THEOSOPHY, Vol. 25, No. 3, January, 1937
(Pages 114-116; Size: 10K)
(Number 67 of a 103-part series)


SO far as we know, H. P. Blavatsky never mentioned the existence of submarine canyons as an evidence of Atlantis, though she did dwell upon the matter of the Challenger Ridge. In her time, offshore sounding work does not seem to have been far enough advanced for this. During 1934-35, Harvard University has been making extended surveys of this problem, a report of which is contained in Science, for July 5, 1935. The existence of a deep submarine continuance of the Hudson River Valley has been known for some years. Off the Maryland coast is the deepest valley yet found, going to 9,000 feet below sea level. It now appears from the above article that these valleys must have been formed by erosion prior to a great continental subsidence. There is apparently no other way in which these canyons could have been formed.

It has been the fashion to contend that there have been no real continental submersions and upheavals; that the undeniable changes have been of local shore line elevations and that the continents have remained in the same relative positions. In the face of ocean deposits some thousands of feet high in various localities, such an opinion is difficult to understand. Evidence of a canyon 9,000 feet deep, incontrovertible proof of a submersion of at least that magnitude, ought to show something more than a "local" change. Dr. Francis P. Shepard admits to 6,000 feet in fairly recent times.(1)

Dr. W. W. Watts, Professor of Geology of the Imperial University of Science and Technology, Kensington, makes an attempt to supply the mechanism for what he evidently accepts as the proven fact of continental submersion. These alternations, he says, are quite rapid; the evolution of grass being a process very long as compared with the evolution of continents. Dr. Watts believes that the changes are caused by the development of internal heat through radioactivity in the rock. This, perhaps, is as good a description as any from the scientific point of view. But there are other factors: is absolutely false, and but an additional demonstration of the great conceit of our age, to assert ... that all the great geological changes and terrible convulsions have been produced by ordinary and known physical forces. (Secret Doctrine, 1888, I, 640.)
Not least of the unknown factors, on the purely physical side, is the incalculable effect of major shifts of the poles, a periodic phenomenon as yet but dimly suspected in scientific circles, though there is plenty of evidence available. A geographical expert, writing in Adventure during 1936, remarked that the coal in Greenland is accompanied by fine fossils of the tropical vegetation and timber that existed "before the earth shifted its axis." Practical men are recognizing the physical fact, while men of theory are still arguing over the "astronomical and meteorological correlations of the glacial epochs."

Coming near the deeper causes -- including the cause of the shifts -- is a recent discovery of Soviet Scientists.(2) Objects, it is claimed, which have undergone no change in bulk or composition, have over a period of years fluctuated in weight, due, it is thought, to "very slow secular alterations in the gravity of earth, probably the result of gigantic catastrophes and shiftings of huge masses of matter deep under the surface." This is very close to reality.

Earthquakes may be brought on according to this philosophy by two general causes; first, subsidence or elevation under the earth-crust due to heat and steam; second, electrical and magnetic changes which affect water and earth at the same time. These last have the power to instantaneously make the earth fluidic without melting it, thus causing immense and violent displacements in large or small waves. And this effect is sometimes seen now in earthquake districts when similar electrical causes are at work in a smaller measure. (Ocean of Theosophy, 1893, p. 123.)
Such changes may, on occasion, be very sudden -- as in the major catastrophes of Atlantis and Lemuria. Western Science would do well to follow the lead of "proletarian" scientists in this direction.

Some years ago the Wegener Theory appeared: the doctrine that all land was once a single mass, which broke apart and drifted to the positions of the various continents. This theory gained a great acceptance for some time; not the least of its appeals was the explanation of the connections between flora and fauna on opposite sides of the seas, which could now be made without recourse to the "mythology" of Atlantis and Lemuria. Fortunately, the theory has of late been declining under accumulating evidence. Most recent is the discovery that there is no Atlantic "Continental Shelf" so essential to its support, but instead a gentle slope of rock -- except where cut by submarine canyons.(3) According to Science, Jan. 21, 1936, there is an "obvious relationship between the Atlantic Littoral fauna of Central America and the much richer one of the Indo-Malayan Archipelago." Just so. Said H.P.B.:

"... Science also refuses to sanction the wild hypothesis that there was a time when the Indian peninsula at one end of the line, and South America at the other, were connected by a belt of islands and continents. The India of the pre-historic ages .... was doubly connected with the two Americas. The lands of the ancestors of those whom Ammianus Marcellinus calls the 'Brahmans of Upper India' stretched from Kashmir far into the (now) deserts of Schamo. A pedestrian from the north might have reached -- hardly wetting his feet -- the Alaskan peninsula, through Manchooria, across the future Gulf of Tartary, the Kurile and Aleutian islands; while another traveller, furnished with a canoe, and starting from the South, could have walked over from Siam, crossed the Polynesian Islands and trudged into any part of the continent of South America." ... This was written from the words of a MASTER -- a rather doubtful authority for the materialists and sceptics. (S.D. II, 327.)

Let us hear now what Professor Huxley has to say on the subject of former Atlantic and Pacific Continents.

He writes in "NATURE," Nov. 4th, 1880: "There is nothing, so far as I am aware, in the biological or geological evidence at present accessible, to render untenable the hypothesis that an area of the mid-Atlantic or Pacific sea-bed as big as Europe, should have been uplifted as high as Mont Blanc, and have subsided again, any time since the Palæozoic epoch, if there were any grounds for entertaining it."

That is to say, then, that there is nothing which can militate against positive evidence to the fact; nothing, therefore, against the geological postulates of the Esoteric philosophy. (S.D. II, 780-1.)

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(1) Science, December 27, 1935; Do. September 23, 1932; November 3, 1933; Literary Digest, October 29, 1932; Journal of Geology, 38, 577-589, 1930; Geog. Review, 22, 77-89, 1933.
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(2) Oakland Tribune, December 4, 1935.
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(3) Oakland Tribune, November 29, 1935, commenting on the discoveries of the Princeton University Geological Department.
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