Afghanistan central Asian Republic bordering on the Soviet Union, China, Pakistan, and Iran. Area: 652 000 sq.km. (252 000 sq. mi.). Population 14 million. Religion: Sunni muslim. Capital Kabul. The population is largely illiterate, 18% are nomads. Afghanistan is an agrarian society which imports most manufactured goods.
Mountain chain known as the Hindu Kush forms the major watershed. Kush is highest in the east where it rises to several elevations exceeding 7km. It has acted as barrier and gateway to humankind. Passes through the Kush have been crossed by merchants and warriors alike seeking fame and fortune on the other side. Summer temperatures reach 45 C (115 F).
Afghanistan conquered by Alexander the Great in 2329, became kingdom of Bactria. It became Muslim when overrun by Arabs in 1213. Later invaded by Genghis Kahn and Tamerlane. Babur based in Kabul invaded India before 500. Came under influence of British and Russians after 160. Amanullah secured independence and became king in 74. Became a republic in a coupd'etat by Sadar Daud Khan in 27. Recently civil war has aligned Sovietaided Government versus U.S.A.aided rebels, with destructive and indeterminate consequences.
Original (c) theory has mountains of Afghanistan as <in situ> uprising have now changed to a part of Himalayan weld attributed to an ongoing collision of Indian subcontinent with Asia some 65M in large concession to (q). Colliding edge of India was supposedly forced beneath the sediments of ancient Asian seafloor, remnants of which are found today the high valleys of the range. Granitic intrusions welled through the cracks producing mountain summits. Heat and pressure produced by the collision supposedly metamorphosed much of the rock.
Alternatively (q) can consider the Himalaya mountains as relics of the postPangean catastrophes. Original surface of Afghanistan was part of Tethyan Sea Welt, a globe circling lowland inclined about 20° to present equator. Mountainous surface was successively molded by deluges, tidal washings, and uplifting after formation.
Africa second largest continental area, 30Mkm². The majority of African population of 623M are black skinned, but nonblacks dominate the Sahara and Mediterranean and North Atlantic rims. The Ethiopians are a mixed race. Certain other peoples of dark color "blacks" are racially distinct from other blacks examples being the pygmies of the equatorial forests and the Bushmen of the Southwestern deserts. In fact, skin color, as among Mongolians and Caucasians, is a feeble method of defining race. Many Europeans have settled in the Southernmost region since the Age of Discovery began, and have in good part interbred with older Africans. More than 1000 languages are spoken.
Fossils from the Afar Triangle and Olduvai Gorge suggest Africa was occupied by humans when they first appeared (c). Egypt had an early high civilizations, dated (c) to 6Mn.
Africa constitutes about 10% of the World's land area. It straddles present equator stretching 8000 km N/S and 7500 km E/W. It has a land bridge to Asia at the Isthmus of Suez.
(c) Most of Africa is a remnant of a plateau that has subsided in the N & W producing basins, and uplifted in the S & E into highlands. A Great Rift divides continent beginning where it is believed Madagascar once was attached to the continent. The rift is deepest in the central part. It bifurcates, where the west branch is marked by White Nile River, and then rejoins leaving the continent at the Afar Triangle.
The Afar region is a relatively low region in NW Ethiopia and extends to Djibouti at the head of the Gulf of Aden. It is the most obvious continental junction anywhere on the Earth. Marine sediments covered most of the Afar in the Mesozoic Era. Basalts invaded the Afar in late in the Pleistocene Epoch. Several volcanic cones dot the region. Lake Abbe sits near the junction point of Africa, Arabia, and the Great Rift valley.
The Atlas mountains of Morocco document the collision of Africa with S Spain. This meeting marks the closing of the ancient Tethys Sea. The Atlas range is ascribed to the Cenozoic Era. It is described as the most spectacularly exposed fold belts in the World.
In central Mauritania there is a Richât, bullseye, pattern 38km across. This multi-ringed structure resembles others found on Luna, Mercury, and Mars. The presence of coesite, a highenergy form of silica discovered at the Arizona astrobleme, in the resistant rocks of the circular series of ridges making up the bullseye leads to speculation that the Richât may be an astrobleme. Against this hypothesis are the absence of any gravitational anomaly and breccia layers characteristic of other "impact" areas. No shock metamorphosis has been uncovered around the Mauritanian rings. The central basin is a flat layer of limestone. Vertical relief is about 100m. Minor radial and tangential faults are seen in the outer parts of the structure. There is no evidence of volcanism. The origin of the Richât formation remains a mystery.
In Namibia the Damara mountains represent an outcrop of Paleozoic Era material. These rocks supposedly accumulated between the two fragments which make up the present African continent. They are made up of metamorphised sediments.
The largest shield in Africa is located in the Transvaal of E South Africa. Its materials are (c) dated to 2.5G. Here, elevations are between 1500 and 1600m. On the South African Veld to the S is found the Vredefort dome a circular feature with overturned strata in which are found innumerable shatter cones and other examples of extensive shock metamorphism. The center of the dome is granite. It is suggested that the dome could be an ancient astrobleme.
In Zimbabwe there is a great dike, a ridge of low topographic relief, running for 500km. This material was intruded into the country rock in the PreCambrian Era. Later faulting offsets the dike material at several points. The Mtsiagwe river flows along one of these offset fault lines.
On the continent there are signs of water action on a great scale located stratigraphically at the time that other parts of the globe were supposedly covered with ice. In the Sahara and adjacent areas there are stream channels, not now occupied by water, that obviously carried great quantities of water at one time. These waterways were trenched during periods of great flow. Lake Victoria once stood 100m above its present level, its outlet has reversed from the ancient flow direction.
Marks on rocks in both equatorial Africa and in Madagascar suggest that ice sheets have moved over the rocks spreading from the Equator toward higher latitudes in the S. Without a drastic shift in the position of the Earth's cold pole the African Ice Sheet was flowing in the wrong direction.
Much of the geological exploration of Africa has concentrated upon the Rift. There is no consensus about its age. Basement rocks in the Rift have been ascribed great age. Diatomite deposits are dated to the Miocene Period. The Victoria Falls appear to be very young. The final shaping of the Olduvai Gorge seems to be postPleistocene. Volcanic deposits are evident.
The source which lifted Africa's plateau remains (c) unknown. A (q) approach has subcontinental melting accompanying the lunagenesis catastrophe. The swift eastward motion of the then broken Atlantic seabed drove the African continent eastward pushing up the plateaus. This same push may have been what prevented the circumAfrica rift from cracking its crust wide open to admit an ocean basin when forming the Rift valley. Splitting of the cleavage simultaneously broke India and Madagascar from the African continent. Both quickly achieved their present locations as a part of a global continental relocation which accompanied a »20% expansion of the volume occupied by the Earth's material.
African Rift a spectacular rent of the Earth's surface extending from the Red Sea 4000km to beyond the Zambezi River. The walls of the Rift are from the PreCambrian Era. Over much of its length the floor is marked with young sediments and volcanic rock. In Afar the African Rift joins two other fractures, one running up the Red Sea and the other along the Gulf of Aden. The three join near Lake Abee.
The fracture running up the Red Sea, bifurcates again to pass up the valley containing the Dead Sea into Syria where it becomes lost in the jumble of mountains to the N. The western branch is questionable, but it likely passes across the Mediterranean Sea, up the Adriatic, beneath the Alps, and out along the Rhine graben that ends far to the NW beneath the North Sea.
The Rift turns NW at the point where Arabia fits against Africa. The junction of the Rift with the westward thrusting Indian Ocean fault which runs up the Gulf of Aden likely provided the reinforcement necessary to crack a neat rightangle around the Arabian peninsula. The narrows where the Gulf of Aden enters the Red Sea, marking the place where Arabia contacted Africa, is called BabelMandeb, the straits of tears.
Study of the Rift as a geomorphological unit has been aided by remote sensing from spacecraft. The question of the extent to which its path was determined by the structure of the ancient rocks in which it is found has long been a controversy. From space it is apparent that in some places the rift conforms to earlier structures while in other places it is rather clearly uninfluenced of local trends.
The walls are marked by sharp scarps along the faults that bound the Rift. The boldness of the walls is taken to mean that the feature is young. Debris found near the walls indicate the episodic nature of deposition and its freshness confirms the age as read from the walls. On either side of the rift upland forests contrast with the barren floor of the rift. Lava and fracture marking accentuate the tension which opened the rift.
In the portion of the Rift near the KenyaTanzania border great shield volcanoes are prominent. Mt. Kenya, Mt. Kilamanjaro and Mt. Meru rise to the east.
The rift splits when it meets the Tanganyika craton (a stable slab of PreCambrian Era. rock). The eastern branch is dotted with elongated lakes . Several ancient cycoliths and volcanic cones are evident. Near the Ngorongoro crater the Olduvai gorge cuts back the W wall of the Rift.
The Serengeti Plain separates the divided Rift. The watershed runs close to the E Rift. Upland drainage is toward Lake Victoria. The lakes within the R. drain the valley. Since rains are seasonal the water levels fluctuate greatly. Salts are concentrated by evaporation creating thick deposits of sodium carbonate around the shorelines, as around Lake Natron.
Opinions differ as to the age of the African rift. Legends and excavations indicate that it has been active in human times. In (c) terms its origins have been set back 2.7G. and its structure has been compared to that of the Rhine graben and the Baikal depression. (q) workers have linked all three structures, but they have done so as a part of a single global event of maybe a dozen millennia ago. Other (c) investigators have accorded the Rift an origin in the late Pleistocene. Between the (c) ages is the general opinion that the oceanic rift system (which connects to the land rift system) is no older than 200M. Spreading of the crust in widely separated regions show similarities including correspondences even when discontinuities are compared.
Deposits of diatoms in the lakes of the Rift are ascribed to the Miocene Epoch. Hand axes embedded in the same lake deposits are called Pleistocene Epoch, because they are the works of man. The spectacular land features in E Africa appear young. The Victoria Falls and Zambezi Gorge are young. If their age compared with N America's Niagara Falls this bit of Africa would be no older than 3.5Mn. A (q) view of geology tends to bring more and more features closer and closer together; the Earth's surface tends to become more hologenic seen in holistic perspective. The young looking Olduvai Gorge could have been created during the Bronze Age of Egypt.
India and Madagascar were dissociated from Africa by (c) reckoning some 100M years ago. Africa and the Americas (c) separated not long before that time. The land around the Rift must have been strongly affected in these partitions. No matter when it happened the cracking of the Earth's crust in such a dramatic and complete way must be considered as the major event (or events) shaping the present Earth. In the context of a (q) short timescale this reworking of the Earth's surface happened recently and was accomplished quickly. Its aftershocks extend into historical time. Our interest focusses not upon the old rocks which were cleaved but upon how these rocks were reworked when they broke. When the Earth broke the SE plateau of Africa was lifted as» the continent moved swiftly E. The Rift had already split the just diminished African landmass. The Carlsberg Ridge, now beneath the Indian Ocean, was an even larger crack than the African Rift, it likely spread on both sides even faster than did the remaining parts of Africa. So doing the W moving material ahead of Africa pushed back on the E moving continent limiting the spread of the African Rift so that its rocks could fall only a short distance before halting. There they remain, covered with lakes, volcanic ash, and plains.
Shortly thereafter and in response the major cracking lateral faulting shifted the end section of the Carlsberg Ridge into the Gulf of Aden where it joined to the African Ridge and struck northward up the Red Sea and beyond. For some time after the cleavage began reactive forces continued to modify its profile. Hominid and mammal fossils have been unearthed protruding from the walls of the Olduvai Gorge. If the Rift is very old it is difficult to explain their presence so high up on the walls. These men and animals could not be cliffdwellers; so the Gorge where they are found must be younger than they.
In the Afar triangle, a flat landfill actually born of the pullout of Arabia, hominids related to those in the Olduvai Gorge are buried in the fill. Similarly in Palestine, on the continuation of the Rift, more Olduvai types of hominid sites are found. The destructions of the Cities of the Plain, including Sodom and Gomorrah, are reported in the Old Testament and thus must have occurred in Recent time. The Syrian section of the Rift has been placed by archaeological investigators in the early glacial period (Pleistocene Epoch). Magnesium salts in the Dead Sea have been used, on (u) principles, to approximate its age at 50k. In Biblical accounts of the destruction the Sea is not mentioned until Moses and Joshua arrive at its shores (q) dated to 3450. This implies an age for the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea of less than 5000 years.
African Rift volcanism a wide belt of lava fields topped here and there by volcanoes, most inactive, beginning half way up the African Rift and accompanying the Rift until it strikes and joins the Indian OceanRed Sea fracture underwater, presenting therefore one of the greatest concentrations of continental volcanism in the world. The volcanism is assigned to the Tertiary, Miocene, in conjunction with the rifting process, although many of the craters are outside the confines of the rift belt. Remarkable at the north end, in the Afar, are several guyots, flattopped volcanoes, of the type found in the scores of thousands in the ocean basins. (q) microchronal estimates view the scene as latePleistocene, ignoring the welter of descriptive igneous rock types, claiming them as merely contemporary effusions of different type, without macrochronal significance.
African veldt the country around Mount Kilimanjaro, lacking both a blanket of Pleistocene gravel and a cover of fine sediment. Despite its apparent great age, the veldt, a high plateau some 2km above sea level, was never inundated. Other regions higher in elevation than the veldt were flooded. Oceanic flood deposits are common in many parts of the world indicating an episode of recent worldwide flooding. On the veldt there are thick deposits of soil which show little erosion because of the dense vegetation.
afterglow light emitted or remaining after the excitation source has been removed. Excited atomic states are thought to last the order of 10microseconds before collisions deactivate them. Afterglows occur when the energy that should have been removed by collision of the excited atom with an unexcited one ends up in what is called a metastable atomic state. Afterglows generally will be of short duration, lasting fractions of a second. But, longlived metastable atomic states exist where the afterglow lasts minutes, and even hours. Phosphorescent substances are an example of this latter case.
In meteorology illuminated columns of light, from the Sun which has already set, is termed an afterglow. The columns are generated in mountainous regions where the shadows of the mountains contrast with the bright reflections off of dust in the illuminated columns of atmosphere. In certain situations the columns of afterglow can be observed to converge at the point in the sky opposite to the Sun's position below the horizon (behind the observer).
Agassiz, Louis geologist, paleontologist, SwissAmerican, spokesman for the thennew Ice Ages theory, Neufchatel and Harvard Univ., 180773. He envisioned an ice cover for much of the polar regions, with glaciers in every mountain valley descending into temperate zones. After his own conversion he conducted leading scientists to view lateral and terminal rock moraines in presently icefree valleys, conveying forcibly evidence of now disappeared or truncated glaciers. At first (q), he became (u) and led the establishment of present (c) views. He persuaded Buckland to accept the Ice Age theory, and then accepted Lyell's (u) and gave him long glacially slow processes in return for Lyell's accepting the Ice Ages. In studies of fish, Agassiz showed that earlier species often exhibited more complex development than the forms that succeeded them, an indication of sudden extinction (q) and apparent failure of evolutionary progress.
agate a stone of silica in the form of chalcedony which exhibits concentric bands of colors when seen in section. Agates are found in cavities in volcanic concretions and inside petrified logs.
(c) believed processes involve the slow migration of mineral impurities into the rock matrix forming the agate. A plausible (q) mechanism precipates out trace minerals present when silicious material is destructively heated by volcanic material falling upon and freezing around local surface material, or when intensive electrical flows pass through a buried object. The local material is vaporized in an enclosed space. Agates are recovered near the center of the refrozen material.
Agate, Nebraska site of the Agate Spring quarry beside the Niobrara River containing a fossilbearing deposit 50cm thick. The broken state of the bones indicate a long and violent journey from their place of origin to their final resting place in the quarry. The interlacing bones form a veritable pavement of interlaced bones, very few of which remain articulated in natural ways. A sample in the American Museum of Natural History in New York contains in excess of 1600 bones/m². A second excavation, by workers from the Carnegie Museum, found the bones of an estimated 820 skeletons (averaging 200 bones per skeleton), which totals 164,000 bones in an area of 125m². Their excavation covered about onetwentieth of the area of the site.
The bones found were from mammals. The twinhorned rhinoceros (Diceratherium) was most numerous. Moropus, an extinct animal with the head of a horse and the heavy clawed feet of a predator, were found. The bones of giant swine (Dinohyus hollandi) were dislocated within the matrix. The animals whose bones are jumbled in the Agate Spring quarry could not have wandered to the site and then died of old age. Nor, likely as the Museum caption would lead us to believe, did they fall into a river eddy and become trapped in quicksand on the river floor, where the constant shifting of the sand disarticulated and interlaced them into the hodgepodge there today.
In other quarries nearby other fossil assemblages have been discovered. In one a destroyed herd of a gazelle camel (Stenomylus) lies in a deposit showing signs of transport by a violent torrent of water containing sand and gravel. The bones bear abrasion marks from their final journey.
These Nebraska assemblages of tens of thousands of mammal bones, in common with those found in many places elsewhere, provide evidence of great natural extinctions of living beings, not because the mammals were degenerate or in illhealth, not because of some local hazard, but because cataclysmic forces were suddenly unleashed in their environment at the moment of their demise.
Age a distinctive period or stage in the history of the Earth, a planet, or a region. Ages are not directly linked to time, rather they indicate sequence. Since evidence of past events often are found buried within the Earth the depth of burial commonly indicates it "age." A particular stratum was deposited upon another or lies below a third one. Logically the lowest stratum was deposited first, then the middle one, and finally the highest stratum was added. The question of when each stratum was laid down and how long the processes took is a more difficult thing to ascertain than the order of deposition.
Several scales of the Ages can be used. Each one is discussed in more detail under its own listing. Here are only the general markers for the Agescales.
1. Biostratological Ages indicate the presence or absence of obvious fossils in the rock strata. Under microscopic examination no systems of strata remain lifeless.
Azoic: microfossils only
Cryptozoic: algae, worm casts, protoleaves
Late PreCambrian Period
Phanerozoic: layers with obvious fossils
Paleozoic Era: invertebrates, fishes, amphibians
Cambrian to Permian Periods
Mesozoic Era: reptiles
Triassic to Cretaceous Periods
Cenozoic Era: recent life
Tertiary Period: mammals
Quaternary Period: man
On the assumption that the theory of natural selection has directed biological evolution from "simplest" organisms to ever more diverse "complexity" the fossil content of the strata has been used to sequence them for nowhere in the world is there anything but a fragment of the total column of possible strata.
2. Cultural Ages indicate the presence of particular artifacts within layers of sediments. The ages are dictated by the kinds of implements in use and their form.
Lithic Age: stone implements
Paleolithic: early artifacts
(c) coexists with Pleistocene Epoch
Mesolithic: hefted axes and bone tools
Neolithic: early farmers
(c) coexists with Holocene Epoch
Bronze Age: mining and metallurgy
Early: use of pure copper
Middle: alloy of tin and copper (Bronze)
Late: sculpture and casting in Bronze
Iron Age: development of industry
use of hammered tools and weapons
It is not clear that the cultural ages are distinct in time in that stone, alloys, and pure metal were often used together. In general the classification applies to the degree of implement and artifact sophistication found at a particular archeological site. By (q) theory the humanization process was a saltation producing all aspects of human culture. How culture was manifested at a particular site depended upon the available resources, the potential of the local terrain (with regard to agricultural development, mining potential, and the need for particular tools, amulets, or adornments).
3. Mythic Ages represent the notion that men descend from the gods. Developing like children men are first parented by the god(s) after maturing they corule with the gods until they become sufficiently wise to be trusted with selfrule. This process of acquiring selfdetermination by the human race is accompanied by the realization that men, unlike idealized gods, err from time to time. The mythic ages are:
Period of Divine Rule:
Golden Age: Age of Kronos
Time of serenity, peace, and eternal spring
Silver Age: Age of Zeus
time of law, luxury, and seasons
Brazen Age: Age of PallasAthene
time of the great destruction
Period of the PriestKings:
beginnings of empire and strife between nations
Historical Period: roughly from the Era of Nabonassar (of Babylonia) onward.
On this agescale are measured the degree of secularization of human events. It begins with humans as god's children and ends in a time of travail when justice and piety have vanished. During the historical age mankind has struggled to reconstruct on his/her own terms that "Paradise" which once existed by "Divineedict" and which was lost through "man's fall." These ages in (q) terms reflect human alienation from nature and our attempts to redefine that which is "good" and "proper" in logical terms.
4. Stratigraphic Ages: The various rock systems exposed for examination at particular locales have been ordered in part by their composition and structure, in part by their fossil content, and in part by radiometric chronological techniques. The system of strata bear the names of those regions where they are the characteristic rock layers. They are listed here from oldest to youngest.
(c) to about 570M.
Mississippian and Pennsylvanian Periods
to about 225M.
Triassic and Jurassic Periods
to about 65M.
to about 2.5M.
The (c) longtime scale in use is predicated upon the notion of slowly sedimenting layers accumulating and being deformed over aeons by purely mechanical means. Adopting a (q) mode of conceptualization allows for considerable shortening of the time involved because highenergy processes acting for very short times do most of the shaping of the land and the subsurface layers.
5. Quantavolutionary Ages are based upon a genesis scenario in which the ancient Sun fissioned at some point in its existence creating the Solar System. For most of its history, while life appeared and flourished, the system contained two stars. Then, the binary disintegrated drastically reshaping the structure of the System and the nature of the planetary surfaces. Man, as we know him, was shaped by this physical transmogrification. Both geological and cultural history reflect the stages of the breaking up of Solaria Binaria.
Era of Super Solaria
from the beginning of time to roughly 1M.
Era of Solaria Binaria
Period of Radiant Genesis
from the creation of Solaria Binaria to the establishment of a stable biosphere (»250k).
Period of Pangean Stability
ending about 14000 when the solar binary began to disintegrate.
Period of the Late Quantavolutions divided into Ages characterized by an active or dominant astral body
Era of Solaria (1600y), the time when the Sun as been regarded as the dominant Solar System body.
This system of Ages attempts to incorporate all of the (q) features noted in this work. At best it should be considered an approximation» to the true sequence of events. Flawed as it may be to the totality of possible events involved it does better than other agescales presented here to fit the spectrum of the evidence from the many disciplines of human inquiry.