Neal Adams disagrees.
Adams calls our attention to recent phenomena such as the following:
- The formation of a three-kilometer-long crack in the ground in Huakullani Chukuito, Peru, following an earthquake
- The opening of a wedge-shaped, 500-meter-long, 60-meter-deep rift in Ethiopia, along the Great Rift Valley
- The sudden creation of a crack in the ground in Iceland, and the subsequent draining of Lake Kleifarvatn into the fissure
- The presence of a deep hydrothermal vent in the Mid-Cayman Rise, a spreading center in the middle of the Caribbean Sea
- Increasing tension along the San Andreas Fault, causing cracks and fissures to form
The Earth is expanding.
Yes, just like a cupcake in the oven, the Earth is getting bigger, and as it does, its surface cracks and splits. The tectonic plates are a mere side-effect of this phenomenon, and are basically the broken up surface of the cupcake, pulled apart as the inside swelled. Now, a cupcake, of course, is only increasing in volume, as the air bubbles in the batter get bigger; its mass remains the same. Is that what's happening here? Some kind of planetary dough rising?
No, says Adams -- the Earth is actually gaining mass.
Wait, you might be saying; what about the Law of Conservation of Mass, which is strictly enforced in most jurisdictions? Simple, Adams says. No problemo. Physicists have demonstrated that empty space can give rise to electron/positron pairs without any violation of physical law, because of the presence of "vacuum energy." "Empty space" is actually, they say, a roiling foam of particles and antiparticles, most of which annihilate each other immediately.
So, Adams says, this sort of pair-production is happening inside the Earth. So it's gaining mass. And expanding.
Of course, Adams conveniently ignores the fact that half of the mass thus produced would be antimatter; if the Earth's middle was producing matter and antimatter fast enough to pop open cracks on the surface, the antimatter would follow the E = mc2 rule (also strictly enforced) and blow us to smithereens. After all, you may recall from scientific documentaries such as Star Trek what happens when antimatter containment is lost -- Captain Kirk strikes a dramatic pose, usually with his shirt ripped open, and they break to a commercial. And heaven knows we don't want that to happen.
So there are some problems with Adams' theory. But this hasn't stopped websites from popping up supporting the Cupcake Earth Hypothesis, and in fact Adams himself has made a video to illustrate the idea. The video, which you should only watch if you are willing to risk your IQ dropping significantly, must be true because (1) it has cool animation of the Earth shrinking and the continents fitting together as you go back in time, and (2) uses dramatic music from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Notwithstanding those points in its favor, it raises a few key questions:
- What happened to all of the oceans?
- If the Earth really was (let's say) a quarter as massive, 100 million years ago, it would have had a quarter of the gravitational pull. Which would have resulted in a good bit of our atmosphere leaking out into space, not to mention herds of enormous dinosaurs bouncing about the landscape in the fashion of Neil Armstrong on the surface of the moon. So where did our atmosphere come from?
- Why am I spending so much time and effort addressing this moronic theory?
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