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If you have any serious interest in Earth expansion you will certainly recognise the name Dr Hugh G. Owen. He is widely known for his many publications and talks about the Expanding Earth theory, although he has now retired from his geological post at the London Natural History Museum.

Owen has written various articles for well-known science publications like New Scientist, chapters for various geological books and taken part in the renowned debate, An expanding Earth?, held at the Geological Society of London in 1979. Prof. S. Warren Carey and Dr. Hugh Owen presented the evidence for Earth expansion while Prof. Keith Runcorn and Dr. A. D. Stewart presented evidence against it. Owen later presented his evidence for expansion at the Expanding Earth Symposium held at Sydney University in 1981, an event attended by about 130 Earth scientists, and later published in a full report. Last year one of the professors of geology at the University of Liverpool still recalled how Owen had lectured to the students at Liverpool University in the UK, surely only one of many such recollections.

Owen’s book, Atlas of Continental Displacement: 200 Million Years to the Present, is a classic Earth expansion publication since it presents reconstructions of a Constant Diameter Earth (Plate tectonics) compared to an Expanding Earth. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of these reconstructions is that they reconstruct a world that has not expanded as much as other estimates, allowing for some subduction as well as expansion.

The book highlights the many pitfalls of trying to reconstruct palaeographic maps of the ancient world.  One problem is simply a matter of projecting 3D globes onto 2D maps and the distortion it produces.  As the maps go further back in time, perhaps 100s of millions of years into the past, it looks like landmasses are distorted on a 2D map. It is perhaps still not widely appreciated that this is only an artefact of map projection.

The book also contains real data sets of the age of the ocean floor. Nowadays there are many modern maps of the age of the ocean floor but these contain the real data and the inferred data assumed to occur between the real data. It’s not always clear what is real and what is inferred but we obviously need to know the difference to produce accurate maps. Owen’s maps provide and use this real data.

So you can easily appreciate how pleased I was when Hugh told me he had collected many of the maps he had produced over the years into a new document.  Perhaps even more encouragingly Hugh was happy for his Expanding Earth Diagrams to be made freely available to allow full scientific study of his maps.  As you might expect, it is rather a large document, but it is also very valuable if you are serious about studying Earth expansion or producing your own accurate palaeographic globes.
...if you are serious about studying Earth expansion or producing your own accurate palaeographic globes.

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Further Reading


Owen, H. G. (1976). Continental displacement and expansion of the Earth during the Mesozoic and Cenozoic. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series A, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, 281(1303), 223-291.
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Owen, H. G. (1981). Constant dimensions or an expanding Earth. In The evolving earth, 179-192. Published by the British Museum.
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Owen, H.G. (1981). In The Expanding Earth - A Symposium. SW Carey (Editor). University of Tasmania Press. 423 pp.(1981). ISBN 0-85901-209-3.
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Owen, H. G. (1983). Atlas of continental displacement: 200 million years to the present.
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Owen, H. G. (1984). The Earth is expanding and we don't know why. New Scientist, 104, 27-30.
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Owen, H.G (2012). Earth expansion - Some Mistakes, What Happened in the Palaeozoic and the Way Ahead. In Scalera G., Boschi, E., and Cwojdzinski, S Editors. The Earth Expansion Evidence: A challenge for Geology, Geophysics and Astronomy Erice, Sicily, 4-9 October 2012, 77-89.

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Owen, H. G. (2018). Expanding Earth Diagrams.
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Page first created   14 Aug 18
Page last updated  14 Aug 18

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One of the many accurate maps Dr Hugh G. Owen has produced over the years