the terrain.
From this insight, unlimited additions to the upper crust may be visualized. New fluid entering would most easily spread laterally in successive injections, each one blocking previous injections. Successive injective events would define a repetitious process of injectite emplacement and consequent mountain growth by “layered underplating.” This phenomenon may also explain high plateaus, the Tibetan and central Andean plateaus notably. The latter raised an entire arm of the ocean more than two miles above sea level, creating Lake Titicaca with its marine wildlife and vegetation. In these cases the injections must have been very fluid and spread sill-like before abruptly degassing and turning to solid rock, thus raising their host terrain and leaving it centrally depressed.
Without understanding the origin and essential creation of injectite rock and the essential contribution it makes to all mountain and plateau building worldwide, analysis of orogenesis has been an exercise in futility. May these insights give welcome relief.
Charles Warren Hunt
10 October 2016
Postscript: It never crossed my mind when I looked at a core of what became "injectite rock" and its association with a base metal mine, both of them out-of-place according to convention in our day could lead to new fundamental geological understanding. But so it does!

New Concepts in Global Tectonics Journal, V. 4, No. 4, December 2016.

Mobile plate tectonics: a confrontation
Criticism of mobile plate tectonics over the past four or five decades has had little, if any, effect on the development of and the growing hegemony of the mobilist model. The reasons for this are no doubt related to the fact that the mechanisms involved are still of unknown magnitude and often acting at unknown depths. There is also the fact that mobilism admits that its fundamental hypotheses are often still in the process of transmutation. It is harder to hit a moving target, particularly when the long established observational processes of geology are excluded. Or, as the Tarlings in their book Continental Drift (Penguin) put it: "Future research will prove all of the mobile plate tectonic assumptions to be correct". A brave statement when the role of science does not to include the prediction of the favourable outcomes for future research; that belongs to faith.
Despite the intrinsic unknowns in what is now referred to as a paradigm, it is still instructive to look critically at some of the mobilist mechanisms – those, anyway, that can be reasonably quantified - and it is also instructive to make some assessment of assumptions/mechanisms that cannot be quantified. Here goes:-
Lithospheric Plates. These, the building blocks for the various roles of mobile plate tectonics, are defined as part of an upper rigid layer of the Earth, which has been broken into various units that move relative to each other. The depth of the plates is not yet clearly specified. More importantly, at the upper level the presence of the Moho is typically ignored - a surprising omission in an earth science discipline, since the Moho represents a discontinuity separating the brittle and heterogeneous Earth's crust from the underlying more plastic lithosphere/asthenosphere. Different reactions to stress will occur above and below the Moho but mobile plate tectonics avoids this by the questionable ad hoc assumption that a lithospheric plate has an indestructible similitude, from the Earth's surface down to the plate's uncertain depth.
Regarding the horizontal permanency of a lithospheric plate, reference should be made to historical seismic studies by Nick Ambraseys, at Imperial College (1975). These revealed that, in Biblical times, the major earthquake alignment in the Middle East was not where it lies today. (The change in location cannot be explained by drift. In 2,000 years, drift might account for a shift of no more than 40 or 50 metres, obviously far too small to be registered by historical seismic studies.) Thus, if mobile plate tectonics had been available in Biblical times, we would no doubt have defined at least one (indestructible) plate as being broken in a different location from today's (indestructible) plate.
Let us proceed to some of the functions of the lithospheric plates.
Subduction. Subduction, an integral component of the mobile plate tectonics model, is said to be the result of the following forces:
• Thermally elevated ridge push, at the mid-oceanic ridge end. A value of the order of 1 x 104 kPa has been proposed for ridge push. This is about an order of magnitude less than the frictional resistance to push that would be available at the Moho. So ridge push is not going to push the Earth's crust anywhere. As a near surface phenomenon, it is even less likely to push a thicker unit.
• Trench pull is assumed at the forefront of the subduction zone. A similar value to ridge push has been proposed, but here trench pull runs into a different problem. The Earth's crust is not a thick steel slab nor even reinforced concrete, but is brittle and is transected by faults and major joints. Such discontinuities would be the first things to undergo failure if any significant suction or pull were to be applied to the frontal lobe. Which is tantamount to saying that the trench pull would lose its grip. There is more to it.
• Firstly, subduction glosses over the effects of uplift that would necessarily develop when lighter crustal material becomes immersed in a more dense lithospheric or asthenospheric material. Simple calculation shows that it would not be long before the uplift factor would overcome the alleged trench pull – that is, if the crust remained intact.
• What is left, then, is only the alleged downward convection force, although there is no solid evidence that such a phenomenon exists. Even supposing there is convection drag, there would most certainly be resistance to it at the location of subduction, resistance in the form of friction acting on upper face of the crust being subducted. After all, the super incumbent continental crust at a point of subduction cannot be expected to just open its mouth and swallow the approaching oceanic crust - along with any sea mounts, abyssal sediments, et al. This frictional resistance to subduction would have much the same value as any downward convection force acting as a frictional drag on the base of the crust.

What is left is a hypothetical convection drag acting along the horizontal distance between the mid-oceanic ridge and the point of subduction. If this drag was of sufficient force to produce movement of the plate, it would be more likely to cause an overthrust at any surface obstruction, but there is no evidence of any such overthrusting.
There is still more to come. In 1972, the Meyerhoffs listed a number of inconsistencies in the subduction model, one being that the Kermadec-Tonga Trench virtually bisects New Zealand, but the geosynclinal sedimentation is continuous right across this zone. The Meyerhoffs also pointed out that India was always part of Asia. The writer cannot comment on this but could mention that one of the original continental drifters, Prof. Warren Carey of Tasmania, once drew attention on the ABC to the fact that the large reptiles had always been able to walk (albeit intermittently) from India to Asia - an impossible task if several thousand kilometres of ocean separated the two continents. Kasfli (1992) refers to detailed mapping of the Zagros Crush Zone bordering Iran, concluding "there is nothing known from the geological record to suggest a former separation between Arabia and Africa to the south, and central Eurasia to the north". Finally, Lowman (1985) showed that – despite the evidence for sea floor spreading – hot spot trails in Africa indicate that the African continent has not moved with respect to the Mantle for possibly 300 million years.
In the Molucca Sea, between Mindanao and north east Sulawesi, there is an interesting pattern: a north-south line of shallow earthquakes with, on each side of the line, a pattern of deeper events dipping in opposite directions. That is, on mobilist grounds, this would have to be seen as subduction in two directions, from a point source! Such a situation does not bear explanation, even from the most apologetic mobilist.
So how did the idea of subduction come about in the first place? One of the original temptations that led to the concept came from the pattern of earthquakes as found mainly in the Pacific. Earthquake events were shallowest near to an oceanic trench and then descended to the steepening Watadi-Benioff Zones, ending up with a vertical orientation in the Upper Mantle, 500 – 700 km depth. A pattern of downward progression certainly looks convincing at first sight. But there was a fly in the ointment. In the early 1960s Claude Blot, a French Geophysicist in the South West Pacific, discovered that the migration of seismic energy in the above pattern was not one of downwards progression - as would be the case with subduction - but was an upward progression from the Mantle to the crust. He was able to compute consistent rates of upward seismic-energy progression, allowing him to make some remarkable predictions for both shallow earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The problem posed by Blot's work, to the newly-fledged mobilism, was therefore quite serious. However, this was soon overcome. Blot was transferred by the French Government to an aseismic region in West Africa and it took more than three decades before his work surfaced again, in the publication of a large book by a small Queensland Press, Grover (1998). Blot's initial forecasting has subsequently been taken up and repeatedly confirmed by, among others, the Editor of this Journal.
Seafloor Spreading. The patterns on the ocean floors have been interpreted in an initially convincing manner as sea floor spreading in an Earth subject to magnetic reversals. This view overlooks a number of discordant and/or irreconcilable phenomena.
• Evidence provided by the Deep Sea Drilling Programme reveals that the abyssal sediment fans in the deep oceans are formed, not by turbidity currents, but in the same manner as in fluvial deposits on land or in shallow water: horizontal bedding and undisturbed. Analysis indicates that, if the oceanic basement was moving – or has moved - it would be unable to slide beneath the abyssal fans but would produce continuous crumpling, folding and thrust faulting of the sediments. There is none.
• In the north east Pacific, off California, there are a number of 3,000 km long, east-west, fracture zones: the Mendocino, the Murray and the Molokai. These fracture zones with dated magnetic anomalies provide what has been taken to show movement of the sea floor (the Juan de Fuca Plate) towards an alleged subduction zone under North America, which alleged subduction zone is not really supported by seismic activity, see Smoot et al (2001). Intra-plate movement – not part of the mobilist cabal - is indicated from the magnetic anomaly strips. The elongate zone between the Murray and Molokai Fracture Zones indicate a 2 cm per year faster rate than the rates on either side of each of these two fracture zones. This differential is about the same rate as measured in parts of the San Andreas Fault, yet the Murray and Molokai Fracture Zones are aseismic over their length. A similar situation is to be found in the Southern Ocean, below Australia, where variable rates of spreading can be inferred in adjacent units separated by long fracture zones. But, again, there is no corresponding seismic activity. This has the effect of bringing doubt into the interpretation of other dated anomaly patterns.

Incidentally, in a recent publication James (2016), a hypothetical but plausible proposal is given to explain the present-day sea floor patterns in the Atlantic Ocean, based on an ocean of the present size and on the effect of magnetic reversals, assuming the Earth to behave as a dipole.
The Myth of Incipient Oceans. Associated with the above cameo on sea floor spreading is the myth of this role in the formation of incipient oceans. Some examples will illustrate this.
• Both the Sea of Japan and the Labrador Sea have been cited as typical incipient oceans in mobilist literature. Both are deep oceans, generally assumed to be underlain by oceanic crust exhibiting what has been interpreted as datable magnetic striping. Choi (1984) has identified that the alleged magnetic anomaly patterns in the Sea of Japan are actually features coinciding with major fault zones, traceable out from the peripheral continents. The base, according to seismic interpretation, contains continental crust with Palaeozoic marine sediments.
• In the case of the Labrador Sea, the parallelism between the Canadian and Greenland coastlines has been remarked on by mobilists ever since Wegener. A strike-slip drift between the two land masses of up to 400 km has been proposed. Again, datable magnetic striping on the sea floor has been accepted. Recent field studies in the Nares Strait region, cited by Lowman (1985) and Grant (1980) reveal pre-Cambrian and Silurian marker beds traceable across the Strait.
• The East African Rift system has also been cited as an ocean in embryo. However, the base of the rift is continental crust, not upwelling oceanic crust; and the rift system is aligned along a pre-Cambrian fault system that has probably not widened significantly in maybe a billion years.
• The Red Sea is dated as having commenced spreading in Cretaceous times, at a rate well below that postulated in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The problem here is that, within the Red Sea there are pre-Cambrian islands, The Brothers. How this can be justified in a spreading situation has never been explained. The same applies to the equatorial regions in the Atlantic where the age of the St Peter and Paul Rocks is some hundreds of million years older than their age should be, based on their distance from the mid-Atlantic Ridge
• A final example is presented by Iceland, where the mid-Atlantic ridge emerges on land. According to Sigurdson (1968), lava extrusions on Iceland – supposedly welling up from the Mantle – contain fragments of sandstone and dolomite.
Geology has ever been an observational discipline and this view has been enshrined by the debate between Charles Darwin and Lord Kelvin over the age of the Earth. Darwin, an observer without equal, based his estimate on the sequences of sediments covering the earth's surface, together with the likely rate of evolution. He came to an answer quite close to today's value. Lord Kelvin based his calculations on reputable thermodynamics principles but also on the then hypothesis that the Earth had cooled from a molten state. Thus, his Lordship came a poor second in the debate.
Unfortunately, the observation preference has lost ground in the last half century. Field evidence, when in conflict with the tenets of mobile plate tectonics, is now typically dismissed so that we find the sometimes questionable conclusions made from statistically derived palaeomagnetic data taken in preference to unequivocal palaeoclimatic indicators. We are at the mercy of poorly known, even completely unknown, mechanisms that cannot be studied from an observational point. It is becoming increasingly clear that the facile ad hoc explanation for the mobilist model has, in reality, put the earth sciences back something like a hundred years.
Interestingly, it was one of the initial aims of the NCGT publication to rely on observational data and the Journal is to be congratulated for preserving this line. So why do we still put up with rebuffs for not toeing the mobilist line and accepting the myths of drifting continents?
Ambraseys, N.N., 1975. Studies in historical seismicity and tectonics. Geodynamics, Roy. Soc. (Lond.), p. 7-18
Choi, D.R., 1984. The Japan basin – a tectonic trough. Jnl Pet. Geol., v. 7, no. 4, p. 437-450.
Choi, D.R., 2006. Where is the subduction under the Indonesian arc? NCGT Newsletter, no. 39, p. 2-11
Grant, A.C., 1980. Problems with plate tectonics: the Labrador Sea. Bull. Can. Pet. Geol.. v. 28, p. 252-278.
Grover, J.C., 1998. Volcanic Eruptions and Great Earthquakes. Copyright Publ., Bris.
James, P.M., 2016. Deformation of the Earth's Crust – Cause & Effects. Copyright Publ., Bris.
Kasfli, M., 1972. Zagros Crush Zone. New Concepts in Global Tectonics. Texas Univ. Press
Lowman, P.D.Jr., 1985. Plate tectonics with fixed continents: a testable hypothesis. Jnl Pet. Geol., v. 8, no. 4, p. 373-388 & v. 9, no. 1, p.71-88.
Meyerhoff, H.W. Meyerhoff, A.A., 1973.
Major inconsistencies in global tectonics. Bull. Amer. Soc. Pet. Geol., v. 56, no. 2, p. 296-336.
Sigurdson, H (1968). Petrology and acid xenoliths from Surtsey. Geol. Mag., v. 105, p. 440-453.
Smoot, N.C., Choi, D.R. and Bhat, M.I., 2001. Active Margin Geomorphology. Xlibris Corp. USA.
Tarling, D.H. and Tarling, M.P., 1977. Continental Drift. Penguin.
Peter M. James

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