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According to the American Museum of Natural History:
Evidence of the evolution of Earth’s atmosphere is given by a 2.7-billion-year-old specimen of a banded iron formation from Ontario, Canada. As single-celled organisms began generating oxygen through photosynthesis, iron and silica minerals in brilliant shades of red precipitated out of the oceans. The iron bands stopped forming once the atmosphere and ocean were saturated with oxygen, roughly 1.7 billion years ago. Other examples of this nascent period include stromatolites, fossil rocks from West Africa which were formed by blue-green algae some 900 million years ago. (www.amnh.org/rose/hope/evolved/)
However, scientists have now discovered that the earth’s atmosphere has never been without oxygen (as we would expect since God created the world to be inhabited by animals and humans, Genesis 1).
Banded Iron Formations (BIFs)
Michael Oard suggests that the banded iron formations, allegedly evidence of the early earth atmosphere, are actually the result of the initial stages of the Flood. He speculates that BIFs could have formed quickly from the hot water and magma flows that resulted as the fountains of the great deep broke open.
Rapid currents then spread out from the eruptions, forming the BIFs. (M. Oard, “Could BIFs be caused by the fountains of the great deep?” TJ 11:3, 1997, pp. 261–262) BIFs may also be pre-Flood hydrothermal deposits.
Stromatolites are finely layered accumulations of sediment bound by microorganisms, especially cyanobacteria. They have a variety of forms including flat, sheet-like layers to large domal mounds.
Living stromatolites have been found in a variety of environments including desert streams, beneath frozen Antarctic lakes, freshwater African lakes, and marine settings. The most famous living examples are large dome-like stromatolites from the coast of Western Australia.
Fossil stromatolites are well known and occur throughout the fossil record, primarily in the Precambrian. Creationist opinions about their origin vary. Recently, Dr. Kurt Wise reported what he thought were stromatolites that grew in place in the Precambrian sediments (pre-Flood) of the Grand Canyon as part of a large hydrothermal system. (K. Wise, “The Hydrothermal Biome: a Pre-Flood Environment,” Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Creationism. Creation Science Fellowhip, 2003, pp. 359–370.)
Dr. John Whitmore believes the fossil stromatolites of the Eocene Green River Formation represent stromatolites that grew in place after the Flood. (J. Whitmore, “The Green River Formation: a large post-Flood lake system Journal of Creation 20:1, 2006, pp. 55–63.)
More creationist work needs to be completed on the origin of other stromatolites in other parts of the fossil record before firm conclusions can be reached.
According to the American Museum of Natural History, “the planet took shape around a molten iron core” (www.amnh.org/rose/hope/evolved/).
Most museums picture the early earth as a hot molten blob. However, we know from the Bible that God formed the world covered with water. He created lush vegetation shortly thereafter and filled the world with living things over the following days.