Toffee Apple World

I came across an interesting map of the world yesterday. It showed the direction and speed of motion of land masses as measured by GPS stations:

10. Crustal GPS signals on the earth do not support plate tectonics theory.

Global GPS stations reveal that a vast majority of the GPS monitoring stations indicate that the observed motion is toward the northwest Pacific basin. Perhaps more surprisingly is the fact that the motions do not conform to rigid “tectonic” plates (outlined in blue in illustration below).

The map reminded me of something that I’d only really understood when I constructed a 3D view of the world, because it’s not obvious from a map like the one above.

Here’s the 3D view I’m talking about:

This is the Earth as seen from Saturn at 17:51 UT (GMT) on 28 February 2017, according to my Orbit3D orbital simulation model. It shows the Pacific ocean and its islands, including Australia on the left, and Antarctica at the bottom. North and South America are just visible along the right hand edge, and Russia and China are just visible along the top left edge. The blue arc is that of the terminator, with the Sun off to the far right of the Earth, and New Zealand just after sunset.

And what was so interesting to me when I first saw it was that the Pacific Ocean occupies almost an entire hemisphere of the Earth. Almost all the continents of the Earth are on the other side. Furthermore, because the continents only occupy 29% of the surface of the Earth, these continents  mostly only occupy the northern part of the other side.

And I wondered whether all the continents might have arrived simultaneously one day when the Earth passed at high speed through a cloud of granitic (and maybe basaltic) rocks, and ended up looking like a toffee apple which had  exactly one half of it coated in toffee, with the Pacific islands a slight spattering of rock that had passed over the Earth and landed on the other side.

And if something like that had happened, countless millions of years ago perhaps as part of the Late Heavy Bombardment, I wondered if, given its momentum, this coating of molten toffee-like rock would have tended to flow towards the Pacific. And that Australia and New Zealand had been the fastest moving parts of this flow, along with Java and Sumatra, and that was why the latter looked like they were part of a flow, and Sulawesi (left) looked like an anti-clockwise eddy in the flow of islands around it.

And even if the momentum of the the cloud of rocks had not carried it part way into the opposite hemisphere, a coating of molten rocks many tens of kilometres deep would have slowly spread into the lower elevations of the opposite hemisphere.

And this is more or less exactly what the GPS map seems to be showing. And also it’s showing Australia and New Zealand as being the fastest-moving land masses, heading towards the Pacific, just as I had supposed.

It’s a hypothesis that raises more questions than it answers. Do the Moon or Mars have similar asymmetric hemispheres, with granitic rocks on one side only? They ought to if the whole of the Solar System was engulfed in a cloud of speeding rocks.

About Frank Davis

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9 Responses to Toffee Apple World

  1. Mark Jarratt, Canberra, Australia says:

    Most fascinating, especially the late heavy bombardment theories. Reminds of the Terra Australis hypothetical southern continent posited in antiquity as a counter balance to northern hemisphere continents (Australia and our NZ bros are big but not big enough). 🌏

  2. garyk30 says:

    Wonder if those vector arrows stay constant for millions of years?

    Today is the 70th anniversary of ‘the day music died’.
    On this date in 1959 Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Richie Valens died in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa.

    Back then, a Christian-male- Conservative- smoker was deemed ‘Main Stream’; nowadays, that qualifies one as being ‘Counter Culture’.

    Without, of course, the drugs and free love.

  3. Clicky says:

  4. Smoking Lamp says:

    O/T: Prohibition is raising its ugly head in Hawaii. Check out Hawaii, where smoking laws are already tough, considers ban on cigarette sales” at

  5. Philip Neal says:

    The GPS signals would seem reasonably consistent with plate tectonics if you assume that the most important movements are the expansion of the Atlantic and the northward movement of India and Australia. It is interesting that the westwards motion of North America seems to be smaller than the eastwards motion of Eurasia. I have read elsewhere that Eurasia is supposed to be more or less stationary relative to the mantle whereas North America really is moving west – hence the mountain ranges and volcanoes far inland. The GPS sensors presumably calculate the changes in postition with respect to some absolute measure of location: what is it?

  6. RdM says:

    Coincidentally, reading, I see this:

    It’s a long read and worth it to become aware of the author as well.

    In my humble opinion.

    I regret my recent idiot posts.

  7. RdM says:

    I found that from clicking on Tim Ball the author of this post on WUWT

    There are a few who examine the effects of gravity of the Sun, the Moon, and the major planets on the climate. I am one of them. I know Piers Corbyn is another, but we are in a minority because as you can see from the discussion here they can’t even agree on the major source of energy on Earth, the Sun, and most reject the effect of geothermal energy. For the best brief explanation .of why there is no general theory about climate read a chapter in Essex and McKtrick’s “Taken by Storm’.

    I hope to catch up later !

    • Frank Davis says:

      most reject the effect of geothermal energy.

      That does seem to be the case. Raymond Pierrehumbert, page 7 of Principles of Planetary Climate::

      Once a solid crust forms, the flow of heat from the interior of the Earth to the surface is sharply curtailed, because the heat diffuses very slowly through solid rock. In this situation, supply of heat from the interior becomes insignificant in comparison with the energy received from the Sun, and the Earth has settled into a state where the climate is determined by much the same processes that determine today’s climate: a competition between the rate at which energy is received from the Sun and the rate at which energy is lost to space by radiation of infrared light. This is very likely to have been the case 4.4 billion years ago, if not earlier,

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