PART V: CIVILIZATIONS
by Anthony Forwood (2011)
36: Earth Cataclysms
Major cataclysmic events, such as that of the biblical Flood or the sinking of the legendary continent of Atlantis, are still considered by the scientific establishment to have been purely mythical events, or otherwise greatly exaggerated and not actually having taken place quite in the manner or to the extent that they’ve been portrayed. In the last century, however, this view has begun to change as new scientific discoveries have given us many clues that offer a better understanding of the natural planetary events that have taken place in the past. The geological evidence that has accumulated to date suggests that these events may have been just as real and just as profound as so many ancient legends suggest. Further, it suggests that the supposedly mythical descriptions of the world prior to these events were very likely to have been more than just imaginary in nature.
For instance, scientific evidence reveals that our planet has gone through at least four mass extinctions in the past. The last of these wiped out the dinosaurs sixty-five million years ago. Prior to this, a mass extinction occurred about 215 million years ago, at the end of the Triassic period. Another one occurred about 360 million years ago, at the end of the Devonian period, and another one about 435 million years ago, at the end of the Ordovician period. It isn’t known for certain what caused any of these extinctions, but the last of them, which killed off the dinosaurs, is believed to have been caused by an asteroid strike. However, other possibilities are still open to debate.
We actually know very little for certain about our planet, the solar system, our Milky Way galaxy, or the universe beyond. Scientists are able to make little more than educated guesses as to how the Earth was formed, what its inner structure is like, and what outside influences might bear upon it. We have a few ideas about what might trigger major cataclysmic events on Earth’s surface, but we’re unable to determine which of them might ever occur, or when. All we really know with any certainty is that such events must have occurred in the past, and that they will undoubtedly occur again in the future.
Scientists have found evidence that the Earth’s magnetic poles have reversed a number of times in the past. Apart from many mammoths that have been found in Siberia, apparently flash-frozen with fresh semi-tropical plants still in their mouths, which have been dated to about 10,000 BC, other evidence of polar shifts is revealed in magnetized rock, which is naturally affected by the direction of the Earth’s magnetic field while the rock is still molten. When the rock cools and hardens, it records the direction of the magnetic field at the time of its formation.
The inner core of our planet basically consists of a very heavy ball of magnetized iron, nickel, and other heavy elements floating in liquid rock, with us humans living on its cooled and hardened outer crust. A pole reversal might be caused when this iron/nickel core shifts within the liquid rock, which could be caused by the gravitational pull of a passing celestial object. Such a shift in the core would create enough internal disturbances to very likely cause surface activity that could either be relatively mild and isolated, or very intense and globally catastrophic.
The evidence of pole reversals, captured in various rock strata from different time periods, tells us that a pole reversal occurred early in the Pleistocene age, about 700,000 years ago. Evidence also shows that an earlier reversal may have taken place about 2.5 million years ago. These two time periods are linked to the extinction of many of Earth’s previous life forms, and it’s believed that this mass extinction is at least partly due to the weakening of the Earth’s magnetic field, which normally helps to protect life from excessive cosmic radiation. Cosmic radiation is also believed to cause the mutations that result in entirely new forms of life. Other geological evidence of more recent pole shifting is found in magnetized rock that dates such shifts at around 7640 BC and 3100 BC. These two latter dates are significant, because they line up very closely with the dates of planetary cataclysms we would expect to find based on what the Sumerian records suggest, and they explain both the absence of a large fossil record prior to this period and the sudden rise of our own first great civilizations with their advanced knowledge already intact.
And there is, of course, a large amount of evidence that indicates that our planet went through at least one ice age that’s estimated to have begun over a hundred thousand years ago, and which ended only about twelve thousand years ago. What caused the Earth to go through this ice age period is still not certain, and scientists can only speculate, but there’s nevertheless an abundance of evidence that shows that a large part of the Earth was once covered by thick glaciers where there are none today, and that landmasses have risen and fallen in relatively short periods of time. As we’ll see, this last ice age may have been the result of the Earth tilting on its axis of spin more and more towards ninety degrees so that either the northern or southern hemisphere was always turned away from the Sun. This hemisphere would have had a very cold climate year round while the opposite hemisphere would have had a very warm climate year round. As time went on, more and more of Earth’s water would become locked up in glaciers that would grow extremely massive, their weight bearing down increasingly on the Earth’s crust in the cooler hemisphere. Eventually, this weight would cause enough stress on the Earth’s crust to cause its tectonic plates to buckle and shift, with earthquakes and volcanic activity resulting. The glacial ice sheets, having extended beyond coastlines and reaching far out over the ocean waters, would suddenly break off under their own weight, causing monster-tsunamis. The release of this ice and its relatively quick melting in the warmer ocean waters would raise sea levels, and the large areas of open ocean where glacial ice once reflected away the Sun’s heat would then be able to absorb that heat, and Earth’s temperatures would begin to slowly rise.
Whatever it was that occurred, whether an ice age, a pole shift, both, or something else entirely, it would very probably have been preceded, accompanied, or followed by other extreme cataclysmic events.
The sort of natural events that might occur during a planetary cataclysm, such as earthquakes, volcanic activity, extreme weather conditions, tsunamis and floods, are all effects of some larger event that triggers them, and although we don’t know for certain what might have triggered such cataclysmic events in the past, we can make a number of educated guesses. The most common suggestion is that such cataclysms have been triggered by either an asteroid strike or by a near-passing comet. Either of these is totally unpredictable, and can arrive with such suddenness that there would be little time to do anything to prepare – not that there is a great deal that one could do in the face of such a catastrophe.
A less common, but no less supportable hypothesis that’s been put forward by a number of people, including the Sumerians, is that another otherwise unknown planet in our own solar system might occasionally pass close enough to affect our planet. This hypothesis deserves serious consideration because, as we’ve seen in earlier parts of this book, there’s actually quite a bit of historical evidence to support it. This topic will be covered in some detail in the last part of this book, where we’ll see that there is even a relatively large amount of physical evidence that indicates that such a planet actually exists.
If a large enough comet or asteroid – or even another planet – passes close enough to Earth, its gravitational pull could cause tidal waves that would be large enough to wipe out all coastal regions on the planet for hundreds of miles inland. It’s even possible for such a massive celestial object to cause a shift in the Earth’s magnetic poles, which might cause a rapid shifting of Earth’s tectonic plates. A relatively small asteroid striking Earth could have similar effects, very possibly affecting the entire planet. The asteroid that’s believed to have struck our planet sixty-five million years ago and wiped out the dinosaurs is estimated to have been little more than six miles in diameter. Thousands of asteroids of this size or bigger are flying around in our solar system, and any one of them could hit our Earth at any time. Many of these are continuously tracked in case they might pose a danger, but many more have yet to be located in the vastness of our solar system.
A large solar flare is another possible cause of cataclysmic events. Solar flares are highly electromagnetic, and could conceivably cause a shift in the magnetic poles by actually pulling them into a new position within the planet’s core. Apart from that, a large solar flare could certainly cause extreme weather changes, including intense electrical storms, hurricane winds, tsunamis, extreme temperatures, damage from solar radiation, and even geological disturbances of the Earth’s mantle, resulting in major volcanic activity and earthquakes.
Whatever the cause, whether a celestial object, a solar flare, or anything else, major catastrophes could be triggered on a global scale, throwing most of the planet’s surface areas into major upheavals. Most or all of life on Earth would be in extreme jeopardy of perishing, and it’s unlikely that more than a very small fraction of it would survive through such changes. This would be as much a threat to humans as it would be to any other earthly creature, in spite of all the knowledge and technology we might currently have at our disposal. Much of that technology – which we’ve become so dependent on – would be rendered completely and permanently useless in such an event.
With major earthquakes, volcanic activity, tsunamis, and extreme weather conditions, the entire globe and all life on it would be severely affected. The safest areas, far inland and away from prominent tidal effects and major earthquake zones, would be little safer than anywhere else, since just the effects of the weather on its own would throw even these areas into major turmoil. Volcanic ash would cover much of the planet in a thick blanket that would obliterate the sun and sky for a long time, possibly for years. This would cause a rapid greenhouse effect as the Earth’s heat became trapped under this heavy cloud of black dust and smoke. Evaporating water from the increased heat would raise the humidity and create black ash-filled clouds that would rain down a thick muck that would cover everything that was exposed to it. The soot and ash caused by the volcanic activity would literally choke the planet, making the air virtually unbreathable. To make matters worse, the air would be filled with excessive noxious gasses such as methane, sulfuric oxide, and carbon monoxide, released from the inner Earth by the activity of volcanic eruptions. Because of the blocked sunlight and toxic atmosphere, almost all plant life would quickly die off, leaving us and most other life forms extremely short on food sources.
Weather conditions would become extremely violent, with storms of monster proportions, including hurricane force winds that would sweep across large areas and leave utter devastation in their wake. Extreme lightning effects would cause millions of acres of forests to burn worldwide, adding further smoke and ash to an already choked atmosphere. These depleted forest areas would have an effect on the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, causing further problems. The heavy storms would cause intense rain and flooding in areas not already hit by tidal destruction, making much of the once-habitable land a swampy mess that would be almost impossible to navigate through, keeping any survivors trapped and isolated.
Earth upheavals would not just consist of the relatively small and isolated earthquakes that we’re familiar with, but would be on a much larger scale and occurring in many areas simultaneously, and even causing whole continental plates to rapidly shift and buckle. The fault lines along the perimeters of these continental plates would experience the greatest upheavals, and it’s not unlikely that an area like that encompassing the westernmost parts of the United States, which sit on the edge of a major fault line where two tectonic plates meet, could be completely swallowed up by such tectonic shifting. And although earthquakes are normally unheard of in those areas that are far removed from the fault lines where tectonic plates join, they could still be susceptible to earthquakes in such a situation, and the destruction could still be nearly as intense. Our planet’s crust is riddled with huge cavernous pockets that could conceivably cave in on themselves, swallowing great portions of surface areas and burying them deep beneath the Earth’s surface.
After the initial cataclysmic trigger had passed, earthquakes and volcanic activity would eventually cease, as well as the resulting tsunamis, but the resulting weather conditions would take much longer to settle down, and not before causing further destruction across the surface of the entire planet. Conditions would slowly level off over time and the slow process of environmental restabilization would then begin. During this period, the Earth could very well settle into an ice age as part of its final renewal as a temporarily inhabitable planet, or it might go super-tropical due to a greenhouse effect, or it might even become a dead planet just as Mars has become.
In effect, if and when a globally cataclysmic event takes place, our planet would undergo severe upheavals that would result in a long period of extremely harsh conditions that would virtually obliterate any civilization that had existed and reduce the human population to only a small number of the most able survivors, no matter how advanced the civilization might once have been. All that might be left of human civilization, depending on the amount of prior warning, the extent of the upheavals, and the proliferation of that civilization on the planet, could be nothing more than a very few scattered remnants, the rest buried in places that even with our modern technologies we still can’t go. In later ages, those few relics of such a long past civilization that happened to be found wouldn’t be understood for what they were, and would perhaps be regarded as anomalies in the archeological record, or they might otherwise be misidentified so that they fit within our perceived understandings, whether or not this might be done purposefully.
That such a planetary catastrophe can happen is inarguable. That it has already happened a number of times in the past is undoubtedly true, although many people don’t understand that it can happen again at any moment or they don’t want to believe that it can, for whatever reason.
Even harder to understand and believe is the possibility that our human history is much different than we’ve been taught to believe, and may extend much farther back in time than we realize. Anthropologists tell us that we only recently evolved from primitive hunter-gatherers to civilized societies beginning less than about ten thousand years ago, and they base this belief on Darwinian evolutionary theory and the preponderance of evidence in the archeological record that seems to support it, but with a certain blindness to anything else that might indicate a different story. There certainly are many signs that humans lived for a long time in relatively primitive conditions both during and just after the last ice age, and very little evidence to show otherwise, but the hard fact is that there is evidence that does show otherwise, and this throws the entire archeological record and our human history into serious question.
As we’ve already seen, scientists have tried to downplay and even suppress any evidence that doesn’t fit the consensus view that humans have only recently evolved from their primitive status where stone tools were our greatest technological advancement. As long as we ignore the anomalous evidence that happens to exist, this consensus view makes a great deal of sense. However, if this contrary evidence is taken into consideration, as it should be, a very different picture emerges.
When we temporarily suspend our common understanding that we’ve only recently evolved from a primitive existence, and instead consider that cataclysmic events such as we’ve just described have occurred in our past, we can begin to understand the various anomalies that have so far been ignored or suppressed as our scientists attempt to piece together a more accurate picture of our past. When we understand that the face of our planet can be totally changed in a relatively short time, causing virtually every sign of any past civilizations to be swallowed up or otherwise erased, then it becomes much easier to comprehend why we don’t find very much evidence of these past civilizations, and why there would instead be a preponderance of evidence of only a primitive human existence in the aftermath of such cataclysmic events. The only signs of anything from an advanced civilization would be those things that were not washed away or otherwise obliterated by the effects of such a disaster – such as the heaviest stone structures that those earlier peoples had erected.
Survivors of a global cataclysm would be quickly reduced from whatever level of advancement they had previously attained to virtual cave-man status. The struggle to survive would continue for many generations before any noticeable advancements might be made, and living in small groups in primitive shelters and subsisting by hunting and gathering would become the norm. This would continue for many lifetimes, rather than just one or even a few. In fact, these primitive conditions could very well continue for many thousands of years, allowing a record of this primitive period of our history to build up within the Earth, just as we see in the archeological record today regarding our ancestors who lived after the last ice age.
It needs to be realized that even over only one or two generations, much of our learned knowledge would be lost. Unless we were able to document what we personally knew and remembered, very little of it could be preserved and passed on to the newer generations. Some things might be preserved from surviving books and paper documents that might be found in the aftermath of a global cataclysm, but for the most part, life would be just too hard to be spending much time providing the newer generations with anything more than a very rudimentary education to help them survive. Nobody would be spending much time learning about biology, or chemistry, or electronics, or astrophysics, or advanced mathematics, or any other field of knowledge that’s integral to our current level of advancement as a society. Even basic reading and writing skills would be taught to only a small portion of the first new generations, and these skills might quickly become lost as well unless each succeeding generation were educated in these basic skills. This problem would not only result in a definite and drastic decline in the extent of our current knowledge-base, but also a decline in the level of our understanding of the concepts required to fully appreciate that knowledge. In other words, we’d soon have almost none of the conceptions of the world around us that we have today. With most of the new generations being illiterate, written knowledge would be useless, and might even be destroyed in ignorance of its value. We’d still be at an advantage to our primitive forebears, at least for a few generations, but how long that might last is uncertain. It’s not inconceivable that we’d sink back to about the same technological state that we were in prior to the beginning of our first recorded civilization. Although we might still be able to put some of our still-surviving technologies to use, we’d be left with little or no knowledge of how they worked, and once they broke down, we wouldn’t be able to repair them again.
With new generations in the aftermath having never experienced any of the modern conveniences we currently take for granted, and having little knowledge about many things that we know today and which are integral to our current level of advancement as a civilization, they would be forced to relearn many things all over again.
Over a very short time of only a few generations, our remaining technologies would come to resemble magic, and those who still retained knowledge of how to operate them might be seen as magicians, or even as gods.
We’ve already considered certain evidence that indicates that a civilization of some advancement may have once existed on our planet in prehistoric times. Let’s now consider some further issues, so that we have a fairly clear perspective on what may have taken place prior to our earliest known history, and what may again be ahead for us in the very near future.