Galactic Fleet Admiral (site admin)
Joined: 14 Dec 2013
Location: North Carolina
|Posted: Mon Nov 20, 2023 1:36 pm Post subject:
The Land Unknown (1957)
Thinking Outside the "Plot"!
There is no lush jungle filled with dinosaurs in Antarctic today, but scientist believe that 15 million years ago, during the Miocene period, it resembled the kind of forested tundra seen today in New Zealand or parts of Chile.
Notice the glacier above the waterfall. Cool.
~ New Zealand
A website called Atlas Obscura has an article which includes these paragraphs.
Despite being the most inhospitable place on the planet, recent scientific discoveries suggest that this forgotten continent version — sometimes nicknamed the "Great White Desert" version — may in fact have once been carpeted in forest.
However, due to the extreme southern placement of the continent, even a warmer Antarctica would have been without light for months on end during the winter — while summer would have been one endless day. This raises the question of how plants were able to survive, the light required for photosynthesis being unavailable for months at a time.
During a recent research trip, [Professor Patricia Ryberg and a team of scientists] collected samples from the fossilized wood in order to analyze the rings of these ancient trees. A pattern soon emerged in the cells, showing how the forests would grow upwards and outward before turning dormant for months at a time, storing carbon in their cells.
Ryberg has also hypothesized that much of the ring structure in these samples shares characteristics with tropical trees. As tropical trees experience less of a seasonal effect, they are known to go through periods of short-term dormancy; a process that results in sporadic bursts of growth.
This might well account for how the forests of Antarctica were able to survive during extended periods of darkness.
So, the six months of darkness which the hidden valley in The Land Unknown experienced annually would not have killed off the plants we see in that exotic region. In other words, the movie got that part exactly right.
As for the dinosaurs in The Land Unknown, Wikipedia has an article entitled List of Australian and Antarctic dinosaurs. The list is quite extensive.
My point is that if there actually had been a deep valley in Antarctic during the Miocene period, heated by subterranean volcanic activity as described in The Land Unknown, the valley and it's unique heat source might have protected the prehistoric environment from the catastrophe which caused the extinction of the rest of the dinosaurs around the world.
Yes, I know, the prevailing theory is that a world-wide "nuclear winter" killed off the dinosaurs after a big meteorite smacked into the earth. And, of course, that would mean that the hidden valley wouldn't get it's yearly six-month allotment of sunshine for several years — although it should be noted that a "nuclear winter" doesn't block sunlight completely, it only reduces the amount of sunlight which gets through.
I Googled the question, "How long does a nuclear winder last?" and got this answer from Popular Science.
After one year, the average surface temperature of the Earth falls by 1.1 kelvin, or about two degrees Fahrenheit. After five years, the Earth is, on average, three degrees colder than it used to be. Twenty years on, our home planet warms again to about one degree cooler than the average before the nuclear war.
Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, I submit that the one place on Earth that would be uniquely suited to survive the extinction of the dinosaurs would be the valley described in The Land Unknown!
It has an extremely low elevation with higher air pressure than sea level, an underground heat source, a permanent cloud cover to hold in the heat, and an unusual ecosystem which evolved over millions of years to remain dormant during the total darkness of the Antarctic winter!
It's also a fact that the largest of the Antarctic warm-water lakes mentioned at the beginning of The Land Unknown is the recently discovered Lake Vostok, which scientists say is over 4,800 square miles of water, and could contain life forms never before seen by humans.
~ Lake Vostok
A site called Huffpost has this to say about Lake Vostok.
Scientists think the new lake is around 62 miles long and six miles wide, a leader of the project told New Scientist. Researchers have flown over the suspected location of the lake to gather radar data that could confirm their hypothesis.
What could be inside? Literally anything. Many glacial lakes have been sealed off from the outer world for millions of years, meaning that life forms were left to evolve at a pace all their own.
What if there really had been a deep valley in the Antarctic millions of years ago, warmed by subterranean volcanic activity, and filled with prehistoric life forms! And what if continental drift eventually caused this deep valley to be flooded by sea water.
Under those entirely plausible circumstances, The Land Unknown might have become The Lake Unknown . . . and it's still filled with prehistoric creatures!
And THAT, folks, is why I love to "think outside the plot"!
Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
~ The Space Children (1958)