Canyon Rocks
Travelers to the Hamersley range in Western Australia can see colorful rocks that may date from Creation Week.

Clues from Creation Week

by Dr. Andrew A. Snelling on January 1, 2018; last featured January 28, 2023
Featured in Answers Magazine
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Did you know that even today you can still see and touch rocks that date back to God’s original creation during the creation week?

Well, you can! I vividly remember visiting the Hamersley area in Australia’s northwest, part of two-thirds of the continent’s surface not covered today by flood rocks. I was awestruck as I gazed at the vast iron formations, whose individual thin, cherry-red beds can be traced for hundreds of miles. I was seeing rocks that could date back to the creation week.

God made the dry land on day three (Genesis 1:9–10), which must have consisted of rocks. He next put soil across that land surface and created all manner of plants to beautify it (Genesis 1:11–12).

Since God finished his “very good” creation (Genesis 1:31), the earth has suffered from the effects of the curse, as well as dramatic reshaping by the cataclysmic global flood.

Even so, in places, we can still see and touch rocks that date back to the original creation, though heat and pressure have likely changed their look and mineral content.

Among them are some rock types not generally seen in higher layers of the geologic record produced by the flood. So, they show us that God’s original creation was in part different from today’s world. But as we look closer at these unusual rock types, we discover they were necessary—by God’s design—to provide for human needs both before and after the flood.

Identifying Pre-flood Rocks

How do we identify rocks that predate the flood? The short answer is, by their relative position in the geologic record and by their character.

Rocks consisting of grains deposited by water, such as sandstone or mudstone, and containing animal or plant fossils must have formed from the flood and its aftermath. The Bible plainly states that God sent the flood as a judgment to destroy life from the earth’s surface (Genesis 6:17). So we would expect to find billions of fossils buried in rock layers deposited by water all over the earth.

The rocks below the flood layers are likely pre-flood. In fact, the boundary below the first flood rocks is generally an erosion surface. This means that some massive force, such as fastmoving water, shaved the land surface flat. This Great Unconformity can be traced across most continents. That is to be expected if the onset of the flood caused massive erosion, as waters catastrophically rose and raced across the continents.

In evolutionary terminology, the rocks directly above the Great Unconformity are called Cambrian, and those below are called Precambrian. In some places the uppermost Precambrian rocks show evidence of having been deposited in the earliest moments of the flood (broken rock fragments, tiny fossilized critters).

Creation Rocks

A few of the rocks beneath the flood strata were probably deposited during the centuries after creation week. Otherwise, Precambrian rocks are usually creation week rocks.

Surprisingly, some of these rocks were also laid down by powerful waters. How could this be, before the flood? Remember that God made the dry land on day three. That may well have involved uplifting rocks out of the globe-encircling ocean. As the uplifted rocks breached the surface, the waters would have rushed off and carried sediments offshore. Such sedimentation would have continued throughout creation week.

This in no way implies God did not use miraculous processes. Thousands of feet of sediment must have been deposited within hours. Only God could accomplish that. Genesis suggests God created in a definite order, which involved processes unfolding, although at miraculous rates.

Unique Sedimentary Rocks from Creation

Among the sedimentary rocks from creation week are some unusual types that never again appeared in earth history.

Among the sedimentary rocks from creation week are some unusual types that never again appeared in earth history.

The most dramatic are the banded iron formations, from which come almost all the world’s iron ores. Without them we would have no steel, which is at the heart of modern civilization. These particular rocks consist of alternating thin layers, or bands. The major bands are red-brown because they consist of iron oxides. The other, thinner bands are bright-red chert, a microscopically crystalline form of silica (the mineral found in window glass), the most common constituent of the earth’s crust. This variety is called jasper. Its red color comes from iron oxide mixed in with the silica.

The formation of these massive iron ore deposits baffles geologists. Evidence points to catastrophic outpourings of chemicals in hot waters with humongous volcanic eruptions. The early creation must have been a magnificent forge!

Another voluminous sedimentary rock in the Precambrian strata is carbonates (a chemical combination of calcium, carbon, and oxygen). The most common rock is dolomite, a special type of carbonate mineral rich in magnesium. Regular limestone consists of calcium carbonate (or calcite), but dolomite is a 50:50 mixture of magnesium and calcium carbonate. Both types of carbonates are found among rocks thought to be from creation week. However, dolomite precipitates from waters considerably warmer than today’s oceans. This suggests that ocean conditions during creation week were much warmer and the water contained more magnesium.

Unique Granites, Lavas, and Metal Deposits

Granite is a major earth rock, but the earliest granites are very different chemically from later granites. The granites formed during the flood were likely created from melting crust as massive tectonic plates ground over each other at high speed. Their chemical composition is high in potassium and calcium. Original granites are instead rich in sodium. They are made of different minerals, consistent with their having been created instantly.

Another basic rock on earth is lavas, usually associated with active volcanoes. The lavas from creation week are called komatiites and are unique. They are associated with the foundations of continents. Chemically, these are rich in magnesium and often contain needle-like crystals of the common green mineral olivine. These lavas are interlayered with other lavas and sedimentary rocks in massive sequences called greenstone belts.

These terms may sound foreign, but everyone in the world enjoys the benefits. Komatiites host unique deposits of nickel sulphide. Veins in these early volcanic rocks host distinctive gold and other metal deposits.

Other metals essential to our modern industrial age are found in deposits unique to the Precambrian, including chromium (in huge underground basaltic intrusions), and gold and uranium (in enormous conglomerate beds, such as the famed Witwatersrand of South Africa).

Imagine modern life without metals like nickel, chrome, and gold—thousands of conveniences from stainless steel to gold jewelry and electronics would be impossible!

God’s Provision

It is amazing and humbling that we can still see creation rocks today. They are unique because creation week was unique in earth history. Later rocks were derived from the destruction of these created rocks during God’s judgment of man’s wickedness in the cataclysmic global flood.

Yet in his wisdom and power, God made the earth to be a fit home for future generations of mankind. He lavishly endowed it with all manner of mineral ores for us to exploit in our pursuit of comfort and technology. God in his sovereignty has richly provided us with everything to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17).

Finding Creation in the Canyon

Canyon Rocks

In the region around the Grand Canyon, you can walk all the way down through rocks laid down by the flood and even earlier—during creation week. The boundary between the flood and pre-flood rocks is a flat surface known as the Great Unconformity, where the raging flood shaved off the earth’s surface.

Dr. Andrew A. Snelling holds a PhD in geology from the University of Sydney and has worked as a consultant research geologist. Author of numerous scientific articles, Dr. Snelling is now director of research at Answers in Genesis–US.

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