link to Home Page

icon Einstein

From Earth's Shifting Crust

The late Charles Hapgood taught the history of science at Keene College, New Hampshire, USA. He wasn't a geologist, or an ancient historian. It is possible, however, that future generations will remember him as the man whose work undermined the foundations of world history - and a large chunk of world geology as well. Albert Einstein was amongst the first to realise this when he took the unprecedented step of contributing the forward to a book that Hapgood wrote in 1953, some years before he began his investigation of the Piri Reis Map:

"I frequently receive communications from people who wish to consult me concerning their unpublished ideas," Einstein observed. "It goes without saying that these ideas are very seldom possessed of scientific validity. The very first communication, however, that I received from Mr Hapgood electrified me. His idea is original, of great simplicity, and - if it continues to prove itself - of great importance to everything that is related to the history of the earth's surface." (From Einstein's foreword (written in 1953) to C. H. Hapgood, Earth's Shifting Crust: A key to some basic problesome basic problems of Earth Science, Pantheon Books, New York 1958, pp. 1-2)

The "idea" expressed in Hapgood's 1953 book is a global geological theory which, together with many other anomalies of earth science, elegantly explains how and why large parts of Antarctica could have remained ice-free until 4000 BC. In brief the argument is as follows:

Antarctica was not always covered with ice and was, at one time, much warmer than it is today. It was warm because it was not physically located at the South Pole in that period. Instead it stood approximately 2,000 miles further to the north. This "would have put it outside the Antarctic Circle in a temperate or cold temperate climate". The continent moved to its present position inside the Antarctic Circle as a result of a mechanism known as "earth-crust-displacement". This mechanism, in no sense to be confused with plate-tectonics or so-called "continental drift", is one whereby the lithosphere, the whole outer crust of the earth: "may be displaced at times, moving over the soft inner body, much as the skin of an orange, if it were loose, might shift over the inner part of the orange all in one piece." (Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings Chilton Books, New York, 1966, p. 189.)

"During the envisaged southwards movement of Antarctica brought about by earth-crust displacement, the continent would gradually have grown colder, an ice-cap forming and remorselessly expanding over several thousands of years until it at last attained its present dimensions." (Ibid. p. 187) Orthodox geologists, however, remain reluctant to accept Hapgood's theory (although none have succeeded in proving it incorrect), and it raises many questions. Of these by far the most important is the following: what conceivable mechanism would be able to exert sufficient thrust on the lithosphere to precipitate a phenomenon of such magnitude as a crustal displacement?