On the 5th of January 2012 a gentleman by the name of Michael Tellinger posted a video clip on YouTube titled “Giant Foot Print 200 Million Yrs Old – South Africa”. This clip has been doing the rounds on the internet for the past year and a bit, appearing in blogs, discussion forums, UFO sites, Bigfoot sites, and “Giant” sites and other pseudoscience forums.
The subject of the video is a “footprint” like indentation which occurs in the Mpuluzi Batholith near the small settlement of Lothair near the town of Chrissiesmeer in Mpumalanga.
Mr Tellinger’s video can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRuxw-nZoJw
It is clear that Mr Tellinger and the many bloggers and participants on the discussion forums are not scientists or for that matter geologists and really have not applied critical evidence based thought in coming to a reasonable explanation for the geological feature at the site. So let’s discuss the claims made by Mr Tellinger in the video clip and see if they hold up to scientific scrutiny.
Mr Tellinger explains in the video “(a giant footprint) in rough granite that’s between 200 million and 3 billion years old that’s what geologists will tell you”
Mr Tellinger, perhaps you are not aware of the fact that the time difference between 200 million years and 3 billion years is around 2.8 billion years. Considering the earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old this would mean that this granite was in the process of being formed for more than half the total age of the earth.
So what do geologists say is the real age of the granite? The Mpuluzi Batholith belongs to the 3.105 billion year old granodiorite-monzogranite-syenogranite GMS suite intruding paleoarchaean TTG (trondhjemite-totalite-granodiorite) plutons. The 3.105 billion year age has been established on numerous occusions by numerous geoscientists and is published in multiple peer reviewed earth science journals both in South Africa and internationaly. A quick internet search reveals a plethora of scientific papers on this much studied pluton. So I think we can safely attest to the fact that the Mpuluzi Batholith is NOT 200 million years old and certainly has not been in the process of being formed for over 2.8 billion years.
Let’s further evaluate whether or not it is possible for a “giant” or any other living being to leave imprints in soft (molten) granite. To evaluate this possibility we first need to understand what granite is and how it is formed.
Most introductory geology textbooks report that granite is the most abundant rock in the earth’s continental crust. At the surface granite is exposed in the cores of many mountain ranges, within large areas known as "batholiths," and in the core areas of continents known as "shields." The large mineral crystals in granite are evidence that it cooled slowly from molten rock material. That slow cooling (in the order of thousands of years) had to have occurred beneath Earth's surface. If they are today exposed at the surface the only way that could happen is if the granite rocks were uplifted and the overlying rocks were eroded.
So clearly granites formed deep within the earth’s crust (the geological term for this is “plutonic”) usually several kilometres below the earth’s surface. This magma typically has temperatures in excess of 1200 degrees centigrade.
So let’s ask the obvious question. How is it possible for a living being (giant or other) to make a footprint several kilometres below the earth’s surface into material that is over 1200 degrees centigrade? Any suggestions?
Even more ridiculous is the claim that living beings of this size and complexity existed 3 billion years ago. There are two big problems with Mr Tellinger’s claim. Firstly geologists are fairly certain that there was little oxygen in earth’s atmosphere during the time period in question, certainly not the levels of oxygen required to support complex living beings or “giants”. Needless to say nothing of this sort appears in the fossil record and in fact the first simple (not complex giants) vertebrates only appear after the Cambrian “explosion” approximately 540 million years ago. Even if we were to believe Mr Tellinger’s claim that the granite was 200 million years old, nothing even remotely resembling mammals as we know them today, let alone mammal human-like giants, were present during this geological period. These giants would literally have been walking with dinosaurs.
So what caused the “footprint”? Well there are several possibilities. The footprint could have been carved out by prehistoric humans. Alternatively the “footprint” is the result of a weathered out xenolith (chunk of surrounding country rock that fell into the magma chamber) that just so happens to be in the form of a human-like foot. Perhaps there are other probable explanations that can be proposed using rational evidence based scientific approach.
What’s really amusing is the following quote (http://shiftfrequency.com/giant-foot-print-200-million-yrs-old-south-africa/) from Mr Tellinger:
“Let me remind you that we know less about our human history than is allowed by the laws of physics. So if you fall into the category of individuals who immediately dismiss this as a hoax or natural erosion, I ask you to check your ego and arrogance and open your mind to infinite possibility in a multiverse of infinite possibility.”
Certainly the a finite explanation of this natural feature is within the realm of physical science. I would remind Mr Tellinger to check his own rational critical thinking let alone ego and arrogance. Perhaps he should stick to what he knows best and leave geology to geologists.