THE WORLD OCEAN AND THE FIRST CONTINENT
1,000,000,000 years ago, is the date of the actual beginning of Urantia history. The planet had attained approximately its present size. And about this time, it was placed upon the physical registries of Nebadon and given its name, Urantia. The atmosphere together with incessant moisture precipitation, facilitated the cooling of the earth’s crust. Volcanic action early equalized internal- heat pressure and crustal contraction; and as volcanoes rapidly decreased, earthquakes made their appearance as this epoch of crustal cooling and adjustment progressed.
The real geologic history of Urantia begins with the cooling of the earth’s crust sufficiently to cause the formation of the first ocean. Water vapor condensation on the cooling surface of the earth, once begun, continued until it was virtually complete. By the end of this period the ocean was world-wide, covering the entire planet to an average depth of over one mile. The tides were then in play much as they are now observed, but this primitive ocean was not salty; it was practically a fresh-water covering for the world. In those days, most of the chlorine was combined with various metals but there was enough, in union with hydrogen, to render this water faintly acid.
At the opening of this era, Urantia should be envisaged as a water bound planet. Later on, deeper and hence denser lava flows came out upon the bottom of the present Pacific Ocean; resultantly this part of the water-covered surface became considerably depressed. The first continental land mass emerged from the world ocean in compensatory adjustment of the equilibrium of the gradually thickening earth’s crust.
950,000,000 years ago, Urantia presents the picture of one great continent of land and one large body of water, the Pacific Ocean. Volcanoes are still widespread and earthquakes are both frequent and severe. Meteors continue to bombard the earth, but they are diminishing in both frequency and size. The atmosphere is clearing up, but the amount of carbon dioxide continues large. The earth’s crust is gradually stabilizing.
900,000,000 years ago, this entire age was characterized by frequent and violent stores. The early crust of the earth was in a state of continual flux. Surface cooling alternated with immense lava flows. Nowhere can there be found on the surface of our world anything of this original planetary crust. It has all been mixed up too many times with extruding lavas of deep origins and admixed with subsequent deposits of the early world-wide ocean.
Nowhere on the surface of the world will there be found more of the modified remnants of these ancient preocean rocks than in northeastern Canada around Hudson Bay. This extensive granite elevation is composed of stone belonging to the preoceanic ages. These rock layers have been heated, bent, twisted, upcrumpled, and again and again have they passed through these.
Throughout the oceanic ages, enormous layers of fossil-free stratified stone were deposited on this ancient ocean bottom. (Limestone can form as a result of chemical precipitation; not all of the older limestone was produced by marine-life deposition.) In none of these ancient rock formations will there be found evidences of life; they contain no fossils unless, by some chance, later deposits of the water ages have become mixed with these older prelife layers. The earth’s early crust was highly unstable, but mountains were not in process of formation. The planet contracted under gravity pressure as it formed. Mountains are not the result of the collapse of the cooling crust of a contracting sphere; they appear later on as a result of the action of rain, gravity, and erosion.
The continental land mass of this era increased until it covered almost ten percent of the earth’s surface. Severe earthquakes did not begin until the continental mass of land emerged well above the water. When they once began, they increased in frequency and severity for ages. For millions upon millions of years earthquakes have diminished, but our planet Urantia still has an average of fifteen daily.
850,000,000 years ago, the first real epoch of the stabilization of the earth’s crust began. Most of the heavier metals had settled down toward the center of the globe; the cooling crust had ceased to cave in on such an extensive scale as in former ages. There was established a better balance between the land extrusion and the heavier ocean bed. The flow of the subcrustal lava bed became well-nigh worldwide, and this compensated and stabilized the fluctuations due to cooling, contracting, and superficial shifting.
Volcanic eruptions and earthquakes continued to diminish in frequency and severity. The atmosphere was clearing of volcanic gases and water vapor, but the percentage of carbon dioxide was still high. Electric disturbances in the air and in the earth, were also decreasing. The lava flows had brought to the surface a mixture of elements which energies. And all of this did much to facilitate the control of terrestrial energy and to regulate its flow, as is disclosed by the functioning of the magnetic poles.
800,000,000 years ago, witnessed the inauguration of the first great land epoch, the age of increased continental emergence. Since the condensation of the earth’s hydrosphere, first into the world ocean and subsequently into the Pacific Ocean, this latter body of water should be visualized as then covering nine-tenths of the earth’s surface. Meteors falling into the sea accumulated on the ocean bottom, and meteors are, generally speaking, composed of heavy materials. Those falling on the land were largely oxidized, subsequently worn down by erosion, and washed into the ocean basins. Thus, the ocean bottom grew increasingly heavy, and added to this was the weight of a body of water at some places ten miles deep.
The increasing downthrust of the Pacific Ocean operated further to upthrust the continental land mass. Europe and Africa began to rise out of the Pacific depths along with those masses now called Australia, North and South America, and the continent of Antarctica, while the bed of the Pacific Ocean engaged in a further compensatory sinking adjustment. By the end of this period almost one third of the earth’s surface consisted of land, all in one continental body.
With this increase in land elevation, the first climatic differences of the planet appeared, Land elevation, cosmic clouds, and oceanic influences are the chief factors in climatic fluctuation. The backbone of the Asiatic land mass reached a height of almost nine miles at the time of the maximum land emergence. Had there been much moisture in the air hovering over these highly elevated regions, enormous ice blankets would have formed; the ice age would have arrived long before it did. It was several hundred million of years before so much land again appeared above water.
750,000,000 years ago, the first breaks in the continent land mass began as the great north-and-south cracking, which later admitted the ocean waters and prepared the way for the westward drift of the continents of North and South America, including Greenland. The long east-and-west cleavage separated Africa from Europe and severed the land masses of Australia, the Pacific Islands, and Antarctica from the Asiatic continent.
700,000,000 years ago, Urantia was approaching the ripening of conditions suitable for the support of life. The continental land drift continued; increasingly the ocean penetrated the land as long fingerlike seas providing those shallow waters and sheltered bays which are so suitable as a habitat for marine life.
650,000,000 years ago, witnessed the further separation of the land masses and, in consequence, a further extension of the continental seas. And these waters were rapidly attaining that degree of saltiness which was essential to our Urantia life. It was these seas and their successors that laid down the life records of our planet Urantia, as subsequently discovered in well preserved stone pages, volume upon volume, as era succeeded era and age grew upon age. These inland seas of olden times were truly the cradle of our evolution.
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