NEWSLETTER: Archaeoastronomy, Mythology, Archaeology, Catastrophe
Kronia Com (firstname.lastname@example.org)
28 Jan 1997 10:36:48 -0800
This is a sample of THOTH Newsletter
It is available via free subscription from
An Electronic Catastrophics Newsletter
VOL I, No. 1
January 25, 1997
EDITOR: Michael Armstrong
PUBLISHER: Walter Radtke
WELCOME....................................... Michael Armstrong
WORLD CONFERENCE REPORT............................Walter Radtke
SATURN THEORY OVERVIEW.............................David Talbott
PLANETS, STARS AND PLASMA PHYSICS..............Wallace Thornhill
ARCTIC CLIMATE SHIFTS..............................Clark Whelton
By Michael Armstrong (email@example.com)
Quote of the day:
The idols of the pagan world are, in fact, congealed history, and will some
day be intelligently studied as such.
Ignatius Donnelly, "Ragnarok: The age of fire and gravel", 1883.
Welcome to the kickoff issue of the THOTH catastrophics electronic
newsletter published by Kronia Communications. It has been over 46 years
since Immanuel Velikovsky published his revolutionary Worlds in Collision
and conditions are right for a sea-change in our world view. By virtue of
the space exploration efforts and the ongoing march of science and
technology, there have been an overwhelming number of developments and
discoveries in the various disciplines, virtually all of which support an
astral catastrophic mechanism playing a major role in the geological
history of the earth and the psychological history of humankind.
One of the basic problems we as catastrophists face in getting the
catastrophic reconstruction considered seriously, especially those of us
that are "Saturnists," is that of paradigm lockout. This is where pieces
of the old paradigm that are almost universally accepted but are incorrect
preclude or lockout consideration of pieces of a new or more correct
paradigm. Even though almost all of the leading cosmologists have
proffered some form of astral catastrophic mechanism, the scientific
establishment is constantly throwing up such pieces of the gradualistic or
uniformitarian paradigm that are clearly incompatible with the Saturn
reconstruction or any other astral catastrophic scenario. So, in this
issue David Talbott, author of The Saturn Myth, gives an overview of the
Saturn scenario reconstruction from the mytho-historical viewpoint,
phycisist Wallace Thornhill summarizes some major aspects of traditional
scientific thinking that are misguided and starts an ongoing discussion
about the electrical/plasma nature of the physical universe, and Clark
Whelton talks about some recent findings in the Arctic Circle that
fundamentally challenge the current world view paradigm.
If you understand and accept in general the theme of recent astral
catastrophism--especially the Saturn myth reconstruction--the implications
and ramifications of the reconstruction become enormous. The range and
extent of intellectual knowledge and spiritual belief change becomes almost
unmanageable or overwhelming for the modern man immersed, educated, trained
and conditioned in the popular world views built around either the
"godless" or purposeless evolutionistic gradualism of establishment
science, or his "religion" based on some external authority figure (book,
tradition, denomination or hierarchal priesthood, leadership pr clergy), or
some mind and soul numbing combination thereof. It is to this dilemma
that this newsletter is directed.
Our intention is to publish the THOTH newsletter every seven to ten days,
and over the course of the next year to provide you with a significant
amount of important material to keep you abreast of what's going on in the
world of inter-disciplinary synthesis. In the next issue we will publish a
list of categories into which the various articles and items can be
classified. We suggest that you save the newsletter material, and
ultimately build some kind of directory or folder structure to
cut-paste-and-save to from your word processor.
Is it important to be concerned about the extent and ramifications of the
reconstruction? One of the vital reasons is given by physicist Nick
Herbert in his Quantum Reality:
The search for the picture of the "way the world really is" is an
enterprise that transcends the narrow interests...for better or worse,
humans have tended to pattern their domestic, social, and political
arrangments according to the dominant vision of physical reality.
Inevitably the cosmic view trickles down to the most mundane details of
May the year of 1997 see us to a truer picture of the "way the world
WORLD CONFERENCE REPORT
By Walter Radtke (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The event was a great success with a Friday night crowd of over 400 and a
full 3-day registration crowd of over 120. There were 3 film crews on
hand to document the event and Laura Lee arrived on Sunday to conduct
radio interviews for her nationwide talk show. An invitation had been
extended to non-Velikovskian catastrophists and much interesting material
was presented by Zecheria Sitchin, Paul LaViolette, Rand Flem-Ath,
Victor Clube and Tom Van Flandern. The Sunday dinner banquet featured a
violin performance by speaker Richard Heinberg. Richard Hoagland backed
out at the last minute & we have subsequently learned that he is apt to
do that if he feels less than in-control of an event.
The conference was held at one of Portland's Red Lion Inns which happened
to be set against a backdrop of catstrophe as the Columbia River was
within 3 feet of flood crest just outside the meeting hall. Many
attendees came from distant locations around the world- Australia,
Germany, Belgium, England, Malaysia, and Canada.
William Mullen and Roger Wescott stood out in my mind for their energetic
and erudite presentations. Wallace Thornhill presented some brilliant
synthesizing of plasma physics as operant in intergalactic and
interplanetary space- a potential revolution in its own right. The
Saturnians- Dave, Ev and Dwardu presented a salvo of compelling
mythological work which we are hoping to take on the road to the Whole
Life Expos around the country this spring and summer. Robert Bass
unveiled new orbital dynamic material produced by his own orery program
and showed himself to be a one-man library of references to current
applicable research, keeping the other speakers busy taking notes during
the day-after meeting. And Ted Holden, our curmudgeon cum laude,
presented an update of his compelling material on the impossibility of
sauropod (big dinosaurs) scaling in earth's present gravity.
Paleontologist Robert Dunlap showed clips from 4 of his video productions
about extinctions and meteor craters and after some some prompting &
cajoling, managed to get a handle on Ted Holden's compelling sauropod
scaling argument. C. J. Ransom provided much needed comic relief with
his witticisms and ironies regarding basic resistance to Velikovskian
catastrophism. Conference organizer, Dave Talbott's talk on Sunday
barely seemed to get started when his time was up so an invitation was
extended for the banquet crowd to see it through to completion after the
dinner. It appeared that the entire company of attendees, some 150 plus
wanted to see Dave complete his thoughts and found themselves staying
late to see an in-depth university quality exposition on the mythic
memories of humanity.
And it was generally agreed at the Monday meeting that Roger Wescott's
suggestion that the term "catastrophism" is itself an oversized dinosaur
and should be replaced with "catastrophics" was a good one, since we
should conceive ourselves less as an ideology and more as a discipline.
Ev Cochrane made the observation that the "Saturnist" wing of the
Velikovskian movement knew more about mythology than anyone on the
planet & with a "bring 'em on!" challenged academia at large to a duel of
mythological proportions (couldn't resist)- any mythologist, anywhere,
SATURN THEORY OVERVIEW
By David Talbott (email@example.com)
THE FOLLOWING IS EXCERPTED FROM A SUMMARY-IN-PROGRESS
ON A PRIVATE EMAIL GROUP
The origins of ancient mythology; the birth of the first civilizations; a
violent history of the solar system: these are the primary themes of
what has been called the "Saturn Theory."
In the broadest sense, what I have proposed is an explanation of the
myth-making epoch as a whole. Astronomers and astrophysicists,
historians, anthropologists, archaeologists and students of ancient
myth and religion are asked to reconsider the most common
assumptions about ancient history, including many that have rarely
if ever been doubted.
The underlying principles of the theory are these:
1. Major changes in the planetary order, some involving Earth-
threatening catastrophes, have occurred within human memory.
2. Through myth, ritual and symbol around the world, our ancestors
preserved a global record of these tumultuous events.
3. The first civilizations arose from ritual practices honoring, imitating
and memorializing these events and the planetary powers involved.
It should go without saying that if these principles are correct,
there is an extraordinary evidential value to the mythical-cosmological
underpinnings of the first civilizations. Hence, the communications
challenge: this evidential value is virtually never acknowledged by
Nevertheless, the model I have offered holds one advantage that prior
catastrophist notions based on ancient testimony have lacked. It is
specific enough to be easily disproved on its own ground if wrong.
Whatever else one may think of the thesis, it meets this test of a
THE POLAR CONFIGURATION
The theory holds that a unique congregation of planets preceded the
planetary system familiar to us today. For earthbound witnesses, the
result was a spectacular, at times highly unified apparition in the
heavens, the obsessive focus of human attention around the world.
For more than 20 years, I have claimed that this fear-inspiring image
once stretched across the northern sky, towering over ancient
starworshippers. I termed this planetary arrangement the polar
configuration because it was centered on the north celestial Pole. And I
have proposed that the history of this configuration is the history of the
ancient gods, recorded in the fantastic stories, pictographs and ritual
reenactments of the first star worshippers.
A vast field of data is therefore available to the investigator.
Remarkably similar pictures of a "sun" in the sky, revealing no similarity
to our sun today. A pictographic crescent placed on the orb of the "sun"
and a radiant "star" placed squarely in its center. The universal
chronicles of a cosmic mountain, a pillar of fire and light rising along
the world axis. The myth of a central sun or motionless sun at the
celestial pole. Identification of this ancient "sun" with the planet
Saturn in early astronomies. A radiant city or temple of heaven,
providing the prototype for the sacred habitation on earth. Global
memories of a star-goddess with long-flowing hair. An angry goddess raging
across the sky with wildly disheveled hair, threatening to destroy the
world. A flaming serpent or dragon disturbing the celestial motions or
attacking the land. An ancestral warrior or hero, born from the womb of
the star-goddess to vanquish the chaos-serpent or dragon.
Is it even possible that such diverse motifs could have a unified
explanation? Well, one fact remains uncontested after many years of
publishing on this subject. The hypothesized planetary configuration
does predict or account for hundreds of ancient themes never before
explained--and at a level of detail or specificity that could not be
denied. Indeed, I have gone so far as to brashly claim that not a
single general motif of ancient myth, ritual or symbolism is left
unexplained in the most straightforward way by the model. And that's
what I mean when I say the model supports a general theory of
ancient symbolism as a whole.
It needs to be emphasized, therefore, that the historical argument for
the polar configuration is fully testable against a massive historical
record. And I would hope that this will provide some assurance to
those unnerved by the source material (ancient testimony): if the
model is fundamentally incorrect, the experts on ancient myth and
symbolism will have no trouble whatsoever refuting it.
Vine Deloria, author of the recently-published book, *Red Earth, White
Lies*, has asked a couple of questions which I would like to address. But
not in one shot, because the questions are too fundamental for that. I'd
like to see if I can divide the issues into segments that could make for
The Saturn theory arose from a "historical argument," in the sense that the
argument relates to the human past, as implied by the details of human
memory in ancient times and by human artifacts. I shall offer this series
of summaries as an exercise in clarifying the historical argument, without
the aid of visual presentation.
One obvious and immediate question is whether something as ambiguous as
myth could actually qualify as "evidence"? The historical argument
focuses on *points of agreement* in the memories of widespread races,
suggesting levels of coherence often missed by historians and
anthropologists, and raising the possibility that this coherence arises
from a core of human experience that has been missed as well.
There is an overarching idea in this argument. We've not only
misunderstood the past, we've failed to recognize the consistency of
ancient memory in pointing to extraordinary events never considered by
modern science. Remarkably, every motive of our early ancestors directs
our attention to experiences impossible to comprehend in terms of any
natural phenomena occurring today. This consistency will be seen even at
the most fundamental levels of human memory, in the most deeply-rooted
themes of the first civilizations--
The universal memory of a former age of the gods. The universal memory of
an ancestral Golden Age, inaugurating the age of the gods. The universal
memory of a celestial "king of the world" whose life inspired the
ancestral leap into civilization. Descriptions of the gods as luminaries
of immense size and power, wielding weapons of thunder and stone. The
universal claim that the ancient world evolved by critical phases or
cycles, punctuated by sweeping catastrophe. Global traditions of gods and
heroes ruling for a time, then departing amid terrifying spectacles and
upheavals. The frequently-stated transfiguration of the departed gods
into distant "stars". The identification of these ruling gods with
planets in the first astronomies. The relentless urge of starworshippers
to draw pictures of celestial forms never seen in our sky. Their desperate
yearning to recover the semblance of a lost cosmic order. Their collective
efforts to replicate, in architecture, the towering forms claimed to have
existed in primeval times. Their festive recreations, through mystery
plays and symbolic rites, of cosmic violence and disorder. Their
repetition, through ritual sacrifice, of the deaths or ordeals of the
gods. Their brutal and ritualistic wars of expansion, celebrated as a
repetition of the cosmic devastation wrought in the wars of the gods.
Such motives as these constitute, in fact, the most readily verifiable
underpinnings of ancient ritual, myth and symbol. How strange that in
their incessant glance backwards, the builders of the first civilizations
never remembered anything resembling the natural world in which we live!
What is needed in the face of unusual but widely repeated memories is
brutal intellectual honesty. How did human consciousness, emerging from
the womb of nature, converge on the same improbable ideas
*contradicting* nature? For centuries we've lived under the illusion that
our ancestors simply made up explanations of natural phenomena they
didn't understand. But that's not the problem. What the myth-makers
interpreted or explained through stories and symbols and ritual re-
enactments is an unrecognizable world, a world of alien sights and sounds,
of celestial forms, of cosmic spectacles and earth-shaking events that do
not occur in our world. *That* is the problem.
>From an evaluation of the global themes of ancient cultures, we have
hypothesized a world order never imagined by mainstream theory--a world
in which *planets* moved on different courses, appearing huge in the sky.
Heaven-spanning celestial forms dominated human imagination to the
point of obsession at the time of civilization's birth.
Our contention will be that hundreds of ancient themes speak for a unified
experience, an experience more specific in context and detail than any of
us had ever imagined when we started our research. No universal theme
stands alone or in isolation from any of the others. All are connected.
All speak for the presence of a coherent memory beneath the surface of
seemingly random detail.
In offering these summaries, I am not asking or expecting anyone to
embrace the extraordinary theory of planetary history involved, only to
consider highly interesting evidence. One of the values of this re-
interpretation of evidence is that the model *works*. It explains the
subject matter. Even if you do not for an instant believe that the
suggested events occurred, merely discovering the active memory will throw
remarkable new light on the ancient structures of human consciousness.
In the course of these summaries, questions and challenges will be
welcome, and wherever possible I will try to incorporate these into the
narrative as we go along.
PLANETS, STARS, AND PLASMA PHYSICS
By Wallace Thornhill
Hello everyone from DownUnder!
Dave has asked me to give a summary of my interest and position in the
debate about the Saturnian configuration. I was one of the early science
undergraduates, in the late 50's, who had read Velikovsky's works before
entering University. In my naiveti, I thought that no questions were taboo
in the halls of academe. To my surprise and profound disillusionment
with "experts", I soon discovered that this was not so. I then began to do
what Dave has done and looked for further evidence, working on my own.
So far as I know, I was the only science undergraduate who haunted the
anthropology section of the library bookshelves. It was enough to
convince me that there was a major case to be explored for a "recent" re-
arrangement of the solar system.
I did not pursue the mytho-historical threads, since my first love is
astronomy. But I have applied the same principles in that field that Dave
has done in his work--that is, pattern recognition and matching. The
results have been very encouraging and interesting.
I should state my prejudices concerning the present state of science. I
would characterize the scientific age as being the age of homo sapiens
ignoramus. To be specific about our ignorance in the areas most likely to
affect the Saturnian configuration, I would list the following:
GRAVITY - Einstein, with his geometric DESCRIPTION of gravity
has held back understanding by the better part of a century. The most
promising work in EXPLAINING gravity is being done by a handful of
Classical Physicists who see it as a minute imbalance in electrostatic
forces associated with fundamental particles. The recent announcement of
the accidental discovery of gravitational shielding by a rotating
superconductor seems congruent with the classical approach. It certainly
could not be predicted from the current metaphysics of gravity theory.
ELECTRICAL DISCHARGES - This is crucial. We do not understand
what causes earthly lightning so we are unlikely to acknowledge plasma
discharges in space. The little plasma physics that astronomers are taught
is flawed: that plasmas are electrically neutral and superconducting (they
trap magnetic fields). So apart from gravity, magnetism is the only other
force we hear about. We are told that energetic events on the Sun are due
to "magnetic reconnection" (whatever that means). The strongest force
(barring nuclear)--electrical--is never mentioned. We find it easy on
Earth to generate x-rays using electric discharges, but astronomers insist
on Nature doing it the hard way in space. It is also not generally known
that electrical discharges are very efficient at removing material against
gravity and dumping it into space or onto another nearby object.
STARS - We do not understand what makes them tick. As Ralph Juergens said
in the 70's, practically every feature of our Sun has no business being
there if it is purely a thermonuclear engine radiating into space.
Magnetic fields do not occur without an associated electric current. The
Sun is essentially an extended, conducting plasma subject to electric
stress. The phenomenon we call the Sun is purely a ball of lightning.
That the Earth and other planets intercept some of the galactic plasma
discharge is shown by the recent discovery of diffuse stratospheric
discharges (sprites), x-rays and gamma-rays above earthly storms. This is
a precise analogue of the corona (x-rays), chromospheric glow discharge
and photospheric lightning (granulations are the tops of the discharges)
on the Sun. The umbra of a sunspot gives us a glimpse of the true
temperature of the body of the Sun.
As a result of this realization, it follows that the conventional stellar
evolutionary story is pure fiction. Stars are what they are because of
their environment. Their variability is caused by their environment, not
their internal workings. This explains the speed with which some stars
change their characteristics. Heavy elements are not built up solely in
supernovae, but at the surface of all stars in the non-thermal compression
and acceleration of plasma discharges (granulations). Hence,
nucleosynthesis and what little neutrino production there is fall as the
sunspot number increases. The differential rotation of the Sun, its
magnetic field and the sunspot cycle are all influenced by the Sun's
passage across large Birkeland currents flowing along, and defining the
arms of our galaxy.
PLANET FORMATION - The Laplacian theory and its variants are
garbage. The Hubble Space Telescope has shown that in regions of
star formation large bodies are being shot out as if from a gun, which
is peculiar if gravity is the operative force.
Once again plasma discharges provide a mechanism which can simply explain
this. The view is that diffuse hydrogen and dust is efficiently scavenged
and compressed by the well known magnetic pinch effect of an electric
current flowing along the arms of a galaxy. At some point gravity takes
over and stellar objects are formed. Beyond a certain size proto stars
become electrically unstable and "fission", spitting out some of the core
and giving rise to one or more companions. This explains the predilection
for stars to be found in pairs or multiples. Not all of the matter
ejected from the core of a proto-star may coalesce into a companion star.
It may be in the form of one or a number of gas giants. (The recent
discovery of a Jupiter-like body orbiting very close to a nearby star
argues strongly for this model and against the standard theory). A gas
giant, in turn, due to either internal or external electrical disturbance
may fission, spitting out its core, to give rise to the highly condensed
planets, moons, asteroids, comets etc.
COSMOLOGY - All of the above gives rise to the conviction that
cosmology should be in the hands of the plasma physics experimenters
(not the theorists). It is ironic that they have been chasing the holy
grail of fusion power "just like the Sun", when that is patently wrong.
(Interestingly, a recent breakthrough in fusion energy research came
about in my home town, Canberra, when the researchers configured their
plasma discharge in the form of a Birkeland current ring - a precise
analogue of that flowing along the arms of our galaxy).
But astronomers will continue to be surprised by results pouring in from
space probes when their fundamental paradigms rest on Newtonian and
billiard-ball physics. The current paradigm has no predictive power
whatsoever. The book "The Big Bang Never Happened" by Eric J Lerner
is a pointer to the cosmology of the 21st century.
So, what are the patterns that apply from all this to the Saturnian
Configuration (SC)? The following are some ideas:
1 - the core discharge mechanism of planet formation is a plausible way to
generate the SC, a string of objects with the largest near the middle.
2 - the reliance on the degree of electric stress in the enveloping plasma
for the characteristics of the larger bodies enclosed in that plasma could
see rapid changes occur, even the disruption of one of the stellar or gas
giant objects. It could certainly involve jets of material being emitted
by such bodies and forming a diffuse cloud enveloping the SC. It could
also be the destabilising influence which finally breaks it up.
3 - As seen in the high speed objects shooting out of the Orion Nebula,
plasma discharges taking place in the core of a star or gas giant can
result in considerable acceleration of the resultant debris. This may
provide some of the source of the energy required to position Jupiter and
Saturn much farther out in our solar system. The redistribution of charge
amongst objects in a solar radial field also REQUIRES that their orbits
4 - Charged bodies orbiting eccentrically in a radial electric field around
the Sun will dissipate energy through electromagnetic induction heating in
such a way as to quickly spiral into a circular orbit. For any object with
a high eccentricity, electrical breakdown will occur within its Langmuir
sheath and cometary discharge phenomena will be seen, regardless of its
5 - If gravity is essentially an electrostatic phenomenon, the unusual
environment of the Saturnian configuration would be expected to have
caused a difference in the perceived gravity at the surface of the Earth.
It is conceivable that the electric stress within the plasma sheath
enclosing the SC was less than that which the Earth endures in its current
solar environment. This would result in an effective lower gravity. The
breakup of the SC would have caused a sudden change. An interesting
sidelight to this idea is that the apparent very low density of Saturn may
be due to the use of a UNIVERSAL Gravitational constant in the
determination. There may be no such thing! (Measurements of G in
laboratories on Earth don't seem to agree). In Saturn's electrical
environment we may have shared an apparent low gravity.
6 - Various odd phenomena associated with plasma discharges would have
been observed from Earth and should appear in ancient depictions of the
SC. These include helical, serpentine glows surrounding a central column
or twined rope-like around each other. These would be representations of
Birkeland currents flowing between planets enveloped in the same plasma
sheath. The number of "strands" may have varied and given rise to the
depictions of Venus with different numbers of radiants. We should also
look at photographs from deep space of "exploding stars" for clues to the
imagery since they are electric discharge phenomena writ large. One
example is where we see bright rings at the bases of cones. From below,
they would possibly look like rings around the column or a series of flared
skirts. Another effect is seen in discharge tubes filled with low pressure
gas where a series of light and dark bands are formed transverse to the
discharge axis. This might give rise to a kind of "stairway to heaven" or
ziggurat appearance. Then there is the self-contained plasmoid, a
corkscrew within an overall football shape which forms the interplanetary
equivalent of lightning and appears to have been depicted as Zeus'
I have looked in some detail at chondritic meteorites which I expect to be
left-overs from a planetary discharge event. They show all the
characteristics to be expected of material that has been subjected to flash
heating, acceleration, collision and ion implantation in a spatially
restricted compressed gas stream together with isotopic modification by
enhanced radiation, followed by sudden cooling - all the symptoms of a
plasma discharge. I predicted that the features of the enigmatic chondrule
shells could be reproduced in the lab in a plasma oven.
(A planetary discharge is a very effective way for Martian meteorites to
have been created).
Very strong evidence for planetary electrical scarring comes from the
Magellan Orbiter images of Venus. Also, the Jovian moon, Europa was
presumably a part of the SC and would also have been subject to electrical
scarring. I predict that when closeups of Europa are available in
December, the so-called cracks in the ice will be found to be electric
discharge channels with the raised levees on either side and the
dark-light-dark cross section caused by discharge modification of the
excavated material. (In the manner of the green glass beads formed from
the melted soil excavated by an electric discharge along the lunar
rilles). The "cracks" on Europa show no lateral displacement where they
intersect, though displacement would be expected if they were due to
shifting ice. Discharge channels will throw material from the younger
channel into the older where they intersect. Cracks should not show this
After that I need a long, cold Fosters!
ARCTIC CLIMATE CHANGES
By Clark Whelton (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The discussion about mammoths on Wrangel Island in the Arctic
prompts me to re-post an earlier message about well-preserved temperate
forests at 79 degrees north latitude. The discovery of non-mineralized
fresh-looking deciduous trees and the fossils of tropical fauna on Axel
Heiberg Island still strikes me as remarkable.
(Reposted message below)
The appeal to continental drift does not explain the well-preserved
remains of temperate forests discovered on Axel Heiberg Island, which, at
79 degrees n. latitude, is deep within the Arctic Circle. Articles in
"Canadian Geographic" (Vol. 106, no. 6) and "Equinox" (May-June 1986)
describe the surprise that awaited a member of the Geological Survey of
Canada when he arrived on Axel Heiberg in 1985. "He had found the remains
of a 45 million year old forest just 1,100 kms. from the North Pole... The
sense of being transported into the past is made all the more real by the
remarkable preservation of the fossils. The wood (swamp cypress and dawn
redwood) has not been altered through all this time; it looks and feels
like freshly cut wood -- it splits and splinters, it can be carved with a
knife, and it burns as readily as kindling. Most impressive of all, it
still has that reddish hue we often find in softwood lumber. The only
thing missing is the scent (of fresh wood)."
The fallen tree trunks of the deciduous trees and their still-rooted
stumps were perfectly preserved. Beneath a layer of silt were found
well-preserved leaf mats. "Sorting through these mats is much like
probing beneath a modern forest." On Ellesmere Island, also in the
high Arctic, have been found "tree trunks so perfectly preserved they
give the illusion of having fallen yesterday, rather than 50 million years
ago. A close examination of the fossilized wood revealed regular
growth rings, a sign of seasonality... the Arctic trees (had been)
growing in swamps, which were also inhabited by alligators and giant
salamanders (and numerous other tropical and temperate fauna)."
It's not clear how deciduous trees and reptiles survived six months of
Arctic darkness, let alone the accompanying cold.
And, regarding continental drift, "Axel Heiberg is today only a few
hundred kilometres closer to the North Pole than it was when these