Appendix III 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.
Until recently, 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 appendix.
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
PARANA & ETENDEKA
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 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.
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.
SOUTH AMERICA'S SMOKING
Let's look at the five characteristics
needed for a fully formed smoking gun for the creation of South America.
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
Unfortunately, this impact location is
in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, which would have been subducting under the
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 Mariana Trench, the deepest trench in
the world. The Mariana islands and the seamounts near them are located just
behind the Mariana Trench. They are obviously volcanic structures formed by the
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.
It is as though the Mariana island
reverse arc pushed out and superceded the old seamount arc. How could this
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
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 have seen in Appendix II
concerning the Tonga Trench, a trench is a powerful subduction startup
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 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
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 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
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.
CRACKS FROM THE HOTSPOT
Now, let's get back to hotspots and
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
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
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.
In actual practice, we have four
examples 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
In Eastern North America, the 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.
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
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
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.
WHERE IS THE
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,
Deccan Traps) correlated with mass extinctions." 71 pg 750
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
This appendix 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