Introduction - The Estimated Diameter Of Astra
Astra's Size. The diameter, mass and density of Astra at best can only be estimated. One method of estimating its former diameter is to review and assess the diameters of its largest asteroid components. These include (1) the fragments that became asteroids, over 65%, and (2) the fragments that hit Mars, over 30%. It was given in a previous chapter that the ten largest asteroids have the following diameters in miles:
Table III - Diameters of the ten largest asteroids
|Ceres||624 miles||Interamnia||217 miles|
Astra exploded into fragments, tens of thousands of which hit and impacted the Clobbered Hemisphere of Mars. Our estimate for the size of these fragments is 55% to 59% of their huge crater diameters. Therefore the estimates for the diameters of the ten largest of these original fragments are as follows.
Table IV - Diameters of the ten largest original fragments
|Hellas||565 miles||Antoniadi||127 miles|
|Argyre||274||Name Not Known||100|
The density of Mars is 3.93 and the Moon's density is 3.34. The Earth's density is 5.52 (water - 1.0). Judging by the composition of the asteroids, Astra's density seems to have been much like the density of Mars, 3.93. If so, this information can help estimate the mass of Astra. Astra with a diameter of 1,550 to 1,600 miles, was 4% to 5% of the mass of Mars, approximately one-twentieth.
By comparison, the Moon is 11% of the mass of Mars, one ninth. Thus it is estimated that Astra was almost half of the mass of the Moon, and slightly denser. If so, a body 45% as massive as the Moon fragmented on the Martian Roche Limit. The Martian Roche Limit, the place of fragmentation, was 5,200 miles from the center of Mars, but only 3,100 miles from its nearest surface.
Evidence # 5 - Crustal Expansion
How much of the mass of Astra became asteroids? And how many asteroids have been counted? The current asteroid count exceeds 5,000 and increases yearly. How much of Astra's mass was ingested by Mars because of hitting the Clobbered Hemisphere of Mars? Only estimates can be made.
This estimate is that between 30% and 33% of the fragments of Astra hit Mars in its Clobbered Hemisphere. Between 65% and 68% missed Mars and began to orbit the Sun. Also, a small percent, perhaps almost 2%, missed Mars but began to orbit around Mars instead of the Sun. Evidence of this, presented in Chapter 6, is the foundation of an ancient ring system of Mars.
If 30% of the fragments of Astra hit Mars, containing 30% of the mass of Astra, and if Astra was 5% of the mass of Mars, then it follows that Mars gained some significant weight. It gained perhaps 1.5% in mass by absorbing fragments of Astra.
A gain of 1.5% for a 200 lb. man, loosely clothed, is only three pounds. It would be marginally noticeable. But how would a sudden gain of 1.5% in mass affect the tight-fitting shell, or crust of Mars? A shell 20 miles thick on a diameter of 4,200 miles.
Would it bulge? Would it crack and split? Would such a split be perpendicular to the sub crustal pressure, allowing for expansion? The sudden ingestion of the Hellas Fragment caused a bulge. The sudden ingestion of the Isidis fragment created another bulge. But that was merely the beginning.
Rift Systems And Their Genesis On The Earth
Rifts are large, transverse, lineal "tears" or rips across the tight-fitting crust of a planet. One cause of a rift can be that a planet gains weight (mass). Another cause can be that its weight does not increase, but its weight shifts location - a relocation of an equatorial bulge for instance. Rifts can occur in a crust if there is either kind of shift in weight.
The Earth has had such a shift in weight, a relocated equatorial bulge. The cause of the Earth's Great African Rift Valley has been a change in distribution of its mass. It was due to a radical relocation of the spin axis, and a consequent radical relocation of the equator, and consequently of its equatorial bulge.
The Earth has a polar diameter of 7,900 miles but its equatorial diameter is 27 miles greater, at 7,927 miles. The Earth's spin rate is once in 1436 minutes. This spin rate creates its 27-mile equatorial bulge. It also creates two polar flat spots.
Mars rotates at a spin rate almost identical with Earth's, and also has an equatorial bulge. Its equatorial diameter is 4,212 miles. Its polar diameter is 4,170 miles. Its equatorial diameter is 42 miles greater than the polar diameter. It is an oblate spheroid. Its oblateness is .0093. Tiny Mars has a mass of .107 of the Earth, and a spin rate is once in 1477 minutes, only 3% slower than the Earth.
The Earth is a gyroscope in space. Were it to experience a close Mars flyby, the resulting torsion would cause its spin axis to shift its location. The poles would swerve and careen, and would shortly relocate. Its equatorial bulge also would relocate.
A foundation will be laid in Volume III that our North Pole on one occasion shifted at least 3,000 miles during the closest of all of the Mars flybys. That produced a gross relocation of the North Pole by 3,000 miles, as well as of the equatorial bulge and the two polar flat spots.
The shift of the Earth's equator required an expansion of the new equatorial bulge in a new belt across the Earth's middle. The response of the Earth's crust, like a garment, was to tear. The rip was perpendicular to the new equator. The Great African Rift Valley is that rift, a perpendicular rift caused by this radical (and recent) shift of the equator.
The Grand Canyon and the Copper Canyon also are earlier tears in our crust, earlier, also resulting from spin axis relocations. Several rifts have occurred in the Earth's crust above sea level. More have occurred below sea level. 72% of the Earth's surface is covered by oceans.
If a man wears a tight-fitting suit or pair of pants, when the cloth is stressed, it tears. It tears perpendicular to the force exerted. Overalls tear across the knees of pant legs when the cloth stretches perpendicularly, beyond the elastic-plastic threshold.
It is all very simple. The crust of the Earth tore across the equator, in a perpendicular manner, to accommodate the new, relocated bulge zone. In modern English it is "The Great African Rift Valley." It is the Earth's biggest rift system.
The Rift System And Its Genesis On Mars
The Great African Rift Valley is deep, wide and handsome. It is 5,000 miles long, over 200 miles wide in its central region, and is over 4,000 feet deep in places. It stretches from Syria, through the Red Sea and across the Central African highlands, to Mozambique and beyond, into and under the Indian Ocean. But what, for a rift valley, is "deep, wide and handsome?"
The Solar System's Biggest Rift System
In the case of the crust of Mars, its rift system was not triggered by a SHIFT of the location of weight, as has been the case with the Earth's crust. It was created by a SUDDEN INCREASE IN WEIGHT, OR MASS OF THE PLANET ITSELF. The gain in weight was due to the sudden ingesting and then digesting of the fragments of Astra. That increase in mass is estimated at 1.5%. If Mars were to increase in mass by 1.5% due to ingestion of fragments of Astra, its equator would expand by 0.5%, or 21 miles. Its polar diameter would increase by 20 miles. This means its old equatorial diameter was only 4,191 miles and it sold polar diameter was only 4,150 miles.
The crusts of Mars and the Earth are tight fitting, unlike a suit of clothes. Obviously with sudden stress and a sudden gain in weight, the old crust, a rigid shell, would experience pressures beyond what the elastic-plastic threshold could cope.
It has already been noted that the two bulges of Mars occurred in its Serene Hemisphere, where its crust apparently is weakest. All of the rather huge volcanoes of Mars also occur in its Serene Hemisphere, further suggesting the Serene Hemisphere has a thinner crust. Third, its Valles Marineris, the greatest rift valley in our Solar System, also occurs in its Serene Hemisphere. Chance? No. Region of its thinner crust? Yes.
It was on the underside of this hemisphere on which the pressure waves and shear waves of the Hellas Fragment were spent. They were caused by the penetrating asteroids, Hellas, Isidis and Argyre. In another chapter, a foundation will be laid that all three of these huge fragments were rotating as they hit at Mars' Clobbered Hemisphere at 25,000 mph.
HORSTS. In geology, large, block-like uplifts on our planet were named originally by German geologists in the 19th century. A block-like uplift such as those found prominently in the Balkans was named a "horst." A standard geological definition of a horst is:
Horst: An elongated, elevated block of crust forming a ridge or plateau, typically bounded by parallel outward-dipping normal faults.
GRABENS. Grabens are intimately related to, and are associated with horsts. Grabens are the valleys between horsts, defined as follows:
Graben: A down thrown block between two normal faults of parallel strike but converging dips; hence a tensional feature.
The greatest grabens and horsts in our Solar System are on the surface of the Serene Hemisphere of Mars - the Valles Marineris. When this giant rift system was first photographed some 30 years ago, astronomers and geologists were aghast when viewing the first photographs by Mariner 2 in August, 1963. Mariner 2 made a flyby of Mars at 22,000 miles and transmitted its pictorial data back to the Earth. Shortly thereafter, this gigantic "horst and graben formation" on Mars was named the "Valles Marineris."
The first viewers of the Valles Marineris were astounded astronomers. Next, and even more astonished, were the jumpy geologists, always needing to defend the dogma of gradualism - in the Solar System as well as on the crust of the Earth.
That has been a pattern that continues. First the astronomers find the evidence, and then the geologists justify, or attempt to justify the chaotic scenes of profound violence and scenes of sudden spasms of catastrophism. Three or four billion years ago, they are apt to say. On Mercury's surface. On Venus. On Mars. On Deimos and Phobos. On the satellites of Jupiter, rings of Saturn and Uranus, ragged, jagged satellites circling Uranus, etc.
Surprises in the cosmos have been so regular and so astounding to gradualists that it makes one wonder if their paradigm is in proper order. It is now over thirty years later since the first photos of the surface of Mars were received, including photos of the Valles Marineris. Its details still startle geologists.
It is not just the huge size of the rift valley. It is not just the size of some of the craters. It is not just the lop-sided distribution of Martian craters. It is not just the crustal bulges, with their five and ten-mile high volcanoes. It is not just evidence of spin axis shifts.
Equally astounding, if not more so, is the recognition of the great rift system of Mars. It is a new fact in a world where old gradualist dogma still dominates. Until this chapter, there has not been much of a theory as to why it exists or how, or when in its freshness, it came to be.
It is a giant crustal rift valley, 2,500 miles long, 4.5 miles deep (not 4,500 feet), and is wider than an eye on the ground can see. Its width in places is 300 miles. The Earth has nothing comparable. Though explanations for this striking feature to date have not been forthcoming, yet the explanation is fairly simple. It was a matter of either shifting the location of weight (as in the Earth's case) or a permanent gain in weight (1.5% as in the Martian case).
The Valles Marineris
Mars has a circumference of 13,200 miles. The Valles Marineris is as long as 19% of the circumference of Mars. It is a 2,500-mile long system of rifts, of grabens and horsts, emanating eastward out of the eastern edge of the Tharsis Bulge. Its canyons are as deep as 4.5 miles, or 23,000 feet, which is four times deeper and steeper than the Grand Canyon of Arizona. In places the grabens are 120 miles wide, and in places it is 300 miles between them.
Here again, a descriptive phrase from A. B. Guthrie is recalled.
These canyons and their near vertical canyon walls, in the "Serene Hemisphere"
of Mars, are truly "high, wide and handsome."
Visible even on long-distance images of Mars is the great canyon system, which straddles the globe just south of the equator between longitudes 30° and 110° W. Called Valles Marineris, this 4,000 km long network begins on the east side of the Tharsis Bulge and ends in an immense region of chaotic terrain between Chryse Planitia and Margaritifer Sinus. At its deepest it is some 7 km deep and individual canyons are up to 200 km. in width. In the impressive central section, where there are three roughly parallel, interconnecting rifts, the total width is 700 km. [n1]
The various grabens on Mars are parallel, even though 100, 200 and 300 miles apart. In Africa, similar parallel rifts - grabens and horsts - occur with spread of 300 miles in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. But Africa's rift valleys are only a half mile to a mile deep rather than four or five miles deep, the case here. In both cases, the systems are over 2,500 to 3,000 miles long, but for Mars that length for a rift system is 19% of the planet's circumference. The length of the African Rift Valley is only 11% of the Earth's circumference.
The gradualist menu, always of interest, on the genesis of the rift
system of Mars is as follows:
Valles Marineris. We now know it to be a large fracture running out from the Tharsis Shield. This photo mosaic taken by the Viking Orbiter 1 very clearly shows the three massive shield volcanoes that sit astride the Tharsis Ridge - Arsia Mons, Pavonis Mons and Ascraeus Mons -- as well as the vast canyon system that is Valles Marineris. Similar features occur on Earth [East African Rift Valley], the Moon and Venus. Valles Marineris MAY HAVE BEEN FORMED AS MAGMA WAS WITHDRAWN FROM BENEATH IT TO SUPPLY THE VOLCANIC UPLIFT REGION. [n2] [Caps ours]
Something of the length, breadth and depth of this Rift System, the deepest in our Solar System, is ALSO in the following caption:
Scale of Valles Marineris. A comparison of, for example, the Tithonius Lacus region of Valles Marineris and the Grand Canyon shows the former to be four times deeper, six times wider and ten times longer. [n3]
Were the Valles Marineris in North America, it would stretch from Seattle to Central Florida. On another axis, it would stretch from San Diego to the capitol city of Quebec - or to Portland Me. or Boston. And its depth would be six times deeper than the Grand Canyon. By comparison, Valles Marineris makes both the East African Rift Valley and the Grand Canyon look tame.
The Genesis Of The Valles Marineris
In footnote 2 above, Moore and Hunt tentatively suggest "Valles Marineris
MAY HAVE BEEN FORMED as magma was withdrawn from beneath it to supply the
volcanic uplift region." Their suggestion is poorly conceived for
the following four reasons.
1. No reason is proposed why magma should evacuate from ONLY under the Valles Marineris, but not from elsewhere.
2. If magma were to have evacuated slowly under the Valles Marineris, the crust would have wrinkled, not torn. When a person loses weight, their skin tends to wrinkle, not tear. The same applies to the crust of Mars. A slow withdrawal produces effects that would be quite different than what is evident on the red planet's crust.
3. In the next chapter, an analysis is made of the total mass contained in the top twelve volcanoes of Mars. It is from surrounding surface level to crater rim. Their total or composite volume will be shown to be in the range of 1,000,000 cubic miles.
The volume of the magma of Mars is over 40,000,000,000 cubic miles. The amount of volcanism evident on the Martian surface is only 0.0025% of the total magma of Mars. It is one part in 40,000.
4. The Valles Marineris gives the appearance of youthfulness, a relative lack of wind erosion.
One million cubic miles of magma, or lava, may be a huge amount by the standards of volcanism on the Earth. But by Martian standards, it is one six hundredth of the amount of mass that Mars gained from the fragmentation of Astra. It is not much by the standards of how much mass Astra's fragmentation added to Mars.
Mars experienced internal distress from the fragments of Astra. After that shocking event, Mars experienced a long series of perhaps 300 flybys of the Earth and Venus, all within 100,000 miles. Thus Mars experienced a blast. Next it experienced a long series of squeezes.
The volcanoes of Mars were a result of those sudden, speedy, swift squeeze plays, managed by the Earth and Venus. Tides within Mars, sudden massive magma tides are what caused its volcanism. Those tides were generated by the totality of the magma of Mars, not just from under one locality, and a locality 1,000 miles distant at that. The volcanism of Mars is simple to explain. The rifting of the crust of Mars is also simple to explain; the reasons for rifting are not the reasons for Martian volcanism.
The Great African Rift Valley And Sodom-Gomorrah
The Great Rift Valley of Africa appears to have had its genesis after the time of the last major shift of the spin axis and shift in location of the equator and its bulge zone. In Volume 3, a foundation will be laid that this event occurred after the closest of the many flybys of Mars. It was in the middle of the third millennium B.C.E. Sumerians called it "Utnapishtim's Flood, and reported that it was caused by Enlil (the Sumerian word for Mars). [n4]
It was only 500 years later, very early in the 2nd millennium B.C.E. Abraham was on the scene which involved the northern extremity of the GREAT AFRICAN RIFT VALLEY. It was still active, still splitting, still deepening, still widening, still erupting on its edges. Isostatic shifts of magma create a new equatorial bulge zone but they tend to be slow changes.
Abraham was positioned on the edge of the ledge, and above the rift
valley which he could view below in the distance. It was called The
Vale of Siddim, and included five cities below, the mouth of the Jordan
River and the Dead Sea. It was a Mars flyby of the March case.
It was over 500 years after Noah's Flood, and almost 500 years before Moses.
The description in Genesis is as follows.
The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.
Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heave;
And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.Genesis 19:23-25
Talmudic information is as follows:
Lekah Gen., loc. cit., states that the angels came suddenly like lightning upon Lot, whereas Abraham discerned their arrival from afar. [n5]
It was a catastrophic scene drawn from the dawn of Hebrew history. It was an eye witness description; Abraham was there, viewing the Rift Valley's northernmost finger. It was the trench containing the Jordan River and the Dead Sea. In the distance were fertile irrigated fields below, and five prospering cities. Two of them were Sodom and Gomorrah. A prosperous society there was reported to have given itself over to dissolution and to unnatural sex orgies. All five cities were suddenly engulfed in volcanic gases, ash and a few lava flows. Those lava flows and cinders still remain.
The "death angel" was the triggering agent for this extension to the Great Rift Valley system. Simply put, it was another of the close flybys of Mars. In this case, the "death angel" had a mass 11% of Earth's mass. It had a cometary tail as shall be demonstrated in Chapter 7. It had two visible satellites, the sons of Arcturus in Hebrew, Deimos and Phobos in Greek. This angel had a name in Talmudic Hebrew texts; it was known both as the destructive angel of the Lord and as the evil archangel "Sammael." [n6]
The ancient Hebrew explanation for this event was the general wickedness and dissolute behavior in the five cities in the fertile plain at the bottom. Apart from the Hebrew explanation, and adding thereto, is that pressures had been building up for centuries, waiting for a trigger, to produce another extension in the Great African Rift Valley system.
A Mars flyby triggered the event. At that particular occasion, our estimate of the date was October, 1728 B.C.E. and the closest physical distance between the Great African Rift Valley and the Valles Marineris was, for a minute or two, some 35,000 to 40,000 miles.
The Book of Job is among the oldest treasures of mankind. Job's understanding of cosmology and celestial activity was a big issue in his time, and the issue was recorded as follows:
Figure 5 - The Valles Marineris on Mars
Figure 6 - A Comparison of Dimensions -
Grand Canyon verses Valles Marineris
Then Job answered and said, [God]
Which removeth the mountains, and they know not, which overturneth them in his anger.
Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble.
Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not: and sealeth up the stars
Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea.
Which maketh Arcturus [Mars], Orion [Jupiter] and Pleiades [Saturn] and the chambers of the south [Milky Way].
Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number.Job 19:1, 5-10
This catastrophic cosmology addresses the increase in mass that Mars experienced as a result of absorbing some 30% of the fragments of Astra. This analysis is an increase in mass for Mars of about 1.5%, due to the blizzard of fragments hitting the surface of the Clobbered Hemisphere. As a result, in time, the physical diameter of Mars needed to expand by some 20 miles in the polar diameter and by 21 miles in the equatorial diameter.
Story 7 describes one of the results of Astra's fragmentation near Mars - MARS PUT ON A LITTLE WEIGHT. It is a story of a crustal expansion on a relatively small planet, and a nearby one. It is a story of a suddenly increase in mass, difficult to encase by the old crust. It tore and rifted. The tear or rift probably was perpendicular to the old equator of Mars of that time.
It is a story of the creation of the most gigantic rift valley in the Solar System, one replete with suddenly uplifted blocks, the horsts, interlaced with adjacent non-uplifted grabens, flat valley floors.
Those deep, steep, sharp canyons developed in response to pressures emanating suddenly from under the Martian crust following the blizzard of asteroids. With its radius of curvature and its estimated 20-mile thick crust, the crust of Mars was (and is) brittle, not elastic. It is far more brittle than is the Earth's crust. It was this brittle crust, curved with a high angle of curvature, that suddenly had to expand. The gigantic rift valley across the Martian crust was nature's response to Mars putting on a little weight, about 1.5%.
Probably these splits and uplifts occurred in a long series, beginning within weeks of Astra' demise. Extensions of the rifting occurred for centuries. Subsequent Mars-Earth flybys and Mars-Venus flybys were triggers for surges exerting more (momentarily expanding) sub crustal pressure.
The thick, brittle crust of Mars at first resisted those pressures to expand. But when its crustal elastic threshold did yield, and when its crust did begin rifting, it was major league rifting. The Valles Marineris accommodated an estimated 78% to 80% of the increase in the mass of Mars. Tharsis and Elysium, the two bulges, accommodated 20%. Volcanism, including all later celestial squeeze plays, is estimated at a mere 2%.
By comparison, on the Earth only minor league rifts have occurred. This is due in part to our crust's greater elasticity, and it is due in part to our planet having been buzzed by a smaller planet (not a larger one). Also, the Earth did not experience sudden increases in mass of one or two percent.
The Tharsis and Elysium bulges on Mars, like the Valles Marineris, were created by a sudden increase in mass. The Valles Marineris was due to long term pressures from a sudden increase in mass. Its appearance was delayed; it did not appear within hours like the bulges. The rifting process was slower, but if slower, nevertheless the rifting was inexorable. Rifting was the major adjustment made by the crust of Mars; bulging was the minor adjustment.
This 20th century AD is saturated with gradualists. Neither Abraham (20th century B.C.E.) nor Job (17th century B.C.E.), were gradualists. Nor was Moses. They saw what they saw. They were catastrophists. And if the dreaded angel of the Lord had a mass of 11% of the Earth, they were planetary catastrophists.
With story 7, the reader now is 34% of the way to the penthouse of cosmology.