Chapter 6

Geologic Column

Modern examples of canyon formation and rapid erosion provide models to explain how many geological formations can be described by the Flood and its aftereffects—and all within a few thousand years.

Now the flood was on the earth forty days. The waters increased and lifted up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. The waters prevailed and greatly increased on the earth, and the ark moved about on the surface of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered. The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered.
And all flesh died that moved on the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man. All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died.
Genesis 7:17–22

What You Will Learn

The geologic column is a graphic representation of the layers of rock that make up the earth’s crust. By compiling data from local areas, scientists have constructed a composite picture of the earth. Evolutionists would have us believe that this is also a picture of the 4.5 billion year history of the earth. Using a bit of circular reasoning, the geologic column is used as support for biologic evolution, which is then sometimes used to confirm the order of the layers in the geologic column. The use of radiometric dating is also applied to the layers of the geologic record to establish the absolute ages of the layers and the billions of years indicated by the rock layers. In order for life to have evolved, the earth must be extremely old, so the assumption of long ages is applied to the geologic record to support the evolutionary philosophy.

From the biblical creationist perspective, there are several events that must be considered when interpreting the evidence of the earth’s history recorded in the rocks. Just as evolutionists assume that the earth began as a random, molten mass, biblical creationists assume that the earth began with supernatural acts of God—forming the original rocks and layers. These layers and rocks were then catastrophically rearranged and redeposited during the Genesis Flood. As the waters covered the earth, and later flowed off the continents as the mountains rose, the major erosional features, like Grand Canyon and Uluru, were carved out. Modern examples of canyon formation and rapid erosion provide models to explain how many formations can be described by the Flood and its aftereffects—and all within a few thousand years.

The real difference comes down to interpreting the evidence based on man’s understanding of billions of years, or using the Word of God as a starting point. There is no disputing the facts of the geologic record, but the facts don’t speak for themselves. They must be interpreted!

What Your Textbook Says about the Geologic Column

Evolutionary Concept Prentice Hall Glencoe Holt Articles
The fossil and rock records provide clues to the past and the future. 132, 553, 569 6:2, 6:3
Index fossils are used to identify rock layers and correlate layers that are disconnected. 337, 341–343, 345–346, 356–357 T551, T552C, 557–561, 568, T609, 609, 629 187–188, 197, 200, 211–213, 222, 232–233 6:1, 6:2, 6:3
Geologists divide the earth’s 4.6 billion year history into time periods represented by distinct rock layers T92C, 342, 352–353, T354, 354, 364–365, 377, 382, 386–387 T550, T552C, 553–556, T591, T615, 626, 628, 635, 648, T649, T687 66, 152, 185, 208, T210, 211, 213–214, 217, 226 4:1, 4:3, 5:1, 6:1, 6:3, 6:5, 7:11
Major rock formations (Devils Tower, Uluru, etc.) formed in the distant past and have been constantly eroding. 298 T51, 153, 428, 635–636, 662 T123C, 191, 349 6:3, 6:5, 6:6, 6:7
Sediments have been deposited over millions of years and are used to calculate ages. T345, T407, 408 226, 229, 429, 612–613, 627 188, 192 4:1, 4:3, 5:1, 6:1, 6:2, 6:3, 6:4, 6:5, 6:7, 6:8, 7:11
Canyons form over millions of years. T522D, 553, 557 186, 364, T381 6:5, 6:6
Mountains formed millions of years ago and are gradually eroded. 317, T372, 379 526–527, 531, 537 256, 272, T282, 363 6:7, 6:9
Folding and deformation of rocks occurs gradually. 80–82, 308–309, 338 6:5, 6:7, 6:9
Limestone caves form gradually. 177 T245, 245 6:10
Ripples can be preserved in rocks. 127 188 6:8, 7:7
Salt and other minerals formed as ancient seas evaporated. T412 T195, T624D, 649 496 5:1, 6:11
Ancient reefs formed major rock formations. 613–614 6:12

Note: Page numbers preceded by “T” indicate items from the teacher notes found in the margins of the Teacher’s Edition.

What We Really Know about the Geologic Column

Before we begin looking at the geologic column, it is important to understand the key differences between the starting assumptions of young-earth geologists and old-earth geologists. These two different beliefs are used to interpret the evidence found in the rock record. Understanding these starting points is the key to understanding the different views of geologic time.

Young-earth creationists start with the Bible to derive the age of the earth: approximately 4,000 years passed between Creation and the coming of Christ, which is added to the 2,000 years since the time of Christ. This gives an age of the earth and universe of 6,000 years. They accept that God created in six days, that the once “very good” creation has been marred by sin (Genesis 3), and that a global Flood inundated the earth about 4,300 years ago (God’s judgment on the sin of mankind, Genesis 6–9). They then interpret the evidence in light of these truths revealed in the eyewitness testimony of the Bible. The events of Creation Week (Genesis 1) and the Genesis Flood (Genesis 6–9) are the major shapers of the geologic record from a biblical perspective.

From the uniformitarian perspective, the planet has evolved gradually from a molten ball to a water-covered planet where mountains are continuously eroded and uplifted, and rocks are recycled through the earth’s crust and mantle over billions of years. The use of radiometric dating is used to establish absolute dates for the age of the earth. Uniformitarian geologists accept catastrophes on a local scale, but reject any notion of global events like the Genesis Flood. The Bible is rejected as authoritative, and the earth is calculated to be 4.5 billion years old.

The major problem with uniformitarianism, from a scientific perspective, is that it is an unverifiable assumption—the same claim leveled against creationists and the Bible (except that creationists have a written eyewitness account). There is no absolute way to measure rates at which past events happened. Uniformitarianism is a presupposition applied to geology and the rock record, and also to biology, astronomy, physical chemistry, and many other scientific fields.

Now that we understand those starting points, we can take a closer look at the geologic record. There is no place on earth where we can find every rock layer in a continuous sequence. The geologic column presented in textbooks is a composite of many smaller columns that can be identified from direct observation. However, the presence of a general order in the rock record is undeniable. Questions about the nature of the geologic column ultimately center on the origin of the rock record. Those who start with a biblical view see the layers as evidence supporting the Creation Week and the global Flood described in Genesis (Genesis 1–2 and 6–9 respectively). Those who reject the clear teaching of the Bible interpret the rock record as a 4.5 billion year history of the earth.

There are many misconceptions about the nature of the geologic record and the geologic column used to represent the rock record. It helps to understand how the standard geologic column was constructed.

The concept of mapping and explaining rock layers began with Nicolaus Steno, who published on the geology of Tuscany in 1669. Steno set forth the basic rules followed by geologists today when examining field evidence. He actually based his reasoning on the biblical account of the Flood and accepted that the earth was only about 6,000 years old—a Bible–believing creationist laid the foundation for modern geology!

His Law of Superposition states that upper layers were deposited after the lower layers. The Principle of Original Horizontality states that sedimentary layers are deposited in flat layers that may later be disturbed. The Principle of Cross-Cutting Relationships states that a fault or intrusion must be younger than the layers it affects. All of these ideas can be used by both uniformitarian and biblical geologists to identify the relative ages of sediments.

During that same period, other geologists and theologians used the account of the Flood to understand the layers of sediment and the fossils contained in them. The understanding of the day was based on the idea that a major catastrophe had shaped the globe.

The doctrine that changes in the geologic record are a result of physical processes operating at rates that are dramatically higher than are observed today (note: although the biblical view is one of many catastrophist views, not all catastrophist views are biblical).

Contrary to the catastrophist view, James Hutton and Charles Lyell argued that the present is the key to the past. They viewed the layers of sediments as products of vast ages of time. The processes forming and eroding rocks today are the same as they have always been.

Geology was divided between catastrophists who believed many large-scale floods had shaped earth’s rock record and uniformitarians who believed in gradual processes. Eventually, the ideas of Hutton and Lyell came to dominate geologic thinking, and the Bible was thrown out of geology despite the efforts of some geologists who remained faithful to Scripture. Sadly, many theologians also adopted old-earth ideas and reinterpreted Scripture to align with the thinking of man.

The doctrine that present-day processes acting at similar rates as observed today account for the change evident in the geologic record.

William Smith first used the similarity of fossils to construct detailed geologic maps across wide areas. He used fossils to map and correlate rock layers and constructed the first geologic map of England and Wales in 1815. Smith was a creationist who believed in the old-earth view now known as progressive creationism. By the early 1800s the idea of an old earth was popular, though the idea of a global flood was still used to explain many geologic deposits.

The standard geologic column was constructed by combining descriptions of local areas to form a composite record. By 1885 the finer divisions of the column had been identified based on the principles established by Steno, Smith, and Lyell. These ideas were also beginning to impact the study of biology, and Lyell’s long-age ideas played a major role in Darwin’s development of the theory of biological evolution over vast geologic eras.

Index fossils played an important role in the development of the geologic column. The idea that life became increasingly complex over time, whether by some evolutionary force or continuous creation by God, was used to analyze the fossils in the rock layers. It was assumed that by identifying the order of fossil succession, the layers could be correlated from one region to the next. Index fossils are still one of the major indicators of the age of a given layer. Shelled creatures such as ammonites and mollusks are the most commonly used index fossils.

Geologic Time Scale

Illustrations like this one are actually made by combining pieces of the geologic column from all over the world. Geologists make many assumptions when trying to explain all of the fossils and rock layers.

Despite the confidence in index fossils, there is much criticism of their use—from both creationists and evolutionists. Slight differences in shell shape or structure are used to assign the shell to a new species, despite the variation apparent within a single living species today.

Another problem with index fossils is that, rather than being proof of evolution, evolution is already assumed to have occurred. The changes in features in index fossils of different periods are assumed to be caused by evolution, and the presence of different organisms in different periods is then used to support biological evolution. This is a case of using an assumption to prove the assumption is true—circular reasoning by any measure.

The geologic timescale we know today was not added to the column until after the development of radiometric dating techniques. Lyell and others had promoted the idea of millions of years of geologic history, but dates were not assigned to given layers until much later. Working on the assumptions of naturalism and uniformitarianism, the rock record was interpreted from these starting points. By the time radiometric dating techniques were implemented, the idea of millions of years of earth history had already become an established scientific “fact.” Using uniformitarian assumptions (see the discussion in chapter 4), the radiometric dating techniques are put forward as support for the timescale of the standard geologic column.

As ideas on the formation and age of the earth changed, the ages assigned to the layers of the geologic column changed along with them. Different radiometric dating techniques have been developed to date the rocks, and thus the fossils in adjacent layers, but the use of index fossils is still the primary method of identifying and describing the strata in the rock record. If the ages determined for a fossil do not fit the presuppositions, the ages are often massaged until they fit within evolutionary thinking. Far from being independent from geological uniformitarianism, biological evolution is supported by the ages and the ages are supported by the fossils and their supposed evolution. The dating game played by anthropologists to make the fossils fit the expected dates is as unscientific and subjective as you could imagine. This will be discussed in more detail in chapter 7 and is also demonstrated in article 6:2.

Prentice Hall 340

Glencoe 395

In the textbooks, the geologic record is correlated to the geologic periods that are alleged to extend over millions of years.

Despite the slow and gradual ideology of modern geology, the evidence is clearly explained by the biblical model—specifically relating the majority of the fossil-bearing geologic record to the Genesis Flood. Although there is much discussion among creationists about the details relating the Flood and creation to the geologic column, all agree that the majority of the fossil-bearing rock record is a product of the Genesis Flood and that any model must first be aligned with Scripture. Details such as exactly where the pre- Flood/Flood/post-Flood boundaries lie in the geologic column are still being evaluated. Nevertheless, the evidence of a global flood and rapid processes is overwhelming.

The layers exposed in the walls of Grand Canyon and in the Colorado Plateau region provide evidence of a catastrophe that must have covered at least the entire North American continent. The layer known as the Navajo Sandstone contains minerals that were eroded from the Appalachian Mountains. A river is used to explain this in the uniformitarian model, but a global Flood makes more sense of the evidence. The Tapeats Sandstone contains large boulders and was deposited in storm conditions over an immense area of north America. The Redwall Limestone extends from the Southwest to Pennsylvania and Tennessee—obviously deposited as the result of a massive catastrophe. Slow and gradual processes cannot explain these features of the rock record. (See article 6:7 for more examples.)

Layers that are all similarly bent are strong evidence in support of the rapid deposition of the layers exposed in Grand Canyon. Though there is an alleged time difference of 300 million years between the deposition of the Tapeats Sandstone and of the Kaibab Limestone, the layers have been bent to a similar angle by the Kaibab Upwarp (which allegedly occurred 70 million years ago). In places, the layers of the Tapeats Sandstone are bent at a 90° angle. These formations indicate that the layers must have been soft when the folding occurred. Had they been solid rock they would have fractured, but there is no evidence of fracturing. Heat and pressure can also cause deformation of rocks, but there is no evidence of that in the minerals and structure of these rocks. If the layers were deposited during the Flood and folded shortly after, there would not have been time for the rocks to harden and fracture.

As we look at the processes forming and eroding geologic structures today, we must admit they cannot be responsible for the features that we see across the globe. Textbooks and other evolutionbased sources suggest Grand Canyon formed gradually over the last 6–17 million years, slicing through layers that go back nearly 2 billion years. This amazing canyon has been interpreted as the result of a little water acting over a very long period of time. However, from the biblical perspective, the canyon formed from a lot of water acting over a short period of time.

Grand Canyon itself is best explained as a result of the erosion caused by the sudden release of water from large lakes left behind after the Flood. The Flood deposited many of the canyon’s layers, through which the canyon was later cut. Hopi and Canyonlands Lakes were remnants of the receding Floodwaters, impounded by the Kaibab Upwarp. While the sediment layers of the Kaibab Upwarp were still relatively soft, these lakes breached that barrier and their waters flowed west toward the Pacific Ocean, scouring the landscape. Could such a catastrophe actually carve such dramatic features? Evidence from the recent eruptions at Mount Saint Helens lends support to these claims.

After the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980, pumice and volcanic ash deposits blocked the Toutle River. Two years later a mud flow breached the area and eroded what is now known as the “Little Grand Canyon of the Toutle River,” cutting canyons up to 140 feet deep. The side canyons and channels resemble the appearance of Grand Canyon and mirror the rapid formation of a canyon in a short period. Nearby, Loowit Canyon was cut out of solid rock to a depth of 100 feet. These observed examples of rapid canyon formation can be used to help us understand how larger canyons and topographic features may have formed as a result of the Flood.

Another striking example is the flood of ancient Lake Missoula. This Ice Age lake in Montana and Idaho experienced a catastrophic natural dam failure that resulted in the formation of the Channeled Scablands of Washington, including the Palouse Canyon. These areas were eroded rapidly, resulting in features that could not be explained by uniformitarian principles. Even uniformitarian geologists have come to accept the massive scale of the rapid formation of these areas. Again, these formations support the biblical model of a global Flood, and its aftereffects, with the power to form massive erosional features.

Two other major considerations of the geologic record are the catastrophic movement of the continents during the Flood and the Ice Age that resulted from the Flood. These two important aspects will be discussed in more detail in following chapters. Altogether, the evidence can be interpreted within the scientific model that includes the Creation Week and the Flood. The billions of years are not necessary to explain the geologic column. Six thousand years is enough time despite the uniformitarian claims to the contrary.

Ultimately, the fossil-bearing geologic record represents the wrath of God poured out in judgment on a world filled with sin. As we look at thistles and thorn bushes growing along a canyon where the layers of fossil-bearing sediment are exposed, how can we help but be reminded of God’s justice? The rock record is a testimony to God’s sovereign control over this earth from Creation to the Flood to today. The Ark is a testimony to His mercy which was ultimately demonstrated through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Reference Article Summaries

6:1 Geological conflict


The discovery of fossil wood in limestone with Jurassic period index fossils has provided the opportunity to date the rock with carbon-14 dating. This limestone layer would normally be given a date based on its position and index fossils. The Marlstone bed is estimated to be 189 million years old based on the ammonite and belemnite fossils. If the wood is truly that old there should be no traces of carbon-14 remaining.

Samples of the wood were sent to two testing facilities. Using accelerator mass spectrometry, a technique that can detect minute quantities of carbon-14, the labs found detectable carbon-14 in all of the samples. The age of the wood was calculated to be between 20,700 and 28,820 years old. The wood is obviously younger than the 189- million-year-old layer it was found in.

Knowing the wood could not contain radiocarbon after 189 million years, evolutionary geologists would never have tested it. They believe that limestone was formed slowly at the bottom of shallow seas where wood should not be found. A far more likely explanation is that the fossil marine animals and wood were buried during the global Genesis Flood. The carbon-14 dates are not inconsistent with the 4,500-year age when considering the different environment these organisms lived in prior to the Flood. In the evolutionary model, such inconsistencies cast doubt on the index fossil dating method and its uniformitarian and evolutionary assumptions.

6:2 The pigs took it all


It is a myth that radiometric dating confirms the geologic timescale and the evolution of humans. The stories told by famous scientists have convinced most people of the idea of an earth that is millions of years old. However, a famous fossil hominid and its surrounding sediment have been assigned many different dates over time.

Since most sedimentary rocks and their fossils cannot be dated by radiometric dating volcanic ash (tuff) layers are used. The KBS (Kay Behrensmeyer Site) Tuff has hominid fossils and artifacts above and below it, so a maximum and minimum age can be assigned to those fossils. Skull 1470 was found by Richard Leakey in Kenya. He assigned it an age of 2.9 million years old based on the modern structure of the skull and earlier radiometric dates.

When the KBS Tuff was first potassium-argon (K-Ar) dated at between 212 and 230 million years old, the dates were automatically rejected as bad dates. Why? Because the scientists already knew that the layer should be between 2 and 5 million years old based on the fossils and artifacts it was near. Later testing adjusted the date to 2.61 million years based on minerals in the rock samples. This fitted Leakey’s skull nicely, but hardly demonstrates that the radiometric dating is an independent confirmation of the fossil age. Dates that are bad with respect to the expected evolutionary model are set aside, and good dates are based on the fossils present. If the fossils were never found in this area, the tuff layer would have been considered to be over 200 million years old—a significant difference.

Later work on pig and elephant fossils, as well as paleomagnetism, in the same sediments seemed to confirm the dating. However, the 2.9-million-year date was not acceptable in terms of human evolution. More dating put the skull between 1.6 and 1.82 million years old—a date Leakey resisted. Then in 1981 the layer was dated again at 1.87–1.89 million years. Ultimately, this is circular reasoning where the dates are good when they confirm the evolutionary thinking that they are used to support, and bad when they don’t.

Prior to this (1975), the comparison of pig evolution, based on scant evidence, was used to suggest that the 2.6- million-year dates were off by 800,000 years and needed to be adjusted. Ultimately, the objective radiometric dating techniques were placed in doubt by the subjective arrangement of hypothetical pig evolution.

The first myth exposed by this account is that unless the correct rock is chosen to arrive at the correct date, the procedure was flawed or contaminated in some way. This presents a self-deceptive circular argument. Second, when a fossil is found and the search for a date begins, the correct date can be found by choosing the correct date from the options available. The fossils determine the radiometric date that is accepted. In this case the pigs won over the elephants, K-Ar, and other dating techniques. The evolutionary presuppositions dominate the interpretations—the facts do not speak for themselves.

6:3 Ten misconceptions about the geologic column

This article presents ten misconceptions about the geologic column, discussing the composition of the column, its correlation to the age of the earth, and the dating of layers from fossils and other uniformitarian assumptions. Some selected examples are discussed here. The geologic column was actually constructed based on empirical evidence from the rock record by men who would be called progressive creationists in today’s terms. The geologic time periods and eras were added later by uniformitarian scientists.

The geologic record for any given area is not always consistent with the geologic column shown in textbooks. The layers are sometimes out of order or absent which can make identifying the layers difficult. Using index fossils to correlate rock layers across continents is not always reliable, but data from drilling, seismic activity, and surface features allow many layers to be correlated across continents.

Radiometric dating often gives discordant ages to rock layers, and the process of sedimentation does not require millions of years. Connected to this idea are the illustrations of the geologic ages with their built-in evolutionary bias. However, these are just representations of what these sedimentary environments may have looked like and do not necessarily support the supposed evolutionary story they are supposed to represent.

6:4 Focus: rocks forming in months

Creation 17.2

Stones measuring up to a foot across are forming in a Norfolk (UK) marsh in a process which is happening in a few months or years. Small (and not-so-small) black lumps of rock are forming, as bacteria thriving on rotting vegetation produce “an iron-rich form of limestone, which acts as a mineral cement, binding the sand and mud together.” Geologists have dug up similar stones before, which “often contain beautifully formed fossils.” These fossils show a lot of detail of the soft flesh, “as it had no time to rot before the rock formed around it.” Geology professor Max Coleman is keen to study the marsh. The rock is “forming faster than anyone had ever believed possible, with one stone creating itself in just six months” (Eastern Daily Press, UK, October 5, 1994). Creationists have long pointed out that hardening of sediments into rock is mainly a matter of the right cementing substances being present and that it doesn’t require millions of years.


Uniformitarian thinking says that most canyons form from a little water over a long period of time. Catastrophism explains canyon formation from a lot of water over a short time. Canyons near Mount St. Helens and the scablands of eastern Washington provide evidence of canyon formation in a matter of days.

6:5 Grand Canyon strata show geologic time is imaginary


Visitors to Grand Canyon hear the usual geological interpretation involving millions of years. Guests are told that the horizontal formation at the bottom, the Tapeats Sandstone, was deposited 550 million years ago, and the Kaibab Limestone that forms the rim is 250 million years old. It is diffi cult to imagine the immense time involved in this interpretation. Interestingly, Grand Canyon strata extend over 250 miles into the eastern part of Arizona. Th ere, they are at least one mile lower in elevation. Supposedly, the uplift of Grand Canyon area occurred about 70 million years ago—hundreds of millions of years after the sediments were deposited.

One would expect that hundreds of millions of years would have been plenty of time for the sediment to cement into hard rock. Yet, the evidence indicates that the sediments were soft and unconsolidated when they bent. Instead of fracturing like the basement rock did, the entire layer thinned as it bent. Th e sand grains show no evidence that the material was brittle and rock-hard, because none of the grains is elongated. Neither has the mineral cementing the grains been broken and recrystallized. Instead, the evidence points to the whole 4,000-foot thickness of strata being still flexible when it was uplifted. In other words, the millions of years of geologic time are imaginary. This flexible deformation of Grand Canyon strata dramatically demonstrates the reality of the catastrophic global Flood of Noah’s day.

6:6 A canyon in six days!


Most people are taught that Grand Canyon formed as the Colorado River eroded the landscape over millions of years. The fact that the same results could be accomplished with a lot of water over a short time is generally not mentioned. Observations of canyon formation in modern times suggest that Grand Canyon may have formed much as did a small canyon near Walla Walla, Washington—a lot of water over a short time. During an unusually wet period, a small irrigation ditch was used to divert some excess water. As the water passed through the ditch, it became a gully, then a gulch, then a canyon, 1,500 feet long and 120 feet deep. This all happened in six days, not millions of years. The similar formation of the Toutle River canyon near Mount St. Helens offers another example that is analogous to what would have happened as the Floodwaters receded in the days of Noah.

6:7 Uluru and Kata Tjuta

A testimony to the Flood, Snelling,

Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) rises above the central Australian desert as an outcrop of many layers of sandstone. These layers are tilted at 80–85° and are nearly 4 miles thick. Uluru is composed of arkose (sandstone), and the randomly sorted mineral grains have jagged edges.

Kata Tjuta is nearby and is part of a conglomerate formation that extends over 25 miles. These layers are tilted at 10–18° and are composed of rounded boulders, cobbles, and pebbles cemented together by a finer matrix. It would seem that these two formations share a common history.

Evolutionists claim that the material for these two features was deposited as alluvial fans about 550–600 million years ago when the area was covered by a shallow sea. Repeated events of folding and faulting shaped the landscape and lifted these layers to the surface over 100 million years. The area has been exposed for the last 300 million years, creating the erosional features we see today. This is an interesting story, but does the evidence support it?

One problem with the story is the presence of fresh feldspar crystals in the Uluru arkose. These should have weathered to form clay if they had truly been exposed for hundreds of millions of years. Another problem is with the jagged edges and random mixing of the mineral grains. If these layers were slowly deposited over 50 million years, the edges would have become rounded and the particles would have been sorted by size and density. Even evolutionary geologists admit that the large boulders in the layers of Kata Tjuta must have been deposited relatively quickly by a torrent of water.

All of this evidence is far more consistent with a global flood that ripped up and redeposited materials in a very short time frame. The force of the water required to move these many thousands of feet of sediment into place in a short time is best explained as a result of the Genesis Flood catastrophe and the geologic activity that would have been associated with it. Ultimately, the uniformitarian assumptions are not consistent with the evidence of catastrophic depositional processes.

6:8 How long did it take to deposit the geologic column?


Evolutionists argue that although some sedimentary layers may have been deposited relatively quickly, the deposition of the entire column required hundreds of millions of years. Creationists suggest that the bulk of the fossil– bearing sedimentary rocks were deposited during the one– year period of Noah’s Flood and its associated geologic events. The uppermost surface of each layer should allow us to determine which explanation fits the evidence.

Distinct ripple marks on the surface of many sandstone layers make it clear that these layers were quickly covered. If millions of years had passed between these layers, the ripple marks would be eroded. The absence of animal burrows and plant roots in these layers also suggests a rapid sequence. Polystrate fossils that cross many layers also require the successive layers to be deposited quickly. The limited amount of erosional features, called unconformities, on a global scale also points to the rapid deposition of the rock layers. All of this is what we would expect from the Flood described in the Bible.

6:9 Recent rapid uplift of today’s mountains


There is disagreement between the field observations of mountain formation and the theoretical uniformitarian models that are supposed to describe the process. The field data show processes that occur much too rapidly to fit the present rates accepted under uniformitarian assumptions. Because of the specialization that happens in much of science, many in the earth science community do not know such a problem explaining the uplift of mountains exists.

The biblical record, however, provides a straightforward explanation. The catastrophic processes of the Flood and the reworking of the crust formed the mountains very rapidly. As the earth’s crustal plates stopped moving near the end of the Flood, the areas of thickened crust were forced upward to reach equilibrium. In the uniformitarian model, this uplift occurred in the last 5 million years. In the biblical time frame, the uplift occurred over a few hundred years after the Flood.

The case seems compelling that the Flood was accompanied by major tectonic activity. The fact that the ocean floor is young, even by uniformitarian standards, suggests an extremely rapid replacement during the events of the Flood. Computer models support this claim and provide a model to explain the rapid spreading of the continents accompanied by rapid subduction. This subduction would produce mountains along these boundaries in rapid fashion. How this rapid formation could occur in the uniformitarian model poses a serious problem.

The planation surfaces that precede the mountain-building phase are another problem in the uniformitarian model. These flat surfaces can be explained by sheet erosion due to the waters of the Flood flowing rapidly off of the continents and into the ocean basins as the continental crust bobbed up on the mantle. All of these processes are best explained by a recent, global Flood.

6:10 Limestone caves: a result of Noah’s Flood?

Doolan, Mackay, Snelling, Hallby,

The extensive system known as Carlsbad Caverns was discovered by Jim White in 1901 and is just one of hundreds of limestone caves found around the world. The evolutionists would suggest that the caves began forming around 60 million years ago. The rock was gradually eroded along cracks, and intersecting channels eventually formed the labyrinth of caverns and passages.

The belief that these limestone caves (known as karst formations) formed as acidic water dissolved the rocks is based on four lines of evidence. First, modern caves show an ongoing process of solution by the formation of stalactites and stalagmites. Second, the structures found in caves match those found in solution experiments. Third, the passages follow fractures and the level of the land as would be expected by the natural flow of water. Fourth, caves resembling limestone caves do not occur in non-limestone rocks that are less soluble. However, these processes do not require millions of years to form caves.

Studies on limestone caves in Kentucky have shown that a volume 59 meters long by one meter square can be dissolved in one year at the current rates. So, at the present rate, long ages are not required to create large caverns. This study and others make it clear that these large cave formations could have formed rapidly within the biblical time frame.

The thick layers of limestone show that they were catastrophically deposited. These layers of lime sediment would have contained water that would then be squeezed out as the weight of the overlying sediment layers built up the pressure on them. The water would pass through internal cracks while the sediment was hardening. As the floodwaters receded, the layers were uplifted and contorted by tectonic activity. The resulting forces and erosion of the sediments overlying the limestone would allow more water to escape and further open existing channels.

After the majority of the floodwaters had receded, there would still be lots of groundwater containing acids from decaying vegetation. This would mix with carbon dioxide and cause the rapid solution of the cave features. Finally, the groundwater would slowly drain out, leaving the caverns behind where the stalactites and stalagmites would then form. Thus, what is generally explained through processes over millions of years can be easily explained within the biblical time frame of a few thousand years, commencing with the global Flood.

6:11 Does salt come from evaporated seawater?


Evolutionists suggest that salt deposits (so-called evaporites) form as seas are filled and evaporated over long ages. This is not consistent with the many salt beds we find in the geologic record. Many of the salt beds are extremely thick and cover vast areas. It seems quite inconceivable that huge basins could repeatedly fill and evaporate in cycles over millions of years and remain in the same location. Modern salt lagoons fill in, erode, and migrate, so the same processes acting today could not produce huge salt beds.

Modern evaporites are impure, with many organisms living in them due to other mixed-in sediments. Large salt beds are absolutely pure. Since they contain no fossils and are extremely pure, they must not have formed from evaporating seas over vast ages. Many now think the salt was extruded as warm-to-hot supersaturated salt brines passed upward along faults and then rapidly cooled when they came in contact with the colder surface water, thus immediately releasing their salt load en masse to form pure salt deposits. Today we find these pure salt deposits and other important minerals in similar deposits that can only be explained by catastrophic processes—the processes that accompanied the Genesis Flood.

6:12 Not ancient reefs but catastrophic deposits


The large limestone deposits in New Mexico and Texas are believed by evolutionists to be an ancient reef. The fossils found in the layer are used by evolutionists to support an old-earth interpretation. They claim that it takes many thousands of years for reefs to form, so these deposits could not have been deposited during the year-long Flood.

A closer look at the alleged “fossilized” reefs shows that they are made of sediments not bound together by fossils in original growth positions, and some do not have a solid rock foundation. Their cores also do not show the types of growth structures found in modern coral reefs, while their angles of deposition, as well as other evidences, point to rapid sediment and fossil deposition. On the other hand, if these were pre-Flood reefs somewhat different to modern reefs, they could have been washed into place during the Flood.

Questions to Consider

  1. How was the geologic column we see in the textbooks developed? When was the timescale added?
  2. If the geologic column represents an order in the layers of Grand Canyon and radiometric dating is accurate, then why do layers lower in the canyon give dates much younger than upper layers?
  3. If there are supposedly hundreds of millions of years between the layers at the top and bottom of Grand Canyon, why were the layers all folded the same way simultaneously without breaking? Would the bending of those layers be better explained if the layers were still soft?
  4. How were the extensive sedimentary layers formed on top of one another? Could a global flood explain the deposition of these layers?
  5. How do uniformitarian geologists explain the lack of erosion between many layers in Grand Canyon if they were deposited millions of years apart?
  6. Why is a global flood rejected as an explanation for the geologic features we see on the earth today?
  7. Are the index fossils a reliable way to date rock layers over billions of years of history if scientists can’t agree on the classification of living creatures today?
  8. How can a tiny river explain the deep, wide erosion of features like Grand Canyon? Could a massive flood explain their formation?

Tools for Digging Deeper

Creation: Facts of Life by Gary Parker

Evolution Exposed: Biology by Roger Patterson

Footprints in the Ash by John Morris and Steve Austin

Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe (Technical) by Steve Austin

The Missoula Flood Controversy (Technical) by Mike Oard

The New Answers Book by Ken Ham et al.

The New Answers Book 2 by Ken Ham et al.

Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth Volume 1 (Technical) by ICR

Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth Volume 2 (Technical) by ICR

Thousands . . . Not Billions by Don DeYoung

Evolution Exposed: Earth Science

Learn how to respectfully counter the evolutionary bias and indoctrination in astronomical and geological evolution.

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