Patrick Geryl
Patrick Geryl is an author, not a scientist

Patrick Geryl
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Patrick Geryl is an author, not a scientist

Update: For recent information and discussion of Geryl's failures, see this forum thread.

Patrick Geryl is a Belgian amateur astronomer and an author. On his official website he claims to have written nine books, all of which are bestsellers1.

Geryl's Claims

Geryl claims that:

In the year 2012 the Earth awaits a super catastrophe: its magnetic field will completely reverse in one go. Phenomenal earthquakes and tidal waves will destroy our civilization. Europe and North-America will shift thousands of kilometers northward and end up in a polar clime. Nearly the whole Earth's population will perish in the apocalyptic events.2

The cause of this massive destruction?

"A very HIGH sunspot is expected in 2012…when that happens… a huge… an enormous… a gargantic…a gargantuan solar flare will be thrown to the Earth and will destroy our civilization."3

Dresden Codex

Geryl and his co-author Ratinck claim that they were able to read and decipher parts of the Dresden Codex4 and that they discovered that the old Egyptians and the ancient Maya were both descendants of Atlantis. If this sounds familiar, it should. It was originally proposed in the 1882 pseudo-archeology book Atlantis: The Antedeluvian World by Ignatius Donnelly5.

Solar Eruption to Polar Shift

On this basis, Geryl and Ratinck came to the conclusion that in 2012, between December 19th and 21st, there will be a massive solar eruption that will reach the Earth within a few hours, that the Earth will be surrounded by a cloud of plasma, that the cloud of plasma will have a magnetic field in a different orientation than that of the Earth, and that in response the core of the earth will be deflected by the magnetic field, turning under the crust until it arrives at a different orientation. However, since the rotation of the core and the crust would then be in different directions, massive earthquakes and other phenomena would occur.

The theory refers to its own research and calculations, and predictions which were claimed to have been made by the Maya and ancient Egyptians. These predictions are not confirmed by Mayanists or Egyptologists.

"Can't possibly be wrong"

When asked what would happen if December 2012 were to come and go without the earthquakes and tsunamis of his predictions, Geryl fell silent.
"I don't really contemplate that possibility," he said. "[My predictions] are so spectacular, they can't possibly be wrong."6

Problems with Geryl's ideas

To people trained in astronomy, Patrick Geryl's idea is laughable. Geryl never seems to explain how he is able to predict this "solar flare"7 years ahead of time when astrophysicists are not able to do so, or how he knows that the magnetic field of his imaginary plasma cloud is going to be opposite that of the Earth. When questioned on these topics, he refers people to his books.

Not massive enough

In order to exert a force on the earth that would cause part of the earth to flip over, you would have to exert as much energy as it would take to stop it, and start it spinning again in the opposite direction. When we are talking about the core earth we are talking about a huge spinning mass. The core of the earth is divided into two parts, the solid iron core which is about the size of the moon, and the liquid outer core which is the size of mars. The inner core rotates with the earth, only slightly out of sync with the rest of the planet8.

Geryl claims that a massive CME is going to flip the core over, physically. Let us assume that he means the solid inner core, which is the size of the moon[7]. In order to turn the core as Geryl claims, the CME would have to be more massive than the core.

This is true for the same reasons that astronauts working on the Hubble had to have their feet bolted to the mechanical arm of the space shuttle. Because if you try to turn a screw in space, you wind up with your body rotating around the screw instead of the screw turning out of the socket. On earth or inside the shuttle you are braced against something. Out in space with nothing to brace against and no gravity to hold you to the ground, you just spin. The CME that Geryl has flipping the core is in the same situation. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Assuming there was no spin at all on the core, and assuming there was a realistic way to couple the two masses, in order to turn the core 180 degrees, the mass of the CME would have to be equal to that of the core, and turn 180 degrees in the opposite direction.

If the CME were less massive than the core, it would have to complete a turn of more than 180 degrees. Something with 1/2 the mass of the core would have to complete a full rotation, etc.

So, how much mass are we talking about?

The volume of the moon is 21.9 billion cubic kilometers. That is 21,900,000,000 km3 or $2.19 \times 10^{10} km^{3}$. There are 1015 cubic centimeters in 1 cubic kilometer, or $2.19 \times 10^{25} cm^{3}$ in the solid inner core. Iron has a density of 7.874 g/cc, so the mass of the core is $2.19 \times 10^{25} \times 7.874$ or $1.724 \times 10^{26}$ grams. In contrast, the average mass of a CME is $1.6 \times 10^{15}$ grams, or about $10^{11}$ ( That is 100,000,000,000 ) times smaller.

There is no way a CME could be massive enough to turn the core.

Not magnetic enough

In addition to the problem with the mass, there is a problem with coupling the two masses together. Geryl claims that the magnetic field of the CME will push the core over by acting on the magnetic field of the core. This claim also fails.

Let us assume that the solid core is magnetized (it is not, but we'll leave that aside for the moment). Geryl's claim requires a magnetic field strong enough to grab that spinning mass and flip it over. In order to do that the magnetic field strength would have to be much more intense than the magnetic field of the earth.

The strength of a magnetic field obeys the inverse square law. If you double the distance, the field strength falls to one quarter. In order to overwhelm the magnetic field of the earth, the field generated by the CME would have to be stronger than that of the earth. That is actually not that hard to do on a very localized basis. The strength of the field at the Earth's surface ranges from less than 30 microTeslas (0.3 Gauss) in an area including most of South America and South Africa to over 60 microTeslas (0.6 Gauss) around the magnetic poles in northern Canada and south of Australia, and in part of Siberia. Any bar magnet will seize a compass needle, overwhelming the magnetic field of the earth within several inches of the magnet. However, a CME is a large, diffuse object, and its magnetic field would have to be much larger than that of the earth in order to affect the core.

Even if you took a second earth and (ignoring gravity) brought it next to our earth and tried to flip it magnetically, you wouldn't be able to do it. If you took a second earth with a magnetic field hundreds of times stronger than ours, you still wouldn't be able to do it. You would need a much more massive object with a much stronger magnetic field to overcome the weakness of the magnetic interaction, and the stability of the earth given to it by its spin.

So in order to flip the core, the CME would have to be intensely magnetic and many times more massive than the earth, let alone the earth's core. A CME does not come anywhere near being massive enough or magnetic enough to cause this effect.

Nowhere to hide

Let us assume that we are wrong in our analysis above. Geryl is proposing that his group be given 1 billion US$ in order to build a survival center in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Spain. The problem is, if he were right, there would be nowhere to hide.

Warning: MATH!

The amount of energy expended to flip the core over is immense. The rotational kinetic energy is given by the equation[12]:

\begin{align} K_{rotation} = \frac {1}{2} Iw^{2} \end{align}

where $I$ is the Moment of Inertia and $w$ is the angular velocity. The Moment of Inertia of a solid spinning sphere is approximated by the equation[11][10]

\begin{align} I = \frac{2mr^{2}}{5} \end{align}

where $m$ is the mass, and $r$ is the radius of the sphere. We will take the radius of the core to be that of the moon, or about 1,737 km ( $1.737 \times 10^{6} meters$ ). Substituting these into the Moment of Inertia calculation 2, the calculation of $I$ becomes:

\begin{align} I = \frac{2( 1.724 \times 10^{23})(1.737 \times 10^{6} )^{2}}{5} \end{align}
\begin{align} I = \frac{2(1.724 \times 10^{23})(3.01717 \times 10^{12})}{5} \end{align}
\begin{align} I = \frac{2(5.2016 \times 10^{35})}{5} \end{align}
\begin{align} I = \frac{1.04032 \times 10^{36}}{5} \end{align}
\begin{align} I = 2.08064 \times 10^{35} \end{align}

Substituting this into the Kinetic energy calculation 1, we get

\begin{align} K = \frac {1}{2} (2.08604 \times 10^{35})w^{2} \end{align}

The Angular velocity is measured in radians per second[9]. The earth revolves once per day. That happens to be 0.000072722052166 radians/second or $7.27 \times 10^{-5}$ radians per second. Which gives us:

\begin{align} K = \frac {1}{2} (2.081 \times 10^{35})(7.27 \times 10^{-5})^{2} \end{align}
\begin{align} K = \frac {1}{2} (2.081 \times 10^{35})(5.28529 \times 10^{-9}) \end{align}
\begin{align} K = \frac {1}{2} (1.09968 \times 10^{27}) \end{align}
\begin{align} K = 5.49839 \times 10^{26} joules \end{align}

End of the math

Now, that's a pretty big number. Let's write it out: 54,983,900,000,000,000,000,000,000 joules. In comparison, a 1 Megaton bomb has the defined energy of $4.18 \times 10^{15}$ joules. The amount of kinetic energy stored in the rotating core is about $1.316 \times 10^{11}$ or 13,160,000,000 megatons. Remember, this number is 1/2 the energy requirement to flip the core over into another orientation. This amount of energy is not going to create earthquakes and tidal waves, it would melt the entire planet.

Thank goodness Geryl is wrong.

Another reason it can't happen

Geryl's idea appears to hinge on the common misconception that the earth's magnetic field is generated in the solid core. It is not, because the solid iron core is too hot to form a magnetic field. The magnetic field it is actually generated in the outer liquid core by the flow of currents of liquid metal. The exact mechanism of these currents is not resolved, and there are various theories as to how the currents that power the magnetic field are generated.

So, even if all of the above objections were overcome, there is no magnetic field in the solid core for the "Gigantic solar flare" to grab onto.

Survival community plans abandoned?

It appears that Geryl has been able to convince very few, if any, people to join his survival community. When asked about it in an interview with the Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, published on 29th September 2012, he said:

I'll stay home. For me, it no longer makes sense. I have diabetes. I am too weak to last and last. Only healthy people aged between 15 and 30 would have a chance. With luck, a few will survive. To save mankind, you really only need two, a man and a woman.9


Patrick Geryl's ideas are not scientific theories. He indulges in pseudo-science (specifically pseudo-astronomy and pseudo-archeology) and his conclusions are incorrect. We show that his claimed mechanism for physically flipping the earth's core is impossible, and that his claimed results (earthquakes, tsunamis, etc) are incorrect.

1. Aveni, Anthony F. 2000. Empires of Time. Tauris Parke Paperbacks. ISBN 1-8606460-2-6
3. Donnelly, Ignatious. 1882. Atlantis: The Antedeluvian World
4. Geryl, Patrick. 2008 About Patrick
5. Geryl, Patrick. 2002. The Orion Prophecy Adventures Unlimited Press. ISBN-13: 978-0932813916
6. Geryl, Patrick. 2009. As stated on "Bullshit!", Showtime! Networks.
8. Ruggles, Clive L.N., Ancient Astronomy, ABC-CLIO, 2005, ISBN 1-8510947-7-6

Further Reading

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