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« Dirty Volcanic Eruption In Chile Can Change Climate | Main | Tonight We Visit Beautiful Alaska »



Another peculiar area is the New Madrid Fault and the lower Mississippi Valley, which is apparently two areas that were once underwater, along with the Great Plains. The standard model is that the area was once over a hotspot that bulged the lithoshpere up and when it moved (allegedly to Bermuda, IIRC) and then it collapsed and is still collapsing today. There are earthquakes along this line, even in Louisiana and the Gulf! Yet I have always had a vision of North America zipping itself apart from the Mississippi Delta all the way to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, cutting Indiana and Ohio in two... even if it takes millions of years.


What I was trying to say was: the hotspot moved to Bermuda IIRC and the lithosphere at the Mississippi collapsed.


The greatest mass extinction in the history of the Earth may not have been caused by an extraterrestrial effect, but by a runaway greenhouse gaz atmosphere leading to a toxic atmosphere.
From Science news:

"Volcanic eruptions in Siberia 251 million years ago may have started a cascade of events leading to high hydrogen sulfide levels in the oceans and atmosphere and precipitating the largest mass extinction in Earth’s history, according to a Penn State geoscientist."

I fear something similar is in store for us in the near future: the huge quantity of methane in the siberian permafrost has started to seep into the atmosphere recently according to russian climatologists.


It will take only a small increase in the temperature of the ocean to release in the atmosphere the colossal quantity of methane hydrates at the bottom of the ocean.

Elaine Meinel Supkis

True but just six months ago, they discovered a huge meteorite strike under the ice at Antarctica and figure, this might have triggered all the volcanic events.


I'm investing in meteorite futures!

Market Watcher

Reminds one that the human place in the Universe is not so grand, not so grand indeed.


Interesting article, Elaine - thank you.

Iran had the same tragic collapsed structures in the Bam 'quake a few years back. Rebar is expensive, so they don't use it. But there's no substitute, especially if you build in a geologically active region.

Elaine Meinel Supkis

You should see the amount of rebar in my own cement basement walls and floor! I am a huge, huge, huge rebar fan, and not the 3/8" stuff, I am a 3/4" and higher fan.

Not only lots of rebar, but CROSSTYING the rebar is a good thing. I saw in some of the devastation photos, rebar in the cement but it was not cross tied enough.

Elaine Meinel Supkis

For example, in the cement floor, I have not only regular rebar but we also have two layers of wire mesh and all of these are tied together so they move as a unit. After 12 years, there aren't even the slightest sign of any cracks and this, on a mountain with a lot of backload pressure from the mountainside.

I will write about the collapsed schools in China later. It is very much a subject that should concern all of us here in America.


An interesting note about crossties... right after the Loma Prieta earthquake that COLLAPSED the Cypress Street viaduct section of I-880 in Oakland CA in 1989, someone (an engineer) let it be publicly known that crossties that spiral around the column rebars, like a slinky, tend to hold up a LOT better than discrete crossties that encircle the rebars with gaps in between each crosstie and the next.

Elaine Meinel Supkis

Quite possible that is true. We can plainly see that all-cement buildings can literally disintegrate very badly. The more cement, the worse the pulverization.


That is true. Even worse is when you have more water for a set amount of cement. Sometimes the amount of water in the mix is so high, the concrete starts disintegrating the first winter, without provocation.

Elaine Meinel Supkis

The chemistry of cement is a huge topic for engineers. And one thing is certain: the more cement in a building, if it fails for any reason, this cement is an instant death warrant. For it pulverizes too easily.

Unlike, say, marble. Marble is forged in the furious fires of crushing mountains as continents collide. The compression/heat factors are gigantic.

Cement, by the way, heats up when it is 'curing'. This is why you can't safely pour cement in subzero weather unless you protect it. Or the surface loses heat too fast for the cure to set.

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John Delano

Elaine Meinel Supkis?
My doctors name is "Heibloom."
If I am trapped under an automobile and a police officer asks me my name "supkis is more differcult to say then Heibloom."

I am glad you are not my doctor, but you are amazing- fantastic and I want to attach facts to this article in my unlikely to-be-read comment form that will bring you all the why to the answer to the question of what has been going on with Planet Earth for 4.5 billion years.
First some news:
1] Those workers at
IRIS. edu , the Seismic monitor, "they guess at the deapth- 10 killometers-6 miles deep."
Dont use that incorrect fact, 'the deapth" to build any stastical evidence to prove a point and creat a "truism."
It would be like me lecturing on the human knee- and be holding the model of the knee backwards-it is devastating to your confidence.
It is the same as my two helpers I requested to go outside and measure the height of the flag pole that needed replacing. After an hour I went outside to see what was taking them so long. They were trying to climb the flagpole and measure the pole from "top-to-bottom."
I told them to simply remove the flag pole, lay it on the ground and measure it.
They replied,"You wanted the height-not the length."
To be continued.
2] Look at the oldest mountains-on planet earth.
Napier Mountains of Antartica 4.4 billion years old,the Brazilian 5 ancient chains of mountains now worn down are 2.2 to 1.75 billion years old. "All are parallel to the center of the Pacific Ocean."
3] Why? How can every scientist say no oceans existed before 500 million years ago?
Where was the water in todays oceans hiding?
the ancients scholors before the greeks knew you have only "fire, air, dirt and water" to deal with, but can water be stored as ice? Coulf it be thats where the water was hiding?
Massive ice in the Pacific "hollow" created by the moon forming collision 4.5 billion years ago.
Albert Einstein's physics explained in "Happsgood's" book that massive ice build up would eventually cause the land under this ice on the surface of the planet to move toward the Equator.
"The parallel ancient mountains", is that the answer? "The highest of continents,pushed by the ice cap movement, is that the answer?
The layout of continents, the non random layout of 6 out of seven continents being opposite oceans and not continents needs explaining. Can you continue to rap your high I>Q> around the possibility that you can help me prove a grand tenable alternative to "Plate tectonics?"

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