Episode 21: The Geographic Pole Shift, Part 1
Recap: Some people claim that Eath's geographic poles did, are, or will be moving around dramatically. Here's a look at some of their mechanisms and evidence.
Puzzler: How would we know if Earth has already experienced a geographic pole shift if you assume that the doom and gloom scenarios wouldn't happen? How could you tell?
Solution to Episode 19's Puzzler: There are actually several different ways to answer this.
Chew's method was actually one I had never heard of, and it's called the Apollo 14 SEQ Bay Pendulum, which I'll link to in the shownotes. The basic idea is that the length of time it takes a pendulum to swing is exactly proportional to its length and the gravity field it's in (at least for well-behaved ones). This was actually something Galileo figured out. The time is approximately equal to 2π*SQRT(L/g). So, by measuring the time it takes a pendulum to swing on the moon, and knowing the length of the string, you can easily derive the lunar gravity field.
Leonard e-mailed in to suggest two additional methods. One was using the video of the hammer and feather being dropped, where the time it takes is directly related to the acceleration which is defined as the surface gravity.
One of my favorite methods is using the Apollo 16 "Grand Prix" maneuver where the astronauts drove the lunar rover very quickly, kicking up dust. Just like with Leonard's hammer and feather idea, you can measure the time it takes for the dust to fall and easily derive the gravity.
Q&A: Nathan P. from Rhode Island asked: "My question is involving planet x not being detected. In your episode you say something along the lines of unless it has a cloak to disguise it from telescopes and from gravity its not there. What your view on the accusations saying since nibiru is a brown dwarf it dosent give off much light therefore cant be deteced."
I responded to Nathan's e-mail but thought it would make a good Q&A question as we get back to 2012 stuff, and I will discuss this more in a future episode this year on The Fake Story of Planet X.
What I meant in that episode was that any planet or star interacts with light and gravity in some way. Even dark matter at least interacts gravitationally (we just can't see it because it doesn't interact with light, hence "dark"). So even if we couldn't visually see the object - be it a large rogue moon, a planet, or even a star - it would STILL exert a gravitational influence on other solar system objects.
My point was that even with the technology over 150 years ago, astronomers saw that Uranus was not where it was supposed to be due to the gravity of an undiscovered object, and they were able to calculate where that object should be in the sky to account for the difference, and then they found it (Neptune) there. Uranus is 20x farther from the Sun than we are, and Neptune is 30x farther.
But, there are absolutely no perturbations seen in any planets, asteroids, nor comets within the orbit of Neptune that cannot be explained by the objects we already know about. Again - even if you can't see it visually - it MUST still interact gravitationally if it's anywhere nearby. That's what I meant by a cloak that could shield it from gravity.
As for not seeing a brown dwarf star, this is simply wrong. Planets don't "give off" any light to speak of, they reflect light. A brown dwarf star gives off A LOT of light, just not a lot of visible light. Almost all of the light is radiated in the infrared. If there were a brown dwarf star in the outer solar system (within the orbit of Neptune), much less the inner solar system, it would be the absolute brightest infrared source in the sky except the sun. And we have had all-sky infrared surveys for about 20-30 years.
Try out CosmoQuest's Moon Mappers!
- Sources for Audio Clips and Quotes
- Relevant Posts on my "Exposing PseudoAstronomy" Blog
Description: The basic idea of a pole shift is not as basic as one may think. Earth actually has two different kinds of poles - a spin axis or set of geographic poles, and a set of magnetic poles. Almost every time you hear people talk about a "pole shift" happening in 2012, they do not specify, so you have to ask for clarity or figure it out through context, but they are two very different things.
In this particular episode in what will be part 1 of a two-part series, I'm going to talk about the geographic or spin axis changing. This episode is going to use Brent Miller's claims as its focal point, and I'm going to examine some of the evidence that people - or he especially - list for a geographic pole shift or flip.
In the next episode, I'll get more into what it would take to shift Earth's spin axis suddenly, and how we know we haven't undergone a recent one.
Background on Brent Miller and the Horizon Project
As with the last few episodes where I've talked about the specific claims of specific people, I'm going to give you a bit of background into Brent Miller and his project called, "The Horizon Project."
Miller describes himself as an innovator and expert in e-commerce systems, advanced programming, database systems, and business methodology, and he's a person who has personally - and I quote - "amassed over thirty United States patents for advancements in human interface recognition software, artificial intelligence applications, and data transmission protocols and analysis." You'll note in there that physics, geology, and astronomy are not present.
Several years ago, Miller founded The Horizon Project - which you can find at thehorizonproject.com - in order to bring together what he claims is an unprecedented research team of astrophysicists, hard physicists, quantum physicists, geologists, linguists, archaeologists, and others to address the 2012 geographic pole shift problem.
But, if you go to his website, there are only three names listed. Brent Miller, Brooks Agnew, and Michael Tsarion. You may remember me talking about Brooks Agnew before -- both in Episode 4 on Comet Elenin where he claimed we didn't know its orbit, and then extensively in my Episode 8 on the Hollow Earth. Tsarion is someone I'm not as familiar with, but the Horizon Project website describes him as a "researcher with over 20 years of expertise in the study of lost civilizations and technologies." He also studies the consequences to civilization of ET involvement and he claims that his work clarifies the disinformation about Atlantis and the lost continents of pre-history, showing that the orchestrated chaos of today's world has roots in ancient times. Uh huh ...
In fact, if you search on their website, the lengthy lists of scientists that Miller talks about in interviews simply is not there. If you go to their Additional Resources section, they claim you can click a link to "a partial list of several contributors and research sources which are listed within the trailing credits of [their] DVD." You click it and you find Einstein, Heisenberg, Dirac, Hawking, Brian Greene, Michio Kaku, and others who I can guarantee you had no contribution to their work, not the least reason because many of them were dead before Miller was born.
They also have on this list people like Graham Hancock who is one of the big ancient aliens people, Mitch Battros who's a big "Earth Changes" person, John Hogue who claims to be an interpreter of Nostradamus and psychic in his own right who was ripped to shreds on Penn & Teller's show, and The Holy Bible.
Besides these, on The Horizon Project website, they have a, "The Horizon Project has been featured on many media networks and news articles," where the very first one listed is the Sci-Fi channel. They also list Amazon.com.
Their site also hasn't been updated - that I can tell - since Miller's last Coast to Coast AM interview in January 2009.
I'm not going through these to try to give you some sort of ad hominem or poisoning the well attack -- my point is that in every interview, Brent Miller claims that they have a huge team of scientists working with them and that the scientific evidence for their work is so overwhelming that they've turned to prophecy to see what's there now.
One of the first rules of skepticism is to go to the primary sources of information and see what they say. If you claim one thing but the slightest bit of digging shows something else, your skepti-sense should be tingling.
With that said, let's look at the evidence.
Miller's Basic Premises
The basic premise that Brent Miller argues for is that Earth's crust is going to shift as opposed to the entire planet. Miller lays out several basic premises which he says all show that a geographic pole shift will happen.
The first is that the Milky Way's Black Hole Creates a "Dark Rift," which is to say, he thinks that the Milky Way's black hole spins out gravity waves that create a "dark rift" along the center plane of the galaxy.
The second is that Miller claims the main property of this is an intense gravitational force that (a) will cause Earth's poles to shift, and (b) contains a lot of "junk" material (my words, not his) such as asteroids that could impact Earth.
Miller's next premise is Earth's continents are kept "afloat" by Earth spinning on its axis: He points out that because Earth spins on its axis, the equatorial diameter is 42 km greater than the polar diameter, and that this is proof that the continents are above sea level because they are "pushed out" by Earth spinning. If Earth stopped spinning or if it started to spin around a different central axis, then the continents as we know them would sink because there is no longer the centrifugal force keeping them "out."
Finally, he claims this has happened before and there's proof its happening now: He goes through many apparent points of evidence to show that this has happened before (around 11,000 B.C. and something like it in 705 B.C.).
So now, let's dissect the evidence.
Milky Way, Black Holes, and "Dark Rift"
[Coast to Coast AM Clip, January 29, 2007, Hour 3, starting 14:13] and [Coast to Coast AM Clip, November 10, 2008, Hour 2, starting 13:08]
This is not correct. There is no "dark rift." If the Milky Way's central supermassive black hole is throwing off gravitational waves, at the location we are, they will bend and flex us by less than the width of an atom.
Miller also claims that his "astrophysicists" have now verified we're moving into the galactic plane (which we're not) and his "quantum mechanics guys" have shown what the effects of the gravity waves would be. Because I want to really harp on this, here is the quote: [Coast to Coast AM Clip, January 11, 2009, Hour 4, starting 31:15].
This really shows that the people who work with him (a) don't know what they're doing, (b) don't read the scientific literature, (c) don't contribute to the scientific literature, and (d) that he doesn't know what someone in the fields he's quoting should be doing. None of this has to do with quantum mechanics. Mapping out the galaxy is for astronomy. Finding "when" we'll cross the actual galactic plane is for an astrophysicist. Finding the supermassive black hole in the galaxy's center is for astronomy. Gravity waves are for general relativity (the opposite, pretty much, of quantum mechanics). And gravitational effects are Newtonian mechanics (classical mechanics). So really, this is an example of throwing out very important-sounding terminology and having no idea of what they actually mean, besides the actual information being wrong.
In sum, this will not be, "just like going into the black hole," as Miller claims. And, as a consequence, his "theory" - his entire mechanism of how and why our geographic poles will shift - now has absolutely no basis in reality.
Earth's Continents Staying Afloat
[Coast to Coast AM clip, November 10, 2008, Hour 2, starting 8:30]
It's difficult here to not resort to ad hominem attacks because this simply has almost no basis in reality. Pretty much the only thing correct in this entire argument is Earth's equatorial diameter is 42.6 km greater than its polar diameter. And it is thought that this is due to Earth's rotation, that there will be a bulge around the middle that's the effect of billions of years of rotation.
But other than that, nothing he says about this is correct. The continents don't "float" such that if Earth's spin were altered or stopped they'd suddenly sink (he quotes timescales of several hours or days for an entire landmass to sink). Centrifugal force does not keep them above water, though based on estimates I've seen, if Earth were to stop rotating then we could see about 1 km of change in ocean level depending upon where you are in the world, but with the equator being what will see more land and the poles being underwater.
Rather than centripetal force, though, the continents are less dense than the rock underneath. The average density of continental crust is 2.7 g/cm^3. The average density of ocean crust is 3.0 g/cm^3. That's why at zones where oceanic meets continental crust, the oceanic crust always goes underneath the continental crust. In addition, the continents have a "root" that goes between 20-70 km down, making an indentation into the underlying lithosphere.
What that all boils down to is that the continents are not tenuously kept above water just because Earth rotates. Claims that they are are incorrect and have no basis in what is the accepted structure of Earth as shown through models and evidence (such as gravity mapping and mapping of the interior structure via earthquakes).
So at this point I've now shown that his basic mechanism for a pole shift is wrong, and that his claim of what would happen as a consequence wouldn't actually happen. But there's more.
Examining His Historic Evidence
There are several pieces of historic evidence that Miller points to, the first being continental drift, which he does not understand.
Miller claims that we've all been taught that continental drift (the continents moving around on the lithosphere) takes millions of years. He says this is wrong, that it happens very quickly. The evidence he points to is that the crust in the Atlantic Ocean is about the same age – has the same amount of dead animals and mud and silt – as the crust in the Pacific Ocean. Therefore, they must be about the same age, indicating that the Americas separated from Eurasia and Africa very quickly because of a previous pole shift.
However, this is based on a misunderstanding of plate tectonics – specifically subduction. While the Atlantic Ocean is growing and the mid-Atlantic Rift is creating new crust, the Pacific Ocean is also creating new crust, but it is sinking once it spreads to the continental plates.
Next is Mayan alleged-prophecy and legends of Atlantis
Miller claims the Mayans foresaw this event. I have already addressed that in my interview with a mayan scholar, Dr. Normark, in Episode 14.
But Atlantis is a new one. But it is a tired one – Atlantis was introduced by Plato in the same sense that the Empire was introduced by George Lucas in Star Wars: "A long time ago on an island far, far away." Miller uses the argument ad populum logical fallacy to say that because everyone around the world has this legend of an advanced civilization that had flying machines that all died out, they must have existed. And his twist is that they must have died out because of the pole shift causing their own island continent to sink into the ocean because Earth's spin no longer kept it afloat. I don't want to get too much more into Atlantis here since it's not the focus, and so I will refer you to the shownotes where I link to an 8-minute SGU 5x5 podcast episode.
Another piece of historic evidence is the Mississippi River Delta.
[Coast to Coast AM clip, November 10, 2008, Hour 2, starting 8:30]
Miller claims that the age of the Mississippi River can be estimated based upon the amount of sediments in the river delta in the Gulf of Mexico. I did a cursory internet search on this and couldn't actually find much other than various young-Earth creationism claims, so for argument's sake, let's say it's correct.
He claims the estimates are to around 11,000 B.C. He says that the river must have formed when the pole shift happened and it shifted the way water flows. Well, how about a different explanation: The last ice age ended 10,0000-15,000 years ago, and retreating glaciers carved out the landscape to form the river. That's the scientific consensus, in general, that the current Mississippi River owes its course to the last ice age, and it has nothing to do with a pole shift.
A fourth piece of alleged evidence for past pole shifts is an event in 705 B.C.
Miller claims that in 705 B.C., something happened to cause the Earth to stop spinning, rotate backwards for 10 hrs, then spin back the right way again but slightly slower such that the year had 365 days instead of 360 days. He claims as evidence for this that all 15 "major" calendar systems at the time were all revised "within just 2-5 years" of the event and that a few civilizations recorded it, such as the Chinese astronomers recording that the "sun set twice in one day" on that day.
However, other than quotes from Miller, I could find absolutely no evidence to support this claim. And while I'm not saying that absence of evidence is evidence of absense, one should always be cautious when you cannot independently verify a claim. I would think something that significant would be out there, and so this also gets back to the point I made earlier that his people don't publish any of their "findings" … they just sell them in DVDs for $24.95.
I should also mention that the mechanism he thinks made this happen is a Planet X. But for reasons that I discuss later on "What Would it Take to Shift the Poles?" a "Planet X" passing could not do this. In addition, the claim is inconsistent. He states that so many people recorded that this event happened, and that many of them were excellent astronomers. But, they must have been incompetent astronomers if they didn't notice a giant planet passing very close to Earth (since all ancient civilizations knew about Venus, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn which are much farther away).
Examining Present-Day "Evidence"
Just as there are many apparent lines of "evidence" of previous pole shifts that I've now at least cast serious doubt on if not outright debunked, there's the question of his present-day "evidence." However, what this "evidence" amounts to is an attempt to anomaly hunt and claim whatever anomalies one finds (or makes up) are proof of their hypothesis:
First is the Chandler Wobble.
Miller claims that the Chandler Wobble stopped and then became erratic - which he pronounces "erotic" at least once - back in 1998 when the solar system first entered his "dark rift."
The Chandler Wobble is actually a kinda neat phenomenon and is a genuine pole shift, and I didn't know about it until I looked into this claim. The wobble is where the rotation axis changes by up to about 0.7 arcseconds (where 1° = 60 arcmin and 1 arcmin = 60 arcsec) which translates to a physical movement of about 15 meters. The wobble has a period of about 433 days and is caused by Earth not being a perfect sphere, but rather more pear-shaped (since, besides the equatorial bulge discussed above, the north and south hemispheres are slightly asymmetric).
Miller claims that the Chandler Wobble was very steady until we entered his dark rift, and then it stopped, and now it's erratic due to the gravity in the rift. However, he is wrong. There's simply no other way to put it – he's wrong. The wobble has varied since it was discovered in the late 1800s, and it has been measured since then and you can download the data for yourself through the link I'll provide in the shownotes. I graphed the x vs. y position of it since 1980 (again in the shownotes) and while it has varied in size, at no point during the last 30 years has it stopped, nor is it now behaving erratically. The only explanation I have for his claim is that either (a) he is completely ignorant of the actual data (perhaps one of his "quantum mechanics" told him wrong), or (b) he's outright lying.
Miller claims that a step of the pole shift is earthquakes.
This is a claim that you will very often hear related to not just 2012 doomsday stuff but doomsday scenarios in general: We're seeing more earthquakes. Sometimes the claim will be qualified with "deadly" or "costly" earthquakes. The latter is true, the former is sort of not.
We are experiencing more deadly and costly earthquakes as time goes on for the very simple fact that there are more people in more places and things cost more. Very simple, very factual.
And it is true that we are seeing more earthquakes, but the number of LARGE earthquakes has not changed significantly since the 1970s, much less the last few years. We did have an apparent lull in large quakes around 1990, but if you look before and since, the number of 7.5 and above hasn't changed. But, the number of significantly smaller earthquakes HAS. It's our ability to measure and locate the smaller ones that is increasing and hence they can be recorded.
This is all according to the USGS (again, linked in the shownotes), which is what the source is that Miller claims for his data. Even the "Above Top Secret" website which is a huge source for conspiracy claims has posts from people claiming they could not duplicate Miller's numbers.
Summing It Up
There are a few more claims that Miller points to, such as the ambiguous "weird weather" that all Earth changes people point to, but I'm not really going to get into that because it's non-specific.
Overall, the point that I want to leave you with in this episode is that it doesn't matter who makes the claims - whether it's Brent Miller's stuff as I've focused on in this episode, or someone else. You need to look at the claims themselves, and first verify if they're real. Half of Miller's claims are not real. For the ones that are, you need to then look to see if there are other explanations, like the earthquake data, or Miller's misunderstanding of plate tectonics.
Look to the actual hard, scientific claims. Someone could always say - and I expect one or two to be saying right now, yelling into their MP3 player - that none of that matters, what about the archaeological or historical or legends or mythological lines of quote-unquote "evidence" that Miller or others bring up? I didn't address these as much - that's true. But my point is, let's look at the ones I did:
- He's wrong about where we are in the galaxy,
- he's wrong about black holes and gravitational waves,
- he's wrong about what the "dark rift" is,
- he's wrong about Earth's continents staying afloat,
- he doesn't understand continental drift,
- there is a more plausible explanation for the Mississippi River delta,
- the 705 B.C. event did not happen,
- he was lying or making stuff up about the Chandler Wobble,
- and he doesn't understand how we detect earthquakes or was window-shopping much the same way Gregg Braden was with Earth's magnetic field data.
After all that, why should I pay any attention to what he claims about Atlantis or ancient legends? And to broaden this, the same thing applies to conspiracy theories like the Apollo Moon Hoax - if I've shown 20 of the most often cited reasons that it was hoaxed are wrong, and you have a 21st reason, why do you hang your hat on that? I've done my job.
With that, this episode is already running long, so next time I'll be talking about what it would take for Earth to undergo a geographic pole shift and how we know that we're not already in one.
Provide Your Comments:
Comments to date: 1. Page 1 of 1. Average Rating:
James Edgar Melville, SK, Canada
11:37am on Thursday, February 2nd, 2012
One other thing not mentioned in describing what keeps continents "afloat" is there is no rotational mechanism to keep Antarctica "up there." Certainly can't be centrifugal (which is imaginary, anyway).