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The Long-Forgotten Science of Polar Wandering (cont.)
By Kyle Bennett

The possibility that the earth may become unbalanced and then rotate, causing the position of the polar axis to change, seems to have first been mooted by none other than Sir Isaac Newton, in 1687. Newton explained in Principia Mathematica how the polar axis could change position:

“....let there be added anywhere between the pole and the equator a heap of new matter like a mountain, and this by its perpetual endeavour to recede from the centre of its motion will disturb the motion of the globe and cause its poles to wander about its surface,......”

In the following century, the idea of polar wandering was discussed by the French naturalist Comte George Louis Buffon (1707-1788). Buffon proposed this idea “not to justify the biblical stories but in order to account for the evidence of a warm climate having once existed in the Arctic, as shown by the fossils of trees and the bones of now tropical creatures”. A number of other well-known pioneers in science had similar ideas. George Cuvier (1769-1832) was one of the first to propose that some global event must have wiped out the mammoths of Siberia and caused them to freeze rapidly, allegedly before they even had time to decompose. Together with signs of great geological upheavals which he found in the rock strata, this led Cuvier to believe that life “...has been often disturbed on this earth by terrible events – calamities which, at their commencement, have perhaps moved and overturned to a great depth the entire outer crust of the globe,..”

Many years later, in 1847, a Danish intellectual called Frederik Alexander Gottlieb Klee came up with a similar idea (discussed in more detail here [ref]. He proposed in his book Le Déluge that at long intervals the whole surface of the earth shifts in unison, causing a “déplacement au l’axe du globe” – a displacement of the Earth’s spin axis, known today as a pole shift or polar wandering. According to Klee, warm-climate creatures found near the Arctic Ocean lived there when it was nowhere near the North Pole. Klee was the first to claim that memories of these pole shifts have been preserved in many ancient myths and historical texts – an idea which is generally believed to have been first proposed by Rose & Rand Flem-Ath in When the Sky Fell (1996).

A little known fact, which has escaped the attention of probably all commentators on the science of polar wandering, is that the theory now known as Earth Crust Displacement was first properly developed by Sir John Evans, the President of Britain’s Geological Society! He was also a Fellow and Treasurer of the Royal Society, the most prestigious scientific society in Britain, if not the whole world. It boasted Charles Darwin, Charles Lyell and many other greats among its fellows during Evans’ time as its Treasurer. And Evans was close friends with Lyell, who is usually considered the Father of Geology.

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