How Prehistoric Glaciers Could Have Been Formed Part 4
Written by Jerry Krause PhD (Chemistry)
Abstract: In this essay I attempt to regroup. I do this by reviewing two factors (the centrifugal effect and impulse) to possibly explain how a prehistoric glacier which melted a little south of 45o North latitude (45N) could have gotten there.
For less than a few hundred yards south of the barn, on the farm (44.75N, 96.77W) where I lived for my first 20 plus years of life, were several large erratic boulders. About this there can be no question.
The obvious factor, as already stated, is that it has to snow a lot to form a thick sheet of snow and ice capable of moving large boulders. Another is the Arctic Ocean (AO); somewhat centered on the North Pole (NP), and which extends to near the boundary of the Arctic Circle (AC) at about 67N. We also have proposed there needs to be heat (energy) to evaporate a lot of water to form a lot of snow which falls on the landmasses to the south of the AO. So, we have reviewed that there is evidence of significant volcanic activity beneath the AO to possibly provide this necessary energy.
The movements of all glaciers being observed today are caused by gravity as these glaciers are formed by snow at high elevations after which snow and ice ultimately slide down slopes to lower elevations.
I have questioned why it has been proposed that these prehistoric glaciers of the North Hemisphere (NH) had thicknesses maybe as great as two miles. Maybe the reasoning has been that this thickness is necessary to provide a necessary slope to slide the glaciers to 45N?
There is a factor, about which I cannot remember as reading, relative to glaciers, that I propose could help move ice sheets of a more modest thickness to 45N. This factor is the centrifugal effect. This factor is the result of the observed fact that the Earth does not stand still. Instead it rotates about the NP: the cause of the centrifugal effect which can only pull matter toward lower latitudes.
However, when I began to review what I knew about the Earth, there appeared a problem. Without going into details, it is known that the circumference of the equator is significantly greater that the circumference of the great circle that passes through the poles. This observed difference between these two circumferences seemed to be unquestionable evidence that there had to be a significant upward slope of the earth’s surface from the poles to the equator. Hence, it seemed that this slope was balancing the influence of the centrifugal effect. Hence, I could not use the centrifugal effect to move glaciers to 45N. It just kept the glaciers from sliding back toward the NP.
I finally asked myself: What am I assuming that might not be the truth (correct)? Which question, given my recent blatant wrong assumption, should always be asked. I had been assuming each of the two circumferences was of a sphere. Which obviously, given the two different circumferences, the earth is not. The earth is an ellipsoid; or as I discovered, a spheroid.
“A sphere is based on a circle, while a spheroid (or ellipsoid) is based on an ellipse. A spheroid, or ellipsoid, is a sphere flattened at the poles.” (Wikipedia) Another way this could be stated is: that the curvature of the earth’s surface is greater at the equator than it is at its poles. Hence, I can use the centrifugal effect to move the ice sheet as well as the AC’s atmosphere and any of its clouds toward 45N.
Another seldom mentioned factor of physics is impulse—force times the time the force is active—which in the case of gravity and the centrifugal effect is continuously. Newton noted the importance of impulse upon the very elliptical orbits of comets which approached the sun so closely that the incoming comet can become an outgoing comet in little more than a day (24 hours). For he wrote that the greater gravity of Jupiter and the massive planets beyond Jupiter did not have much influence upon these comet’s orbits as the comets passed by these planets because their gravities at this time had little time to the influence the movement of the comet. Instead, it could be the much weaker forces of these planets which might influence the comet’s future path because of the long period of time involved as the comet very slowly moved at the outer edge of our solar system.
Relative to the possible movement of a massive ice sheet by the centrifugal effect, we must recognize that first the horizontal influence of the centrifugal effect increases as the distance from the pole increases and then begins to decrease as the vertical influence of the centrifugal effect increases as the distance from the pole increases. A good logician, which I am not, could calculate at what latitude the vertical component of the CE would become equal to its horizontal component.
Relative to the ice sheet which melted and left erratic boulder on our farm’s field, the present elevation of the land for hundreds of miles to the north increases from Hudson Bay to about 50 miles north of our farm and lesser number of miles to 45N.
My point is that either the snow had to build a mountain for a downward slope for the glacier to slide southward or it had to build a far less thick base to level the playing field and to allow the centrifugal effect to slide the ice sheet southward to 45N. Or, more likely it could have been a combination of these two factors which could decrease the amount of snow fall necessary.
I am not imagining the existence of the erratic boulders at my family’s farm. They require an explanation. And anyone is free to comment with their ideas.
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