Robert Maurer

April 2024 - Robert Maurer's theory of Plate Tectonics is published in collabortation with Prof Shigeyuki Suzuki in Okayama University Earth Science Reports. Read it here:
Published article, Okayama University Earth Science Reports
"A new insight into the driving mechanism for plate tectonics - the relationship between tectonic processes and the circumferential tensile forces associated with a rotating planet" by Robert MAURER,
Stuart HARKER, Shigeyuki SUZUKI, Allan WHEELER
The paper challenges the traditional belief that convection currents in the mantle are driving plate tectonics. It provides an alternate, mathematically justified drive mechanism, summarised as the Maurer equation. This shows that the unbalanced rotation of the Earth results in circumferential stresses that are more than strong enough to drive the cyclic breakup and reassembly of the continental plates.

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Maurer's theory made simple: (click to expand)
See the Maurer tectonics playlist on YouTube
Bob Maurer maintains that, from his perspective as a chartered engineer, the unrelenting tectonic movements and orogenic activities of the Earth cannot be adequately and solely explained by subduction via the omni-directional heated currents within the Earth's mantle.

Bob offers an alternative analysis based on the forces associated with the rotational velocity of the Earth to explain supercontinent break-up followed by tectonic plate movements, subduction and orogenic processes. This is in contradiction to current wisdom which accepts that the movement of a continental plate is a result of the pulling action applied to it by the subduction of the higher density oceanic ithospehere as it descends below the continental plate.

The direction of the heated convection currents considered to cause subduction must vary over time and distance. Bob questioned whether the long term (millions of years) unidirectional movements of tectonic plates could be driven by omnidirectional convection currents. Since 2002 he has focused on analysing the constant forces generated by the rotational velocity of the Earth.

Engineering Background
Bob Maurer graduated as a mining metallurgist in South Africa and worked in gold uranium and diamond mines before studying electro-chemistry at the University of London. This took him into research projects on the growth of single crystals of Alpha –Uranium crystals and the hydrogen embrittlement of high tensile steels, and to a career in engineering. After a number of jobs related to fluid flow measurement he set up Maurer Instruments Ltd where he developed a range special purpose Turbine flow meters and a range of Crude Oil Sampling equipment in addition to meter calibration systems. Bob has delivered a large number of papers on Flow Measurement, Meter Proving and Crude Oil Sampling in the UK, Europe and the USA.

Robert "Bob" Maurer has been a member of HHGS since the 1990s. He has given talks to our Society and other geology groups on several topics of interest to him:
-- An engineers approach to the forces responsible for tectonic and orogenic movements (December 2019)
-- Our Heritage - Stone Tools and Rock Art
-- Did climatic changes in Europe give rise to the rock carvings in North Africa?
-- Mining for Rare Minerals in Mexico

His main hobbies are related to mineral and fossil collecting. It was this hobby that took Bob to the Bolivian Andes and led him on to look at the forces associated with Tectonic Movements.
"To understand something you must be able to measure it"
The mainstream view is that a gravity-driven convection system drives the movement of tectonic plates. One problem with this explanation is that the force of the convection currents cannot be measured. Mathematics doesn't back up the theory.

The theory of ridge-push / slab-pull is explained in this educational resource from SAGE Seismological Facility for the Advancement of Geoscience,
"What Are the Forces that Drive Plate Tectonics?". It shows clearly how the oceanic plates move, but no mention is made of the continental plate movements. The problem with this explanation is that when the oceanic plates (slabs) break off and descend into the mantle, the continents continue to move above them. What is making the continents move when the force of slab-pull is reduced to zero?

Bob has published his own book on the subject of tectonic forces:
The Rotating Earth and Plate Tectonics
You can contact Bob by email:
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The sight of horizontal sedimentary rocks on the top of the Bolivian Andes in 2001 prompted this research into the magnitude of the unrelenting forces associated with plate tectonics.
These marine sedimentary strata have been uplifted from below sea level to approximately 5km above sea level without crumpling.
The Rotating Earth and Plate Tectonics by Robert Maurer
This work explores the nature and origin of the forces responsible for the unrelenting unidirectional movements of continental sized masses away from what was Pangea c. 275 Ma years ago to their present positions.

The analysis given demonstrates that the forces responsible for tectonic movements are related to the rotational velocity of the Earth which is dependent on the Sun’s gravitational pull on the asymmetrical positioning of the Earth’s centre of mass.

The resultant unbalanced rotation gives rise to the Earth’s wobble and the significant circumferential forces that move the continental masses. It is these tectonic movements in which continental and oceanic crusts are continuously forced into the mantle, that forever ensures that the lithosphere is recycled and regenerated.

Furthermore, the offset ‘centre of mass’ gives rise to the generated and tilted N-S principal axis of rotation that applies to all the planets. This action also yields a viable explanation regarding why all the planets (Venus apart) rotate in the same direction as the Sun.

This treatise relates tectonic processes to the circumferential forces associated with the rotational velocity of the planet Earth. This approach allows for alternative explanations to the convection current system, to be offered to describe tectonic plate movements. In developing this argument, the following points will be examined and discussed.
- The positioning of the centre of mass (COM) of the Earth that gives rise to both the tilt and in the case of the Earth, its ‘wobbly’ motion. This is noted by the cyclical movement of the principal of axis of rotation as noted by the Milankovitch cycles.
- The development of the mathematical relationship between the differential circumferential forces in the crust, the offset COM, and the Earth’s rotational velocity.
- The creation of the principal N-S axis of rotation by the mutual gravitational pull of the Sun.
- The extrapolation of the above action to the planets, their common hand of rotation and similar tilt angles.
- The introduction of the concept of the momentum of the moving plates and its initiation of the subduction cycle.
- Subduction is thus shown to be a consequence of the developed momentum of the moving tectonic plates as distinct from being the driving force.
- The development of an alternative cycle of continuous lithosphere regeneration that challenges the presently accepted Wilson cycle.

Centripetal or Radial Outward Force
F= Mω2R (in Newtons)
The equatorial bulge causes a 0.34% reduction in the gravitational force from that experienced at the poles where the rotational velocity is zero. This difference is considered enough to cause the plates to move around the Earth on a frictionless surface.
See Appendix 4,
The Rotating Earth and Plate Tectonics
Download as PDF

Rotational behaviour of the Earth
See section 3, The Rotating Earth and Plate Tectonics
Study of the position and magnitude of the counter-balance weight needed to affect balance and remove the inclined tilt. This motion shows a similarity to the Milankovitch precession cycles in depicting the elliptical movement of an unbalanced rotating shaft whose Centre of Mass is offset from the centre of rotation.

This animation shows vibrational movement along the length of the unbalanced rotating shaft (