Equatorial Ridge of Iapetus
The distinctive ridge around Saturn’s moon Iapetus bears an eerie
similarity to equatorial ridges around concretions on Earth. In
electrical terms, the similarity could be more than coincidence.
Traditional thinking in the sciences would not recognize a
significant pattern above, though the three objects reveal an odd
similarity. Each sphere possesses an equatorial ridge. But surely
the two objects on the right could tell us nothing about the origins
of the object on the left!
Astronomers assure us that Saturn’s moon Iapetus arose from the
“circumstellar cloud” that gave birth to the Sun, planets, moons,
and all of the lesser objects of the solar system. The critical
event was the “gravitational collapse” of the primordial cloud
billions of years ago. Since that event, little has changed in the
make-up or in the celestial mechanics of the solar system.
Iapetus is a puzzle, however. The pronounced ridge around its
equator has no place in the theory of gravitationally collapsing
objects on the right are called “concretions”, and their
origins are also puzzling. The sandstone concretion (upper image)
was found on a farm near the Red River in Texas, and the hematite
was found in Utah (lower image). Concretions occur in abundance on
our planet and have produced many speculations about their origins.
Certainly, in a gravity-only universe, there is no way to relate
Iapetus to the formative processes of concretions. In size, the two
are separated by up to eight orders of magnitude. Gravity is strong
enough to form a sphere from a collection of matter the size of
Iapetus, but there’s a lower limit to gravity’s ability to produce
spherical shapes. (Asteroids and comet nuclei are below that limit
and therefore seldom spherical.) And while geologists have
hypothesized, but never demonstrated, the processes that form
concretions, they have never suggested that such processes could
give birth to Iapetus!
the Electric Universe similarities across vastly different scales
are to be expected. Plasma discharge structures do not change with
increased size. A microscopic discharge in a lab plasma will have
analogs on a galactic scale.
Plasma discharges create spheres. As noted in previous
Pictures of the Day, Physicist C.J. Ransom has been making spheres
in his laboratory (VEMASAT) by zapping various types of powdered
rock with electrical sparks. When he zaps red hematite, he produces
tiny grey hematite spheres, an order of magnitude smaller than Moqui
marbles, but remarkably similar to the "blueberries"
appearing in hematite layers on Mars. When he zaps powdered basalt,
he produces obsidian spheres.
electrical theorists expect analogs on a
they believe that electric discharge gave birth to stars and
planets. Within this framework, equatorial ridges become an
important clue, posing a question for experimental research. Can
plasma discharge, acting on loose debris, form ridges around the
created spheres? In high-energy electric discharge experiments, an
equatorial, donut-like torus typically appears at the focal point of
the magnetic “pinch”. Similarly, in the hour-glass configurations of
various planetary nebulas, a tightly-bound torus appears around the
pinch point. Could equatorial ridges on both Iapetus and the
concretions above be the signature left by a torus at the higher
energy levels of Peratt’s experiments, in contrast to the relatively
low energy levels of Ransom’s experiments?
an electric point of view, spheres with equatorial ridges underscore
the importance of experimental research into the nature of
concretions. There are questions to ask, experiments to design, and
patterns to look for. Significant patterns already observed include
concentric layering of different materials, radial structures, and
polar markings. Similarities with tektites, glassy spherules whose
origin is currently unknown, raise intriguing questions and suggest
a family of experimental investigations. (Read more in a following
conclusion we can safely draw is this: The mechanical and
gravitational theories offered to explain round rocks of various
sizes do not warrant the exclusive acceptance they have received
from the scientific mainstream. Other possibilities, arising from
the plasma universe, must now be considered.
Ransom is planning
future experiments with other substrates. The abstract for a paper, showing that
electric discharge can produce some of the mysterious spheres found
on Earth without water (the usual explanation), can be seen