February 6th, 2014

I wonder if…

…the science about this was considered settled before the new evidence came to light.

Speaking of science and geology (and we were, weren’t we?), recently I was reading a book called Europe Between the Oceans: 9000 B.C.—AD 1000, and was entranced by a series of maps

I say I was “reading” the book, but it would probably be more accurate to say I was looking at the pictures. It’s a big beautiful book with about 500 pages of text, but it’s the illustrations that attracted me most. Some of them feature works of art from a time in early Europe I know very little about, and I’ve been surprised by their beauty and especially their sophistication.

The maps in question feature the area we know as northwest Europe and the British Isles from 18,000 to 5,000 BC. At the beginning, ice sheets covered the latter (especially Scotland). But the whole was one big land mass, because so much water was bound up in the ice that there was no English Channel, and the North Sea was a narrow finger of the ocean. It wasn’t until 6,500 BC that the British Isles became “isles,” when the waters rose significantly and separated them from the rest of Europe.

Here’s an excerpt from the book, describing a period when the European ice caps began to melt and the land of northern Europe rise, beginning around 18,000 BC:

While these changes were taking place, the north-western extremity of Europe, now the islands of Ireland and Britain, were gradually being reshaped. Two river systems developed. The precursor of the Elbe and most of the rivers of eastern Britain flowed northwards into the Norwegian Trench—a deep water channel hugging the coast of Norway—while the Thames, Rhine, and Seine flowed south into the river Channel which drained the water south-westwards into the Atlantic, forming a wide estuary between Cornwall and Brittany. The remnants of the Scottish ice cap drained southwards through what is now the Irish Sea. Relative sea level continued to rise and by 8,000 BC Ireland had become separated from the mainland. By 6,500 BC Britain itself had become an island, though there were still large stretches of dry land remaining for several more millennia in what was eventually to become the North Sea.

In the maps in the book that show what scientists think the area looked like before Britain became an island, you can see the Thames and Rhine connected in an almost straight line. The following isn’t a map from the book, but it’s similar:

doggerland

Something about all of this not only reminds me how much climate and geological change there has been on the earth, but how relatively recently some of it has occurred. Who would have thought the British Isles became “isles” that short a time ago?

Also, there’s something mysteriously wonderful about the Thames and the Rhine having once been connected, or at least part of the same river system.

[NOTE: There's a lot more here about Doggerland, as the early land mass is sometimes called.]

26 Responses to “I wonder if…”

  1. OsoPardo Says:

    Hi Neo,

    I grew up in a Colorado mining family. My grandfather thought I should grow up to be a Geologist so he taught me a great deal about local geology as I was growing up. I then went to college and learned about Cirques and Glacial Moraines.

    I look out my windows at the Colorado mountains and it’s quite easy to see where the glaciers carved big bowls, rolled out of them down the mountains and subsequently melted leaving glacial moraines.

    The whole concept of global warming as something new and the “We’re all gonna die if you don’t give me all your money.” hysteria would probably ease if people understood that it’s happened before and will continue to happen. With or without human intervention…

  2. expat Says:

    The map shows the Rhine on an east west line, yet today it flows from the Alps in the south. I wonder what else might have occurred in Europe during this time.There are inactive volcanos in Germany to the west of Achen and further south where the Rhine bends from the Alps in the east and begins its northward path. It goes through the Lake of Constance (a big lake) on this southern leg. I don’t know anything about how or when the land mass in the area was formed.

  3. parker Says:

    Everything changes, the earth never stops morphing. We may dam rivers, dig canals, and even obliterate species; but we are mere actors and too many of us like to strut across the stage as if we are important when we are only destined to turn into dust.

  4. blert Says:

    Your map shows an English Channel that is w a a a a y too wide.

    The channel is shockingly shallow, and there are many indications that the Seine, Thames, and Rhine were a unified river system — all draining off to the west — down the channel.

    {The English Channel, itself, shows every indication of being formed, coulee style, when a staggering ice dam broke loose in very, very ancient times ( 400,000 ybp) causing a mega-ice lake impounding waters all over the greater Baltic to vent in a surge.

    This odd, distinctive, surge blasts everything away to create the astonishing bottom now known. }

    Like the Black Sea, the Baltic got salty pretty late in the game.

    Because of the cold and the climate, ancient sites are now chilling under the ocean all around the Baltic.

    European DNA shows the legacy of the Danish-English-Dutch-Belgian connection. Modern researchers were shocked to find so many ‘hits’ among the English and the North Coast.

    %%%

    Doggerland and such indicate that Noah’s tale is not limited to just the Middle East.

    Not only did the Black Sea flood — but India has a major bank just to the west of Mumbai that now appears to be the actual location of its lost ancestry.

    All of this makes sense: being close to the ocean made every economic sense.

    So Algore is right — just about 22,000 years too late to raise the alarm.

    Global Warming has pushed the human population from 50,000 world wide to 9,000,000,000. Yiikes.

  5. carl in atlanta Says:

    And the sea level has been rising constantly since at least 20,000 years ago. See this article and chart and note that the scale given in that chart is in meters, not centimeters.

    This article states that from 15,000 years ago to 8,000 years ago, sea level rose about 14mm/year – which is more than four times faster than the current rise rate of 3.3mm/year. But the rise continues.

    I’ve never understood why this ongoing and incontrovertible post-glacial sea level rise is so often ignored in the climate change debate (by one side of the debate, that is).

  6. TexasYankee Says:

    These maps show why I am a global warming skeptic. Climate change has been happening since the earth formed.

  7. rickl Says:

    There is a fascinating TV documentary about Doggerland available on YouTube. I think it’s in seven parts, each about 15 minutes.

  8. Otiose Says:

    It’s a great book. The first half stands out and will probably add new perspective for readers. Towards historical times the text/maps depart from the visual approach of the first half and comes close to a summary of familiar history.

  9. raf Says:

    Archeologists must be directed to devote all of their efforts to learning about this ancient lost civilization which caused the catastrophic global warming of the last 200 centuries.

    Before it is too late …..

  10. J.J. Says:

    10,000 years ago the spot that I’m sitting at in Puget Sound was under glacial ice. All around me are moraines, both lateral and terminal. The land on which my house is built was at one time a glacial lake, which eventually filled. The soil is a very fine clay, an indicator of lake deposition from a very slow moving stream. Our life spans are an instant of geological time. If we haven’t studied geology or geography there is no appreciation for the changes that have occurred in just 10,000 years. And that is but an inch of time on the geological time scale. The climate has changed and quite drastically in the past. Warm has always been better for living things. The proper response to global warming (and I’m not one who believes it is man made or catastrophic) is to adapt. That’s what humans did through our short history. It’s a waste of money and resources to try to “modify” the climate. We just aren’t that almighty in the scheme of things.

  11. T Says:

    “Also, there’s something mysteriously wonderful about the Thames and the Rhine having once been connected”

    and don’t forget there are Anglo-SAXONS in England and the province of SAXONY in Germany.

    On a related note, Robert Ballard posited an interesting idea about the rising oceans. His undersea explorations claim to have found evidence of ancient habitats underwater in the Black Sea. He wondered if the rising oceans caused the Mediterranean Sea to overflow the Bosporous land bridge and thus not only create the Black Sea as we know it today, but also create the substance of the Great Flood of Noah.

    Joseph Campbell has pointed out that a flood epic exists in all the major eastern religions. This location is so central to the birthplace of civilization (the fertile crescent) that it would be interesting if Ballard’s speculations were the geologic source of this epic.

  12. rickl Says:

    I don’t think there is any question that ancient human settlements lie just off the coast worldwide. The ocean level rose when the last Ica Age ended, which was shortly before the development of agriculture and the beginning of civilization.

    Those Mesolithic settlements were probably highly sophisticated for their time, and are likely well-preserved. It’s just that undersea archaeology is difficult and expensive.

    Here is an article from several years ago that speculates that an asteroid impact in the Indian Ocean 4800 years ago could have caused widespread mega-tsunamis and contributed to the Great Flood legends:

    Ancient Crash, Epic Wave

  13. rickl Says:

    Here is the Doggerland documentary I mentioned earlier this afternoon. I was at work at the time and didn’t have time to search for it.

    The version I saw was in seven parts, but here is the whole thing. It was a National Geographic documentary.

    Stone Age Atlantis

  14. OldTexan Says:

    I think it is a condition of us humans to assume that everything we know up till now, this month, is the exact truth of everything there is to know about the world we live in. I love looking at ancient mountains, rivers and plains and trying to imagine what they looked like at various times in the past.

    J.J. above is right, we are just a little micro dot of geological time with our history of man. I also happen to be one of those Christians who has no problems with accepting that the Lord moves with different time than man and good stuff takes a long time. Longer than our minds can handle with our scientific Greek method of thinking.

    Of course I am sure that in the next two months a scientific study, funded by the government will reveal that the unusual amount of cold and snow that we are having this year is caused by second hand smoke.

  15. Charles Says:

    Well, looking at THAT map; Brits can no longer claim that they are NOT a part of Europe, now can they?

  16. dicentra Says:

    IIRC, near the bottom of the Grand Canyon, there’s a layer of rock that is X years old, and the layer right atop it is X + one billion years old.

    The geologist in the documentary said that the one-billion-year gap is found throughout the world. One billion years where no rock was laid down.

    I wonder who the god of THIS gap is.

  17. carl in atlanta Says:

    rickl on February 6th, 2014 at 8:15 pm:

    Thanks for the link to that Stone Age Atlantis program.

    Just finished watching it and am now going to ne late to work!

  18. Roman Says:

    NW Ohio, 10,000 years ago was under a large glacier, when it melted, it created Lake Erie, and the other Great Lakes were formed from glaciers also. Why is that a bad thing?

    If there were humans and automobiles when the dinosaurs were dying off, would we have bumper stickers: “Save the Dino”?

  19. expat Says:

    Here’s an interesting new finding in England:

    http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/feb/07/oldest-human-footprints-happisburgh-norfolk

  20. Ymarsakar Says:

    If ocean levels rise only 1cm per year, then the Hollywood-science-political coalition of propaganda has some explaining to do.

  21. Ymarsakar Says:

    As for asteroids, I think it was an alien weapon or ship that they were using in interstellar war, accidentally hitting the Earth.

  22. Ymarsakar Says:

    Astronomers monitor every small space object with an orbit close to the Earth. “We know what’s out there, when they return, how close they come,” Dr. Morrison said. Given their observations, “there is no reason to think we have had major hits in the last 10,000 years,” he continued, adding, “But if Dallas is right and they find 10 such events, we’ll have a real contradiction on our hands.”

    Of course you won’t find them in space. They are cloaked.

  23. blert Says:

    Y…

    We’re facing PEAK OCEAN.

    The Arctic is capped by a spinning ice berg.

    Basic physics informs us that no end of melting icebergs cannot cause the sea level to rise — they’re floating in water right now.

    The ONLY ice to speak of in the northern hemisphere is in Greenland. Every other glacier is trivially small. Greenland is good for about an inch or so, globally. The Earth is a big place.

    The only ice in Antarctica that counts is on land. It’s hefty enough to raise the world’s oceans by about a foot and a half in the extreme.

    That’s it.

    So much for Waterworld!

    All of the rest of the glaciers are not going to be a factor — mostly by staying totally frozen in any event — too high on the mountainside.

    The zany notion that the oceans can rise MUCH from here on is absurd on its face.

    We’re already at Peak Ocean.

    Chunking off ice floes have absolutely no meaning. Floating is floating.

  24. waltj Says:

    “We were surprised by our results”.

    In the Grand Canyon article, I think this is the clearest indication that the scientists were doing, well, science. They did the experiments and let the empirical evidence speak for itself, even if it wasn’t what they thought they’d find.

  25. T Says:

    blert,

    Thanks for that. It’s really amusing that I had precisely this same discussion with Mrs. T just two days ago (w/ regard to an ice cube floating in a glass filled with water). I did not make the jump to global warming and the melting of arctic ice. What amazes me is that while I am not a scientist, why has no scientist made this simple argument (or have they and it was buried)?

  26. blert Says:

    Antarctica is visually impressive — and large.

    It’s also the driest desert on Earth. (!)

    Rain is freakishly rare. Air that cold has almost no carrying capacity for moisture. Being the anti-tropics, Antarctica is so dry that even ice sublimes into the air. A surprising amount of the interior has — at best — a dusting of snow.

    What ice Antarctica does have is greatly concentrated out towards the polar ocean. The annual ice shelf comes and goes without any change in oceanic levels — naturally.

    It holds plenty of ice above sea level — and on hard ground — to be sure. Just not enough to provide — even remotely — the amount of water to create Waterworld.

    If you remember correctly, the film posits that even mountain ranges go under the water. The graphic artists got carried away — even at the beginning of the film.

    In the film, even Denver and Mexico City are purportedly lost to humanity. Really? A full mile of flooding?

    Heh.

    No, the big flooding is ancient history.

    The last 200 centuries have seen:

    Japan snapped off from Asia,
    Britain and Ireland snapped off from northern Europe,
    The rise of the Aegean Sea,
    The elimination of a ‘western’ Indian civilization running down the coast of modern India,
    The break-up of the Indonesian and Philippines continuity,
    And the submergence of the island chain that permitted human migration — step-wise — from the Horn of Africa to Yemen.

    The retreat of the European ice sheet unlocked the passage from east to west. For many centuries it was impossible to swing over.

    There is no question that the Turkish straits were established — whence to flood the fresh waters of the Black Sea. Due to biological effects, the preservation of ancient sites is astounding. They are all along the northern sea bed.

    It’s a pretty good bet that the Hudson River was triggered by an meteor strike — actually a series of strikes — imagine Shoemaker-Levy 9 — rescaled for Earth. Everything landed inside the mega-glacier — hence no modern trace.

    Except that 19th Century scientists DID dig up a remnant! It was all the way up in Greenland. It sits, even now, in a New Jersey museum unrecognized for what it truly is. Even in the 19th Century, the experts realized that it was a meteor strike.

    They just didn’t have the best dating equipment or any appreciation for how it linked to the hyper-gush that created the Hudson coulee past, and over, Manhattan Island. The debris field from that big gush is still littering the Atlantic coast, east of New Jersey. That spoil pile is astounding.

    The wash of the coulee ran at least 1,500 feet up the mountainside!

    The same event shifted the flow of the waters — from south to the Gulf to east and the Saint Lawrence. Until then, there was no Niagara escarpment.

    There is evidence all over the nation that the blasts caused shattered rock (itself) to rent high into the stratosphere, thence to rain down as far away as New Mexico. This is possible, because the meteor blows away the atmosphere with its shock wave. Upon impact a ‘reflux’ event causes a significant fraction of the meteor to blow straight back up and disperse.

    This is the event that destroyed the ecosystem of North America’s mega fauna. It also caused the Solutreans to flee south — as the rains never came. The geological evidence is all over the Delaware landscape.

    For all we know, the meteor was also loaded with ice. That’d make it a two-fer: one astounding steam explosion of epic proportions that would have been heard clear around the planet.

    Such events are the source of the Biblical notions of the end of the world. Humanity has already lived through the end of the world as we know it — and more than once.

    The next century should see the jigsaw puzzle coming together. Do hang around.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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