Radioactive debate on the Hydroplate Theory

Radioactive decay chains. Radioactive decay was a key argument against creation, until Austin, Shelling, and Vardiman demolished three key assumptions.
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The debate on the merits of the Hydroplate Theory might be getting radioactive now. Or not. CNAV hears of attacks on it that are sixteen years old or older. The concern here is with Tony Reed’s attack on the theory of more than a year ago.

Aside: Tony Reed, replying through Facebook, now says he is interested in debating Brown after all. In fact CNAV has learned that Tony Reed did in fact contact Walt Brown directly. CNAV will have updates on this developing story as they occur.

Third installment

This third and final installment on Tony Reed’s video attack on the Hydroplate Theory addresses three major issues. Specifically this installment will treat the origins of:

  1. The Mavericks of the Solar system: meteoroids, comets, asteroids, and trans-Neptunian objects
  2. Radioactive elements—and the heavy isotopes of stable elements.
  3. The highest of mountains, especially mountains like Everest and McKinley.

Readers might benefit from reading Parts One and Two of this series.

Here again is the video: “How creationism taught me real science, episode 61: Hydroplate Theory.”

First issue: the Mavericks of the Solar System

t = 14:15

Brown further asserts that debris from Earth that didn’t strike the Moon or fall back to Earth, continued on its way to form all meteoroids, asteroids, comets, and trans-Neptunian objects. According to Bryan Nickel, this is the reason Brown has revised his theory to propose that the plate were up to sixty miles thick instead of just ten. He points out that the entirety of all objects in the Asteroid Belt combined are equivalent to 0.043 to 0.048 percent of the Earth’s total mass.

Trans-Neptunian Objects, including the Kuiper Belt and Scattered Disk, however, have a combined mass equal to between 10 and 25 percent of Earth’s mass.1,2 Keeping in mind that the continental plates account for only 0.374 percent of Earth’s total mass today, when adding the mass of just the Trans-Neptunian Objects, the theory necessarily implies that the current plates are less than 5 percent of the Earth’s initial granite surface. Brown may be well advised to revise his theory further to propose an even thicker initial granite plate. But already the possibility of human or any other life surviving ninety-five percent of all surface material being ejected into space is conclusively remote.

Stop the tape3

CNAV went over this before. Herewith a brief reply to the most egregious error.

Tony Reed relies on two sources (one of which does not seem to have a date on it) for his 10-25 percent figure. These two sources, in turn, rely on the same source for their figures. That source is Jewitt D, Luu J, and Trujillo C, “Large Kuiper belt objects: the Mauna Kea 8k CCD survey,” The Astronomical Journal, 109:1867-1876, 1998. Note the date: 1998.

Against this, Brown offers two sources, from 20074 and 2008.5 Of the two, Iorio’s paper gives the higher estimate: four percent of the total mass of the Earth. Iorio bases this on the dynamics of the inner Solar system. This method is more likely to yield an answer that will hold in the face of future telescopic discoveries. Fuentes and Holman estimate TNOs to be even more lightweight: two percent of the Earth’s mass.

Whether or not Iorio or the Fuentes-Holman team suggest that TNOs came from Earth, doesn’t matter. What matters is how heavy they determined TNOs to be, in aggregate.

Furthermore, Reed accuses Brown of suggesting that all the material for the Mavericks came from continental substance only. Even a cursory read of Brown’s chapters on the origins of these objects would dispel that misconception. The material that made up the Mavericks consists of water, rock and mud, with the emphasis on water.6

What makes up the nearer Mavericks?

t = 15:20

Further complicating matters is the composition of meteors and asteroids. Although most meteors, asteroids and comets are composed of the metals and silicates that are found on Earth, none of them have been found to contain granite. Many of them do contain rock similar to igneous rocks. But none of them have been found to contain basalt. They obviously did not come from Earth’s crust.

Brown goes over this here. Four percent of all meteorites (the objects that hit the ground) contain mainly iron and nickel. Rarely do meteorites contain quartz, a key component of granite. Why? Because before the Flood, the tidal pumping caused the subcrustal ocean to wash away the quartz in the chamber pillars. It also made the pillars porous. Iron and nickel tended to settle to the tips of the pillars. Gravitational settling also played a role after the subcrustal ocean broke out.

And basalt did not exist before the Flood. Basalt formed on Earth after the Flood, and too slowly for any of it to escape into space.

Makeup of the comets

t = 15:39

Comets, on the other hand, contain large amounts of water. In fact they were once hypothesized to be the source of the water in Earth’s oceans. As Brown points out, comets contain an element called deuterium, which is a heavier, yet stable, form of hydrogen. The nucleus of a normal hydrogen atom contains a nucleus that only contains one proton. The nucleus of a deuterium atom is a proton and a neutron.

The waters of Earth contain about 0.02 percent deuterium, while comets contain between 0.2 and 0.5 percent, which is ten to twenty-five times that amount.7 Barring an as-yet-unknown natural method of removing a neutron from a nucleus, it is highly unlikely that comets are the source of Earth’s oceans. Conversely,this also means that Earth is unlikely to be the source of those comets.

Stop the tape

Reed is gracious to admit that coments cannot have stocked the Earth’s oceans. And by the way, deuterium is not an element in and of itself. It is an isotope of hydrogen.

Sadly, his source for cometary composition lies behind a “paywall.” So one cannot easily check the veracity of his “0.2 and 0.5 percent” figure. It looks suspiciously like moving a decimal point.

That source bases its estimates on the fraction of deuterium in Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Altwegg et al.8 reported a deuterium-to-hydrogen (D/H) ratio of 5.3 x 10-4. That would be 0.053 percent, atom for atom. The waters of Earth actually contain 0.0312 percent deuterium by mass, or 0.0156 percent deuterium, atom by atom. So Comet 67P actually holds about 3.5 times as much deuterium, atom for atom, as do the oceans of Earth. (And if that result holds, then someone, maybe Reed, did move a decimal point in citing Cochran et al.)

Average concentration of cometary deuterium: 2:1 over the waters of Earth

Most cometary ices have a lower proportion of deuterium, atom for atom. Meier et al. reported9 a D/H ratio of 3.3 x 10-4. This would be about twice that of the Earth’s oceans. They further said:

This result is consistent with in situ measurements of comet P/Halley and the value found in C/1996 B2 (Hyakutake). This D/H ratio, higher than that in terrestrial water and more than 10 times the value for protosolar H2, implies that comets cannot be the only source for the oceans on Earth.

Comet Hartley 2, however, has a D/H ratio more in line with that in the Earth’s oceans. Brown speculates that the material that became Hartley 2 escaped early, before deuterium could build up in the subcrustal ocean. (More on this later.) Either that, or Hartley 2 contains a high proportion of water that originally lay on the Earth’s surface. That water wouldn’t have deuterium in any significant amount, if any.

Roland Meier and Tobias Owen treated the question of cometary deuterium more extensively in a monograph from the University of Hawaii.10

In case anyone asks: the D/H ratio in interstellar space is even less than that of the oceans of Earth.11 So interstellar space also cannot have been the source of comets.

The observed average D/H ratio suggests the Flood diluted the oceans of Earth 2:1. Therefore the subcrustal ocean held half the water in the oceans today.

One final word on the Mavericks

More than the Mavericks of the Solar System formed from Flood debris and ejecta. Brown has this short list of all the objects God created initially:

  • Earth
  • Moon
  • Sun
  • All the planets, as the IAU defines and lists them, from Mercury to Neptune inclusive
  • The Galilean Moons of Jupiter: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto
  • Titan, moon of Saturn

All the other objects in the Solar system, including the Mavericks and the other moons (and rings) of the gas giants, plus the two “moons” of Mars, weigh no more than five percent of the mass of the Earth.

The radioactive part of the debate: where did radioactivity on Earth come from?

t = 16:23

Brown, however, claims that the Hydroplate Theory explains this with the flutter of the granite plate. According to Brown, the sudden loss of pressure near the rift caused the walls on both sides to slam down, creating a water hammer cutting off the flow of supercritical water. At this time the remaining pillars began to fail when the plates came crashing down, causing the water hammers to open, causing the sudden ejection of the superheated water and surface materials. During the flooding, the granite plates on the surface began fluttering up and down, creating electrical voltage via the piezoelectric effect.

The piezoelectric effect12 is a phenomenon that occurs when electricity accumulates in crystals, certain ceramics, and biological matters such as bone, DNA, and certain other materials under excessive mechanical stress. According to Brown’s theory, this excess of electrical current manifested extraordinarily strong magnetic forces. As the plates continued to flutter, an electrical charge built up over the course of weeks. Combined with intermittent increases and decreases in pressure, this forced atomic nuclei to fuse, creating deuterium and all the heavier radioactive elements, which, Brown says, cannot be created by stars.

The problem here is that if half of Earth’s oceans were once under hydroplates, the concentration of deuterium in the modern oceans should be between five and twelve times the amount we actually see. The hydroplate theory does not adequately account for this.

Stop the tape

Reed shows likely his worst lack of understanding of Brown’s thesis for the origin of radioactive elements. Certainly he oversimplifies the case.

Brown begins his treatment of the origin of radioactive elements here. First and foremost: Brown never proposed that hydrogen atoms fused to form deuterium! That would be impossible in any case.

Instead, the piezoelectric effect, combined with magnitude-10-to-12 earthquakes, created a highly charged environment in the crust. The electromotive forces (“voltages”) at work, stripped heavy-metal atoms of their electrons. This kind of thing happens in lightning. In fact, witnesses have observed lightning deep in chasms during some of the worst earthquakes on record.

In fact these forces create the Z pinch effect.13 The first observation of this effect happened in 1905. Lightning struck a tubular lightning rod and literally shriveled it up. The forces are strong enough to turn metals into plasma, and fuse them. This process produced super-heavy nuclides, which then split to form the abundances of radioactive elements we know today. Specifically, fusion of heavy metals produced nuclides like unoctoctium (Z = 188). This would split to form uranium (Z = 92), thorium (Z = 90), and carbon-14 (Z = 6). The two heavier metals would decay rapidly—because radioactive decay always happens faster in such a highly charged environment. Brown discusses that in detail here.

Formation of various elements and isotopes, radioactive and otherwise

With the superheavy nuclides producing the heaviest radioactive elements, the rapid decay produced the other radioactive elements we find today. But this process also released an extreme load of neutrons. The subcrustal ocean absorbed most of these before escaping entirely. This is the source of the deuterium in cometary (and asteroidal) ices. It is also the source of all the heavy and radioactive isotopes we find in the wild. (Technetium and prometheum exist only in the laboratory, not in the wild.)

The light isotopes are decay products of radioactive isotopes of lighter elements. For example, tritium (“the third isotope of hydrogen”) is radioactive and emits beta particles. When it does so, tritium becomes tri-alphium or tralphium, or helium-3.

We know that radioactive decay accelerated at some time in Earth’s history, on two grounds. First, Robert V. Gentry observed halos surrounding elemental polonium in coalified wood and other materials. Second, zircons have retained far more helium than one would expect if radioactive decay happened over billions of years. Helium is the element of alpha particles, the decay products of many steps in the decay of uranium and thorium.

So Tony Reed says we ought to find more deuterium in the oceans of Earth than we do find. But he has laid no foundation for that remark. Nor can he. Deuterium came from neutron capture and not from fusion of ordinary hydrogen. Which would be impossible in any case.

The Continental Drift Phase

t = 17:40

Regardless of this discrepancy, and after months of flooding, the Hydroplate Model eventually enters the Continental Drift Phase. With the granite plates now receded several miles due to material ejected, the basalt and mantle beneath the widened rift was relieved of the plates’ pressure. This allowed the pressures below to push up on the basalt layer, creating the Mid-Oceanic Ridges in the world-encircling gap between the plates, the plates being pushed up by this upheaval, and lubricated by water, and sliding away from the ridges. As the plates gained momentum, they met with resistance, which caused compression and buckling, which pushed up mountains and created distortions.

This seems like a plausible scenario, until you consider that most of these granite plates were flanked on either side by these uprisings. There would have been nowhere for them to slide, and no way for any momentum to build up before experiencing resistance. Brown asks us to accept the assertion that plates with no mechanism for gaining momentum slid, not just down the mountain slopes, but several hundred miles away along what is essentially a flat sea floor while compressing enough to create mountains like the Himalayas. The Hydroplate model simply doesn’t make sense here.

After roughly one day of continental drift, the plates would have, more or less, settled into their current positions as the world entered the Recovery Phase, which continues today, over four thousand years later.

Stop the tape

As ever, if Tony Reed had read the book more intensely, he would have known how the mountains formed. First, the crack, occurring where it did, created the Atlantic Basin. That basin simply did not exist before the Flood. The hydroplates “recede” far more than “several miles.” In fact as much as four hundred miles of continental plate eroded away on each side of the Ridge. And as CNAV noted before, the Mid-Oceanic Ridges were upwellings of material, not “spreadings.”

The Mid-Atlantic Ridge built up from the sudden removal of the weight on it. Then the center of the Earth shifted. This shift caused the Pacific Basin to fall abruptly, like a table-tennis ball caving in. This in turn created all the ocean trenches and Benioff zones—which conventional science mis-calls subduction zones. Brown explains in detail why subduction cannot have occurred.

The various plates did rush away from one another, and from the Ridges. This is especially true of the Americas. As the American plates came crashing down to the floor of the old subcrustal chamber, they literally wrinkled. The wrinkles persist as the Appallachian Mountain Chain in the eastern United States, and the Canadian Rocky/Rocky/Sierra Madre/Andean Mountain Chain along the Pacific coast of North and South America.

Orientation of mountains

Notice something about these two chains, and the Ural, Appenine, Alpine, and most other chains. Why would they all be oriented north-to-south? Because the hydroplates involved moved west-to-east.

Exceptions do exist, of course. The Pyrenees orient west-northwest to east-southeast. Perhaps the Iberian Peninsula buckled where it joined the rest of continental Europe.

The Himalayas are the most important exception. To form them, the European, Asian, and Indian plates all collided. This collision raised up the tallest mountains in the world, including Everest. (So to reply to one persistent canard, Flood waters did not rise as high as an airliner flies!) As this chain settled, the Tibetan Plateau rose to the East, by reason of sheer hydraulic pressure. The mass of these two formations threw the Earth off-balance. So it rolled to its present position. That’s how the equator, and the poles, and the tropics, and the polar circles, moved.

Conclusion

Tony Reed’s “Episode 61” made several wrong assumptions about the initial conditions of the Earth. He also completely ignored refrigeration, and never fully appreciated the piezoelectric effect.

Reed concludes by accusing Brown of “borderline fantastical” claims. Such is the sufferance of any scientist who challenges the then-prevailing scientific paradigm. The history of science is replete with example after example of such drama.

Reed’s objections are not fantastical. But they are stereotypical. They typify the fanatical imperative of all conventional scientists and science writers. Which is: never let a Divine foot in the door. The problem is that they cannot fully explain all that we can observe, in any other way.

Endnotes

1Lykawka PS, “Trans-Neptunian objects as natural probes to the unknown solar system,” Monographs on Environment, Earth and Planets, accepted 4 December 2012. <https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1212/1212.6124.pdf>

2Ipatov SI, “Formation and Migration of Trans-Neptunian Objects,” name of journal unlisted, n.d. <https://arxiv.org/ftp/astro-ph/papers/0401/0401279.pdf>

3As ever, with apologies to Graham Ledger, of The Daily Ledger on One America News Network

4Lorenzo Iorio, “Dynamical Determination of the Mass of the Kuiper Belt from Motions of the Inner Planets of the Solar System,” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 375, 11 March 2007, p. 1311.

5Cesar I. Fuentes and Matthew J. Holman, “A Subaru Archival Search for Faint Trans-Neptunian Objects,” The Astronomical Journal, Vol. 136, July 2008, pp. 83–97. <http://arxiv.org/abs/0804.3392v1>

Continued

6Let’s not forget the organic material the event also threw into space. How else did Pluto acquire a lake of frozen carbon monoxide on its surface?

7Cochran AL, Levasseur-Regourd A-C, Cordiner M, et al., “The Composition of Comets,” Space Science Reviews, 197(1-4):9-46, December 2015. <https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11214-015-0183-6>

8Altwegg K, Balsiger H, Bar-Nun A, et al., “67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, a Jupiter family comet with a high D/H ratio,” Science, 347(6220):1261952, 23 January 2015. <https://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1261952>

9Meier R, Owen TC, Matthew HE, et al., “A Determination of the HDO/H2O Ratio in Comet C/1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp)”, Science, 209(5352):842-844, 6 February 1998. <https://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.279.5352.842>

Continued

10Meier R and Owens TC, “Cometary Deuterium,” Space Science Reviews, 90(1-2):33-43, October 1999. <http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/publications/preprints/99preprints/Meier_99-07.htmlhttp://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/publications/preprints/99preprints/Meier_99-07.html> One can request a full text from the authors here.

11Audouze J, Lequeux J, Levy M, and Vidal-Madjar A, eds., Diffuse Matter in Galaxies, Cargese, 1982. Available here.

12A definition of the piezoelectric effect from course material at Georgia State University. <http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/Solids/piezo.html>

13Wikipedia contributors. “Pinch (plasma physics).” In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 5 Sep. 2018. Web. 23 Jan. 2019. <https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pinch_(plasma_physics)&oldid=858244689>

Editor-in-chief at | + posts

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.

5 Responses to Radioactive debate on the Hydroplate Theory

  1. MatthewJ says:

    Are you at all troubled by the fact that the Proton-21 lab, which as far as I can tell is Dr. Brown’s only source for his nuclesynthesis claims, expressly claims that the z-pinch effect produces only stable, non-radioactive isotopes? That claim is the whole basis for their work: that the z-pinch can consume radioactive waste and produce nonradioactive products. Along with, according to them, stable novel superheavy elements that would earn them some Nobels and magnetic monopoles. Dr. Brown apparently believes that these products are in fact profoundly radioactive, but the Proton-21 lab goes out of their way to deny this in multiple places. I’ve quoted them to you before on this matter.

    Can you explain the discrepancy between Dr. Brown’s claims and those of the Proton-21 lab?

    Has the Proton-21 work been duplicated at some other facility, to either confirm or refute their claims of nucleocombustion?

    If we set aside the Proton-21 claims as unreliable – either because they deny the radioactivity of their products and are thus not to be trusted, or because their claims of producing superheavy elements and magnetic monopoles are highly suspect, on what other basis would Dr. Brown continue to argue that piezoelectric z-pinch fusion in the Earth’s crust produced all of Earth’s radioactive elements?

  2. MatthewJ says:

    Why are Io, Ganymede, Callisto, Europa and Titan believed to be original to the Solar System, while all the other moons, asteroids, comets, TNOs, etc., are not? Are the atmospheres and ices of those large moons also original? Based on what evidence?

    I suspect that the reason is ‘because they are so big that to claim they came from Earth like the other bodies would cause a problem’, like requiring the subcrustal ocean to be hundreds of kilometers thick, rather than because of any evidence or theoretical consideration.

  3. Terry A. Hurlbut says:

    Your suspicion is correct. In addition to which, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto give every indication of having existed before the Flood–and received their oceans from the water that escaped the Earth. Perhaps those oceans formed as comets fell to those bodies, and melted. The ice formed later. In fact the ice over these three bodies is getting thicker all the time. That ice therefore becomes another clock telling a short time: were the Solar system 4.6 billions of years old, as you and others assert, none of those subglacial oceans should remain today. All should be frozen solid.

    But one thing likely gives pause where it shouldn’t. The heat of the Earth is a heat of gravitational settling. We both agree–but we do not agree on the energy of settling. You maintain–if, as I suspect, you hold to the Nebula Theory of the Solar System–that the gravitational settling is actually accretion of a full body. In which event the Earth would still be molten even in the deep time frame. I maintain that this is a heat of settling of the broken-up fragments of Pangaia, which was one large hydroplate.

    Which means the Earth did not originally have a molten outer core and mantle. It now does. Next question: how do we know that the subcrustal ocean lay no deeper than 60 miles (about 100 km)?

    The limits of the crust do not give us that answer. Just because the mantle rises to less than 60 miles beneath the surface does not mean that it always has or even that it has always existed.

    But what does give us that answer, is the sounding of the Earth’s crust by a New Zealand seismological team. They sounded to find what they thought would be the foot of a conventionally understood tectonic plate. What they found in addition was an echo 60 miles down.

    That, friend, is the ceiling of the subcrustal ocean. That establishes our limit.

  4. Terry A. Hurlbut says:

    The Proton-21 lab is, as you yourself point out, attempting to de-radioactivate nuclear power plant waste. They are not setting out to create superheavy nuclides like unoctoctium (Z=188), unoctohexium (Z=186), unoctobium (Z=182), or any other nuclides of that kind.

    To do that would require tremendous energies, in an environment lacking the control they maintain over their apparatus.

    If they are creating superheavy nuclides, they’re not creating the particular nuclear species I described above. They would be creating much lighter-weight nuclides that would split to form stable fission products. And to achieve that, they are keeping their apparatus under a tight control that, Brown says, was not present during the Flood.

  5. […] refers readers to this three–part series on the Hydroplate Theory of the Global […]

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