2012 movie review for Geology

It’s SWOTVAC, so unless I am using blogging as procrastination, you wont hear from me till holidays. When I promise to fill you in on college life, Mum and Dad’s visit, and all the crazy drug-sex-and-rock-‘n’-roll parties I have been going to.

For now, my sister has asked me to post this. For the only ‘essay’ in geology we were asked to write a movie review on 2012. If you’ve seen it great, if you hate it, even better. Because this movie is bad. I wish I didn’t have to write so formally, because I had a lot more to say about this movie. Not only is it bad in regards to geology, but also physics, general facts about the world, geographically, or almost any other subject you could study at uni.

Also, I just have to mention that the humanitarian geologist is an absolute twat, that guy is one massive idiot. He is jeopardising the future of the whole human race for the sake of his conscious. Argh!

Anyway, here it is. Please comment if you have anything else to say on the topic.


Movie Review: 2012 (2009)

By Sally Mattner

Director: Roland Emmerich

Writers: Roland Emmerich and Harald Kloser

The action adventure movie 2012 begins in the year 2009, when geologist Adrian Helmsley arrives in India and is told that recent solar flares are causing an increase in neutrinos being released from the sun. He is taken to a copper mine that goes 3.4 kilometers into the Earth’s crust and is shown computer data on the changing neutrinos as well as a water tank that goes down another 1.8 kilometers that is essentially being microwaved by the neutrinos to boiling point. The viewer is not given a complete explanation on how the neutrinos have become radioactive, just that in the movie these neutrinos are heating the core of the Earth. Though in the real world not a lot is actually known about neutrinos, it is known that they have such a small amount of mass that they pass through physical objects such as the Earth without either the neutrinos or the Earth being affected. The idea that an increase in neutrinos released from the sun would cause them to go radioactive and impact the Earth’s core in such a way is unlikely. Later in the movie it is revealed that these radioactive neutrinos are melting the Earth’s core. The Earth’s inner core is already extremely hot, and the only reason it is currently solid is because it is also under an extreme amount of pressure; to get the core to melt while still being under so much pressure would take an immense amount of energy. If such a large amount of energy were to reach the Earth’s core, it would also heat the Earth’s surface and the now solid and radioactive neutrinos would burn the surface of the Earth before reaching the core. So even if it were possible for neutrinos to become radioactive, they would not impact the Earth in the way that the movie 2012 illustrates.

Later in the movie, a video blog made by the conspiracy loving radio presenter Charlie Frost is shown that explains the whole world-changing concept in an easy to understand format. It describes what the neutrinos are doing, although not how or why, then moves on to what the melting of the core will do to the Earth’s crust, the theory of ‘Earth Crust Displacement’. In the real world, this theory was proposed by Charles Hapgood in the 1950’s. It suggests that it is possible for the Earth’s tectonic plates to shift around the Earth in unison. This theory was later disproved as it would mean that volcanic hot spots would also move in relation to the Earth’s crust. The existence of very old volcanic rock in places like Yellowstone National Park makes it very unlikely that it has happened as Hapgood thought. In the movie 2012, Charlie’s blog says that the melting of the Earth’s core will cause Earth Crust Displacement. While there is no proof that this will never happen, it certainly should not happen within the time span covered by this movie. It would take many thousands of years for all the tectonic plates to move to such a degree in unison without upsetting the Earth’s surface any more than was shown in the movie. In 2012 it takes less than 24 hours for the plates to move, and though there is a lot of damage done to the crust in the form of earthquakes and tidal waves, it is not nearly as much damage as would occur if the plates did move at such speeds. If the plates were to move as quickly as the movie depicts, the surface of the Earth would probably become a slurry of rock, vegetation and water, smoothing out terrain and filling the atmosphere with a lot of debris, making it even harder for humans to survive.

Another event from the movie explained in Charlie’s blog is that all the destruction on Earth was due to an alignment of the planets, sun and centre of the Milky Way that only happens once every 640,000 years. No explanation is given as to how this causes solar flares, turns neutrinos radioactive, or any other way this affects the Earth, but that is what starts the end of Earth as we know it in 2012. Besides the fact that such a large scale alignment won’t be happening in 2012, there is no proof that such an alignment of the planets will impact the Earth in anyway, least of all in the way that 2012 depicts it. In fact NASA says that alignment of the Earth, Sun and centre of our galaxy is a relatively common occurrence, and has no recorded impact on Earth. The movie later shows the eruption of the Yellowstone National Park caldera and the destruction it causes to the surrounding national park. In the real world, areas of the Yellowstone caldera have been growing at a rate of 7cm per year (2004-2007) to 1cm per year (2007-2010), which is considered to be a rapid expansion rate. In contrast, the movie shows a volcano in the same area fully forming within minutes before erupting. A volcano that has the energy to grow this quickly would not make a perfectly formed volcano. Instead it would just explode, sending lava, gasses and/or debris in all directions without such a large scale cone being formed.

The end-of-the-world movie 2012 disregards many geological facts and theories for the sake of a Hollywood story. Also neglected are the laws of physics and more geological facts for the sake of a dramatic movie. Explored in this review are many of the larger geological inconsistencies within the movie, coming to the conclusion, that if the world were to end, it would not be like predicted in 2012.


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