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<   No. 643   2004-10-30   >

Comic #643

1 {scene: A majestic zeppelin glides silently through the blue sky from Berlin to Santorini.}
1 Haken: So, Fraulein Doktor Smith, what caused Atlantis to sink into die sea?
2 {scene change: Inside the zeppelin control cabin.}
2 Ginny: There's a theory by a German scientist, yet to be accepted by the rest of the world...
2 Haken: Herr Doktor Wegener, ja?
3 Ginny: Yes. He's described a revolutionary new geology, based on ancient Greek texts, that explains the destruction of Atlantis.
4 Haken: You mean...?
4 Ginny: Plato tectonics.

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Alfred Wegener (1880-1930) was a German scientist who developed and published the theory of continental drift based on geological and paleontological evidence that suggested Africa and South America had once been next to each other and had "drifted" apart over geological time. Unfortunately, within his lifetime he was ridiculed for this idea, as no geologists could imagine any physical mechanism which would allow continents to move across the Earth in such a way.

This only changed in the 1960s, with the discovery of seafloor spreading - evidence that hot material from the mantle rises to form new crust along spreading zones such as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which pushes the crust apart and causes the Atlantic Ocean to widen slowly. This rapidly led to the discovery of the entire physical cycle through which sections of the Earth's crust drift in relative motion to each other: plate tectonics.

Modern knowledge of Atlantis stems almost in its entirety from the written accounts of the Timaeus and the Critias, written around 400 BC by the Greek philosopher Plato.

Panel 1 is an actual photo of the Graf Zeppelin. It was in black and white so I colourised the sky a bit. The sky seen through the windows is a photo of a sunset I took on Lord Howe Island, with the colour balance fiddled a bit.


2013-11-18 Rerun commentary: I do so love setting up a ridiculous pun with a hideously convoluted lead-in story. It's even better when it almost sorta makes sense, in that way where you can follow the logical steps, but they actually have no real relation to one another that would ever work in reality. Except perhaps in The X-Files or Dr Who, in which case all bets are off.

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