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Home Terra Australis Incognita Proof of Theory - 1.06 Terra Australis, Antarctica and the ice core data
Proof of Theory - 1.06 Terra Australis, Antarctica and the ice core data PDF 
Article Index
Proof of Theory
1.0.1 Terra Australis Incognita on medieval maps
1.0.2 Terra Australis, the continent which drowned before it sank
1.0.3 Myths and legends linking Terra Australis to Atlantis
1.0.4 Atlantis on the ocean floor
1.0.5 Abraham (Ra), father of the Hebrews
1.06 Terra Australis, Antarctica and the ice core data
1.07 The mythical island of Frisland
1.08 The pre-Hudson mapping of Hudson Bay
1.09 Mercator’s submarine islands off Brazil and in the Caribbean
1.10 Atlantis and the Pillars of Hercules – a new translation and location
All Pages

My initial theory about the Antarctic ice cap was that what had remained of Terra Australis after the comet impact would have frozen up very quickly in the darkness and boiling seas that followed. Having posted this latest addition to my Terra Australis theory on various forums of interest, I was fortunately very quickly referred to ice core samples obtained from the ice cap of Antarctica, proving that the ice cap was up to 700 000 years old.  This did not contradict my general theory about Terra Australis, only the assumption regarding the formation and age of the ice cap.  Antarctica forms part of Schoner's C-shaped Terra Australis (Figure 1.41), but no topographical information is shown on the Schoner map. It would seem then that both the continents of Australia and of Antarctica were at a much higher altitude than the central plateau, Antarctica indeed having been covered with ice for hundreds of thousands of years.

Figure 1.41 Schoner's 1515 Terra Australis Euler-rotated to overlap Australia and New Zealand.

Searching for information about ice core dating methods, I soon came across and ordered a copy of a book called The Frozen Record by Michael Oard, which provides an excellent introduction to the novice about the majority of issues at stake in ice core data interpretation. Even though written from biblical Flood perspective, Oard lists and discusses most of the theories pertinent to ice core dating methods and is therefore a must-have for those who are not familiar with this scientific field, but wish to learn more. It can be ordered here.

While paging through this book, I noticed the bedrock map of Antarctica (Oard Figure 1.8, from Drewry, 1983, Antarctica, Glaciological and Geophysical Folio) as shown on the left hand side of Figure 1.42 below. What struck me was the similarity between the rather peculiar coastal outline of the Schoner 1515 map in the region of Antarctica (encircled in red in Figure 1.41) and likewise highlighted area in Figure 1.42. Also shown in Figure 1.42 is a more recent bedrock elevation map of Antarctica, but with a different elevation scale compared to the Oard / Drewry map. The encircled features on the left are not clearly visible on the Heinrich map, due to the different elevation scale.

Bedrock elevation maps of Antarctica
Oard / Drewry (1983)                                                                              Paul Heinrich

Figure 1.42 Bedrock elevation maps of Antarctica

[Download a high resolution scan of the Oard/Drewry map here]

In Figure 1.43 below the Schoner 1515 coastal outline was transposed to corresponding points on the Oard / Dewry bedrock map, and from there to a map of drill sites on the Antarctic ice cap as presented by Oard (The Frozen Record, Figure 1.2). Unless the obvious correlation between the Schoner 1515 coastal outline and the Drewry bedrock elevation map is purely coincidental, it would appear that the ancient map makers somehow knew what an ice free coastline of Antarctica looked like. How long ago would Antarctica been ice free? Hundreds of thousands of years ago, unless the accepted dating of the ice core samples is completely incorrect as argued by Oard. A response to the arguments presented by Oard can be found here, with Oard's subsequent responses here and here.

Antarctic Coastline
Oard / Drewry (1983)                                                                                             Oard Figure 1.2

Figure 1.43 Schoner 1515 Antarctic coastline transposed onto Antarctica bedrock maps

[Download a high resolution scan of Oard's Figure 1.2 here]

A little more than a year ago I transposed Mercator's map of the North Pole onto what I believed to be matching coordinates on the Arctic as we know it today (Section 1.1.11, Figures 25 to 27).  Although I searched the Internet for topographical maps of an ice free Greenland to compare with, I was at the time not aware of the correct terminology to use ('bedrock elevation map') and could not find any useful information. Through Oard's book, purchased July 2009, I not only became familiar with which terminology to use, but also found an intriguing map of bedrock Greenland (Figure 1.44 below, The Frozen Record Figure 1.6). It shows a high-lying area (encircled) in exactly the same position as the 'island' as transposed from the Mercator map. This map would correspond to bedrock Greenland submerged 500m below current sea level (see the legend of the NSIDC bedrock map of Greenland). I other words, it would appear that the Greenland shelf had at some point in time been raised by about 500m to its presents level from where it was as suggested by the transposed Mercator map. This may be due to an impact on the other side of the globe, the one which arguably forced Terra Australis below the water by about 5km and caused a the earth to 'bulge' on the opposite side. The points marked a, b, and c on transposed Mercator map have corresponding points on the NSIDC map, but point d  on the Mercator map should probably have been transposed to point d on the NSIDC map.

Greenland bedrock maps compared to Greenland map as transposed from Mercator's map of the North Pole
Oard / Bamber et al                                        NSIDC Figure 27, Section 1.1.11

Figure 1.44 Greenland bedrock maps compared to Greenland map as transposed from Mercator's map of the North Pole

[ Download a high resolution scan of Oard' Figure 1.6 here]

Interpretation of the ice core data

With much anticipation I began searching for more information about the data extracted from these ice cores - if an impact of the magnitude I have theorized did indeed occur in the region of the South Pole, evidence of such an impact must surely exist in the ice core record. Much to my dismay, however, the dust concentration profile (Figure 1.45) showed no major peak around 11 500 Before Present (BP), the time when Atlantis supposedly sank beneath the waters of the ocean. The highest dust peak over the past 400 000 years however occurred relatively shortly before that, from about 28 000 BP to 18 000 BP.  I would have regarded this as compelling evidence for my theory, were it not that the time frame did not match Plato's account and it would be inconceivable that no recorded history would have existed for the millennia that passed from 18 000 to 6 000 years ago, the latter associated with the emergence of Sumerian and Egyptian cultures. A second catastrophe of nature may however have occurred somewhere in between, again wiping out most of mankind and with it most of the records it had kept up to that stage.

Vostok ice core data

Figure 1.45 Graph generated from the Vostok ice core data [Petit et al, WDC-Paleo]. The more familiar representation of this data can be found here.

[Download a high resolution version of Figure 1.45 here]

It is worth taking a closer look at the Vostok ice core data:

1)    The glacial cycles as demarcated by the five temperature peaks are preceded in time by an increase in dust levels that lasted for a significant period of time, ranging from about 1000 years to probably 30 000 years or more. It also seems that every sudden drop in temperature is likewise preceded by a dust peak. The drop in temperature can in my opinion only be due to a blockage of sunlight by dust in the atmosphere. Such dust would most likely have been caused by volcanic activity, which would be consistent with a huge celestial object having hit the earth. Oard claims to have discovered that the amount of volcanic effluents in the upper atmosphere controlled the rate of ice sheet growth [The Frozen Record, pp. 130-1]. The origin of the dust in the atmosphere however invariably seems to be linked to anything but an impact on earth by a celestial object [The Frozen Record, pp. 73-4]:

"The main causes of the high dust content of glacial ice is a combination of three effects which characterize this time period: enhanced aridity (increased [sic] the desert areas), stronger winds (augmentation of the dust production), and stronger atmospheric circulation (facilitating the long-range atmospheric transportation of atmospheric particles toward polar regions). … (Delmas and Legrand, 1989, p. 335).

After much uncertainty, it is now believed that the dust in the Ice Age portion of the Greenland cores originated from eastern Asia … There is not as much dust in the Ice Age portion of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, and this dust is believed to have been derived from southern America east of the Andes Mountains…"

In other words, the changing climate causes storms which cause the high dust concentration in the atmosphere, whereas a major impact with a celestial object like an asteroid or comet would cause the climate to change. It is very hard to imagine that the orbit of the earth (position relative to the sun) can cause the climate to change (see Point 4 below), resulting in dust storms that can last for thousands of years. A much more likely scenario, admittedly in my opinion as a novice, would be that the orbit of the earth crosses the orbit of either a comet or a group of asteroids about every 100 000 years, inevitably resulting in an impact of varying proportions. If these orbits are steadily diverging, it would explain the increasing period of the glacial cycles.

The orbital period of comets may range from a few years up to hundreds of thousands of years:

"The streams of dust and gas each form their own distinct tail, pointing in slightly different directions. While the solid nucleus of comets is generally less than 50 km across, the coma may be larger than the Sun, and ion tails have been observed to extend 1 astronomical unit (150 million km) or more".

As an example of the potential destructive power of a comet, the nucleus of comet Hale-Bopp has been estimated to have a radius of 60 km, and has been calculated to travel at speeds of up to 44 km/sec. A fascinating look at comets and theories about celestial objects can be found here.

2)    A minimum temperature of about -8º was reached every time the dust concentration level reached a value of just over 1 ppm, beyond which the temperature seems to have reached a state of equilibrium.

3)    The sudden rise in temperature at the beginning of each glacial cycle occurs only when the dust concentration falls rapidly. If animal and plant life had suffered severely during the thousands of years of sunlight being blocked either partially or completely by dust in the atmosphere, it is possible that much of the earth would have become barren during this time. When the dust concentration begins to fall, the accompanying rise in the atmospheric CO2 level may be due to the sun heating the decaying organic material up to that time preserved by the cold. An increase in temperature would result in an increase in the vapour content of the atmosphere through melting ice and evaporation of water from lakes. The resulting increase in rain and thunderstorms would in turn, I suspect, rapidly reduce the dust content of the atmosphere. Over the next thousands of years, vegetation would return, covering the baking soil and absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere. As a result the temperature would then slowly begin to drop, as is evident from Figure 1.45. The consequence of anything produced by modern man (CFCs, etc) on the environment pales in comparison (my opinion) to what the earth suffers on a periodic basis about every 100 000 years or so.

Figure 1.46 shows an interpretation of an ice core sample taken from the Huascaran mountain range in South America, clearly demonstration the sudden end of the period of high dust concentration levels in the atmosphere, followed by an initial relatively rapid increase and then a slower decrease in temperature related indices. These may be seen as confirmation of the theory presented above. The dust spike at about 4 600 BP appears to be an anomaly in the data.

Huascaran ice core data
Figure 1.46 Huascaran ice core data showing sudden end of high dust concentration era circa 18 000 years BP.

4)    The glacial cycle of about 100 000 years has been studied intensively and the most popular theory behind it appears to be Milankovitch's:

"Milankovitch mathematically theorized that variations in eccentricity, axial tilt, and precession of the Earth's orbit determined climatic patterns on Earth, resulting in 100,000-year ice age cycles of the Quaternary glaciation over the last few million years. … Because the observed periodicities of climate fit so well with the orbital periods, the orbital theory has overwhelming support…"

As discussed at this Wikipedia link, his theory is however fraught with problems, which may suggest that the mechanism behind the periodicity may be something completely different.

I have admittedly not studied Milankovitch's theory in detail and therefore do not know what he suggested the cause of the increased dust levels might be. From Figure 1.45 it is clear that a period of increased atmospheric dust invariably preceded each of the glacial swings in the Earth's climatic conditions. These dust peaks also appear to arrive suddenly and remain active for a prolonged period of time before disappearing almost as rapidly. High level increases in volcanic activity may be associated with plate tectonics and continental drift, but the chances of such movement with associated volcanic activity occurring on a periodic basis of approximately 100 000 years are negligible. It has been claimed that the 'insolation effect' proposed by Milankovitch is too weak to influence climatic conditions on the earth [Ice Age], but the occurrence of the glacial cycles must nevertheless be linked to the orbit of the Earth around the sun in one way or another. Probably the only remaining explanation would then be an impact with a celestial body or bodies as discussed above. Such an impact is indeed suggested by ancient myths which claimed that the sky fell when the world was destroyed.

5)    It is hard to imagine that the interpretation of the ice core data by modern scientists could be as incorrect as suggested by Oard, but given the correlation between the ancient maps of Terra Australis and Greenland with an ice free coastal Antarctica and Greenland as whole, as a novice I do not quite know what to think. The Vostok core depth is 3623m [Oard, Table 1.3] and the deepest part of this core is dated to roughly 400 000 years ago, in other words on average 110.4 years/m which translates to 9.1 mm/year.  No hoar layers (snow density variations due to summer and winter periods as observed in the Greenland ice cores) are visible in the Vostok core and the dating is performed by counting the annual dust cycles [Seely]. However, if dust was a result of an impact and not annual storms, how should the 'annual' dust markers interpreted? With the sea boiling in utter darkness, the ice layer would have grown dramatically with respect to a dust free period. The Vostok ice core dating appears to be based on the assumption of a more or less uniform annual rate of growth of the ice.

Assuming that the ice core dating as proposed by the majority of scientists is correct, the question remains whether any major climatic change could have occurred at more or less 11 600 years BP, the time slot for Plato's sinking of Atlantis. This does indeed appear to be the case. The ice core data shown in Figures 1.47 -1.49 below suggest a sudden increase in dust levels that lasted from approximately 12 500 to 11 600 BP.

GRIP ice core dust concentration levels
Figure 1.47 GRIP ice core dust concentration levels revealing a peak form around 12 500 to 11 600 BP.

In Figure 1.47 the EPICA ice core sample from Antarctica does not reveal a sudden dust level increase as distinct as the GRIP data, although the Antarctica data does appear to show a corresponding increase in that time frame. The period from 12 500 to 11 600 BP is known as the Younger Dryas period, which has been dubbed the Big Freeze.  Figure 1.48 and specifically Figure 1.49 below show similar Younger Dryas trends. The prevailing theory holds that

"the Younger Dryas was caused by a significant reduction or shutdown of the North Atlantic thermohaline circulation in response to a sudden influx of fresh water from Lake Agassiz and deglaciation in North America, but this does not explain why South America cooled first."

If the Younger Dryas period had also been caused by the impact (in the southern hemisphere) of a comet or an asteroid instead of climatic change, it most likely would explain the worldwide legends about a flood that destroyed mankind, including the biblical Flood. This Flood would then have occurred around the time of the sinking of Plato's Atlantis.

The Younger Dryas period as reflected in ice core samples from Antarctica and Greenland
Figure 1.48 The Younger Dryas period as reflected in ice core samples from Antarctica and Greenland [ref]

Younger Dryas period indicators circa 12 000 BP as derived from various Greenland ice core samples
Figure 1.49 Younger Dryas period indicators circa 12 000 BP as derived from various Greenland ice core samples.

I have to admit that precisely how the ice core data can be reconciled with the maps of Figures 1.43 and 1.44, if possible at all, is a little beyond my field of expertise. Perhaps Schoner did after all dream up everything he recorded on his maps.  

Kumari Kandam - a second Atlantis story?

Whilst searching for additional information about ice core data extraction, I came across the Tamil legend of Kumari Kandam, a sunken land mass to the south of India. Most intriguingly, this legend tells the story about a land mass that had been inundated by a flood twice, separated in time by thousands of years. According to various legends the survivors of the first flooding of the continent either moved to another part of it, or conquered new territories towards the north, in which they resettled. The sunken land mass has been identified by some as the so-called Lemuria as depicted Figure 1.50, while others like Graham Hancock have identified it with the area off the south-east coast of India, whose survivors fled to Madurai in India [Hancock, Underworld, pp. 209, 248-249].  The first flood destroyed the Tamil Sangam or literary Academy, remnants of which were taken to the new land or area of settlement. The latter was ultimately destroyed by the second disaster. The inundation of Lemuria is dated to 16 000 BCE or 18 000 BP, matching the end of the ice age period as reflected in Figure 1.46. Could this be of any significance?

Figure 1.50 Lemuria as the sunken landmass of Kumari Kandam.

The Tamil legend about a sunken landmass appears to be the only ancient reference to a sunken continent similar to Plato's famous account of Atlantis, and this legend places the sunken continent south of India.  In terms of my Terra Australis theory presented above, the first inundation would have been the slow drowning of the central plateau as depicted by the Vatican and Schoner 1515 maps, with the second flooding caused by the massive impact that drove the entire region into the ocean. The systematic flooding of the central plain would not necessarily have required an impact of any kind, as the sea level may have been rising steadily over thousands of years. If Oard is correct in the sense that the ice core data could reflect a much younger age for the ice caps, and assuming that Plato's date of the sinking of Atlantis is more or less correct, a much more likely timescale would link the very high dust peak which began at more or less 28 000 BP to Plato's time slot off 11 600 BP, a factor of about 2.4:1. The 100 000 year Milankovitch cycle then becomes 41 000 years, another significant orbital period of the earth (see Milankovitch cycles). Whatever the cause of the ice age cycles may be, though, we seem to be in for another dusty experience either 72 000 years (100 000 year cycle) or 29 400 years (41 000 year cycle) from now. An "end of the world" all over again?

Continuing with myths related to Kumari Kandam, reference is made to the sunken land mass in amongst others the 5th century epic called the Silappadhikaram, which narrates the story of Kannaki and Kovilan:

"The central characters are Kannaki and Kovilan and the epic tells their beautiful and tragic story. Kannaki willingly takes back her husband who had earlier deserted her for a dancer Madhavi and become ruined in the course of time. The story narrates the couple coming to Madurai in search of their fortune. Kannaki gives her precious 'silambu' (anklets) to Kovilan in order to acquire some money. Kovilan is mistaken for the one who has robbed the queen of her anklets and is put to death. An irate Kannaki rushes into the king's court and breaks the remaining anklet upon the floor to reveal that her anklets were of pearls, not gems, thus proving her husband innocent. She then burns up the entire city of Madurai in the flames of her anger. Through Kannaki, this story portrays 'pativratas' in a powerful light. Kannaki is regarded as an incarnation of the goddess Parvati."

This story echoes that of Isis and Osiris, the latter who went on a long journey in search of what remained of the Lost Continent. In various myths this journey is reflected as Osiris going in search of a wise man (see Section 1.3), corresponding to Kovilan who had deserted Kannaki for a dancer.  In the similar story of Ravana versus Rama, the latter goes on a fourteen year long journey to find his wife Sita, who had been taken (as wife) by Ravana. Upon Osiris' return, Seth had him emasculated in a fit of jealousy and the weakened Osiris evidently died as a consequence, drowning in the Nile. The sorrow of Isis (Inanna) having lost her husband who had returned from the dead was commemorated in a poem called The Most Bitter Cry, and Egyptian legends recorded that the swelling of the Nile was caused by the tears of Isis mourning for her lost husband. The fury of Kannaki attacking Madurai matches that of Inanna as the war goddess who attacked and defeated Seth with the aid of her son Horus.

The name Kumari means "the maiden" and she is an aspect of the Hindu goddess Kali, the war goddess called upon by the gods to defeat the evil spirits (demons) Canda (hence Kandam?) and Munda [Dictionary of Ancient Deities]. Osiris and Seth both belonged to the Titans who were defeated by the Gods - could they have been Canda and Munda? The name Kumari-Kandam can be interpreted as The Virgin Continent or Land of the Virgin [Hancock]. Parvati was known as the great virgin and married Shiva (Seth, see Section 1.3) who had 'not noticed' her for several years [Ancient Deities]. This matches the story of Isis having been courted by Seth and Osiris (Vishnu), Isis marrying the latter in the end. Some years after Osiris' departure Seth must have convinced her that her husband would never return and she agreed to marry him. Shiva attacked the gods, i.e. the gods fought Seth, the Titan.  Parvati's (favourite) animal was a lion [Ancient Dieties], matching Isis' attraction to felines (see Section 1.7, The crushing of the head of the serpent).  As Kali she 'danced on the body of Shiva', echoing Isis' defeat of Seth after they had become mortal enemies.