Re: Flood Model [was Early Cambrian explosion]

Steven H. Schimmrich (sschimmr@ursa.calvin.edu)
Tue, 09 Feb 1999 13:35:44 -0500

At 11:53 AM 2/9/99 -0800, Art Chadwick wrote:
>
> Most halites I have studied (I have processed hundreds of samples) are
> pretty much sterile. There are some halites, such as the famous Cambrian
> salts of Punjab province in India that are loaded with palynomorphs and
> insect fragments of putative "Eocene age". Now there is a salt that has
> pollen and junk in it. But how do you explain it in Cambrian salt?

Interesting Art should mention the Punjab salts. I have an essay on Precambrian
pollen located at:

http://home.earthlink.net/~schimmrich/essays/hakatai.html

which started as a discussion with Art in April 1996. I think he's being disingenuous
in mentioning this example as "evidence" against the geologic time scale.

Here's a cut and paste directly from my web page:

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I would also like to say more about Steve Austin's example from the Salt Range in
Punjab, India. Austin references Sahni (1944) and Coates, et al., (1945) for this
example. It's instructive to examine these papers to see how misleading young-earth
creationists are in their use of references.

There was a controversy about the age of Saline Series in the Salt Range in Punjab,
India. Some believed it to be Precambrian or Lower Cambrian in age (approximately
525,000,000 years old) while others believed it was Early Tertiary in age (approximately
50,000,000 years old) and Cambrian strata had been thrust over it. This is a big
difference but it's hard to date salt beds since they commonly have no fossils and can't
be radiometrically dated. Sahni (1944) decided to look for pollen in the salt to see if
he could solve this problem. He found abundant pollen, spores, and even an insect in the
salt. From this he concluded that it was Tertiary in age. His paper doesn't support
Austin's idea that vascular plant remains were found in "Cambrian" strata since Sahni
drew the conclusion that the strata was Eocene in age!

What about the paper by Coates, et al., (1945)? They disagreed with Sahni and claimed
that the Saline series is indeed Cambrian and is conformable with the overlying Cambrian
rocks. Where then did the modern-day pollen and insects come from? Here's what they had
to say:

"Regarding the evidence of Tertiary to sub-recent fossils found by Prof. Sahni, we
observed so many instances, even deep in the salt mines, of sub-recent material
being enveloped in the salt and in the marls, that it seems possible Prof. Sahni's
fossils had a similar origin, notwithstanding that in many cases they have every
appearance of being in situ."

So these guys claim that Sahni was wrong about the age of the strata. They really are
Cambrian in age, but the modern-looking pollen, spores, and insects were later
incorporated into the salt as a contaminant. This is not an unlikely scenario since
thick salt beds can actually flow like glaciers over long periods of time. This process
is called salt tectonics and has been documented in the Salt Range (Krishnan, 1966).
Does this paper support Austin's claim of vascular plant remains in Cambrian strata?
Not really.

Even more damaging, however, are later studies, which young-earth creationists like
Steve Austin conveniently forget to mention, which show how samples of the Saline
Series from drill holes (where they can't be contaminated), only contain Cambrian-aged
spores from non-vascular plants (Bose, 1956):

"Spores and other plant remains in drill cores of the Punjab saline series from
the Dhariala well no. 1 in the Salt Range, west Pakistan, resemble those recorded
from rocks of undisputed Cambrian age elsewhere in India and in the world. The age
of the saline series is therefore Cambrian, rather than Tertiary as advocated by
some."

Today, fifty years after Austin's 1944 and 1945 examples, we recognize that the Saline
Series in the Salt Range is indeed Cambrian (Zharkov, 1981, p. 92) and that Sahni's
results were due to contamination.

This example in no way supports Austin's thesis and I would strongly argue that he is
being totally dishonest by presenting these references totally out of context.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

- Steve.

--
   Steven H. Schimmrich, Assistant Professor of Geology
   Department of Geology, Geography, and Environmental Studies
   Calvin College, 3201 Burton Street SE, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49546
   sschimmr@calvin.edu (office), schimmri@earthlink.net (home)
   616-957-7053 (voice mail), 616-957-6501 (fax) 
   http://home.earthlink.net/~schimmrich/