Continental Drift, Plate Tectonics
and Sea-Floor Spreading:
A Critical Commentary

Charles William Johnson

Identifying the way the world turns, and possibly what the world may turn into, is of the greatest significance for our understanding of the past, present and future way of living. When Alfred Wegener devised his thesis about continental drift, at the time, the main scientific vision about the creation of the Earth was that of an expanding Earth. Some of the atlases contain illustrative renderings of just what an expanding Earth may have looked like. An earthly core that ripped apart into the outline of the continents as the Earth expanded.

It was pretty much thought that whatever land mass appeared in a given radius on the Earth was there and shall be there in its particular space forever. But, then Wegener proposed the idea that the continents had formed from a super-continent, something that had been proposed by many scientists before him, but with little effect. However, Wegener's idea, although thoroughly rejected at first, has now come to be the dominant paradigmatic concept about the formation and life of continents on Earth.

The idea is simple enough, and in fact represents a reductionism view of reality. Wegener reduces his interpretation of the existence of the continents to the possibility that the single movement of the continents, drifted away from their central resting place in Pangaea, to their present position today, may explain all there is to know about the continents. In fact, the so-called theory of continental drift, is actually nothing more than a specific thesis. The idea of continental drift proposes the possibility that the continents came from a single land mass on a lop-sided Earth from some 200 million years ago, and that the continents are inevitably drifting once again towards a single land mass to be accomplished in another 200 million years.

The reasoning behind Wegener's thought process was simple enough. Upon observing the similarities in the fossil, animal, plant and soil records shared by Africa and South America, in conjunction with the apparent similarities in the coastlines of these two continents, Wegener proposed that these continents must have been united in the past and now came to be separated. The reasoning: if these two continents shared similarities of plants and animals, it was impossible for these animals to have traversed the width and breadth of the Atlantic Ocean, so, the continents must have been joined once upon a time.

It is little wonder that such ideas were so vehemently received by the scientific community, especially since such ideas were not really new. Similar interpretations proposed before by others were mainly related to religious considerations. Nonetheless, the simplicity of the thesis about continental drift came to be accepted as the common interpretation that persists till today.

In a search to confirm the thesis about continental drift, much research has been carried out that has led to a partial confirmation of the thesis of continental drift, along with some supplemental ideas. Specifically, theses have arisen regarding the existence of immense crustal plates upon which the continents form a part (or float as some believe), whose study has come to be known as plate tectonics. A second idea has come about regarding the ocean floors, which appear to be re-generating themselves through volcanic activity along the different oceanic ridges. This field has proposed the thesis about sea-floor spreading.

With the combined knowledge about the tectonic plates and the apparent spreading of the ocean floors, the thesis about continental drift has been bolstered. While yet others see the theses about plate tectonics and sea-floor spreading as having replaced the out-dated theory of continental drift. One of the problems raised about the idea of continental drift was that the propelling force for setting and sustaining the continents adrift has never been explained. With the data about the movement of the tectonic plates and the volcanic activity related to the spreading of the sea-floor, this driving force was considered to be that of heat convection coming from within the core of the Earth. The heat produced from the core and its magma is seen to be the driving force to the creation and movement of the tectonic plates that are born at the ridges of the oceans. These plates are then run off into the many trenches under the oceans, plowing beneath other plates into a meltdown once again.

The cycle of the tectonic plates disappearing beneath one another, along with the new growth swelling from the ridges, offers supposedly the complete picture of a re-generating crust laden Earth. Still, the thesis about continental drifting hangs on by tooth and nail, as proponents still suggest the idea that the plate movements shall ultimately come together in another singular land mass, much like the original Pangaea some 250 million years from now.

Just as new ideas are difficult to be accepted, old ideas easily persist. Upon reading about continental drift for the first time, the thesis about Africa and South America having once been united carried no shock element. Even the idea that all of the continents may have been a single land mass at one time is really not surprising. What has thoroughly surprised this author is that anyone would propose that those same land masses are going to regroup at a similar period of time from now back into their original formation ---at least one that is a single land mass although possibly rearranged in placement to one another.

Upon reading the thesis about the continents drifting towards a singular land mass once again, it was impossible to avoid the analogy with the Big Bang theory. That super-dense atom, pulsating from a singularity into the expanded Universe and back again into a singularity, somehow seemed to be at the basis of the thesis of continental drift, plate tectonics and sea-floor spreading. Now, we have the land masses of Earth united, drifting apart, then drifting back together again, in one 400-million pulsating beat.

If one dares to carry these ideas through mathematical extrapolations, by considering the cited measurements of movements in the light of projected time periods, then the continents may have circled the globe a couple of times over. And, the pulsating land mass, now joined, now disjoined, may have occurred more than once; especially since it is said that 800 million years (if not more) of our original history is lost in the geological record books.

Immediately, upon reading such ideas, far too many questions arise, for which no answers seem to exist. In fact, many questions themselves do not even appear to be raised by many of the scientists carrying out the research on continental drift, plate tectonics and sea-floor spreading. Measurements are made today with satellites (GPS) and from that many scientists still conclude the general tendency of movement of continental drift. Even though it is said in the same breadth that the tectonic plates are moving against one another, some head-on, some transversally, it is also held that the continents shall once again come together in a single land mass some far distinct time in the future.

The history of scientific thought and knowledge is riddled with fantastic interpretations about the behavior of matter-energy and spacetime/movement. Obviously, our very own individual lives are no different from our thought processes and learning processes. The way we produce scientific knowledge is not unlike our empirical production of everyday knowledge about how to live correctly on an individual scale. It can be no other way; we all have one process for learning and thinking; and we all share its common characteristics. Everyone pretty much thinks alike; a difference of opinion may occur when someone thinks something through from a different perspective, a distinct angle.

The history of that thought process teaches us how difficult it was to go from thinking (in general) that the Earth was flat, to thinking that the Earth was round, to knowing that the Earth is an oblate sphere. The Earth is what it is no matter what we may think. But, our thinking becomes significant in knowing what we can do or not do in relation to that particular matter-energy event; i.e. Earth in this case. And, when we cite this particular example, we realize that the example pertains to a certain part of the people existing on Earth. For it is well-known that many cultures that went before our own actually knew that the Earth was a sphere, and possibly they knew that it was an oblate sphere at that.

For argumentative purposes, let us simply cite the previous example about the flat/round nature of the Earth, as it is well known in our thinking and learning process. And, so it goes now with the thesis about continental drift. Once we had learned that the Earth was an oblate sphere, possibly we may have considered the discussion to come to an end; and with that we would know enough about the Earth to get by. But, once the continents were discovered, well, it was necessary to discern their origin and composition, and future demise.

Enclosed in the interpretations about continental drift, plate tectonics and sea-floor spreading is the inevitable idea that the Earth shall vanish in the worst-case scenario. And/or at best, we shall all become one as we are united by the continents. Like it or not, the political divisions of the world are false divisions and Mother Earth shall achieve what we have not been able to achieve ourselves through politics. Some who wish to remain apart from the rest of the world might view the re-unified Pangaea as the worst-case scenario.

As we read about all these ideas, theses, interpretations, suppositions, extrapolations of events and numbers, we find ourselves believing that the continents move, but not to the degree and/or direction as proposed therein. Undoubtedly in matter-energy, in spacetime/movement, movement is a constant. This has been recognized in science for centuries now. The question is to apprehend and explain the nature of that movement as of the spacetime coordinates and conditions of existence of matter-energy. The theses proposed around continental drift, plate tectonics and sea-floor spreading, in our mind, do not explain fully what is occurring in spacetime.

In the accompanying extracts about continental drift, we illustrate how many examples of symmetry exist within the composition and distribution of the land masses on Earth. The land masses (not only the continents) portray many examples of centro-symmetry, translation symmetry and reflective symmetry in their distribution and composition around the globe. As we penetrate different views of the distinct levels of the crust of the Earth, from that of the prima facie view of the land masses to the impenetrable depths of the ocean ridges, one is overwhelmed by the simplicity of the symmetries. In fact, in our view, the symmetries leap out at us, and we are surprised that no one in the fields of continental drift, plate tectonics and sea-floor spreading has called attention to the obvious patterns of symmetry shared by the land masses and the oceans.

Possibly no one is looking for such symmetries. If one works with the paradigmatic view that the continents are drifting, then one generally retains the idea that the drifting is randomly structured. The break-up of the super-continent was probably due to violent chaotic forces ripping apart the singular land mass in no particularly symmetrical way, and therefore, the products of that asymmetry are asymmetrical themselves. And, that is probably how most people (scientists and lay people alike) view the outline of the continents as the product of asymmetrical forces, with only a singular coincidence: that of the fit between the eastern coast of South America and the Western coast of Africa. For it is possible to think that a chaotic break-up of the super-continent might produce some coincidences here and there in the composition and distribution of the continents.

But, rarely would one even look for specific symmetries in the land masses and their formation or composition. The idea is simple enough. If symmetries exist, then the forces that ripped apart the super-continent are uniform in their effects, and there is no drifting as such.

The examples of perceived symmetry that we have identified and measured off on our illustrations in the extracts are far too many to repeat in this brief introduction to the theme. But, as one views the projected land masses on a Mercator map (or of similar kind) the central position of Africa, bounded on either side by the triangular shapes of the North and South American continents, and the Eurasian and Australian continents, is striking. Once the centro-symmetry of the continents is determined and employed as a perspective for viewing the land masses on Earth, then hundreds of other examples of land/water symmetries become outstanding.

It is our thesis that the many different forms of movement involved in the origin and composition of the Earth must all be taken into account to account for the nature of the land masses and water expanses on Earth. In the theses about continental drift, plate tectonics and sea-floor spreading note that the theses about the water expanses are absent or taken for granted. Continent drift refers to the land masses (the continents); plate tectonics involves the crust mass of the Earth; sea-floor spreading concentrates on a specific part of that crustal matter. There is no accompanying thesis about the water expanses.

There are few discussions about all the movements and forces going into the make-up of the land masses (crust) and water expanses, such as the Earth's rotation, revolution around the Sun, involvement with the gravity of the Moon, or its more complicated spiraling path around the Sun throughout the Galaxy. Any treatment and analysis of the birth and possible demise of the Earth must necessarily account for all of the movements involved in its origin, development and future.

As we view the composition and distribution of land masses and water expanses upon the face of the Earth, we are not surprised to find the twisted and spiraling patterns of symmetry among them. Our surprise comes as a result of asking ourselves, why has nothing been written about these spiraling patterns before. As we consider the varied movements of the Earth, in relation to its surroundings and environs in the Universe, the twisted, spiraling patterns of symmetry of the land masses and the water expanses are in fact a logical consequence thereof.

The oceanic ridges appear to be just as twisted and as spiraling as are the land masses. The ridges do not show a linear development, slowly drifting into any one direction, which might substantiate the extrapolations devised by many scientists about continental drift. The ridges, if existing as drawn on today's underwater atlases, reveal a twisted, spiraling zig-zag movement. The separate transform faults of the ridges portray a picture of the ridges moving but remaining relatively in situ. Just as the land masses portray movement, but appear to remain in situ on the whole.

The back-and-forth line of the volcanic ridges appears to follow the spiraling pattern of movement portrayed by the land masses. And, the land masses and the water expanses have cut out a logical picture of symmetry from wear and tear that would be acceptable to any perspective of erosion over the millions of years cited. The numerous land masses that reflect a distance of 45-47 degrees from tip to tip reflect the degrees of the Earth's inclination in relation to the Sun (47 degrees between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn). The eastern tip of South America is separated from the western corner of Africa's Cameroon (the baseline of the thesis of continental drift) by ca. 45 degrees. The southern tip of Australia is ca. 45 degrees from the center of Antarctica (the South Pole). These symmetrical events contribute to our understanding that the many movements of the Earth explain the composition and distribution of the land masses and the water expanses.

The supposed drifting of the continents, the complex movements of the various tectonic plates, the apparent spreading of the upper crust of the sea-floor, any and all of these ideas (erroneous or not) cannot explain the composition and distribution of the land masses and the bodies of water on Earth. In fact, these different aspects of the Earth's crust (the continents, the plates, the sea-floors) require explanation as of the rotating, revolving, spiraling movements of Earth throughout the Universe in relation to the Solar System and beyond. To think that three separate, albeit inextricably linked, aspects of the Earth's crust could explain the origin and existence of that crust represents a limited view of spacetime/movement. And, any theses resulting thereof represent a limited view of matter-energy.

We have retained the name of "continental drift" as an identifier for this Earth/matriX series. But, the fact is that the subject within these extracts is critical of the thesis about continental drift. We are rather proposing the need to study continental symmetry; symmetry in plate tectonics; symmetry in the sea-floor spreading, and symmetry within all the other matter-energy events related to these subjects. We are suggesting the study of the relationships that contribute to the ideas of continental drift, plate tectonics and sea-floor spreading:

the study of water expanses on Earth
the study of water currents
the rotation of the Earth
the spiraling orbital revolution of the Earth around the Sun
the Earth in relation to the solar system's path throughout the
the aspect of gravity in these relationships
the axial inclination of the Earth
the precession of the earth
and many other aspects that contribute to the themes cited in the title of this essay.

The proposal is made because the study of continental drift, plate tectonics, and sea-floor spreading are consequences of the subjects numerated above. The rotation of the Earth, its orbital revolution around the Sun and its spiraling path throughout the Galaxy are determining factors of those spacetime events. All of these subjects are evidently being studied by millions of people today. But, it would seem that the various subjects cited have not been related as they are within the Earth/matriX series offered in The Continental Drift Extracts. Some of the symmetries that are illustrated in this series may serve to interest others in more profound studies with greater resources.

Without sophisticated technologies at our disposal, we are unable to even begin to propose ideas that may explain the complexities being analyzed by these three fields of human endeavor. However, from our individual perspective we forward these comments in the hope that their analytical value may encourage others to consider additional perspectives in the analysis of the origin and composition of the Earth.

We have been studying ancient artwork. The case has been made before that the Great Pyramid of Egypt, a construction that defies interpretation, may have been built with some technological purpose in mind. A technological purpose that we have yet to discern. If one analyzes the location and mass of the Giza Complex of pyramids in Egypt in relation to the patterns of symmetry discerned in our studies, the idea arises that the Great Pyramid and its accompanying pyramidal structures may have a purpose linked to the symmetry of the continents.

Just imagine for a moment that the Giza Complex of pyramidal structures, along with all the other pyramidal structures around the world, were in place to balance out the symmetries of the land masses and the water expanses. Just suppose for a moment that the pyramid structures are a location device for correcting the Earth's wobble in order to maintain the equilibrium of the continental symmetries. The continents are not traveling towards a singular land mass, but rather there exists the need to balance out the wear and tear on the planet's land masses, and the pyramidal structures are a correction device in this sense.

Immediately, the reading is wondering how the ancients knew about the symmetrical imbalances between the land masses and the expanse of water on Earth. With that, we may observe that the idea about the equilibrium of the symmetry of the continental land masses is not alien to us. It is readily acceptable, and with that we know it requires an answer. The question is not to figure out how the continents are going to come together in an immense super-continent again 200 million years from now, but rather how to attain stability and equilibrium among the land masses and water expanses as they exist now.

How do we keep our planet from getting worn away to nothing. This idea is not even on the agenda. In fact, today, we are contributing to the demise of the land masses and to the oceans at only a suspected rate. We do not really know the amount of damage that we are inflicting upon the Earth from our own development. But, without a doubt, Mother Nature shall tell us in due time. We cannot escape from that. We need to shift paradigms away from continental drift and study the symmetries between land masses and water expanses on Earth. And we need to do this not for some feared purpose set 250 million years from now, but for what this means to our current way of life today.

We invite you to read the Earth/matriX series of

The Continental Drift Extracts.

Charles William Johnson, email:

©2003-2013 Copyrighted by Charles William Johnson. All rights reserved. Reproduction prohibited.

Continental Drift, Plate Tectonics
and Sea-Floor Spreading:
A Critical Commentary

8 June 2003
World Ocean Day
P.O. Box 231126, New Orleans LA 70183-112
©2003-2012 Copyrighted by Charles William Johnson.
All rights reserved. Reproduction prohibited.



Eventpoint Cosmogeography, a new study, opens up a distinct line of inquiry into the geography of the Earth.  Charles William Johnson, from Earth/matriX, Science Today, questions the theory of continental drift by examining the distances between geographical extreme points and selected cosmogeographical event points. The translation and centrosymmetries of geographical coordinate points suggest the fact that the continents undergo movement, but that they have not drifted randomly on the face of the Earth for the past 250 million years as proposed by Alfred Wegener nearly a century ago. The symmetry between extremepoints and eventpoints illustrated in this study suggests that continental drift theory must be reconsidered, possibly abandoned.

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Eventpoint Cosmogeography
A Study in Relating Event Point Cosmogeography and Extreme Point Geography

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Eventpoint Cosmogeography
The Earth's Crust-Mantle-Core Boundaries and Mean Plane of Motion

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The Mean Plane of Motion and the Crust-Mantle-Core Boundaries of Earth
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