Polar ice advances

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Polar ice advances

Postby Peter » Mon 15 Oct 2012 12:25 pm

Polar ice advances

When at the SIS autumn meeting I asked Trevor Palmer how Velikovsky critics answered his claim that the date of the last retreat of polar ice from the Niagara region occurred between 500 and 1,500 BC (Earth in Upheaval, Niagara) Trevor said they were critical of his dating methodology and rejected his conclusions.

It should be noted that the conventional date for the end of the last “Ice Age” is 8,000 BC which is 4 times as long ago as Velikovsky’s minimum date for the retreat of the ice from Niagara and nearly 3 times as long ago as his maximum date. However, there is geological evidence for over 20 advances of the polar icecap across North America with the ice not only advancing in a number of different directions, but over different parts of Canada. I am sure some of the polar ice advances across Eastern Canada post-date the last retreat of the ice from the Niagara region, but, probably because of the peer review system, have not found any clear cut evidence for such later advances.

Any evidence of later advance of the polar ice would, according to the Ice Age theory, mean that the last retreat of the polar ice from the Niagara region occurred tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of years ago. It would be interesting to hear how Velikovsky critics reconcile this with his evidence of the last retreat of the polar ice being within 2,500 and 3,500 years ago.

My own date for the last retreat of the ice from the Niagara region is soon after 780 BC, because I believe that the southern end of Greenland was close to the North Pole for the Venus cycle prior to that. This location of the Pole would have seen Ireland as well as Niagara within the Arctic Circle and sea levels in the Azores much lower than at present. I believe there should be evidence of ice advances as late as the 13th and 14th centuries BC, but I am sure that a geologist discovering it would have trouble publishing his findings.

It is the question of later advances of the polar ice across Northern Canada that I would appreciate Forum assistance. Does anyone know of any attempt at sequencing such advances or dating them?

Peter Fairlie-Clarke
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Re: Polar ice advances

Postby Trevor » Thu 18 Oct 2012 11:44 am

I don't know anything about later advances of the polar ice over northern Canada, so am unable to provide Peter with the information he's looking for, but perhaps it may be helpful if I commented in greater detail than was possible at the recent meeting about the dating of the end of the last glaciation inferred from studies of Niagara falls. The Niagara river drops vertically at a point on its route from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean via the St. Lawrence seaway. Velikovsky, in chapter X of Earth in Upheaval went along with the generally-accepted view that water from the melting ice flowed into Lake Erie and then out over the Queenston escarpment, the initial site of Niagara falls. Erosion over time then created the Niagara Gorge, with the falls moving upstream towards their present location. Velikovsky attempted to deduce the timescale on the basis of the current rate of movement of the falls and their distance today from the Queenston escarpment (6.8 miles, or 35,900 feet).

Velikovsky noted that, in the 19th century, Charles Lyell had been told by a local that the falls retreat by around 3 feet per year, but thought that was probably an exaggeration. However, subsequent examination of records indicated that, since 1764, the falls had retreated at an average rate of about 5 feet per year, which, had this been typical of what had happened previously, indicated a timescale of 7,000 years from the initial formation of the falls. In 1889, George Wright argued that the initial rate of erosion had probably been greater than that in more recent times, because of a greater volume of water flowing from the melting ice, and suggested a timescale of 5,000 years as a more likely figure.

In 1947, Richard Foster Flint, as quoted by Velikovsky, wrote, "Redermination by W. H. Boyd showed the present rate of recession of the Horseshoe Falls to be , not five feet, but rather 3.8 feet, per year. Hence the age of the Upper Great Gorge is calculated as somewhat more than 4,000 years - and to obtain even this [low] figure we have to assume that the rate of recession has been constant, although we know in fact that the discharge has in fact varied greatly during post-glacial times." Since the actual figure, assuming a constant erosion rate of 3.8 feet per year, is (as may easily be calculated) 9,500 years, it is not clear why Flint gave it as "somewhat more than 4,000 years", even though that is correct, nor is it clear why Velikovsky inserted the word "low" into the quotation. Nevertheless, Velikovsky took Flint's comments about the discharge having varied greatly as reason to conclude that the timescale was in fact between 2,500 and 3,500 years.

Geological investigations of the region before and after the time of Flint and Velikovsky have provided much evidence to show that the rate of erosion of the gorge did not take place at a constant rate, but the findings have indicated that the situation was much less straightforward than Velikovsky (and, before him, Wright during the 19th century) had supposed. The Gorge lies at the interface of three rock formations: the hard Lockport and the softer Rochester and Queenston formations. Because of this, even if the flow of water down the Niagara river had been constant throughout, the rate of erosion would have been uneven. Moreover, it seems that the flow of water was also very variable, and not just in the way supposed by Wright. The evidence indicates that, initially, the Niagara river was just one of five outflows from Lake Erie. Then, after the other four had dried up, the situation changed again, and much of the meltwater from the region flowed to the sea by routes which were well to the north of Lake Erie. For about half of the period between the end of the Ice Age to the present day, the geological evidence shows that Lake Erie was only about half the size it is today, and the flow of water along the Niagara river was only around 10% of its present value. Modern geologists consider the situation far too complex for it to be possible to use evidence from the Niagara Gorge as a realistic way of dating the end of the last glaciation.
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Re: Polar ice advances

Postby John » Fri 19 Oct 2012 4:12 pm

This subject is of great interest, sustaining quite strongly Velikovsky's reliance on human legend and myth as being - at the moment anyway - a valid starting point and altogether far more credible than the ever shifting sands of 'scientific' discovery. I look forward to learning more about this enigmatic Ice Age story.
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Re: Polar ice advances

Postby Peter » Mon 22 Oct 2012 2:31 pm

I am familiar with the arguements against Velikovsky’s dating for the last retreat of the polar ice from the Niagara region given in Trevor’s response to my posting. However, they raise more questions than answers. For example how much higher was the water level when Lake Erie had five outlets and how much greater was the water flow over the Niagara Falls at that time? Why should the level of the lake and the rate of flow in the river later have been only 10% of its present level? What climate or geological change could explain this?

I can understand why modern geologists claim that the situation is too complex to use evidence from the Niagara Falls to date the end of the last glaciation of the region. Using the evidence gives them an answer they cannot accept.

When geologists first found evidence of advancing polar icecaps they suggested axis shift as the explanation. However, when mathematicians determined that the Earth could not experience axis shifts without an external force applied the “Ice Age” theory was acknowledged as the default alternative (see Earth on Upheaval, Shifting Poles). This ignored the evidence of many more advances of the polar ice in North America than in Europe and the evidence of ice advance in many different directions, but it pushed the cause long enough into the past for it to be attributed to unknown reasons.

Now that Wal Thornhill has, with his “Electric Universe” theory, an explanation for how the Earth could experience an external force if another cosmic body came close and Peter Warlow has demonstrated in his book, The Reversing Earth, how such a force could drive an axis shift we need to reappraise geologists first explanation for the advance and retreat of polar icecaps.

I remain confident that there is geological evidence for advances of polar ice across Canada that post dates the last retreat of the ice from the Niagara region.
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Re: Polar ice advances

Postby Phillip » Sun 11 Nov 2012 10:39 am

Well, there are several factors impinging on the geological dating and that is that if there had been adjustments to the axis of rotation the falls would not have been quite where they are now, and as geologists seem to think there was a period where water flow was slow, or possibly even non-existent, you should perhaps be looking at somebody like Paul Dunbavin who was convinced such an axial change had occurred at around 3100BC (conventional dates). This would fit in with the Velikosky data. However, if there had been a more significant axial change at 6200BC (again a conventional date and a prerequisite for looking up the events in the literature) the flow of the Niagara may date as far back as that. Geologists in general are divided over dates and when the water started carving away at the softer rock. I did an In the News item on this some time ago, providing links to various sources. As far as Canada is concerned you have the chap who spoke at one of our meetings a couple of years ago. He might be able to tell you about ice advances during the Holocene. However, having said that I think you might be disappointed. In the Mid Holocene Warm Period, roughly 6200-3100BC (again, conventional dates are used as you cannot check the literature otherwise), the tree line extended much further north and to a higher altitude. For example, Scotland had a climate more like England nowadays. If this was due to an axial change, one possibility among several, that would suggest it had nothing to do with global warming but simply a redistribution of the Polar Circle and mid-latitude climate belts. The world was therefore warmer as a result of a different axial position rather than, shall we say, a more active sun. The Milankovitch warmings and coolings are based on axial position and change - but over very long periods of time. If the axis can change, no need for a massive amount of drift, this would suggest climate could change over much shorter periods of time, thereby representing a fly in the ointment. So far, nobody in mainstream has come up with a means to cause the axis of rotation to vary, and in general we may assume they have not looked at the possibility because they have been taught it is impossible. We have to rely then on Peter Warlow - and to a degree, Velikovsky and his adherents. An Electric Universe may provide the pulse that makes it possible but don't hold your breath. It is recognised that Polar Wander occurs, over immense periods of time, and that the Poles have moved some 30 degrees in the last 200 million years, but this is uniformitarian calculations. It seems even the idea of continental drift is not in favour at the moment and they would rather view the Dinosaur Age as one of global warming rather than of shifting continents (to the degree required). The collapse of the greenhouse gas theory will result in reappraisals of several important geological paradigms. Naomi Oreskes is not just a global warming adherent, almost fanatically so, she wrote the most popular textbook on Plate Tectonics (in the US). At the other extreme you have the Australian, Plimer, who is equally adamant there is no evidence in the geological record of co2 causing global warming. Who is right? Who knows but for sure if greenhouse gases can't cause global warming that means the Dinosaur Age was warm for other reasons. Either the continents were further to the south, close to the tropics, or the Poles have moved. It is that simple. In this country, southern England, the climate during the Jurassic has been compared to that of Florida today, with a warm shallow sea and lagoons, and thriving colonies of corals and other warm water shell fish. These are the typical fossils found in Jurassic clays.
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Re: Polar ice advances

Postby Trevor » Sun 11 Nov 2012 7:41 pm

It may be of relevance and interest to copy a section of Ev Cochrane's review of Gordin's book (a separate topic on this forum) from http://www.q-mag.org. Ev is arguing from a Saturnist perspective, but one doesn't have to accept the Saturnist model to agree with him that the prehistoric part of the Holocene epoch should be one of particular interest to catastrophists. Here's what Ev has to say about it:

"If it is conceded that Velikovsky's thesis identifying Venus as the extraterrestrial cause of the Exodus events is impossible to square with the physical sciences and that his attempt to radically reconstruct ancient history is thus flawed from the outset, what if anything remains of his revolutionary thesis? In the first few pages of the book, Gordin offers a very precise survey of Velikovsky's fundamental challenge to modern science: 'Velikovsky presented his argument as three nested claims, each more specific than the last: (1) that there were physical upheavals of a global character in historical times; (2) that these catastrophes were caused by extraterrestrial agents; (3) that these agents can be identified.' In the final analysis, Velikovsky will be remembered - or not - by the factual nature and continuing impact of these 3 simple hypotheses, hypotheses that were deeply unsettling in 1950 and remain revolutionary today. What, then, have been the principle findings to come to light in the 33 years since Velikovsky's death? To take but one of numerous issues - that regarding Venus's possible comet-like past, arguably the most controversial claim in Velikovsky's entire oeuvre. Here the evidence is simply overwhelming that the planet Venus only recently presented a comet-like appearance to terrestrial stargazers around the globe. Although the evidence in question was barely touched on by Velikovsky himself and remains virtually unknown to the scientific community to this very day, it is sufficiently compelling to vindicate Velikovsky's general thesis of planetary catastrophe - i.e. that the solar system was radically different in appearance and order in very recent historical times. In fact, to return to the three central tenets of Worlds in Collision, enumerated above, there is a wealth of evidence in favor of each provided you add the prefix 'pre' before historical in hypothesis one (i.e. recent research has confirmed that the planetary dislocation deduced by Velikovsky occurred in the relatively recent prehistoric period and not during the middle of the second millennium BCE, as he believed."
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Re: Polar ice advances

Postby Phillip » Thu 15 Nov 2012 10:18 pm

I don't accept Ev Cochrane's analysis, in that respect, as he is coming from an angle we are too familiar with in SIS. Now, I am willing to accept that Venus was a late addition to the solar system, as said by Peter Warlow for example, but I don't see any kind of evidence that Venus had a cometary past. It seems to me that in the 1950s comets were regarded as little more than dirty snowballs, rather puny cosmic residents, and Velikovsky swallowed this view and proposed instead that Venus was a comet when in fact, as we know now, comets can be destructive, and can fulfill all the Biblical criteria from a fly by (passover) to plague and disease. It makes the old view of comets as bad make sense.
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Re: Polar ice advances

Postby evcochrane » Mon 03 Dec 2012 10:54 pm

Phillip writes: "I don't see any evidence that Venus had a cometary past." As I have tried to document in countless articles and several books, the recent history of the planet Venus provides the historical basis for the curious mythology which came to surround comets in general. Venus, in this sense, was the prototypical "comet" of ancient myth and legend. Here I would refer readers to my "The Many Faces of Venus" and "On Fossil Gods and Forgotten Worlds" where a wealth of evidence is presented. The various publications of David Talbott and Wal Thornhill are also seminal in this regard. That said, Phillip seems to be under the misunderstanding that we are claiming that Venus was once a comet and went flying willy nilly about the solar system. Nothing could be further from the truth. Rather, what we are claiming is that Venus formerly presented a comet-like appearance, with wildly distended "hair." The ancient skywatchers from Mesopotamia and Egypt were not professional astronomers, needless to say (since descriptions of a comet-like Venus can be found already in the earliest written texts, we can be assured that the idea was already common by 2350 BCE). Rather, they simply described Venus as a long-haired star, a serpent-dragon, a bearded star, a torch-star, a smoking star, etc., terms that came to be applied to comets in much later astronomical texts.
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Re: Polar ice advances

Postby Phillip » Fri 07 Dec 2012 4:20 pm

Welcome to our forum Ev. We hope you will join in and we all appreciate the knowledge of mythology that you bring to the table. I might favour a cometary explanation of events in the past, but am not in any way convinced by that. SIS is still firmly attached to the Velikovsky model - and proceeds outwards of that. We are all open minded on catastrophist issues and not firmly committed to any one idea.
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Re: Polar ice advances

Postby Peter » Mon 10 Dec 2012 3:50 pm

I think that I now have an explanation for why no evidence has been found to suggest that there was an ice sheet in north eastern Canadian from 830 to 779 BC which is when I think that a site to the east of the southern end of Greenland was at the North Pole and Ireland and Eastern Canada were both within the arctic circle.

I have learnt that glaciers and ice sheets only become plastic and start to flow when they reach 50 metres in depth and that usually the ice flows at a rate of only a few metres a year, although under surge conditions it can flow much faster; the Byrd glacier in Antarctica has been measured over a 10 year period flowing at a rate of 800 metres per annum. This means that even if an ice sheet covered much of eastern Canada in 779 BC there would now be little evidence of it, because even 30 years of ice flow at normal rates would not result in sufficient material dumped to be identifiable as a terminal moraine. Where surge conditions occurred, the amount of material dumped would be greater, but surges were almost certainly limited to river beds where normal water erosion has almost certainly destroyed any evidence of a terminal moraine.

I fear that it will be virtually impossible to establish geologically whether there was, as I believe, an ice sheet in eastern Canada early in the 8th century BC or any time later, despite my confidence that axis shifts moved Canada closer to the North Pole on a fairly regular basis; I believe that flooding in China in both the 13th and 14th centuries AD was caused by such axis shifts.
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