Hydroplate Theory v. unreal science
Yesterday (22 January 2019), after CNAV published the first installment in the Tony Reed v. Creationism series, it received a call from Walter T. Brown. Brown has a simple message for Tony Reed: he challenges him to a written debate.
Brown on Reed v. Hydroplate Theory
Brown told CNAV that Tony Reed seems to understand the Hydroplate Theory better than do most critics. However, says Brown, Reed makes several mistakes that show deep flaws in that understanding. A written debate between the two would give Brown the opportunity to correct this.
As before: the Tony Reed video is available here.
By playing it, anyone who reads this article can verify the transcript for himself.
In this article CNAV will not try to embed the video at each timestamp. Instead CNAV will list the timestamp, and the viewer can then cue the video for himself.
Where did the crack start?
t = 08:45
Inevitable or not, the theory asserts that a rupture did occur. Brown points out that the Mid-Oceanic Ridges form one long, continuous chain around the world, which intersects in the Indian Ocean. Measuring out the distance, he has deduced that this rupture would have begun [cue a Mercator projection in bas-relief with a bright red X over the Bering Straits] with a fissure somewhere near the Bering Strait off the coast of Alaska, and then took the path of least resistance around the world, and then completely encircling it within two hours.
This is puzzling, considering that, as shown earlier, the greatest amount of force on the worldwide granite plate would have been at the equator. Additionally, the path of least resistance in this scenario would necessarily be where the inertia and pressure to rupture would be the greatest–which would be along the equator. There is no explanation why the rupture would have followed such a convoluted path.
Stop the tape1
Walt Brown “measured out the distance” by working backwards from one of the two places where the Mid-Oceanic Ridges intersect. That intersection lies in the Indian Ocean.
The stress would not be much greater at the equator, and in fact the stress would tend to distribute evenly. But once a crack formed, the stresses would concentrate at the ends of the crack. This would cause the crack to grow ever faster.
Brown takes this opportunity to address a persistent error that geology professors still teach. They teach that the Mid-Oceanic Ridges represent a spreading of matter. That, they say, is why the continental plates continue to drift. But if the sea floor were spreading at the Ridges, then at the intersection point, we should see a hole in the ocean floor. We do not. In fact, the deepest place in the world, the Challenger Depth, lies near the Marianas Trench, not the Pacific-Indian Ridge. The Challenger Depth is a seven-mile-deep depression in the Pacific basin.
The equator moved!
Furthermore, here Tony Reed again assumes that conditions on the Earth today have not changed substantially in “millions of years.” In this case, he asserts that the equator has never moved. But it did. The collision of the European, Asian, and Indian plates created the Himalayan mountain chain. The settling of that chain raised up the Tibetan Plateau. Between them, these two features were so heavy they threw the Earth off-balance. So the Earth rolled to where one can now see it.2
Why is this relevant? Because the region where the Bering Strait now lies, was subtropical before the Flood—not arctic as it is today. Therefore the stress would have been greater then.
A heat problem?
t = 9:27
The pathway notwithstanding, this crack allowed the trapped supercritical water to escape in a massive fountain following behind the fissure breach. Being supercritical, the water would have been expelled at an extreme velocity upward. The immediate criticism is that this heat should transfer into the atmosphere, thereby scalding the planet.
In his video presentation, available on Brown’s site and on YouTube, Bryan Nickel demonstrates that air is a particularly poor conductor of heat, by showing this picture [cue] of his hands within inches of the flame of a Bunsen burner flame.
What neither Brown nor Nickel account for is the transfer of heat through water and steam. When superheated water is expelled, it begins a rapid expansion. This can be observed when a geyser erupts. Heat may not transfer well through air, but it certainly does transfer well through steam, and wind does a particularly good job of spreading the steam around. Usually wind is due to a temperature differential of only a few degrees. The scenario the Hydroplate Theory suggests [includes] a differential of up to one thousand degrees. Combine this with the fact that the water is still depressurizing and we easily have a rapid expansion of superheated steam and air, known as a blast wave. The Hydroplate Theory simply can’t explain this away.3
Stop the tape
Here Reed ignores totally the principle of refrigeration. As the supercritical water left its confined space, it expanded and cooled. Though the volume would rise, the pressure would decline even faster. Result: a drop in temperature. The Ideal Gas Equation (PV = nRT) predicts this.
The cooling effect from the sudden release of the supercritical waters could be evaporative cooling or simply rapid expansion.4 In fact the escape of the supercritical water from its confinement is like the release of compressed refrigerant into a condenser. No scalding need occur. In fact much of the escaping water would freeze into hail. Which is what froze the woolly mammoths.
If this sort of thing did not happen, no refrigerator, freezer, air conditioner, or heat pump would work. All work by letting a gas rapidly expand, thereby cooling.5
Heat transfer in the stratosphere
t = 10:35
As this giant crack opened up, the stretched plates were suddenly free to snap back into place. Considering that the differential in the diameter from the poles to the equator is roughly twenty miles, we can also determine the total amount of distance these places would snap back. We can determine that the plates at the equator snapped back at a diameter of roughly 12,430 miles to roughly 12,400 miles. This means the crack opened up a combined distance of more than thirty miles, or more accurately, 15 miles in the Atlantic and 15 miles in the Pacific. At this point the fountain rifts would be 15 miles by a maximum of 60 miles. This would allow for even more superheated water to be released into the atmosphere.
But it gets even worse. According to the Hydroplate Theory, this torrent sent water and crumpled material careening into the stratosphere, where it would lose heat into the vacuum of space. The problem with this claim is that two of the three methods of heat transfer6 do not exist in space. On Earth, heat transfer occurs through conduction, convection and radiation. Both convection and conduction require transfer through direct contact. In space there is nothing to conduct heat away from the water, and nothing for heat to convect into. All that remains is radiation, the weakest of the three methods.
Stop the tape
Reed seems to assume that water does not radiate heat away readily. The problem: an object cools down if it radiates more than it absorbs. Electromagnetic radiation that simply passes through a substance doesn’t count. Water is transparent. And though it is a greenhouse gas, in space it has no place to trap any heat. Result: a deep freeze.
How cold does it get in space?
t = 11:46
Further, Bryan Nickel asserts in his video that the temperature in space is near absolute zero, implying that heat radiates freely in that environment. While the cosmic background temperature, at -455 degrees Fahrenheit, is just five degrees warmer than absolute zero, the temperatures in space vary wildly to over a thousand degrees Fahrenheit, especially within Earth’s proximity to the Sun.7 The Hydroplate Theory does not account for this.
Not so fast! What’s sauce for the goose (radiation outward from the water) is sauce for the gander (radiation inward from the Sun). Space has no inherent temperature. But a shielded thermometer, receiving no solar radiation, will register a low temperature.8 It might not get near absolute zero. But 100 degrees Celsius below zero is cold enough to make hail out of water! The only thing that will stay hot will be metal and anything containing it.
Boiling away the oceans?
Time t = 12:51
Regardless of this, Brown specifically points out that, as the oceans continued to fill due to rain, the Fountains of the Great Deep continued to expel water, even after the water level had risen to the point where the Fountains no longer erupted into the atmosphere. This means that the Fountains were now ejecting superheated water directly into the ocean and heating it up.9 Whether or not this would be enough to make the oceans boil is debatable. But the unavoidable conclusion is that it would significantly change the temperature and the depth of the world’s oceans. Since nearly all marine organisms have specific tolerances for temperature and depth,10 these significant changes in temperature and depth would be fatal, and the oceans should have been nearly devoid of any plant or animal life. Again, the Hydroplate Theory does not take this into account.
Wrong again. Consider the large volume of water, and the small amount of subcrustal ocean remaining. Reed’s own source says a hydrothermal vent—and that’s what the remaining gushers would be—might raise the temperature temporarily by five to ten degrees Celsius. We see that today, and it’s not killing the fish.
But the ocean would still be warm enough to evaporate over the years after the waters receded. This eventually created the Ice Age.11
Hydroplate Theory wins again: the scarring of the Moon
t = 12:52
Regardless of the temperatures involved, these Fountains of the Deep, like the geysers of today, would continue to eject material from the granite and basalt plates along with the supercritical water. This served to trim the edges of the plates back even further. But it also sent continental debris into space. Brown asserts that some of this debris struck the Moon, resulting in its cratered surface.
While this scenario is colorful, there are some problems. The first is that, if it were true, we should expect to see more craters on the near side than on the far side. Photos from NASA missions, both manned and unmanned, show clearly that this is not the case.12 Brown has replied to this by claiming that craters on the far side are the result of debris falling back to the Moon after colliding with it, and went as far as to say that the craters on the near side confirm the theory, as they are far larger. As it happens, the largest crater on the Moon is the Aitken Basin, on the far side.
Stop the tape
To begin with, the Aitken Basin lies on the Lunar South Pole. Technically it qualifies as a far-side impact crater. It so qualifies by lying directly adjacent to the meridian that divides the near and far sides. The Aitken Basin is also full of ice, which no theory other than the Hydroplate Theory can explain with any justice or adequacy.
More to the point, Reed fails to grasp why the Moon even has near and far sides. It didn’t originally. Again, one must not conflate present conditions with initial conditions.
The answer lies in a technical note in the book.13 Briefly, debris from the Flood flew into a very high Earth orbit, level with the orbit of the Moon. The moon then blundered into this material, most of which fell to the lunar surface. Decades later, some near-Earth asteroids—which also formed from Flood ejecta—fell to the Moon.
The largest impactors persist as the mascons (mass concentrations) that actually affect the Moon’s gravity. As such they create a problem for those trying to launch a satellite on the Moon. The Apollo crews had to readjust their orbits of the Moon often for this very reason.
The mascons then threw the Moon off-balance and caused it to roll to its present orientation. We cannot know the length of the lunar day before the Flood. But the present tidal lock with Earth is due to the mascons. It was not part of the initial condition of the Moon.
Finally, each mascon associates with a Lunar mare, or “sea.” One such “sea,” Mare Moscoviense, does lie on the far side. A few, like Mare Humboltianum, lie on the near/far meridian. The rest lie on the near side. We know them as Oceanus Procellarum and Maria Imbrium, Frigoris, Tranquillitatis, Crisium, Serenitatis, and so on.
We know this because NASA has often detected the echoes of lunar craters beneath the basalt surfaces of the maria.
What sort of rocks fell to the Moon?
t = 13:41
More importantly, if the theory were true, we should also expect to find granite from Earth on the surface of the Moon. As I have already mentioned, both quartz and feldspar are very common in Earth granite. But [they] are almost never found in the lunar granites, and when they are found, they are only found in diffuse trace amounts.
Additionally, silicates,such as colosite and stitiavite [?] are also abundant in Earth granite, but have never been observed in any Lunar granite. In fact, Lunar granites are not even true granites.14 So despite Brown’s assertion, at present there is no indication of any sort of deluge or Earth material on the Moon whatsoever.
This assertion derives in large part from Reed’s initial assumption (see Part 1) that Brown proposed a uniform granite plate covering the Earth before the Flood. But Reed forgot to read the beginning of the chapter on the origins of asteroids, meteoroids, and trans-Neptunian objects. If he had, he would have seen how the materials of the early Earth sorted themselves out, especially above the subcrustal chamber. Supercritical water infiltrated the ceiling of the chamber and dissolved several minerals from it. These included iron and nickel, which make up most meteoroids. The quartz (and probably the feldspar) dissolved away. For that reason, one rarely finds quartz in meteorites.
Hydroplate Theory still wins
As in the first part of his video, Tony Reed often conflates present conditions with initial conditions.15 (Or does he?)
But he also forgets at least one of the physical laws by which the world works. Refrigeration probably is easy to forget. After all, today one associates refrigeration with a refrigerator, a human device. But understanding how refrigerators work would have prevented this error.
As of the upload of Episode 61, he could have avoided the errors CNAV describes here, by reading the book. To be fair, he must have read some of it, or he couldn’t have pirated so many of its illustrations. Still, one ought to read a work for review—and one’s own sources—with greater care.
The real tragedy results from others who play his video and form the wrong impression of the world around them. Hopefully this series will serve to correct this.
One more article remains. This will cover the origins of meteoroids, comets, asteroids, trans-Neptunian objects—and radioactivity.
1As in the first article, with apologies to Graham Ledger of The Daily Ledger on One America News Network
2See “The Hydroplate Theory: An Overview,” and specifically a description of the rolling of the Earth, here. Then see Hurlbut T, “Pre-Flood Earth: How It Lay,” at the Creation Science Hall of Fame. <http://creationsciencehalloffame.org/2016/05/27/earth-science/pre-flood-earth-lay/>
3“Steam Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: The Use of Steam as an Efficient Heat Source,” Fluid Controls Institute, Tech Sheet ST 103. <https://www.fluidcontrolsinstitute.org/pdf/resource/steam/ST103HeatSource.pdf> Note that the reference from Appalachian State University titled “Steam and Expansion” de-resolves to HTTP 404 (“Page Not Found”).
4See “Refrigeration” on the online edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. <https://www.britannica.com/technology/refrigeration>
6Lesson plan for teaching heat transfer by radiation, Auburn University. <http://www.auburn.edu/academic/classes/matl0501/coursepack/radiation/text.htm>
7“Eddington’s Temperature of Space,” Department of Astronomy, University of California at Los Angeles. <http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/Eddington-T0.html>
8Cain F, “How cold is space,” Universe Today. <https://www.universetoday.com/77070/how-cold-is-space/>
9Scheirer DS, Shank TM, and Fornari DJ, “ Temperature variations at diffuse and focused flow hydrothermal vent sites along the northern East Pacific Rise,” Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 3 March 2006. <https://doi.org/10.1029/2005GC001094>
10Perry AL, Low PJ, Ellis JR, and Reynolds JD, “Climate change and distribution shifts in marine fishes,” Science, 308(5730):1912-1915, 24 June 2005. <https://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1111322>
11Brown W, In the Beginning…, chapter 2 (Overview). <http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/HydroplateOverview4.html>
12Cross CA, “The Size Distribution of Lunar Craters,” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 134:245-253, 1966. <http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1966MNRAS.134..245C> Note the date again: 1966.
14Seddio SM, Jolliff BL, Korotev RL, and Zeigler RA, “Petrology and geochemistry of lunar granite 12032,366-19 and implications for lunar granite petrogenesis,” American Mineralogist, 98:1697-1713, 2013. <http://levee.wustl.edu/~rlk/papers/seddio_et_al_2013_AmMin_granite.pdf>
15On 22 January 2019, Tony Reed replied to a “sharing” of Part 1 on Facebook. In his reply he admitted having conflated present conditions with initial conditions as Brown described them. He claims to have acknowledge his errors in Episode 80 of his series, available on YouTube. CNAV has not yet had an opportunity to review this video.
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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Is it legitimate to treat a mixture of supercritical water, dissolved/precipitating solutes, and bulk solid material at 1300 degrees F as an ideal gas? Does the solid material reach cryogenic temperatures within seconds, as you claim the supercritical water does? What is the speed of sound in this material? Is the gas fully expanded after its passage from 60 miles down to the surface, or does it continue to expand over then next 60 miles when it reaches the edge of space?
The Mt. Saint Helens eruption in 1980 started as a steam explosion when a landslide released pressure over the north face of the mountain. The initial blast was a mere 650 F, with the subsequent pyroclastic flows hitting 1300 F. Somehow, steam expansion did not cool the initial blast or the subsequent pyroclastic flow, which was also driven by gas expansion, even though the initial blast showed supersonic flow. Why do we not see geological steam explosions producing cold flows/sudden blizzards? Why do phreatic eruptions not result in ice falls or cold dense flows that hug the nap of the Earth? By your theory, ideal gas expansion should cool these to well below freezing temperatures.
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