Earth Crust Displacement and the British Establishment

by Kyle Bennett

Back in the 1950s, an American professor called Charles Hapgood proposed that the earth’s crust slides as a whole over the fluid layers below once every 40,000 years or so, causing the position of the geographic poles to wander – i.e. polar wandering. He thought this explained the pattern of Ice Ages and many other mysteries of this strange planet’s history.

But like many good ideas, most geologists have chosen to ignore Hapgood’s theory of Earth Crust Displacement, and never address its key arguments. Instead he is ridiculed, and the idea is widely claimed to be pseudoscience, catastrophism, Atlantis-hunting, 2012 millenarianism or even occult! It has been marginalized, and therefore geologists are afraid to investigate it for fear of being ridiculed and ostracized by their colleagues. It has been successfully branded as an “alternative” subject which has no place within academia.

But where did the original idea come from? Charles Hapgood? Or Hugh Auchincloss Brown, in the 1940s? Or, as some dishonest sources claim, a phychic prophet?!

A little known fact, which has escaped the attention of probably all commentators on polar wandering, is that it was the theory was first developed by Sir John Evans (shown here on the picture to the left), the President of Britain’s Geological Society! He was also a Fellow and Treasurer of the Royal Society, the most prestigious scientific society in Britain, if not the whole world. It boasted Charles Darwin, Charles Lyell and many other greats among its fellows during Evans’ time as its Treasurer. And Evans was close friends with Lyell, who is usually considered the Father of Geology.

Way back in 1866, Evans published a paper titled “On a possible Geological Cause of Changes in the Position of the Axis of the Earth’s Crust”. This set out almost exactly the same theory as Hapgood developed almost a century later. Just like Hapgood, he believed the most recent Ice Ages in Britain and North America could be explained by crust displacements, claiming that these lands were much nearer the North Pole in those times. A colleague of Evans, called Sir Henry James, was convinced that evidence of extreme climate change found in the geological record, including fossils proving that the Arctic was once tropical, could only be explained by polar wandering, with displacements of the whole earth’s crust being the suggested cause. As James Geikie described in The Great Ice Age (1887):

“Mr Evans has ingeniously sought to account for the remains of large trees that are found in Greenland, and for the traces of glacial cold in this country [i.e. Britain], by considering whether it might not be possible that the external crust or shell of the globe had actually slid round its fluid or semi-fluid nucleus, so as to bring the same areas of the external suface under very different conditions. Thus it was suggested that lands, which at one time basked under a tropical sun, might, in the slow course of ages, be shifted to some more northern region, while countries which had for long years been sealed up in the ice of the Arctic Circle might eventually slide down into tropical latitudes.”

Evans came to this opinion after studying the work of his colleague, Sir Henry James, who had come to the conclusion that the only possible explanation for those tropical climates in the Arctic was polar wandering. As Evans explained in 1866:

“Sir Henry James….writing to the Athenseum newspaper in 1860, stated that he had long since arrived at the conclusion that there was no possible explanation of some of the geological phenomena testifying to the climate at certain spots having greatly varied at different periods, without the supposition of constant changes in the position of the axis of the earth’s rotation.”

Evans was highly convinced by this view, and went on to propose his theory of crust displacement, which would allow the parts of the earth surface to back and forth between the tropical and polar regions over the ages:

“this crust, from various causes, is liable to changes disturbing its equilibrium, it becomes apparent that such disturbances may lead, if not to a change in the position of the general axis of the globe, yet at all events to a change in the relative positions of the solid crust and the fluid nucleus, and in consequence to a change in the axis of rotation, so far as the former [the crust] is concerned.”

He proposed that rising mountain ranges may cause a gravitational imbalance in the crust, which would then act to slide the crust over the molten rock below, through the action of centrifugal force upon them. He then discussed how large ice caps, placed off-centre of the poles, would have a similar unbalancing effect. So here was Hapgood’s theory on the cause of Earth Crust Displacements, being seriously discussed a century earlier by the President of the Geological Society. And the arguments he used are still relevant today.

He even built a complicated model which he presented to the fellows of the Royal Society. It demonstrated, using weighted adjustable screws attached to a wheel – representing a section of the crust – how an imbalance in the spinning crust would cause it to rotate. The subject was then seriously discussed a decade later at a symposium of the Geological Society, on February 21st, 1877.

Hapgood and James Campbell detailed in The Path of the Pole how a crust displacement would cause mountain-building and rift valleys because of the “squashed” shape of the globe, which causes the crust to be compressed when moved towards the poles, and stretched when moved towards the equatorial bulge. As Evan’s explained in 1866, a displacement could cause elevations and depressions of the land as well as other effects:

“..slaty cleavage, dislocations, and undulations in the various strata are results which might be expected from the crust of the earth having to assume a new external form, if caused to revolve on a new axis..”

But the most insightful observation by Evans was on the climatic evidence for polar wandering. Back in the Victorian Era, more and more evidence was turning up that the Arctic was tropical not too long ago. This has been proved beyond doubt in recent years by modern explorations in this Ocean. It was tropical in the Eocene (about 50 million years ago), and was subtropical a mere 3 million years ago. But modern geologists simply refuse to even consider the possibility that the Arctic was actually near the equator in those times. And they ridicule those who consider it, calling them cranks, conspiracy theorists, etc, etc. So what did Evans say?

“Without in the slightest degree undervaluing other causes which may lead to climatal changes, I think that possibly we may have here a vera causa such as would account for extreme variations from a Tropical to an Arctic temperature at the same spot, in a simpler and more satisfactory manner than any other hypothesis.”

And it is now known – as modern exploration has discovered – that the Arctic flipped between a glacial and almost tropical climate a number of times during the Eocene, as well as later on. So what does that suggest?? Evans was even more confident that his theory was correct when discussing the remains of tropical plants found in the Arctic:

“The former existence of cold in what are now warm latitudes might, and probably did in part, arise from other causes than a change in the axis of rotation, but no other hypothesis can well account for the existence of traces of an almost tropical vegetation within the Arctic circle…..

….they seem to afford conclusive evidence of a change in the position of the pole since the period at which they grew, as such vegetation must be considered impossible in so high a latitude”.

This is the conclusion that Hapgood came to, and which I confirm in my upcoming book, Polar Wandering and the Cycle of Ages, where I look at how modern research has more than supported the hypothesis of rapid polar wandering (should be available to buy from July 2011 - please visit my blog for details). Unfortunately, most young people who are curious about the theory, and have an intuitive sense that it could be correct, start by reading about it on the internet. Here they are bombarded with disinformation and nonsense, and spend hours trying to find good information. They often then conclude that the whole subject is crazy, and lose interest. I don’t blame them. There are precious few quality, genuine sites discussing this subject.

Nearly all of the internet commentators simply recycle well-known material and don’t do their own research. This explains why the crucial role of Sir John Evans has been forgotten, even by diehard pole shift anoraks. The foresight of Evans is truly amazing, and helps put into a proper historical context the oft-quoted remark of Albert Einstein regarding Hapgood’s theory of Earth Crust Displacement:

“I find your arguments very impressive and have the impression that your hypothesis is correct. One can hardly doubt that significant shifts of the crust of the earth have taken place repeatedly and within a short time.”

But in fact we must go further back in time, and give recognition to another great man whose contribution has been forgotten. He was a Dane called Frederik Alexander Gottlieb Klee. He published an astonishing book, Le Déluge, in 1847, where he claimed the last ice age was ended by a “déplacement au l’axe du globe”. Science has advanced greatly over the years, and has vindicated Klee, providing solid evidence to support his claims. Despite this, it is still ignored. But logic and reason are timeless, and cannot be ignored indefinitely. So how long can the scientific establishment ignore it for? Another 100 years? Probably not.

The key issue is this. Although the current knowledge of polar wandering is still fragmentary, the core theory and its empirical proof is very, very strong. So if there were truly a level playing field in the battle of ideas, with academics freely debating the different theories without prejudice or fear of losing their jobs or their funding; if the media gave a fair hearing to it, without marginalizing and ridiculing its proponents; in this situation polar wandering would wipe the floor with all the alternative theories on the cause of climatic change over of the ages. It would quickly become the orthodoxy, the dominant theory, the new “paradigm”. It is only a matter of time before geologists and their paymasters choose to openly and freely investigate it.

Thanks for reading

Copyright © Kyle Bennett