CHAPTER 1.3
BEN'S ANTIPODAL IMPACT THEORY: A THEORY OF ANTIPODAL IMPACT EFFECTS

   
CHAPTER 1.3
BEN'S ANTIPODAL IMPACT THEORY:
A THEORY OF ANTIPODAL IMPACT EFFECTS


Now that we have reviewed some of the relevant features of the Standard Theory, it is time to take a look at Ben's Antipodal Impact Theory, a new theory of antipodal impact effects. In section I of this book, we will consider only the "safe, conservative" version of Ben's Antipodal Impact Theory.

This new theory views the basic structure of the Earth in the same way as the Standard Theory. This new theory also agrees with the basic designation of the four major layers of the earth — the crust, the mantle, the outer core and the inner core.

However, Ben's Antipodal Impact Theory disagrees with the Standard Theory about some aspects of ALL of the other features discussed in the previous chapter. This new theory especially disagrees with the Standard Theory about the effects of a large impact at the antipode of the impact site. The Standard Theory says that the effects at the antipode would be minimal, as long as the lithosphere is not breached at the impact site. Ben's Antipodal Impact Theory says that the effects at the antipode can vary from significant to catastrophic.

Let's look at how Ben's Antipodal Impact Theory views the results of a major cosmic impact.

The key ingredient to Ben's Antipodal Impact Theory is the idea that big cosmic impacts produce profound effects at the antipode of the initial impact site.

Specifically, I propose that a large enough impact will produce a volcanic hotspot at or near the site of the antipode of that impact. Furthermore, I propose that this hotspot will move in a specific direction, related to the angle of its off-center impact.

Very few impacts are absolutely straight on. Most big impacts are in the range of 30 degrees to 45 degrees to vertical (beyond 45 degrees, there is much more chance of the impact object glancing off as it hits the atmosphere). The off-center nature of an impact will determine how the directional energy is imparted to the hotspot. Because the impact is usually off-center, the energy antipode of an impact is usually not exactly at the site of the physical antipode ... close, but not exactly at the same location.

The mechanism that allows pressure energy to form a mantle plume is based primarily upon the changes in the behavior of materials when they are subjected to extreme vibration. I believe that there is a certain threshhold level of extreme vibration and duration of that extreme vibration that allows, on a temporary basis, for the virtual elimination of the power of friction.

Once this frictional release threshold has been reached, then a mostly impermeable region, such as the Earth's mantle, can be breached and rapidly penetrated by hot liquid olivine under great pressure.


LARGE IMPACTS & CONTEMPORANEOUS ANTIPODAL MANTLE PLUMES --
A MECHANISM FOR CAUSE AND EFFECT


Current mantle plume theory claims that pockets of liquid rock at the core boundary rise towards the surface in the form of a mantle plume. Because the mantle is resistant to movement, this plume can only rise at a rate of approximately one inch per year. At this rate, it would take over 100 million years for a mantle plume to reach the underside of the lithosphere.

Therefore, according to current mantle plume theory, there is no possibility of a large impact causing a contemporaneous mantle plume that would reach the underside of the lithosphere.

So, if the mantle is so resistant to penetration, how do I propose that a mantle plume could penetrate it in such short order? The answer is something that I call the Frictional Release Threshold (FRT).

What I am saying is that under any normal circumstances, a plume or anything else will not move through the mantle at a speed that is faster than about one inch per year. However, when extreme vibration is involved, things can change dramatically. And extreme vibration is exactly what a very large impact brings to the table.

During my years in the cold formed fastener business, I saw the effects of vibration in dramatic ways. The company that I worked for, Rockford Products, had an applications engineering lab with many different types of test equipment, including a vibration test machine.

Vibration is important in the study of screw and bolt applications because, unless some kind of locking device is used, the only reason that a joint will retain its clamp load is friction.

As a rule of thumb, when a bolt is tightened in a joint, 50% of the torque is used to overcome the friction between the head of the bolt and the joint surface, 40% of the torque is used to overcome the friction in the threads and only 10% of the torque is actually used to increase the clamp load.

Vibration can cause momentary loss of friction. Extreme vibration can cause the friction to virtually vanish.

The vibration test machine at Rockford Products showed how vibration could reduce the effects of friction dramatically. It was kind of fun to torque up a bolt to full clamp load and then turn the vibration tester on to the maximum setting. The bolt would unscrew itself at a speed that was easily visible to the naked eye. Most vibrational loss of clamp load in real life happens much more gradually.

The vibration test machine was extreme enough that it had to be mounted on rubber blocks so that it didn't shake the lab apart. But, even though the vibration test machine created an extreme vibrational environment for industrial testing, it would pale in comparison to the vibration felt by the Earth's mantle immediately after a very large impact. A significant portion of two million H-bombs of energy (in the case of the Chicxulub impact) would be converted to shear waves that would ping pong between the Earth's lithosphere and the Earth's outer core (shear waves can't penetrate either the outer core or the inner core). The mantle would be continuously subjected to the most extreme shear imaginable, until the waves dissipated.

This vibration effect is particularly important because the Earth's mantle is held in place (and slows the movement of anything through it) by friction and friction alone.

Friction can be a powerful force. We depend upon it to hold many things together. But vibration can make a huge difference. A small amount of vibration may not do much, but once once the vibration reaches a certain threshold, the FRT, it can reduce or even eliminate the effects of friction. Later, when vibration later falls back below the FRT, friction takes back its power and everything returns to the status quo.

I am proposing that very large impacts, those that create impact craters of 85 km in diameter or larger, can produce shear waves in the mantle that are powerful enough that they will cause the vibration in the mantle to rise above the FRT for long enough for the pressure waves to push a mantle plume through the mantle to the underside of the Earth's lithosphere.

I also propose that there is a layer of liquid rock between the liquid core and the mantle. I propose that this liquid rock has a relatively high concentration of olivine. I will call this layer the liquid olivine layer. The Standard Theory proposes that there is liquid olivine here, also, but maybe just pockets of liquid olivine.134 In my model, the intense pressure waves compress and move this liquid olivine layer around the Earth's core towards the interior physical antipode of the impact. The off-center pressure waves would meet at the physical antipode, with the stronger forward pressure waves over-topping the backward pressure waves, causing the plume to center slightly beyond and to the side of the physical antipode (at the energy antipode).


IT'S HOTTER THAN YOU THINK


According to an article in the January/February, 2014 issue of Discover Magazine, a European research team has determined that the core of the Earth has a temperature of approximately 11,000°F (6000°C), instead of 9,000°F, as previously believed. The liquid outer core of the Earth is now estimated to have a temperature of 3800°C, while the lower mantle checks in at 3000°C. It is reasonable to assume that the area of the mantle that is right next to the outer core would pick up at least some of this 800°C heat difference, enough to liquify a small layer of mantle.

If this liquid mantle layer were only one mile thick, then, using the formula for the volume of a sphere (4/3 Pi [r cubed]), we can calculate the material volume of this liquid layer. The calculation would be (4/3 Pi [2171 cubed]) minus (4/3 Pi [2170 cubed]). This reduces to (42,861,561,540) minus (42,802,360,500). This equals 59,201,040 cubic miles of material found in a one mile layer surrounding the Earth's liquid outer core.

The total amount of volcanic material expelled from the Deccan traps has been calculated to be 27,000 cubic miles of material. While 27,000 cubic miles of material is a huge amount of material, it is less than 1/20 of one percent of the amount contained in a one mile layer that surrounds the Earth's outer liquid core. In other words, even a relatively small band of liquid mantle surrounding the outer core would contain more than 2000 times as much material as would be needed to create all of the Deccan traps.

THE LIQUID CORE GETS INVOLVED


But this is just the beginning of the story. When I first examined the possibilities of liquid from the interior shooting up to the underside of the lithosphere, I thought in terms of liquid mantle material only. My reading had described olivine material from deep in the mantle as being the volcanic result. Therefore, I thought only in those terms.

However, I now realize that the liquid core, containing a much, much larger amount of material than just a narrow layer of liquid mantle, is a big player, as well. The liquid material in the liquid core would be affected by the intense pressure waves of a large impact, too.

As both the liquid core and the much smaller layer of liquid mantle are pushed by the pressure waves in the direction of the energy antipode, the lighter material (the mantle) will rise first.

The pressure waves will penetrate the liquid core, whereas the shear waves will not. This means that the liquid core will be impacted by the pressure waves and will distend towards the energy antipode, just as the small layer of liquid mantle will do. This also means that, in the case of a really large impact, there would be so much material moving upward that some of liquid core would be included in the mantle plume that rises to the surface. In this case, we would expect to see nickel and even iron in the volcanic material ... which we do see in the Deccan traps, the Siberian traps and other Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs). One would expect that the lightest material (the mantle) would dominate the first eruptions (and in the case of small plumes, almost all of the material might be mantle material). However, in the case of large plumes, subsequent material might be a mix of both mantle and outer core.

The evidence supports this theory. Wikipedia and several other sources note that LIPs are associated with economic concentrations of copper-nickel and iron. The Siberian traps are listed as the largest source of volcanic nickel on the planet.


CREATING A SEMI-PERMANENT SPINEL LAVA TUBE


An interesting sidelight involves the longevity of these mantle plumes. A person might wonder why the plume tubes wouldn't collapse rather quickly, instead of leading to hotspots that last for tens and even hundreds of millions of years.

A livescience article by Tia Ghose entitled "Earth's Biggest Deep Earthquake Still a Mystery," notes that olivine, under great pressure, can transform into spinel, and that this transformation is irreversible. Spinel is a hard, tough substance that might well be acting as a sheath around the liquid olivine that escaped the extreme pressure waves by fleeing to the surface. The olivine that couldn't escape along the walls may have been transformed into a sheath of spinel. 127


SUMMARIZING THE THEORIES


The Standard Theory hypothesizes pockets of molten olivine next to the core that gradually make their way to the surface in the form of mantle plumes at a rate of about one inch per year. The Standard Theory sees no relationship between very large impacts and the creation of mantle plumes.

My theory hypothesizes a layer of molten olivine next to the core. A very large impact will cause pressure waves that will then cause the liquid olivine to converge at the interior physical antipode at the mantle/core boundary. If the shear waves are strong enough for long enough, they will cause shaking in the mantle that will reach levels beyond the FRT. Once the material in the mantle is shaken beyond the FRT, the directionally pressured liquid olivine will be forced upward to the underside of the Earth's lithosphere in the form of a mantle plume. The forward over-topping energy transferred from the off-center impact will result in an energy antipode at the surface that is slightly beyond and to the side of the physical antipode.


THREE ANALOGOUS EXAMPLES


Although I do not know of any example in geology that is completely analogous to the method of mantle plume creation that I propose, there are three examples in nature and industry that share significant similarities. These examples may be helpful in picturing the process and understanding that this type of situation is not unprecedented.

The key to understanding the mechanism is to realize that friction is the only thing that restricts normal movement in the Earth's mantle to about one inch per year. Once the the friction has been released, there is nothing to stop the pressurized olivine from shooting upwards to the bottom of the Earth's lithsphere. Since friction is the only retarding force at work here, it is only a question of how much extreme vibration it will take to cause the friction to be completely compromised. And, in the case of very large impacts, we can invoke the words of that eminent musical geologist, Elvis Presley, who said, "There's a whole lotta shakin' goin' on ... woooo!" (It's always good to bring in the King of Rock when analyzing things of a geological nature.)


WET CEMENT


The first example of a roughly analogous situation is that of wet cement. The consistency of the Earth's mantle is often compared to wet cement. It is difficult to move an object through wet cement, just as it is hard to move an object through the Earth's mantle.

However, vibration changes everything. In construction, vibrating rods (mostly used to vibrate air bubbles out of wet cement) are used to easily pierce wet cement. An article entitled "Vibration & Re-vibration" by Amr Mohamed Ismail states:

"Vibration of fresh concrete reduces its internal shear strength and enables the concrete to temporarily liquify. facilitating the consolidation process. Once the vibration stops, its liquid flow subsides. 137pg4


Another variation of this theme involves earthquakes in saturated soils. The earthquake vibrations can cause soil liquifaction, allowing buildings to actually sink into the soil. Extreme vibration would allow nearly complete release of friction.

The wet cement analogy is almost completely analogous, except for the the fact that a significant amount of water is involved in the wet cement and saturated soil, whereas there is likely to be much less water in the mantle. Therefore the FRT would likely be much higher in the mantle.


GLASS


Another near analogy is that of glass. Like Earth's mantle, glass is frictionally bound together, not chemically bound together.

In this case, I will use temperature as a stand-in for vibration when looking at glass. I could even argue that, on an atomic scale, temperature and vibration are two sides of the same coin. But, clearly, temperature is not actually the same as vibration and that is where the analogy separates.

However, the glass analogy allows us to visualize a substance that is rigid at temperatures up to 850 degrees (depending upon the type of glass). As the temperature rises, the glass undergoes reversible changes from slumping to viscous to liquid as the temperature exceeds 2400 degrees. Above 2400 degrees (again, depending upon the type of glass) there is virtually no resistance to penetration.

As the temperature is brought back down to below 800 degrees, the glass goes through these same stages in reverse, ending up as a solid, unmoveable slab.


SPRITES


A third near analogy is that of sprites, which are a recently discovered and photographed phenomenon in the upper atmosphere. During particularly intense thunderstorms, lightning not only occurs from cloud-to-cloud and from cloud-to-ground, but also upwards from cloud-to-ionosphere. A bolt (actually more of a spray) of cloud-to-ionosphere lightning is called a sprite.

Of particular interest is the fact that sprites only occur during very, very intense thunderstorms, and since they only occur between the tops of clouds and the ionosphere, they are very hard to photograph. If you photograph only the tops of normal thunderstorms, you would likely never see a sprite.

I would argue that the very high threshold of energy required to produce a sprite is directly analogous to the high level of intense pressure waves and shear waves required to produce a mantle plume during an impact. Smaller impacts just won't reach the threshold, just as normal thunderstorms won't produce sprites. However, statistical analysis (see next chapter) reveals that, in the last 100 million years, all four impacts that produced craters of 85 km in diameter or more did reach the threshold and did produce mantle plumes.

This sprite analogy is quite comparable to the mechanism for producing mantle plumes, except for the fact that sprites are electrical phenomena, whereas mantle plumes are physical phenomena. One other interesting point about sprites is the fact that some of the largest sprites spread out along the bottom of the ionosphere in almost the same shape as a mantle plume head when it is forced up against the bottom of the Earth's lithosphere.


RESONANT SONIC DRILLING


There is also the fact that industrial drilling has already developed a drilling method that uses vibration to do the job. An article entitled "the Resonant Sonic Drilling Method: An Innovative Technology for Environmental Restoration Programs" by Jeffrey C. Barrow shows a picture of a rock with a hole in it, with the following caption: "Four-inch diameter sonic core hole drilled through a large granite boulder." 135pg157

The article describes the process of resonant sonic drilling as follows:

"The method uses the natural elasticity and inertial properties of a steel pipe to allow wave propagation that will make the drill pipe expand and contract due to these waves. These characteristics, coupled with the effects of bringing the pipe into resonance, are what allows the drill pipe to penetrate through virgin earth formations with little resistance, often like a knife through soft butter." 135pg155


An information sheet from Terrasonic International describes the key to the sonic drilling process as follows:
"This intense vibration causes a very thin layer of soil directly around the drill rods to fluidize." 136


Although resonant sonic drilling employs a very precise mechanism (which would not be the case in the massive vibrations from a very large impact), the fact that the vibrations from a very large impact would be hugely more massive would likely make up for the lack of precise focus. Also important would be the intense pressure waves pushing the liquid olivine layer towards the surface.


HIGH PRESSURE SHOCK WAVES


The purpose of this section is to offer further explanation of how the shock impact of a large cosmic object can cause directed pressure in the liquid inner core and the small liquid band in the lower mantle of the Earth, leading to a mantle plume with directed motion.

Some readers might well wonder why the pressure felt in a liquid would not end up equally distributed tom all points, as might occur in a hydraulic cylinder. Well, in the long run, all the pressure would distribute equally. However, we are not looking at the long run. We are looking at what would happen in the early stages, just after the impact, when the mantle would be permeable, due to extreme vibration.

When a large cosmic object impacts the Earth in a non-deep ocean area of the planet, the impact will cause more than just pressure waves. It will also cause high pressure shock waves.

Most of us have seen these high pressure shock waves illustrated as part of the result of an atomic blast. The blast blows trees over and it blows houses apart. High pressure shock waves can be significantly more powerful and penetrating than ordinary pressure waves.

The key to a powerful high pressure shock wave is the speed of the impact object that is hitting the target. A very high speed makes a very big difference. If the speed is below a certain threshold level, the impact object will not produce a meaningful shock wave. If the speed is well below a certain threshold level, the impact object will not produce a shock wave at all.


SHAPED CHARGES


One way to understand the effect of high pressure shock waves is to look at similar events that occur in the military. The military uses something called a "shaped charge" to direct an explosive blast in a focused direction, in order to create a useful shock wave.

These shaped charges usually consist of a cone shaped explosive charge with an interior cone shaped jacket. When the explosive is set off, the explosive cone focuses the explosion on the metal interior cone shaped jacket, forcing it to reshape itself into a semi-liquid jet that is propelled with great force and high speed.

When this type of shaped charge is used in a high explosive anti tank (HEAT) shell, it can be very effective in piercing even heavy armor. As noted in an article on the GlobalSecurity.org website, "Even a small 440 gram shaped charge explosive is extremely destructive, and can penetrate 14 inches (35.6 cm) of armor."

The key to the destructive power of the shaped charge is the high speed that it imparts to the penetrating object. The GlobalSecurity.org website explains: "Full hydrodynamic behavior does not occur until the strike velocity reaches several kilometers per second, such as occurs with shaped charge munitions. At strike velocities less than about 1,150m/s penetration of metal armor occurs mainly through the mechanism of plastic deformation. A typical penetrator achieves a strike velocity around 1,500m/s to 1,700m/s, depending on range, and therefore target effects generally exhibit both hydrodynamic behavior and plastic deformation."

When the GlobalSecurity.org website speaks of a typical strike velocity of 1,500m/s to 1,700m/s, this translates to about 3,600 mph. Most cosmic impacts occur at speeds of 20,000 to 40,000 mph. In other words, cosmic impacts have an order of magnitude more speed than is needed to reach the high pressure shock wave threshold.

While a cosmic impact is not a shaped charge explosion, it does contain the two primary characteristics that are important to the shock wave effect. These two characteristics are:

1. High Speed - The impact of a cosmic object will easily reach the threshold needed to produce a punishing shock wave. Another factor to consider in all of this is the fact that shock waves dissipate relatively quickly.

2. Directed Motion - Although the impact will "waste" considerable pressure energy off to the sides of the impact, there will still be plenty of energy applied directly in front of the impact object. In effect, a high speed cosmic impact can be viewed as a sloppy and inefficient shaped charge, with the directed impact acting as a substitute for the focusing device.

One other observation from GlobalSecurity.org is useful in our understanding of this idea of high pressure shock waves, as exemplified by shaped charges. The website says: "Shaped charge is indeed an extraordinary phenomenon that is beyond the scale of normal physics, which explains why its fundamental theoretical mechanism is by no means fully understood."

The academic reader might wonder why I have chosen shaped charges as the closest analogy to the high pressure shock wave caused by a cosmic impact. Why didn't I merely rely on theoretical models of the physics of shock waves?

I have chosen the shaped charge as the best analogy because it covers the primary characteristics and because there is a long history of indisputable, actual results in the real world. Furthermore, as noted in the previous quote from GlobalSecurity.org, there are still questions as to the true nature of theoretical shock wave models.

I will attempt to illustrate the nature of this high pressure shock wave as it relates to the Chicxulub impact 65 MYA in a series of illustrations at the end of this chapter.



PENETRATING IMPACTS


When I first realized that energy from very large impacts might be transferred into the interior of the Earth, I did not believe that these impacts necessarily broke through the Earth's crust. I thought that, rather, the energy might be transferred to the mantle in a way similar to the suspended steel balls of a Newton's cradle … creating a mostly linear transfer of the directional force of the impact.

However, all of the models that I have read about suggest that this kind of transfer would not occur. Rather, the impact force would ricochet around the interior of the planet at all sorts of angles, producing an interior force with no real focus at all.

The only way to have a truly focused impact force in the Earth's interior would be to have the impact object penetrate the Earth's crust and travel at least a considerable distance in the mantle. This leads to two questions: First, is it realistically possible that a very large impact object could penetrate the Earth's crust and continue its journey into the mantle? And, second, is there any evidence that an impact object actually did penetrate the Earth's crust?



COULD A VERY LARGE IMPACT OBJECT PENETRATE THE EARTH'S CRUST?


The key to transferring the directional energy of an impact object to the Earth's interior is the ability to penetrate the Earth's crust. Once the Earth's crust has been penetrated, the residual impact object will be able to move through the mantle with relative ease, due to the vibrational release of the normal friction as described in Chapter 1.3 of this book.

The question is: Could a very large impact object really penetrate the Earth's crust or would it just make a big crater on the surface?

Perhaps the best way to explore the issue of penetration is to look at work conducted by people who study penetration as part of their job - the U.S. Army. The U.S. Army studies the parameters of penetration so that they can understand how to penetrate armor and so that they can understand how to block the penetration of armor.

On the one hand, the Earth's crust is not going to have the same penetration resistance as armored steel plate. But, on the other hand, if we can show that a very large impact object could penetrate the Earth's crust even if it were made out of armored steel plate, then that same object would certainly be capable of penetrating the ordinary rock of the Earth's crust.

The military has developed special weapons to penetrate armored plate. Specifically, they use a device called a "shaped charge" to accomplish this penetration. Sometimes the shaped charge is placed inside a landmine so that the force will be directed upwards into a truck or a tank. Sometimes the shaped charge will be put in the front part of a missile or rocket that is to be fired at a tank or other armored object.

Many of us have seen war movies with a soldier firing a bozooka (now known as a 3.5 inch rocket launcher) at a tank, which is disabled by the impact. It is actually the shaped charge in the nose of the rocket that penetrates the tank's armor and kills the people inside.

So, how come we can't just fire a bullet at the armored tank and achieve the same results?

The answer is that an ordinary bullet is way too slow (and it is also too small). Even the fastest bullets are too slow for the job.

The average rifle bullet travels at about 1,700 mph initial velocity. Too slow.

The fastest commercially available cartridge (Remmington .17) has a 3,000 mph initial velocity. Still too slow.

A molten mass delivered by a shaped charge travels at approximately 20,000 mph initial velocity. This speed is an order of magnitude faster than the average rifle bullet. This ultra-high speed allows the penetrator to penetrate as much as 700% of the diameter of the mass of the penetrator. This is NOT too slow.

And, yet, the impact speed for most asteroids hitting Earth is usually cited at 30,000 mph …even faster than 20,000 mph.

Therefore, if the Earth's crust were made of armored steel plate and if an asteroid of six miles in diameter (the smallest listing for the Chicxulub impactor) collided at 20,000 mph (only 2/3 of the usually cited number), then we could expect that the asteroid could penetrate 42 miles of the Earth's armored steel plate crust. Except that the Earth's crust is not made of armored steel plate. Except that the asteroid was probably going 50% faster. Except that the Earth's crust is from 4 to 40 miles thick, not 42 miles thick. In other words, the Chicxulub object would have had lots more power and speed than was needed to penetrate the Earth's crust. From the evidence seen in antipodal hotspot mantle plumes, it appears that three other very large impacts over the past 100 million years also managed to penetrate the Earth's crust (see Chapter 1.4 of this book).



EVIDENCE OF PENETRATION


The preceding argument establishes the possibility of penetration of the Earth's crust by a very large impact object. Now we need to see if there is any actual evidence of penetration.

First, we can look at the "coincidence" of hotspot mantle plumes occurring antipodal to the four largest impacts in the last 100 million years, as detailed in Chapter 1.4 of this book.

But, while this statistical evidence is impressive, there is even more impressive evidence. This evidence consists of the improbable existence of Zealandia. 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175



ZEALANDIA


Somewhere between 60MYA and 70MYA, Zealandia was formed. Zealandia was a low lying hunk of land that was about the size of Greenland and which included present-day New Zealand.

Zealandia was separated from from the Australian mainland by the Tasman Sea. The undersea land of the Tasman Sea basin showed "stretch marks," indicating that this area of the ocean floor had been stretched out.

Therefore, a likely explanation for the formation of Zealandia would be that the land had rifted away from Australia, just like Madagascar had rifted away from Africa and Greenland had rifted away from North America. If the existence of Zealandia were due a rifting away from Australia, then the rifting process would have had to start about 10 million years earlier, in order to allow time for the formation of the Tasman Sea.

Then the rifting stopped about 60MYA and the land of Zealandia began to sink, leaving the vast underwater plateau that exists today.

But why did it sink? Madagascar didn't sink. Greenland didn't sink. And why did the rifting mysteriously stop?



AN ALTERNATIVE EXPLANATION


Well, maybe there is a different explanation for Zealandia that fits the actual facts better.

The alternative explanation for the existence of Zealandia involves the Chicxulub impact 66 MYA. Of the four impacts in the last 100 million years that have been large enough to penetrate the Earth's crust and enter the mantle, the Chicxulub impact was by far the largest. It dwarfed the other three.

If the other three penetrators were able to make it through the crust and into the mantle, the Chicxulub object would likely have had enough power to make it all the way through the mantle, with enough residual power to affect the solid crust from the inside when it finally came to rest. The point at which this Chicxulub remnant would have impacted the opposite end of the Earth's crust from the inside would be located to the south and east of the physical antipode of the original impact (due to the angled original impact). In other words, Zealandia would be right at the center of the area where we would expect this attempt at an "exit wound" by the Chicxulub object.

The alternative explanation for the existence of Zealandia goes like this:

1. The Rangitata Orogeny from 142 MYA to 99 MYA formed the area around New Zealand, itself. It had nothing to do with the larger area of Zealandia. This Rangitata orogeny was the result of volcanism involving the hotspot mantle plume from the Manicouigan impact, which occurred 212 MYA, but was mostly covered up by the small continent of Western Antarctica as it moved to the south and west. The hotspot was briefly uncovered as the Western Antarctic continent moved counterclockwise due to the coriolis effect, while drifting south. After marching across Eastern Antarctica, the hotspot is now located at Mount Erebus in Western Antarctica (see Chapter 2.6 of this book).

2. Zealandia was not split off from the continent of Australia in the manner of Madagascar and Greenland. Rather, it was formed by uplift of material on the continental shelf of Australia 66 MYA, when the Chicxulub penetrator attempted an "exit wound" in that area. The "stretch marks" seen in the basin of the Tasman Sea resulted from stretching as the neighboring land was forced upwards (not from being pulled off to the side as part of a rift).

The uplift of Zealandia would have created a large, lowlying area that would have had a tendency to subside, once the original dramatic penetration pulse was over. The result was almost the direct opposite of the rising of land in cases of glacial rebound, when the compressive forces of tons of ice are removed. With the release of the impact pressure, the land of Zealandia subsided over the millenia, but, as in the case of glacial rebound, not to the same level as its original position. During these millenia of subsidence, there were alternating instances of glaciation (New Zealand and Zealania were even closer to the South Pole in the past), which resulted in the carving up of the surface in a manner similar to Greenland.

3. The Kaikoura Orogeny of 24 MYA to the present is the result of volcanic activity at a weak point in the Earth's crust, that was left by the Manicouigan hotspot plume. This activity has affected only New Zealand and not the rest of greater Zealandia.

The alternative explanation for Zealandia not only explains why the Zealandia plateau was formed in the first place, but it also explains why it subsequently subsided. Furthermore, it explains why the appearance of a rift exists and why it appeared to stop 60 MYA (the reason - it wasn't ever actually rifting at all).

The fact that this alternative explanation fits in almost exactly where the penetration scenario expects that it would is a major bonus as far as corroboration of my impact theory is concerned.

The point is that my theory explains the evidence in a logical manner, whereas the current theory can offer no explanation for the cessation of "rifting" 60 MYA nor the subsidence of Zealandia subsequent to its creation … especially when such subsidence is not found in other instances of major rifting events (Madagascar and Greenland). 176, 177, 178, 179, 180



WHY SPEED AND SIZE MATTER


The previous section details the reasons that the speed (or velocity) of an impact object matters. As related in the test data of the U.S. Army, a projectile moving at 2,000 mph will not penetrate serious armored steel plating. However, a projectile moving at 20,000 mph will penetrate armored steel plating up to 700% of the diameter of the penetrator.

But speed is only part of the equation, when it comes to penetrating the Earth's crust. Size matters, too. Everything else being equal, a more massive penetrator will be more effective than a less massive penetrator. There are two reasons why this is so. These reasons are:

1. Better Mass to Impact Area Ratios - Everything else being equal, a more massive penetrator will bring more mass per square mile of impact area to the penetration attempt. Let's look at a really simple, easy-to-follow example (simple, but not realistic … but the example will translate well to realistic examples, without any complicated math). In this example, we will assume that the small penetrator is shaped in the shape of a cube, with each side dimension being one mile in length and that that the small penetrator will hit the Earth flush on one of its square sides, creating a one square mile penetration area with a mass of one cubic mile behind it. In this case, the mass to impact area ratio would be 1:1.

So, what would happen if the impact cube were ten miles on a side instead of one mile on a side? In this case, the impact face would be 100 square miles (10 x 10), backed up by a mass of 1000 cubic miles of material (10 x 10 x 10). The mass to impact area ratio would be 10:1. Therefore, the larger penetrator would have ten times as much momentum behind it on each square mile of impact area.

While virtually no penetrator is going to be created in the shape of a cube, the cube example is easy to illustrate and the math is easy to calculate in one's head. A more logical example of a spherical penetrator would show the same kind of result, but the math is not quite as simple.

The key to understanding why the penetration ratio is better for more massive penetrators is realizing that the impact area is a two dimensional feature (square miles), whereas the mass is a three dimensional feature (cubic miles). Therefore, as a penetrator becomes more massive, the impact area will increase as a function of the square of the radius, whereas the mass will increase as a function of the cube of the radius … the mass increases more quickly than the area that it has to penetrate.

2. Better Size to Crust Depth Ratio - The second reason that size matters is the fact that larger penetrators will have a better size to crust depth ratio. The depth of the Earth's crust remains the same, regardless of the size of the object that impacts it. Therefore, if a cosmic impactor could penetrate more than 700% of its diameter in armored steel plate, then it makes a big difference if the impactor is 1/4 of mile in diameter (which would penetrate almost 2 miles or more) as compared to an impactor that was 10 miles in diameter (which could penetrate at least 70 miles of the Earth's crust).

Since the Earth's crust has a definite depth of between 4 and 40 miles, the smaller impactor almost certainly would not penetrate the Earth's crust, whereas the larger impactor would almost certainly penetrate the Earth's crust (Note: Virtually all of the places where the Earth's crust is only 4 miles thick or close to that number, occur under miles of ocean, which provides a huge amount of protection from penetrating impact due to the way that water disperses a penetrating force.).

Size matters. It is not surprising that only the four largest impacts of the past 100 million years have shown clear signs of penetrating impact (see Chapter 1.4).



WHY DOES PENETRATION MATTER?


So, why are we spending so much time examining the probability of penetrating impacts by very large impact objects?

The reason is that a penetrating impact will deliver most of its energy to the interior of the planet, rather than seeing that energy spread along the surface and even slowing down or speeding up the rotation of the Earth. A penetrating impact will have the energy necessary to create the powerful interior pressure waves that can move liquid mantle material and liquid core material into a focused mantle plume eruption. A penetrating impact will have the energy necessary to produce prodigious interior shear waves that will temporarily release the grip of friction on the mantle material and allow a mantle plume to slice through it.

A penetrating impact will see most of its impact energy transferred to the Earth's interior, just as a high speed rifle bullet captured in ballistic jelly transfers its destructive energy to the interior of that block of ballistic jelly.




OTHER "ATTEMPTED EXIT WOUND" UPLIFTS


The uplift at Zealandia in many ways resembles a bullet's attempt to create an exit wound when the bullet is fired at an animal or a watermelon or any other object with an outer shell and a softer interior.

If the bullet has sufficient velocity, it will travel through the softer interior and exit out the other side. The entrance wound is typically small …. about the size of the bullet, itself. The exit wound is an entirely different matter. Depending upon the speed, shape and composition of the bullet, the exit wound can be big, bigger or huge.

The point is, the size of the exit wound will be at least significantly larger than the size of the impact object, itself.



If, however, the bullet does not have enough momentum to penetrate the exit area of the outer shell, the bullet can cause a bulge at the "would be" exit point. Again, the size of the bulge can be significally bigger than the size of the impact object, itself.

I have written about the likelihood that Zealandia is the attempted exit wound of the Chicxulub impact object. This assumption is based upon the idea that if normal large impacts could penetrate the Earth's crust and cause mantle plumes, then a really large impact object might well cause a bulge at an attempted exit wound site, with a following plume that could cause considerable volcanism.

So, we have a likely attempted exit wound for the Chicxulub impact at Zealandia. What about the other really large impact objects? In the past 252 million years, there have been four really large impacts.


WHERE WHEN EXTINCTION EXIT WOUND UPLIFT
Eastern Antarctica 252 MYA Permian Extinction ??
S. Indian Ocean 201 MYA Triassic Extinction - CAMP Caribean Plate Creation
Mid-Pacific Ocean 132 MYA Valanginian Weissert Event Ontong Java Plateau
Chicxulub, Mexico 66 MYA End-Cretaceous Extinction Zealandia



THE VALANGINIAN WEISSERT EVENT


The really large impact object that caused the Valanginian Weissert Oceanic Anoxic Event and left its mark on the Mid-Pacific Ocean floor 132 MYA and whose remnants later became the Mariana Trench (and who's antipodal impact effects created the separate continent of South America) has a likely correlative attempted exit wound bulge.

Located just below the equator, the Ontong Java Plateau off New Guinea is one of the largest volcanic events of the past 200 million years. The eruptions began with the Selli event 125.0 to 124.6 MYA. this is just about the right timing to allow approximately eight years for a mantle plume to melt its way through the Earth's crust, if it began 132 MYA. The uplifting of the plateau may or may not have been solely due to the volcanism … the impact object's exit wound attempt may have been a significant part of the uplift.

Most of this vast plateau has now been subducted beneath the Australian plate. In fact, this subduction illustrates the problem that we may be running into with a Permian extinction object that impacted 252 MYA. If there is a an attempted exit wound uplift for this impact, I can't find it. It may be that during the 252 million year interval, the uplift has been completely subducted.



TRIASSIC EXTINCTION - CAMP


The Triassic extinction and the Central Atlantic Magmatic Provinces (CAMP) occurred around 201 MYA.

The impact object associated with this event likely impacted in the Southern Indian Ocean. The likely location for an attempted exit wound for this impact object object is the Caribbean Plate. According to Evolution of Middle America and the in situ Caribbean Plate model by Keith H. James, the "plate history began along with the Late Triassic formation of the Central Magmatic Province …" The paper continues with an explanation of how this oceanic plateau contains continental fragments of plate interior as well as extensive volcanism.

The timing is right. The location would make sense. The creation of a separate plateau with no other definitive explanation makes sense.



EXIT WOUND SUMMARY


Except for the oldest impact of 252 MYA, we have reasonable attempted exit wound locations for the three other really big impacts of the past 250 million years. The timing for the creation of these attempted exit wounds fits in with the date of the impacts.

It appears that we have found specific confirmation for the concept that very large cosmic impacts have punctured the Earth's crust and have created attempted exit wounds. This evidence is in addition to extinction level volcanism at the antipode of the impact and tectonic plate creation.



CONCLUSION


Ben's Antipodal impact Theory establishes reasons to believe that contemporaneous mantle plumes can result from very large impacts by cosmic objects as they collide with the Earth. The mantle plumes are created by the extreme pressure brought to bear at the liquid olivine layer next to the Earth's core, combined with the lack of frictional resistance in the Earth's mantle as the shear forces pass beyond the Frictional Release Threshold. This chapter explains a mechanism by which the four very large impacts of the past 100 million years could have caused mantle plumes at or near the antipode, as well as illustrating a threshold principle by which smaller impacts may not be able to produce mantle plumes.

The Next Chapter, entitled "The Statistical Justification for Contemporaneous Impacts and Mantle Plumes" establishes the statistical and geological evidence that mantle plumes contemporaneous with very large impacts have occurred in all four of the largest impacts of the last 100 million years.


IMPACT #A
IMPACT #B
IMPACT #C
IMPACT #D
IMPACT #E
IMPACT #F
IMPACT #G