India is the most recent continental tectonic plate created at the antipode of a very large impact 65 MYA. The next youngest is South America, created 132 MYA.

This chapter will explain the uplift and movement of the South American continent, as well as the creation and movement of its hotspot and the location of the impact that started it all.

The Standard Theory treats South America as an old continent that has been around for a long, long time. All of the models of tectonic movement show South America existing in one form or another going back 500 million years or more.

Guess what? The models are wrong.

The actual continental crust was old enough, but it was not separated from Africa. It was part of the original African continent. The shape of South America did not exist as a separate entity until it was created out of Africa and some oceanic sea floor that was near it 132 MYA.

At first, I assumed that South America was an old continent, similar to Australia, Africa and Europe. However, when investigating the Large Igneous Provinces (LIP), I found that South America had a LIP that was in the right place for an antipodal hotspot. Furthermore, this LIP (the Parana and Etendeka traps) dated to a single big eruption 132 MYA. The volcanism was extensive, rivaling that of India 65 MYA and Siberia 250 MYA. I later realized that this LIP was the product of crack propagation going from the interior antipode location to the continental uplift edge ... see "Crack Propagation" later in this chapter.

Moreover, the magnetic anomalies indicating the beginning of seafloor spreading did not begin until 132 MYA. Therefore, the "real" breakup of Africa and South America didn't begin until 132 MYA. 60


The reason that the traps are called the Parana and Etendeka traps is because, while most of them are in South America (Parana), there are some in Africa that share the same characteristics … enough so that geologists generally accept the idea that these traps were originally part of a single magmatic province. 61

The Standard Theory says that Africa and South America were rifting for a while (since 200 MYA?) and finally started separating 132 MYA. The coastlines of the two continents meshed together while they were part of Pangaea … I guess that was just a coincidence that the two continents had such a close fit ... yeah, right.


All of the factors for an impact causing a continental uplift are in place in this situation (except for the impact, itself, and we will be getting to that). We don't need a coincidental continental fit. To top it off, there was even a worldwide anoxic event that occurred 132 MYA, causing a massive die off of marine organisms.62 This result is not surprising, since the culprit impact object was huge (bigger than the Permian object) and, this time, landed in the Pacific Ocean.


Let's look at the five characteristics needed for a fully formed smoking gun for the creation of South America.

They are:

1. CRATER - Since the remains of the hotspot are at about 20 degrees south latitude now and would have been at about 17 degrees south latitude 132 MYA, we need to look on the opposite side of the world at about 17 degrees north latitude 132 MYA. The longitudinal position of the impact 132 MYA would have been directly antipodal to the western African coast at 17 degrees south latitude. Since this section of Africa is at about zero degrees longitude, this means that the impact would have been at about 180 degrees longitude.

Unfortunately, this impact location is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, which would have been subducting under the Filipino plate. The subductive edge of the Filipino plate features a reverse arc at around 146 degrees longitude. Given the normal rate of subduction, an impact crater that started out at 180 degrees would have been completely subducted long before now. So, we can assume that any evidence of a large crater would have been subducted away … or can we? Let's take a closer look.

The subduction edge of the Filipino plate forms a strange reverse arc at the Marianas Trench, the deepest trench in the world. The Mariana islands and the seamounts near them are located just behind the Marianas Trench. They are obviously volcanic structures formed by the subduction process.

The really surprising feature is another row of seamounts located in more of a straight line that are found behind the Mariana island reverse arc. Farther to the north and to the south, these two lines of seamounts join back together, into a single line. 64,65,66

It is as though the Mariana island reverse arc pushed out and superceded the old seamount arc. How could this happen?

Well, let's imagine a very large submarine crater with a very deep annular trough. Let's imagine that this crater is being subducted along the old, nearly straight line of seamounts in the Mariana island area (and let's imagine that the Mariana island reverse arc does not exist yet). At first, this subduction would not produce any unusual changes.

However, as the back half of the crater approached the subduction zone, its deeper ring might very well start to take over the subduction function.

As we will see in Chapter 2.6 concerning the Tonga Trench, a trench is a powerful subduction startup mechanism … even when the other helping factors are not present.

This scenario would explain the strange double row of seamounts and the unusual shape of the Mariana island arc.

Furthermore, the timing is right. The island of Guam, located at the southern end of the Mariana fore-arc, was the site of early arc magmatism between 43 MYA and 32 MYA, according to Mark K. Reagan and Arend Miejer. 63

If the large impact occurred approximately 132 MYA and the earliest volcanic activity at Guam was at about 43 MYA, this would give the crater about 90 million years to travel from approximately 180 degrees longitude to approximately 145 degrees longitude. In other words, the impact crater would have to move approximately 35 degrees (or about 2300 miles) in 90 million years. This works out to an average of about 1.6 inches per year … a fairly normal subduction rate.

Therefore, even though we don't have an actual crater, we have what looks like the remains of a huge crater subduction site with approximately the right timing and approximately the right location.

The size of the crater, judging from the subduction arc and the depth of the Mariana trench (a stand in for the crater's annular ring), could have been huge … 500 miles in diameter or more (even allowing for slumping and other crater enlargement mechanisms). However, because the impact was in deep water, much of the energy would have been absorbed by the water, leaving "only" a net Chicxulub-size impact on land.

Granted, this Chicxulub-like impact effect was enough to lift up a medium size continent. But it was not the absolutely apocalyptic scenario that would have ensued if the impact object had hit on dry land. If it had hit on dry land, it would have made the Permian extinction look small.

2. HOTSPOT - The hotspot is interior to the South American continent, leading to a propagated crack which formed the huge Parana and Etendeka LIP. There was a very large flow basalt eruption circa 132 MYA. There were also other eruptions, some earlier and some later. 61,67

So, what are we to make of this? How could there be lava flows more than five million years before the impact object caused an antipodal hotspot?

The answer is that there were extensive lava flows throughout the entire area (especially in the area that would become the northern part of South America) as part of seafloor spreading. Prior to continental uplift, the west coast of Africa experienced seafloor spreading in the north and subduction of the Pacific plate (soon to break off as the Nazca plate) underneath Africa to the south.

But wait a minute! Previously we had found that magnetic anomalies associated with seafloor spreading in the South America/Africa area didn't begin until approximately 132 MYA. How could seafloor spreading have occurred before 132 MYA?

The answer is as follows: Prior to 132 MYA, South America did not exist. There was seafloor spreading in the north, but it was between the African plate and the Pacific plate. The South American continent was uplifted from both seafloor (in its western areas) and part of the African continent (in its eastern areas).

Therefore, the South American continent contained part of the African continent's former west coast, as well as spread seafloor and lots of flow basalt lava from the CAMP (especially the large Amazonia craton). All of the previous magnetic anomalies of seafloor spreading (in the northern part of South America) are now obscured, because it now part of the uplifted continent.

Therefore, new seafloor that can be analyzed begins at 132 MYA, at the time of the South America uplift.

What about the Etendeka part of the flow basalt lava? If the antipode was interior to the new South American Continent, then how did the Etendeka area of Africa get involved?

First, let's notice that the Etendeka area is significantly smaller than the Parana flow basalts. Second, let's remember that, even though the antipodal hotspot was interior, it wasn't that far away. Also, the cleaving of South America from Africa would have opened up the lithosphere relatively close to the antipodal magma plume. It's not surprising that some of the magma pressure escaped there.


But there is an even bigger concept to explore here ... and that is the concept of crack propagation. I have written about the uplift of continents that occurs at the antipode when a really big impact occurs. However, I have not examined the details of how this uplift occurs. Yes, it makes sense that the shear zone would occur at the point where the uplifting power is just barely able to cause both shear and uplift. But there is likely more to this situation than just a stand-alone shearing uplift. I believe that the actual mechanism is crack propagation.

At this point, I would like to harken back to another example from the cold heading business. That example is the drywall screw. Drywall screws need to have a very hard outer surface, so that the rolled point (created during roll threading) will be sharp enough to pierce the drywall and allow for an easy start, when screwing them in.

The cheap and easy solution to this problem is to case harden the screws in a heat treat furnace after the threads and points have been rolled. The case hardening process infuses a layer of carbon into the surface of the screw (maybe .005 inch thick ) that becomes very hard because of the heat treatment. There is a drawback to case hardening, however.

The drawback is that the case hardened area is hard but much more brittle than the rest of the screw. If a crack occurs, it will spread very easily. Drywall screws are not required to take much punishment or to deliver much shear strength. Also, drywall screws are not used in applications where shear failure is a big concern. Therefore, it doesn't matter if drywall screws are a bit brittle and subject to crack propagation under rough treatment. What matters is that they function in a normal environment and that they are inexpensive.

The situation of crack propagation can also be seen with aluminum foil and plastic wrap. Although both aluminum foil and plastic wrap can be relatively strong when they are intact, both can be easily torn when a small crack or tear has been started.


Now, let's get back to hotspots and continental uplift.

When an impact is so large that even a vigorous hotspot at the antipode is not enough to relieve the pressure from deformation at the impact site, then something else must happen. While my belief is that this type of large impact will result in the uplift of a new continent, I also believe that the mechanism for this uplift will be crack propagation.

In many important ways, the upper layers of the Earth's surface are similar to the layers of a drywall screw. Both have a small surface thickness that is hard and brittle. Both have a relatively weak interior.

When the hotspot erupts at the antipode of a very large impact, there is tremendous pressure at the edges of the hotspot. It is logical that the pressure would cause crack propagation at the site of any imperfections at the edges of the mostly circular hotspot.

I believe that this crack propagation would continue until one of the cracks reaches the inevitable continental perimeter, where the forces of uplift are only barely able to overcome the weight of gravity on the surface rock. I believe that when cracks propagate from the initial hotspot towards the eventual edge of the soon-to-be continent, only one of these tentative propagation cracks is actually used to propagate the circumferential shearing zone.

This chosen path (mostly a result of highest degree of weakness, shortest journey to the circumferential shearing zone and luck) receives by far the greatest discharge of pressure, leaving a noticeable rift and lots of lava flows as the pressure starts unzipping the circumference of the soon-to-be continent.

This situation is much like the slow motion pictures that are taken of objects during a lightning storm. In slow motion, prior to a lightning strike, we can see the small threading of an electrical charge weaving upwards from the taller objects on the landscape. Then the lightning bolt begins (chooses?) its path from the sky to one of these electrical tendrils and the entire electrical discharge occurs along this one path.

Note that the lightning bolt does not spread its energy among the several electrical tendrils that are reach up towards it. Once a choice has been made, the entire force of the lightning bolt heads down that chosen path.

I believe that the path of the primary propagation crack from the initial hotspot to the edge of the soon-to-be continent works in a similar way. Since molten lava is much thicker and slower than electricity, the cut off of magma power to the secondary crack propagation tendrils may be significantly slower than in the cases of lightning, so we may actually see more than one track.

In actual practice, we have four examples of antipodal continental tectonic plates that we can look at ... two with interior hotspots and two with perimeter hotspots. In the cases of perimeter hotspots (India and Siberia), the hotspots and their initial propagation cracks are at the edge of the continental shearing zone already. There is no path from the interior to the circumference that is needed ... and none is found. In the cases of interior hotspots (Eastern North America and South America), a primary pathway had to be established for the pressure to reach the perimeter of these soon-to-be continents.

In Eastern North America, a main pathway remnant is Lake Champlain and the Hudson River Valley, with the massive lava outflows along the Hudson River Palisades, Newark and New York City area, which are traceable to the same time period as the initial separation of Eastern North America from Europe 202 MYA. There is also massive lava flow down the St. Lawrence river area.

In South America, this pathway remnant is the vast Rio La Plata, which separates Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. The Rio La Plata contains vast areas of ancient volcanism that is traceable to the same time period as the initial separation of South America and Africa 132 MYA.

3. BLOB WITH A TAIL - South America is the classic example of a blob with a tail. Since its uplifting 132 MYA, the continent has not run into anything that would change its shape. The only factor that has modified its original shape is the subduction at the Nazca plate that has compressed its entire western edge, making it appear slightly lopsided to the east.

4. CONTINENTAL MOVEMENT - Since South America can fit right into its original location as part of Africa, it is easy to see where it started and where it has moved to in the past 132 million years.

5. TANDEM MOVEMENT - The hotspot begins somewhere in the eastern interior of the continent and gradually loses ground as the continent outpaces it. Both the continent and the hotspot are moving mostly west, but the continent is moving faster. Therefore, relative to the continent, the hotspot appears to be moving to the east.

The logical candidate for the present location of this hotspot is the Vitoria-Trindade seamount chain in the western Brazil basin of the South Atlantic. Located at 20 degrees south latitude, this chain extends almost due east. The currently active island at Trindade is at the far eastern end of the chain. 72,73,74

An article entitled "New Data on the Structure of the Vitoria-Trindade Seamount Chain" by S.G. Skolotnev, A.A Peyve and N.N. Turko states:
"The origin of the chain is often attributed to the activity of the Trindade hotspot, which was located below the aforementioned islands and has lasted from the Late Cretaceous to present times." 74 pg 435
If the hotspot started offshore in the late Cretaceous (70 MYA?), then this would provide approximately 60 million years for the hotspot to move from more in the interior of the continent to an offshore position by approximately 70 MYA. The timing and direction all fit nicely.

Furthermore, even though the eastward motion (relatively speaking) is expected by the scenario that I have presented, this movement pattern is currently a mystery of geology for those who view this hotspot through the lens of the Standard Theory. Again, quoting Skolonev, Peyve and Turko: "At the same time, no consistent explanations were reported so far for the near E-W trend of this seamount chain." 74 pg435 (author's note: E-W may sound like it means that the chain is moving from east to west, but that is not what they mean … they are using a confusing old method which always lists east first. As an additional note, the other seamount chains in the area move in arcing directions or are associated with transform faults. Transform faults do not apply in the case of the Trindade hotspot).

So, now we have a solution to the mystery. It's always nice when a theory explains phenomena beyond the normal things that are expected.


We now have a full picture of a huge deep ocean impact creating the South American continent. The only thing missing is a major extinction.

There is no major extinction at 132 MYA or even close to132 MYA. How come?

First, even though the extinction charts do not show a major extinction event at 132 MYA, there was a significant marine extinction at that time. Called the Valanginian Weissert Oceanic Anoxic Event (VWOAE), this disaster occurred at the same time as the Parana and Etendeka volcanism. 68,69,70

David Thiede and Paolo Vasconcelos state that the volume of magma eruption "is comparable with extrusion rates of CFBs (e.g. Emesha Traps, Siberian Traps, Central Atlantic Magmatic Province [CAMP], Deccan Traps) correlated with mass extinctions." 71pg750

They go on to note that there may be circumstances which cause this huge magmatic eruption not to create a mass extinction, or, "alternatively, the Valanginian Weissert OAE may actually represent a mass extinction event, and its age must be revised in light of the new results for Parana CFB volcanism." 71 pg 750

So, we have a minor extinction that may actually be a major extinction, depending upon how it is analyzed. The core of the extinction event was the anoxic effect in the world's oceans … certainly this would be a likely result of the impact of a truly huge cosmic object in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

But why would the initial hotspot be so tame? Why wouldn't it cause the same extinction situation as the Siberian Traps or the Deccan Traps or the CAMP, or even the more modest extinction results of the Manicouagan hotspot?

Perhaps the answer lies in the explosive qualities of the eruptions. And the explosive qualities of the eruptions may depend upon how much water was nearby and able to be subducted (with other crust) as the continent and its hotspot moved by.

In the cases of the Siberian Traps and the Deccan Traps, the initial hotspot was located near the edge of the new continent, right near or even in the water, itself. Crust that contained large amounts of water and was subducted into the path of the upwelling magma would have created the opportunity for lots of water to turn to steam, making for frequent, violent eruptions.

If the initial hotspot were located more to the interior, then the flow of magma, even though extensive, may not have been explosive. The Parana initial hotspot appears to fit a more interior location. The crack propagated lava was located at the following edge of the continent's movement, leading to a situation where water-laden crust was not subducted into it.


This chapter presents a complete set of features demonstrating a cosmic impact in the deep Pacific Ocean, with the consequent uplifting of the South American continent approximately 132 MYA. In this case, due to the nature of the impact (deep water) and the location of the hotspot within the interior of the continent, there may have been a significant Oceanic Anoxic Event, rather than a full bore major extinction. 60, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 63, 61, 67, 72, 73, 74, 74 pg 43, 74 pg435, 68, 69, 70, 71, pg 750, 71, pg 750