Geomorphology: Bending the Truth

Rebounding from what exactly

Business Executives and Corporations frequently perceive unwelcome competition to be a direct threat to their status and financial wellbeing.

Therefore, it is unsurprising that businesses respond to unwelcome competition by using Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt tactics and Embrace, Extend and Extinguish strategies.

Fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) is a tactic used in sales, marketing, public relations, politics and propaganda.

FUD is generally a strategic attempt to influence perception by disseminating negative and dubious or false information.

An individual firm, for example, might use FUD to invite unfavorable opinions and speculation about a competitor’s product; to increase the general estimation of switching costs among current customers; or to maintain leverage over a current business partner who could potentially become a rival.,_uncertainty_and_doubt

Embrace, extend, and extinguish“, also known as “Embrace, extend, and exterminate”, is a phrase that the U.S. Department of Justice found was used internally by Microsoft to describe its strategy for entering product categories involving widely used standards, extending those standards with proprietary capabilities, and then using those differences to disadvantage its competitors.,_extend_and_extinguish

Academics and Academic Institutions can also perceive unwelcome competition to be a direct threat to their status and financial wellbeing.

Therefore, it is unsurprising that academia responds to unwelcome competition by using Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt tactics and Embrace, Extend and Extinguish strategies.

However, in academia the tactics are [usually] far more subtle and the [frequently unconscious] strategies may play out over decades or generations.

This type of negative behaviour appears to be a fundamental group dynamic associated with organisations and belief systems because it is the group that bestows status and wealth upon the individual.

Geomorphology - Bending the Truth

A classic example of this academic process is the strange story of the raised beaches.

The story starts [in earnest] in 1840 when Louis Agassiz was invited by the Geological Society to present his glacier work in London.

These labours resulted, in, in the publication of his work in two volumes entitled Etudes sur les glaciers (“Study on Glaciers”). In it he discussed the movements of the glaciers, their moraines, their influence in grooving and rounding the rocks over which they travelled, and in producing the striations and roches moutonnees seen in Alpine-style landscapes.

He concluded that, in the relatively recent past, Switzerland had been another Greenland; that instead of a few glaciers stretching across the areas referred to, one vast sheet of ice, originating in the higher Alps, had extended over the entire valley of northwestern Switzerland until it reached the southern slopes of the Jura, which, though they checked and deflected its further extension, did not prevent the ice from reaching in many places the summit of the range. The publication of this work gave a fresh impetus to the study of glacial phenomena in all parts of the world.

Thus familiarized with the phenomena associated with the movements of recent glaciers, Agassiz was prepared for a discovery which he made in 1840, in conjunction with William Buckland. The two visited the mountains of Scotland together, and found in different locations clear evidence of ancient glacial action. The discovery was announced to the Geological Society of London in successive communications. The mountainous districts of England, Wales, and Ireland were also considered to constitute centres for the dispersion of glacial debris; and Agassiz remarked “that great sheets of ice, resembling those now existing in Greenland, once covered all the countries in which unstratified gravel (boulder drift) is found; that this gravel was in general produced by the trituration of the sheets of ice upon the subjacent surface, etc.”

However, geological evidence from beaches and raised beaches [from around the world] have always provided very unwelcome competition to the Ice Age narrative.

Page 143
Boulders occur on it in extraordinary numbers on both the eastern and western beaches and up to a height of 200 feet on the land. They also abound on the islets between it and the coast. The boulders are of syenite and granite, the latter alone occurring on the south of the island. They all probably came from the Cordillera.

In regard to the origin of this phenomenon, Darwin, writing with the views of Agassiz and others before him, says: “Neither the till beds of Tierra del Fuego, which pass into and are regularly interstratified with a great formation of horizontally laminated sandstone containing marine remains, nor the stratified gravel and till which form low plains on the shores of Chiloe, and cross in regular beds the tertiary strata, can have been produced by ordinary moraines. I am led to the same conclusion with respect to the till of southern Tierra del Fuego. . . .

The boulders on the lower levels at the head of the Santa Cruz Eiver are strewed on land which certainly has been modelled by the action of the sea.

Those on the 1400 feet plain are sixty-seven miles from the Cordillera, of which the highest pinnacle is only 6400 feet and the general range considerably lower; this little inclination of the surface, with the absence of mounds or ridges on it, and the angularity of the fragments are opposed to the notion that the blocks have been pushed to this great distance by glaciers. Hence I conclude, that in the two first mentioned districts it is quite certain, and in the latter three highly probable, that the boulders were transported by floating ice.

The Glacial Nightmare And The Flood; A Second Appeal To Common Sense From The Extravagance Of Some Recent Geology – Volume I – 1892 – Sir Henry Hoyle Howorth

Page 484
In South America we no doubt have something resembling what we can find in boreal America : boulders, erratics, and scratched rocks, which have been described by Darwin, Agassiz, and others.

But that these evidence a development of large glaciers and not a glacial period, is shown by the fact that the very elevated raised beaches in South America contain the same molluscs as those still living in the adjoining seas.

Page 489
In regard to certain granitic boulders on the beach at Adelaide, which Dr. Von Lendenfeld considers were transported from the Pole by icebergs, Captain Hutton asks, if so, why are not similar ones found in Tasmania, New Zealand, and the Antarctic islands?

Page 625
The fiords of Greenland are walled in by rocks averaging 1000 feet in height, their length varies from 10 to 100 miles, their breadth 1 to 8 miles, and the depth of water from a few feet to 200 or more fathoms. The rocks on each side of these fiords are marked by ice action at intervals, but more so near the glacier.

Some of the largest glaciers do not exist in fiords at all; thus the glacier north of Frederichshaab is fifteen miles broad. It has made no fiord and launches no icebergs, and for this reason it has brought down a lot of loose material to a reefy coast, and formed a beach at its base, and this great ice power which we are asked to believe has excavated fiords in granitic rocks, 100 miles long and 3000 or 4000 feet in depth, is overcome by loose debris and sand. Why does it not cut its way through these, by far the easier task?

The Glacial Nightmare And The Flood; A Second Appeal To Common Sense From The Extravagance Of Some Recent Geology – Volume II – 1893 – Sir Henry Hoyle Howorth

The unwelcome competition presented by raised beaches continued to be explicitly referenced in the early part of the 20th century.

Numerous raised beaches and terraces, containing shells of marine mollusca, &c., occur along the whole coast of Greenland, and indicate that the whole of this large island has been raised, or the sea has sunk, in post-glacial times, after the inland ice covered its now ice-bare outskirts.

In the north along the shores of Smith Sound these traces of the gradual upheaval of the land, or sinking of the sea, are very marked; but they are also very distinct in the south, although not found so high above sea-level, which seems to show that the upheaval has been greater in the north.

Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 12

However, as the 20th century progressed the Ice Age Story became Settled Science and the embarrassing raised beaches became unfashionable.

Thus, during the last quarter of the 20th century geologists increasingly employed a variety of synonyms whenever they mentioned raised beaches: layered beaches, strand lines, marine limits, raised marine deposits, inclined sand beds, local marine limits.

This opened the way for a new generation of geologists [in a very cruel twist of fate] to redeploy the altitude data associated with raised beaches in a new theory [in support of the Ice Age Story] called Post Glacial Rebound.

Post-glacial rebound (sometimes called continental rebound, glacial isostasy, glacial isostatic adjustment) is the rise of land masses that were depressed by the huge weight of ice sheets during the last glacial period, through a process known as isostasy.

It affects northern Europe (especially Scotland, Estonia, Fennoscandia, and northern Denmark), Siberia, Canada, the Great Lakes of Canada and the United States, the coastal region of the US state of Maine, parts of Patagonia, and Antarctica.

During the last glacial period, much of northern Europe, Asia, North America, Greenland and Antarctica were covered by ice sheets. The ice was as thick as three kilometres during the last glacial maximum about 20,000 years ago. The enormous weight of this ice caused the surface of the Earth’s crust to deform and warp downward, forcing the viscoelastic mantle material to flow away from the loaded region. At the end of each glacial period when the glaciers retreated, the removal of the weight from the depressed land led to slow (and still ongoing) uplift or rebound of the land and the return flow of mantle material back under the deglaciated area. Due to the extreme viscosity of the mantle, it will take many thousands of years for the land to reach an equilibrium level.

Studies have shown that the uplift has taken place in two distinct stages. The initial uplift following deglaciation was almost immediate due to the elastic response of the crust as the ice load was removed. After this elastic phase, uplift proceeded by slow viscous flow so the rate of uplift decreased exponentially after that. Today, typical uplift rates are of the order of 1 cm/year or less.

Treshnish Headland

It is probably best to describe Post-glacial Rebound as a generalised concept because there is a distinct lack of detail explaining how cold surface rocks become flexible enough to form the rounded contours that are so elegantly portrayed in the mainstream illustrations.

Isostatic uplift

British Geological Survey – Discovering Geology

This lack of detail extends to field observations because I have yet to encounter a specific field observation that explicitly attributes:
1) The arching [or faulting or rifting] of cold surface rocks due to Post-glacial Rebound.
2) Changes in surface drainage patterns to Post-glacial Rebound or Glacial Depression.

Overall, it seems that Post-glacial Rebound is just that: PR.

This conclusion is probably best illustrated by a very impressive paper from 1996 that maps the “altitude of postglacial marine limits in Greenland.”

Greenland - Altitude of postglacial marine limits

Fig. 3. Altitude of postglacial marine limits in Greenland. Revised from Funder 1989.
Sources, clockwise from western North Greenland: Funder 1990a, THULE-89 Project, unpublished, Nichols 1969, Blake et al. 1992, Kelly & Bennike 1992, Landvik and Weidick in Olesen et al. 1995, Funder & Hjort 1980, Funder & Abrahamsen 1988, Hjort 1981b, in press. East Greenland: Landvik 1994, Hjort 1979, 1981c, Funder 1978, 1990b, Brooks 1979, Bøgvad 1940. West Greenland: compilation by Kelly 1985, Ingolfsson et al. 1990, Bennike et al. 1994, Fredskild 1985.

The Greenland ice sheet –
A model for its culmination and decay during and after the last glacial maximum
Svend Funder and Louise Hansen
Bulletin of the Geological Society of Denmark – Vol. 42 – 1996

Initially, there are three generalised comments regarding this “marine limits” map.

Firstly, the “marine limit” altitudes reference current sea level. Therefore, to quantify the Post-glacial Rebound it is necessary to add [approximately] 130 metres of sea-level rise [which occurred during the period 20,000 to 8,000 years ago] to the indicated “marine limit” altitudes.

This implies the maximum Post-glacial Rebound in Greenland is greater than 250 metres.

Post-glacial Sea Level rise

This figure shows sea level rise since the end of the last glacial episode based on data from Fleming et al. 1998, Fleming 2000, & Milne et al. 2005.


Secondly, marine limits may be defined by an “erosional notch” or “gravel bench” which curiously display a distinct lack of subfossil marine specimens.

Although it is not visible everywhere, the marine limit is well-exposed south of Major Paars Dal, where the upper limit of wave-washed, sorted, and well-rounded sediment occurs at 130 m elevation.

An erosional notch is present four meters higher in elevation.

The marine limit also is visible on the west side of Schuchert Dal south of Bjørnbo Gletscher, in the form of a gravel bench at 135 m elevation.

This is a typical elevation for the marine limit in nearby Kjove Land (Hall et al., 2008b).

Although we did not make an exhaustive search, we did not note any marine sediments or landforms above ~105 m elevation north of Bjørnbo Gletscher.

In one location, a clear delineation between beach sediments and unmodified till occurs at ~100 m elevation, suggesting that there may be a shift in the elevation of the marine limit north and south of this glacier.

Because we did not locate any shells above 101 m elevation, determining the age of the marine limit required extrapolation of the RSL curve to 135 m elevation.

Relative Sea-level Changes, Schuchert Dal, East Greenland
B.L. Hall, C. Baroni, G.H. Denton
Quaternary Science Reviews – Volume 29, Issues 25–26, December 2010, Pages 3370–3378

Thirdly, a common feature of the datasets detailing recovered subfossil marine specimens is that they suggest the specimens have been significantly disturbed or that [historically] sea level has gone up and down like a whore’s drawers.

Raised Beaches - Schuchert Dal - Scoresby Sound - Raw Data

Evidently, the mainstream prefers the whore’s drawers interpretation because it happily publishes [usually after some expurgations] smooth [and tenuous] trend lines based upon their wildly oscillating data.

However, these generalised observations are mere quibbles when compared to the problems associated with the four major peaks in the marine limits of Greenland.

This is because [as described in a previous posting] three of these marine limit peaks are located in areas that were predominantly ice free during the Last Glacial Maximum.

The fourth area, the Nares Strait between Greenland and Canada, was covered with glacier ice “but the glaciers did not cover the shelf”.

In the north, outlet glaciers filled fjord basins, including the Nares Strait between Canada and Greenland, and piedmont glaciers descended from coastal mountains onto the coastline, but the glaciers did not cover the shelf.

At the other end of Nares Strait, at the Arctic Ocean coast LGM was also restricted to fjord glaciers advancing towards the fjord mouths (Kelly & Bennike 1992). The Smith Sound Ice Stream apparently drained a large sector of the northern part of the Inland Ice, and apparently the main drainage was to the south where the ice stream must have had a calving front close to the deep waters of northern Baffin Bay. The much smaller drainage to the north indicates that melting and calving here were low because of the cold and dry climate, similar to present conditions in these areas.

The Greenland ice sheet –
A model for its culmination and decay during and after the last glacial maximum
Svend Funder and Louise Hansen
Bulletin of the Geological Society of Denmark – Vol. 42 – 1996

Overall, the clearing of the floating ice in the Nares Strait [with a sill depth of about 250 metres] simply replaced a mass of ice with an equivalent mass of water.

Thus, the four areas deemed to demonstrate maximum Post-glacial Rebound in Greenland were not weighed down by a significant overburden of ice during the Last Glacial Maximum and cannot, therefore, be rebounding from a nonexistent overburden.

Greenland - Rebound Problems

These evidential contradictions to the Post-glacial Rebound Story are further underlined when the seismic record of Greenland is examined.

Greenland Earthquakes

Seismic Hazard Analysis of Greenland and a Distribution of Earthquakes – 2006
Stine Kildegaard Poulsen and Sebastian Bjerregaard Simonsen
Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen

Unpicking the seismic record for Greenland is a curious task because mainstream orthodoxy dictates that earthquakes in Greenland are pigeon holed into predetermined categories:
a) Plate tectonics is the default category.
b) Post-glacial Rebound is the catchall category when Plate tectonics fails.

The lack of focal mechanisms makes it hard to say something about what causes earthquakes in Greenland.

There are two causes debated for the Greenlandic area the first theory is that earthquakes occur because of stress due to ridge pushing from the mid ocean ridge in the Atlantic.

Second the earthquakes occur because of postglacial rebound of the deglaciated land.

Both theories are possible for Greenland depending on the area in question.

The Southern part of Greenland is far from the mid ocean ridge and stress from ridge pushing is thereby not causing earthquakes in this part.

Earthquakes in this region must then be assigned the postglacial rebound.

The ridge is close to the Northeastern corner of Greenland and must have an influence on the earthquakes.

The West coast of Greenland, is the remnant of old tectonic movements which divided Greenland from North America, therefore the earthquakes in this region are manly due to stresses left over from these movements, [Gregersen, 1982a].

Seismic Hazard Analysis of Greenland and a Distribution of Earthquakes – 2006
Stine Kildegaard Poulsen and Sebastian Bjerregaard Simonsen
Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen

Sadly, this rigid orthodoxy [which is endemic in Post-Normal Science] stubbornly persists and “makes it hard to say something” when presenting surprising [aka confounding] results.

Surprisingly the northernmost zone has the highest value of peak ground acceleration.

Greenland behaving like a stiff plate and it is supported by observations of aftershock in a distance up to more than 1000 km of the epicenter after a big earthquake in 1971 and one in 1965, [Gregersen, 1982a].

Seismic Hazard Analysis of Greenland and a Distribution of Earthquakes – 2006
Stine Kildegaard Poulsen and Sebastian Bjerregaard Simonsen
Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen

Furthermore, the plot clearly indicates that Greenland has tilted fairly uniformly [over a distance of about 1,000 kilometres] between 63º 14’ N and 72° 20’ N.

The linear trend line strongly suggests that bedrock is very inflexible [it is far more likely to fracture than bend – just like surface rocks] and that the bedrock of Greenland is fractured at some point [or points] between 60º N and 63º 14’ N.

Greenland West Coast Linear Trend


This rigid orthodoxy also prevents the mainstream from recognising that land subsidence in southern Greenland [which was the only area the see a major expansion of the ice sheet during the Last Glacial Maximum] seriously undermines the concept of Post-glacial Rebound.

During LGM, only southern Greenland (south of lat. 69°-72°N) saw a major expansion of the ice sheet with thick cover over the present coastline and onto the shelf.

The Greenland ice sheet – a model for its culmination and decay during and after the last glacial maximum – Svend Funder and Louise Hansen
Bulletin of the Geological Society of Denmark – Vol. 42 – 1996

According to Kuijpers et al. (1999) “various indications show that after mid-Holocene times the initial glacio isostatic rebound of Greenland was followed by increased subsidence”.

It seems that the younger part of the sea-level curve from the Sisimiut area may be explained in this way, resulting in a relative sea-level rise up towards present time.

It has long been known that part of the Norse settlements in Southwest Greenland were submerged by the rising sea.

Also in the Disko area north of Sisimiut similar situations have been recorded for some Inuit sites (Rasch and Jensen 1997)

Nipisat – a Saqqaq Culture Site in Sisimiut, Central West Greenland – 2004
Anne Birgitte Gotfredsen, Tinna Møbjerg, Ella Hoch and Kaj Strand Petersen
Meddelelser om Grønland – Man and Society 31


However, when the straightjacket of mainstream orthodoxy is removed it becomes evident that the seismic record also undermines the Post-glacial Rebound orthodoxy.

Greenland Seismic Activity

The most striking anomaly in the seismic record is the arc of earthquakes in northern Greenland centred around Peary Land which was predominantly ice free during the Last Glacial Maximum.

Another striking anomaly is the earthquake cluster in the northwest of Greenland near Cape York which suggests the Cape York iron meteorites are associated with an impact event in this area.

Greenland - The Cape York Iron Meteorites

The next anomaly is the earthquake cluster centred on Disko island [with its hot springs] which caused the mainstream to invent Telluric iron so they could re-classify the Ovifax iron meteorites as native iron.

Greenland - The Ovifak iron meteorites

The seismic hazard map of Greenland clearly identifies the fracture zone in southern Greenland and the cluster of earthquakes is probably associated with the observed subsidence.

Greenland - Seismic Hazard
Seismic Hazard Analysis of Greenland and a Distribution of Earthquakes – 2006
Stine Kildegaard Poulsen and Sebastian Bjerregaard Simonsen
Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen

The intriguing cluster of earthquakes in the northeast of Greenland is traditionally linked to seismic activity associated with the “mid ocean ridge”.

The Northeastern corner of Greenland is the area with most seismic activity.
This area is also closest to the mid ocean ridge, see Figure 5.1.
It is obvious to suspect a link between these two observations.

Seismic Hazard Analysis of Greenland and a Distribution of Earthquakes – 2006
Stine Kildegaard Poulsen and Sebastian Bjerregaard Simonsen
Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen

IRIS Seismic Monitor

However, it is possible that the earthquake cluster in the northeast of Greenland may be associated with a meteorite impact event at some point in the future.

Meteorite stranding surfaces and the Greenland icesheet

Meteorite stranding surfaces and the Greenland icesheet
R P Harvey, Meibom, and H Haack
Meteoritics & Planetary Science – Vol. 36 – 2001…36..807H

In conclusion, the overall pattern of marine limits suggests a catastrophic series of tidal waves [originating from somewhere in the northwest] engulfed Greenland and surged in the fjord systems to form peaks in the marine limit which are now identified as erosional notches, gravel benches and clay beds.

Valmuedalen, to which we then proceeded, is a big, broad valley running out from the lower portion of Nyeboes Bræ into Adam Bierings Land.

It is very fertile here, plains of clay alternating with level raised beaches of gravel and pebbles. These were found up to a height of 400 metres.

Page: 364 – General Observations as to Natural Conditions – Peter Freuchen
Meddelelser om Grønland – 1915


Greenland - Tidal Wave

This possibility appears to be supported by the behaviour of “frightened residents on the West coast” who “rushed to the sea in their boats” when they “felt” an earthquake.

Even though earthquakes in Greenland are small, and not in the category of destructive earthquakes hazard analysis of the area is interesting from a scientific point of view.

After an earthquake in Greenland there have been reports of frightened residents on the West coast, they felt the earthquake and rushed to the sea in their boats, [Voss, 2006].

Seismic Hazard Analysis of Greenland and a Distribution of Earthquakes – 2006
Stine Kildegaard Poulsen and Sebastian Bjerregaard Simonsen
Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen

Furthermore, the seismic data coupled with the meteorite evidence from Cape York and Disko Bay suggests that the tidal waves may have been triggered by a catastrophic impact in the Beaufort Sea which [amongst many other things] created the Canada Basin.


Gallery | This entry was posted in Catastrophism, Earth, Geology, Glaciology, Greenland. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Geomorphology: Bending the Truth

  1. Obviously geology is badly infected with Lyellianism, to this day.

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