Atlas of Continental Displacement, 200 Million Years to the Present


Atlas of Continental Displacement, 200 Million Years to the Present by H G Owen is an Earth Expansion (Expanding Earth theory) book from 1984 that investigates plate tectonics and a Growing Earth.

Hugh Owen was Head of the Department of Palaeontology of the British Museum and this book was published in the Cambridge Earth Science Series by the Cambridge University Press so is academically respected, even if they do not agree with its conclusions. There is a free PDF available of the books intro and the maps showing the break up of Pangea on a smaller globe.

Owen, painstakingly created maps showing the reconstruction of the supercontinent Pangea (Pangaea) up to 200 million years ago, through plate tectonics using mid ocean spreading.

On a planet with our current size there are large gaps or gores, in our continents fitting together to form Pangea.

On a planet Earth with 80% its present diameter/size the continents appear to fit together nearly perfectly to form Pangaea.

Is this evidence that the planet expanding in the last 200 million years?

The most tenable position for expanding earth theorists is taken by Owen (1983), who instead of denying readily observable processes such as subduction, incorporates it as a partial process of an expansion model in which plate tectonics plays a vital role. Owen (1983), as the title suggests, still lacks a viable and observed process to drive planetary expansion. However, history of scientific controversy shows that most often, when evidence loosely supports more than one idea, the answer lies in the admixture of ideas. For example, gradual evolution rates vs. sudden bursts of speciation reflect a mode of punctuated equilibrium where the rate of evolution changes smoothly in response to the ratio of radiation to extinction. Like Wegener (1929), Owen (1983) is a compelling and elegant idea that lacks the independent evidence of a driving process, which is necessary to transform the idea into a hypothesis. As with Wegener's Continental Drift, time will tell, but for now, Plate Tectonics is the best planetary tectonic theory available to science.
Quote by Timothy Casey from Expanding Earth vs. Plate Tectonics

Cambridge Earth Science book review of Atlas of Continental Displacement, 200 Million Years to the Present

This atlas provides a detailed test of the field evidence of oceanic crustal growth and destruction on two contradictory models of the Earth. The first model assumes that the Earth has retained its modern dimensions throughout the last 200 million years; the second assumes an Earth with a diameter expanding from 80% of its present size progressively. This is the first attempt to test the field data worldwide.

The conclusion is that reconstructions based on an Earth of constant dimensions cannot be reconciled with ocean-floor spreading data, whereas the expanding Earth hypothesis is consistant with the ocean-floor spreading evidence and the geological fit of the continents.

Thirteen world outline maps, constructed for each hypothesis at 30 million year intervals, complete the Atlas. These provide a summary of the results, together with base maps for palaeogeographic, palaeoclimatiological and palaeobiographic analysis.

A Hallam's book review of Atlas of Continental Displacement

Apart from the fact that their authors support Earth expansion, the two books under review here could hardly be more different. King's is a rather discursive, rambling and anecdote-ridden effort, in which a wide range of geological and geomorpholigical phenomena is discussed. It is full of categoric assertions of heterodox ideas either unsupported or feebly supported by evidence ... This cannot be said of Owen's atlas, which warrants respectful attention from expanding-Earth sceptics.

... By concentrating his attention on palarocartography he makes a far more effective attack on current orthodoxy. The atlas is the first of a two-part work which is intended to trace continent-ocean configuration back to late Proterozoic times when, following Hilgenberg (1933), it is accepted that continental crust covered the entire surface of an Earth whose diameter was only half that at present.

Unlike in his earlier work (1976) Owen takes full account of ocean-floor magnetic anomaly data in making his reconstruction back to about 200 million years ago (late Triassic - early Jurassic), for which time he infers the diameter to have been about 80% of the present value.

One cannot fail to be impressed by the single-minded industry involved in this considerable undertaking, and the indefatigable pursuit of such an ambitious goal, such that oceanographers and palaeocartographers who accept the constancy through time of the Earth's diameter have been presented with a real case to answer.

This reviewer nevertheless takes the view that the conclusions Owen derives from his results should be treated with considerable scepticism, even if the results can be repeated by others working with the same data. This is because of a number of serious objections to the hypothesis of an earth that has expanded in the Phanerozoic to the extent demanded.

Quote from A Hallam's free PDF The unlikelihood of an expanding Earth

Amazon customer book review of Atlas of Continental Displacement

The theory of Plate Tectonics is now taught as absolute truth. There are a number of alternative theories. One alternative is that the Earth is expanding in radius size. Hugh Owen believed this. As the head of the Department of Palaeontology of the British Museum he had access to the best ocean floor data and the skill to put it together in an understandible way. He has compiled meticulously detailed sets of maps here showing reconstruction of the Earth going back to 80% of its current radius. There are full world maps for a broad view. There are specific region maps of narrow areas (like the separation of N. America from Africa) that show the exact ocean age dates of expansion. Plate Tectonic theory accepts that the Earth expands at the mid-ocean ridges, but then the theory developed the assumption of "subduction" in 1967 to remove this expansion. Ocean floor drilling was not completed until the 1980's and it did not confirm subduction. The Pacific Basin was surprisingly found to be not far older than the Atlantic Basin (as was expected), but the same age. Dr. Owens ocean data uses the newer data from the 1970's and 1980's. While accepting some subduction, Dr. Owens also shows the need for some expansion and backs up his claims with clear, detailed, graphic evidence.

H G Owen's preface of Atlas of Continental Displacement book

In 1976, I presented a spherical geometric analysis of the bulk of the ocean-floor spreading evidence made available up to 1974. During this task, it was found that the continents would only fit together to form Pangaea, according to geological evidence, when the Earth's diameter was 80% of its modern mean value. Below that figure, Pangaea could not be reformed without intracontinental dislocations.

Pangaea existed as a complete supercontinent until the middle Jurassic when it commenced to break up. The subsequent ocean-floor spreading patterns in the passive-margined oceans, in which the full history of continental splitting and subsequent displacement of continents apart is preserved, was found to support a near-linear increase in diameter up to the present day, consistent with the nearly straight limb of an exponential curve of increasing diameter.

Despite its firm base in field data, this 'slow expansion hypothesis' is widely discounted by many geologists and geophysicists at present, although perhaps fewer than in 1976.

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