THE AUTHOR'S QUEST
My name is
Ben Fishler. My mission has been to explore the connection between mass
extinctions and their causes.
My book about solving the mass
extinctions necessarily deals mostly with paleogeology, but I am not a
geologist. I do not have a strong background in this area. My education and
background is in business, industry, retail floriculture and publishing.
However, for purposes of discovering a different take on how impacts,
geology and extinctions are interrelated, I have found that having only a
shallow background in geology has actually been more of an advantage than a
I do not believe that a knowledgeable geologist would
have chosen to explore the path that I have explored. Furthermore, if I had
been a knowledgeable geologist, I doubt that I would have explored this path,
either. Any knowledgeable geologist would have asked himself these questions:
"Why should I explore a theoretical possibility that I know cannot work? How
could antipodal volcanism possibly be a serious player in this picture when
there is no reasonable mechanism that would cause it to occur? We already have
a theory that locates the Deccan traps more than 4,000 miles away from the
antipode of the Chicxulub impact 65 MYA. There is no evidence for volcanism at
the antipode. Why waste my time on this?" (author's note: The antipode is the
point on a sphere ... such as the Earth ... that is on the exact opposite side
from another initial point).
Nevertheless, I have found multiple
sources of evidence indicating that volcanism occurs at or near the antipode of
a large impact. Furthermore, the current theory says that the Deccan traps were
located more than 4,000 miles away from the Chicxulub antipode 65 million years
ago (MYA). But this current theory has a huge hole in it ... there is no domal
uplift at the Deccan traps, whereas standard geological theory insists that
there should be (as opposed to volcanism at the antipode of a large impact,
where the focused concentration of mega-earthquakes in a spherical object such
as the Earth would have pulverized the Earth's crust at the antipode, obviating
any need for domal uplift).
Geologists did not seriously consider the
possibility that antipodal volcanism could be caused by a large impact because
because there was no sensible geological mechanism that could cause this to
occur. Having only a shallow background in geology, I was unaware of the
difficulty of finding a mechanism for antipodal volcanism as a result of a very
large impact. In fact, based upon my experience in the cold heading business, I
believed that the model of impact extrusion would provide just what was needed
to satisfy a mechanism for antipodal volcanism. I wrote a book on the internet
about my ideas, entitled "Solving the Major Extinctions."
By the time
(three years later) that I was instructed as to the reasons why the impact
extrusion model would not work (i.e. impact extrusion is a near field
phenomenon that would require a much, much larger impact object than the
Chicxulub impact object in order for this model to work), I had already
explored many factors relating to antipodal volcanism.
By this time, I
had already explored several scenarios of impacts and antipodal volcanism ...
all of which extensively supported the idea of antipodal volcanism and none of
which were either neutral or negative. So, I found myself in an Alfred Wegener
situation ... lots of corroborative data but no mechanism to make it work.
Alfred Wegener was a German meteorologist who compiled a wealth of
fossil and geological data showing that South America and Africa must have
been, at one time, part of the same continent. From this data, Alfred Wegener
developed the theory of continental drift. However, he was unable to come up
with a geologically plausible mechanism to support the theory. Therefore, his
theory was ignored for decades, until the discovery of the mid-ocean ridge in
Alfred Wegener died in the 1930s during a blizzard in
Greenland, while gathering more data in support of his theory. He was not
vindicated until decades after his death.
I learned two things from the
Alfred Wegener story:
1. Stay away from Greenland
2. Find a
geologically plausible mechanism
But then another bit of industrial
experience came to my aid. I realized that one of the defining characteristics
of large impacts was extreme vibration, felt throughout the crust and mantle of
the Earth. I had seen extreme vibration in action before, on a smaller,
industrial scale. I realized that, just as extreme vibration could virtually
eliminate the effects of friction in an industrial test lab, an even greater
degree of extreme friction could do the same thing on a grander scale, when
looking at friction in the Earth's mantle. I was able to construct a model
based upon this concept.
During the past four years, I have been forced
to develop a better understanding of geology as I have read numerous articles
and dealt with pointed questions from the geology2 group at Yahoo.com.
I had to make several significant changes to my original theory, as I
was instructed (mostly by the geology2 group at Yahoo.com) about how some of my
mechanisms were geologically unworkable. However, the general thesis and
overall result continued to be supported by more and more evidence as I dug
deeper into this subject. I realized that the cleanest way to deal with the
changes was to amend and rearrange the book, even giving it a slightly
different title ("Solving the Mass Extinctions" instead of "Solving the Major
Although I am still not a geologist in the sense of what
that term fully describes, I believe that I have developed enough understanding
of the factors involved in geology to present a useful theory relating to
extinctions, impacts and antipodal volcanism. I believe that this new theory
will provide a new and more effective lens through which to view the geological
events of the Earth, especially as they relate to extinctions, impacts and
My goal, when I first began to explore this
subject, was to see if there was enough information available so that the major
mass extinctions could be explained in a unified manner. It always seemed to me
that there was probably one single cause for this intermittent pattern of mass
extinctions. I wanted to find that cause, if it existed. I believe that I have
accomplished that goal.
Furthermore, I believe that when knowledgeable
geologists begin to analyze evidence from the Earth's past using this new lens,
they will find even more interesting and useful concepts than I have presented
have questioned me as to why I decided to self-publish this book on the
internet, as opposed to submitting it to a peer reviewed journal. There are
1. Protection Once it is published, it is
protected with a date certain. Otherwise, it could be floating around looking
for a publisher for a considerable length of time, during which time someone
else might publish something somewhat similar.
2. Ease It's
relatively easy to publish on the internet, so, why not?
In many ways, this is a working book ... a book that may need to be
amended based upon input from knowledgeable people (as occurred with my
original book). If the book is easily and freely available on the internet,
these knowledgeable people can easily access it.
4. Control of
Presentation When self-publishing, I can be sure of the way in which the
subject is presented, as opposed to being at the mercy of an editor who might
not agree with my approach and might want to significantly shorten and amend
5. Fair Evaluation Even my "safe, conservative"
version of this new theory is unusual, when compared to the current canon of
established geology. The full version of my theory is very different from
currently established views. Theories that challenge established views are not
often treated well. The example of Alfred Wegener's theory being ignored is
actually fairly mild compared when compared to Galileo, who was confined to
house arrest for publishing his theory.
Although people are better
behaved when dealing with new theories nowadays, new theories still fight an
uphill battle in trying to get a fair hearing. The most usual tactic is to find
some small failing in the new theory and use this small failing as an excuse to
ignore the theory, regardless of how well the new theory compares to the
current standard theory.
By self-publishing, I am assured that people
will have a chance to read and understand my theory for themselves, without
having to rely on an establishment intermediary.