Sony Pictures has a new movie coming out in November. It provides a Hollywood version of the upcoming 2012 disaster. The destruction scenes are pretty amazing. The graphics look excellent. Sony has even gone so far as to create a second website with its own movie trailers, the Institute for Human Continuity (IHC), as a promotion to drive ticket sales for the 2012 film. Among the scenarios proposed by the Sony website is the theory of crustal displacement.
What they present is an exaggeration of Charles Hapgood's theory from the 1950s.
Originally proposed to counter the theory of tectonic plate movement, Hapgood's theory of crustal displacement was endorsed by Albert Einstein in 1955 who recommended further investigation by the scientific community. Hapgood's original theory was disproved. Tectonic plate movement does account for the breakup of Pangea and continental shift. However, the Earth's crust, even though it exists in pieces, does float as a semi-solid structure on a liquid mantle. Should the constantly changing weight of the crust be disproportionally misaligned when Earth passes through a gravitational stress, then the entire crust could let loose and move as a whole.
Of course, with all the hoopla that focused attention on the newly discovered movement of tectonic plates, Hapgood's theory was relegated to the dust bin used by Atlantean believers to justify virtually every theory about the lost city that is currently trendy. Having been hijacked by the Atlantean crowd, any scientist who shows interest in dusting off Hapgood's theory and investigating it automatically relegates their career to the dustbin from which the theory was pulled.
Unlike the IHC website claims, no core heating is needed for crustal displacement. There is no "feedback" that makes the process progressively worse. Hapgood simply proposed a process where the weight of the Earth's surface, which varies by the thickness of the crust, can become disproportionally heavy in one area.
Through centripetal (centrifugal for you older students) force the Earth's spin will, under the right conditions, cause the unbalanced external crust to suddenly shift as a whole. This shift will begin to rebalance the uneven weight distribution. Subsequent movement of tectonic plates will finish the balancing. It is like the old method of balancing tires on a car. The tire was spun on a machine and, based on the wobble, a lead weight was added to the rim. The position and size of that weight was adjusted to balance the tire. As the tire wore, the balance changed, the wobble returned, and the weight would have to be removed and replaced, sometimes adding or taking away a few ounces while simultaneously changing the weight's position. The same thing happens over time with any changing weight distribution on a rotating object.
Hapgood theorized that under conditions where significant ice build-up caused the Earth's balance to be offset, the combined axial spin and solar orbit would create enough centripetal force to move Earth's crust from a few degrees to 15 degrees in a single event. Of course, a loss of ice mass could cause the same unbalanced conditions. As would any combination if the gravitational and rotational forces applied to the Earth were to reach their extremes, such as the day we pass through the galactic plane...
Crustal displacement theory accounts for the presence of forest remains in Antarctic mountains where no forests can grow. It accounts for dinosaur fossils on the same continent, which could not possibly have supported those life-forms in its current position. It accounts for mammoth remains in Siberia where the animals froze to death so instantaneously that they still had food in their mouths. It accounts for glacial action in North America at times when no similar glaciation existed in Europe.
Such a shift, even if only a few degrees of movement, would essentially end life as we know it...
More on the effects of such a displacement later.