Atlantis - How We Got Here
This letter, I suppose, begins the "heavy lifting". If
I don't say it, it is meant with a feeling of sympathy and appreciation
for all scientists - even when I disagree. I believe they search
after truth just as we on this list search after truth. Though as
you note in one of your letters - other motives unfortunately get
To understand how geology got here it is necessary to go back to
the days when geologists were called naturalists.
Most of us have heard of the hairy mammoth (an extinct animal)
found fully frozen in Siberia. What we may not know is that there
have been many more and starting in the 1700's. (Why haven't we
The first woolly rhinocerous was found fully frozen in Siberia
in 1772. Part of a hairy mammoth was found frozen in Siberia in
1787. These finds naturally excited the curiosity of the naturalists
and cried out for explanation. But other serious problems and oddities
began demanding explanation as well.
The most obvious problem were the erratics - large stones that
were out of place. They were found standing isolated in fields,
balanced on mountain tops, stretched out along mountain ridges and
clogging valley exits. They were found hundreds and even a thousand
miles from their source! They sometimes were literally miles long.
In one case a town in England is built on one. To make matters a
little worse they often had rough edges suggesting that whatever
awful force had moved them had done in quickly.
Another problem was that there were striations (serious scratch
marks) found on stones all around the world. What had caused the
striations? The usual direction for the striations were from North
or North West to South or South East. Why should there be a common
direction of the striations around the world?
Then there were polished surfaces of rocks. The polished surfaces
and the striations were often found closely connecting suggesting
they had a common source.
The obvious solution to the naturalists was that moving water caused
all of these features. But how could water be moving in the necessary
There was yet another geological feature called Till. But to explain
this, I would rather quote, at the risk of some repetition, from
the book "Cataclysm!" found at www.seekerbooks.com/atlantis/cataclysm/index.htm#1879181428.
This is the book I recommend number one to resolve the larger geological
issues relevant to this discussion of Atlantis. It is filled with
science. Perhaps I will say more on it later. But I place it number
Here I give a long quote from science:
"The Siberian finds increased naturalists' interest in the
numerous mammoth and woolly rhinoceros bones which had long been
known from, and were indeed still being met with in, more southern
European latitudes. These, it was quickly realised, generally occurred
either in caves or rock fissures or in superficial surface deposits
like sands, gravel, clays or marls. Usually unconsoldated (loosely
held together), these deposits were also largely unstratified (unlayered)
and often of very irregular linear extent and thickness, exhibiting
every sign of have accumulated under agitated conditions which had
apparently affected huge areas of the globe more or less simultaneously.
Due to the exceptional nature of these surface deposits special
names were coined to distinquish them, e.g. 'Boulder Clay', 'Hard
Pan' and 'Till'. Researches showed that the lowest of these deposits,
the 'Till', usually lay directly upon solid bedrock, the upper surface
of which , irrespective of the kind of rock involved, had frequently
been smashed, fissured, striated (marked with linear ridges, furrows,
or scores), polished or pulverised into countless fragments. This
phenomenon not only extended susrprising lateral and vertical distances,
but had affected a great variety of extremely hard rocks.
To most naturalists at the time it was perfectly obvious that some
tremendous even had occurred which, among other effects, had fractured
hard rocks over immense distances, and had deposited the resultant
debris equally extensively as gravels, sands, clays and muds. The
bony remains of hordes of animals which had been destroyed by the
even now lay within these deposits, which, in northern Siberia,
had become permanently frozen. These interrelated remains thus represented
the debris of a former but now-broken world.
Clearly any agency capable of venting so much devastation must
have been not only awesomely powerful but must, from the evidence,
have affected the entire world. ... On the other hand they were
being confronted with mounting evidence that something traumatic,
something catastrophic, had affected the whole Earth, geologically
Men were not long in concluding that this event had been the Deluge
of Genesis and widespread tradition, and that perhaps the scriptural
record and the accumulating geological record could, after all,
be reconciled. Many books appeared on this theme during the first
thirty years of the nineteenth century. ... Had a long-lost Golden
Age been suddenly and disastrously terminated by a frightful global
Flood? The growing evidence suggested to many that this may indeed
have been the case, and efforts were redoubled to investigate these
The first quarter of the nineteenth century, when geological science
grew apace, saw much attention given to rock striations and polished
rock surfaces, and to the vast number of boulders which, because
they were usually foreign to the districts in which they reposed,
were accordingly called 'erratics'.
The rock striations were generally found to be aligned north-west
to south-east, both north and south of the equator. At many places
either side of the Atlantic the striations occur only on the summits
of high hills or only on the northern or north-western slopes of
mountains. Locally, however, other striations cross the predominating
examples at all sorts of angles or even at right-angles to their
long axes. Such evidence suggest that whatever produced them proceeded
from a general northern or north-western direction and totally ignored
At many localities these rock striations furrow extraordinarily
smooth rock surfaces, in some instances exhibiting a glass-like
polish. Such surfaces are of irregular extent, but occur with or
near striated rocks so frequently that little doubt exists that
the striating and polishing of these surfaces had a common origin,
both in cause and time.
Many of the 'erratic' boulders are of immense size and weight,
the very largest being literally miles long. In some districts they
abound in almost unbelievable numbers , perched precariously in
long lines along mountain crests, or lie singly upon the very summits
of lofty eminences. At other places they choke valleys and gorges
or repose in splendid isolation on the surfaces of plains and deserts.
Sometimes the boulders are visible in their entirety - elsewhere
they are buried almost out of sight by surrounding surface deposits.
'Erratics' are often reported as sharply angular and "fresh-looking,
rounded and polished, or as sometimes scored by "well-marked
parallel striae", and in every case as having travelled considerable
distances to their present locations - their points of origin often
remaining obscure. Their angular and "fresh-looking" condition,`
however, suggest that their transportation was rapid and of short
duration, a startling conclusion respecting the largest 'erratics'.
Like the rock striations mentioned above, these boulders were evidently
dispersed by an agency operating oblivious to older geographical
barriers and sometimes obliquely to the long axes of pre-existing
ground features. Repeating associations of polished rock surfaces,
striations, and erratics are known from many widely-sundered localities,
such as Montana, Brazil, and Finland. Clearly these phenomena are
different expressions of a singular event which occurred on a hemispheric
The superficial sands and gravels which contain the bony remains
of woolly rhinoceroses, mammoths and other large contemporary mammals,
also lie unusually to adjacent local topographical features. They
are often banked up against northern or north-western mountain or
valley slopes only. At other places they mantle only the summits
of high mountains, sometimes to depths of several thousand feet
or meters. Elsewhere they bury the lower flanks of whole mountain
ranges or even fill up entire valleys. They also frequently contain
large quantities of geologically recent plant remains, at some places
so profusely that, in company with coeval (same age) animal bones,
they completely fill caves and rock fissures. Yet, even is such
apparently chaotic evidence a curiously consistent theme emerges,
for at many sites - around Muggendort in Germany for instance -
only the caves and fissures facing northwards or north-westwards
have been so filled.
Almost all early geologist attributed these clearly linked phenomena
to the action of powerful water currents flowing in a general north-to
south direction. The first scientific explanations purporting to
account for these phenomena included vast river floods, 'waves of
translation' generated by hypothetical giant submarine earthquakes,
and the equator-wards drift of huge numbers of silt and stone-laden
icebergs of northern origin, which deposited their stoney cargoes
in warmer latitudes. These explanations invoked essentially catastrophic
causes, and the irregular character of the relevant deposits, due
to their supposed transportation by water or ice from one place
to another -were soon widely referred to as "drift'. In turn
the advocates of such explanations were grouped with those who,
like Whiston, had long postulated, recurrent violent episodes in
Earth history, and were regarded as 'Catastrophists'. pp 8-11
I might here that there the Till containing debris of earth, animal,
and plant was yet more chaotically mixed than appears from this
description from Cataclysm. The animals were found disarticulated
(bones torn apart), prey mixed with predator, humans mixed in, bones
splintered, tree trunks splintered, and creatures found together
that are not found together. Sometimes whales and sea creatures
mixed in that should have stayed in the sea. Wild chaos in short
and sudden rampaging disaster.
Now I have a question for the list. Suppose you were trying to
contribute to a new emerging field called geology around 1830. Suppose
you understood that the matters above demanded an explanation. How
would you feel about the solution "God did it"?
It happens that in 1930 Charles Lyell published "Principles
of Uniformity". It took a view opposed to the Catastrophists.
It strongly asserted that all of geology was to be explained by
constant principles of nature working relatively smoothly. It was
very persuasive and won the day. It became the view of "uniformitarianism".
By a handful of years later the idea was beginning that, in keeping
with Lyell's principles, there had been enormous glaciers and they
were the explanation for the erratics, striations, polished surfaces
In 1840 Agassiz made this view formal. And it stuck.
Still today the orthodox view of science is gradualism. Uniformitarianism
- with glaciers added - has held sway for some 170 years. It is
no longer necessary to say "God did it". Geologists no
longer make comparisons to the Noachian Flood. Normalcy and sensibility
rule the day in geology.
However, today we have much more geological data available to study.
All this raises a question. Exactly how is the glacier "theory"
doing today to explain these odd features of geology? Maybe we should
revisit the issue.
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