Presentation on theme: "Were Most of Earth’s Fossil-Bearing Sedimentary Rock Layers Deposited by Noah’s Flood? Thousands of people attend seminars put on by the young-earth creation."— Presentation transcript:
1Were Most of Earth’s Fossil-Bearing Sedimentary Rock Layers Deposited by Noah’s Flood? Thousands of people attend seminars put on by the young-earth creation ministries each week and hear convincing-sounding arguments for a recent creation (6 to 10 thousand years ago) and against what they broadly refer to as “evolution.” One of the main points they make at these seminars is that most of Earth’s fossil-bearing sedimentary rock layers were deposited by the global Flood of Noah’s time, and that it’s just a matter of interpreting the same facts that geologists use when they say the Earth is old and coming to a different conclusion. In this presentation, we will look at some facts about a famous sandstone layer seen in Arizona’s Grand Canyon and see if this is the case.Update history:Initial version – mid March, 2011Late March, 2011 – updated to include responses to an earlier version from five YECs on the Creation Conversations website.April 4, 2011 (morning) – updated to include a completely new introduction section which includes YEC vs. conventional geologist arguments for three Grand Canyon formationsApril 4, 2011 (evening) – updated to remove redundancies in notes sections, misc. other tweaks.April 5, 2011 – added “same data different conclusions” slide near endApril 9, 2011 – a few format fixes.April 17, 2011 – revised the responses to the five comments received from young-earth believers on an early version of this presentation, to use more diplomatic wording.April 27, 2011 – deleted slide with Francis Collins quote at end, added slide with links to “Are the Young Earth Creation Ministries Shooting Straight With Us?” presentation on Slideshare.June 17, 2011 – revised two slides showing scientist and theologian struggling over rock layers and next slide with Coconino Sandstone, added ten links to bottom of slide showing the books and videos using Austin’s procedure, and added and revised slides near the end after the five slides with comments by YEC reviewers to better review the implications of the presentation.Late June, 2011 – added a slide showing where the deep water sand wave data was obtained by Rubin and McCulloch (San Francisco Bay).July 23, 2011 – made a few minor editorial changes.August 9, 2011 – made a few minor editorial changes, added some comments on the first of five slides showing reaction to this presentation from committed young-earth creationists, revised last slide to better explain the links to where the paper “Sediment Transport and the Coconino Sandstone: A Reality Check on Flood Geology” can be obtained and added a graphic showing the PSCF cover of the edition containing the article.August 15, 2011 – added slide explaining the meaning of the units used to quantify sediment transport and added a slide explaining how the same analysis could be performed on any sedimentary formation on earth if its volume, thickness, and areal extent is known.August 17, 2011 – updated the “for more information” slides at end of presentation.September 09, corrects error on first “Flood Geology Refuted Using Simple Math” slide to make length of the sand slab 630 miles instead of 910 miles. The math is correct in the PSCF article – an error was introduced when converting from metric to English units for this presentation.Tim Helble September 9, 20111
2This presentation is by no means intended to destroy anyone’s faith This presentation is by no means intended to destroy anyone’s faith. It may, however, cause some to re-evaluate how certain portions of the Bible should be interpreted, particularly the early chapters of Genesis.Remember – no matter what you see in this presentation:God is still creator of everythingJesus is still God in the fleshHe lived among us and died for our sins on the crossHe was raised from the dead, and was seen by many witnessesHe ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of GodMy goal isn’t to turn Christians into agnostics or atheists. I just think believers need to turn away from the fantasy science (or pseudoscience) being pushed on us by the young-earth ministries and find a better way to deal with the issues of science and faith.____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Background: Three crosses on a sunset. This free sample graphic from collection at: WorshipPhotos.comIf your entire Christian faith rests on a literal six-day interpretation of Genesis 1-2 and the principles of what is popularly known as young-earth creationism, please consider not proceeding with this presentation.
3Were most of Earth’s fossil-bearing sedimentary rock layers deposited by Noah’s Flood? As is often the case, Grand Canyon will be the focus.Were most of Earth’s fossil-bearing sedimentary rock layers deposited by Noah’s Flood? As is often the case (in young-earth circles), Grand Canyon will be the focus.The doctrine proposing that the sedimentary rock layers containing the large majority of the earth’s fossil record were deposited in one year by Noah’s Flood is often referred to as Flood geology. You will see the term “Flood geology” used often in this presentation. young-earth geologist Dr. Andrew Snelling stated how critical Flood geology is to young-earth creationism a May 29, 2009 article on the “Feedback” section of the Answers in Genesis (AiG) website (http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2009/05/29/feedback-having-it-both-ways):"What many scientists continue to suppress (Romans 1:18) is God’s clear description in His communication to man, the Bible, that what happened in the past (that is, the global catastrophic Flood of which He was an eyewitness) is the key to understanding why and how the earth is as it is today."When the spherical shape of the Earth became common knowledge during the last 500 years, people looked at passages in the Book of Genesis referring to the Earth (Hebrew: eretz) and projected their understanding of a spherical Earth onto the pages of the Bible. Passages referring to Creation, Noah’s Flood, and the confusion of language at Babel were assumed to be addressing the entire globe. As early scientists began looking at fossils they found in rock layers, the accepted paradigm at first was that they were somehow products of a catastrophic Flood, or later, a series of catastrophic floods. About 200 years ago, with the work of Hutton, Lyell, and other geologists, the paradigm of a global catastrophic Flood being responsible for most of the earth’s fossil-bearing sedimentary rock layers changed. It wasn’t jettisoned because the geologists were all atheists trying to discredit the Bible – it’s just that the more people looked, the more they realized that the evidence for a single catastrophic Flood isn’t there in the stratigraphic record. However, geologists found there was abundant evidence that local geologic formations were deposited by innumerable local floods and various gradual processes.When you look back at the roots of modern Flood geology in the 20th century, you will see that it is actually an attempt to deny sufficient time for evolution to occur. Evolution is defined as descent with modification from a common ancestor, and this occurs over long periods of time when looking at the entire range of living things. Figure out a way to take away the long periods of time, especially the time required to deposit all the fossil-bearing layers, and you’ve undermined evolution – at least in the minds of its detractors. This is summarized perfectly by Ken Ham, the head of the YEC organization Answers in Genesis:“Those Christians who believe in evolution and/or millions of years just cannot allow ‘it.’ To do so would destroy the fundamental nature of what they believe.To allow ‘it’ would mean that their belief in the supposed millions of years in the fossil record never existed—this ‘it’ would eliminate millions of years of supposed history.The ‘it’ would show that God does not break His promises.The ‘it’ refers to the global Flood of Noah’s day. Let me explain…Think about it: if you accept a real global Flood, then you destroy (rightly) evolution’s millions of years of history, as supposedly recorded in the fossils found in the layers of rock. You see, the eroding of these layers by the Flood—and then the ‘re-depositing’ of the sediments and the destroying of many of the fossils—would eliminate much of this ‘evidence’ of these alleged millions of years. It’s an important point.”(They can’t allow “it”!,Images obtained from an Answers in Genesis slideA related question: is it just a matter of looking at the same data through two different world views and coming to two different conclusions?
4Keep in mind that about 75% of Earth’s land surface and almost all of the ocean bottom are covered by sedimentary rock, so whatever occurred in the Grand Canyon area also had to occur all over the planet...Keep in mind that about 75% of Earth’s land surface and almost all of the ocean bottom are covered by sedimentary rock.When talking with young-earth advocates about Noah’s Flood and its effects on Earth, it is often tempting to focus on one location and forget that the same sort of impacts must also be seen all over the globe. Moreover, those impacts would have had to take place simultaneously everywhere on the Earth. In the following discussion, we will focus on the young-earth advocate’s favorite area – the Grand Canyon. However, just when they think “Ha, I got you,” remember that they must be able to explain how that same mechanism they are proposing was depositing sedimentary layers in adjacent areas and indeed all over the globe (over at least 75% of the area) at the same time, not just at Grand Canyon or wherever they happen to be focusing on at the same time.At the same time!
5young-earth advocates will say most of these layers were deposited by the global Flood To illustrate where the Grand Canyon rock layers fall in the young-earth/flood geology interpretation, here’s a photo of Grand Canyon where you can see everything from the Colorado River up to the South Rim. The Hermit’s Rest viewpoint is at the rim, to the left of the yellow line.Young-earth advocates will say most of these layers were deposited by the global Flood5
6Late Flood Layers Early Flood Layers (1st 150 Days) Pre-Flood/ The “Great Unconformity”Pre-Flood/Creation Week RockYoung-earth advocates Drs. Steve Austin and Andrew Snelling divide up Grand Canyon’s layers according to this schemeStarting at the “Great Unconformity” near the top of the inner gorge, everything from the first distinct layer (Tapeats Sandstone) on up to the rim contains fossils. Therefore, Dr. Austin and most other Flood geologists classify everything from the Tapeats on up to the rim (Kaibab Formation) as “Early Flood” layers. No reason is given for establishing the Kaibab Formation as the last “early flood” layer other than that it seems to indicate a turning point in the Flood.Note how the “late Flood” portion in this photograph is just blue sky. You don’t see any rock layers there, but it turns out there are many more located stratigraphically above the Kaibab Formation which are found just to the north (and in a few cases south) of Grand Canyon. In other words, if you went north to a place like Zion National Park or Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and drilled a hole downward, you would eventually run into the Kaibab Formation and other Grand Canyon layers (not all layers, because some don’t reach that far north). To give you an idea of how thick the layers used to be above the Grand Canyon strata, consider geologist Michael Morales’ overview of the importance of rock layers located stratigraphically above the Kaibab Formation in a chapter of Grand Canyon Geology:“If you stand on either the north or south rim of the Grand Canyon, the soles of your shoes will rest on the cracked and weathered limestone of the Kaibab Formation. This topmost rock unit of the canyon was deposited near the end of the Paleozoic Era. As you peer into the deep chasm below, you will see a mile (1.6-km)-thick section of strata that accumulated during the Proterozoic Eon and Paleozoic Era. Now turn your gaze skyward and imagine a section of rocks extending above your feet for approximately another mile, about the same distance above the rim as the bottom of the canyon is below the rim. This exercise will give you an idea of the great thickness of marine and terrestrial rock layers that were deposited on the top of the Kaibab Formation in several intervals during the Mesozoic Era (Hintze 1988). These sediments once covered the entire southwestern portion of the Colorado Plateau Physiographic Province, an area that includes the Grand Canyon (Billingsley 1989).”Wow! Morales’ statement is probably not going to make any sense to some people, because it’s hard to imagine the Grand Canyon not existing at all let alone another mile of rock layers above where the canyon is now. However, the fact that higher layers once existed here is surprisingly conceded by at least some YECs. For example, on page 84 of Grand Canyon Monument to Catastrophe, Steve Austin states:The top of Red Butte is capped by a lava flow which has protected the underlying shale and conglomerate from erosion. We might ask how a lave flow could cover a butte, since lava does not usually flow over hills but around them. The answer is found by postulating that the lava flowed over a vast plain that existed 1,000 feet above the present south rim of the Canyon, and the Moenkopi and Chinle formations covered the entire surface of the present Coconino Plateau and Kaibab Plateau above the Kaibab Limestone!...This plateau appears to have been buried even deeper than the 1,000 feet indicated by Red Butte. There is evidence above the Moenkopi and Chinle formations, which have now been eroded off the south rim, that the Glen Canyon Group (Navajo Sandstone, Kayenta Formation, Moenave Formatioin, and Windgate Sandstone) – another 2,000 feet of strata – were present, as well. Our minds are staggered in the attempt to imagine not just 1,000 cubic miles of canyon erosion, but many times that volume, indicated by thousands of feet of erosion off the plateaus which surround the Canyon.”It is stated much more succinctly in a “Fast Facts” box on page 104 of Your Guide to the Grand Canyon A Different Perspective by Tom Vail, Mike Oard, Dennis Bokovoy, and John Hergenrather. Here, it states:“Over a mile of sedimentary rock has been eroded from the top of the Grand Canyon area.”To old earth people, this amount of rock ought to really give you an idea of what is meant by “deep time.” To young-earth people, you have to figure out how to remove an incredible volume of sediment or rock covering the entire Coconino and Kaibab Plateaus when the global flood that just deposited the layers is already over.___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Photo: Looking up (east) Grand Canyon from Marsh Butte, morning of July 2, 1983, by Tim Helble. I shot this photo from where I camped overnight on a three-day hike to Crystal Rapid – not a bad view to wake up to! On July 2nd, the Colorado River at this location was just a day or two away from maximum flow during the 1983 flood, so the it appears wider than it usually is.Young-earth advocates Drs. Steve Austin and Andrew Snelling divide up Grand Canyon’s layers according to this schemeNPS6
7as the evolutionists, we just come to different conclusions.” Young-earth advocates have offered alternate explanations for how several of these Grand Canyon formations were deposited, which makes for interesting discussion… and often, you might hear them say something like:“We use the same dataas the evolutionists, we just come to different conclusions.”Young-earth advocates have offered alternate explanations for how several of these Grand Canyon formations were deposited, which makes for interesting discussion… and often, you might hear them say something like:“We use the same data as the evolutionists, we just come to different conclusions.”Ron Blakey
8Same data, different conclusions, right? Looking at the Bright Angel Shale, a mainstream geologist could point out that crawling and burrowing traces have been found which indicate a relatively stable environ-ment and plenty of time for each new layer of fine sediment added to the formation to be colonized and reworked by trilobites and other primitive animals without being immediately crushed under the weight of higher layers.However, a Flood geologist could respond and say that burrows are 'escape traces' left by organisms escaping rapid sedimentation, and thus do not require long time periods to form.Same data, different conclusions, right?Callen Bentley – N. VA Community CollegeNational Park ServiceRon Blakey
9Same data, different conclusions, right? Looking at the lowest member of the Redwall Limestone, a main-stream geologist could point out that nautiloid fossils have been found next to upright Crinoid stems; which, along with the rock’s composition, indicates they died in a shallow water nearshore (ocean) environment.However, a Flood geologist could respond and say that millions of nautiloid fossils may exist in this formation, indicating a mass kill which occurred when they were suddenly buried by tons of lime mud transported by a submarine liquefied sediment gravity current.Same data, different conclusions, right?Upright crinoid stemCarol HillRobert Leighty (2004)Ron Blakey
10Same data, different conclusions, right? Looking at the Coconino Sandstone, a mainstream geologist could point out that footprints of Komodo-Dragon size reptile, smaller animals, and even spiders have been found in its beds, showing that the sand upon which they were walking was exposed to the atmosphere.However, a Flood geologist could respond and say that Dr. Leonard Brand found that amphibians in a water tank made footprints on the sandy bottom that were similar in form to those seen in the Coconino Sandstone, therefore the footprints could have been made by animals trying to escape the onslaught of Flood waters.Same data, different conclusions, right?Carol HillLeonard R. Brand, Origins 5(2):64-82 (1978).Ron Blakey
11So, at least from the perspective of an average person from a non-scientific background, it would appear that the old- earth and young-earth sides could argue until they’re blue in the face about whether Grand Canyon’s layers were deposited in less than a year by Noah’s Flood or over eons of time – some 280 million years.Based on graphics from Answers in Genesis and Steve AustinRon Blakey
12But suppose there were data for Grand Canyon’s layers which both sides agree on… and suppose simple math can be used on that data to show there was no way the layers could have been deposited during a year long global Flood? It turns out this can be done for a hotly disputed formation – the Coconino Sandstone…Let’s just look at one layer – the Coconino Sandstone – and see if it could have been laid down during the FloodLet’s see if it could have been laid down during the Flood…Ron BlakeyRon Blakey
13Geologists say the Coconino’s complex cross-bed structure indicates it was formed through eolian (wind-driven) processes. Desert dunes can’t be formed during a global Flood, so young-earth advocates try to prove it was deposited by water.The arrows were added to highlight the direction of cross beds. Note the complex pattern in just this small section of Coconino Sandstone!Geologists say the Coconino’s complex cross-bed structure indicates it was formed through eolian (wind-driven) processesDesert dunes can’t be formed during a global Flood, so young-earth advocates try to prove it was deposited by waterU.S. Geological Survey
14Let’s look at a graphical procedure developed by young-earth advocate Dr. Steven A. Austin to show how the Coconino could have been deposited by flowing water during the Flood. Austin’s procedure is widely used by other young-earth advocates such as Andrew Snelling, seen here showing it at an Answers in Genesis conference.This slide will automatically transition to the next one.Let’s look at a graphical procedure developed by young-earth advocate Dr. Steven A. Austin to show how the Coconino could have been deposited by flowing water during the Flood. Austin’s procedure is widely used by other young-earth advocates such as Andrew Snelling, seen here showing it at an Answers in Genesis conference.Dr. Steven Austin developed a graphical procedure for his book 1994 Grand Canyon Monument to Catastrophe in an effort to show how cross-bedded sandstones could have been formed as underwater sand waves. Here we see Andrew Snelling of Answers in Genesis showing the graphical procedure at the “Answers for Darwin” conference at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, VA on February 14, This was part of a series of slides where Dr. Snelling was trying to show how several different sedimentary formations in the Grand Canyon area and other locations around the world were all deposited during a global Flood.Note that the caption for Snelling’s slide states “The height of the sand-waves is due to the water depth and current speed.” A moment later, the following appeared immediately below: “These sand-waves were up to 60 feet (18 m) high and were moved by water flowing at 3-5 miles per hour (5-8 km per hour).”
15Austin’s Flood Velocity Estimation Procedure Found in Grand Canyon – Monument to Catastrophe, Page 34Austin derived this graph from an equation in “Physical Processes of Sedimen-tation” by J.R.L. Allen (1970)…And combined it with this graph, re-drawn from a paper by D.M. Rubin and D.S. McCullochAustin’s Flood Velocity Estimation Procedure – Found in Grand Canyon – Monument to Catastrophe, Page 34In Dr. Steven Austin’s Grand Canyon Monument to Catastrophe, we find the centerpiece of his case for underwater deposition of Grand Canyon sandstones – a procedure for estimating the water velocity required to deposit sand during the worldwide flood. Austin knew that not just any water velocity would do – it had to be fast enough to transport sand while not being too fast so as to preclude formation of the kind of high angle cross bedding we observe in the Grand Canyon sandstones. (It turns out there is no such thing as high angle underwater sand waves, but Austin throws a few angle numbers at his readers and hopes they’ll buy it.) He probably also was aware of Stoke’s Law – if the water’s velocity was too fast, any sediment it might be carrying wouldn’t be able to settle out.Dr Austin actually presents his estimation procedure in the context of sandstones in the Supai Group and Kaibab Formation, citing them as “the ones with strongest evidence for marine sand-wave deposition.” However, the description of his estimation procedure on page 34 is intertwined with arguments for underwater deposition of the Coconino Sandstone and he ends up applying his estimates to the Coconino anyway. Also, YEC speakers and writers continue to cite the results of Dr. Austin’s estimation procedure in the context of the Coconino Sandstone. Therefore, I am presenting my summary of Dr. Austin’s estimation procedure under the Coconino Sandstone heading.Dr. Austin estimates the current velocity which deposited the sand making up the Grand Canyon sandstones using Figure 3.12 in Grand Canyon Monument to Catastrophe. The caption of Figure 3.12 is as follows:“Graphs of water depth versus sand-wave height, and water depth versus water velocity, showing bedforms in fine sand expected under different water conditions. The thickness of cross beds observed in fine-grained sandstone is used to estimate sand-wave height. Then, sand-wave height is entered into the graph on the left to estimate the water depth where the sand wave formed. After a water depth is estimated on the left graph, that depth is transferred to the right graph, where the minimum-and-maximum velocities of water are indicated for the specific water depth.”It turns out Austin derived this figure from two completely different sources. On the left hand side, we find a simple plot derived from equation 2.20 on page 78 in the book Physical Processes of Sedimentation by John R. L. Allen (1970). The equation in Allen’s book is:H = 0.086d 1.19Where: H = the underwater dune height in metersd = water depth in meters, 0.1 ≤ d ≤ 100 metersDr. Austin states that Allen derived this equation empirically through laboratory observations of sand waves in large flumes and that it describes the relationship between sand wave height and water depth. Notice that Austin used a simple equation obtained through experiments in a laboratory flume and extrapolates the results to a worldwide Flood! Also notice that Allen’s empirical equation expressed sand wave height as a function of water depth [H = f(d)] while Austin’s graph shows water depth expressed as a function of sand wave height [d = f(H)]. This means the equation Dr. Austin actually plotted in the left side of Figure 3.12 was:D = 7.86H 0.084Right off the bat, we can see Dr. Austin is making some rather creative use of information in a scientific source. As an interesting side note - Since Dr. Austin uses J.R.L. Allen’s book as a source, most YECs would probably assume that Allen agrees with Austin’s argument for underwater deposition of the Coconino Sandstone. However, in the very same book Physical Processes of Sedimentation, we see Allen contradicting Dr. Austin when he states the following on page 115:“In the Colorado Plateau region of the USA hot desert conditions prevailed throughout Late Palaeozoic and Mesozoic times, so that there now exists in this area a whole series of aeolian sandstone formations closely associated vertically and horizontally with fluviatile and shallow-marine strata. The Colorado Plateau must during these times have closely resembled a modern desert basin of interior drainage, for it was bounded to west, south and east by hills and mountains, and was open to riverine lowlands and the sea only to the north. The most closely studied of the dune sandstones are the Coconino and the Navajo, neither of which is thicker than about 370 metres. Their cross-bedded units are seldom thinner than 1.5 metres and practically never thicker than 12 metres, though exceptional units 30 metres thick are recorded. The sands are well sorted and here and there yield ventifacts. vertebrate tracks, rain prints and undoubted wind ripples are recorded from the Coconino.”For the right hand side of Figure 3.12, Dr. Austin used a redrawn version of a graph taken from a 1980 paper by D. M. Rubin and D.S. McCulloch entitled Single and Superimposed Bedforms: A Synthesis of San Francisco Bay and Flume Observations, which was published in the journal Sedimentary Geology. This graph was the left half of Figure 8 on page 218 in Rubin and McCulloch’s paper. I overlaid a digital copy of Rubin and McColloch’s graph on top of Dr. Austin’s version to see if Dr. Austin accurately reproduced the figure in Grand Canyon – Monument to Catastrophe and found that was a good copy, but I noticed that he extended Rubin and McColloch’s horizontal scale from a little over 160 cm/sec to 200 cm/sec. One thing that Austin didn’t tell his readers was that this figure he took from Rubin and McColloch’s paper was for a very narrow range of sand grain sizes – 0.19 to 0.22 millimeters. The sand grain sized distribution of Grand Canyon sandstones is actually much wider than this. If one checks through Rubin and McCulloch’s paper, two other graphs representing different sediment particle size ranges (i.e., mm sand and mm sand) will be found, and that lines separating the various dune forms (ripples, dunes & sand waves, etc.) on these other graphs define quite different ranges of water velocity.As we will see, Dr. Austin uses Rubin and McCulloch’s Figure 8 graph to derive quite specific numbers for the depth and velocity of Flood waters which he says deposited the sediments comprising the Grand Canyon sandstones. The widespread quoting by YEC writers of the water velocity estimates derived through this procedure as if they were precise calculations applying to all sediment deposited by the Flood in itself shows the shallowness of YEC science.I noticed YECs sometimes attribute both halves of Austin’s Figure 3.12 to Rubin and McCulloch, when in fact it was derived from two different sources. For example, Guy Berthault, in his article on the AiG website (http://www.answersingenesis.org/tj/v11/i1/sedimentation_reply.asp), states the following:“Rubin and McCulloch’s diagram (see Figure 1) clearly shows that at different depths, and according to their speed, lateral currents produce deposits with various stratified configurations.”It makes me wonder if Berthault ever really read “Grand Canyon – Monument to Catastrophe” himself, or perhaps just skimmed it.Here’s another interesting side note on Dr. Austin’s use of John R.L. Allen’s Physical Processes of Sedimentation. Allen has since replaced it with an updated book entitled Principles of Physical Sedimentology (1985). This new version was published well before Grand Canyon Monument to Catastrophe, but Austin used the older book because the newer one didn’t include the equation he wanted to use.To the average young-earth believer, Grand Canyon Monument to Catastrophe will be very convincing, but to a secular geologist, it appears rather juvenile. For example, geologist Wilfred A Elders summarized his main objection to the book as follows:“The crux of the book is a lengthy and detailed, but ultimately failed, attempt to rebut published accounts of the geology, paleontology, and dating of the strata of Grand Canyon and to present re-interpretations consistent with the Genesis story. Such reinterpretations are buttressed by some original creationist research. However, a case of contamination of pollen samples, 12 oriented nautiloids, the tale of 94 squirrel skins, some experiments with tracks made by newts in an aquarium, and willful misinterpretation of radiometric dates based on five Rb/Sr (Rubidium/Strontium) isotopic ratios scarcely constitute a deluge of new compelling evidence for the flood of Noah.” (seeSee also Andrew Snelling, Earth’s Catastrophic Past, Volume 2, page 1081.15
16Austin’s Flood Velocity Estimation Procedure Where did Rubin and McCulloch get their data for deeper water?Situation shown: outgoing tide from San Francisco BayCurrent too fast here (5-6 mph) – no sand waves can formAustin’s Flood Velocity Estimation Procedure – Where did Rubin and McCulloch get their data for deeper water?It turns out they used a world famous location – the seaward side of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco California.Current slower here (2-4 mph) – sand waves up to 33 ft formSee: Giant Underwater Sand Waves Seaward of the Golden Gate Bridge16
17Austin’s Flood Velocity Estimation Procedure How does it work?Note the two points where line crosses edges of “dunes and sand waves” areaWant “dunes and sand waves” area because it has cross bedsThen draw a line to the right through “dunes and sand waves” areaAustin states this indicates the sand waves formed at a depth of 54 meters (177 feet)XX54NPSFrom 10 meters, draw a line up until it reaches the curveThen go down from those two points to the bottomAustin says this gives the range of water velocity needed to form 10 meter sand waves at a depth of 54 metersAustin’s Flood Velocity Estimation Procedure – How does it work?To set the stage for his Flood water velocity estimation, Dr. Austin enters into a discussion on the “very thick cross bed sets in the fine-grained sandstone strata of the Grand Canyon.” He mentions the existence of cross beds in sandstones found in the Kaibab Limestone and Supai Group, and suggests the sand wave height indicated by these formations was “ten meters (33 feet).” He further states that sand waves “ could easily be 18 meters (60 feet) high” if the Coconino Sandstone was deposited underwater. Austin decides to use a sand wave height of 10 meters in the demonstration of his estimation procedure, because he states that the Supai and Kaibab sandstones are “the ones with strongest evidence for marine sand-wave deposition.” (Actually, the Supai Group and Kaibab Formation are more than just sandstones, but we’ll get to that later.)To start his estimation procedure, Dr. Austin states we can draw a line upward from the 10 meter point on the sand wave height axis of the left hand graph until it meets the curve.At the point where the vertical line intersects the curve on the left hand graph, Dr. Austin states that “the logarithmic scale on the vertical axis indicates that the sand wave formed in water at a depth of 54 meters (180 feet).” The horizontal dashed line you see here was drawn from the intersection point on the curve leftward to the water depth axis. It would be unrealistic to expect anyone to achieve two significant figures in estimating water depth from this graph. I miniaturized a logarithmic scale and aligned it with the existing left hatch marks, and found the intersection point on the curve actually corresponded to 57 meters. I don’t know why Dr. Austin didn’t just use his reversed version of J.R.L. Allen’s equation to make the calculation instead of plotting the equation and then obtaining the answer visually from the graph. Perhaps he felt graphs look more “scientific.”Next, Dr. Austin then draws a line right to the far edge of the “Dunes & Sand Waves” section on the right-hand graph. Dr. Austin focuses on the “Dunes & Sand Waves section” of the right hand graph because he is trying to estimate water velocities that would be consistent with the pattern of cross beds in Grand Canyon sandstones. Recall from a few slides earlier how he was trying to explain how the cross bedding seen in these sandstones would be the product of dunes and sand waves formed by underwater currents. Therefore, Dr. Austin notes the two locations where the horizontal line for a 54 meter water depth intersects the “Dunes & Sand Waves” section in the right-hand graph.This might be as good of a time as any to discuss a key aspect of this underwater sand wave topic. As Greg Neyman points out on his Answers in Creation website (http://www.answersincreation.org), Dr. Austin uses some creative “slight of hand” with his numbers for the range of angles found in underwater sand waves:“Finally, Austin argues that the angle of the slope of the cross beds indicates an origin other than eolian. He claims the average angle for Coconino cross beds is about 25°, which is less than the average angle of slope observed in sand dunes today. He states that sand dunes today exhibit angles as much as 30°, and even up to 34° (notice he doesn't actually give the average angle observed today). By contrast, oceanic sand waves are less. However, as one of my readers has noticed (thanks David), a casual reading of geologic literature shows records of wind-deposited cross beds which are as low as 10°. They have been found to range from 10° to 34°, but typically, they average between 25° and 28°.Austin fails to tell the reader all the information (a typical young-earth tactic). By contrast, water deposited sand is rarely steeper than 10°. When he claims that water-deposited cross beds are less, he fails to tell the reader by how much. Since the Coconino's cross-bedding is 25°, they are obviously wind-deposited. They fall within the average for eolian cross beds (25°-28°), but are far from the angle expected for water-deposited cross-beds (less than 10°). Had Austin included the actual cross-bed angles for water-deposition, it would have ruined his argument. Thus, we see the trickery that he has to resort to in order to deceive his readers.”(seeAt any rate, the two locations where the horizontal line for a 54 meter water depth intersects the “Dunes & Sand Waves” section in the right-hand graph is marked with two red “X’s.” These two red “X’s” then mark the maximum and minimum water velocities at which Dr. Austin says underwater dunes and sand waves could form at a water depth of 54 meters. If the water velocity is too slow (i.e., less than that at the left-hand “X”), the graph indicates only underwater ripples would form. The cross beds seen in Grand Canyon sedimentary rock layers don’t indicate underwater ripples – the cross beds are too long and steep. On the other hand, if the water was flowing too fast (i.e., greater than that at the right-hand “X”), the graph shows you would get flat beds. In other words, if the water were flowing too fast, it would just “flatten” out any sand waves and just leave layers that appear pretty much horizontal. This also wouldn’t match the cross beds we see in the Grand Canyon sandstones Dr. Austin is trying to address. As we will see, this puts the YECs in a real pickle – they need super fast water currents to transport phenomenal amounts of sand, but cross beds we see in Grand Canyon sandstones don’t allow for that.From the two points where the horizontal line intersects the boundaries of the “dunes and sand waves” section, Dr. Austin then draws two lines straight down to the horizontal axis to find the water velocities corresponding to the two red “X’s.” Dr. Austin states his results – the minimum velocity would be 90 centimeters per second and the maximum water velocity would be 155 centimeters per second (2.0 to 3.5 miles/hour).First, he assumes a 10 meter (33 ft) height for sand waves↔90 to 155 cm/sec (2 - 4 mph)17
18Another graph in the same paper used by Austin! And this one has sediment transport rates…What’s a sediment transport rate?1 kg per second per meter means1 kilogram of sediment (sand)crossing a 1-meter-long lineevery secondAnother graph in the same paper! With sediment transport rates...As is often the case when scientific literature is cited by YECs, there will be other information in the same reference which contradicts the young-earth position. This is certainly the case for Dr. Austin’s flood velocity estimation procedure. In Rubin and McCulloch’s paper, we find another graph on page 226 – the left side of Figure 12 – which looks similar to the one used by Dr. Austin (Figure 8, page 218) in Grand Canyon – Monument to Catastrophe. However, close examination of Figure 12 reveals it is for a wider (and more representative) range of sand grain sizes. As stated earlier, the left half of Figure 8 in Rubin and McCulloch’s paper was for a sand grain size distribution from 0.19 to 0.22 millimeters, while the graph on the left half of their Figure 12 was for a sand grain size distribution from 0.13 to 0.25 millimeters. The 0.19 to 0.22 millimeter range used in Figure 8 is a very narrow – the sand grains would be essentially uniform – and it is clearly unrealistic to expect only such fine sand grains to be suspended during a flood, especially one of worldwide dimensions envisioned by the YECs. A range of 0.13 to 0.25 millimeters as used in Figure 12 is also somewhat narrow, but at least it is wider and more realistic size range than those in the Figure 8 graph used by Dr. Austin.This is where trouble really starts for the young-earth position. The dashed lines and numbers in red circles on the new graph indicate sediment transport rates in kilograms per second per meter. What is a “kilogram per second per meter?” In short, 1 kilogram per second per meter means 1 kilogram of sand crossing a 1 meter long line every second. In other words, if you laid a meter stick (a little longer than a yard) on the ground and had a pile of sand on one side of the stick, every second you would be filling a small can with one kilogram of sand (about 1.1 pint or 32 cubic inches) and dumping it out on the other side. (This assumes the density of sand is 1900 kilograms per cubic meter.) If you had a sediment transport rate of 3 kilograms per second per meter, you would be scooping up 3 1/3 pints of sand and dumping it on the other side of the meter stick every second. That’s starting to be a lot of sand being dumped every second – pretty close to a half a gallon.1 meterIf each man is shoveling 1 kilogram across his meter stick every second, the sediment transport rate is 1 kilogram / second / meter18
19With this new graph, here’s what Austin’s double graph procedure should have looked like… 19
20What kind of sediment transport rates would we see if the current speed was between 90 to 155 cm/sec and the depth was 54 meters?i.e., somewhere in this area of the graph30We could draw a curve through that area and estimate it represents a rate of 6 or perhaps 9 kg/second/meter…But let’s give the young-earth position every possible break and estimate it would be 30 kg/sec/meterWhat kind of sediment transport rates would we see if the current speed was between 90 to 155 cm/sec and the depth was 54 meters?At the top of page 35 in Grand Canyon – Monument to Catastrophe, Dr Austin launches into a discussion of various locations (e.g, the Norwegian, Mediterranean, and Red Seas) where fairly high underwater currents have been observed. Possibly being aware the Flood water velocities his procedure is about to provide couldn’t possible transport enough sand to form any Grand Canyon rock layer let alone the Coconino Sandstone, Dr. Austin then states: “In shallow oceans, tsunami-induced currents have been reported, on occasion, to exceed 500 cm/sec.” (Note: 500 cm/sec is about 11 miles/hour.) He then states:“Such an event would be able to move large quantities of sand, and, in its waning stages, build huge sand waves in deep water. A tsunami provides the best modern analogy for understanding how large-scale Grand Canyon cross beds form. We can imagine how the Flood would cause similar sedimentation in strata of Grand Canyon.”One problem an unbiased reader would immediately see is that fast currents on the order of 500 cm/sec would easily wipe out any already existing cross beds that previously formed in the sand. A consistent, long duration current of 11 miles per hour over wide swaths of land would cause all layering in sandstones to appear horizontal. However, we will suspend reason for the moment (as if we haven’t already!) and proceed to show that sediment transport rates don’t support formation of the Grand Canyon rock layers during a worldwide flood.20
21O. k. , what area would we be moving all this sand into O.k., what area would we be moving all this sand into? And where would it all be coming from?This was from the Answers in Genesis website. Notice the regular pattern of cross beds here. Compare to the complex pattern in the previous close-up of the Coconino SandstoneO.k., what area would we be moving all this sand into?And where would it all be coming from?We still haven’t specified where all the sand would be moving to (i.e., where the Coconino Sandstone is found today), and where all of its sand would be coming from. Pinpointing the current area of the Coconino Sandstone is relatively easy, because we know where the outcrops are (e.g., Grand Canyon, Mogollon Rim) and we have extensive bore hole records from the oil companies that tell how deep and how thick the Coconino is where it is hidden.Current10 meters
22In Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe, page 36, Dr In Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe, page 36, Dr. Austin provides a map like the one below showing the area of the Coconino and correlated sandstones to the eastIn Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe, page 36, Dr. Austin provides a map like the one below showing the area of the Coconino and correlated sandstones to the eastHere is a map from page 36 of Grand Canyon Monument to Catastrophe showing the area covered by the Coconino Sandstone and its correlated sandstones to the east. For those readers who might be wondering how we know the area covered by these sandstones since they are mostly underground except for places where they are exposed like Grand Canyon or the Mogollon Rim to the south, Dr Austin helpfully provides the answer: “Drill data from obtained from the oil industry has helped produce the map.” Oil exploration and other geologic studies have provided vast volumes of data on the surface and underground sedimentary rock layers all across the U.S.The lines and numbers inside the violet area represent the sandstone thickness in feet. Dr. Austin states that the volume of this material is 10,000 cubic miles.Area of Coconino Sandstone and Correlated Sandstones to the East, taken from Grand Canyon – Monument to Catastrophe, Page 3622
23Dr. Austin says we need to look to the north for a source of sand for the Coconino Sandstone, so let’s draw a 1,000 mile long northern border.← 1,000 miles →Dr. Austin says we need to look to the north for a source of sand for the Coconino Sandstone, so let’s draw a 1,000 mile long northern border.Knowing that the Coconino Sandstone rests on top of other rock layers he also considers to be “early flood” deposits, Dr. Austin goes into a considerably lengthy discussion on possible sources for sediment going into the Coconino and other rock layers. On page 36 of Grand Canyon Monument to Catastrophe, he states:“Cross beds within the Coconino Sandstone (and the Glorieta Sandstone of New Mexico and Texas) dip toward the south, indicating that the sand came from the north. Along its northern occurrence, the Coconino rests directly on the Hermit Formation. This formation has a finer texture than the Coconino and would not be an ample erosional source of sand grains for the Coconino.Thus, we cannot look underneath the Coconino for a colossal quantity of sand, we must look northward. However, in southern Utah, where the Coconino thins to zero, the underlying Hermit Formation (and its lateral equivalent, the Organ Rock Shale) continues northward. No obvious, nearby source of Coconino san grains is known. A very distant source area must be postulated.”YEC writer John R. Baumgardner apparently agrees with Dr. Austin. In a paper on the Answers in Genesis website under the heading “John R. Baumgardner, Geophysics” (http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/ISD/baumgardner.asp), Dr. Baumgardner stated the following:“When one looks for a possible source for this sand to the north, none is readily apparent. A very distant source seems to be required.”It appears Dr. Austin calls the shots for YECs on the Grand Canyon and geology in general. I haven’t been able to find any YEC writer who has contradicted him since Grand Canyon Monument to Catastrophe was published in 1994.23
24Look at Dr. Snelling’s slide – he says the volume of the Coconino is 10,000 mi3 and its average thickness is 315 feet.Look at Dr. Snelling’s slide – he says the volume of the Coconino is 10,000 mi3 and its average thickness is 315 feet.Note: Snelling’s second bullet apparently reflects some confusion in units – he was using Austin’s double graph for a sand-wave height of 20 meters. This yields a velocity range of 95 to 165 cm/sec, which is about 3.1 to 5.4 ft/sec or 2.1 to 3.7 mi/hr. At some point, Snelling began stating the range of current speed was 3 to 5 mi/hr when it was really 3 to 5 ft/sec. Very sloppy scholarship – don’t Christians deserve better?
25Not very long! According to Drs. Austin and Snelling… Therefore: How many days would it take to moveall the sand from the north across that line?According to Drs. Austin and Snelling…Coconino is an “early Flood” layer (first 150 days)Volume of the Coconino is 10,000 cubic milesAverage thickness of the Coconino is 315 feetTotal thickness of “early Flood” layers in Grand Canyon is 4,000 feetTherefore:Time to move 10,000 cubic miles of sand to form the Coconino is ≈ 315 ft / 4,000 ft x 150 days ≈ 12 daysNot very long!How many days would it take to move all the sand from the north across that line?According to Dr. Austin…Coconino is an “early Flood” layer (first 150 days)Coconino volume is 10,000 cubic milesAverage thickness of the Coconino is 315 feetTotal thickness of “early Flood” layers in Grand Canyon is 4,000 feetTherefore:Time to move 10,000 cubic miles of sand to form the Coconino is ≈ 315 ft / 4,000 ft x 150 days ≈ 12 daysNot very long!25
26Let’s use bars to represent the sand being transported from the north across the border, and assume 10,000 cubic miles of sand was perfectly positioned in an area to the north at just the right time during the Flood. Remember, lower and higher layers also had to be transported in the same way before and after the Coconino was deposited.The big question: could enough sand be transported in 12 days through Dr. Austin’s advancing sand wave mechanism to form the Coconino Sandstone (with its complex cross beds) in Flood currents moving at speeds anywhere close to 90 to 155 cm/sec?10,000 cubic miles of sand10,000 cubic miles of sand12 Days?NorthSouthLet’s use bars to represent the sand being transported from the north across the border, and assume 10,000 cubic miles of sand was perfectly positioned to the north at just the right time during the Flood. Remember, lower and higher layers also had to be transported in the same way before and after the Coconino was deposited.Each bar represents 10,000 cubic miles of sand.
2712 Days 11 Days 10 Days 3 Days 4 Days 2 Days 1 Day Ready… 7 Days 1,000 mi312 days?(This is 1/10 of the total)30 kg/sec/meter12 days?12 Days11 Days10 Days3 Days4 Days2 Days1 DayReady…7 Days5 Days9 Days8 Days6 DaysHow much sand would cross the 1,000 mile boundary in 12 days? Let’s find out.Time’s up!At 30 kg/sec/meter,we would get:6.3 mi3 (26 km3)Not 10,000 mi3In this slide, we will illustrate the volume of sand that could be built up in the present day area of the Coconino Sandstone if sediment was being moved across the border from the north at 30 kilograms per second per every meter of the 1000 mile red border. The bar on the left represents the huge quantity of sand to the north of the red border, waiting to be transported by the water current. The right side of the graph is for the bar which will illustrate the amount of sand which is transported across the border to the south.This almost amounts to giving away the punch line of my demonstration here, but we really don’t need to show all of the sand to the north of the red line. As you will see, we will only need to show a bar representing 1/10 of the 10,000 mi 3 “sand pile” located to the north.Keep in mind that we would need to see a bar representing 833 cubic miles (1/12 of 10,000 cubic miles) appear on the right after one day to keep pace with the requirement to move 10,000 cubic miles of sand across the 1,000 mile long northern border (represented by the red line) in twelve days. Another way to think of this is that we need to move 833 cubic miles in one day to keep pace with the requirement to form 4,000 feet of Grand Canyon rock layers during the 150 day early Flood period.Something to remember during the demonstration on the next two slides – 30 kg/sec/m is a much higher sediment transport rate than anything specified by Rubin and McCulloch - Dr. Austin’s own source for the right hand graph on page 34 of Grand Canyon Monument to Catastrophe.At 30 kg/sec/meter, we would get: 6.3 mi3 (26 km3), Not 10,000 mi3That’s all! Given a sediment transport rate of 30 kg/sec/meter, 6.3 cubic miles or an average of 0.20 feet, or 2.4 inches, would accumulate during a 12-day period. We needed to transport 10,000 cubic miles and build up an average of 315 feet during this time! Just to drive the point home that the very same source used by Dr. Austin in Grand Canyon – Monument to Catastrophe doesn’t specify a sediment transport rate anywhere near what would be required to move enough sand to form the Coconino Sandstone during Noah’s Flood, let’s see how much sand we could get across the 1000 mile border during the entire year-long flood (371 days according to Whitcomb and Morris in The Genesis Flood). (see slide after next)← “Sand pile” to the north →← Present day Coconino Sandstone →27
29Time = 260 Time = 270 Time = 280 Time = 250 Time = 230 Time = 210 And remember…this was only 1/10 of10,000 cubic milesLet’s see if the sandstone layer could be formed if we had the whole year-long flood (371 days) to transport 10,000 cubic miles of sand.Time = 260DaysTime = 270DaysTime = 280DaysTime = 250DaysTime = 230DaysTime = 210DaysTime = 220DaysTime = 290DaysTime = 240DaysTime = 300DaysTime = 360DaysTime = 370DaysTime = 371DaysTime = 350DaysTime = 340DaysTime = 310DaysTime = 320DaysTime = 330DaysTime = 190DaysTime = 200DaysTime = 60DaysTime = 70DaysTime = 80DaysTime = 180DaysTime = 50DaysTime = 40DaysTime = 10DaysTime = 20DaysTime = 30DaysTime = 100DaysTime = 90DaysTime = 110DaysTime = 160DaysTime = 170DaysTime = 150DaysTime = 140DaysTime = 130DaysTime = 120DaysAbout 196 cubic miles…is all that would be transported during the entire flood.What if we had the whole year-long Flood to deposit the Coconino Sandstone?About 196 cubic miles… is all that would be transported during the entire floodO.k. – what if we had the entire 371 day (according to Whitcomb and Morris in The Genesis Flood) flood to deposit the Coconino Sandstone? About 196 cubic miles is all that would accumulate.So where did Whitcomb and Morris get a 371 day duration for the Flood?150th day After 74 days “were the tops of the mountains seen (Gen. 8:5)224th day Noah waited another 40 days before sending out the raven (Gen 8:6)264th day 7 days later dove sent, but no results because “waters on face of the whole earth”271st day 7 days later dove finds olive leaf, showing “that the waters were abated.”278th day 7 days later dove sent out. Doesn’t return because “waters were abated.”314th day Noah waits 29 days more until “the waters were dried from off the earth” to remove covering from the ark. New raven ceases to go to and fro.” (Gen. 8:7)371st day Noah waits another 57 days until the “earth” was “dry,” before leaving ark. (Noah’s hesitance in disembarking until the 2nd year, and 27th day shows that the description of abating and dryness in 8:11 and 8:13 are to be understood in a relative sense.)← “Sand pile” to the north →← Present day Coconino Sandstone →29
30Flood Geology Fails To Explain the Coconino At 30 kg/sec per each meter along the 1,000 mile border, it would take 52 years to move 10,000 cubic miles of sand into the present day area of the Coconino SandstoneA sediment transport rate of 48,000 kilograms per second per each meter or 32,000 pounds per second per each foot of the 1,000 mile border would be required to move enough sand across the border to form the Coconino in 12 daysThat’s 1,600 times greater than what a sediment transport rate of 30 kg / sec / m would give youFlood Geology Fails To Explain the Coconino!At 30 kg/sec per each meter along the 1,000 mile border, it would take 52 years to move 10,000 cubic miles of sand into the present day area of the Coconino SandstoneA sediment transport rate of 53 U.S. tons (25 cubic meters) per second, per each meter would be necessary to move enough sand across the border to form the Coconino in 12 daysThat’s 1,600 times greater than what a sediment transport rate of 30 kg/sec/m would give you.30
31Flood Geology Refuted Using Simple Math That’s equivalent to over four dump truck loads of sand crossing each meter of the 1,000 mile boundary every second for 12 daysThis is more like a giant slab of sand 84 feet high, 1000 miles wide, and 630 miles long sliding south at 2 mph.Even if it was possible to have such a moving sand slab, it wouldn’t allow complex cross beds to be formed!Flood Geology Refuted Using Simple MathThat’s equivalent to over four dump truck loads of sand crossing each meter of the 1,000 mile boundary every second for 12 daysThis is more like a giant slab of sand 84 feet high, 1000 miles wide, and 630 miles long sliding south at 2 mph.Even if it was possible to have such a moving sand slab, it wouldn’t allow complex cross beds to be formed!And at least nine assumptions were made which favored the young-earth position – without them, the computed height of the moving sand slab could have been greater than the water depth!At least nine assumptions were made in these calculations which favor the young-earth position:Optimal positioning of 10,000 cubic miles of sand at the right time. By assuming that the hypothetical area of sand was immediately north of the present- day area of the Coconino Sandstone at just the right time during the Flood, it could be assumed that sand began crossing the boundary into its present-day area at the earliest possible time.Length of border crossed by “sustained unidirectional currents.” Recall the curved 1,600 km northern boundary in figure 4 and Austin’s use of the phrase “sustained unidirectional currents.” Since sand would not horizontally compress, the true straight-line boundary, perpendicular to the moving sand slab, would be about 1,300 km long. Taking this factor alone into account, the sand slab would have to be 1600/1300 = 1.2 times as high.30 kg/sec/meter—a very generous sediment transport rate. Recall how Austin used Rubin and McCulloch’s graph for a sand grain size range of 0.19 to 0.22 mm in his Flood velocity estimation procedure. He stated that his procedure applied to all Grand Canyon sandstones, not just the Coconino. However, such a narrow size range is unrealistic for any of those formations, since they all contain at least some coarser sand. Rubin and McCulloch’s figure 8, right-hand graph was for sand grains ranging from 0.35 to 0.60 mm, and could be used to show that a sediment transport rate of 3 kg/sec/m would exist in currents of about 135 cm/sec in the “Dunes and Sand Wave” section at a depth of 54 meters.65 This indicates that a sediment transport rate of 30 kg/sec/m was more than generous to Flood geology for the first set of computations.Deposition not delayed by period of scouring at onset of the Flood. Deposition of “early Flood” sediments was assumed to begin on day one of the Flood, starting with the Tapeats Sandstone. However, Flood geologists say that the Flood began with a period of scouring of “pre-Flood/ Creation Week” rock before deposition of “early Flood” layers began.66 Setting aside a portion of the 150-day “early Flood” period for this scouring would affect both sets of calculations in directions unfavorable to Flood geology.Crossing northern boundary equated with depositing the entire Coconino. Computations were simply presented in reference to sand crossing the 1,600 km northern boundary. No time was allocated for redistribution of sediments according to the contours in figure 4 (left). Since the Coconino is thickest today at its southern boundary, impossibly deep sand would have to continue sliding south, well past its current northern boundary. No attempt was made here or in any YEC literature to numerically simulate how a regional-scale sand slab could move into a new area in a matter of days, especially when the height of the sand slab is at least half the depth of the depositing water.10,000 cubic miles appears to be a low volume estimate. Simple multiplication of the Coconino’s average thickness of 315 feet by its stated area (with correlating sandstones) of 200,000 square miles yields a volume of 11,932 cubic miles. Taking this factor alone into account, the sand slab would have to be 11,932/10,000 = 1.2 times as high.No accounting for portion that was eroded away. The Coconino does not lens out to zero thickness along a substantial portion of its boundary. Instead, much of its southern edge is marked by steep cliffs of the Mogollon Rim. A substantially greater original volume for the Coconino would affect both sets of calculations in directions unfavorable to Flood geology.No break in deposition allocated for the channel fill formations. Continuous sediment transport was assumed in allocating time for deposition of the Coconino and other Grand Canyon formations. Allowing time for erosion of channel networks to be filled by the Temple Butte and Surprise Canyon Formations would leave less time for deposition during the Flood.Recent YEC efforts to attribute additional layers to Flood deposition were not considered. Some Flood geologists have argued for including layers above Austin’s “late Flood” and below his “early Flood” layers as Flood deposits. For example, Austin and Wise now consider the Sixty-Mile Formation, the highest formation in the Proterozoic Grand Canyon Supergroup, to be an “early Flood” layer.67 If the criteria of Oard and Froede were applied,68 the entire 13,000 ft (4,000 m) thick Grand Canyon Supergroup would be considered “early Flood” layers.69 Considering any Proterozoic layers to be “early Flood” layers would reduce the number of days allocated to form the Coconino and other Paleozoic layers, further compounding the problems for Flood geology.Without these nine assumptions, it can be seen how the computed height of the southward moving “sand slab” might easily exceed the depth of water (54 meters) that is supposed to have deposited Coconino sediments in the first place.31
33Flood Geology Refuted Using Simple Math And at least nine assumptions were made which favored the young-earth position – without them, the computed height of the moving sand slab could have been greater than the water depth!Optimal positioning of 10,000 cubic miles of sand, just to the north of the present day Coconino, at just the right time during the FloodLength of border crossed by “sustained unidirectional currents,” as Austin termed it, was really less than 1,000 miles.30 kg / sec / meter – a very generous sediment transport rate.Deposition not delayed by period of scouring at onset of the Flood.5. Crossing northern boundary equated with depositing the entire Coconino.6. 10,000 cubic miles appears to be a low volume estimate.7. No accounting for portion of the Coconino that was eroded away – e.g., at Mogollon Rim.8. No break in deposition allocated for the channel fill formations (e.g., Surprise Cyn Formation).9. Recent YEC efforts to attribute additional layers to Flood deposition were not considered.And at least nine assumptions were made which favored the young-earth position – without them, the computed height of the moving sand slab could have been greater than the water depth! (I found later there was a 10th assumption in favor of YEC)Optimal positioning of 10,000 cubic miles of sand at the right time. By assuming that the hypothetical area of sand was immediately north of the present- day area of the Coconino Sandstone at just the right time during the Flood, it could be assumed that sand began crossing the boundary into its present-day area at the earliest possible time.Length of border crossed by “sustained unidirectional currents.” Recall the curved 1,600 km northern boundary in the map. Also note that Austin’s used the phrase “sustained unidirectional currents” to describe the flow of Flood waters. Since sand would not horizontally compress, the true straight-line boundary, perpendicular to the moving sand slab, would be about 1,300 km long. Taking this factor alone into account, the sand slab would have to be 1600/1300 = 1.2 times as high.30 kg/sec/meter—a very generous sediment transport rate. Recall how Austin used Rubin and McCulloch’s graph for a sand grain size range of 0.19 to 0.22 mm in his Flood velocity estimation procedure. He stated that his procedure applied to all Grand Canyon sandstones, not just the Coconino. However, such a narrow size range is unrealistic for any of those formations, since they all contain at least some coarser sand. Rubin and McCulloch’s figure 8, right-hand graph was for sand grains ranging from 0.35 to 0.60 mm, and could be used to show that a sediment transport rate of 3 kg/sec/m would exist in currents of about 135 cm/sec in the “Dunes and Sand Wave” section at a depth of 54 meters. This indicates that a sediment transport rate of 30 kg/sec/m was more than generous to Flood geology for the first set of computations.Deposition not delayed by period of scouring at onset of the Flood. Deposition of “early Flood” sediments was assumed to begin on day one of the Flood, starting with the Tapeats Sandstone. However, Flood geologists say that the Flood began with a period of scouring of “pre-Flood/ Creation Week” rock before deposition of “early Flood” layers began. Setting aside a portion of the 150-day “early Flood” period for this scouring would affect both sets of calculations in directions unfavorable to Flood geology.Crossing northern boundary equated with depositing the entire Coconino. Computations were simply presented in reference to sand crossing the 1,600 km northern boundary. No time was allocated for redistribution of sediments according to the contours in the previously provided map. Since the Coconino is thickest today at its southern boundary, impossibly deep sand would have to continue sliding south, well past its current northern boundary. No attempt was made here or in any YEC literature to numerically simulate how a regional-scale sand slab could move into a new area in a matter of days, especially when the height of the sand slab is at least half the depth of the depositing water.10,000 cubic miles appears to be a low volume estimate. Simple multiplication of the Coconino’s average thickness of 315 feet by its stated area (with correlating sandstones) of 200,000 square miles yields a volume of 11,932 cubic miles. Taking this factor alone into account, the sand slab would have to be 11,932/10,000 = 1.2 times as high.No accounting for portion that was eroded away. The Coconino does not lens out to zero thickness along a substantial portion of its boundary. Instead, much of its southern edge is marked by steep cliffs of the Mogollon Rim. A substantially greater original volume for the Coconino would affect both sets of calculations in directions unfavorable to Flood geology.No break in deposition allocated for the channel fill formations. Continuous sediment transport was assumed in allocating time for deposition of the Coconino and other Grand Canyon formations. Allowing time for erosion of channel networks to be filled by the Temple Butte and Surprise Canyon Formations would leave less time for deposition during the Flood.Recent YEC efforts to attribute additional layers to Flood deposition were not considered. Some Flood geologists have argued for including layers above Austin’s “late Flood” and below his “early Flood” layers as Flood deposits. For example, Austin and Wise now consider the Sixty-Mile Formation, the highest formation in the Proterozoic Grand Canyon Supergroup, to be an “early Flood” layer. If the criteria of Oard and Froede were applied, the entire 13,000 ft (4,000 m) thick Grand Canyon Supergroup would be considered “early Flood” layers. Considering any Proterozoic layers to be “early Flood” layers would reduce the number of days allocated to form the Coconino and other Paleozoic layers, further compounding the problems for Flood geology.The compression of the sediments into sandstone, an important part of lithification, was not taken into account. In other words, it takes more than 10,000 cubic miles of sediment to make 10,000 cubic miles of sandstone.Without these nine (ten) assumptions, it can be seen how the computed height of the southward moving “sand slab” might easily exceed the depth of water (54 meters) that is supposed to have deposited Coconino sediments in the first place.33
34“If you do the math, and with 10,000 cubic miles of sand being moved at that speed, you’d move it all within a matter of a few days and spread it over a 100,000 (square mile area). See? There’s no problem!”“If you do the math, and with 10,000 cubic miles of sand being moved at that speed, you’d move it all within a matter of a few days and spread it over a 100,000 (square mile area). See? There’s no problem!”Andrew Snelling, Answers for Darwin Conference,Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, February 7, 2009Andrew Snelling, Answers for Darwin Conference,Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, February 7, 2009.34
35and at least ten young-earth web pages (click on a number below:) The output from Austin’s double graph procedure and/or the graphs themselves has been used in at least five popular young-earth books…The output from Austin’s double graph procedure and/or the graphs themselves has been used in at least five young-earth books… Two young-earth videos… and at least ten young-earth web pages.Here is where the output from Austin’s double graph procedure and/or the graphs themselves are found in the five books:“The Young Earth,” by John Morris, page 101.“Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe,” by Steve Austin, pages“Grand Canyon: A Different View,” by Tom Vail, page 42.“What Are Some of the Best Flood Evidences?” by Andrew Snelling in The New Answers Book 3, Ken Ham, ed, page 289.“Earth’s Catastrophic Past, Volume 2,” by Andrew Snelling, pages 506–508, and 1081.The URLs are as follows (some may not still be active):From the Answers in Genesis website:1.2.3. (This article assumes a sand-wave height of 20 meters, which yields a velocity range of 95 to 165 cm/sec)From the Creation Ministries International (CMI) website (formerly on the Answers in Genesis website, but transferred over to theCMIwebsite after the two ministries split):4.5.6.From other young-earth creationist websites:7. which leads to:8.9. deposited_underwater_ %28Talk.Origins%29;10. (click on “Paleohydraulics” in the left margin)11.Other sources secular and non-secular:1.Two young-earth videos…and at least ten young-earth web pages (click on a number below:)
36Some comments on these findings from young-earth believing viewers: Big problem here Tim. If Creation week and the global Flood of Noah is not responsible for what we see geologically. Then Jesus Christ didn't raise from the dead, and Adam was not a specially created being 6,000 years ago. We may as well forget it all, the naturalist win… If the math seemingly doesn't fit then the math is wrong; GOD IS NOT.Wow – this individual’s response intimately and accurately summarizes what is at stake in the mind of the committed young-earth believer. He makes it clear that to him, if the Creation week and the global Flood of Noah is not responsible for what we see geologically, then Christianity is false and we might as well “forget it all, the naturalist win.” Here’s simple math, plain to see, and there is a giant “wall” preventing the person from looking at what is on the other side because he feels his entire faith is threatened if the Earth is old. Actually, even more is at stake for many people. To them young earth creationism is part of a “package” of beliefs, and if young-earth creationism is false, then their entire “package” is threatened. Included in this package are:Strong belief in inerrancy of scripture and the literal method of interpretation.Deep aversion to atheistic evolution and its perceived association with the decline of morality (e.g., homosexuality, abortion, and feminism).Tendency towards belief in imminent end of the world and return of Jesus Christ. Most adhere to the rather recent eschatological construct of premillennial dispensationalism as described in Tim LaHaye’s fictional Left Behind series.Tendency towards very conservative politics. I have yet to find a liberal young earth creationist, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any.Here’s the rub – the young earth believer will feel all these other beliefs are threatened if he/she agrees the earth is old. It’s how they make sense of the world – politics, world events, moral issues, you name it. You hear it over and over in fundamentalist churches – concede that the earth is old and pretty soon you’ll be questioning the virgin birth or even the historicity of Jesus Christ.Well… thank God, Jesus Christ really did rise from the dead. It’s our interpretations and theology that look like they’ve been wrong all along. And regarding the math – if you find any errors, feel free to let me know.
37More comments…Your credulity is no different to that leveled at J. A. Bretz in the 1940s when he postulated the Missoula flood. He was told that such a thing was scientifically impossible… You are not considering a wall of water perhaps several hundred meters high, 1000s of kilometers long, traveling at incredible velocities, consistently grinding up land surfaces and redepositing them elsewhere? If 50 cubic miles of basalt can be eroded from one third of the state of Washington and redeposited elsewhere in a few days by one small glacial lake (Missoula), then how much can be eroded by entire oceans?By the way, it was J.T. Pardee who postulated the Lake Missoula flood – after that, Bretz’s theory that the Channeled Scablands were eroded by a giant flood gained acceptance. Bretz’s initial idea was rejected in part because he failed to propose a possible cause for the flood.Note: 50 cubic miles of eroded basalt is nothing compared to the 10,000 cubic mile volume of Coconino Sandstone, and that’s just one formation! By one estimate I’ve read, the volume of sedimentary rock on Earth is 654 million cubic kilometers (157 million cubic miles).By the way, this person doesn’t appear to be keeping up with the latest in young-earth creationist literature – he seems to be making up his own cargo cult young-earth geology as he goes along. According to a 1994 paper by six well-known Flood geology proponents, huge reservoirs of sediment could have already existed, ready to be redistributed by a global Flood. The authors explain this assumption as follows:“We have three reasons for this position:1) Biologically optimum terrestrial and marine environments would require that at least a small amount of sediment of each type had been created in the creation week;2) Archean (probable pre-Flood) and Proterozoic sediments contain substantial quantities of all types of sediments; and3) It may not be possible to derive all the Flood sediments from igneous and/or metamorphic precursors by physical and chemical processes in the course of a single, year-long Flood.”[i]In this statement, the six authors appear to be conceding the Flood wouldn’t be able to erode enough pre-Flood rock to produce all the sediment needed to form all the “early” and “late Flood” sedimentary rock layers. Most YEC believers, like the person who commented on this presentation, think that most sediment was eroded during the turbulent onset of the global Flood.[i]S. A. Austin, J. R. Baumgardner, D. R. Humphreys, A. A. Snelling, L. Vardiman, and K. P. Wise, “Catastrophic Plate Tectonics: A Global Flood Model of Earth History,” Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Creationism, 1994, .A wall of water ground up land surfaces into sand, silt, and clay particles and deposited them in 1000’s of sedimentary formations all over the Earth with no sign of larger chunks, without interfering with deposition of other formations that are upstream and downstream at the same level? Sounds like the geologic equivalent of musical chairs. Does this person know that clay forms through chemical processes, or that Earth’s sedimentary rock covers nearly 75% of the land and almost all of the ocean floor and has a volume of over 100 million mi3?
38More comments…Once again you are failing to get outside of your actualistic box. Maths can be fudged according to one’s a priori assumptions. You need to stop thinking ‘little’ geology. Start thinking ‘big, big’ geology. Your problem is that you are confined to a paradigm which you will simply not give up. You are trying to answer questions using your paradigm as the starting point. This won’t work.Actually, I used Austin and Snelling’s data as a starting point. Maths can be fudged according to my a priori assumptions? All that were used were math and units conversion techniques learned in 9th grade. Perhaps the multiplication table was different in the past, like the speed of light and nuclear decay rates?
39More comments…So you want me to look at a paper about flume tanks and sand waves in San Francisco Bay! That's nice Tim, but there is an obvious disconnect in terms of scale with the global flood! Their graphs (as reproduced by Austin) go to 100 meters, but what happens in even deeper water? Even aside from scale, are the flume tanks reproducing all the other conditions from the flood (the details of which no-one is privvy to). Just as an example of the almost infinite possibilities, what about a general sand wave producing current frequently superimposed by tsunami or other wave events? (I do note that when I'm in the surf, each wave lifts up, and transports an enormous load of sand - almost fills the pockets of my bathers!)The water depth and flume tank size are irrelevant – it’s the sediment transport rate that matters. Also, tsunamis produce chaotic sediments – and then only in shallow water. BTW – I believe this fellow’s bathers would be a bit heavier if he caught a wave transporting sediment at 32,000 lbs per second per foot!!!
40More comments……with your claim that a massive volume of sand sediment could not have been moved into place and had cross bedding... I would simply like to see the size of the laboratory that you proved experimentally that such is impossible!!... To be anywhere near convincing to me, it would have to be larger than the earth, and you would somehow have to have inside info on exactly every process that God used.The size of the “laboratory” is irrelevant… if you have 10,000 cubic miles of sediment and want to transport it across a 1,000 mile line in 12 days, the sediment transport rate has to be a constant 32,000 lb / sec / ft. Actually, Austin’s estimate of the water speed necessary to deposit fine sand as underwater cross beds was just about right. You then want to increase the sediment transport rate by a factor of at least 1,600 – possibly as high as 10,000 or more – and still think there is a way cross beds could form? At the same time other formations are being deposited all over the planet? If you can’t steal sediment from a nearby formation, where did the sediment come from – did it rain down from space? Then there’s the small issue about how the Coconino’s cross beds don’t look anything like those formed underwater.
41These people are clearly not grasping the gravity of the problem… There are two major points to this presentation that every young-earth believer must deal with:First, Austin’s graphical procedure for explaining underwater formation of cross beds clearly does not allow near enough sand to be transported to form the Coconino Sandstone in 12 days.Second, the sediment transport rate required to form the Coconino Sandstone in 12 days would be so absurdly high as to prevent the formation of even the simplest cross beds.
42not just where a wave happens to be breaking. Gravity of the problem (continued)It’s not just huge waves that would be needed. Sediment must be continuously and simultaneously transported at absurdly high rates everywhere on the planet, for the entire duration of the Flood –not just where a wave happens to be breaking.Let’s consider the young-earth advocate’s frequent appeal to tsunamis as the mechanism for transporting, as Dr. Austin put it, “large quantities of sand, and, in its waning stages, build huge sand waves in deep water.” Tsunamis are indeed major events, but I don’t think they are the movers of sand over a global scale that Dr. Austin makes them out to be. I have seen geology papers where the author analyzed deposits left by successive tsunamis in flat coastal areas, and there didn’t seem to be huge ledges marking the boundaries between deposits. In fact, they appeared almost imperceptible. This is not to discount the effects of “mega-tsunamis” believed to have occurred in earth’s past. The meteor impact on the Yucatan Peninsula 65 million years ago resulted in tsunami deposits in the surrounding area of the Gulf of Mexico averaging a few meters in thickness. The impact is also believed to have caused a deep sea gravity flow which deposited a localized bed near Cuba of up to 2,200 feet thick (Tada et. Al., “Complex Tsunami Waves Suggested by the Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary Deposit at the Moncada Section, Western Cuba,” in Catastrophic Events and Mass Extinctions ).From the eyewitness accounts from scuba divers who were underwater during the December 26, 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia, there was clearly a definite drop in underwater visibility, but a mountain of transported sand didn’t suddenly engulfed and bury the divers underwater. Consider the account of Audrey Desiderato in the newsletter of the UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies (http://www.international.ucla.edu/cseas/article.asp?parentid=20716):“On the morning of December 26th, our group departed Phi Phi Island (Thailand) at 9:15 am taking a diving boat out to a nearby island a half hour away. I was to complete my diving certification near this island. We clocked our dive at 10:06 am and knelt on the ocean floor performing our mask removal drill. We started to drift from side to side while visibility worsened. A progressive force pushed us backwards knocking us into some rocks. We hung on as much as we could, but the current was too strong and flung us into the murky water behind us. We were drifting fast, unable to control our direction and unable to see much except sea urchins and pieces of coral flying past us. Other divers were getting carried by this same force above us. My biggest fear was that we would crash into some rocks at this speed. The only thing I could do was force myself to take deep calming breaths to accommodate this overwhelming adrenaline rush and kick upwards in order to counter the downward pull. My dive master, my best friend and I were somehow thrown together. We clung to each other and slowly made our way to the surprisingly calm surface. We put up our emergency buoy and waited for the boat to pick us up. Eventually, we found everyone else in our party. The boat captain said he had not felt a thing. All of us were clueless as to the resulting disaster made by the force that we had just experienced.The rest of that day and the few days following seemed surreal. As we approached Phi Phi Island, the devastation and tragedy became known to us. We were absorbed in our silence and attempted to comprehend our incredible luck. We had left the island just one hour before the wave hit. We were underwater when the wave hit. We had been drifting out at sea not knowing what happened while chaos, death and trauma replaced the paradise we had left.The entire island had been flattened and debris polluted the shoreline.”Having cited the above report from a diver who was in the water in Thailand when the tsunami hit, I should be fair in pointing out that the tsunami did move incredible amounts of sand and coral, but on a fairly local scale. In an article on the MSNBC website (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/ /), the author interviewed two individuals who went on an expedition to survey the impacts of the tsunami on the reefs near Phuket, Thailand; Gregory Stone, vice president of global marine programs for the New England Aquarium; and Alan Dynner, a Boston business executive and chairman of the New England Aquarium board of trustees. In the article, the author stated:“In some cases, Stone said the damage came from the physical energy of the wave, which dislodged the coral, ‘rolling it over and over again until it was killed.’“Later in the article, the author stated:“Dynner, an avid diver, said the tsunami tore loose coral heads the size of tractor-trailers and left behind ‘giant underwater sand dunes,’ something he had never imagined seeing.”It is important to point out that the article also states that the researchers found that the reefs in shallower water were hit harder than those in deeper water. From my scuba diving experience, shallow reefs are at depths of 30 feet or less and a deep reef would be more on the order of feet deep. So, at the 54 meter (177 feet) water depths Dr. Austin is talking about for Grand Canyon sandstones, there really wouldn’t be that much sand moved by a tsunami passing overhead. While the 12/26/04 tsunami was effective in creating “giant underwater sand dunes,” this occurred on a local scale and the sand dunes would have been generated with sand that was already on site, not sand that was transported from some distant location. Interestingly, the expedition found that, taking the Phuket area as a whole, the damage caused by humans to the reefs over the long term was greater than the 12/26/04 tsunami.Back to the Grand Canyon – remember, Dr. Austin is trying to find the range of water velocity that could deposit underwater sand waves and leave the complex cross beds we see in the Coconino Sandstone. However, he invokes tsunamis as the mechanism for transporting huge volumes of sand. If a single tsunami can flatten an entire island, what would something like that do to any complex cross bed features that were just created moments before if they were close enough to the surface to be affected?Remember – all we needed to show that Noah’s Flood couldn’t have deposited the Coconino Sandstone was the following:The double graph procedure from page 34 of Grand Canyon Monument to Catastrophe.Another graph from the same source used by Dr. Austin – just a few pages later – and that didn’t figure in any of our computations. It just started our thinking about sediment transport rates.The assumption that the Coconino is an “early Flood” layer (first 150 days of the Flood).The total volume of the Coconino is 10,000 cubic miles (42,000 cubic kilometers).Average thickness of the Coconino is 315 feet.The total thickness of “early Flood” layers in Grand Canyon is 4,000 feet.The assumption that the sediments comprising the Coconino came from somewhere outside its present area (i.e., from the north).All of this came from a premier Flood geologist – Dr. Steven Austin, with a little help from Andrew Snelling. No tricks. No assumptions from “secular geology” or “the evolutionists.”
43Let’s review. Austin was arguing that the cross-bedded Coconino Sandstone was formed by underwater sand waves. To form cross beds, the current detaches individual grains of sand, lifts them from the top of the sand wave, and deposits them somewhere ahead of the sand wave… as shown in this video:The sediment transport rate for this drawing from the Answers in Genesis article would be somewhere between 2 and 20 lbs/sec/foot
44You can’t have it both ways! Now, if you want to superimpose some kind of miraculous transport of sediment at rates of at least 32,000 lbs/sec/ft on top of that sand wave-forming process – fine! But what happens if even a fraction of that floating slab of sediment reaches the bottom? You just killed the formation of cross beds.You can’t have it both ways!
45As Dr. Austin stated, if the water is moving too fast, sand waves can’t form – no cross beds! If the sediment transport rate is too large (especially if it is too large by a factor of 1,600+), no cross beds!Sediments affected by tsunamis display chaotic (totally jumbled) characteristics, not thin, even layers. Cross beds would be out of the question.
46Flood Geology clearly fails the test. If the volume, thickness, and extent is known for any sedimentary rock formation on the planet, the same kind of mathematical calculations could be performed as were done here for the Coconino Sandstone, with the same result.If the volume, thickness, and extent is known for any sedimentary rock formation on the planet, the same kind of mathematical calculations could be performed as were done here for the Coconino Sandstone, with the same result.Flood Geology clearly fails the test.Flood Geology clearly fails the test.
47But do cross beds formed by underwater sand waves look anything like those formed through eolian (wind-blown) processes?
48Cross Beds Created By Water Flow Brazos River, TXGuy BerthaultAnswers in GenesisAnimationBrazos River, TXUSGS
49Cross Beds In Actual Sand Dunes E. D. McKeeDiane M. BurnsBruce PerryJohn S. Shelton
50You be the judge – which type of cross beds look more like what we see in the Coconino Sandstone? Tim Martin, Earth Science Picture of the Day (EPOD), Universities Space Research Association
51Two interpretiveframeworks:And what do you think…Old-Earth ConclusionsIs it just a matter of looking at the same data, but coming to different conclusions?Young-Earth ConclusionsAfter Austin, Grand Canyon, Monument to Catastrophe, 1994
52A follow-up note…Dr. Austin has recently proposed a new mechanism for redistribution of sediments across the earth during the global Flood: submarine liquefied sediment gravity currents.Apparently aware that the advancing sand wave mechanism, more properly termed “tractive currents,” would be unable to transport enough sand to form major layers during the global Flood, Austin now states that submarine liquefied gravity currents were the real sediment movers. The following is the full abstract for Dr. Austin’s talk on these currents at the fourth Creation Geology Conference, held at Truett McConnell College in Cleveland, Georgia on July 28-30, 2010:1. Submarine Liquefied Sediment Gravity Currents: Understanding the Mechanics of the Major Sediment Transportation and Deposition Agent during the Global FloodS.A. AustinInstitute for Creation ResearchWhat was the mechanics of the process that transported more than one hundred million cubic miles of sediment during the global flood? Tractive currents and turbidity currents are both inefficient transport agents because sediment must be entrained by fluid turbulence that moves ten times more water than sediment. Turbulence and exceedingly large flow volumes create friction that defeats sediment movement. Much higher sediment movement efficiency can be achieved by liquefied sediment gravity currents. These are concentrated suspensions (about 50% by volume sediment) that move sand and mud particles as thin, laminar currents beneath the mass of the ocean. Therefore, the ocean is not the direct cause of sedimentation, only the host body for its submarine liquefied currents. These sediment flows are liquefied so that fluid pressure between the grains disperses the sediment, and gravity acts to propel the slurry over very low slopes. Turbulence of fluid and kinetic energy of water are not primary factors in sediment transport. Therefore, the sediment moves the fluid, not the fluid moves the sediment.Liquefied submarine currents resemble mechanically modern mudflows, debris flows, pyroclastic flows and snow avalanches. Dynamic analysis of submarine debris flows indicate that a several-meter-thick current twice the density of seawater moves as a steady current over gentle slopes at a velocity of 6 to 8 meters per second. This velocity allows subcritical flow with enough dynamic pressure and lifting pressure to create a hydroplane. Solid-body modeling of the head of a liquefied gravity current shows that it acts like a wing with lifting pressure greatly exceeding frictional forces. Liquefied currents literally fly beneath the ocean with extreme mechanical efficiency. Slight shear within the liquefied sediment mass sustains internal fluid pressure creating a dispersed sediment condition with very low intergranular friction. Rheology of liquefied sediment gravity currents probably follows a nonlinear, viscoplastic, shearthinning formula (Herschel-Bulkley rheological model). Low strength of the slurry and its shear-thinning rheology further contribute to transport efficiency. High density of the slurry and low friction on the interface with seawater inhibits turbulence within the shearing mass. Flume experiments simulate several features of these liquefied currents. Such currents were likely the major transportation agent for sediment during the global flood.How does a sediment-transporting current make the transition to a sediment-depositing current?Flow transformation is the process whereby a moving fluid changes fundamental flow characteristics and abruptly changes to a different category of moving fluid. A sediment-laden, fast moving, liquefied suspension can transform by the penetrative action of shear from a laminar to a turbulent condition. This flow transformation allows a uniform and steady current to absorb a large volume of water, decrease its velocity significantly, and, thereby, deposit a significant quantity of sediment. By this process a liquefied and laminar current can be transformed into a nonliquefied and turbulent current (either a tractive current or a turbidity current). Flume experiments illustrate the abruptness of flow transformation and also produce the sedimentary structures diagnostic of turbulent, tractive currents.The lower half of the Redwall Limestone of Arizona and Nevada contains a wide variety of sedimentary structures diagnostic of a fast-moving liquefied current and its transformation to a tractive current. These structures are of three types: (1) bedforms diagnostic of both upper and lower flow regimes, (2) graded structures indicating abrupt flowtransformation during rapid sedimentation, and (3) imbrication of fossils suggesting hindered settling and abrupt freezing of a sediment-water suspension. Whitmore Nautiloid Bed within the lower Redwall Limestone of Arizona appears to represent the packstone deposit from the turbulent tail of the liquefied sediment gravity current. The distal grainstone equivalent of the bed in Nevada appears to represent the deposit of the turbulent current after flow transformation. Thinly bedded lime-mudstone rhythmites that overly Whitmore Nautiloid Bed are understood to be more dilute “wave-modified turbidites” from a sustained sediment gravity current modulated by the bidirectional surge of water waves. Extremely rapid, submarine sedimentation characterizes the process that formed the lower half of the Redwall Limestone.Dr. Austin has recently proposed a new mechanism for redistribution of sediments across the earth during the global Flood: submarine liquefied sediment gravity currentsAustin now maintains that “Such currents were likely the major transportation agent for sediment during the global flood.”See:
53The submarine liquefied sediment gravity current mechanism identified by Austin still provides an insufficient explanation for how Earth’s sedimentary rock layers could be deposited during a year-long global Flood, because it doesn’t explain how strata could accumulate simultaneously all over the Earth at extremely high rates – can’t just focus on the Grand Canyon area.Even if it were possible for submarine liquefied sediment gravity currents to transport enough sediment into northern Arizona to form the Coconino Sandstone in 12 days, the required deposition rate wouldn’t allow the formation’s famous cross beds to form.Plus, the words of Austin (and others such as Andrew Snelling) in many published documents require the Coconino’s cross beds to form through the advancing sand wave mechanism!The submarine liquefied sediment gravity current mechanism identified by Austin still provides an insufficient explanation for how Earth’s sedimentary rock layers could be deposited during a year-long global Flood, because it doesn’t explain how strata could accumulate simultaneously all over the Earth at extremely high rates – can’t just focus on the Grand Canyon area.Even if it were possible for submarine liquefied sediment gravity currents to transport enough sediment into northern Arizona to form the Coconino Sandstone in 12 days, the required deposition rate wouldn’t allow the formation’s famous cross beds to form.Plus, the words of Austin (and others such as Andrew Snelling) in many published documents require the Coconino’s cross beds to form through the advancing sand wave mechanism!
55“The belief that Earth's sediments, with their fossils, were deposited in an orderly sequence in a year's time defies all geological observations and physical principles concerning sedimentation rates and possible quantities of suspended solid matter.”Science and Creationism - A View from the National Academy of Sciences, 2nd Edition, Page 8The National Academy of Sciences also evaluated young-earth creationism and Flood geology and found it completely lacked scientific merit. A booklet they published: Science and Creationism - A View from the National Academy of Sciences, Second Edition (see included a paragraph on page 8 which attempted to convey the fact that sedimentation rates do not support Flood geology:“…a universal flood of sufficient magnitude to form the sedimentary rocks seen today, which together are many kilometers thick, would require a volume of water far greater than has ever existed on and in Earth, at least since the formation of the first known solid crust about 4 billion years ago. The belief that Earth's sediments, with their fossils, were deposited in an orderly sequence in a year's time defies all geological observations and physical principles concerning sedimentation rates and possible quantities of suspended solid matter.”Such statements don’t seem to phase the creation ministries, but the YEC leader’s response to this one may be an indicator of how they behave when painted into a corner – they launch a personal attack. To be elected to the National Academy of Sciences, you have to be the best of the best among scientists, but Answers in Genesis seems to have taken the low road in responding to the Academy. When the Academy published their book Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science in 1998, AiG came out with a short article entitled “National Academy of Science is godless to the core – survey” In this article, AiG pointed out that a recent survey published in the journal Nature showed that of about half of the 517 National Academy of Sciences members in biological and physical sciences, 72.2% were overtly atheistic, 20.8% agnostic, and only 7.0% believed in a personal God. This seems like the classic ad-hominum attack – I guess the goal was to convince Christians that they shouldn’t trust anything the National Academy of Sciences publishes in relation to the scientific validity of young-earth creationism.Bernard Ramm had some insightful thoughts on this kind of attitude in his 1954 book The Christian View of Science and Scripture:“The first mistake peculiar to the theologian is that of attitude. He has been unsympathetic with science, or suspicious of it, or he fails to understand science. In this the theologian is to blame. If he is censorious of the scientist who makes amateurish remarks about theology, and wishes that the scientist would learn a little theology before he spoke, the scientist can also ask the theologian to learn a little science before he speaks. To view science as the work of scheming atheists, iconoclasts, or plotting infidels is not true to the facts nor felicitous of the spirit of the Christian theologian. Slurring the name of science, branding it all as devil-inspired, chiding it unsympathetically, further aggravate the situation that is already bordering on the incurable.”_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________Photo: Tim Helble (1983)End of the Grand Canyon at Grand Wash Cliffs where the Colorado River flows into Lake Mead. Photo was taken in May, 1983 at the start of the 1983 flood. By July, the lake was some 15 feet higher and spilling at Hoover Dam. At this writing (2009), Lake Mead is very low and all you see here between the cliffs is a flat, green plain with a river flowing through it.End of Grand Canyon at Lake Mead during 1983 Flood55
56For more information, see: Sediment Transport and the Coconino Sandstone: A Reality Check on Flood Geology by Timothy K. Helble, Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation (ASA), Vol. 63, No. 1, March Click here for abstract on ASA website (full version becomes available on this site in early Until then, click here or here for text only version.MyFor more information, see: Sediment Transport and the Coconino Sandstone: A Reality Check on Flood Geology by Timothy K. Helble, Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation, Vol. 63, No. 1, March The full version of this paper will not be available on the American Scientific Affiliation web page until early A text-only version is currently available on BNET (The CBS Interactive Business Network) at: or High-Beam Research at:
57A version of this presentation with full animation capabilities, along with several other presentations and materials on young-earth creationism, are available at:Good blogs and websites where the problems with young earth creationism are discussed:Answers in Creation:Old Earth Creation Society:The GeoChristian Blog:Letters to Creationists Blog:Questioning Answers in Genesis Blog:
58Some excellent videos: Some excellent online books describing the errors of young-earth creationism (particularly Flood geology), are:NEGLECT OF GEOLOGIC DATA: Sedimentary Strata Compared with Young-Earth Creationist Writings by Daniel E. WonderlyGod’s Time-Records in Ancient Sediments by Daniel E. WonderlyA New Look at an Old Earth by Don StonerSome excellent videos:Lesson 8/16: Geology and Earth History by Gordon Glover
59Other locations on the web where information can be obtained on the intersection between science and the Bible are:American Scientific Affiliation:Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute:God and Science:Beyond Creation Science:Affiliation of Christian Geologists:The Biologos Forum: