The End Of The World Part 1 – Polar Shift, An Earth Shattering Experience
Since the beginning of recorded history, doomsday prophets have come up with many end-of-the-world scenarios. Earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and pestilence have been some of the popular choices of these soothsayers; but there is one mega disaster that is a little more interesting – a polar shift. Before I go into what a polar shift is, I have to differentiate between a polar shift and a magnetic polar shift, which pseudoscientists have conveniently hashed together to make it sound more plausible and more scientific.
A Basic Description of Magnetic Polar Shift/Reversals
A magnetic polar shift is a geological phenomenon that does happen. Using technology developed to detect magnetic fields emanating from submarines during World War II; geologists adapted it and measured the magnetic field created by magnetised rock on the sea floor. What they discovered was that the strength of the magnetic field alternated between high and low values in long, narrow parallel bands, called magnetic anomalies. These magnetic anomalies were almost perfectly symmetrical with respect to the crest of the mid ocean ridge. So, if you had to create an image of the anomalies, it would look very much like the barcode we find on everyday items. What the anomalies showed was that the Earth’s magnetic field reversed from time to time. In order to understand how this happens, we have to know how a rock is magnetised. When iron rich lavas cool, the rock becomes magnetised and it acquires the magnetic polarity that exists at the time the lava cooled. This phenomenon is called thermoremanent magnetization. By measuring the thermoremanent magnetization of the lava layers, geologists were able to build up a detailed history of magnetic reversals which goes back millions of years. The detection of these anomalies was also confirmation of seafloor spreading and led to the plate tectonics theory; which allowed geologists to measure plate motions far back into geologic time.
This is a very basic explanation, for detailed information about magnetic polar reversals; please visit Chris Rowan’s interesting geology blog, Highly Allochthonous.
A Basic Description of a Doomsday Polar Shift.
This hypothesis is based on the ideas of Charles Hapgood. Hapgood, a history professor, formulated his Polar Shift Theory after a class project in which he and his students looked at possible locations for the lost city of Atlantis. In order to find the location of Atlantis, Hapgood needed to find an explanation for how massive Earth changes could occur; such as, how Antarctica – his prime location for Atlantis – could once have been located much further north than its present location. In his 1958 book, The Earth’s Shifting Crust, Hapgood theorized that the Earth’s crust….
“……may be displaced at times, moving over the softer inner body, much as the skin of an orange, were it loose, might shift over the inner part of the orange all in one piece”.
He called this movement of the outer crust, earth-crust displacement. Hapgood’s theory would have faded into obscurity if were not for one small detail; the foreword to Hapgood’s book, The Earth’s Shifting Crust, was written by none other than Albert Einstein, who essentially supported some of Hapgood’s ideas. A review of the correspondence between Einstein and Charles Hapgood can be viewed here. While Einstein supported some of Hapgood’s ideas, there is no doubt that had Einstein lived to see the development of the plate tectonics theory in the 1960’s, he would have supported the overwhelming evidence it presented.
However, conspiracy theorists and pseudoscientists don’t bother with details like that; all they see is a famous physicists name attached to an outdated theory and use it as evidence that it must be true. There is absolutely no geological evidence whatsoever for Hapgood’s theory of Earth- Crust Displacement. It has never happened.
The Modern Versions.
Over time, doomsday proponents and armchair pseudoscientists have combined magnetic polar reversals with Hapgood’s polar shift hypothesis and come up with something that sounds reasonably plausible. The modern versions go something like this……..
A rare planetary alignment will occur when Venus transits the sun in 2012.(This is indeed a rare alignment, it has happened before but nothing catastrophic happened here on Earth as a result of this alignment – which the prophets of doom fail to tell you). This alignment will affect the Earth’s frequency/vibration/axis, and will cause the Earth to stop spinning. This, in turn, will cause the poles to “flip”, with catastrophic consequences for humanity; there will be earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. The North Pole will suddenly physically migrate to where the South Pole is currently situated, and vice versa.
Another version of the Polar Shift theory tells us that if all the ice were to melt at one of the Poles – for some unknown reason – that this would unbalance the Earth and cause the outer crust to spin on top of the liquid inner layer.
And yet another version speaks of how a mysterious twelfth planet will suddenly make its presence known by increasing Earth’s geological activity and noticeably slowing down the Earth’s rotation; until it finally stops spinning altogether; then the Earth’s poles will align with those of the twelfth planet, causing cataclysmic destruction of major cities and life as we know it.
Now, since the Mayan calendar ends on the date 21 December 2012, plus a couple of mediums have predicted a polar shift will happen – oh, and don’t forget, that at least one of Nostradamus’ quatrains will have been shoehorned to predict a polar shift , it must mean that all the above is true.
A Google search on polar shift theory will give you over 250 000 hits. Read through the nonsense on some of the websites it won’t take you long to realise that the people who buy into polar shift theory are a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic. It’s important to read these sites with a critical mind and a good dose of scepticism.
Polar Shift Theory is nonsense. There is no geological evidence for it; and while magnetic polar reversals are a genuine phenomenon, there is no evidence of magnetic reversals ever having had any affect on life on Earth.
So, go ahead and start planning that End of the World Party for 21 December 2012.