06 June, 2014

Geologic Evidence Supporting Biblical Events, Part 1: Burckle Crater

The flood story in the Bible, I must admit, is indeed a very eyebrow-raisingly implausible one from a scientific standpoint. Rain for 40 days and 40 nights is nowhere near enough to cause a worldwide flood capable of wiping out entire continents catastrophically, to say the least. Not to mention, of course, that there indeed are no "fountains of the deep" or "windows/floodgates of heaven" that scientists know about anywhere on Earth that they're aware of. The "windows/floodgates [both equally valid Hebrew translations] of heaven", at least, don't seem to appear anywhere, unless, of course, you're using the claim to talk about the Black Sea flood... ah, but a scientific discovery made some years ago, 12,500 feet beneath the South Indian Ocean, does indeed give new meaning to the "fountains of the deep" claim.

May 10, 2807 BC (according to a Sumerian planisphere object similar to another one that documented the Kofels air burst, when plugged into computer models). An asteroid the size of Mount Rainier, according to scientific estimates, slams into the South Indian Ocean, approximately 1000 miles east-southeast of Madagascar, at more than 50,000 miles per hour. It flies into the ocean at such a high rate of speed that even after displacing the ocean above, it goes on to kick up an impact plume to sub-orbital trajectories, and this impact plume then picks up the displacing of water right where the asteroid itself left off. Ultimately, the resulting crater (known to geologists as Burckle Crater) grows to a staggering 18 miles across, at the bottom of a 12,500-foot-deep section of ocean, the water-displacing impact plume (and by extension the very section of ocean having been displaced by the impact) thus bearing the same radius.

So, I'm using this opportunity to put my hard-earned geometry skills to use. The formula, according to math books, for the volume of a cylinder is A=πr2h, so with that in mind, let's do the math here. To get the radius, we must divide the 18 miles of crater width by 2, giving us 9. Ah, but then, to convert miles to feet, we must multiply 5,280 by 9, which gives us a 47,520-foot radius. Using the formula on it, we get: π*(47,520)2*12,500 = approximately 88.6 trillion cubic feet, or 602.4 cubic miles, of displaced water. Compare that with the volume of rock currently detaching itself from Spain's Cumbre Vieja volcano, which is only estimated to be 120 cubic miles, and yup, you get the picture. The volume of water displaced by the Burckle impact can amount to many orders of magnitude more than that which will be displaced by the Cumbre Vieja landslide when it finally gives way, and that much water displacement is enough to generate a tsunami about half as tall as the ocean is deep, especially when you factor the speed and depth of the volume of water that is displaced.

Remember, however: This volume calculation doesn't even begin to take into account the lateral displacement, only that which is vertical. Lateral displacement can easily add a good 100 extra cubic miles of water on top of that which is already factored in by this vertical displacement calculation. Remember, even though all tsunamis involve whole-water-column movement, those generated by earthquakes, landslides, and pyroclastic flows don't have nearly enough energy to completely part the abyss dry. Only impact events have this special character, one of parting a large circle of the entire water column in a vaguely Red Sea-like manner, forcing all that water that used to be in that circle to expand skyward. That's obviously poised to result in displacement far more massive than anything we've ever seen.

That amount of water that is forced to expand vertically is absolutely enormous... and let's remember, even the wave that was generated in the same ocean some 5000 years later, by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, had enough energy to be detected in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans by tsunami buoys. A wave on the Burckle impact scale, by comparison, would have absolutely no contest given these calculations. You'd be looking at something capable of wiping out large swaths of entire continents tens to twenties of thousands of miles away, knocking over mountains with tremendous force... oh, yeah, and killing tens of millions of Earth's inhabitants of that time, billions if it happened today. What many of the models that doubt the tsunami obviously fail to take into account, let's not forget, is the effect the impact plume has on exacerbating the volume of water already displaced by the asteroid itself.

Even if the chevrons found in Madagascar aren't tsunami deposits, if they're impact debris deposits as the scientists often suggest, we have to take into account the effect a tsunami that followed the debris (likely traveling far slower) would have on shaping them in the fashion they have been shaped in. Tsunamis push everything up in front of them. If there were no tsunami, according to the models, the deposits would have very gradual slopes, and if they were eroded by something else, say, gradually over time, we would see steep cliffs similar to those edging Arizona's awesome geologic features. Neither of these appear to be the case. The deposits in Madagascar are large plateaus 600 feet high, and they're uniquely shaped ― gradually sloped on the ocean side, and on the land side, they slope at perfect 45-degree angles. Slow erosion doesn't do that. It takes a tsunami, it takes a MEGA-tsunami, to shape the deposits in that unique fashion by pushing up one side of the already laid-down debris like a bulldozer, all the while flattening the side closer to the coast.

On top of that, impact events and debris plumes also contribute something else to the ocean that can be very catastrophic: heat. This heat can result in another phenomenon that scientists use all too often to talk about what may have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs, especially in this catastrophic form: a hypercane. Or several, for that matter. Remember, it's not just the impact site itself that can be easily superheated. It's also the ejecta fallout radius, which can be a good thousand or two miles across. Which, of course, means we'd be looking at debris falling on both sides of the Equator, heating large swaths of ocean and catalyzing the formation of incredibly destructive storms that go on to ravage the region long after the tsunami subsides.

To top this all off, scientists also discovered that the amount of ringwoodite hidden within Earth's upper mantle is enough to hold 3 world oceans' worth of water. That's enough water to raise the height of the entire world ocean by as much as 30,000 feet! There's little doubt in my mind that the A, thermal, and B, seismic energy being blasted through the thin oceanic crust by the impact event could have been enough to cause the water held within it to flash-boil, creating more cracks in the ringwoodite. Those cracks then provide a path for Lower Mantle magma, which flash-melts more ringwoodite, then producing more pressure, and thus, more fractures. The resulting runaway breakdown could have easily, easily have completely blasted all that water onto Earth's surface. We had a clathrate gun; now we have a ringwoodite gun. The result is the same.

So, like how this series is starting off? This is only the start of what I've got going as a series of demonstrations of the kind of evidence often underplayed by skeptics. Ready for more? This is not the end, it's only the beginning of what I have in store for the dissemination of evidence that, when put together, is enough to flick the legs that even the most atheist of atheists have to stand on right out from under them.