Royal Greenwich Observatory

Posted: August 10, 2011 in SciFi

 Dr. Mike Hailey stared intently at the computer screen in front of him. For months he had been calculating and testing hypotheses based on a huge amount of data.

Thousands of equations and what-if exercises had been performed to calculate the possible gravitational effect of the imbalance of the earth’s ice caps which had now reached substantial proportions. Added to that, a previously unknown comet, which had been discovered 9 months ago by a Russian amateur astronomer, Petrovic, after whom the comet was named, was approaching a lot closer to earth’s path around the sun than had been previously calculated.

The effects of the comet on earth’s weather patterns were already being felt in especially the Northern Hemisphere. Hailey was interested in the erratic path of the comet on the one hand but what concerned him more was the effect the comet was having on the rotation of the planet, given the wobbling effect the ice caps were having.

Data on tidal movements, the status and movements of the earth’s tectonic plates, the negative gravity created by the rapid spinning of the earth around its axis as well as its orbit around the sun had been fed into countless geophysical computer simulations.

As weather systems developed around the globe, the data were added, computed and interpreted. Earthquakes, large and small were recorded. Satellites linked with computers on terra firma constantly captured and then monitored a myriad of data concerning inter alia, the earth’s precessional cycle; the effects of pollution and global warming on the polar caps; ice melt on Greenland and its effects on sea currents and unseasonal temperature shifts in the sea; droughts, floods, volcanic action and magnetic disturbances.

Every nation in the world, with access to the appropriate resources, was involved. Information was being shared in accordance with the Greenwich Accord of 2009, and the Internet hummed with e-mail and countless electronic files on the subject.

The latest technological miracle, the Moon Observatory launched and established on the moon’s surface in 2008/9, tirelessly monitored the planet’s wobble as well as thousands of other characteristics including the ozone layer, global warming and climactic change and size of the polar caps. This information was interpreted by the staff aboard the International Space Station, a monstrous satellite that circled earth every 90 minutes and could now be seen as a large object in the night sky with the naked eye. They verified and passed on the information to the earth based scientists.

The results were not encouraging. As Dr Hailey had surmised for some time now, the latest data were confirming his worst fears. The evidence was streaming in. He grimly reminded himself that this was the one time where he had hoped his predictions were incorrect.

His presentation to the Royal Society, London six months ago had been met with incredulity and outrage. The predictions of a catastrophe the likes which the modern world couldn’t even begin to imagine, was not the type of news scientists, or the media for that matter were prepared to consider unless backed by the establishment.

“Humbug,” the establishment had said. “We’ve heard it all before. It’s an old theory, which has never been validated. Plato even spoke about it and what did Plato know about science!”  Hailey’s quotes from Einstein did not assist either.

Physicist Albert Einstein had commented that:

“In a polar region there is continual deposition of ice, which is not symmetrically distributed about the pole. The earth’s rotation acts on these asymmetrically deposited masses, and produces centrifugal momentum that is transmitted to the rigid crust of the earth. The constantly increasing centrifugal momentum produced in this way will, when it has reached a certain point, produce a movement of the earth’s crust over the rest of the earth’s body …[1]

The research findings and theories of scientists from a variety of disciplines and persuasions who had been interpreting fossils, the geophysical histories of ice deposits in the Arctic zones, stones and rock, magma-magnetism, anthropology, biological evolution of earth’s species; the writings of philosophers;  the predictions of prophets; the preaching of shamans and evangelists and the dire warnings of prophets of doom have been unable to agree about the theory known as ‘earth-crust displacement’.

First propounded in modern times by the late Professor Charles Hapgood, the theory suggests that the earth’s crust or lithosphere (only an average of 48 kilometres thick) could be displaced as a whole, provided certain conditions were present.

This geological phenomenon suggests that the earths’ crust slips as it were, over its inner core, displacing whole continents by thousands of kilometres very rapidly. Massive aftershocks may continue for thousands of years creating havoc upon nature and all living beings.

In Dr Hailey’s opinion, this theory explains the evidence found on Antarctica of fossilised wood and giant tree ferns and tropical flora as well as the finds of frozen mammoths with undigested food in their stomachs in the Siberian waste-lands.

Whilst Hailey accepted the explanation that hits of massive meteorites were a distinct possibility as it was something which had occurred many times in the history of Planet Earth, earth crust displacement would in his opinion explain how whole continents had shifted within very short timeframes. Whether they were triggered by meteorites was not the issue.

In 1990 scientists[2] discovered fossils from a deciduous southern beech (Nothofagus beardmorensis) forest dating from 2 million to 3 million years ago. Nothing strange as such, except that they discovered this at 1830 metres above sea level and only 400 kilometres from the South Pole. This meant that regions of the Antarctic continent as the modern world knows it, once enjoyed a temperate climate, something which is only possible if the land mass, now buried under billions of tons of ice roughly 3,2 kilometres thick, had during some distant era in the past been situated closer to the equator. Still the subject of much debate, one view that is held is that life on the land-mass had come to an end, very rapidly and very unexpectedly possibly the result of a meteor impact in the southern Pacific such as the Eltanin asteroid roughly 2.2 million years ago.

Hailey did not have much support for his theory. He was one of the few who had done research into the possibility and had calculated the probability of the earth’s crust slipping in the next millennium. However, the results of his research were so astonishing that he had decided to evacuate his family to an area, which by his calculations would be reasonably safe.

Friends and family thought that he had lost his marbles.

The traditions, legends and sheer mysticism surrounding comets as harbingers of apocalypse, bad luck and various other human misfortunes, had millions more in doubt than Hailey’s theories. The Petrovic Comet had caused enough uncertainty already and some people living close to known earthquake prone areas did not wait. They had sold their homes and moved to where they believed it would be safer. Legends of an approaching apocalypse abounded and were strengthened by the Mayan calendar predictions for 2012AD.

Others scoffed; many prayed.

The churches and the popular media were having a field day. Forecasts of apocalypse and doomsday were heard daily. Fundamentalists interpreted and twisted religious writings which forecast apocalypse with great fervour to suit their own particular agendas, while Nostradamus’ predictions[3] became as commonly discussed as the sexual scandals of politicians and film stars.

Computers had confirmed for a number of years, prior to Hailey’s research that Earth was heading for a field reversal of its magnetic polarity, something which studies have proved had happened more than 170 times during the past 80 million years.

The palaeomagnetic readings of the magnetic alignment of molecules in rock formations were conclusive. This was however considered by the establishment as a normal occurrence and was not due for a couple of thousand years yet. No-one could however predict the next magnetic polar shift with any certainty. The last magnetic reversal had taken place about 750 000 years ago but these shifts took place at irregular intervals which varied from 37 million to 20 000 years.

According to some geologists and scientists, the planet is in the middle of an 11,500 year cycle when a new ice age is expected to come back. The cycle is characterised by a magnetic Polar reversal, super-volcanic activities, massive earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes. Hailey’s research had highlighted the fact that recent earthquakes recorded to be the strongest in the last two hundred years are typical signals; the rapid increase of under-water volcanic activity and earthquakes have furthermore increased by 88% over the last three years. Continental earthquakes have gone up by 62% during the same time frame. The rate of these increases in the geo-timeframe of the blink of an eye was staggering.

The controversial conclusion Mike Hailey had come to was that the earth’s crust was expected to slip by up to 2000 kilometres within the very near future and that this could coincide with the comet reaching its closest distance from earth before swinging away towards the sun where it would be catapulted back into its elliptical path for the next seven to eight decades.

The Mayan calendar and other myths had predicted a major cataclysm for the year 2012 AD but that was still 2 years in the future.

Mythology, legend and religious texts are replete with references to world-wide floods, the sky appearing to fall, huge upheavals of land masses, mountains rising from the ground, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes as well as the effects these had on life on the planet.

Vanished cultures such as the Olmecas, Incas, Aztecs and the Mayans are well known for their references to cataclysmic events depicting them as the gods’ way of punishing mankind for its sins.

The legend of the lost continent of Atlantis referred to by Plato as ‘larger than Libya (the name for Northern Africa then) and Asia combined’ and which is considered by some commentators to have sunk beneath the sea and by others to be a reference to the continent buried under the ice cap of the South Pole, namely the Antarctic is also well-known but as yet unproved.

What is significant is the degree to which these myths correspond, concerning both the sequences and timing of these cataclysms as well as to their nature. The ‘Noah’-figure as well as the floods of Judaeo-Christian religions corresponds greatly to the legend of Utnapishtim of ancient pre-Mesopotamian times. Similarly and far removed from the influences of Europe and the Middle-East, the Aztecs reflected upon the adventures of one Coxcoxtli and his wife Xochiquetzal, who escaped the effects of a massive flood in a huge boat, and which ultimately grounded on a high mountain peak. In the same vein, the Popol Vuh, sacred works of the Mayan people of Mexico refers to a great flood brought about by the Heart of Heaven. A Great Father and the Great Mother survived and repopulated the world.

The theme repeats itself in North American, Greek, Egyptian, Indian, Chinese, Chewong (Malaysian), Thai and Aboriginal legend. Over 500 such legends concerning apocalyptic floods are spread around the world in different cultures and religions. It is a common theme.

Nobody had assessed the possible effects of the displacement of the lithosphere mainly because very few people took Hailey’s predictions or Hapgood’s theory seriously. The variables were too great and uncertain they said. The predictive value of the data was less than 5% at a statistical probability of .003, or three thousand parts of one percent, about as probable as the Chinese handing over the burgeoning economy of China to the USA.


[1] Einstein’s Foreword to ‘Earth’s Shifting Crust: A Key to Some Basic Problems of Earth Science’, C Hapgood. Pantheon Books 1958

[2] R. S. Hill, D. M. Harwood and P. N. Webb: Research Paper: ‘Nothofagus beardmorensis (Nothofagaceae), A new species based on leaves from the Pliocene Sirius Group, Transantarctic Mountains, Antarctica,’ Elsevier Science B.V.

[3] Michel de Nostredame aka Nostradamus actually never predicted the end of the world. Indeed it would seem that his success rate in predicting the future does not warrant the hype people attach to his predictions.

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