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situational awareness

Measurements in time and space, and in ancient scripture

Measurements in time and space, and in ancient scripture

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

Above is a remarkable podcast interview between Moe Bedard of Gnostic Warrior Radio and Crichton E. M. Miller, the author of The Golden Thread of Time: A Quest for the Truth and Hidden Knowledge of the Ancients.

Mr. Miller argues that the symbol of the Celtic Cross, which is a cross superimposed upon a circular nimbus, actually represents a measuring device related to the sextant, octant, or quadrant (all of which are named for the fraction of a full circle which they represent), but using a full circle rather than a portion of a circle. He argues that this device would enable a user to make accurate determinations regarding where they are located on our planet (longitude and latitude), as well as where the planet is on its annual journey around the sun.

Mr. Miller describes some of the details of the way he believes such a device could have been constructed, as well as some of the analysis and experimentation which led up to his discovery of this idea, beginning at around the 8-minute mark of this YouTube video and continuing to the end. 

I have not personally analyzed all the arguments, or the possibility that the cross with a circle circumscribed might represent an actual ancient navigational device, although I have analyzed a large amount of evidence which suggests that the various crosses of antiquity (some of which predate the historical rise of Christianity, and others of which were present in the Americas prior to the first conventionally-recognized contact with Europeans) have esoteric connections to the annual "cross" of the year formed by the solstice-line and equinox-line on a zodiac wheel, as well as to the spiritual concept of combined spiritual component and material component present in each incarnate man and woman, expressed in ancient Egypt by the concept of the Djed-column "cast down" and the Djed-column "raised up" (among other expressions the Egyptians used to articulate the same idea): see for instance the discussion in this previous post, as well as some of the other posts linked in that discussion.

However, just because the ancient symbol of the cross can be shown to connect the annual "cross of the year" to an understanding of the universe as containing both spiritual and material aspects does not automatically mean that the Celtic Cross itself could not also have links to an ancient navigational device resembling the one proposed by Mr. Miller. On the contrary, Mr. Miller's analysis clearly incorporates the centrality of the "cross of the year" and the zodiac wheel that encircles the year, and his recognition of their connection to the Celtic Cross certainly seems to strengthen his arguments.

The parts of the interview that I found most fascinating were Mr. Miller's arguments about some of the Bible passages which might refer to the importance of being able to "measure rightly," which he argues may have been talking directly to the closely-guarded skill of being able to measure rightly in time and in space, but also by extension the importance of being able to "measure rightly" in terms of right behavior and morality -- and that the scriptures might be seen as arguing that the two concepts are related, or even identified as two sides of the same idea.

At about the 40-minute mark in the above podcast, Mr. Miller explains that it is the axial tilt of the earth (the fact that earth's poles are tilted in relationship to the ecliptic path, at an angle sometimes referred to as the "obliquity of the ecliptic," which is currently an angle very close to 23.4 degrees) which creates the annual cross of solstices and equinoxes in the first place, which creates the four seasons of the year, and which enables us to determine our location on the annual orbital journey of the earth. 

He then makes the astonishing suggestion that the fourth verse of the Twenty-Third Psalm in the Hebrew Scriptures ("the Old Testament") -- that is to say, Psalm 23:4 or the Psalm whose number corresponds to the obliquity of the ecliptic -- contains a clear reference to a device of measuring! That famous verse in that beloved Psalm, of course, is: 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Crichton Miller then goes on to explain that: 

Now what a lot of people don't realize is a rod means a ruler: it's a measuring-stick. It comes from reed, because a reed is a segmented piece of grass which the Egyptians used. So reed became a rod, and a rod is not used to beat children: it's used to measure with, if you go back to the, you know, 'Spare the rod and spoil the child.' What they were actually saying was, 'Fail to teach the child how to measure the consequences of their actions, and how time works, and you'll spoil the child.'  

Now this is a truly amazing connection, and quite a "coincidence" for a verse that is found in the fourth sentence of the Twenty-Third Psalm -- the only place in the Psalms which corresponds to the number of the obliquity of the ecliptic. 

What is even more incredible is the fact that, after listening to this podcast for the first time and remarking at what an amazing connection Mr. Miller had just articulated, I returned home to find a message from Pat B., whose insightful questions and comments have inspired other blog posts in the past about subjects in the Old Testament scriptures, noting that he had recently been thinking about how important earth's 23.4-degree axial tilt is in creating the solstice and equinox alignments of the year, and then pointing out the significance of Leviticus 23:4 in light of that importance!

Leviticus 23:4 declares:

These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.

Obviously, the "seasons" are here mentioned in a verse which is numbered with the angle of the very obliquity which produces the seasons! Not only that, but the holy feasts and convocations throughout the year -- both in the times in which the Old Testament was anciently used, and even to the modern day -- can be indisputably demonstrated to be linked to the days of the year marked out by the solsticesequinoxescross-quarter days, and other specific annual points of significance which all depend to some degree upon that axial tilt.

Now, it would seem that there should be no way that Pat B. would have known that I had downloaded that podcast, nor of knowing that I had listened to it on the same day that he sent this observation about Leviticus 23:4, or that I had noted as most striking the above discussion of Psalms 23:4 by Crichton Miller in that podcast. But his observation about Leviticus 23:4 certainly provides powerful additional evidence that Psalm 23:4's connection to the angle of the axial tilt of the earth is not "mere coincidence."

Note that in Psalm 23:4, the "valley of the shadow of death" can be very convincingly argued to refer to the lower half of the zodiac wheel, which was anciently depicted in the world's celestial "star myths" as Hell, Sheol, Tartarus, the Land of Bondage, the Underworld, etc. -- just as the upper half of the zodiac wheel was variously depicted as Heaven, the Garden of Eden (Paradise), the Promised Land, the City upon the Hill, the City whose streets are paved with gold, Mount Zion, Mount Olympus, etc.  For more discussion of that metaphorical connection, see this previous post on Hellthis previous post on Heaven, and the extended discussion in the recent series of videos entitled "Star Myths and the Shamanic Worldview" (especially the discussions found in Part  2 and Part 5).

The fact that the "lower half of the year" is caused by the 23.4-degree axial tilt of the earth, and that it appears in Psalm 23 precisely at the fourth verse as "the valley of the shadow of death" is still further confirmation of Mr. Miller's analysis that this verse may encode ancient understanding of the importance of that axial tilt. If so, then the "comfort" provided by the rod and the staff, which Mr. Miller argues may have been referring to ancient devices for measuring the year and the seasons, would be the comfort of being able to know that the sun would soon turn back towards the "upper half of the wheel" again (or of knowing that it had already done so), and that spring and life would return again in their due time.

Mr. Miller's additional reference to the verse commonly referred to as teaching "spare the rod and spoil the child," and his assertion that this verse is misinterpreted when it is taken literally (as it so often is) to mean that physical punishment of children is necessary for keeping them from being "spoiled," is also most notable. He asserts that the verse has nothing to do with physically punishing children with a rod, but rather that it is admonishing the passing along to the upcoming generations the knowledge of how to rightly measure time, space, and the seasons -- and that such "right measuring" would then extend to the teaching of the child the knowledge of "how to measure the consequences" of his or her actions.

The actual verse in question comes from Proverbs chapter 13, and reads in part: "He that spareth his rod hateth his son" (Proverbs 13:24), and while the second half of the verse goes on to say that "he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes," it is comforting to consider the possibility that the verse has nothing to do with physically punishing a child but rather teaching him or her to "measure rightly" -- including passing along the ancient art of knowing where we are on our beautiful planet and where we are in the annual orbit as delineated by the signs and seasons of the year (including the solstices, equinoxes, and other major stations on the circuit).

All of this listening to the podcast and considering these admonitions made me think of the teaching of my own father, who recently celebrated a birthday (birthdays being another example of those annual markers which we recognize each year, and which relate to the motions and measurements of the earth and its progress through space and time), and who certainly taught me while growing up to find and appreciate the constellations that are hanging in the heavens to act as our guides in measuring our place in our annual circuit, and which should also be our familiar companions throughout life. Thanks Dad and Happy Birthday!

These are all amazing and important concepts to consider deeply, for all of us (and to pass on to future generations).

Planetary proprioception

Yesterday's post examined the fascinating subject of "proprioception," a word apparently introduced in 1906 by English neurophysiologist and Nobel laureate Charles Scott Sherrington to describe the awareness of the body's position based on the feedback mechanisms of the body, and discussed some of the implications raised by a thoughtful Radiolab program which delved into the interface between brain and body (or perhaps mind and body).

That Radiolab program was all about the sense of location conveyed by the body to the brain, and issues arising from hitches or disruptions in this sense of location and body-awareness.  After continuing to think about this concept of "proprioception," it occurs to me that it might be valuable to expand the examination a little bit and think about the idea of our awareness not simply of the location and relative motion of our own body but our awareness of our position on the earth and our awareness of the motion of the earth.

In other words, how aware are we of the giant spinning ball upon which our point of consciousness is located (in its attendant body)?  How aware are we of the direction it is spinning and the way that this motion causes the objects that we see "out the window" (the sun, moon, stars, and planets, in other words) to travel past as we spin around?  How aware are we of our location on that ball and the orientation of the ball relative to the direction we are facing at any given moment?  Do different people have different levels of this awareness?  (It seems clear that they do).  Is there an inborn or innate ability of some people to perceive these things more readily than others, or is such awareness more learned than innate?   

These all seem like interesting questions that are something of an extension of the concept of bodily proprioception elucidated by Charles Sherrington and other researchers.

We might call such awareness in different individuals "planetary proprioception."

To help focus on your own "planetary proprioception" at any given moment, it is probably best to start outdoors somewhere.  Then, you can start to imagine the earth that you are standing or sitting upon turning with you on it towards the east (knowing which way is east would certainly be part of this concept of planetary proprioception, as would knowing which way is north and west and south).  So far, that's probably pretty easy and constitutes a level of proprioception that most people have most of the time (to greater or lesser degrees at different parts of the day and to greater and lesser degrees depending on whether they are in a very familiar or a very unfamiliar location).

But to really get a good feeling for the planet that we are standing or sitting upon, it is necessary to have a bit of an idea of where we are in terms of latitude north or south of the equator, and how our location impacts our mental image of the planet that is turning in space (with us on it).  

For instance, if we are located on the equator or just five or ten degrees of latitude from the equator, then our minds can think of the fact that as we orbit the sun we are standing up almost on the same plane that the earth is orbiting upon, and thus the path that the sun takes as we spin towards the east will be nearly vertical as we spin towards it in the morning and as the western horizon rises up to obscure it in the evening.   If we are located instead near the north pole or the south pole, or just five or ten degrees of latitude from it, then our "proprioception" of the planet beneath us should be very different: we then should be able to envision ourselves spinning along a little circle that sort of "skull-caps" the globe, and if we can envision that then it will help us to understand why the apparent path of the sun through the sky looks the way it does (arcing very close to the southern horizon for a viewer at the north pole, for instance).

Much of the world's population lives in the northern hemisphere in the latitudes between the tropics and the extreme arctic, and so the sense of the position on the globe must be adjusted to an awareness that is in between the above two descriptions.  One "mental image" to help those located in the temperate latitudes of the northern hemisphere is to imagine what the earth's turning would be like if you were standing right on the equator, and what the sun, moon, stars and planets would look like, arcing across the sky, as the earth turned with you on it towards the east.  Keeping this image going in your mind, imagine turning towards the north pole and literally reaching out with both arms to grasp the north pole (if there really were a pole there) and pulling it towards you, as the earth continues to spin, until you are standing on the spinning globe about halfway between the equator and the pole.  Now keep imagining the sun, moon, stars and planets arcing through the sky, but realize that their paths will have been altered by the shift in your latitude.

Additionally, to try to get a feel for what the globe is doing with you on it, the video above might be helpful.  Although it is discussing the impact of the tragic Japan earthquake of March 11, 2011 upon the earth's axis and rotational speed, it also contains a very helpful animation of the rotating earth (especially between 0:25 and 0:45 in the video).  If you watch the spinning earth -- tilted on its axis -- and try to see the spot where you are located on the globe and focus on that spot as it spins, it can help you to imagine what the view of the heavens from that spot should look like, and thus help you to engender a greater level of this planetary proprioception.  

For instance, if you are located somewhere on North America, you can closely watch as North America spins around, focusing on one point on North America rather than just watching the whole globe spinning.  You might even "pause" the video at about 0:28 and then think carefully about what a person on a specific point on North America should see the sun do each day, based on the angle of the axis and the rotation of the earth.  Then, press "play" again and keep thinking about it.

Another helpful tool to help develop increased planetary proprioception are the diagrams and discussion in previous blog posts about the Polynesian Voyaging Society (especially this post).   The incredible navigation accomplished by the wayfinders of the Polynesian Voyaging Society is done without modern instrumentation -- meaning that it is done by maintaining constant and very accurate "planet proprioception," based upon knowledge of the angle that the sun and stars should be rising out of the ocean and the point at which they should be rising out of the ocean based on where the ship and the wayfinder are located at any given moment.

The PVS has an excellent discussion of the motions of the heavens here, complete with circles that show the paths traced out by the stars each night, and the angles those circles would have at various latitudes where the PVS voyages.  If you can go outside and envision these circles in the sky (you can do it during the day or the night, although it might actually be easier to do at night), then this can aid you in envisioning the turning planet beneath your feet.  

If you think of the circle centered around Polaris (for those in the northern hemisphere) and then think of the arc traced out by stars further and further from Polaris (such as the arc traced out by the stars of the Scorpion, far to the south), then you can envision your latitude on the rotating, tilted planet and envision in your mind the reason that the circles are tilted the way they are tilted for an observer where you are.  From there, you can envision in your mind the rest of the spherical globe that you are standing on as it rotates towards the east.  Bingo!  Enhanced planetary proprioception!

Once you start thinking this way, you can practice focusing on your planetary proprioception at various times as you go about your daily (and nightly) activities.  It may help to enhance your awareness of the globe you are spinning upon, and eventually it may even expand your consciousness.  Perhaps analysts will do some study in the future to see how much expanded planetary proprioception can be achieved using various techniques, and whether there are any positive benefits to expanding one's awareness of the position and motion of the planet.

It may be advisable to exercise caution if you focus on the motion of the planet too intently while you are driving or operating heavy machinery. 

For more discussion of the impact of the Japan earthquake on the earth's rotational speed etc., see this previous post.

Titanic, premonitions, and the nature of consciousness

On this day one hundred years ago -- April 10, 1912 -- the RMS Titanic loaded the majority of her passengers and crew at Southampton, England, and departed on her maiden voyage.

Sailing from Southampton at 12 noon on Wednesday the 10th, the ship would then dock at Cherbourg, France (arriving four hours later that same Wednesday) where more passengers would board, and then left Cherbourg that evening for Cork Harbour in southern Ireland, arriving late in the morning of Thursday the 11th. There, some passengers who were only going as far as Queenstown (as the city was renamed in 1850 following a visit from Queen Victoria) departed the ship, about 130 other passengers and crew members boarded, and the ship departed on its ill-fated crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.

As Titanic steamed out of Southampton on the 10th, an incident that at least one spectator found extremely ominous took place. As described in the outstanding 1998 book Unsinkable: The Full Story of RMS Titanic by Daniel Allen Butler:
The immense bulk of the liner displaced an incredible volume of water in the narrow channel, creating a powerful suction in her wake. As she approached the entrance to the channel, the Titanic drew abreast of the small American liner New York, which was moored side by side to the White Star's Oceanic. Both ships had been immobilized by the coal strike, and neither had steam up. As the Titanic passed, the suction of her wake drew the two smaller vessels away from the dock where they were tied up. The strain on the six lines mooring the New York to the Oceanic grew too great, and with a series of loud cracks they parted in rapid succession as the New York was pulled helplessly toward the Titanic. For a moment a nasty collision seemed inevitable as the stern of the New York swung to within three or four feet of the bigger liner's hull. Quick thinking on the part of Captain Gale of the tug Vulcan and prompt action on the Titanic's bridge by Captain Smith averted an accident. 41.
Mr. Butler recounts that one passenger, Renee Harris, the wife of an American theater producer, "suddenly found a stranger standing at her side, asking, 'Do you love life?'" When she answered in the affirmative, he told her, "That was a bad omen. Get off this ship at Cherbourg, if we get that far. That's what I'm going to do." According to Mrs. Harris, she laughed it off at the time, "but later she would recall that she never saw the man on board again" (Butler 42).

This was by no means the only such premonition of disaster recorded prior to the voyage of the doomed liner. While skeptics might dismiss this recollection of Mrs. Harris as something that only took on significance after the disaster, there are examples of foreboding letters that were posted to relatives prior to the ship's sailing which are more difficult to explain away.

For example, Major Archibald Butt, military aide to President William Howard Taft and also a personal friend of Theodore Roosevelt, wrote a last letter to his sister-in-law before the Titanic sailed, in which he said: "If the old ship goes down, you'll find my affairs in shipshape condition" (Butler 31).

There is also the letter sent by Chief Officer Wilde (the second-in-command of the ship after Captain E. J. Smith) to his sister which was posted at Queenstown, which said: "I still don't like this ship . . . I have a queer feeling about it" (Butler 52).

Even more remarkable is the story of a young fireman (one of the over three hundred crew members assigned to stoke or otherwise tend to the mighty engines of the ship) named John Coffey, who was seized by a sense of foreboding and hid aboard one of the tenders that pulled away from Titanic with the last sacks of mail in order to skip out on the voyage (reported in several sources including Butler 51, although some have argued that this story might be fabricated, saying his name was not listed on the ship's rosters, although it is a fact that many crew particularly those shoveling coal were not permanent White Star Lines employees but were hired by recruiters who went out looked for workers for the voyage only days beforehand, and it is also a fact that several passengers and crew for reasons of their own decided to list themselves under fictitious names).

Another remarkable story that appears to indicate accurate premonitions comes from a family traveling in Second Class, Benjamin and Esther Hart, along with their seven-year-old daughter Eva. Apparently, Mrs. Hart was besieged by a sense of impending disaster and was certain that it would strike at night, so she stayed up each night reading or knitting, and slept during the day (Butler 56).

Do these premonitions of impending catastrophe indicate that the human mind is perhaps in possession of senses beyond what can possibly described as strictly "natural" (in the sense of the natural or material world)? What physical forces in the strictly materialistic world of atoms and molecules can possibly explain the perception of an impending collision with an iceberg that still lay thousands of miles away, separated by the breadth of the vast Atlantic?

If we think about these reports from Titanic (and there are other documented instances of similar premonitions surrounding other disasters), and if we entertain at all the possibility that not all of them were simple "coincidence," then it leads to all kinds of questions about the nature of our consciousness. Is it possible that our consciousness is not simply a physical product of chemical and electrical activity in the cells of an organ we call the brain? If our consciousness is simply a byproduct of a jumble of electrical and chemical impulses emitted by a physical mass of nerves and brain cells, then how does one explain all of the premonitions described above surrounding the maiden voyage of Titanic?

This historical evidence would seem to be additional evidence to other evidence we have examined previously (see here and here, for instance) that consciousness is somehow greater than the physical matter that supposedly generates it (in the eyes of the strict materialist).

Perhaps, as some have speculated -- including American philosopher William James (1842 - 1910) and brother of Henry James (1843 - 1916) -- the brain transmits consciousness rather than generating it, in much the same way that a lens transmits or focuses light without actually acting as the source of the light, or the way an organ pipe transmits or focuses sound without actually generating or originating the sound. This fascinating subject is treated at greater length in a fascinating examination entitled "Does Consciousness Depend on the Brain?" by Chris Carter.

If what we might call the "lens suggestion" of William James is correct (or at least closer to the truth than the idea that consciousness is strictly a byproduct of the physical activity of the brain), then animals might "transmit" or "focus" similar extra-material perceptions, perhaps sometimes being more attuned, sometimes less attuned, to the same extra-material awareness that some humans can also perceive.

On the night that Titanic struck the iceberg (the collision took place at 11:40 pm on Sunday night, April 14, or within a minute or two after), Mr. Butler reports that passengers in Third Class were engaged in "another of the seemingly endless dances" when, "In the middle of the merriment, a large rat suddenly appeared out of nowhere, eliciting screams of terror, some real, some feigned, from the young women. A handful of the men dashed after the offending rodent, and the dance was under way again" (65).

The behavior of rats deserting a sinking ship is of course so legendary as to have passed into proverbial idiom, but how can one explain unease among rodents hours before a ship hits an iceberg? Again, this incident is perhaps only coincidental, taking on perceived significance only in hindsight of the disaster, and if it were the only one that was reported by the survivors of the tragedy that night it could and should be dismissed as such, but in the presence of so many other data points, it is at least prudent to consider the possibility that something other than coincidence might have been going on prior to that fateful collision.

Here is a link to another website examining premonitions of disaster prior to the Titanic, in this case mostly dealing with fictional accounts published years earlier that seemed to share numerous details with the actual voyage, in some cases remarkably many details.

Here is an even more interesting article, published in Atlantis Rising in 1999, dealing with the subject of premonitions, and detailing accounts of premonitions from other disasters as well as those surrounding the Titanic's sinking. That article also contains a helpful paragraph discussing the difference between simple fear or dread and a premonition, which says:

For most people, the difference between a fear and a premonition is that fears are vague and not unusual. Premonitions, on the other hand, seem to come spontaneously, and often with great force and clarity. In fact, for most people, the problem is not recognizing a premonition, but acting upon it.
This is an important distinction. As someone who has made hundreds of skydives and participated in dozens of military tactical airborne operations (often at night with heavy gear and sometimes in atrocious weather conditions), I can report that I have had several occasions where I experienced what the paragraph above would describe as "vague and not unusual" feelings of general fear and unease prior to some jumps, but nothing ever came of them. They were not at all specific, spontaneous, or full of "great clarity." They were just ordinary fear, not premonitions (if true premonitions even actually exist).

Perhaps some of the incidents surrounding the voyage of Titanic also fall into this category, but the number and urgency of some of the feelings of awareness of impending disaster in that incident and in others argues that we should not be too quick to dismiss the possibility that true premonitions may have been involved in some cases. Before asserting that all the examples above are only "fear" and not premonitions, note that I myself never wrote any letters of the sort mentioned above prior to any airborne operations that turned out to be uneventful, and note also that Chief Officer Wilde was a very experienced officer with many ocean crossings under his belt (and no indication that he wrote his sister with ominous letters prior to other crossings).

If true premonitions were involved in some cases, it also seems that the existence of premonitions raises other important questions about the nature of consciousness, and that the existence of premonitions is very difficult to explain with a strictly materialistic view of the universe.

For more musings on the significance of the tragic voyage of Titanic, be sure to also visit the recently-published essay, "Titanic and the Fall of Civilizations."

Note: for my most recent thoughts on the Titanic tragedy, see "Titanic conspiracy, due diligence, natural law and mind control," 04/13/2014.  

Titanic and the Fall of Civilizations

Just published on Amazon: "Titanic and the Fall of Civilizations," an essay on the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster, exploring the concept of "situational awareness" and the parallels for civilization as we know it.

The concept of situational awareness is one introduced by the military, particularly the US Army, during the past fifteen years as an invaluable tool for tactical planning and analysis. Situational awareness refers to having a true picture in one's mind which corresponds to the actual reality of the enemy situation, the terrain situation, and the capability of the friendly forces. Due to factors of human organizations and human psychology which famous military tactician Carl von Clausewitz called "the fog of war," the mental picture can diverge quite drastically from reality in all three of these areas, leading to lack of situational awareness and often to disaster.

This relatively new military term is invaluable for the analysis of the Titanic disaster, because it is quite clear that loss of situational awareness -- and the failure to correct the mental picture in spite of six wireless messages received on the fateful day of April 14, 1912 -- led to the collision with the iceberg and the grievous loss of life (over 1,500 lives lost, with only 700 survivors).

After an analysis of the use of situational awareness as a tool for examining the Titanic catastrophe, the essay explores evidence that we may have formed a similar incorrect mental model of our own civilization's history, one which has led to a mistaken belief that forward progress is our natural birthright, and which ignores salient evidence (or pushes it to the margins) that could help us avoid a catastrophe of similar magnitude.


This is an essay, not a full book. It contains about 5,000 words. Hope you find it valuable -- if so, please consider telling others with a short review.


Note: for my most recent thoughts on the Titanic tragedy, see "Titanic conspiracy, due diligence, natural law and mind control," 04/13/2014.  

Understanding earthquakes

Earlier today (at 0908 UTC on March 14), a powerful 6.8 earthquake shook Japan, just three days after the one-year anniversary of the catastrophic earthquake of March 11 last year.

Thankfully, no injuries or damage were reported from this earthquake, which was centered about 120 miles off the coast of the north island of Japan, or from the 6.1 earthquake which followed it and which was off the coast of Chiba near Tokyo (another 5.7 aftershock followed this one as well).

Earlier this year -- on the first of January in fact -- Japan experienced another powerful earthquake, measuring 7.0. These earthquakes -- especially these recent quakes so close to the anniversary of the 2011 tragedy -- have many people around the world wondering what's going on?

Although conventional tectonic theory purports to tell us the general cause of earthquakes (drifting tectonic plates, which tectonic theory says are sometimes subducting under other plates, sometimes colliding with other plates, and sometimes causing sliding and slippage along the surface where two plates meet), there is extensive evidence from around the globe which calls the tectonic theory into question. There is some evidence that earthquakes do not fit the tectonic explanation either (we have pointed out, for example, the fact that many earthquakes take place far from plate boundaries).

The hydroplate theory of Dr. Walt Brown explains hundreds of pieces of geological evidence from around the world better than competing explanations explain them. Because of this fact, Dr. Brown's explanation for the cause of earthquakes should be carefully studied and understood. The best way to do that is to visit his chapter on "The Origins of Ocean Trenches, Earthquakes, and the Ring of Fire," available in its entirety online.

In order to understand the origins of earthquakes according to the hydroplate theory, one must realize that all earthquakes can in a very real sense be considered "aftershocks" of a catastrophic event caused by the physics surrounding a worldwide flood.

During that event, the high-velocity escape of massive amounts of water from deep under the earth's crust eroded tons of sediments as it flooded the earth. During the period that the floodwaters covered the earth, these sediments were sorted into the strata that are found around the world today. The removal of this weight along the line of the rupture where the water escaped, however, started in motion a chain of events that literally continues to this day.

It did not happen immediately, but the basement rock beneath the rupture eventually began to arch upwards, and as it did so, the immense frictional forces involved melted rock deep below it, according to the hydroplate theory. Great quantities of rock were melted. Simultaneously, the plates that hold today's continents (bounded by the sheer edges that mark the rift caused by the escaping water, which are today's continental shelves) began to slide away from this upward bulging line, which began in the Atlantic along the geological feature that remains today as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The removal of this additional weight as the continents began to slide away from the bulge (still lubricated below by some of the subterranean water, hence the term "hydroplates") caused the bulge to spring up even further, accompanied by even more frictional melting and heat.

This upward bulge, of course, did not open up a big "air pocket" in the center of the earth -- instead, the mass below rushed upwards to compensate, with the effect that on the opposite side of the globe, the rock was "sucked downwards" towards the Atlantic, accompanied by massive melting and heat there as well. As rock melted below the surface that would become the floor of the Pacific ocean, the entire area was pulled by gravity towards the earth's center (and towards the Atlantic on the opposite side of the globe).

As Dr. Brown explains:
During the flood phase, frictional heating in the inner earth began melting and contracting solid rock, as explained in Magma Production and Movement on page 151. Because of this contraction, the crust on the Pacific side of the earth (hereafter called the Pacific plate ) fractured at many places within the boundaries of the ring of fire and settled (downward, toward the Atlantic) by at least 10 miles!13 That drop steepened the downhill slope of the sliding hydroplates and allowed them to slide into the Pacific region without major obstructions. Downward buckling and deep faulting formed trenches. Soon, huge volumes of magma began erupting onto the days-old Pacific floor. During the next few years, frictional heating melted much of the inner earth. All this melting lubricated the shifts inside the earth and allowed gravitational settling, which released much more heat, increased earth’s spin rate, and converted the inner earth to today’s inner and outer core—monumental changes. The thick layer of magma that spilled onto the top of the sunken Pacific plate provided most of the heat that drove the ice age and accounts for almost 40,000 volcanoes. Even today, magma breaks out and escapes upward, heating part of the ocean and creating “El Niño” weather conditions.
The creation of an enormous basin on the other side of the earth from the upward bulge of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge only served to increase the slide of the continents towards it and away from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge on both sides. The edges of this violently collapsed section of the globe would become the well-known "Ring of Fire" along which about 90% of today's earthquakes still take place.

The enormous production of magma that took place during these events -- from the movement of so much rock deep within the earth, as well as from the sliding of these plates -- is extremely important for the explanation of earthquakes to this day. As Dr. Brown explains, when rock melts to magma, it occupies more volume than the original rock when it is at the earth's surface (in the form of lava, for example) and at depths of up to about 220 miles beneath the surface. Below that depth, however, melted rock in the form of magma actually occupies less volume than the original rock. At depths of around 220 miles, the magma occupies about the same volume as the original rock.

This fact helps explains the cause of earthquakes, as well as the depths at which earthquakes originate. Magma formed at depths less than about 220 miles tends to migrate towards the surface (which explains all the volcanoes around the ring of fire, as well as all the volcanic flows on the floor of the Pacific and in the Pacific Northwest, and the numerous volcanic archipelagos and seamounts found in the middle of the Pacific Ocean). Magma below that depth tends to seep downwards, towards the earth's core, and is responsible for the formation of earth's liquid outer core.

Magma formed at depths of about 220 miles, where it occupies about the same volume as the original rock, does not have as strong a tendency to migrate. The migration of magma is what creates violent shifts inside the earth, which are felt as earthquakes.

Dr. Brown explains that the many faults that were created by the violent forces described above (as well as by the forces generated when the sliding hydroplates finally ground to a halt) continue to experience heating and melting today. He explains how this can cause a shallow earthquake (at depths less than 220 miles):
As discussed on page 151, frictional heating along the fault melts the grain-sized minerals with the lowest melting temperatures, causing them to expand, because they were above the crossover depth. (Remember: Tiny movements at the extreme pressures deep in the earth create great heat and melting.) Minerals with higher melting temperatures remained solid, maybe for decades, thereby encasing and trapping the tiny droplets of melted rock.

As more frictional heat “soaked” very slowly into the rock on both sides of the fault, the previously encased droplets of melt began to leak. Paths opened up for the expanding melt to escape upward buoyantly, allowing the highly compressed solid “scaffolding” (surrounding the focus and composed of the minerals with the highest melting temperatures) to become unstable and begin to collapse. Frictional heating instantly became extreme, so all nearby minerals suddenly melted. The result: a powerful earthquake.

The terrible earthquake that struck Japan on March 11, 2011 was measured to have its origin at a point twenty miles below the ocean floor, thus qualifying as a shallow earthquake and demonstrating that a "shallow" earthquake can be incredibly powerful.

Similarly, the earthquakes that took place today appear to have been shallow earthquakes. Here is a USGS report for the 6.8 quake (listed here as a 6.9 in the initial report), showing the depth of the epicenter to have been 16.5 miles.

The trigger for a deep earthquake is similar, but the magma displaces downwards towards earth's core instead of upwards, as Dr. Brown goes on to explain:

Similar events occur below the crossover depth, except there the melted minerals “shrink”—become denser—and slowly drain down into the outer core. Near the crossover depth, melted rock has about the same density as the surrounding rock, so that melt has little tendency to rise or sink. For that reason, earthquakes are rare near the crossover depth. This explains the bimodal distribution of earthquakes with depth and locates the crossover depth at about 220 miles down, as shown in Figure 87.
The link at the end of that paragraph shows a chart of earthquakes measuring 5.0 or greater, and there is a strong "barbell" distribution of depths, with the center of one distribution at a depth of 22 miles (shallow earthquakes), and the center of the second distribution at 370 miles (deep earthquakes). There is a noticeable trough in the distribution at the "crossover depth" of 220 miles.

This scientific data strongly argues that the hydroplate explanation for the cause of earthquakes is correct. It is difficult to see how the tectonic theory -- which argues that earthquakes are caused by the ongoing drifting of plates atop a generally liquid mantle -- can explain this bimodal distribution data.

The hydroplate theory argues that the mantle is generally solid (although it contains trapped magma), while the tectonic theory argues that the mantle is generally liquid. The data described in this post appears to support the hydroplate theory on this assertion as well.

Finally, and rather ominously, Dr. Brown makes the statement that, "Drainage into the outer core continues today, releases gigantic amounts of heat throughout the mantle and core,28 and will eventually produce many powerful earthquakes. When this will happen is uncertain.29 "

In other words, the heat released by previous earthquakes can begin the process of "heat sink" described in the passage quoted above (on shallow earthquakes, although applicable equally well to deep earthquakes). This could theoretically mean that over time, powerful earthquakes could generate a "chain reaction" effect, initiating the process of triggering more earthquakes, which in turn lend their heat to new buildups that will develop into earthquakes themselves.

Perhaps this has already been going on for thousands of years, and we don't have to be concerned that it is getting worse. Let's hope that this is the case.