Mankind has been impressed by many lands sinking like Atlantis and Lemuria, and by others, such as the Atlas, the Cascades and the Chilean Cordillera rising. The movements, all legends insist, were sudden. And, of course, since it is the human who speaks, the movements were recent.

L. C. Stecchini, historian of ancient measures, maintained [1] that the Babylonians, calculating the diameter of the Earth subsequent to Egyptian measurements, arrived at a larger figure. Some of man's early obsession with geometrical measurements of Earth and sky were motivated by perceptions of terrific effects and of changes still then occurring or feared.

Geologists prefer to think of lands sinking in one place while rising in another. I doubt that ancient man would argue the point. The geologist may call the total process isostasy, by which is meant the belief-not necessarily a fact that the mantle around the world so acts as to stabilize the crustal surface. The mechanism of isostasy is questionable, but, since it is only a question-begging term, it is less questionable than the mechanisms for pushing up and pulling down the crust, which may be a non-existent practical fiction.

What would provide an intelligible mechanism? One such possibility is the expansion of the Earth as a whole.

When the remarkable past changes of the globe first assembled themselves in my mind, I imagined them to have occurred solely as a result of the expansion of the Earth under the influence of exoterrestrial forces. Then the theory of lunar eruption appeared more convincing than a very large expansion, and finally I settled upon a combination of loss of mass and expansion of volume.

Whatever can explode can expand. Worlds explode. Radio astronomy and even visual observation on rare occasions, confirm this. The asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter was probably a planet until recently. There are some small indications that it may have been identified with the Greek god Phoebus Apollo, hence be so close in time.

The Earth can explode. Therefore it can expand. It is more difficult to construct a model of expansion than a model of explosion. Both layman and expert can readily conjure up an image of "more than enough" energy to explode any body. In so imagining, they may skip over the crucial problem of how much it takes exactly to explode the body. An explosion can be defined as a rapidly accelerating expansion that has achieved a specified rate where a set of effects occurs that is called "explosion."

The conservation of angular momentum of a rotating body depends upon its retaining the sum of its mass, its velocity and its radius. The radius is the distance from the center of rotation to the direction of its motion along the axis of rotation. Expansion signifies a change in radius.

The concept of radius describes a relationship of objects. It is not itself a force or an entity. Therefore, the expression "increase in radius" must signify a changed spatial relation between things that determine the radius. Once more, the salient question points at electro-mechanics, determinants of mass that might act to increase the radius.

Expansion of a rotating body then must be associated with a change in velocity or mass. In the case of the Earth during a lunar eruption, the loss of mass consists of half the crust and most of a dense atmosphere, altogether no more than 2% of the mass of the Earth. An interruption of rotation imposes an abrupt decline of spin velocity upon the Earth. This then requires an increase in radius and expansion in order to maintain angular momentum.

At the same time, the conservation of angular momentum does not occur in an isolated system. In the present case, energy representing the angular momentum is transferable to other external systems: the space plasma, the proto-Moon, the Sun and planets, and cometary bodies.

A body such as Earth will expand when it is freed from an external pressure. Possession of a dense atmosphere of the type of Venus would have limited the Earth's figure; if removed, the Earth would have expanded. Its outer surface will even spring back, that is, exhibit an acceleration and a counterpressure that causes it to "take off" from its base. Irregularities found in a number of places around the globe may be fossil expansions, if not fossils of impact explosions and massive eruptions.

There are reasons to believe such events can occur and have occurred. In anticipation of stating them, we may suggest why land has sunk; for the two behaviors of expansion and sinking are not independent, although they may occur at different places and lithospheric levels. Lands have sunk by collapse into new basins, by flooding, and by their contents disappearing in explosive clouds of debris. If the force that explodes the land expands the Earth, then we have sinking and rising in a new formula, one which contains its mechanism, and furthermore may be true.

The Earth was not pre-ordained to its present volume or density. No two planets have the same size or density. Earth's mass density differs considerably from that of the inner planets and much from that of the outer planets. So does its volume. It could once have been denser and smaller. That its mass and volume have been constant through long ages is 1) an ideological dogma and idée fixe 2) a mistaken simplism regarding the "hardness of rock" and the innateness of volume 3) a mistaken reading of natural history 4) a psychological denial of an undesired state 5) a practical fiction, or 6) a fact. The first five possibilities might be demonstrated without much difficulty, but will be left to such evidence as the reader may cull from this and related studies. If they are so, then the sixth may be in doubt and the contrary may be considered, namely that the Earth's volume has fluctuated or at least been subject to expansion. Such a consideration is the purpose of this chapter.

A number of theories have given the Earth different sizes in the past. A number of means of expansion are available. A number of reasons lead one to a probable opinion that the Earth was once smaller and has recently expanded in volume.

Pickering long ago realized the necessity of Earth expansion. "A rising region... must evidently be increasing its volume. This increase may occur either with or without an increase of mass. In the latter case, the increase must be due to a rise in temperature. It has been shown that, if a part of the Earth's crust fifty miles in thickness were to have its temperature raised 200 ° F, its surface would be raised to the extent of 1,000 to 1,500 feet. The Bolivian plateau has an elevation of two and a half miles. That of the Himalayas is about a mile higher. It is improbable that these elevations are due to this cause." [2] He finds that an increase in mass is impossible. He then turns for an explanation from a simple temperature rise to the possible pressure of water and steam, and since he was unaware of the lack of water over the rock of ocean beds, and since he presumed the Moon eruption and the catastrophic period to be very ancient, he called upon a still watery mantle to produce the necessary thermodynamics for expansion. Even were the age to be granted, the mechanism would be hopeless for the task. No exploding steam engine could blow the material of the Moon basin into space.

Carey and Jordan have devoted books to the subject of Earth expansion, and were cited earlier. Both see the process as very gradual. Carey estimates a 20% radial expansion and uses the projected expansion as a mechanism to account for continental drift. M. Cook, in criticism, finds Carey's theory short in energy supply, and argues that the required release of chemical bonding of molecules would melt the Earth. Jordan, following Dirac, claims a relaxation of the gravitational constant over time. As gravitational attraction declines, matter expands. The application of Dirac's theory to Earth expansion would logically follow, but Jordan is unable to provide convincing geological evidence, even when presented with a long Earth history.

R. H. Dicke and C. H. Brans also predicted a slow drop in the force of gravity, and Dicke estimated that Earth gained from this source 15% in volume over 3.25 billion years. When the Atlantic basin was shown to be young, Dicke ceased to credit its widening as support for his theory, because it apparently had grown 300 times faster than his theoretical rate would allow [3] . Egyed's theory of Earth expansion, based upon paleogeo-graphical data showing a modest inverse correlation between the quantity of ocean waters and the passage of time seems vulnerable both because a uniform quantity of water is assumed and because the time periods, though conventional, can be challenged. Egyed cites Cox and Doell, further, in claiming an increase in the Earth's radius of between 0.5 and 1.0 millimeters per annum [4] . This would amount to 10 6 meters in a billion years, about one-seventh of the Earth's radius.

In comparison, my estimate of the radial expansion which accompanied the fission of the Moon is about 9%, less than one-tenth of the total radius; the estimate is the result merely of topographical scrutiny. The expansion in volume represented is about 20%, much less than Carey's estimate. Carey's expansion took place over many millions of years; the process here discussed would have occurred in perhaps three thousand years. Again, we rely upon a uniquely great exoterrestrial encounter to compress time, accomplishing in centuries what the aforesaid scientists have allocated as the task of very many millions of years. Any evidence at present of an expanding Earth, we would accredit to the extended uniformitarian tail of the exponential curve of quantavolution.

Of the several attempts at demonstrating expansion, Meservy's appears most clear and valid. He shows that "the separation and movements of the continents in the last 150 million years cannot be explained by continental drift on the surface of the present-sized earth." [5] This he does topographically. Following the Bullard and Hurley reconstruction of the supposed original supercontinent before its continental elements drifted apart, he retrojects the present continental map as it must have drifted and shows that the present arrangement could not have emerged from the reconstruction.

In order for the supercontinent of one time to fit the map of the continents of today, the continents of today would have to come from a smaller globe. "It seems highly improbable that the area enclosed by the perimeter [of the Pacific] was ever as large as half the earth's present area in the last 150 million years." Furthermore, he claims that his "argument is not very sensitive to the exact time scale or to variations in the rate of ocean-floor spreading, as long as these were reasonably monotonic in the period in question." That is, the solution of a smaller Earth would emerge even if time were foreshortened and ocean-floor growth were rapid. "The most direct interpretation of the evidence... seems to be that a large expansion of the earth's interior has taken place in the last 150 million years. The nature of the physical process that could have led to such an expansion is highly conjectured, but such a process cannot be excluded on the basis of present physical knowledge."

By what means could the Earth have expanded at the time of or subsequent to the breakup of the original super-continent? Six means can be suggested, none of them excluding all others and in fact all six could be simultaneously operative to produce a concurrent breakup of the continental mass and an expansion of the globe. Meservy does not consider a sudden loss of over half the Earth's crust, as by Moon fission, but significantly the occurrence of such a loss, concentrated within the Pacific perimeter, only serves to strengthen his topographical demonstration.

An abruptly slowed rotation of the Earth over days of time, never to be restored, would reduce the centripetal force of the globe and tend to expand its volume. This would be especially prominent if the body causing the slowdown were electro-gravitationally attractive. The Lorentz-Fitzgerald (1893) equations assert that all matter contracts in the direction of its motion and the amount of the contraction increases with the rate of motion. The Earth rotates with a kinetic energy of 2.6 X 10 36 ergs. If an interruption by an external body depresses its rotation by 35% and shortly thereafter the rotation assumes the level of a 20% reduction, an energy of some 10 36 ergs is available, along with a large electrical, gravitational, and axial torque energy, to push the continents and expand the volume of the Earth. This heat of rotational slowdown is sufficient in theory to unleash 50 billion Krakatoa's. That volcanic eruption, one of the worst in history, released about 2 x 10 25 ergs.

The conditions for expansion of the Earth were probably present, but they approached the conditions for a complete melting of the crust of the Earth. They approached, beyond that, the conditions for the explosion of the Earth. Nevertheless, in the end, the sphericity of the globe was maintained, half of Pangea was preserved, and small numbers of most flora and fauna, including homo sapiens, survived. The fall of cold water on the continents helped to preserve their structures against heat from below while the same waters moving into the oceans and the falling waters there catalyzed the expansion process.

The sudden acquisition of a huge heat presented problems of storage and prompt use, if the Earth were not to explode. The Intruder's pass-by and the forces it exercised upon the globe would begin some days before the moment of maximum impact and continue for several days thereafter. Thus the heat would not be applied all at once; by the time the critical moment arrived, the Earth was committed to partial explosion and expansion. The loosening of the Moon-making crust and the cleaving of the globe would take place quickly; then immediately the heat would be drawn upon for the reconstruction of the Earth.

Also, a great proportion of the heated matter would be exploded into space. The global fracture system would help to handle the venting of enough heat and material to cool, pave and expand the Earth's surface. Moreover, it would develop the capacity to do so within the required time. And the density of the Earth's interior would be originally sufficiently high to provide the material.

A decline in atmospheric pressure by the temporary and permanent removal of atmosphere, especially a heavily vaporized one, would also contribute to an expansion of the Earth. So too, of course, would the actual removal of crustal material of low temperature. It is not necessary that the rising magma be less dense than the escaping crust but only that temporarily it be in a molten state, mixing with gases and water as well, and hence capable of freezing into a solid at a higher level or over a larger expanse of surface. H. J. Binje said once that "the driving force of rising magma lies in change of the nuclear structure of the magma itself." [6]

Water added to a silicate solution reduces its melting point. The lower crust and mantle boundary might melt at as low a temperature as 500 ° C under water saturation. The water itself would be provided by old surface waters and incoming deluges of rain, snow, and ice.

The upper crust on which the biosphere and sediments rested would be shielded from the abyssal heat by thousands of volcanic vents penetrating its surface and by the cyclonic venting of heat into space over the immense flayed crater of the Moon. Still the thermal pressures throughout the globe would be heavy and accompanied by rises in temperature that would increase the expansion.

The globe would fracture throughout. Pictured as scraped of its biosphere and surficial sediments, the globe today presents a thoroughly fractured appearance. Nowhere on Earth is one very far from a great fissure that would have been involved in expanding the globe. Perhaps one of the reasons for the discontinuity and absence of expected sediments in so many places is the underlying expansion by igneous intrusions that once occurred. Furthermore, the very 'success' of the globe-girdling fractures in producing ocean beds of lava and pushing away the continents is that they were engaged in expanding the volume of the Earth.

The sial continents that remained obviously were not destroyed in the process of partial explosion and expansion. However they were penetrated at many points by expanding lava. The sial could be lifted by less force than would be required to dissolve it. Given over half the surface as a direct outlet, and a huge fracture network for disgorging heat and magma, there would be less occasion to obliterate the many large areas of sial overhang.

Willis once wrote that "it is established by observations on rocks that the chemical compounds of which they consist can adjust themselves to changes of pressure or of temperature or of both by changes of volume as well as by alterations of form. Larger volume would result if a mass of rock were heated and at the same time relieved of some of the load resting upon it." [7] He even went so far as to say that erosion can cause underlying rocks to expand their volume. Rock crystals respond to new conditions, not even highly thermal, by reorganization of their structure. "Crystals are almost human in that they always seek the easiest way out... Where crystals grow vertically, continents rise." A sudden and massive change in crystallization may have occurred in many rocks. Now we might claim that the lunar explosion may have been the chief factor in expanding the Earth and producing the granites of the continents whose origins we had been wondering about in an earlier chapter.

A definition of stability and even of structure is that the defined complex resists electro-gravitational dissolution. If a complex, say of rock, is stretched in a lowered gravitational field, that is, attracted by another field, and obtains a revised structure, then, after release from the second field, it will tend to retain the form temporarily assumed. This may be a factor to be considered in relation to an expanded Earth. An analogy suggests itself: rock under conditions of the assumed encounter would behave like oil shale when it is processed. The rock that is mined expands its volume by 20% or more [8] .

Seismic signals experimentally transmitted through the Earth produce more or less sudden changes in velocity, indicating "boundaries" at six radial distances before reaching the center: the Moho discontinuity, and at 400+, 950+, 2900+, 4800+, and 5100+ kilometers of depth. There seems to be little explanation for these seismic transitions unless they represent levels of response to an historical torque. The interruption of a rotational motion of a mass must be perceived by the whole body. At some ratios of density to torque, indications of a phase shift should occur. These indicators would be erased by a huge expansion, but by the same token, will remain vivid under conditions of moderate expansion.

In another work, I asserted briefly, and probably in error, that the Earth would lose electrical charge in a grave encounter such as would remove the lunar material: "loss of electrical charge may also have decreased the density of the Earth." [9] This was based on the assumption that piezoelectricity from rock turbulence and electrostatic charges would be lost into space to the larger intruding body; then matter hitherto bonded electrically would be unbonded and take up more volume. However, after discussions with E. R. Milton, I became persuaded that the intruder would have carried a heavier charge, since it was transporting charge from the outer solar system toward the Sun; it was also much larger than the Earth; therefore it would have deposited charge upon Earth. The charge would then be incorporated by the Earth's molecules and cause the stretching of their internal atomic bonding. Hence expansion. But where the charges would accumulate is critical, whether on the continental surfaces, or diffused in the mantle, etc.

"It is not generally known that the volume of a Leyden jar is increased by charging the jar and diminished by discharging it, wholly or partially. The crust of the earth resembles a Leyden jar, of which the coatings are represented by the liquid core and the enveloping atmosphere." So wrote Abbe Moreaux in 1909 [10] . He envisioned a daily expansion and contraction of the crust. Possibly the same charging phenomenon would effect a larger and more enduring expansion of the Earth.

The almost non-existent evidence, and the complexities of the electrical phenomena accompanying such an encounter, make all reasoning highly speculative. It is possible that both processes occurred, a gain and loss of charges, with the gain predominating.

Yet another set of phenomena may be connected with Earth expansion, rather than simply the adjustment, unexplained, of coastal margins to which it is otherwise attributed. That is the tendency of continental margins to stretch out over the ocean basins. For instance, "as late as the beginning of the Quaternary period the land of Siberia reached much farther north and at the end of the last glacial epoch was broken up, large areas sinking into the sea." [11]

Elsewhere we read, "while exploring the seismic structure of the continental margin off France, Lucien Montadert, of the Institut Francais du Petrole, noticed that the upper part of the continental crust of margins has been fractured into a remarkable pattern of narrow sedimentary basins bounded by listric faults, that is, faults that 'curve, ' being steep at the surface, becoming more horizontal with depth. He suggested that the continental crust at the margin was extended at the time of rifting by up to 20 per cent." [12] The listric faults are not found where internal basins, such as Lake Michigan, have been examined.

We are inclined to view this oceanic marginal fault system as a possible stretching to accommodate expansion. If the rift did not cleave cleanly, however, the stretching might be expected. As the Earth expanded, and radial pressures pushed upwards, blocks of rock would be broken off serially from the continental mass. The stretching might also, still in accord with our general theory, be a result of a differential speed of rafting, with 'France' here heading eastwards faster than the bottom of the basin could be paved with fresh lava.

When the Earth's surface is viewed from a detached intellectual perspective, it begins to appear as a thoroughly disorganized assemblage. Instead of its presenting logical conformities on a grand scale, its every feature becomes an anomaly. All of its real rules seem to have come from violating the rules of the earth sciences. When such a condition is manifest in human organizations, such as the factory, or the hospital, or the government, that is, when what is regularly done contrasts with the way things are supposed to be done, the usual recommendation is to change those rules that are inapplicable to reality. Unfortunately in the present case, as in many cases of social organizations, new rules are not easy to write and, meanwhile, the old stable mixture of reality and pretense that has been managing the enterprise dissolves into fantasy and disorder.

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Notes (Chapter Nineteen: Expansion and Contraction)

1. In conversation with author. His yet unpublished manuscripts may cast light upon the matter.

2. 15 J. Geol. (1907), 34.

3. W. Sullivan, Continents in Motion, 50-6.

4. "The expanding Earth," 197 Nature (16 Mar. 1963), 1059-60; see also P. S. Wesson, "Does Gravity Change with Time?" 33 Physics Today (July 1980), 32-7.

5. "Topological Inconsistency of Continental Drift on the Present Size Earth," 166 Science (31 Oct. 1969), 609-11.

6. Quoted by Jordan, op. cit., 121.

7. B. Willis, East African Plateaus and Rift Valleys (Wash. D. C., Carnegie Inst., 1936), no. 470; 306, 309.

8. Encyclo. Britannica yearbook, 1976, 289.

9. Chaos and Creation, 154.

10. 68 Sci. Amer. Suppl.( 24 July 1977), 3.

11. II Catas. Geol. 2 (Dec. 1977), 3.

12. Tony Watts, "Plate Tectonics," New Sci. (6 Nov. 1980), 362.