Rock Cloud Pangaea

I got interested in rock clouds back in February, when I started wondering whether the 15 February Chelyabinsk fireball might have been an outrider in a rock cloud accompanying asteroid 2012-DA14 which made a close approach to Earth on the same day. NASA said the two events were unrelated, but I’m not convinced, particularly since using my orbital simulation model I’ve managed to land a DA14 outrider on Mongolia on the same day.

But it got me thinking about rock clouds in general, and I started looking at how different ones travelling at different speeds behaved in the vicinity of the Earth. And I found that if they were moving fast – more than 5 or 6 km/s relative to the Earth – they’d splatter one side of the Earth with rocks, and the rest of the rocks would barrel off into space. But I also found that if rock clouds came in more slowly – say less than 3 km/s – they’d drop rocks all over the surface of the earth, not just one side. Here’s a rock cloud – actually a line or necklace of rocks – approaching the Earth at 1 km/s, depositing rocks all over it, with the remaining rocks going into orbit around it.


earth2All this reminded me of something I’d first seen when I constructed a transparent globe showing all the Earth’s continents, and found to my surprise that the Pacific ocean covered nearly half the Earth. This was something that hadn’t been immediately obvious in most of the usual maps of the Earth I’d seen in books.

You can see it in the globe on the right, where the faint outlines of the west coast of South America and Antarctica line up fairly nicely with the east coast of Asia and Australia, and the Pacific ocean fills the top right quadrant. Nearly all of the Earth’s continents are on one side of it.

So I’ve begun to wonder whether a rock cloud might have hit one side of the Earth, depositing the crustal continents on top the mantle below. And, since I’d seen that rocks that just missed the Earth would go into orbit around it, I also wondered whether the Moon might have been formed by the remaining rocks that began circling around it.

If the rock cloud had deposited its rocks on just one side of the Earth, it would have had to have been travelling quite fast – greater than 5 or 6 km/s -. But at those speeds, a necklace of circling rocks wouldn’t form. But if the rock cloud came in slower, at 1 km/s or less, it would deposit rocks all over the Earth, and there wouldn’t be any distinct continental mass formed. But at around 3 km/s, it seemed that most of the rocks would have fallen on one side of the Earth, with a lot fewer landing on the far side. And the remainder that missed the Earth would go into orbit around it.

The mass of the Moon is about 7 x 1022 kg, and the total mass of the Earth’s crustal continents is about 2 x 1022 kg, which are the same order of magnitude, and might well be the expected proportions if only a fraction of a rock cloud hit the Earth, and a lot more was captured in orbit around it.

Many comets contain a lot of water, and it has been suggested that most of Earth’s water was gained from comets, so I then supposed that the rock cloud would have been partly composed of water. Just 15% water would have been enough to fill the Earth’s oceans.

So, quite possibly, over a very short time – maybe just a few days – the entire continental crust of the Earth might have been deposited on the Earth, complete with enough water to fill its oceans (which didn’t exist at that time), and mostly on one side of the Earth, much like it is today.

Over the next few million years, the cloud of rocks whirling around the Earth would gradually accrete into a single Moon that gradually sucked all the other rocks into it, a perhaps got plastered with impact craters in the process.

Meanwhile down on the surface of the Earth, the wet slurry of rocks would gradually start sliding around, and water would start trickling out of it and gradually filling the oceans. In fact, at the time of impact, with so much energy being released by rocks hitting the Earth, a great deal of the water might have boiled off, and subsequently fallen as torrential rain. And this rain would fill up the ‘lowlands’  in what is now the Pacific ocean, resulting in a single continent – Pangaea – surrounded by sea. One side of the Earth would be covered in water, and the other side would be covered by the roughly hemispherical continent of Pangaea.

Thereafter, Pangaea would start to gradually break up, with the Americas sliding ‘downhill’ into the Pacific, and land east of Africa spilling outwards ‘downhill’ into the Pacific to form Australia and Antarctica and the Indonesian archipelago. There would probably tend to have been strong volcanism along the coast of Pangaea where it dug sharply into the mantle below, releasing magma beneath. There still is today, in the volcanic “ring of fire” around the Pacific ocean.

There might have been other effects as well. If the Earth had not been rotating when the rock cloud hit it, it may have started rotating afterwards, particularly if the rocks weren’t perfectly evenly distributed over its surface, like a cue striking a ball on one side. And the imbalance of one hemisphere with the other, with far more mass on one side, might have also started it wobbling on its axis.

This isn’t an entirely new theory. It is in fact believed that the Moon was formed from the Earth, because it’s made of very similar stuff. But if that stuff is similar in the composition of the Earth’s crust, it’s possible that it could have been formed from the same rock cloud.

pangaeaBut it’s important to this rock cloud theory that Pangaea was roughly circular and hemispherical. For if Pangaea covered very much less than half the surface of the Earth, it would be hard to explain its formation from a rock cloud, without supposing that was a rock cloud with a radius less than the Earth. But according to one map of Pangaea, it actually did seem to occupy about one half of the Earth’s surface 225 million years ago, and this may have been a long time after it first formed.

There are probably all sorts of objections that could be raised against this hypothesis. If nothing else, it is a catastrophic theory in a time when it is generally believed that geological processes take place very gradually over long periods of time. It proposes that more or less all the Earth’s land masses and seas were dumped on its surface in a matter of a few days or weeks, and quite suddenly provided the necessary environment for life to evolve.

Anyway, last April 1st, I published my new theory of cell growth and division. This April 1st, I offer my new theory of Moon and Earth continent and ocean formation. Next April I suppose I’ll have to come up with yet another idea.

About Frank Davis

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17 Responses to Rock Cloud Pangaea

  1. harleyrider1978 says:

    Additionally, and unreported, the smoking ban has also helps spin the earth so we can have day and night!

  2. garyk30 says:

    Here is a thought.

    Anti-smokers as a sub-species of humans.

    They are not your average type people.

  3. Rose says:

    This having been a very quiet morning my mind has been ranging over our prevous discussions about government targets in hospitals,Banzhaf Power index in Game theory and Rod’s remarks about mental illness, social isolation and what on earth is going on, when I suddenly remembered The Trap from 2007 and decided to watch it again.

    And it’s all there and now we are seeing the results.
    Cold War modelling with the use of mathematical models and targets from Vietnam to the NHS, based on a “simplistic model of human beings as self-seeking, almost robotic creatures” in which ideas of patriotism or public service, even normal human kindness and goodwill were considered as naive.

    BBC – The Trap, What Happened to Our Dreams of Freedom, 1of3 – F*ck You Buddy

    “The programme traces the development of game theory with particular reference to the work of John Nash (the mathematician portrayed in A Beautiful Mind), who believed that all humans were inherently suspicious and selfish creatures that strategised constantly. Using this as his first premise, Nash constructed logically consistent and mathematically verifiable models, for which he won the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences, commonly referred to as the Nobel Prize in Economics. He invented system games reflecting his beliefs about human behaviour, including one he called “Fuck Your Buddy” (later published as “So Long Sucker”), in which the only way to win was to betray your playing partner, and it is from this game that the episode’s title is taken.

    These games were internally coherent and worked correctly as long as the players obeyed the ground rules that they should behave selfishly and try to outwit their opponents, but when RAND’s analysts tried the games on their own secretaries, they instead chose not to betray each other but to cooperate every time.
    This did not, in the eyes of the analysts, discredit the models but instead proved that the secretaries were unfit subjects”.

    “What was not known at the time was that Nash was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and, as a result, was deeply suspicious of everyone around him—including his colleagues—and was convinced that many were involved in conspiracies against him. It was this mistaken belief that led to his view of people as a whole that formed the basis for his theories. Footage of an older and wiser Nash was shown in which he acknowledges that his paranoid views of other people at the time were false.”

    But the politicians have continued to trust in the theory, apparently it was introduced to the NHS years ago, used by Blairs government as they tore down the old institutions and resulted in the target culture that finally revealed itself to the public in the mid Staffordshire Hospital scandal.

    Do take the time to watch it, it explains a lot of what’s been happening to us all.
    I’m now going to brace myself to watch Part 2 – The Lonely Robot.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I’ll definitely watch that.

      I studied Game Theory once, a long time ago. And one of the main things I thought about it was that it wasn’t a game. Not what I think of as a ‘game’ anyway.

    • beobrigitte says:

      Do take the time to watch it, it explains a lot of what’s been happening to us all.

      It most certainly does!!! I must admit, I had never heard of this game theory before … Quite scary stuff, considering that rules and regulations made are based on a mathematical concept that does not include the variable of individual’s decisions. It’s even scarier to think that this mathematical concept involving only strategic decisions is being given as the reason for the prevention of a nuclear war…….
      A game?????

      I also learned about positive and negative liberty; – many words for a kind of utopian liberty. Positive liberty involves a fight with many casualties (mostly opponents/assumed opponents) leading to something that could be termed dictatorship.
      Negative liberty involves everyone just doing what they want as long as no-one gets harmed, although the concept of negative liberty does not invite the thought or care about who gets not “harmed”.
      To me it looks like both options just nurture egotistical behaviour.
      My idea of liberty is not abusing the concept of freedom. In order to sustain our survival and standard of living we all must work together. Start splitting a society into small groups and there will be chaos. (I have no doubt that this will happen; it’s just a matter, when.)

      The videos most certainly were “heavy stuff” for an Easter Monday!

      • Frank Davis says:

        Positive liberty is defined as having the power and resources to fulfill one’s own potential as opposed to negative liberty, which is freedom from external restraint.[

  4. Rose says:

    Further to the Trap and Game Theory

    I suppose that if politicians see people only as “self-seeking, almost robotic creatures” that could explain appalling ideas like the Bedroom Tax.
    According to the model, the self-interested robot, living alone in the three bedroomed house, will leave as soon as possible freeing up housing stock, whereas we see the old lady still living in the family home, who will do without in order to try to pay the extra, so that she can carry on living with her memories and her grown up children and grandchildren will always have somewhere to stay.

    • garyk30 says:

      That old lady might wish to rent a room to another old lady; so as to provide a little extra income, and also for a bit of company when those kids do not visit.

    • beobrigitte says:

      Thanks for the video link, Rose!

      I’ve watched the BBC news this morning telling us all about the “new” NHS. It did mention that “charities” will have a say with respect to spending NHS cash, so I was trying to find out WHICH “charities” are meant. Unfortunately there seems a little reluctance in naming them…..

      A national body called Healthwatch, with local groups, is being set up to enable patients to have their say about the NHS.

      WHO constitutes “Healthwatch”? ASH? British Lung Foundation? British Heart Foundation? All of whom do not care about REAL CAUSES of illnesses as long as they can conveniently point their finger to tobacco?

      Correct me if I’m wrong (I really hope I am!!!!) – As from today the government has sanctioned our prosecution and refusal of treatment for ANY illness for as long as we are smokers??

      • garyk30 says:

        I can not get an e-mail thru to you.
        Will be having a ‘Smoky-Drinky’ tomorrow night, Tues the 2nd of April, at 8:30 PM London time.

        Do stop by and chat on Skype.

        Gary K.

        • beobrigitte says:

          Thanks for the invite, Gary. Looks like my email provider has run into one or two little problems… Will be there tomorrow! (Replenishing the alcohol and crisps supply tomorrow morning :) )

  5. garyk30 says:

    I would guess that many, if not most, politicians believe in that ‘Cloud of Rocks’ idea.

    They do seem to be obsessed with the need to ‘do something’ to prevent the sky from falling. :(

    I suppose that is easier than looking around and seeing the pain and destruction their policies have caused.

  6. smokingscot says:

    Missed it yesterday. Congrats on cracking through the half million visit mark!

  7. harleyrider1978 says:

    Global warming causes thicker Antarctic ice…

  8. harleyrider1978 says:

    Reagan Budget Guru Declares: We’ve Been Lied To, Robbed and Misled…

  9. Pingback: Positive Freedom and Negative Freedom | Bolton Smokers Club

  10. Frank Davis says:

    As an additional thought, I’ve noticed that there seems to be chain of mountains all around the Pacific “ring of fire”. It occurs to me that, when all these rocks came crashing down over a period of a few days or weeks, they would have possessed forward momentum, and so would have tended to go sliding towards the Pacific basin on the other side of the Earth.

    If so, then maybe what are now the Americas broke off quite early from Pangaea, and Australia and Indonesia even earlier, and they’ve been slowly sliding ever since. And the leading edges of the sliding continents have been ‘ruckling up’ – much like a sheet or blanket pushed across a bed.- to form mountains (many now underwater) around the Pacific.

    Not sure how this fits with plate tectonics.

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