If the ancient people of this planet believed in great cycles of time,
and if those cycles brought on cataclysmic upheavals, does the geophysical
record of our planet support those beliefs? Did cataclysms take place?
What were the nature of those events? When did they occur?
Evidence accumulated over the past two centuries shows that our earth did, indeed, experience great upheavals in ages past.
|Geologists are now agreed that the continents were one vast land mass billions of years ago but that the continents have slowly drifted apart and continue to move ever so minutely as the millennia roll onSA-219. Furthermore, the crust of the earth experienced great cataclysms in which the mighty mountain ranges were formed. Those events took place long before man appeared upon the face of the earth. But the myth stories say that great events took place within the memory of man. The events were associated with judgments upon the earth.|
According to recent scientific evidence man has been active as a social
creature for more than a million years. Olduvai Gorge east of Lake Victoria
in Africa was formed in relatively recent geological times by tectonic
uplift and shearing of earth crustal plates. Erosion produced by this action
exposed layers of deposit some 300 feet high, accumulated over the past
two million years. A number of manlike skeletal remains in these deposits
date from 600,000 years ago, or older. Tools of quartzite and lava were
found as well as a tool of bone that apparently was used as a scraper of
leather or skin. A circular stone structure, or "fort," was found, composed
of a few hundred stones large enough to house a familyNG-123.
The evidence shows that early man was working not only in space but also
in time. He was able to think ahead and to prepare for the future. Other
evidence shows this remote age with intelligent creatures using fire and
toolsNAT-294. These ancestors of the human race skinned animals,
presumably for the same uses as stone age peoples living in modern timesNAT-298.
Prior to the discoveries in Africa von Koenigswald reviewed evidence
for cultural man from other sites around the world. These included fossils
from Java and China. Most of these finds were of small creatures, similar
to those found in Africa. However, some fossils from China indicated huge
creatures, much larger than modern man, estimated to be perhaps ten feet
tall, were also presentEOM.
More recent work shows that creatures walking upright with feet like
modern man date to even earlier timesSC-208. Although the fossil
remains are rare evolutionists do not hesitate to derive complex human
family trees. But debate among researchers rages around the meaning of
The myths portray early man as primitive, requiring instructions from the "gods." If he was descended from near relatives of simian stock we should not be surprised if he lived in nests in the trees. The "Fire-Driller Lords" may have instructed early man in the use of fire. And the first human creature, based on the finds in Africa, Java and China, can rightly be classified as a dwarf. The modern Negritos of the Malayan archipelago and the Philippines might be evolutionary reminders of those early people. The myths reflect an accurate description of early man, remembering both dwarfs and giants.
From these early periods until about 100,000 years ago little fossil evidence is available. It is not possible to reliably trace the development of man.
As we come closer to modern man we encounter more abundant skeletal
remains. They are mostly of Neanderthal man dating from about 100,000 to
about 35,000 years ago. Remains have been found from England and Spain
to the area of the Black Sea, to Palestine, and as far away as the Kasakh
hills of southern Russia. Early notions of his apelike posture were based
on one arthritic skeleton with a deformed jaw from an old man. With many
more finds this view is now dramatically altered. Although his brow was
low, his brain was slightly larger than ours. His great muscular power
does not imply differences in intellectual or behavioral capacities from
The slow development but rapid disappearance of Neanderthal is a puzzle
to anthropologists. The evidence is a thorn in the side of evolutionists
who seek diligently for contrary resultsNAT-301. He began to
appear about 100,000 years ago, persisted for nearly 70,000 years, and
then abruptly disappeared about 35,000 years ago. Two interpretations are
given for this phenomenon. The first view proposes that he evolved quickly
into anatomically modern man. The second view ascribes the disappearance
to an invasion of new people with modern skeletal form. Remains of modern
man, decidedly different from Neanderthal, have been found as far away
as Australia dating to 35,000 years ago while others have been found in
sub-Sahara AfricaNAT-309,NAT-301. If these anatomically modern
skeletons derived from one group they spread rapidly over the face of the
earth and could easily have replaced Neanderthal everywhere.
Neanderthal was a cultured creature. Although most of his remains have
been found in caves, where they are protected from decay, some evidence
has been found in open sites. He probably lived in tents, used animal skins
for clothing, cooked his meat, and used flint tools. It would be unwarranted
to conclude that his way of life differed radically from the hunter cultures
of our own times.
In summary, the little evidence we have available shows no essential difference in the activities of man of long ago, down to and including aboriginal Australians and American Indians in modern times. Stone-age cultures do not indicate that man was less rational or possessed weaker conceptual abilities. They merely indicate a way of life that viewed the earth differently from modern godless man. Spiritual relationships are not determined by material refinement or technological power.
|THE GEOPHYSICAL RECORD|
During the past million years the earth has experienced physical cycles
known as the ice ages. These ages are associated with a general cooling
of the surface of the planet. Although debate still rages among geologists
and climatologists, a consensus gives four major ice periods. In North
America they are known as the Nebraskan, Kansan, Illinoisan and Wisconsin.
Corresponding periods in Europe are known as the Gunz, Mindel, Riss and
Wurm. Between each was a relatively warm period, comparable to our present
one, although uncertainty attaches to the true conditions of the last ice
Radio-carbon dating techniques have revolutionized our understanding
of the recent planetary past, but reliable dating is limited to approximately
40,000 years. Other dating techniques are now in use but extrapolation
of dates beyond 40,000 years is still beset with uncertainty. A summary
of recent knowledge is given by FlintGQG and also described
by DunbarHG. Dates assigned for the onset of the cold periods
(before present) are:
Nebraskan-Gunz: Greater than 260,000 years
The glacial recession during the Wisconsin-Wurm is also divided into two subperiods, the first from 70,000 years to 50,000. The second period would be approximately from 35,000 to 10,000.
Although many geologists prefer to view the changes as taking place
gradually, from warm to cold and back again, various geophysical phenomena,
such as depression of the earth crust beneath the continental glaciers,
point to sudden and dramatic upheavals during the transition intervalsNAT-301.
These sudden changes are denoted also by the sharp boundaries between deposits
in front of rock sheltersHG, sudden occupancy and abandonment
of cavesARSI,SUM, and marine sediments intercalated with alluvium
in river deltasGQG. Fractures in the earth crust with associated
cliff formation, as illustrated by Olduvai Gorge, also shows sudden upheavals.
Many hypotheses have been offered to explain the temperature changes associated with these abrupt geological breaks. These include variations in earth elliptical orbit with respect to the sun, variations in sun radiation, great dust clouds in space, inclination of the pole axes, and so on. None are accepted universally by scientists.
The evidence of four major geophysical periods tied to warm and cold twin segments, with abrupt transitions, suggest the old folk memories of four (or five) world ages, with cataclysmic events, may be more than mythological invention. This tie between old folk memory and the geophysical record certainly deserves detailed scrutiny. In order to illustrate the relationship between folk tradition and geophysical events we shall now consider another passage from Plato and show how it correlates with scientific evidence on one specific event in recent geologic time.
|THE PLATO ATLANTIS EVENT|
In his Critias Plato described how people from outside the Pillar
of Hercules (Gibraltar) invaded the lands of the very ancient Greeks.
As far as we know Plato was the first to mention
He started a fascination on that mythical land
that has followed the generations since his time. Many thousands of books
have been written around that mythATAW. The significant factors
in Plato's description are the date, the location, and the geophysical
Plato lived around 400 BC. According to his
date the sinking of Atlantis took place about 9000 years before this time,
or 11,500 years ago. This date is unique in recent geological epochs. It
is the time geologists identify with the final recession of the last great
ice age (Late Quaternary). As mentioned above, this present geophysical
age began about 30,000 years ago, grew colder for 12 or 13,000 years, warmed
slowly from 17,000 years ago and then went into the great recession about
9500 BC. The recession is indicated by numerous data, including submerged
land benches, beaches, bars, deltas, and other shore features, by relict
sediments, submerged stream valleys and alluvium, submerged eolian sand,
submerged fossil marine and terrestrial organisms, and breaks in radiometric
As the last ice cap began to melt the oceans
gradually rose from a level about 300 feet lower than today. North America
extended into the Atlantic some 200 miles beyond the present shore line,
the Persian Gulf did not exist, the Baltic Sea was an inland lake, the
North Sea was practically nonexistent, the Greater Sunda Islands were part
of Asia, New Guinea was connected to Australia, Alaska and Siberia were
one great landmass, Japan was linked to the Asiatic continent, and so on,
based on present depths. The lowered oceans permitted animals to migrate
from one land area to another, bringing a distribution among species that
are isolated today. As the water levels rose the shore lines receded, restricting
animal movements. During this period the shores of the world saw the growth
of flora and fauna in regions now covered by water. Mastodons, mammoths,
horses, tapirs, giant moose, musk-ox, and numerous other species roamed
beyond the present outlets of the Hudson river and the Delaware and Chesapeake
bays along a broad coastal plain on what is now the continental shelf.
Freshwater peat, tree stumps and even standing trunks are now found from
shelf areas off various coasts. Much of this organic material is radiocarbon
dated back to the vicinity of 11,000 years ago, and beyondSC-156,SC-158.
In the report by Emery et al data are presented which permit water levels to be traced accurately with time. However, there is a sharp break, or anomaly, that occurs at the date given by Plato. According to the data the water levels dropped abruptly from a height somewhat above present ocean levels. But other data show the sea levels continuously rising from 17,000 before the presentGQG. What, then, would cause the abrupt break in the data shown in the Figure on page 134? The Figure is more easily understood when it is recognized that peat moss grows in both fresh and salt water bogs and marshes close to the shoreline. This is illustrated by cranberry bogs in New England which now grow in the immediate vicinity of the ocean. If the sea levels rise slowly with time, a few feet per century, the peat moss will creep ahead of the rising water as it spreads inward over the continental shelf. Therefore the peat samples show the level of the ocean over many centuries. The radiocarbon dates of the peat show its age, while the depth at which found show the level of the ocean at that time. Thus one can measure the water level rise with time. The Figure should show a smooth curve extending beyond 12,000 years ago but some event caused an abrupt change in level along the Atlantic seaboard. Some peat moss from 11,000 to 16,000 years ago moved above the present ocean levels although the oceans at that time were more than 250 feet below the present level. Local geographic regions pushed upwards to bring the peat to a level much higher than it was originally. At the same time other regions appear to have sunk below their original levelsSC-157.
Newman and March used the data shown in Fig 24-1 to plot lines of equal height (isobars) along the North Atlantic seacoast and the continental shelf to show displacement from the expected heights. The displacements followed the line of the continental shelfSC-160. For regions north of Long Island the earth crust was thrust upward in altitude, while ocean regions east and south of Long Island and New England were thrust downward. This abrupt displacement of the earth's crust is called "tectonic deleveling." It is a change in relative altitudes of adjacent tectonic plates in the earth's crust. Newman and March suggested that the deleveling was centered around the edge of the continental shelf and was associated with a collapsing marginal or peripheral bulge in the tectonic plate that includes the northeastern portions of the United States and
Canada. A large block of earth crust in the Atlantic Ocean fell while the
region north of that block rose. They pointed out that the event was not
associated merely with the weight of the water in those regions, since
the Gulf of Mexico did not exhibit a similar deleveling as the melting
ice cap filled the oceans, but that it was associated with weight relief
in the block of crust called the Canadian shield. As the continental glacier
melted the ice load was relieved, permitting the Canadian shield to shift
upward in relative altitude from the average earth surface level. In order
to maintain isostatic equilibrium (earth average surface altitude at the
same level), neighboring portions of the earth crust had to sink. Scotland
and the Baltic Sea basin experienced similar abrupt vertical displacements
during the same eraGQG.
Evidence for rising and sinking of sections
of the earth's crust is found many places. The New Jersey Palisades along
the Hudson river show crustal displacement with the western side higher
than the eastern side. The Hudson river follows this rift in the earth's
crust. The great San Andreas rift in California shows horizontal displacements
over hundreds of miles. The susceptibility to earthquakes in that region
is due to the relative ease with which the tectonic plates are still sliding
past one another. The plates are of major size, covering continental and
oceanic tectonic masses. Major portions of the present dry continents were
once under water, showing that large sections of the earth's surface have
experienced alternate vertical displacement. No geologist will question
that these displacements took place. Questions center around dates, exact
sequence of events, causes, and the relative abruptness of the phenomena.
That this process should continue through the ice ages down to modern times
is not surprising. However, for man it can be frightening; if he lived
through such abrupt cataclysms he might remember traumatic physical disturbances.
The intriguing question for Plato's account
is how he would know about earth crustal events which took place 9,000
years before his time. How did he know about the events which took place
in the Atlantic, a location we have now verified scientifically? How could
he be so accurate on the date? Is it a mere coincidence? If it is coincidental
why did he say it took place in the Atlantic ocean? According to his story
he thought it was immediately outside the straights of Gibraltar. He does
not place it far across the Atlantic ocean. However he does say it caused
a great barrier of mud which prevented ships from sailing in those districts.
Did he mean the Sargasso Sea? Was his information contaminated with the
long passage of time? Furthermore he described earthquakes, exactly what
we should expect if there were abrupt changes in the relative altitudes
of earth crustal tectonic plates. Together these elements of his story
seem much more than mere coincidence. In summary we have:
The time separating us from Plato is about
2300 years. During that period Plato's writings have been only partially
preserved. We do not have his original documents, merely copies that were
made in the intervening centuries. The time separating Plato from the events
described is 9,000 years. If we have imperfectly preserved records dating
less than 2500 years, how did Plato receive such reliable information over
much longer spans of time? Our scholarly studies seem to show that writing
existed only since about 3,000 BC. Therefore the Atlantean events must
have been carried through oral tradition. But if so how could they maintain
details that are so accurate over such long periods? It seems hardly possible.
Either we have a most amazing coincidence, or we do not understand the
history of man. It seems almost preferable to accept statements by the
ancient Egyptians that they had records preserved from very ancient timesHER.
If such records existed Plato may have had access to them, (and did not
want to betray his source), or he may have heard about these extraordinary
earth transactions through other sources. Although one might question the
exact location from the brief mention in Plato's account, the date and
the mechanism are correct. The earth upheavals must have been worldwide.
If large sections of earth crust were under displacement in the Atlantic
Ocean, with the North American continent, Scotland, and Scandinavia moving,
then lands elsewhere around the globe had to reflect those disturbances.
Indeed other evidence confirms that a great
earth event took place. Recent radiocarbon dating of finds in the Arctic
regions shows that animal life, including the famous frozen mammoths of
Siberia, were caught in a sudden catastrophic event at this time. The animals
were literally frozen in their tracks with food unchewed in their mouths.
The evidence has been a puzzle to both laymen and scientists alike. It
does not seem possible events could happen so suddenly -- a change from
a relatively hospitable climate to one of deep freeze in a matter of hours.
Some of the mammoths were found caught in fractures in the earth crust,
showing that the earth was in upheaval everywhere.
The description by Plato is merely one example of information available to us. Other records exist.