Deep Magma Can't Rise but Sinks: The Crossover Depth!

* Magma Below the "Crossover Depth" Can't Rise: Real Science Radio hosts Bob Enyart and Fred Williams chat with aerospace/defense industry mechanical engineer Bryan Nickel on the physics of deep magma plumes. Why? Why in the world would anyone care about deep magma plumes? Well, because if the laws of physics can be trusted (which they can), then deep magma (below 220 miles) can sink, but it cannot rise. That means that the theory of plate tectonics is false, and so is any creation model based on plate tectonics. Just as "theistic" evolution is based on secular evolution, and wrong (see, so to "Catastrophic" plate tectonics is based on the secular theory, and wrong (see The guys talk through three problems for PT & CPT, and a fourth for CPT, and then urge the listener to check our Dr. Walt Brown's global flood model called the Hydroplate Theory.

* The Video that Started It All: On today's RSR program the guys discuss this Magma video. Thanks! Also, toward the end of this video, a notice points viewers to this page and to the Kevin Lea video embedded just below this one:

* Hear, See, and Read RSR's Related Resources:
- Fountains of MAGMA (?) of the Great Deep. Huh?
- Deep Magma Can't Rise: The Crossover Depth! (this show)
Hotspot Hypothesis (for Hawaii, etc.) Widely Discredited
Plate Tectonics: Subduction Doesn't Happen 
- Plate Tectonics: Convection Doesn't Happen
- Catastrophic Plate Tectonics Miracles
- Bible verses uniquely supporting various flood models
Physical features crying out for explanation.

* Pasted from our program:  

* "Crossover Depth" Falsifies CPT & AiG AnimationBelow 220 miles, called the "crossover depth", melted rock greatly compresses and so would not rise but sink. So aside from the biblical error of claiming that the fountains of the great deep were not water but magma, a physics error is that CPT has the magma impossibly rising through 1,800 miles of mantle up to the crossover depth. This and many other powerful scientific observations falsify catastrophic plate tectonics, AiG's animation, and also plate tectonics. (Just like the public hears very little about dinosaur soft tissue, because it exposes the falsity of old-earth paleontology, so too, the public hears little about the crossover depth, because it exposes the falsity of plate tectonics. See also and Consider further, the magma just beneath the mantle is approximately double the density of the mantle's solid rock that is sitting just inches above the liquid outer core.

The main reason for the sharp boundary between the liquid outer core and the solid mantle is the difference in density. And again, by the laws of physics that magma cannot rise through the nearly 1600 miles from the core up to the crossover depth, as claimed by Answers in Genesis, Plate Tectonics, and the Catastrophic Plate Tectonics theory. Geologists are not physicists; they've developed many stories that somewhat match their worldview and that somewhat match the data, but the harder part is getting those stories to fit in with the laws of physics, which they do not. 

Further, if magma melted a path from the core up to the crust, its path could possibly be detectable today with seismic tomography. That now solidified path should have a sharp density contrast with the rest of the mantle. (Long, thin, straight lines are easy to detect. (Recall seeing from an airplane or satellite photos roads in jungles or bridges over rivers.) It seems that none of the theory authors of Catastrophic Plate Tectonics have ever predicted that such a path might be detectable. Contrast that with the many predictions made by Dr. Walt Brown, author of the Hydroplate Theory. See for those, and for the many confirmations of stunning HPT-informed predictions.

The sad shocker of our program is that creation groups are reinterpreting the "fountains of the great deep" to refer not to water but to volcanoes. So our beloved creation movement is headed down yet another tragic and obvious dead end, this one designed to save the failed creationist version of the secular Plate Tectonics theory, by claiming that the fountains of the great deep that flooded the globe were not water... but magma??? Oh boy! Here we go again...

* On Thermodynamics and Rising Magma: Consider also, to melt a path upward through the entire mantle and crust, rising magma loses heat to its surroundings. The magma would solidify long before it reached the crust. In a private conversation with Dr. Brown, RSR learned that in the 1980s he did a brief study for a geology professor, Troy Pewe, who happened to be a member of the National Academy of Sciences (and a good friend of Walt's friend, one of the father's of plate tectonics and the one who coined the misnomer, "seafloor spreading", Bob Dietz). The question answered was, How large would a plume of magma have to be to melt its way to the surface of the earth (assuming it would rise). It turns out that such a plume would lose so much heat that it would have to be bigger than the Earth to melt its way all the way up to the surface! Though the results stunned him, Dr. Pewe did not dispute the calculations. And further, of course the speed of the rising magma would be an important variable, because the slower it rises the more heat is lost to surrounding rock. Question: If the speed at which magma would rise from the core is zero mph, how long would it take to reach the surface?

* Reading Dr. Walt Brown's 1,000+ Scientific References: As RSR host Bob Enyart read Dr. Brown's book through for the second time, he read every one of Walt's references. Among those, on this topic, you can find the following: 

Calculations are sometimes put forth in an attempt to show that plumes can rise through the mantle. Usually assumed are unrealistically low values for the mantle’s viscosity and density or unrealistically high values for the plume’s initial temperature and volume. These claims take the position, "We know flood basalts came from the outer core (where most magma resides), so here is how it must have happened." Others, looking at the physics involved and using the most reasonable numbers, admit they don’t understand how enormous volumes of flood basalts could rise through the mantle. My calculations show that a magma plume rising buoyantly and melting its way up from the core-mantle boundary would initially have to exceed the earth's volume for just one drop of magma to reach the earth’s surface. Others, cited below, have reached similar conclusions.

- "A simple calculation shows that if ascent is governed by Stoke’s law, then the great viscosity of the lithosphere (about 1025 poise, if it is viscous at all) ensures that the ascent velocity will be about ten thousand times smaller than that necessary to prevent solidification. A successful ascent could be made only by unrealistically large bodies of magma." Bruce D. Marsh, "Island-Arc Volcanism," Earth’s History, Structure and Materials, editor Brian J. Skinner (Los Altos, California: William Kaufman, Inc., 1980), p. 108.

- "The question of where the magma comes from and how it is generated are the most speculative in all of volcanology." Gordon A. Macdonald, Volcanoes (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1972), p. 399.

- "All the evidence that has been used so far to support the plume model—geochemical, petrological, thermal, topographic—is equivocal at best, if indeed not contrary. The plume idea is ad hoc, artificial, unnecessary, inadequate, and in some cases even self-defeating, and should be abandoned." H. C. Sheth, "Flood Basalts and Large Igneous Provinces from Deep Mantle Plumes: Fact, Fiction, and Fallacy," Tectonophysics, Vol. 311, 30 Sept. 1999, p. 23.

- "There are no chemical or isotopic data that require deep- plume origins or anomalously high temperatures, and no reliable seismic-tomography results have ever revealed a plume." Gillian R. Foulger and Warren B. Hamilton, “Plume Hypothesis Challenged,” Nature, Vol. 505, 30 Jan. 2014, p. 618.

- "Deep narrow thermal plumes are unnecessary and are precluded by uplift and subsidence data. The locations and volumes of ‘midplate’ volcanism appear to be controlled by lithospheric architecture, stress and cracks." Don L. Anderson, "The Thermal State of the Upper Mantle; No Role for Mantle Plumes," Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 27, 15 Nov. 2000, p. 3623.

Above the crossover depth of 220 miles, magma actually does rise, but it does so primarily through faults, not plumes. Magma rises along faults a million times faster because rising as a plume presents, "severe thermal and mechanical problems." Add to this observation another from our own page, "the theory of plate tectonics begins with plates already in existence, and has no mechanism for the initial breaking of the crustal plates." While it may not be generally realized that the change in the volume of magma as it rises and sinks is the primary cause of shallow and deep earthquakes, geologists do agree that an earthquake is a sudden slippage along a preexisting fracture—a fault. Yet it takes much greater forces and energy to produce the preexisting fractures than to produce the slippage. So, what created the tens of thousands of fractures? Plate tectonics theory only tries to explain earthquakes that occur at plate boundaries, when plates rub against each other, but again, it never explains how those plate boundariesfractures occurred. Further, most earthquakes occur inside or below plates and not at plate boundaries!

The hydroplate theory of the global flood provides an explicit mechanism for breaking of the major plates and for the crushed crustal rock found globally. Gigantic shifts of mass during the flood produced a myriad of fractures through earth’s crust and mantle. These shifts included the 1,400-mile widening by erosion of the 46,000-mile-long, 60-mile-deep rupture, the deposition of eroded sediments, the uplift of the Atlantic floor and the corresponding subsidence on the opposite side of the earth, the formation of earth’s core, and the compression event. (See!) Of course, the many flood basalts around the world could not be produced without the preexisting faults for the lava to travel through and spill out of. Abutting the RSR studio to the east, the comparatively small Colorado Plateau has thousands of faults which geologists have mapped without knowing how they were formed nor how the plates initially broke apart. A biblically-based understanding of the global flood provides satisfying answers to these and hundreds of other significant questions.

* Crossover Depth Homeschool Science Experiment: For children, from Ellen McHenry's Hydroplate Theory for Kids, check out this Crossover Depth demonstration!

* Geologists who Reject the Existence of Magma Plumes:

  • Warren B. Hamilton, PhD, Penrose recipient, senior scientist Colorado School of Mines (incidentally, Bob preps for his RSR programs at his favorite cafe at Mines)
  • H. C. Sheth
  • Don L. Anderson
  • Scott D. King
  • Alan D. Smith
  • Charles Lewis
  • Robert van der Hilst

On magma plumes, Dr. Hamiton, 43-year veteran of the U.S. Geological Survey, author of over 100 peer-reviewed papers, Distinguished Senior Scientist, Geophysics Department, Colorado School of Mines, recipient of the closest award to a Nobel Prize in geology, the Penrose Medal, wrote:

Different rules of evidence apply to current paradigms than to challengers. For current paradigms, evaluation is not necessary, for challengers, proof must be overwhelming before even a discussion is warranted. Appalling papers in support of mantle plumes are now being published in major journals, perhaps indicating that pro-plume reviewers will welcome any debris that will heighten the rampart against a paradigm shift.

Suppression of dissent is common. I know of many examples of prominent members of the pro-plume community stifling anti-plume reports and research. Although these stiflers might tell themselves that they are maintaining professional standards, "bad science" to them means anything contrary to their own beliefs. Many reviewers block grants to, and prevent publication by, anyone who holds a contrary view.

Widely accepted assumptions regarding the composition and behavior of the mantle appear to be in error, yet evaluation of alternatives is actively discouraged. The present enthusiasm for plumes represents groupthink that is easily falsified and yet is impervious to evidence. The fact that we are scientists confers no infallibility upon us, and our egos often lead us astray.

Prof. H. C. Sheth's Bombay's Indian Institute of Technology Bombay and specialist on the Deccan flood basalt provinces, as recently as 1997 supported the plume theory but by 1998 he had made a complete reversal writing in Elsevier's Tectonophysics:

Superficially the mantle plume explanation seems attractive and has had a tremendous appeal. However, its numerous built-in fallacies, contradictions and failings are unfortunately little discussed in much of the current literature, and it has acquired the status of an unchallengeable dogma and an obvious fact (VII p. 2).

Few predictions and requirements of the mantle plume model seem to be fulfilled in the actual geology” (VII p. 20).

The plume idea is ad hoc, artificial, unnecessary, inadequate, and in some cases even self-defeating, and should be abandoned (VII p. 23).

The popular and widespread notion that hotspot tracks are simply the products of one or more plumes beneath moving plates is actually far from reality (VII p. 22).

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