Friday, March 11, 2011
Crust Displacement: Solid Science, or Bad Sci-Fi Movie Plot-Point?
How many of you watched the motion picture 2012, released in 2009 and starring John Cusack and a cast of (several famous) others? My paw is raised. How many of you paid at the box office to see it? Fewer hands or paws, I see. How many of you enjoyed it? Still fewer hands or paws. How many of you thought it was a really good movie? I thought so.
There is a scene in the movie in which John Cusack's character, Jackson Curtis, matter-of-factly mentions the theory of crust displacement originated by Charles H. Hapgood, who was a professor at Keene State College (New Hampshire) when he first presented the theory in his 1958 book, Earth's Shifting Crust. The book was later retitled The Path of the Pole and remains in print. If you can find the Souvenir Press 2001 first British edition (part of the Mysteries of the Universe series) (ISBN 9780285635968 or 0285635964) with forewords by Albert Einstein and several notable geologists, you should read what they have to say, as well as Professor Hapgood's thesis, of course.
We have a book trailer, which gives a glimpse of what to expect.
Naturally, the scientific orthodoxy summarily dismissed Hapgood's arguments because they seemed too far-fetched. A few decades earlier, the same reaction greeted geologist Alfred Wegener's theory of continental drift, which he first proposed in 1915, and which was ridiculed by establishment science until it became widely accepted during the 1960s. As he stated in the book's foreword, Albert Einstein considered the scientific data sufficiently meritorious to take seriously, and so he encouraged further investigations into the concept of crust displacement. But establishment geology was unimpressed even by Einstein, so Hapgood's work languished for decades until being reprinted again in the late 1990s.
It was interesting to see a dialogue reference to Hapgood in a blockbuster movie. Unfortunately, since that movie was 2012, popular perceptions of Hapgood's theory may have once again been reduced to scoffing and snickering. Real scientists are not afraid to consider solid scientific data and evaluate it open-mindedly and objectively.
Why would a feline care about all this geological stuff, you may wonder? Hey, I live on this planet, just like you, and I'm interested in what could happen (or perhaps has already happened repeatedly in earth's 4.54 billion year history). Whether it has occurred or might occur (again), the book is an intriguing read for anyone, humans or felines. Even slobberdogs would be interested, but you'd better get them the CliffsNotes version.
Check out The Path of the Pole if you have an Evergreen Indiana library card. My library has the 2001 Souvenir Press edition, as well as the Adventures Unlimited Press 1999 edition.
Perhaps Chicken Little Was Right,
Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Earthmover News Beat
P.S. Watch this great live performance of I Feel the Earth Move, by Carol King (the first single from her 1971 Tapestry album). What a songwriting genius, and a fantastic musician and performer, too.