EXPANSION -- THE EARLIER DEBATE
Carey's Earth Expansion theory received extensive attention throughout the 1960's during heated debates about the midocean ridges as a causative mechanism for the "continental drift" hypothesis. The debates were actually a continuation of one begun in 1912 after Alfred Lothar Wegener, a German meteorologist and explorer, first proposed his hypothesis that all of today's continents had once been conjoined together as a single Pangaean supercontinent surrounded by a single great ocean covering most of the planet. He called this eo-Pacific Ocean "Panthalassa."
Wegener had postulated that North and South America had been sundered from the western coast of Pangaea and then drifted westward, creating behind it the Atlantic Ocean basin that now separates the Americas from Europe and Africa. But Wegener was unable to provide a causative mechanism for separation of the continents and his detractors correctly pointed out that drifting continents could not have plowed through nor glided across the rigid Atlantic ocean floor without scouring off and smoothing the uneven surface of the ocean bottom, which was known to be uneven.
The continental drift debate heated up after discovery in the 1920's and 1930's of an oceanic ridge that ran the length of the Atlantic Ocean and another one (Carlsberg Ridge) found in the Indian Ocean. These ridges were quickly recognized as a possible mechanism for Wegener's continental drift hypothesis and this set off a worldwide scientific study of the ridges and their implications for geophysics. As a result of this research the midocean ridges are now known to extend throughout all the oceans for a distance of ~65,000 kilometers (~40,000 miles) and their role and significance as part of the mechanism causing expansion is still being revealed as further research continues. (The midocean ridges will be covered in greater detail later.)
After 50 years of heated controversy, the midocean ridges and their seafloor growth mechanism finally vindicated Wegener's continental drift theory, but creation of new oceanic seafloor in the Atlantic Ocean by "spreading ridges" also raised a crucial question about Earth's diameter that, supposedly, was answered by adoption of "subduction" and the general term of "plate tectonics," but in reality the question remains unanswered.
The 1960s debate revolved around two competing hypotheses--the assumption, still current today, that Earth's diameter was fixed at the time the planet was formed 4.5-4.6 billion years ago (the nebular hypothesis) versus Carey's 1956 hypothesis that the Earth is expanding in diameter (earth expansion). Each hypothesis had its fervent proponents, but Carey in Australia, and Bruce Heezen in America, plus many supporters in other countries, were in the minority and lost the debate for want of clear evidence of expansion or a plausible mechanism to explain the expansion.
The crucial point of the debate was that discovery of the Atlantic's spreading ridge and its role in formation of the Atlantic Ocean basin meant a substantial area of new ocean seafloor was being added to the surface area of the planet. This fact was self-evident, but to those who believed the Earth’s diameter is fixed, this meant an equal amount of older seafloor must be disappearing somewhere else on the planet in order for Earth to maintain a constant diameter.
But to Carey and his fellow expansionists, this addition of new seafloor meant that the Earth must be expanding, and subtracting an equal surface area elsewhere is completely unnecessary. But, without a mechanism or compelling evidence of expansion, the majority consensus was that there was no reason to overthrow the fundamental philosophy of the Earth that had stood for 200 years.
The debate was eventually decided in favor of the status quo, a constant-diameter Earth, when a number of sub-seafloor anomalies were discovered in the Pacific basin (Benioff zones, seismic swarms, and deep-focus earthquakes being the most persuasive) that suggested a downward sloping seafloor extending beneath the continental shields. When combined with numerous earthquakes known to occur around the Pacific perimeter (the "Ring of Fire"), Oliver and Isacks in 1967 invented the mechanism of "subduction" wherein they concluded that the frequent earthquakes were caused by constant disappearance of the ancient Pacific seafloor (Wegener's Panthalassa) as it dove into the deep ocean trenches or beneath continental shields surrounding the Pacific basin.
Subduction was an immediate success. The new concept of seafloor-spreading and subduction seemed logical to those who had been taught that Earth’s diameter is fixed. This set off the "Plate Tectonics Revolution" that quickly spread throughout the scientific world, and subduction has now acquired a status of dogma bordering on unassailable fact.
Carey's Earth Expansion Theory was just as quickly relegated to history as being unfounded because it lacked compelling evidence of expansion or an expansion mechanism.
Despite this, the idea of expansion has been kept alive by a determined handful of diehard believers (Carey, Elton, Groves, Myers, Owen, Shields, and many others in foreign countries) by patiently pointing out basic flaws in subduction philosophy and developing new evidence to prove the Earth is expanding.
The internet is now starting to play a role in the expansion debate. Several new supporters of expansion around the world have entered the expansion arena in recent years, and with the new evidence of global expansion and its mechanism presented in this website, we may be able to persuade the scientific community that expansion is a fact.
Those who believe the Earth is expanding are using new terms and have devised new ways to explain and illustrate the global expansion process, but the crucial causative mechanism of expansion has been missing until now. Discovery of the matching Asian/Australian trenches with the western coasts of North and South America, and introduction of the Accreation expansion process in this website, together with the statistical evidence of past global expansion developed by James Maxlow (see below), provides solid evidence that global expansion is a fact that must be recognized by the scientific community. For further information and evidence of global expansion, go to: http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Launchpad/8098/HomePage.htm, http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Launchpad/6520/, http://www.wincom.net/earthexp, http://www.triplehood.com, http://www.jps.net/physics/planetary.htm, and http://www.dinox.freeserve.co.uk
© 1999, St. Clair Enterprises (Page last updated 29 Nov. 1999)