The Creation Explanation
|The Primeval World -- Fossils, Geology & Earth History|
Geologic Structures and Earth History
We will first consider types of rocks and rock structures which geologists have observed and the kinds of processes may have been required to produce them. Several compilations of this kind of information have been published, notably by Dr. Henry M. Morris, Dr. Steven Austin and N.A. Rupke.47 We are indebted particularly to Dr. Austin for many of the insights which follow.
1. In the southwestern states--Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Kansas and Oklahoma--we encounter hundreds of thousands of square miles of flat, horizontal sedimentary strata, often thousands of feet thick. For example, the St. Peter sandstone has been traced in twenty states from California to Vermont.48 The Shinarump conglomerate in the Southwest covers some 125,000 square miles,49 and another conglomerate blanket is reported to be traceable on geologic survey maps from New Mexico to Saskatchewan and Alberta.50 Similar vast strata are also found in other parts of the world. At no location on the earth today may the present production of similar deposits be observed. A continental blanket of sandstone required a steadily flowing current traversing thousands of miles to separate the sand from silt and gravel before laying down deposits of such vast extend. A continental blanket of conglomerate required a continent-sized maelstrom of water in violent, chaotic motion to dump an ungraded mixture of materials of all sizes across thousands of miles of terrain. Tremendous water action such as that which would be produced by a global flood seems to offer the only reasonable explanation for the observed facts.
2. The finer structure of sedimentary strata called stratification is also difficult to explain satisfactory in terms of the more or less gradual processes observed in action today. The four common types of stratification seem to be more easily explainable in terms of the kind of very rapid water action which a global flood would have produced. Simple lamination,51 cross lamination and cross bedding,52 ripple lamination,53 and graded bedding54 all are equally well or better explained in terms of the global flood hypothesis than they are in terms of traditional uniformitarian concepts of historical geology.
3. Not only the gross and fine structures of sedimentary rock formations, but also the composition of the rocks bear witness to catastrophic deposition of most of the rocks in the earth's crust. Sandstones, shales, conglomerates, limestone,55 dolostone (limestone containing much magnesium carbonate),56 cherts (flint-like stone),57 graywack,58 and "evaporites" (such as gypsum or rock salt)59 cannot be suitably explained in terms of processes observed on earth today. In fact, they must have been formed in the past by massive, rapid hydraulic and chemical processes continental and global in scope, such as man has never observed in the modern world.
The scale of water action required to grade the sand and muds that produced thousands of square miles of sandstone and shale strata is incomprehensible. The continent-wide maelstrom of violent oceanic currents which dumped hundreds of thousand of square miles of ungraded conglomerates across the United Stated and other parts of the world defies description. The ocean-sized reaction pots which rapidly precipitated the calcium carbonate, magnesium carbonate, and silica gel which formed the vast strata of limestone and dolomite and huge chert deposits boggle the mind of any laboratory chemist. And the huge beds of salt and gypsum "evaporites," remarkably pure and free of organic material, must have been formed by rapid precipitation from concentrated geothermal solutions, rather than by slow evaporation in shallow seas, the usual uniformitarian explanation.
4. In the northwestern states of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho (and in many other places in the world) are hundreds of thousands of square miles of territory covered by thick flows of basaltic lava, which must have flowed out onto the surface of the land in veritable floods. Such massive volcanism is presently occurring at no place on the modern earth.60
5. Another type of igneous rock rock formation not being produced today includes the huge granite batholiths, which form the backbone of many great mountain systems, and smaller intrusive rock formation such as dikes and sills. All of these structures apparently are products of past but not present earth activity.
6. Many of the major river systems of the world have great suboceanic river canyons which extend long distances from the present shorelines. Thus it would appear that the level of the oceans was in the past thousands of feet below the present level. This is corroborated by shallow water deposits located at midoceanic points as much as 10,000 feet below present sea level.61
7. The large-scale folding, faulting, uplifting, and subsidences evidenced in the earth's sedimentary structures must have involved actions far greater in magnitude and more rapid than any seen today.
8. Major mountain systems are considered to be relatively young, yet still many millions of years old. but weighty evidence indicates that the Andes, the Himalayas, and other mountain chains were pushed up thousands of feet in historic times.62
9. Extensive systems of deeply incised meanders cut by rivers in many parts of the world must have been produced rapidly at a time which the sedimentary layers were still not fully consolidated and therefore much softer than at present.
10. Coal deposits by their nature are both fossil materials and geological structures. The common evolutionary view of the origin of coal is that plant materials accumulated slowly in ancient forests and peat bogs, were slowly buried, and then converted into coal in the same location in which they grew. Much evidence, however, supports the view that many or perhaps most coal deposits were transported in the oceans to their present locations, then buried rapidly and transformed by pressure and heat into coal. "Polystrate" fossilized upright tree trunks up to ten feet or more in height and snags, for example, have been found extending through several layers of coal and the intermediate rock strata.63 There is no evidence of roots embedded in normal soil, and sometimes fossilized trees are found upside-down. Dr. Steve Austin64 and Dr. Harold Coffin65 have listed additional evidence for the rapid deposition of coal: 1) Good preservation of the structure of cells, leaves, seeds and wood is common in coal. 2) Coal layers always appear as members of series of sedimentary deposits, often displaying laminations similar to those in other types of sediments, such as sandstone and shale. 3) Coal is not uncommonly associated with marine rocks containing marine fossils. 4) Marine fossils such as corals, mussels, sponges, and fish scales are found in coal. The marine tubeworm, Spirorbis, is found attached in natural positions to coalified plants, indicating that the plant material drifted in the open sea water for some time before its deposition. 5) True fossil soil layers are absent beneath coal layers; evidence now indicates that the so-called seat earths of European and American coal deposits, with the supposed fossil roots they contain, are actually water laid deposits; coal in the southern hemisphere generally lacks the seat earths altogether. 6) Erratic boulders, often found in coal and weighing as much as 160 lbs, must have been transported from their distant source locations by violent flood action. 7) There are cases in which two coal seams separated by a thick layer of sedimentary rock, when traced for a few miles, are found to merge into a single coal seam. This observation is impossible to accommodate to the concept of slow formation of the coal seams during many thousands of years. 8) Modern peat bogs and swamps are nowhere observed being converted into coal. Furthermore, coal contains parts of trees, but not the types of materials composing peat bogs.
These and other types of evidence can only indicate a very rapid, catastrophic transportation and deposition of sediments and plant material by sea water. A tree would decompose to dust long before the passage of the tens of thousands of years required for uniformitarian deposition of forty or more feet of sediments and the growth of several layers of coal according to the traditional scenario. Furthermore, the large number of fossilized tree remains in upright and inclined positions is in agreement with modern observations of flood action in which trees and snags have been seen carried in upright position in the water, ballasted by the heavy root end and entwined rocks. It can be added that in addition to rapid deposition and burial of the vegetable materials, their conversion into coal also could have been rapid. Investigations in recent years have demonstrated that wood can rapidly be transformed into coal and garbage into petroleum under conditions of high pressure and temperature.66
Another important fact about coal deposits which makes the uniformitarian explanation difficult to accept is the large number of successive layers of coal which are found in many locations. In Nova Scotia up to 6 layers of coal are found, one above the other; in England and Germany as many as 80 and 100 layers, respectively.67 Supposedly, the historical geologists tell us, each layer represents a long period during which the land surface sank to a low level and swamps and peat bogs formed. Then a further subsidence placed the collected vegetable materials under water and they were slowly covered by sediments. Then the land level rose to complete a cycle. Many such repeated cycles produced the sequences of coal layers and sedimentary rock layers observed today. But the imagination is severely strained by the assumption that the land rose and fell 80 or 100 times in a single location on the earth's surface.
In summary, the vast preponderance of evidence supports the view that coal was produced by the rapid deposition and burial of floating forests and ripped up vegetation which were transported by ocean waters from their sources of origin. This entire process could have taken place in thousands, rather than hundreds of thousands of years.68
There is at least one important problem with the common creationist concept that the major sedimentary formations and therefore most coal measures were deposited in one global catastrophe. This is the fact that the total carbon content of the known coal deposits is many times that of the carbon content of the entire modern biosphere. Clues to a possible solution to this problem are the following: 1) The greater proportion of coal does not show structural evidence that it was formed from plant material, 2) The coalified remains of plant materials in coal often contain much more carbon than did the original living plant material, and 3) There is evidence that a large amount of carbon-containing methane gas resides in the earth's deep mantle rocks. Methane can under the right conditions decompose and deposit carbon. This is very likely the source of the excess carbon found in coalified plants, and it may be the source of a major part of the carbon in the earth's coal measures. Thus there could be much more carbon in coal than ever existed in the earth's biosphere at any one time.69 The carbon in petroleum-like substances in the earth's crust exceeds that in the modern biosphere by a factor of more than 100. As in the case of coal, however, there is evidence that much petroleum may have the same origin in methane gas from the earth's deep mantle rocks.69
11. Meteorites of various types are continually plunging into the earth's atmosphere from outer space, and some reach the surface. Supposedly this has occurred for billions of years with more falling in the earlier ages of earth history than in recent time. Yet no meteorites have been discovered in the deeper and supposedly very old sedimentary strata, but only in the upper, recent strata.70 Does this not strongly suggest that most of the sedimentary strata were laid down rapidly over a short period of time so that very few meteorites could be deposited in them?
12. Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey is almost certainly the place where the ark rested at the close of the flood year. It is not well-known that the geology of this massive mountain complex bears eloquent witness to the truth of the Genesis account of a global flood. Ararat is a volcanic mountain composed principally of lava flows and other types of volcanic material. Located at levels up to at least the 14,000 feet above sea level are outcroppings of a peculiar rock called pillow lava. This rock is identified by the pillow-shaped masses in which it occurs and by the high glass content of its structure. These characteristic features are produced when molten lava is extruded under water and the very rapid cooling results in both the pillow-shaped forms and the production of uncrystallized glasses rather than the distinct crystals found in such slowly cooled rocks as granite. The high glass content causes the rock when broken to form characteristic curved fracture surfaces which are termed "conchoidal."71
Geologist Clifford Burdick made a number of expeditions to Mount Ararat. He reported that every sample of volcanic rock he examined on the mountain evidenced a high glass content. It is evident, then, that Ararat was submerged in water at least up to the 14,000-foot level. This is confirmed by deposits of sedimentary rocks on the mountain at the 13,500-foot level. These and other striking facts about the geology of the mountain and the surrounding terrain agree beautifully with the Genesis record of a global flood. Since water seeks its own level, the water which submerged Ararat must have covered the entire world. The geological observations were made by consulting geologist Clifford Burdick on two exploratory expeditions in 1966 and 1969.72 These and several other recent expeditions have been made to search for the actual remains of the ark which has reportedly been seen by over 100 persons during the past century and a half.73
All of the above structural features of the earth's crust and surface are far better in accord with catastrophism than with uniformitarianism. Numerous other features of geologic data refuse to fit into the mold of evolutionary geology, and the attempts to make them fit have led to absurdities and contradictions in geology books. Let us now examine the fossil record to determine what the fossils suggest about the character of early earth history.
47. Morris, Henry M. and Gary E. Parker, ref. 19, pp. 189-218; Henry M. Morris, Editor, Scientific Creationism (Creation-Life Pub., San Diego, 1974), pp. 101-110; Nevins, Stuart E.(Steven Austin), in Symposium on Creation III (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1971), pp. 33-65; Rupke, N.A., in Why Not Creation?, Walter E. Lammerts, Editor (Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. Co., Nutley, N.J., 1970), pp. 141-179.
48. Wheeler, Harry E., Bull. of the Amer. Assoc. of Petroleum Geologists, Vol. 47, Aug. 1963, p. 1507.
49. Stokes, W.L., Bull. of the Geological Soc. of America, Vol. 61, 1950, p. 91.
50. Nevins, Stuart E., ref. 47, pp. 59-60.
51. Jopling, Alan V., Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, Vol. 36, 1966, p. 883.
52. ________, ibid.
53. McKee, Edwin D., Primary Sedimentary Structures and their Hydrodynamic Interpretation, Gerald V. Middleton, Editor (Soc. of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Tulsa, OK, 1965), p. 83.
54. Kuenen, Ph.M. and C.I. Migliorini, Journal of Geology, Vol. 58, 1950, pp. 91-127.
55. Morris, Henry M., Editor, Scientific Creationism, ref. 47.
56. Dunbar, C.O. and John Rodgers, Principles of Stratigraphy (John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1957), p. 237.
57. Ibid., p. 245.
58. Pettijohn, F.G., Sedimentary Rocks, 2nd Edition (Harper and Row, New York, 1957), p. 313.
59. Ibid., p. 489.
60. Baker, C.L., Journal of Geology, Vol. 31, 1923, pp. 66-79; Wadia, D.N., Geology of India, 3rd Edition (Macmillan, London, 1953), p. 291-292.
61. Shepard, Francis P., Submarine Geology (Harper's, New York, 1948), pp. 231-233; Thornbury, William D., Principles of Geomorphology (John Wiley Sons, New York, 1954), p. 472; Kolbe, R.W., Science, Vol. 126, 22 Nov. 1957, p. 1053.
62. Velikovsky, Immanuel, Earth In Upheaval (Dell, New York, 1955), pp. 81-87, 151.
63. Rupke, N.A., ref. 47. This is a reprint of Creation Research Soc. Quarterly, Vol. 3, May 1966, pp. 16-37.
64. Nevins, Stuart E., ref. 47, pp. 44-46.
65. Coffin, Harold G., Creation--Accident Or Design? (Review and Harold Pub. Assoc., Washington, D.C., 1969), pp. 75-92.
66. Stutzer, Otto, Geology of Coal, translated by A.C. Noe (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1940), pp. 105-106; Moore, E.S. Coal, 2nd Edition (John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1940), p. 143; Anderson, Larry L., Science Digest, Vol. 74, July 1973), p. 77.
67. Schuchert, Charles, Textbook of Geology (John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1924), p. 250; Stokes, W.L., Essentials of Earth History (Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1960), p. 243.
68. Scheven, Joachim, in Repossess the Land--Essays and Technical Papers (Bible-Science Assoc., Minneapolis, 1979), pp. 187-189.
69. Morton, Glenn R., Creation Research Soc. Quarterly, Vol. 20, March 1984, pp. 212-218.
70. Heide, Fritz, Meteorites, Edward Anders and Eugene DuFresne, translators (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1963), p. 119ff; Nininger, H.H., in The Moon, Meteorites, and Comets, Barbara M. Middlehurst and Gerard P. Kuiper, Editors (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1963), p. 164; Stevenson, Peter A., Creation Research Soc. Quarterly, Vol. 12, June 1975, pp. 23-25.
71. Read, John G., The Mountains of Ararat, filmstrip-cassette album (Creation-Science Research Center, San Diego, CA 92193, 1973).
72. Ibid.; Burdick, Clifford L., Creation Research Soc. Quarterly, Vol. 4, June 1967, pp. 5-12.
73. Segraves, Kelly L., Search for Noah's Ark, filmstrip-cassette album (Creation-Science Research Center, San Diego, CA 92193, 1974); Cummings, Violet M., Noah's Ark: Fable or Fact? (Family Library, Pyramid Pub., New York, 1975).