Time in the geologic column. Part 3

Glenn Morton (GRMorton@gnn.com)
Sat, 23 Mar 1996 08:22:22

The Geologic Column and Its Implications to the Flood Part 3
Glenn R. Morton
Copyright 1995
This can be freely distributed as long as no charge is made and no alterations
are made to the text.


What does all this mean? First, as I have noted before, the
concept quite prevalent among some Christians that the geologic
column does not exist is quite wrong. Morris and Parker (Morris
and Parker, 1987, p. 163) write:

"Now, the geologic column is an idea, not an actual series of
rock layers. Nowhere do we find the complete sequence."

Huse (1983, p. 15) writes:
"It is important to realize that *nowhere in the world does the
geologic column actually occur.* It exists only in the minds of evolutionary

Rehwinkel (1950, p. 265) writes of the geologic column:
"Nothing resembling such a series has ever been found together in one
place on the face of the earth."

They are wrong. You just saw the whole column piled up in one
place where one oil well can drill through it. How such an error became
"fact" in Christian apologetical circles is a mystery to me.

Second, the existence of desert deposits is quite hard to place
in the context of a global flood. Morris and Morris (1989, p.
37) write:
"If real desert-formed features do exist in the deeper
geologic deposits, this could indeed be a problem for the
Biblical model since the antediluvian environment was said by
God to be all 'very good' and the future promised restoration
of these to good conditions to the earth includes desert
reclamation (e.g. Isaiah 35)."

The early oceanic sediments are covered by desert deposits of the
Prairie Evaporite, Interlake, and Minnelusa formations. Oncolites
found in the Interlake prove that these deposits took some time
to be deposited. There are 11 separate salt beds scattered
through four ages: 2 Jurassic Salt beds, 1 Permian salt bed, 7
Mississippian salt beds, and one thick devonian salt. Half of
these salt beds are up to 200 feet thick. The top Mississippian
salt is 96% pure sodium chloride! Since they are sandwiched
between other sediments, to explain them on the basis of a
global, one-year flood, requires a mechanism by which
undersaturated sea water can dump its salt. If the sea were
super-saturated during the flood, the no fish would have
survived. Evaporation is the only reasonable explanation.

Third, the geologic column is not divided by hydrodynamic
sorting. Whitcomb and Morris (1961, p. 276) writes:

"In general, though, as a statistical average, beds would tend
to be deposited in just the order that has been ascribed to
them in terms of the standard geologic column. That is on
top of the beds of marine vertebrates would be found amphibians,
then reptiles and finally birds and mammals. This is in the
order: (1) of increasing mobility and therefore increasing
ability to postpone inundation; (2) of decreasing density and
other hydrodynamic factors tending to promote earlier and
deeper sedimentation, and (3) of increasing elevation of
habitat and therefore time required for the Flood to attain
stages sufficient to overtake them."

The biggest single factor for how fast an object settles in a
fluid is the size. The relevant physical law is Stoke's Law. The
larger an object, the faster it falls. A cat can survive a fall
from a 20 story building because it falls at a speed of only 60
mph. A human dies because he reaches a terminal velocity of 120
mph if laid out like a skydiver, 180 if He falls feet first.
Thus for any given habitat, the largest animals should be on the
bottom. There are a lot of very small dinosaurs found in the
Morrison formation, with the giants, both of which are below the
Niobrara which contains the 20 foot long fish and micrometer
sized chalk particles. Large, teleost fish are found well above
the layers in which fish are first found.

Fourth, the geologic column is not sorted by ecological zones.
The Silurian Interlake, Devonian Prairie, Pennsylvanian
Minnelusa and Jurassic Morisson formations are continental
deposits. Oceanic deposits are sandwiched between these beds.
The ocean came and went many times.

Fifth, the persistent burrowing which is found throughout the
geologic column, the erosional layers and the evaporative salt
requires much more time than a single year to account for the
whole column. Here is how I know the Williston Basin sediments
couldn't be deposited in a single year. 15,000 feet divided by
365 days equals 41 feet per day. Assuming that a burrow is only
1 foot long and that the creature could not survive the burial by
an additional foot of sediment, the creature doing the burrowing
must accomplish his work in less than 40 minutes. That doesn't
sound all that bad, until it is realized that if the poor critter
ever stops to rest, even for a half an hour, he will be buried
too deeply to escape.
The pure coccolith chalks of the Niobrara and the bentonite
deposits also require a lot of time. A chalk particle, 2 microns
in radius, takes about 80 days to fall through only 300 feet of
very still water. The 200 feet of the Niobrara Chalk would have
to be deposited in 4 days if the column was the result of a 1-
year flood. The detection of long-period cyclicities in the
Niobrara which match those of the earth's long-term orbital
periodicities must cause one to pause and think about the concept
that the geologic column is due to a single cataclyms.
Some of the smaller volcanic ash particles in the bentonites
could take even longer to fall through 100 m in water than the

Sixth, the fact that the fossils mammals are not found with
the earliest dinosaurs, or that no primates are found until the
Ft. Union formation or that no full dinosaur skeletons are found
in the Tertiary section, implies strongly that the column was not
the result of a single cataclysm. Worldwide, no whales are found
with the large Devonian fish. If the column was an ecological
burial pattern, then whales and porpoises should be buried with
the fish. They aren't. The order of the fossils must be
explained either by progressive creation or evolution.

Seventh, until Christian catastrophists can explain the
facts of the geologic column, they need to tone down their
rhetoric against the geologist and other scientists. Paul Steidl
(Steidl, 1979, p. 94) wrote:

"The entire scientific community has accepted the great age
of the universe; indeed, it has built all its science upon
that supposition. They will not give it up without a fight.
In fact, they will never give it up, even if it means
compromising their reason or even their professional
integrity, for to admit creation is to admit the existence of
the God of the Bible."

Geology, like any science, is not immune from criticism. but
Christians who criticize geology should do so only after a
thorough understanding of the data, not as is usually the case
before such an understanding is gained. They should also be
willing to advance explanations for explaining the details

Eighth, those who would decry the use of uniformitarianism in
the interpretation of the fossil record need to show how
uniformitarian methodology is inappropriate when one looks at the
persistent burrowing, the orbital cyclicities, the abundant
erosional surfaces and footprints. They also need to show why
the laws of physics (Stokes law) does not apply to the deposition
of 2 micron chalk particles, and demonstrate what laws do apply
in order to explain the supposed rapid sedimentation of these
Ninth and finally, the data shows that there is no strata
which can be identified as the flood strata and there is no way
to have the whole column be deposited in a single year. Thus, if
we are to believe in a Flood, it must have been local in extent.


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