|Proof of Theory - 1.0.2 Terra Australis, the continent which drowned before it sank|
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I have recently added a section on ancient enigmas and anomalies, in which I showed the Cosquer caves in France along with a graph of the rise in sea level over the past 20 000 years (Figure 3a). According to Plato, Atlantis had a plain in the centre of the island – could it be that this plain had systematically become flooded over thousands of years? Figures 5 and 6 would then show the low-lying plain of the continent in two distinct stages of flooding – initially sea water entering through the outer ring and later submerging parts of this ring as well. Plato related that the metropolis of Atlantis had been surrounded by rings of water across which bridges had to be built, and that the plain actually comprised zones of land and sea. This would be an accurate description of a low-lying area systematically being flooded by the sea. For the sake of comparison the outlines of the Schöner and Vatican maps were plotted in azimuthal polar projection (Figure 1.7 below). Not only the central plateau was flooded, but also the ‘Patalis’ region shown in Figure 1.2. The flooding of the latter is illustrated clearly by a direct overlay of Schöner’s 1515 and 1520 maps (Figure 1.8).
In order to assess whether the "horse's head" shape of the New Zealand shelf on the Schoner map would have appeared as such at a lower sea level, I gradually filled up the ocean from below as far as NASA's colour scale index would allow. The result is shown in Figure 1.9b, which clearly indicates that the at least the north-western boundary agrees with the Schoner map. Please keep in mind though that in terms of my theory some areas of the South Pole region had been forced below the water by the impact of a comet or asteroid and that the relative orientation of specific areas most likely would have changed. In other words, Schoner's 1515 map would represent the shape of the continent before the impact.
Figure 1.9b NASA bathymetry map with lowered sea level
The next question which springs to mind is whether any of the other details that appear on these maps may be true. Schöner included mountain ranges on both of his maps, along with two lakes on the 1515 map. The so-called Green Globe (Figure 1.10) presents a more or less similar picture, except that Terra Australis here stretches al the way to Madagascar and the lake below Madagascar opens into the sea. On Schöner’s 1515 map there appears to be a river connecting the two lakes, but on the Green Globe this may be interpreted as either a river or a mountain range. As it is highly unlikely that a river could have been running that far between two lakes, the line is assumed to represent a mountain range instead.
The relative position and size of the inland lake shown in Figure 1.16 corresponds well with those of the lake on Schöner’s 1515 map. Again, the correlation is simply too good to be ascribed to coincidence. Returning to the southern mountain range sketched on the NASA map in Figure 1.13, it is clear from the above images that the edge of the Australian continental shelf would have appeared as an immense mountain range as seen from the plateau.>
Formation of canyons
Excluding glaciers, inland canyons are usually formed by rivers which cut through the riverbed rock for millions of years. There are numerous agents constantly at work during the formation of a canyon. Mechanical erosion of the river rock is caused mainly by debris or suspended particles flowing down the river or boulders rapidly transported downstream during floods. Chemical erosion of the rock occurs as a result of chemical interactions between water and minerals in the rock, and thermal stress weathering occurs when the rock face experiences constant hot day and cold night swings or temperature shocks when rain pours down on rock heated by the sun. The key factor however is the flow of water, which is needed to transport the sediment away and thereby deepen the canyon. Should the flow of water permanently cease, the canyon will theoretically be filled up instead by eroded materials from the flanks of the canyon and sand particles deposited by wind.
Figure 1.17c River bed and submarine canyons submerged by the Celtic Sea [Encarta Interactive World Atlas]
A second example is the submarine canyon in Monterey Bay (Figure 1.17d). All the submarine canyons in this area appear to have originated from inland rivers (points A to E), but more significantly, the Monterey Canyon makes a sharp bend near its end, which is known as the Shepard Meander. Meanders in rivers are associated with flat plains, suggesting that the area around the Shepard Meander must have been relatively flat when erosion initially began. The Shepard Meander is 112 km offshore and is about 3500m below sea level. Could the sediment carried along by turbidity currents really have eroded a meandering canyon into the ocean bed?
Figure 1.17d The Monterey Bay submarine canyon and the Shepard Meander [Google Earth, Encarta Interactive World Atlas]
I have argued above that ocean floor from Australia to New Zealand must have been above sea level for millions of years before it was submerged by an impact of a comet or asteroid. The area demarcated by the rectangle in Figure 1.17e is known as the Bounty Trough. It begins at the continental shelf and ends nearly 900km further, at a depth of about 7000m. The average slope is about 0.4°, but is probably significantly less away from the continental shelf. If New Zealand and the surrounding sea floor had been above sea level for millions of years, amid torrential rains, it is easily understood how the Bounty Trough ‘river’ or canyon could have been formed. It is hard to imagine how infrequent turbidity currents could have carved out this canyon, especially when the ocean current flows up the valley (Figure 1.17f).
Figure 1.17e. ‘River bed’ running down the Bounty Trough off New Zealand [Google Earth, Encarta Interactive World Atlas, Margins: New Zealand Focus Area]
Figure 1.17f. Ocean currents around New Zealand [Tasa Clips]
As an extreme example of gradients, sediment flowing down the Agadir canyon off the west coast of Africa has been shown to have ended up in the Madeira abyssal basin, 1800km offshore and about 5500m below sea level (Figure 1.17g). In Figure 1.17g the red curve represents the slope along the of sediment flow route. It is theorized that turbidity currents transported sediment all the way down to the Madeira basin, even along channels that run for approximately 320km at a slope of less than 0.05° (a drop of only 28m over 320 km)! Could a ‘landslide’ occur over such a gentle slope, and continue for more than 300km? One could imagine that a massive flood (the biblical Flood) could have washed sediment that far offshore, and that ocean currents eventually washed away all sediment not trapped in the basins or channels. By contrast, had this entire area been above sea level millions of years ago, water could easily have transported the sediment down to the Madeira basin.
Figure 1.17g. Agadir canyon [Nature]
I do not question the existence of turbidity currents, only whether these infrequent, low impact currents could have formed the submarine canyons not only in steep continental shelves, but more specifically over extremely long stretches of ocean bed, often with almost negligible slope. A much more plausible explanation (in the sense of the formation of the river) would be that these canyons were formed by rivers when those parts of the ocean had been above sea level for millions of years.
If this was indeed the case, then the entire continental shelf must have undergone submersion to its present depth sometime after the formation of the submarine canyons. This would match the submersion of the Antarctic shelf as proposed above and probably happened because of the bulging of the earth. The earth is not perfectly spherical but ellipsoidal instead, with the equatorial radius 21km greater than the polar radius. One can imagine that a massive impact near the polar region would have caused the earth to bulge slightly around the equator, submerging the polar regions by thousands of meters. The continental plates would have moved relative to each other, implying that even regions closer to the equator may have become submerged by the ocean.