It is the greatest discovery in method which science has made that the apparently trivial, the merely curious, may be clues to an understanding of the deepest principles of nature.
Thus far, three categories of evidence have been cited concerning the former existence of a tenth planet, a small Pluto-sized body. Pluto's diameter is listed at 1,375 miles; Astra's diameter may have been 200 miles greater. That tiny planet was on a collision course with Mars, and fragmented on Mars' Roche Limit. Its fragments created a hemisphere of craters, accounting for more than 85% of all of the Martian craters. But that fragmentation created something more.
The three categories of evidence on the fragmentation of Astra discussed to this point are (a) the gross imbalance in the uneven distribution of craters on Mars, (b) the giant Hellas Crater in the bulls eye zone of the Clobbered Hemisphere, and (c) the rim where the density of craters drops off markedly and obviously.
That tiny tenth former planet needs a name. In astronomy, by tradition, discoverers are given the privilege of naming their discovery(ies) The name "Astra" is hereby nominated; it is cognate with asteroids, one of the main products of this fragmenting event. Also traditionally, the name of a new planet has come from Greek celestial mythology. Uranus, Neptune, Pluto.
In Chapter 6 there is a discussion of Greek mythology and the role therein of the Greek deity, Astra. Information there about Astra and her sojourn in the heavens will add a second reason to nominate the name "Astra."
The fourth in this series of clues isn't even in the Clobbered Hemisphere, where the Hellas Fragment hit. It is more or less opposite to the giant Hellas Crater, in the middle of the Serene Hemisphere. It is (d) the Tharsis Bulge.
The Tharsis Bulge of Mars geologically is considered to be a "shield" It is a bulge that is assessed by Moore and Hunt to be 5,000 km. (over 3,100 miles) broad. This diameter, if Moore and Hunt are correct, represents 23% of the circumference of Mars and 46% of the circumference of the Serene Hemisphere.
The height of the Tharsis Bulge is 23,000 feet above the surrounding plain. As it is with the Hellas Crater, the largest crater in this Solar System, so it is with the Tharsis Bulge. It, too, is the biggest bulge among the planets that have solid surfaces.
Evidence # 4 - The Tharsis Bulge
The giant Hellas Crater is located near to the center of the "Clobbered Hemisphere", or "Battered and Blasted Hemisphere." Apparently it was caused by a fragment almost the size of the largest asteroid, Ceres, which is 625 miles in diameter. The Hellas fragment created a huge crater, slightly elliptical, with a short diameter of 920 miles and a long diameter of 980 miles. In addition, the Hellas Fragment created a general indentation in the Clobbered Hemisphere.
Since Hellas Planitia is near the center of the Clobbered Hemisphere, this huge fragment must have hit Mars a direct blow, not a glancing blow. A foundation will be laid in a coming chapter to establish its velocity, 25,000 mph. This is 420 mp minute, and 7 mph second.
The crust of Mars is estimated at 20 miles thick, an opinion for which a foundation will be laid shortly. Thus the Hellas fragment penetrated entirely through the front crust of Mars, at a high velocity, and plowed into and almost through the fluid magma of Mars. It may be that the back crust, with a better angle of curvature, was what stopped the Hellas Fragment from going entirely through Mars.
Evidence will appear in a coming chapter indicating that both Astra and its fragments had spin rates, rapid spin rates, in addition to an orbital velocity of 25,000 mph. Depending on its diameters, the Hellas Fragment may have contained 25 to 50 million cubic miles of rocky material.
Once beyond the crust and into the hot magma soup of Mars, the Hellas Fragment created sudden, immense pressure waves. Pressure waves were in the front of the plunging Hellas. Shear waves were also involved; they were perpendicular to the direction of the plunging Hellas. Thus the entire inside of the Serene Hemisphere suddenly suffered immense pressures. It bulged, apparently where the crust was the thinnest and the weakest.
The Tharsis Bulge is located within 30° of being opposite to the Hellas Crater. It probably represents the region in the Serene Hemisphere where the crust was thinnest and weakest. It was where the crust was first to yield to the new sudden immense pressure. The inner side of the crust of the Serene Hemisphere yielded up 23,000 feet, over 4 miles, which is the height of the bulge.
Thus, the Hellas Fragment was unable to pass clear through Mars, but it was able to do ample damage; it suddenly thrust up the broad Tharsis Bulge. This bulge began to rise within 90 minutes of when Astra fragmented.
Moore and Hunt indicate the breadth of Tharsis is 3,100 miles, and its
height is 23,000 feet above the surrounding terrain. (There is no
mean sea level on Mars.) They describe the Tharsis Bulge as follows.
Tharsis Region. This region includes the most prominent volcanoes on Mars. The contours outline the Syria Rise, an enormous bulge in the Martian crust 5,000 km [3,100 miles] across and 7 km high [4.35 miles or 23,000 feet]. This bulge is the site of Ascraeus Mons, Pavonis Mons and Arsia Mons. [n1]
Mars is a small planet compared to the Earth. Its mass is only 10.7% of our planet's mass. Measuring from the Earth's sea level, the elevation of Tharsis exceeds all the peaks of the mighty Andes including Aconcagua, at 22,834 feet. The elevation of the Tharsis Bulge also exceeds all except the highest 22 peaks of the mighty Himalayas.
Were Tharsis on the Earth, its top would be in rarefied air. At 23,000 feet, three-fourths of the Earth's atmosphere is below. At 23,000 feet, barometric pressure is only 25% that of sea level. But Mars has no sea level and it has less than 1%, as much atmosphere as the Earth.
The Tharsis Bulge dominates the physical geography of the Serene Hemisphere of Mars. On it are the six largest volcanoes in the Solar System. The next six largest are in the region of the Elysium Bulge, the second bulge in the red planet's Serene Hemisphere.
The Probable Thickness Of The Crust Of Mars
Figure 4 illustrates the plunging Hellas Fragment. It encountered, successively, first the front crust of Mars, second, its hot magma interior, and perhaps third, its back crust. Crustal thickness on Mars is at issue in understanding both this bulge, and the giant volcanoes thereon. Its thickness indicates the resistance, of the front crust of the Hemisphere of the Clobbered Crust, to plunging large fragments like Hellas, Isidis, Argyre and also the smaller fragments. And it may indicate the resistance of the back crust of the Serene Hemisphere, denying Hellas a passage entirely through the red planet.
The crust of the Earth is considered to average ten to twelve miles in thickness. It is also considered to be elastic and flexible up to a point. It has an elastic-plastic threshold beyond which it will tear, but that threshold is never approached in this modern serene age.
The crust of Mars is considered to be thicker and more rigid, and much less elastic for several reasons. First, Mars is made of lighter materials than is the Earth. Earth's density is 5.52, Mars' density is 3.93 (and water is 1.0) The density of the crust of Mars is only 72% of the Earth's crust.
On Mars, as in the Earth's crust, temperatures rise going down vertically. But in going down, to where the temperatures can melt crust, temperatures rise only 70% as fast on Mars. Temperatures must rise to 3000° F. to liquefy the crustal materials such as silica and alumina.
Second, Mars is farther from the Sun by 52% than is the Earth. Hence its crust is colder at the beginning. Temperatures on the cold surface of Mars average -90° F. On a square mile to square mile basis, the surface of Mars receives only 43% as much radiation from the Sun as does the Earth. During the 24-hour 37-minute night, surface temperatures of -250° F. are common. So the surface of Mars has an average temperature of about 130° F. colder than the crust of our planet.
Third, Mars has almost no atmosphere. The Earth has an atmosphere that absorbs and retains a significant part of the heat that the Earth radiates to space. It is called captured radiation. The atmosphere of Mars captures very little radiation from the surface of Mars.
Fourth, Mars has only 55 million square miles of surface; the Earth has 196 million. Thus, Mars has 28% as much surface as does the Earth, but it has only 11% as much mass as the Earth. Smaller planets with more surface per unit of mass radiate heat back into space more efficiently than do larger planets like the Earth and Venus.
This is why surface temperatures on Mars rise and plunge so rapidly, as much as 300° F. in a 24-hour period. At night, temperatures on Mars can drop 20+° F. per hour. Thus very cold temperatures penetrate to considerable depths in the crust of Mars. The crust of Mars is estimated to be 20 miles thick.
Fifth, the crust of Mars has a smaller radius of curvature than does the Earth's crust. Beyond the accelerated radiation factor, this gives the crust of Mars an added stiffness factor - a rigid inflexibility - that is not characteristic of the Earth's crust.
Thus Mars has both a thicker crust and a more rigid crust. Both features will make it more difficult for fragments of Astra to penetrate its crust than if they hit the surface of the Earth. However, it is clear that at least three fragments of Astra penetrated into the mantle of Mars, Hellas, Isidis and Argyre. Another ten or fifteen may have also. But most of the fragments under 100 miles in diameter didn't penetrate, even when hitting its crust at 25,000 mph.
The Location Of The Tharsis Bulge
The heartland of the Tharsis Bulge is located between 101 and 125° W. longitude. Our measurement is for breadth about 900+ miles. Our measurement for its length is from 16° N. to 12° S., making it over 1,000 miles. This makes its heartland area about 650,000 miles. For whatever reason, our measurements for the heartland of Tharsis are more conservative than those of Moore and Hunt for the entire bulge.
The evidence emerges that the Hellas fragment hit the crust of Mars a direct blow, from almost vertical. It passed into the internal magma of Mars, creating enormous pressure waves and shear waves. The Hellas Fragment did not pass out through the other side of the crust of the Serene Hemisphere. But the angle of the hit, its velocity, and the Hellas Fragment did cause sudden, immense internal distress, resulting in a huge pair of bulges in the opposite hemisphere.
Apparently the Hellas Fragment plunged into and through the crust and continued to plunge onward, rotating all the way, for up to three thousand miles through the magma of Mars. To describe the internal distress of Mars, it can only be said that it was beyond chaos cubed.
In the case of the Earth's atmosphere, shock waves have a velocity of about 750 mph. Sometimes they are called sonic booms. However velocities of pressure waves in the oceans are different; in water they are four times as fast, 3,000 mph. Presumably, pressure waves in the magma of Mars were around 3,000 mph.
If so, the fragments of Astra hit the front crust some 11 or 12 minutes after Astra fragmented. The pressure waves, at an estimated 3,000 mph, required another 80 or 85 minutes to arrive at the Tharsis Bulge. Thus, the Tharsis Bulge began to rise, with suddenness, about 100 minutes after Astra fragmented.
The crust and the magma of Mars first had to slow down the speeding, plunging "H" fragment from 25,000 mph. Then its magma had to deal with the pressure waves and shear waves which the "H" fragment produced.
Simultaneously there were at least two other fragments that penetrated through the Martian crust, Isidis and Argyre. In the vicinity opposite the Isidis Crater is the second bulge of Mars, known as the "Elysium Bulge." It also contains a spread of volcanoes, huge by Earth's standards, but small by the standards of the volcanoes on Tharsis.
Thus the internal distress within Mars after Astra fragmented was "chaos cubed" It is beyond mathematical analysis. It was a wild and woolly day for the both the crust and the magma of Mars.
The Serene Hemisphere And The Elysium Bulge
The Isidis Crater is not far from the Rim of Craters on Mars in its Northeast Quadrant. Isidis is the second largest crater on Mars. This crater has a diameter of 450 miles and an area of 175,000 miles. The area of the Isidis' crater is equal to that of California, with Maryland and New Jersey added in for good measure. This is on a much smaller (and colder) planet.
Not far from the Isidis crater, and also in the Serene Hemisphere, is the Elysium Bulge on Mars. Like Isidis, the second-largest crater, Elysium is the second largest bulge on the red planet.
The Argyre Crater, the third largest, is about 300 miles in diameter, and contains some 75,000 sq. miles. Its area is equal to the state of South Dakota. Or, on the Eastern Seaboard, it is equal to the combined area of Delaware, the District of Columbia, Long Island, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia and half of West Virginia. Where these two bulges are is an indication of where the thinnest parts of the crust of Mars are.
Figure 4 - - The Plunges of the Three Largest
Fragments of Astra (Hellas, Isidis and Argyre)
When Astra fragmented, and planetary catastrophism came to the planet Mars, it came in a fast, fierce, furious flurry. Similarly, when planetary catastrophism came to the planet Earth, it also came fast, fierce and furious. The calculations are that the fragments of Astra approached Mars at 25,000 mph. By comparison it calculates that Mars approached the Earth at a velocity differential of 30,000 mph.
The following is a citation about quaking, shaking and crustal deformation
on another planet, the Earth, within the recorded memory of mankind.
It was about 3,700 years ago, not 3,700 millions of years ago.
Suddenly He moves the mountains, overturning them in his anger. He shakes the Earth to its foundations. The Sun won't rise, if he commands it so. Only He has stretched the heavens out and stalked along the seas. He made the [constellations] Bear, Orion and the Pleiades, and the constellations of the southern Zodiac. Job 9:5-9, Living Bible.
Each story in this skyscraper of catastrophic cosmology indicates a new understanding for a puzzling feature in this Solar System. Story 6 is the story of THE SUDDEN UPLIFTS OF THE THARSIS BULGE AND THE ELYSIUM BULGE ON MARS. Rising within a matter of a few hours, it was in no sense a gradualistic uplift.
A study of pressure waves and shear waves suggests Tharsis was beginning to be uplifted approximately 85 minutes after the gigantic Hellas Fragment blasted through the crust of Mars on the opposite side.
Simultaneously the Elysium Bulge was uplifted. Both of these regions of uplift probably reflect where the crust of Mars in the Serene Hemisphere was thinnest and weakest. They could least endure internal pressure and shear waves. The fact that both of these regions, and only these two regions also contain the volcanoes of Mars underlines that here, the crust of Mars was and is the thinnest and weakest.
The "H" Fragment, still rotating, first plunged through the 20-mile thick, rigid crust of Mars, which reduced its velocity somewhat, but not enough. Next its velocity was reduced by plunging through the 4,000 miles of the molten magma of Mars.
Finally the "H" Fragment came to a standstill by resistance of the underside of the crust of the Serene Hemisphere on the opposite side. Even then it was still rotating a bit. The suddenness, the immensity and the velocities of the two fragments were what created the two bulges. The dating of the fragmenting of Astra is touched upon several times in the following chapters. It was not 3.0 to 3.5 billion years ago.
Under the circumstances, it is not surprising that bulges developed suddenly in the Serene Hemisphere. Crustal bulging was one major method, but not the only major method in the process of relief for sudden, internal distress of Mars, an internal distress that suddenly gripped its inward regions. Volcanism also helped (see Chapter 4.) Rifting helped even more (see Chapter 3).
A. B. Guthrie of Choteau, Montana, a famous author of Western Americana, described the crest of the Rocky Mountains or the Continental Divide, as being "high, wide and handsome." Much higher, wider, and more handsome are the Tharsis and the Isidis Bulges on Mars.
With story 6, the reader now is 33% of the way to the penthouse.
Each story provides a new insight for cosmology, the history of the Solar
System, and each story provides an increasingly broad view of the human
history on this planet.