CHAPTER 2.5
THE NORTH AMERICAN SURPRISE

   
CHAPTER 2.5
THE NORTH AMERICAN SURPRISE


This chapter will piece together the story of the next most recently created continental tectonic plate, Eastern North America.

As I was readying the first edition of this book, I forced myself to look more closely at South America and its origins. Instead of finding an old continent that was too old to explain, I found that South America didn't exist as a separate continent until 132 MYA.

I had assumed that both North America and South America were actually really old continents (some of their craters date back well before 250 MYA) that had been conjoined with Eurasia through the subduction mechanism and then were knocked away when the slow motion crash of Siberia into Eurasia occurred approximately 200 MYA.

Now I had discovered that South America didn't even exist as a separate continent until 132 MYA.

What about North America?


A COMPLICATED CONTINENT


Well, North America is complicated. Very complicated.

To begin with, North America consists of a combination of parts of three different tectonic plates.

First, there is the Eastern American Plate, which came into existence approximately 202 MYA at the end-Triassic extinction. This plate remained partially attached to the European Plate until it was completely jolted loose by the Chicxulub impact 65 MYA. This Eastern American Plate moved to the northwest (or moved somewhat north but mostly west at the lower latitudes) until it ran into the tail end of the Siberian Plate.

This makes the tail end of the Siberian Plate the next player in the drama. The Siberian Plate had been moving north and west and splitting into three different parts as it tried to make a hard left turn as it neared the North Pole. It had been making this journey since 250 MYA.

By the time the tail end of the Siberian Continent was finally reaching the middle latitudes about 70 to 80 MYA, the relatively new Eastern North American Continent came out of the east and ran into it, beginning the Laramide Orogeny (the raising up of the high plains and the Rocky Mountains).

This tip of the Siberian tail eventually broke off and remained lodged between the Eastern American Plate and the San Andreas remnant land. The rest of the Siberian tail continued north and northwest.

The third player in the drama is the remnant land of the Pacific Plate. This remnant land is the western remainder of the part of Pangaea that Siberia was taken from. At some point in the far distant past, some continental land came from out of the west and was eventually tied to Pangaea through the process of subduction. The Pacific Plate was the passive creation of this process as it was formed from a mid-ocean ridge at the back end of this eastward-moving continental tectonic mass. Therefore, the Pacific Plate and the San Andreas remnant land were part of the same plate, just as South America and the oceanic crust to the east of it (up to the mid-ocean ridge) are part of the same plate.

Because the San Andreas remnant land was too high to subduct, the Siberian Plate merely slid by it. When the Siberian Plate ran into parts of the Pacific Plate that did not contain remnants (the Farallon and Cocos Plates), it subducted them. In fact, these mini-plates were actually pieces of the Pacific Plate that were torn away from the Pacific Plate because it could not stretch enough to accommodate these two forces acting in different directions.


THE EFFECTS OF THE CHICXULUB IMPACT


While most of this book deals with the antipodal effects of large cosmic impacts on earth, this chapter also deals with the effects at the impact area, itself.

The impact at Chicxulub is generally treated as an event that did not change the shape of the land around it, except for creating the impact crater.

After analyzing the New Madrid fault, the Sierra Madre mountains, the shape of the North American Continent, the map of CAMP structures in the area and the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean basin, I have come to the conclusion that there is more to the actual Chicxulub impact than meets the eye.

When looking at continental theory involving a "blob with a tail," I have had difficulty with two continents:

1. EURASIA - I concluded that this large land mass was the "vacuum cleaner" of planet earth, absorbing continents as the subduction process inevitably brought continents together.

2. NORTH AMERICA - A blob with two tails. One tail was Mexico and Central America. The other tail was Florida and the Bahamas. Furthermore, the largest earthquake in North American history (New Madrid 1811 & 1812) occurred right in the middle of the continental mass. What was this all about?

After looking at several possible explanations, I finally realized that the two tails might actually be one tail that had been split in two. The more I examined this possibility, the more I found that this splitting option explained other features, too.

The crux of this splitting explanation is the idea that the Chicxulub impact actually occurred slightly inside of a North American tail that curved down sharply to the Florida area and the Bahamas.

The Chicxulub impact is located today right on top of the northern "thumb" of the Yucatan Peninsula. When examining the shape of this area (including the continental shelf), we can see that there are several miles of land just under the water to the north of the impact.

If the impact was actually slightly in the interior of the meat of the tail of this reimagined North American continent, the force of the impact could have caused the land to move to the southwest (as explained previously, the impact object came out of the northeast).

This moving process would have unhinged a significant amount of the tail, forcing it to move along with the crater area. The top edge of the continental-shelf-thumb would have been originally located along the panhandle of Florida prior to the impact 65 MYA.

The energy of the impact forced this area to move to the southwest and form the beginnings of the Gulf of Mexico. Over time, the ocean rounded out the ragged edges of the gaping opening, creating the Gulf of Mexico as it exists today.

As the moving impact site peeled off most of the lower tail to the south and west, it also pulled down the western edge of the upper tail and the lower blob of Eastern North America. This action stretched out the Sierra Madre mountains and created a navigable (by land) high plain in the lower part of Arizona and New Mexico. 95,96

Furthermore, it stretched the land and caused a partial rift in the middle of the lower U.S. as it pushed that same land to the west. The rift did not extend all the way to the northern border. Today the rift is covered with millenia of silt and provides the base for the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, including the New Madrid area.


RAPID SURFACE MOVEMENT AT THE IMPACT SITE


Most geologists would claim that it is impossible for rapid surface movement to occur at the site of a large impact. They would argue that study of impact craters shows that the area outside the crater remains undisturbed.

However, I am not talking about moving the material on the surface. Rather, I am talking about moving the entire layer of surface material as one big slab, leaving the actual surface material intact as a unit. I am talking about moving slabs of delaminated crust from a position below the surface level.

I am not talking about splitting the tectonic plate. I am talking about merely sliding layers of crust in a specific direction, leaving the tectonic plate intact underneath.

Let's first look at the less extreme example of the Chesapeake Bay impact. In this case, the impact is coming from the northeast, hitting into the beginning of a passive continental tectonic margin. The land that it hits has nowhere to go.

Even as the impact buries itself in the ground and pushes on the layers of earth from beneath the surface, this land cannot easily break away and head to the southwest. There is an entire continent in front of it.

So, in my view, this delaminated surface land is pushed up over the land in front of it, where it eventually comes to rest, sort of like a rug pushed up against a wall. The extreme pressure of the impact would help these surface layers slide over the lower rock by creating molten edges at the face of the sliding slab, in the same way that this occurs in deep earthquakes. 110,111,112,120,121,122

There is even controversial evidence that this scenario did, in fact, occur. The reason that this evidence is controversial is due to the fact that the Standard Theory attributes this occurrence to other factors.

The evidence itself consists of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the surface land in front of them and behind them.

In the "Blue Ridge Parkway Geology Training Manual," Robert J. Lillie explains the difference between the Western Appalachians and the Blue Ridge Mountains as follows:


"In the western part of the Appalachians, the rocks were originally part of North America ... while the Blue Ridge is a piece of the deeper, hard crust that was uplifted and shoved westward. Farther east, however, the rocks formed elsewhere and were attached (or "accreted") to the edge of North America as the ocean closed ... Rocks beneath young sediments of Georgia and the Carolinas are thus stranded pieces of Africa, left behind when the Atlantic opened."

"During the late stages of continental collision the sedimentary rocks of the Valley and Ridge Province (between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Western Appalachians) were detached from the hard rocks underneath and pushed westward. The strata were compressed, deforming in two different ways. Analogous to a rug being pushed across a floor (or squeezing an accordian), a series of anticlines and synclines developed." 106pg16-17


Lillie goes on to describe the debate between "thick skinners," who believed that it was downwarping and vertical lift that caused the mountains, and the "thin skinners," who believed that there was a long area of horizontal detachment that extended from the coast to the base of the Western Appalachians. Lillie states:

"The implication of this interpretation was that hard rocks at the surface were pushed westward tens, and maybe even hundreds, of miles over North America." 106pg18

In the late 1970s, seismic reflection profiles were recorded for this area. Lillie recounts the resulting victory of the "thin skinners:"


"The profiles revealed that thrust faults merged with a nearly horizontal (detachment) zone above basement rocks in the Valley and Ridge Province. Strong reflections from the detachment zone were traced eastward, entirely beneath the Blue Ridge and part of the Piedmont. It was thus demonstrated that the Blue Ridge and Piedmont were thrust westward in a thin-skinned fashion over the North American continent." 106pg18

A similar geological story is told by Lynn s. Fichter and Steve J. Baedke in "The Geological Evolution of Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic Region - A Description of the Geology of Virginia. 107

Lillie attributes this horizontal movement of crust to long-ago pressure from reunion with Africa in the formation of Pangaea prior to 250 MYA. Fichter and Baedke don't discuss the timing, but it is safe to assume that most geologists would agree with Lillie ... after all, they don't have another mechanism available.

As far as I can tell, geologists are saying that we have a unique reaction to a convergent boundary here. In no other place in the world do convergent boundaries behave like this. In other places, convergent boundaries rapidly raise up mountains (which is why the "thick-skinners" took that stance).

But here, it's different. Well, maybe there's a reason that its different.

What if there were another force that could cause horizontal movement at surface layers of the earth? What if that force came out of the northeast at an angle of 30 degrees to 45 degrees and burrowed down into the earth's surface at or below the level of those layers and exerted tremendous shock impact in a direction to the south and west? What if that force were equivalent to the energy of thousands of hydrogen bombs?

All of the above questions relate to characteristics of the Chesapeake Bay impact 35.5 MYA. If, as a recent Princeton study claims, the Chicxulub impact hit with the energy impact of 2,000,000 hydrogen bombs, then the Chesapeake Bay impact, though smaller, probably had an energy impact equivalent of at least hundreds of thousands of hydrogen bombs. A significant portion of this directional energy could have been transferred to the basement area of these surface layers, moving them inland (and mostly to the south and west). It is likely that the original site of the Chesapeake Bay impact may have been to the north and east of the present crater, after allowing for all of the sliding involved.

The Piedmont and the Blue Ridge Mountains are mostly located to the west and south of the Chesapeake Bay impact site. The Blue Ridge Mountains end in northern Georgia. The Piedmont ends in mid-Georgia.

If the Piedmont and Blue Ridge Mountains were pushed up and moved by a collision with Africa, why wouldn't they extend farther to the south? Why would they be so truncated in the north? Why would they happen to be just in the right location and in the right shape to have been moved by the force of a large impact that just happened to be moving in that direction? see map 108

A recent article entitled "How river networks move across a landscape" by Jennifer Chu of Science Daily on 3/3/14 summarizes work by Willett, Mccoy, Perron, Goren and Cehn published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. While this work mostly deals with the changing nature of river networks, it has unusual relevance to the movement of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Jennifer Chu writes:

"What was most surprising to Perron was what is likely occurring in the southeastern United States. While the landscape, which stretches from northern Florida to Virginia, has not experienced much tectonic activity for hundreds of millions of years, the group's map suggests that river networks in these areas are on the move. From their results, the researchers find that the Blue Ridge Escarpment is moving inland, and essentially dragging behind it river basins, slowly stretching them across the landscape." 130


I realize that the canon of geological theory does not recognize this sort of rapid surface movement as a result of a large impact to be valid. But, sometimes, you just have to question the accepted canon.

So, why am I spending the time to question this aspect of the geological canon when it doesn't seem to be very important to my theory? After all, my theory doesn't really hinge upon the events that occurred at the site of the Chesapeake Bay impact 35.5 MYA.

But my theory does have quite a bit to say about what happened at the Chicxulub impact site. I hypothesize that the initial impact at Chicxulub was somewhere between southern Georgia or Alabama and Panama City in the Florida panhandle, which would have been near 30 degrees north latitude 65 MYA, and would have been somewhat inland, but near the coast of Eastern North America. The Chicxulub impact would have burrowed down into the earth and moved intact surface layers from Florida to an area south and west of there.

Unlike the Chesapeake Bay impact, there was no continent in the way to stop these delaminated surface layers from moving. They moved to a spot near their present location, where they formed the nascent Gulf of Mexico and the beginnings of Mexico and the Central American peninsula.

Although I can show some elements of corroboration for this scenario, I did not have any geological evidence to show that this kind of intact surface movement had ever occurred in the past ... until I examined the Chesapeake Bay impact closely.


LARGE LANDSLIDE SLABS


However, this type of large slab of material moving mostly as an intact mass can happen in some very large landslides. Geology.com reports on the largest known landslide that ever occurred. Known as the Heart Mountain Landslide, it happened 50 million years ago in northwestern Wyoming. The article says: "The slide occurred when a large slab of Madison Limestone, about 1600 feet thick and over 400 square miles in area, became detached and slid down a gradual slope that had average slope of less than two degrees. As the limestone slab moved it broke into many smaller pieces. Today over 100 pieces of the slab are scattered across an area of about 1300 square miles. Some of these blocks are up to five miles across and many of them have been buried by volcanic material."

This huge slab landslide occurred without the help of giant amounts of energy imparted by a large, burrowing, cosmic impact. While I am arguing for a much bigger result than this landslide, I am also pointing out that there was much, much more energy involved
.


A quick examination of the Kara crater 70 MYA also shows some strange anomalies that may support intact surface movement, as well. According to paper published by Koeberl, Sharpton, Harrison, Sandwell, Murali and Burke entitled "The Kara/Ust-Kara twin impact structure; A large-scale impact event in the late Cretaceous," the Kara crater (with a pre-erosion size of 65 km) had a shadow twin crater of approximately the same size located in the Kara sea, just to the north and east of the Kara crater.

The paper calls this situation a rare twin impact event. To me, this looks more like a single event with a deeper impact crater at the original impact site, causing the intact surface to move to the south and west. The result would look like two separate impacts at almost the same spot. 129

Clearly this entire concept of rapid intact surface movement due to a large impact will be controversial. But I believe that it explains too much about the formation of North America to just ignore it.


OLD SPREADING RIDGES SEEN FROM SPACE


A recent article in Live Science details radar views from space that allow scientists to "see through" the sea floor sediment to the rocky features beneath.

The floor of the Gulf of Mexico shows the remains of spreading ridges between the Chicxulub impact site and the U.S. shoreline along the Florida Gulf Coast. This kind of tear in the crust is just what one might expect to see if a strong force moved a big hunk of material from the U.S. coast to the south and west.

The space radar image also showed some tears in the surface underneath sediment at the southern edge of the Gulf of Mexico. Again, this type of tear is just what one would expect if a force began folding up the Yucatan Peninsula as it moved Mexico and the upper part of Central America to the south and west.



THE EFFECTS OF THE CHESAPEAKE BAY IMPACT


About 35.5 MYA, a large object crashed into the Chesapeake Bay area in Maryland from out of the northeast. The impact caused an antipodal hotspot that ran down the east coast of Australia.

At the impact site, itself, the energy pushed the east coast of the U.S. in a southwestward direction, causing the indented eastern coastline of the U.S. in the area of Maryland and Virginia, and gradually closing the rift in the middle of the country.

The rift, located at the Mississippi River and the Ohio River valleys, still experiences strike slip fault movement from the pressure to the south on the eastern side of the now-closed rift (i.e. the New Madrid earthquakes). 101,102


LOOKING AT THE EVIDENCE


Now, let's ask the question: What makes this impact scenario more plausible than the Standard Theory, which doesn't posit movement at the site of the impact?

1. MECHANISM FOR NEW MADRID - The Impact Effect Scenario offers a clear mechanism for the cause and continued movement of the fault in the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys. Without some kind of really good reason for the New Madrid fault, it is bizarre to have the largest earthquakes in the history of the U.S. occurring in the middle of the normally stable continental mass.

2. LARGE IGNEOUS PROVINCES - The map of Large Igneous Provinces shows a questionable magmatic location (it has a question mark on it) in the "thumb" of the Yucatan Peninsula. This is mostly questionable because it located so far away from the rest of the magmatic locations of the CAMP. The Impact Effect Scenario moves this magmatism location's initial site to a spot right next to the CAMP locations in lower Georgia and Alabama. 103 pg 4

Furthermore, an analysis of the Caribbean Ocean plateau by Keith H. James finds that the thumb area of the Yucatan has been tectonically linked to Florida, across the Gulf of Mexico. 57 pg 2

3. STRETCH MARKS - A look at a relief map of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean basin shows stretch marks indicating the movement of Mexico and Central America away from the Caribbean islands, Florida and the Bahamas shelf area. The pieces seem to fit together, with Jamaica, especially, appearing to be partially pulled towards the Central America area.

4. SAME GEOLOGICAL ORIGIN - Pelagic limestone from the Maya Block in Central America are similar in age and lithology to the sedimentary sequence of southwestern Cuba and suggest a common depositional area on the eastern margin of the Maya Block in the Proto-Caribbean Basin." 113

5. STRETCHED OUT AREA NORTH OF THE SIERRA MADRES - There is an area between the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico and the lower Rocky Mountains in the U.S. that is not very mountainous … it is as though that area was stretched out, lowering the mountainous area that was probably there originally. The Impact Effect Scenario provides a definite cause for this stretched out situation.

6. IT FITS THE "BLOB WITH A TAIL" MODEL - North America is the only continent (with the exception of the Eurasian conglomeration) that does not fit the "blob with a tail" model. This Impact Effects Scenario would explain this anomaly.

7. COMMON SENSE - Does it make sense that a huge impact that comes in at an angle would not have at least some angular effect at the impact site? If tectonic plates are going to move around because of mantle plumes, why wouldn't a huge angled impact cause at least some of the earth's surface to move?

As I will detail in chapter 2.7, another example of movement as the result of an angled impact is the Permian extinction impact in Antarctica 250 MYA. The impact caused the entire Old Australia continent to move to the south and east, with Eastern Antarctica eventually breaking off and moving south as the stresses from one-sided (not evenly applied along the whole length of this huge continent) forward pressure would not allow such a large structure to stay intact. 57 pg 2


EXPLAINING EASTERN NORTH AMERICA


While this explanation of the three plates which formed North America does explain the interaction involved, it does not explain the origin of the key player ... Eastern North America.

Siberia will be explained in Chapter 2.7. The remnant land at the San Andreas Fault has been explained. Let's look at the explanation for Eastern North America.

I contend that Eastern North America was created as a result of a very large impact at the end of the Triassic, about 202 MYA. This event caused the formation of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Provinces (CAMP) as a side effect of uplifting the new Eastern North American Continent.

Because the northern part of the new Eastern North American Continent did not fully separate from the European continent until 65 MYA, it has been more difficult to see how the process worked. However, we can find reasonable candidates for the necessary participants in this continental formation.

1. CRATER -- There are no absolute answers here. However, we do have a candidate. Looking at where the original hotspot was likely to have been and where an impact would have had to have been to be antipodal to the initial hotspot, there is a possible candidate: The Bedout crater, located just to the northeast of Australia. However, we cannot be sure.

2. HOTSPOT -- The hotspot for the uplifting of the Eastern North American Continent is interior to the continent and likely located at or near Montreal, Canada or under northern Lake Ontario. It is also possible that the initial hotspot was located to the northwest of either location and that the cracks propagated to that area and the volcanism started "squirting out" at one of those points (similar to the Columbia River volcanism in Washington State, where the Yellowstone hotspot, then located under the Rocky Mountains, couldn't break through the surface due to the weight and thickness of the rocks. Instead, the volcanism moved sideways to the Columbia River valley where it could break out). The entire hotspot situation is confusing, in that much of northern Eastern North America remained mostly attached to the European Continent for tens of millions of years. This means that the Eastern American Continent might not have started outrunning the hotspot until 60 million years after the creation impact.

However, there are very visible crack and split lines in the initial hotspot area that can explain the CAMP volcanism as the cracks propagated to the uplifted edge area of the new continent. The clearest crack propagation lines are the St. Lawrence seaway, the Hudson Valley/Lake Champlain divide, the Mohawk River in New York State and the basin structure of the Great Lakes, much of which is underlain by basalt intrusions. Even the Finger Lakes of Upstate New York might be the result of tentative crack propagation. As the propagated cracks released the magmatic pressure and uplifted and partially separated the Eastern North American Continent from Europe, they also created the huge CAMP lava flows. Adding to the problem of determining the original location of the hotspot is the fact that continued glaciation over the millennia has eroded identifying features on the landscape. 97,98,99,100

The unusually large amount of volcanism of the CAMP could mean that a significant amount of the pressure of uplift was relieved through the CAMP rather than being used in the uplift. This could explain the partial attachment of the northeastern section (Greenland) to Europe, as well as a possible lower-than-usual uplift on the western side of this new continent. 81 pg 22

A Mafic oceanic crustal western edge of this new continent could have resulted in subduction of that edge under the Siberian Tail remnant during the collision 80 MYA to 70 MYA at the start of the Laramide Orogeny (building of the Rocky Mountains). This subducted collision could have uplifted the high plains and built the Rockies as a normal continental mountain range from the east, rather than a uniquely strangely shallow-angled subducted Farallon Plate from the west. The separation of the pieces of the Siberian Tail as it moved north and east could explain the Big Horn Basin and other intermountain basins. 82,83,84,85,86,87

3. BLOB WITH A TAIL -- While the Eastern North American continental uplift did produce a blob with a tail, it is difficult to see this today because:
a. THE TAIL MOVED 65 MYA -- As detailed earlier in this chapter, the Chicxulub impact 65 MYA moved most of the tail to the south and west, as it opened up a gash in the midsection of the Eastern North American Continent. The pushed-over tail material lined up under the Siberian tail section of the combined continent, making the continent look as though it had two tails.
b. COMBINED CONTINENTAL MASSES -- As Eastern North America moved west, it collided with the tail of the Siberian Continent, which (with the remnant San Andreas portion of the Pacific Plate at the western edge) formed the combined continent that we see today.
4. CONTINENTAL MOVEMENT -- The creation of Eastern North America 202 MYA took a significant amount of land from Europe, as well as including some ocean crust on its western side. When it comes to continental movement, we can see where Eastern North America was connected to Europe and we can see where it ended up today.

However, this was not a straight line path. The collision with the Siberian tail (80MYA to 70 MYA) would have moved it northward and/or caused it to rotate clockwise. The Chicxulub impact 65 MYA would have moved it to the southwest, until the tail split and the western tail continued on its southwest journey. Then, 35 MYA, the Chesapeake Bay impact would have moved the entire plate slightly to the south and west.

5. TANDEM MOVEMENT -- The original hotspot location is difficult to determine. There is a good possibility that the Eastern North American Continent did not start to outrun the hotspot (due to the continent still being partially attached to Europe) until around 130 MYA. Given the likelihood that the original hotspot and the crack propagation occurred near Montreal and/or northern Lake Ontario, there is a clear candidate for the subsequent track of the hotspot. This track is the New England Seamount Chain. The New England Seamount Chain begins off the southeast coast of Cape Cod with the Bear Seamount (102 million years old) and continues southeast to the Nashville Seamount (82 million years old).

If we follow the New England seamount chain backwards in time, we find that this same hotspot built the White Mountains in New Hampshire circa 124 MYA and created volcanic intrusions in the Montreal area approximately 136 MYA. The Nashville Seamount was created 82 MYA. Then the seamount chain seems to end. However, many geologists believe that it continues at the Corner Rise Seamounts and then, later, across the mid-ocean ridge, with the Great Meteor Seamounts.

But, how could this be? The New England Seamounts move in a relatively straight line and then end at the Nashville Seamount. The Corner Rise Seamounts begin at 75 MYA and are located significantly to the north. Why would the hotspot change direction like that? The answer is that it didn't. Instead, the Eastern North American Plate changed direction. Somewhere around 80 MYA and 70 MYA, the Eastern North American Plate ran into the Siberian tail, which was moving to the north and west. This collision would likely have caused the Eastern North American Plate to be grabbed and rotated clockwise, thus moving the eastern edge of the plate to the south.

Because the eastern edge of the Eastern North American Plate moved to the south, the New England hotspot appeared to move significantly to the north, where it created the Corner Rise Seamounts (75 MYA to 70 MYA). At this point, the seamounts stop. However, in a location of similar latitude across the mid-ocean ridge, a new group of seamounts begin. Some geologists conclude that this new group is a continuation of the New England Seamount Chain, now rechristened the Great Meteor Seamounts. I believe that this interpretation is correct, although my version is slightly different. The standard view is that the hotspot is moving southeast. I believe that the hotspot is moving very slowly northwest, but that the plates (Eastern North American and Europe) are both moving faster in a westerly direction than the slow moving hotspot. 88,89,90,91,92,93,94


THE EXTINCTION


The extinction caused by the impact which created the Eastern North American Plate at its antipode, as well as the CAMP, was the end-Triassic extinction. The extensive magmatism of the CAMP were the primary driving force for this major extinction. But we must remember, the CAMP were created by the antipodal impact effect.

This was a huge magmatic event at virtually the same time as the Triassic extinction approx. 202 MYA. Called the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP), this region contains 300,000 square kilometers of extrusive basalts that occurred around 200 MYA. Moreover, "dikes and sills of CAMP that fed the basin basalts also occur across 11 million square kilometers within four continents, centered upon but extending far outside of the initial Pangaean rift zone" according to J. Gregory McHone. 54

The CAMP is located along the rift line that occurred between North America and Europe as Pangaea began to break up about 200 MYA. There are also substantial basalt intrusions and deposits along the African and South American coasts, which lead most geologists to believe that there was rifting between those two continents, also (I do not believe that there was any rifting here, because the South American continent had not yet been created … see Chapter 2.4. In my view, the CAMP that was located in and near Africa and northern South America was a result of the creation of the Eastern North American Plate ... see Chapter 2.8).

In the last 30 years, the idea of a CAMP has gone from an interesting theory to a pretty well proven reality. The ages and types of magmatism are now proven to be very similar all along this huge area. Initially, it looks to be a stretch to conclude that all of these magmatic events are part of the same mega-event. But now this theory is pretty well accepted. 55,56,57,58

The small difference in the cited dates (202 MYA for the Triassic extinction and 200 MYA for the CAMP) would be right at the limit of the stated margin of error, but it could also mean that there are some CAMP sites that are just slightly older that have not yet been sampled or have not been sampled in the oldest areas of those sites.

J.G. McHone notes that, although some geologists might favor a plume theory for the cause of this magmatism, there is no evidence to support this possibility, nor is there a hotspot that is a likely culprit. It appears that this magmatism was a result of plate tectonic action. He says, "Continental rifting was active 25 m.y. before and after the magmatic event, during which rifting and magmatism evolved into a spreading ocean crust." 58

Interestingly, all of the conversation seems to be about the CAMP and their relation to the Triassic extinction. No one speaks to the cause of the CAMP, other than to say that they are related to the breakup of Pangaea.

The only explanation for the breakup of Pangaea seems to be "rifting," caused by tectonic forces.


A DIFFERENT EXPLANATION


Although I agree with the CAMP theory in general, I believe that there are two important differences between this theory as stated and what actually occurred. These differences deal with the cause of the breakup of Pangaea and the relationship between South America and Africa.

As seen in maps of the CAMP, the magmatic activity of the CAMP stopped somewhere around the equator. It did not go farther south. This probably means that the rifting stopped at that point. 57 pg 2

If the reason for the CAMP was the breakup of Pangaea, then there is no good reason for the CAMP to suddenly stop halfway down the coast of Africa. It was already halfway down the Gondwana area of Pangaea. Why stop there?

I believe that the reason why the CAMP stopped around the equator had to do with the fact that it relates only to the creation of the Eastern North American Plate.

I believe that the South American continent was not created until 132 MYA (see see Chapter 2.4). Therefore, models of the CAMP that show the effects on South America are not accurate. South America did not exist at that time.

When South America was uplifted as a continent 132 MYA, it contained some of the CAMP material (Amazonia) in its northern reaches, because that material happened to be located there at the time it was uplifted. But there was no rifting related to South America until it was created 132 MYA and given a strong westward impetus. Up until then, the Pacific plate was being subducted by Africa near its southern end while being subducted in the opposite direction by the Eurasian plate on its northern end. This impossible situation forced the creation of the Nazca plate, which was initially being subducted by Africa but is now being subducted by Africa's proxy, South America.

While these important differences need to be pointed out, they do not change the basic premise of the CAMP and its relation to the Triassic extinction.

It appears quite probable that the Triassic extinction was caused by the CAMP. However, the CAMP were caused by the impact effects of an impact that created Eastern North America. Therefore, a cosmic impact was the root cause of the Triassic extinction.