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Richmond times-dispatch. [volume] (Richmond, Va.) 1914-current, January 03, 1915, Image 46

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045389/1915-01-03/ed-1/seq-46/

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During and After the Flood
Dore's striking conception of the Deluge, showing the men and animals fleeing
from the rising flood v/hile the Ark of Noah floats in the distance.
f
Noah's sacnftcc of thanksgiving after the Ark had reached Mount Ararat and all of Noah's company hod
found safety on dry land.?By Daniel Maclise, E. A.
Science Explains the
The Recent Discovery of. the Lofty Ai
Section of the Earth Sagged Do\
South Pole and a Correspond
And Into This Sunken An
Prof. Garrett P. Serviss
URING the recent meeting of the British Association for the
Advancement of Science a significant remark was made by
the president of the botanical section, which suggests a
new theory of the cause and origin of Noah's Flood. The remark,
which had no intentional connection with the theory referred to,
was simply to the effect that the present distribution of organisms
on the earth seems to be best interpreted by the assumption, of a
North Polar origin.
The theory assumes that hitherto a great mistake has been
made in supposing that the -deluge mentioned in the Bible occurred
in any of the now inhabited parts of the earth, or within the period
of recorded history. The Biblical story and its predecessor, the
Babylonian story, of a great flood overwhelming mankind arc
assumed to represent a tradition, which has dimly floated in human
memory for innumerable generations, concerning a catastrophe
that occurred when mankind occupied a part of the globe from
-which they have since been excluded by natural conditions. y
The site of this catastrophe was the region of the North Pole!
One of the greatest surprises resulting from the Arctic explora
tions of Nansen was the fact, which he first fully established, that
the site of the Pole and most of the space within the Arctic Circle
are occupied by a deep oceanic basin. At the same time the lands
now existing around the shores of the Arctic Ocean exhibit unmis- '
takable indications of having been at some former epoch the abode
of an abundant animal and vegetable life, whose relics are now all
buried in the earth. V
On this matter we have so good an' authority as Professor
Charles 0. Abbot, director of the Smithsonian Observatory, who
says: X
"There are certain circumstances of geology which may indi
cate a diminished radiation of the sun in ancient times. Although \
palrns used to flourish in the Arctic zones, it does not appear that yt
the tropics were then much hotter, if any, than now. Ab Manson \t,\
insists, this uniformity of climate from the- Poles to the Equator
seems hard to reconcile with the present zonal distribution of 7;
temperature, if the sun were then, as now, the principal sourcc of ^
heat and its effects then, as now, zonally distributed. ,
"On the other hand, there is accumulating evidence that
glaciation has occurred more than once over great regions of the
tropics, and most notably in the Permo-Carboniferous period. In
that, remote period, far antedating the so-called f glacial,' or
Pleistocene, period, of comparatively recent times, glaciation pre
vailed in Australia, southern Africa, Hindustan, and perhaps in
other tropical regions. '
Wartnfh ai the Poles and Cold in the Tropics
"We may suppose that the full maintenance of ordinary tem
peratures required formerly, as it does now, the co-operation of
the blanketing effect of (he water vapor of the earth's atmosphere,
and that in addition to this the earth's internal sources of heat
were then of some appreciable importance in maintaining its
surface tempertature. The earlier the period we consider the
greater we may suppose the contribution of the earth's own heat
and the le.ss the requirement of the sun. But we may assume that
all three factors, soiar radiation, terrestrial conduction and the
blanketing effect of the earth's atmosphere, were required to main
tain genial temperatures in the Permian period."
The gist of the theory under consideration is that once there
was a continent where now the Arctic Ocean rolls, and that this
mysterious Polar continent was the earliest home of man, from
which he was driven by climatic changes, culminating in a sinking
of the land and a great invasion of the sea. The memory of this
catastrophe, persisting in the form of varying legends among all
the descendants of the men who witnessed it, gave rise to the
traditions of a universal delude, which are found scattered through
the folk lore of all parts of the Northern Hemisphere.
Lot us now see, in a little more detail, by what arguments this
theory may be supported.
The great difficulty which science has found in accepting the
Bible account of Noah's deluge, even as an exaggerated legend of
an actual occurrence, lies in the fact that no parts of the earth
which arc known to have been inhabited by man within the period
covered by the most ancient history, or pre-history, present any
indication of having been swept by a universal flood, covering even
the mountain tops, like that described in the Hebrew history.
Nothing is gained by pushing back the date of the deluge
some thousands, or tens of thousands, of years, because geology
shows that no entire continents in the now habitable portions of
the globe have been submerged since the earliest date that can be
ascribed to the appearance of man. There have been small and
very slow subsidences and elevations, but. nothing in the nature
of a universal flood, or any sudden, all-whelming catastrophe.
An Explanation of the Atlantis Legends
Yet the Bible narrative finds a curious support, "not only in
t.he Babylonian records, but in the famous legend of the loot
Atlantis, which fascinated the great Greek philosopher Plato. The
Atlantis story, which came down to Plato's time from a dim
antiquity, avers that there was formerly a continent in the Atlantic
Ocean which was submerged, with all its inhabitants, who had
attained a wonderful degree of civilization and were the greatest
people on the earth. It was the belief of Plato that the lost con
tinent occupied the centre of the ocean between Europe, or Africa,
and America, although, of course, he knew nothing of America/
This belief has been thought to be justified by reccnt deep-sea
explorations which have disclosed irregularities on the bottom of
the Atlantic that might once have been the surface of the sunken
continent. There seem to be mountain chains and valleys there,
and the peaks of the A/ores, the Canaries and the Cape de Verde
Islands have been regarded as possibly protruding parts of the
missing Atlantis.
But here a great difficulty arises. If Atlantis really did sink
at the place assigned within so,recent a period as that covered by
the history of man, there must have been a violent reaction in the
earth's crust, and this would have left its marUs upon Europe,
Africa and America. Gigantic tidal waves, tremendous earth
quakes, a sudden climatic change and other convulsions would
attend so vast a catastrophe as the sinking of a continent?but no
indications of such calamitous occurrences are discoverable.
It is true that the late-st. ice age may have come, in the days
of primitive man, but that is otherwise explainable, while the result
Jfrdr
r
''".'i.Cii
'fill-/.
EQUATOR, *,
_ ^11 ?
PROTRUDING Pi
i )OU TH POLAR
COMTiMCNT
DiagTam flhov.ar*
through from the No* |
and very high cont^i j
North Pole. Such a \
of the sea and produc
in the Book of Gcno&i
This may have h
gists have amply pr I
climate existed at tfc f
earth around the ecu
of a sudden expansion of the ocea;
the cold, but rather to make the
The difficulty would be avoi
terious Atlantis were supposed t
Atlantic, directly off the coasts <
but in the remote northern part
Circle. In that location a vast sul
pened wihout affecting seriously t
But what could cause so grea
siderable a part of the planet's su
by the deep Arctic Ocean was i
occurred when it sank ( a depress
tended over millions of square mi
underlying strata could account
we might be at a loss to offer nu
recent discoveries concerning the
Among these discoveries one c
of gravity of the globe is not fixed
In consequence of these changes,
known, the earth's axis of rotatij
revolves like an imperfectly bah
The changes, though quite rapid
enough to have effects disco vera
nomical observation.'
Now, this discovery suggests
of an ancient Arctic continent r
human family which had its bcgii
Constant Shifting of the I
^ How this may be will appear
Kimura, the Japanese discoverer
centre of gravity, finds that it mi"
say, north and south along the li
motion is of the slightest, but.ther
was very considerable.
The central core of the earth
It has been thought that it may
heavy metallic substances, mostly,
of this dense core_would produce a

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