The shape of the Earth has suddenly changed, becomingflatter. This reverses the course of centuries, during whichtime the Earth grew rounder every year. Scientists thinkthis is being caused by ocean currents dropping down towardthe equator, as predicted in "The Coming Global Superstorm"by Art Bell & Whitley Strieber.
The Earth has never been completely round--it's always bulgedat the equator somewhat, due to the planet's rotation. Butuntil recently, the planet was gradually getting rounder, asice at the poles melted and the ground underneath, relievedof the heavy weight, sprang back. In some parts ofScandinavia and Canada, the ground rose a quarter-inch peryear. Satellites have measured this post-glacial reboundsince the 1970s.
Now the trend has reversed. "Sometime around 1998, somethingbegan to make the Earth's gravity field flatter," saysChristopher Cox of Raytheon Information Technology andScientific Services. "The result is it looks as ifpost-glacial rebound has reversed itself. But, we do nothave any reason to think that post-glacial rebound has inany way stopped or changed."
Cox decided some movement of mass on the surface of theEarth must be making the gravity field flatter. "Whatever itis, it's big," he says. To account for the change in shape,ground, air or water must have moved around.
At first Cox and his colleague, Benjamin Chao of Goddard,thought that ice melting at the poles and raising theoverall sea level could be the reason, but satellitemeasurements ruled this out. Material in the Earth's crustcan't be responsible, because it couldn't move that quicklyfrom the poles to the equator. Molten rock oozing around inthe Earth's core might be to blame, but there?s no evidencefor this. Changes in the atmosphere might be involved, butthere?s no data to support that, either.
Cox decided that shifts in huge ocean currents, exactly likethe ones predicted in ?The Coming Global Superstorm,? mustbe the cause. These could transport enough water toward theequator to account for the flattened gravity field.
Read how shifting ocean currents can change the weather allover the world in ?The Coming Global Superstorm?, now only$9.95 for a hardcover signed by Whitley Strieber,click here.
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