Continental Drift, Plate Tectonics
and Sea-Floor Spreading:
A Critical Commentary
Charles William Johnson
Identifying the way the world turns, and
possibly what the world may turn into, is of the greatest significance
for our understanding of the past, present and future way of living. When
Alfred Wegener devised his thesis about continental drift,
at the time, the main scientific vision about the creation of the Earth
was that of an expanding Earth. Some of the atlases contain illustrative
renderings of just what an expanding Earth may have looked like. An earthly
core that ripped apart into the outline of the continents as the Earth
It was pretty much thought that whatever
land mass appeared in a given radius on the Earth was there and shall
be there in its particular space forever. But, then Wegener proposed the
idea that the continents had formed from a super-continent, something
that had been proposed by many scientists before him, but with little
effect. However, Wegener's idea, although thoroughly rejected at first,
has now come to be the dominant paradigmatic concept about the formation
and life of continents on Earth.
The idea is simple enough, and in fact represents
a reductionism view of reality. Wegener reduces his interpretation of
the existence of the continents to the possibility that the single movement
of the continents, drifted away from their central resting place in Pangaea,
to their present position today, may explain all there is to know about
the continents. In fact, the so-called theory of continental drift, is
actually nothing more than a specific thesis. The idea of continental
drift proposes the possibility that the continents came from a single
land mass on a lop-sided Earth from some 200 million years ago, and
that the continents are inevitably drifting once again towards a single
land mass to be accomplished in another 200 million years.
The reasoning behind Wegener's thought process
was simple enough. Upon observing the similarities in the fossil, animal,
plant and soil records shared by Africa and South America, in conjunction
with the apparent similarities in the coastlines of these two continents,
Wegener proposed that these continents must have been united in the past
and now came to be separated. The reasoning: if these two continents shared
similarities of plants and animals, it was impossible for these animals
to have traversed the width and breadth of the Atlantic Ocean, so, the
continents must have been joined once upon a time.
It is little wonder that such ideas were
so vehemently received by the scientific community, especially since such
ideas were not really new. Similar interpretations proposed before by
others were mainly related to religious considerations. Nonetheless, the
simplicity of the thesis about continental drift came to be accepted as
the common interpretation that persists till today.
In a search to confirm the thesis about
continental drift, much research has been carried out that has led to
a partial confirmation of the thesis of continental drift, along with
some supplemental ideas. Specifically, theses have arisen regarding the
existence of immense crustal plates upon which the continents form a part
(or float as some believe), whose study has come to be known as plate
tectonics. A second idea has come about regarding the ocean floors,
which appear to be re-generating themselves through volcanic activity
along the different oceanic ridges. This field has proposed the thesis
about sea-floor spreading.
With the combined knowledge about the tectonic
plates and the apparent spreading of the ocean floors, the thesis about
continental drift has been bolstered. While yet others see the theses
about plate tectonics and sea-floor spreading as having replaced the out-dated
theory of continental drift. One of the problems raised about the idea
of continental drift was that the propelling force for setting and sustaining
the continents adrift has never been explained. With the data about the
movement of the tectonic plates and the volcanic activity related to the
spreading of the sea-floor, this driving force was considered to be that
of heat convection coming from within the core of the Earth. The heat
produced from the core and its magma is seen to be the driving force to
the creation and movement of the tectonic plates that are born at the
ridges of the oceans. These plates are then run off into the many trenches
under the oceans, plowing beneath other plates into a meltdown once again.
The cycle of the tectonic plates disappearing
beneath one another, along with the new growth swelling from the ridges,
offers supposedly the complete picture of a re-generating crust laden
Earth. Still, the thesis about continental drifting hangs on by tooth
and nail, as proponents still suggest the idea that the plate movements
shall ultimately come together in another singular land mass, much like
the original Pangaea some 250 million years from now.
Just as new ideas are difficult to be accepted,
old ideas easily persist. Upon reading about continental drift for the
first time, the thesis about Africa and South America having once been
united carried no shock element. Even the idea that all of the continents
may have been a single land mass at one time is really not surprising.
What has thoroughly surprised this author is that anyone would propose
that those same land masses are going to regroup at a similar period of
time from now back into their original formation ---at least one that
is a single land mass although possibly rearranged in placement to one
Upon reading the thesis about the continents
drifting towards a singular land mass once again, it was impossible to
avoid the analogy with the Big Bang theory. That super-dense atom, pulsating
from a singularity into the expanded Universe and back again into a singularity,
somehow seemed to be at the basis of the thesis of continental drift,
plate tectonics and sea-floor spreading. Now, we have the land masses
of Earth united, drifting apart, then drifting back together again, in
one 400-million pulsating beat.
If one dares to carry these ideas through
mathematical extrapolations, by considering the cited measurements of
movements in the light of projected time periods, then the continents
may have circled the globe a couple of times over. And, the pulsating
land mass, now joined, now disjoined, may have occurred more than once;
especially since it is said that 800 million years (if not more) of our
original history is lost in the geological record books.
Immediately, upon reading such ideas, far
too many questions arise, for which no answers seem to exist. In fact,
many questions themselves do not even appear to be raised by many of the
scientists carrying out the research on continental drift, plate tectonics
and sea-floor spreading. Measurements are made today with satellites (GPS)
and from that many scientists still conclude the general tendency of movement
of continental drift. Even though it is said in the same breadth that
the tectonic plates are moving against one another, some head-on, some
transversally, it is also held that the continents shall once again come
together in a single land mass some far distinct time in the future.
The history of scientific thought and knowledge
is riddled with fantastic interpretations about the behavior of matter-energy
and spacetime/movement. Obviously, our very own individual lives are no
different from our thought processes and learning processes. The way we
produce scientific knowledge is not unlike our empirical production of
everyday knowledge about how to live correctly on an individual scale.
It can be no other way; we all have one process for learning and thinking;
and we all share its common characteristics. Everyone pretty much thinks
alike; a difference of opinion may occur when someone thinks something
through from a different perspective, a distinct angle.
The history of that thought process teaches
us how difficult it was to go from thinking (in general) that the Earth
was flat, to thinking that the Earth was round, to knowing that the Earth
is an oblate sphere. The Earth is what it is no matter what we may think.
But, our thinking becomes significant in knowing what we can do or not
do in relation to that particular matter-energy event; i.e. Earth in this
case. And, when we cite this particular example, we realize that the example
pertains to a certain part of the people existing on Earth. For it is
well-known that many cultures that went before our own actually knew that
the Earth was a sphere, and possibly they knew that it was an oblate sphere
For argumentative purposes, let us simply
cite the previous example about the flat/round nature of the Earth, as
it is well known in our thinking and learning process. And, so it goes
now with the thesis about continental drift. Once we had learned that
the Earth was an oblate sphere, possibly we may have considered the discussion
to come to an end; and with that we would know enough about the Earth
to get by. But, once the continents were discovered, well, it was necessary
to discern their origin and composition, and future demise.
Enclosed in the interpretations about continental
drift, plate tectonics and sea-floor spreading is the inevitable idea
that the Earth shall vanish in the worst-case scenario. And/or at best,
we shall all become one as we are united by the continents. Like it or
not, the political divisions of the world are false divisions and Mother
Earth shall achieve what we have not been able to achieve ourselves through
politics. Some who wish to remain apart from the rest of the world might
view the re-unified Pangaea as the worst-case scenario.
As we read about all these ideas, theses,
interpretations, suppositions, extrapolations of events and numbers, we
find ourselves believing that the continents move, but not to the degree
and/or direction as proposed therein. Undoubtedly in matter-energy,
in spacetime/movement, movement is a constant. This has been recognized
in science for centuries now. The question is to apprehend and explain
the nature of that movement as of the spacetime coordinates and conditions
of existence of matter-energy. The theses proposed around continental
drift, plate tectonics and sea-floor spreading, in our mind, do not explain
fully what is occurring in spacetime.
In the accompanying extracts about continental
drift, we illustrate how many examples of symmetry exist within the composition
and distribution of the land masses on Earth. The land masses (not only
the continents) portray many examples of centro-symmetry, translation
symmetry and reflective symmetry in their distribution and composition
around the globe. As we penetrate different views of the distinct levels
of the crust of the Earth, from that of the prima facie view of the land
masses to the impenetrable depths of the ocean ridges, one is overwhelmed
by the simplicity of the symmetries. In fact, in our view, the symmetries
leap out at us, and we are surprised that no one in the fields of continental
drift, plate tectonics and sea-floor spreading has called attention to
the obvious patterns of symmetry shared by the land masses and the oceans.
Possibly no one is looking for such symmetries.
If one works with the paradigmatic view that the continents are drifting,
then one generally retains the idea that the drifting is randomly structured.
The break-up of the super-continent was probably due to violent chaotic
forces ripping apart the singular land mass in no particularly symmetrical
way, and therefore, the products of that asymmetry are asymmetrical themselves.
And, that is probably how most people (scientists and lay people alike)
view the outline of the continents as the product of asymmetrical forces,
with only a singular coincidence: that of the fit between the eastern
coast of South America and the Western coast of Africa. For it is possible
to think that a chaotic break-up of the super-continent might produce
some coincidences here and there in the composition and distribution of
But, rarely would one even look for specific
symmetries in the land masses and their formation or composition. The
idea is simple enough. If symmetries exist, then the forces that ripped
apart the super-continent are uniform in their effects, and there is no
drifting as such.
The examples of perceived symmetry that
we have identified and measured off on our illustrations in the extracts
are far too many to repeat in this brief introduction to the theme. But,
as one views the projected land masses on a Mercator map (or of similar
kind) the central position of Africa, bounded on either side by the triangular
shapes of the North and South American continents, and the Eurasian and
Australian continents, is striking. Once the centro-symmetry of the continents
is determined and employed as a perspective for viewing the land masses
on Earth, then hundreds of other examples of land/water symmetries become
It is our thesis that the many different
forms of movement involved in the origin and composition of the Earth
must all be taken into account to account for the nature of the land masses
and water expanses on Earth. In the theses about continental drift, plate
tectonics and sea-floor spreading note that the theses about the water
expanses are absent or taken for granted. Continent drift refers to the
land masses (the continents); plate tectonics involves the crust mass
of the Earth; sea-floor spreading concentrates on a specific part of that
crustal matter. There is no accompanying thesis about the water expanses.
There are few discussions about all the
movements and forces going into the make-up of the land masses (crust)
and water expanses, such as the Earth's rotation, revolution around the
Sun, involvement with the gravity of the Moon, or its more complicated
spiraling path around the Sun throughout the Galaxy. Any treatment and
analysis of the birth and possible demise of the Earth must necessarily
account for all of the movements involved in its origin, development and
As we view the composition and distribution
of land masses and water expanses upon the face of the Earth, we are not
surprised to find the twisted and spiraling patterns of symmetry among
them. Our surprise comes as a result of asking ourselves, why has nothing
been written about these spiraling patterns before. As we consider the
varied movements of the Earth, in relation to its surroundings and environs
in the Universe, the twisted, spiraling patterns of symmetry of the land
masses and the water expanses are in fact a logical consequence thereof.
The oceanic ridges appear to be just as
twisted and as spiraling as are the land masses. The ridges do not show
a linear development, slowly drifting into any one direction, which might
substantiate the extrapolations devised by many scientists about continental
drift. The ridges, if existing as drawn on today's underwater atlases,
reveal a twisted, spiraling zig-zag movement. The separate transform faults
of the ridges portray a picture of the ridges moving but remaining relatively
in situ. Just as the land masses portray movement, but appear to remain
in situ on the whole.
The back-and-forth line of the volcanic
ridges appears to follow the spiraling pattern of movement portrayed by
the land masses. And, the land masses and the water expanses have cut
out a logical picture of symmetry from wear and tear that would be acceptable
to any perspective of erosion over the millions of years cited. The numerous
land masses that reflect a distance of 45-47 degrees from tip to tip reflect
the degrees of the Earth's inclination in relation to the Sun (47 degrees
between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn). The eastern
tip of South America is separated from the western corner of Africa's
Cameroon (the baseline of the thesis of continental drift) by ca. 45 degrees.
The southern tip of Australia is ca. 45 degrees from the center of Antarctica
(the South Pole). These symmetrical events contribute to our understanding
that the many movements of the Earth explain the composition and distribution
of the land masses and the water expanses.
The supposed drifting of the continents,
the complex movements of the various tectonic plates, the apparent spreading
of the upper crust of the sea-floor, any and all of these ideas (erroneous
or not) cannot explain the composition and distribution of the land masses
and the bodies of water on Earth. In fact, these different aspects of
the Earth's crust (the continents, the plates, the sea-floors) require
explanation as of the rotating, revolving, spiraling movements of Earth
throughout the Universe in relation to the Solar System and beyond. To
think that three separate, albeit inextricably linked, aspects of the
Earth's crust could explain the origin and existence of that crust represents
a limited view of spacetime/movement. And, any theses resulting thereof
represent a limited view of matter-energy.
We have retained the name of "continental drift"
as an identifier for this Earth/matriX series. But, the fact is that the
subject within these extracts is critical of the thesis about continental
drift. We are rather proposing the need to study continental symmetry;
symmetry in plate tectonics; symmetry in the sea-floor spreading, and
symmetry within all the other matter-energy events related to these subjects.
We are suggesting the study of the relationships that contribute to the
ideas of continental drift, plate tectonics and sea-floor spreading:
the study of water expanses on Earth
the study of water currents
the rotation of the Earth
the spiraling orbital revolution of the Earth around the Sun
the Earth in relation to the solar system's path throughout the
the aspect of gravity in these relationships
the axial inclination of the Earth
the precession of the earth
and many other aspects that contribute to the themes cited in the title of this essay.
The proposal is made because the study of
continental drift, plate tectonics, and sea-floor spreading are consequences
of the subjects numerated above. The rotation of the Earth, its orbital
revolution around the Sun and its spiraling path throughout the Galaxy
are determining factors of those spacetime events. All of these subjects
are evidently being studied by millions of people today. But, it would
seem that the various subjects cited have not been related as they are
within the Earth/matriX series offered in The Continental Drift Extracts.
Some of the symmetries that are illustrated in this series may serve to
interest others in more profound studies with greater resources.
Without sophisticated technologies at our
disposal, we are unable to even begin to propose ideas that may explain
the complexities being analyzed by these three fields of human endeavor.
However, from our individual perspective we forward these comments in
the hope that their analytical value may encourage others to consider
additional perspectives in the analysis of the origin and composition
of the Earth.
We have been studying ancient artwork. The
case has been made before that the Great Pyramid of Egypt, a construction
that defies interpretation, may have been built with some technological
purpose in mind. A technological purpose that we have yet to discern.
If one analyzes the location and mass of the Giza Complex of pyramids
in Egypt in relation to the patterns of symmetry discerned in our studies,
the idea arises that the Great Pyramid and its accompanying pyramidal
structures may have a purpose linked to the symmetry of the continents.
Just imagine for a moment that the Giza
Complex of pyramidal structures, along with all the other pyramidal structures
around the world, were in place to balance out the symmetries of the land
masses and the water expanses. Just suppose for a moment that the pyramid
structures are a location device for correcting the Earth's wobble in
order to maintain the equilibrium of the continental symmetries. The continents
are not traveling towards a singular land mass, but rather there exists
the need to balance out the wear and tear on the planet's land masses,
and the pyramidal structures are a correction device in this sense.
Immediately, the reading is wondering how
the ancients knew about the symmetrical imbalances between the land masses
and the expanse of water on Earth. With that, we may observe that the
idea about the equilibrium of the symmetry of the continental land masses
is not alien to us. It is readily acceptable, and with that we know it
requires an answer. The question is not to figure out how the continents
are going to come together in an immense super-continent again 200 million
years from now, but rather how to attain stability and equilibrium among
the land masses and water expanses as they exist now.
How do we keep our planet from getting worn
away to nothing. This idea is not even on the agenda. In fact, today,
we are contributing to the demise of the land masses and to the oceans
at only a suspected rate. We do not really know the amount of damage that
we are inflicting upon the Earth from our own development. But, without
a doubt, Mother Nature shall tell us in due time. We cannot escape from
that. We need to shift paradigms away from continental drift and study
the symmetries between land masses and water expanses on Earth. And we
need to do this not for some feared purpose set 250 million years from
now, but for what this means to our current way of life today.
We invite you to read the Earth/matriX
William Johnson, email: email@example.com
by Charles William Johnson. All rights reserved. Reproduction prohibited.
Continental Drift, Plate Tectonics
and Sea-Floor Spreading:
A Critical Commentary
8 June 2003
World Ocean Day
P.O. Box 231126, New Orleans LA 70183-112
©2003-2012 Copyrighted by Charles William Johnson.
All rights reserved. Reproduction prohibited.
Eventpoint Cosmogeography, a new study,
opens up a distinct line of inquiry into the geography of the Earth.
Charles William Johnson, from Earth/matriX, Science Today, questions
the theory of continental drift by examining the distances between geographical
extreme points and selected cosmogeographical event points. The translation
and centrosymmetries of geographical coordinate points suggest the fact
that the continents undergo movement, but that they have not drifted
randomly on the face of the Earth for the past 250 million years as
proposed by Alfred Wegener nearly a century ago. The symmetry between
extremepoints and eventpoints illustrated in this study suggests that
continental drift theory must be reconsidered, possibly abandoned.
A Study in Relating Event Point Cosmogeography and Extreme Point Geography
Earth/matriX Editions ISBN 1-58616-432-5
Purchase and download Volume One in a PDF file
Fully illustrated with drawings.
The Earth's Crust-Mantle-Core Boundaries and Mean Plane of Motion
Earth MatriX Editions ISBN 1-58616-458-9
Purchase and download Volume Two a PDF file
The Mean Plane of Motion and the Crust-Mantle-Core Boundaries of Earth
Purchase and Download Eventpoint Cosmogeography Volume Three PDF-file
248 pages Price: $7.95us