Crazy geology ++ crazy geography *

Superrotation of the earth's core    -   

Drehimpuls des Erdkerns  ( that was German )

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Trace the continental drift!

- Backwards and forwards -

[ This was written in September 1997 - but edited more than once since then! ]

Dear Sir or Madam:

As I have just recently read in the German version of the Scientific AmericanSpektrum der Wissenschaften - scientists have known for long that the sun's photosphere rotates faster at the equator than at the poles.

Now here is a theory I have been working on as a hobby for the last 10 to 15 years, since around 1982: That this is a common trait of all rotating stellar objects which are able to do so, be they liquid or gaseous, big or small, from galaxies over stars and planetary systems down to the planets themselves.

This would be because when rotating objects contract due to their own gravity, their core, becoming more compact, begins rotating faster than their surface, a difference that is necessarily most marked at the equator and least at the poles, maybe even forming a vortex there. (1)

It's a pirouette effect.

I came across this idea by looking at a map of our own planet and trying to trace the continental drift by retracing the spreading zones on the earth's surface as shown on the globe.
One of these strange facts, is that there are no mountain ranges on either side of the Atlantic or Africa or to the south of India, where in plate tectonics theory they should be, opposing the mid-ocean ridges.

Obviously, no tectonic subduction has taken place to the south of India or west of Africa and Europe and east of the Americas during the last few hundred million years; this concentrates itself to the north of India and in the east of the Pacific, on the west coast of the American continents, and north of the Mediterranean Sea.

By retracing the sea floor spreading and running it forward again, the startling effect is therefore a clear eastward flow of the continents along the equator, with a circular hole at the north pole ( more continental mass being in the northern hemisphere ) and a circular land mass at the south pole.

The usual animation, exploding Pangea in all directions from Africa, is probably due to our Euro- and therefore, Africa- centered view onto the globe.

My idea now is that the continents are being carried along by an eastward equatorial stream in the earth's mantle, driven by the earth's core rotating faster than the surface.

There is a sinus overlay to this magma flow, which runs - complete with swirls and eddies -
The "scars" of this process are distinctly visible on the ocean floors- and on the continental crust as well. There is a conspicuous straight ( or rather, curved )line from the east coast of Africa and Arabia running up the west coast of India all the way to the north-eastern tip of Asia:

Weirdly, this assumed magma flow seems to follow the projection of an "ecliptic" ( i. e. the position of the noonday sun ) onto the planet in exaggeration; which may, if so, be a result of the sun's gravitational pull combined with centrifugal forces, causing it to meander in the described fashion.
This gravitational pull of the sun, together with that of the moon and the rest of the solar system, may even contribute to the effect of slowing down - or rather, holding back - the outer shell of the earth. That may even be a contributing cause of Earth retaining an interior of molten magma at all.

Perhaps even the fact that the earth passes nearest the sun when the Northern Hemisphere (and the arctic) is facing it due to the inclination of the earth's axis is contributing to the fact that there is more land mass concentrated in the north than in the Southern Hemisphere ] 


This idea should be supported by scientific data. (*)

What are the consequences?

I don't know.

It's just an ideé fixe.

( I haven't been able to work this out on a computer yet, just a crude paper model on a Xerox machine years ago. I have made a scan of it which works quite well as an animated gif and can be disassembled again. )

How to get to the results:

The rather simple trick is to reduce bit by bit the sea floor spreading in relation to the mid-ocean ridges.

This only works if the Alpine - Andean mountains (which by now have lost most of their volume due to erosion) are allowed to spread out in consequence, and the continents themselves are allowed to deform - or rather reform - in the process, since the mountain ranges of the Alps, once a series of marine sediment basins, for instance, in part now lie hundreds of kilometers "inland" from their original location.

Here, plausible assumptions have to be made. Who says the continents have always had the same shape as today? Neev and Hall (3) of Israel did some research on this aspect many years ago but, as far as I know, have met with very little response.

Here, inevitably, plausible assumptions will have to are made about the original expansion of the so treated compression zones; whether they once represented sinks, possibly submarine, and the like. However, the outcome of this drift - retracing (an oblong-shaped Pangea, which extends over both poles), is less arbitrary than it may appear at first glance.

This roughly corresponds with the present-day scientific image, but shows the way to get there - and thus a way to extrapolate this into the future.

Let me put it this way:

Karachi and Daressalam, had they existed at the time, would have been
neighboring cities;
Once neighboring cities tor apart by the continental drift
as were Kapstadt, Colombo, Djakarta and Perth;
further east, Sydney, Wellington and Santiago;
up north, Mexico and Singapore;
the former Saigon, Manila, Honolulu and Los Angeles;
above, Peking, Tokyo, Seoul and San Francisco;
and finally, Miami, Monterey and Dakar, Boston and Lisbon, Rio de Janeiro and Luanda.

The Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn were one, but no cape.
The Drake Street was closed by Antarctica.
All island chains to the east of the continents were once eastern coastal regions of these continents, torn away by the eastern magma flow postulated by me.

There are NO island chains ( or basins, for that matter ) to the west of continental shelves!

This observation cannot be sufficiently stressed.

Just as there are no real subduction zones or consequent mountain chains on the eastern regions of the continents.

Mountain chains in the eastern regions of continents, as in North and South America, or Asia and Australia, are not subductive, but former rift rims; they always ( ! ) have their counterpart further east across the ocean, symmetrically divided by a mid - ocean ridge or basin.
This process can be seen developing in the East African Rift Valley.
Some of these counterparts have, indeed, turned into the above mentioned island chains.

The Indonesian island chain down to the island of Bali, for example, which seems to be in the west of the Australian Continent, apart from being volcanic, in my model in reality is continental debris that once belonged the eastern coast of Africa, resp. the western coast of North America ( some of it even found in the Rocky Mountains ), and the islands south - east of Bali to the eastern coast of Australia resp. the western coast of South America.

I do not know if there is a marked difference geologically in those two parts of the Indonesian island range, but there is a marked biological divide between the Islands of Bali and Lombok. This biological separation between the Asian and the Australian fauna was discovered by Alfred Wallace in 1856, and was in fact named after him. The "Wallace Line", which necessarily runs the whole breadth the Indonesian island empire, indicates a long separation between the two parts, which off-hand look like they have always belonged together; but the strait between them is between 400 and 1500 meters deep and is termed an oceanic "graben".

Thus, just as continents may be torn apart and wander across the planet, so they may be joined at the far ends of the world to form something new.  - back -
To put it even more bluntly: the surface of this planet has but two true subduction zones; southern Eurasia and western America.

And I am not even sure if they cannot be counted as one, maybe excepting the branch to New Zealand.
All have traveled far, but not as far as Africa itself; although this is difficult to state, considering it is a round trip; and more than once Africa will be or has been, like the moon sailing around the world, in the place it started from.
The eastern flow then is not weak, but very strong.


I am forever trying to find someone who could and would try this out with a sophisticated computer program, which in principle should be simple, given the geomorphological data; but so far nobody seems interested. What do you say? *View*

Juergen Hinrichs, c/o


Results up to now:

( Made by cutting up and re-pasting and lastly painting over that famous world map of the continents and ocean floor from the 1960's by Bruce Heezen and Marie Tharpe )

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View the complete moving continents animated gif as SWF - flash movie
( Size: 1.2 mb )
Download Now! Download the moving continents animated gif SWF - flash movie with right mouseclick
( Size: 1.2 mb )
Download Now! Download the animated GIF image with right mouseclick ( or view with left )
( Size: 1.2 mb )
View Now!
View the complete moving continents animated Interactive Slide Show and Globe

And perhaps compare it with the animation found here. There are quite a few similarities.

[ Alas, the size of the continents is greatly exaggerated in my rather rough animation; but in both cases the result is an elongated form of Pangea reaching over the poles. ]
Or visit the whole thing on YouTube   ( here is an an old and here a German version )

This Picture If there is any one out there who would like to try to work this out directly as a proper Flash TM animation ( using, for instance, this picture ), go ahead!

I would be most glad to publish any results on this page. Please contact me.
Next Page For more details, see my next page



The earth-moon gravitational spiral I also believe that the moon , for similar reasons, must have a displaced center of gravity facing earth, being part of a spiraling gravitational system that has its center in the earth's core ( and this indeed seems to be the case ).

For more on that aspect, see or wikipedia on tidal locking

See also for an idea on how thin the earth's crust really is, compared with it's massive interior; and how mountain chains, though the may seem high to us, and indeed have their peaks almost up in the stratosphere, they are but shallow crumples that can easily be formed by the huge forces that hold this planet in it's path.

Furthermore: The earth's atmosphere may in prehistoric times have had 2-3 times the volume, pressure and density of today, enabling bigger and heavier creatures to breathe and fly ( dinosaurs, pterodactyls and before that, gigantic insects and other arthropods), as well as forming a different climate. Maybe even allowing for higher mountains by elevating the erosion levels.

More details to that point can be found here

Questions remain:
  • If this was so, why and how has the earth's atmosphere disappeared?
  • And is this still going on? At what rate?


3) Dr. D. Neev, Dr. J. K. Hall, Geological Survey of Israel, Marine Geology, Mapping and Tectonics Division 30 Malchei Israel Street, Jerusalem 95 501, Israel
- back -

Addendum 2006:

4) It now seems that my idea wasn't that crazy after all... - back -

As it seems, while I was wrestling with plate tectonics and found that the solution to the observed problems could really only be found in a postulated superrotation of the earth's core, Paul Richards and Xiaodong Song from Lamont-Doherty had concluded from analyzing seismic waves from earthquakes that the earth's core must be rotating faster than the surface.

And now this seems to have been confirmed by new research which apparently hit the news in the August 26 issue of the journal Science, 2005.

:-) Well, well

They calculated that the core is rotating approximately 0.3-0.5 degrees faster than the rest of the earth. In addition there apparently is an inhomogeneity or "lumpiness" of the inner core. ( See the "Vogel Bumps" )

The inner core has a diameter about three-quarters that of the moon, and a mass about 30 per cent greater than the mass of the moon.

This inner core rotates in the same direction as the earth, but seemingly completes its once-a-day rotation a little bit quicker than the planet as a whole. The studies also indicate that the fast-track axis is not exactly north-south but is tilted slightly at about 10 degrees from the earth's own axis and moves eastward. Over the years, it would trace a circular path around the north pole.

The so-called "superrotation" of the inner core is of the order of 0.3 degrees to 0.5 degrees each year. This means that in about 900 years the inner core would gain one full rotation on the rest of the planet, which would be about 50,000 times that of plate tectonic motion.

( Others seem to calculate around 1 degree per year, which would result in one extra core revolution in just 360 planetary surface years. )

See on this.

:-) Remember, I did not know of this at the time

- - -

Does this really mean that the core of the earth is moving 50,000 times faster than the surface?


Now that it seems established that there IS a superrotation of the earth's core, as I had postulated some time last century, maybe someone will be able to measure its influence on the earth's surface. As far as I know, this has not yet been recognised as a possible motor for the continental drift. One down, one to go.

Then perhaps we can throw some previous assumptions out of the schoolbooks

- - -

Addendum 2011:

The sad catastrophe of the earthquake and tsunami that hit the main island of Japan on March 11, 2011 seems to have moved parts of the east coast of that country eastwards by some 3-4 meters, expanding the country, and parts of the ocean floor to the east of it by as much as 20 meters.

Yes, that can be explained by a rebound effect. And yes, there is a subduction zone. Perhaps, though, Asia, and with it Japan, is being carried, pushed and torn ( south - ) eastwards, the effect being more marked the further east you go, opening the Sea of Japan basin, not closing it. The similar would apply to Australia and New Zealand.

Such would be the rather dramatic consequence of this idea.

- - -

Addendum 2015: My Stars! Is it that late already.

You may want to have a look & listen at the BBC
on the sun
or the earth's core

for additional information.

References and related links:



A wonderful site full of
pictures, animations, globes and links on geomorphology


Zbigniew Zwolinski, Ph.D.

Quaternary Research Institute, Adam Mickiewicz University,
Fredry 10, 61-701 Poznan, Poland e-mail:
With two references to this page:

The Great Globe Gallery on the World Wide Web 
( look for "Question for the next Century" )

The Virtual Geomorphology 
( look in chapter "Theoretical Geomorphology" )


Another great site full of
pictures, globes, maps and links on geomorphology

look for "Images", especially this one !  

Using this, all you need to have is the specific ages of the corresponding mountain ranges,
then try to reduce the ocean floor in reverse according to its age!

( It would not yield exactly the same results as my above first try,
but near enough to prove my point; or wouldn't you agree? )  
- back -

1) This would be an effect of the interaction of gravity and centrifugal force ( leaving out the effects of dark matter on galaxies ).

Precise measurements by satellites seem to show that the earth is bulged out slightly at the North Pole, while being indented slightly at the South Pole. This, if correct, gives the earth a somewhat pear-shaped appearance. This could be a sign of material being transported from one pole to the other, probably from South to North Pole via the core.

[Supplementary: Some wayward thoughts on thermodynamics, gravity and human economics]

- back -



An unbelievable collection
of geology - related links

can also be found

Lennart Widmark's site:

Some of the very nicest ones are here:



References on the subject proposed to me by Ben Everitt ( ):

Lutz, T.M., and K.A. Foland 1987, Meridional pattern of the oceanic rift system.
Geology v.6, p. 179-183. 

Busse, F.H., and C.R. Carrigan 1976, Laboratory simulation of thermal convection in rotating planets and stars.
Science v.191, p. 81-83. > 

Kane, Martin F. 1972, Rotational inertia of continents: proposed link between polar wandering and plate tectonics.
Science v.175, p. 1355-1357. 


2)  View here also: Some simple facts about the interaction of bodies in our solar system
- back -


And now for something completely different... the evolution of mankind:  

 - The Aquatic Ape Theory ( AAT )

 - with:   My personal contribution to the AAT


The SECRET site of an astounded German in the USA   (  speaking German, of course  )   - back -
Ein erstaunter Reisender in den USA   ( deutsch )   - back -
Weitere Kommentare zu dieser Seite   ( deutsch )    - und ein kurzes Video
. . . sowie die Arbeit von Albin Fischer *  über die Entwicklung des Klimas seit der Eiszeit  - zum ersten Mal on-line!
*   Ich mache hier aufmerksam auf die Arbeit von Herrn Albin Fischer, Kassel, zur Klimaentwicklung seit der Eiszeit und sein schönes Poster, veröffentlicht im Orion - Verlag, Bärenreiter - Druck, Buchhandlung Lometsch, Kassel, ISBN 3-9800751-0-9, welches ich auf dieser Seite teilweise eingescannt habe.

But there is much more to simple gravity than that:

- Prospect 1850 -

The Second Law of Thermodynamics and its implications for society: Wealth vs. Work. Creation vs. Chaos. Entropy vs. Energy.

   Thermo - Dynamics

Gravity and Thermodynamics: Science, Religion and Economics.

The construction and consumption of order in the cosmos. How did everything come to be, and how is it maintained?

The URL of this page is:

The original URL of this page was:,

which clocked up hits
Sept. 1997 - Sept. 2002 before it sadly had to be abandoned.


Now counting since 2006:

0 0

© JHR 09/1997

Last revised on 15.09.2014

Go on to Tracing the Continental Drift:

Page  II :  Continental Drift: Time and distance estimate

Page  III : Data basis for flash or morphing experiments

Page  IV : Undulations of the earth's core

[ "Descend into the crater of Yocul of Sneffels, which the shade of Scartaris caresses, before the kalends of July, audacious traveler, and you will reach the centre of the earth. I have done it." ( Arne Sagnussem ) - Jules Verne, JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH ]


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