Plate Tectonics

The first section provided for many questions. This second section will hopefully supply many more answers. Reinterpreting geologic evidence on a scriptural framework is not meant to help people gain a testimony. It is however, hopeful that understanding how much really has been revealed by science, which supports the scriptures, will help strengthen testimonies. Science has done so much wonderful work. The correlation of the scientific evidence actually becomes quite obvious once the scriptures are taken as an unbending intellectual foundation.

As we saw earlier, a strict Uniformitarian view of the earth is not a sure foundation to build on. Uniformitarianism is closely tied to another major theory in geology: Plate Tectonics. Wicander and Monroe explain the theory of Plate Tectonics as follows:

Plate tectonic theory is based on a simple model of Earth. The rigid lithosphere, consisting of both oceanic and continental crust, as well as the underlying upper mantle, consists of numerous variable-sized pieces called plates... The plates vary in thickness; those composed of upper mantle and continental crust are as much as 250 km thick, whereas those of upper mantle and oceanic crust are up to 100 km thick.
The lithosphere overlies the hotter and weaker semiplastic asthenosphere... As plates move over the asthenosphere, they separate, mostly at oceanic ridges; in other areas such as at oceanic trenches, they collide and are subducted back into the mantle.
Most geologists accept plate tectonic theory, in part, because the evidence for it is overwhelming and because it is a unifying theory that accounts for a variety of apparently unrelated geologic features and events. Consequently, geologists now view many geologic processes, such as mountain building, seismicity, and volcanism, from the perspective of plate tectonics. (140)
As explained, almost every geologist because of the huge amounts of evidence that support accepts this theory. There is no reason from the scriptures to challenge this theory. The challenge comes in an area that is still under debate by geologists: the driving mechanism of Plate Tectonics.

The most wildly accepted theory explaining the forces driving the plates deals with convection currents under the plates. These currents, much like those found in a boiling pot of water, cause movement on the surface-where the plates are (because scientists realize these forces are too small to account for what they can observe, they also have developed the Slab-pull and Ridge-push theories which work in addition to the convection currents. See Hamblin 488-492; Wicander 150-154). These forces, which are only powerful enough to move the plates a few inches a year, fit well with a Uniformitarian view of a 4.6 billion years old earth. They do not however work well as a driving mechanism if we believe in a 6,000 year old earth. The mountains that have been built and the subductions that have happened since animals began dieing are to great to be powered by such small forces.

There is evidence for another force, much more powerful, that could power the movements of plates at speeds required by scripture: a major pole/axial shift. First, there are many scriptures that support this view.

D&C 88:87-92
For not many days hence and the earth shall tremble and reel to and fro as a drunken man; and the sun shall hide his face, and shall refuse to give light; and the moon shall be bathed in blood; and the stars shall become exceedingly angry, and shall cast themselves down as a fig that falleth from off a fig-tree.

D&C 45:48-49
And then shall the Lord set his foot upon this mount, and it shall cleave in twain, and the earth shall tremble, and reel to and fro, and the heavens also shall shake.

D&C 84:118-119
For, with you saith the Lord Almighty, I will rend their kingdoms; I will not only shake the earth, but the starry heavens shall tremble.

Isa. 13:13-14
Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger. And it [the earth] shall be as the chased roe, and as a sheep that no man taketh up...

D&C 121:12
And also that God hath set his hand and seal to change the times and seasons, and to blind their minds, that they may not understand his marvelous workings; that he may prove them also and take them in their own craftiness

Isa. 38:7-8 (cf. 2 Kngs 20:10)
And this shall be a sign unto thee from the LORD, that the LORD will do this thing that he hath spoken; Behold, I will bring again the shadow of the degrees, which is gone down in the sun dial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward. So the sun returned ten degrees, by which degrees it was gone down.

Joshua 10:12-13
Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.

In addition to the ample scriptural evidence for a rapid pole shift, there is also a great amount of scientific evidence for these pole shifts.

Currently, the ice caps are centered over the North Pole (as shown here, here and here). But proglacial lakes, marking the ancient ice cap boundary show that the North Pole was in a very different place. This diagram shows the "Successive positions of the ice front... Contours indicate the position and age of the ice front" (Hamblin 383). Ice caps are the thickest, and receive the most snowfall, near the edges. This cross section shows how lakes form at the edges of glaciers because of the greater depression and erosion that occurs here (Hamblin 389). This diagram (on the left) shows the "Drainage of central North America before the ice age was northeastward, from the northern and central Rocky Mountains, into the St. Lawrence Bay, Hudson Bay, and the Arctic area." And "Present drainage patterns show major modifications. Preglacial drainage was impounded against the glacial margins and developed new outlets to the ocean through the Missouri, Ohio, and Mackenzie rivers" (Hamblin 390), all indicating that glaciers were not centered over the current North Pole.

Evidence shows that in the past though, the glaciers were centered over Greenland (as shown here and here). It even appears from the evidence that the ice age was nothing more than a different axis of rotation, which has since shifted. Moreover, the evidence shows that when the pole was over Greenland, the continents were still much closer together.

Studies done off the coast of Greenland show very rapid ("Geologically dated") climate shifts that would also support a rapid pole sift, as do palemagnetic studies (see here and here).

Climate Data gathered and dated in various ways show that "geologically speaking," the climate has rapidly changed several times-once again providing evidence for a rapid pole shift (see here, here and here).

Several scientists have seen that the evidence for a rapid pole shift is overwhelming. For example, Richard A. Kerr wrote an article titled Did the Dinosaurs Live On a Topsy-Turvy Earth? that was published in Science magazine in January 2000. In the same issue of Science, William W. Sager and Anthony A. P. Koppers published an article titled Late Cretaceous Polar Wander of the Pacific Plate: Evidence of a Rapid True Polar Wander Event where they presented further evidence for the theory of a pole shift. Ivan T. Sanderson wrote about mammoths that were found suddenly frozen in Siberia. He even addresses the question of whether this could have been caused by a rapid pole shift, but he discounts it saying the force would cause the earth to be torn to pieces--a driving mechanism of plate movement-but offers no plausible alternative explanation (Readers Digest, April 1960, 123).

Einstein, a scientist almost universally respected for his knowledge and understanding, wrote a forward to Charles H. Hapgood's book Earth's Shifting Crust in supports a rapid pole shift as a driving mechanism of plate movement.

Another of Hapgood's books, Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings, is a collection of ancient maps. One map shows Australia and Antarctica, and they are still connected. Australia wasn't discovered until 1606 and Antarctica till 1820 (Antarctica's coastline was not explored until the 1840's). According to Hapgood, the map, called The Oronteus Finaeus World Map, was made in 1532, yet contemporary science tells us that Australia and Antarctica separated millions of years ago. So who made this map, and when does it date to?

As described above, current popular theories for Plate Tectonics center on convection cells. These theories though, fail to explain things in a three-dimensional view. In two-dimensional the pot of boiling water analogy makes since, yet from a top view a pot of boiling water looks much more like ripples in water than a single division line. Scientists, recognizing this problem, often show the continents radiating out in a circular pattern, yet this does not explain what we currently see. There are no mountain chains that radiate out circular patterns like ripples--instead a young mountains reach pole to pole while older mountains (minus the Himalayas) reach what appears to be pole to pole before a pole change.

Geologists use hotspot volcanoes to track plate movement. Yet for some unexplained reason, the Pacific plate changed its course by 60 degrees. Richard A. Kerr points out that to science this is currently "The great mystery" (Kerr 108). While this may be a mystery if we believe that convection currents are moving plates, this is perfectly acceptable when we understand the rapid pole shifts and their effects.

To summarize, we have seen that the scriptures support a shifting axis. Scientific observations also seem to support this theory. The test of the Holy Ghost is the ultimate source of truth. Ask God--truth comes from Him.

Works Cited