Dispatches from the Creation Wars

More Fun With Flood Geology

In the comment thread on an earlier post about flood geology, I posed the following question to David Buckna:

I have a simple question for David Buckna: Which geological strata were deposited by the flood? What are the beginning and ending boundaries? The general YEC position is that humans and dinosaurs lived together than dinosaurs went extinct during or shortly after the flood, so is it the K/T boundary, the end of the cretacious? And what is the beginning boundary? Are all the fossil-bearing strata flood deposits, as many creationists have long claimed? If not, please give us the boundary where the flood deposits begin.

And he responded:

Andrew Snelling’s two volume book:

Earth’s Catastrophic Past: Geology, Creation & the Flood
by Andrew A. Snelling, Ph.D. (2009)

has a section on the flood boundaries.

Chapter 88 considers preflood/food boundary. It considers a mechanical-erosional
discontinuity; a time or age discontinuity; a tectonic discontinuity and a
sedimentary disconintuity.

On the basis of these five criteria Snelling places the pre-flood/flood boundary
at the unconformity beneath the Sixtymile Formation in the Grand Canyon etc. on
pp.709-710: “In conventional terms, this would place the pre-Flood/Flood boundary in
the late Neoproterozoic, at around 700-740 million years ago…

Similarly in chapter 94 on the Flood/Post-flood boundary

On p. 761 he writes: “it seems likely that most of the Tertiary sea floor was formed
during the run-off stage during the year of the Flood.”

pp. 761-762 “Although there is still some dispute about where the Flood/post-Flood
boundary should be placed in the geologic record, and thusfurther studies need to be
conducted to allow for a more precise definition of this boundary, on balance the
available evidence suggests that the Flood/post-Flood boundary certain must be above
the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary in the strata record.

Okay, so according to Snelling and Buckna, all of the strata that date between 700 million years ago (the late Precambrian era) and sometime into the Cenozoic era (65 million years ago) was deposited by the flood. Just to be safe, let’s go all the way to the start of the Eocene epoch, about 50 million years ago, for the last stages of the flood. We’ll assume that everything before 700 million years ago and 50 million years ago was actually deposited by the Noahic flood.

So what does this mean? Well, it means that every single animal and plant that is found within those strata — nearly the entire history of life on earth — was alive at the same time and all died and were buried in the same year. It also means that every event evidenced in those strata — every meteor impact, every earthquake, every burrow and track and nesting site found therein — had to take place or be built in that same single year.

Let’s just take the Grand Canyon. Snelling says that everything above the Chuar Group and the great unconformity near the base of the GC was deposited by the flood, so everything from the Tapeats sandstone on up. So here is a list of the formations found in the GC, from the Tapeats on up, in order:

Tapeats Sandstone: This is the oldest of what is called the Tonto Group, large strata formed at the edge of an ancient body of water called the Tonto sea. 300 feet thick, comprised of near-shore and sandbar deposits from the edge of that sea.

Bright Angel Shale: 325 feet thick, full of trilobites and other brachiopod and mollusk fossils, as well as lots of tracks, trails and burrows from animals. Formed in a shallow marine environment as the Tonto sea encroached further on land.

Muav Limestone: The last of the Tonto Group formations. 375 feet thick, with more trilobite and brachiopod fossils and yet more invertebrate tracks and trails. This was deposited as the Tonto sea encroached even further on the land.

Redwall Limestone: 500 feet thick. Like most limestones, this one is made up of the shells of sea creatures, made of calcium carbonate, after they die and settle to the bottom of a shallow sea. A 500-foot thick limestone takes an incredibly long time to form and it’s not possible for all of those sea creatures whose dead bodies are in the formation to have lived at the same time. This formation requires a shallow, relatively tranquil marine environment for a very long period of time in order to form.

Supai Group: 900 feet thick and a variety of different types of formations, most of them eolian (meaning wind-blown) desert sandstones. Most of this formation was formed on dry land, though part of it is was formed underwater as part of a river delta going into the sea.

Hermit Formation: 300 feet thick. Like the Supai Group, this is made up of a number of different types of rock depending on where you are in the canyon. There are lots of animal tracks and burrows, as well as mudcracks and raindrop imprints, which shows that parts of this formation was exposed as dry land at times. There are also a lot of plant fossils, which is quite a problem for any creationist explanation based on the ability to flee raging flood waters.

Coconino Sandstone: 350 feet thick. This is an eolian desert sand dune formation, a massive system of ergs that stretches all the way to Montana. One obviously has to ask how on earth such a massive desert formed in the middle of a global flood, as the creationist explanation requires.

Toroweap Formation: 250 feet thick. The most diverse of all the canyon formations in terms of different types of sediments, the result of a shallow sea advancing and retreating over a large land area (that’s why there are gypsum and salt deposits, which evaporate as the sea retreats). The water moved in from the West and as you go West in this formation you find marine fossils of various types, including snails, clams and shellfish.

Kaibab Formation: 350 feet thick. Another shallow marine limestone and dolomite formation, with sandstone toward the East (obviously part of the shoreline, a mixture of eolian and subaqueous sandstones). Shallow marine fossils, as one would expect.

Now here’s the key fact one must bear in mind: Each one of these formations requires a different depositional environment, and even different depositional environments within the same formation over the length of the canyon. Limestone, sandstone and shale each require different environments to form — and even different types of each of those kinds of deposits require different environments.

For example, sandstone can form both underwater (much of the shallow ocean floor is underwater sand dunes) and on dry land (desert sandstone environments). Telling the difference isn’t terribly difficult because windborne sediments look rather different from waterborne sediments.

Let’s look at the Coconino Sandstone, which is near the top of the strata allegedly laid down by the flood. It was an eolian sandstone formation, the remains of a vast ancient desert that covered about 25,000 square miles. That prompts a rather obvious question: How does a giant desert form in the middle of a global flood?

The Coconino sandstone contains lots of evidence that it formed on land, not underwater. It has tracks made by terrestrial animals, for example, which is a real problem for flood geology. What were terrestrial animals doing walking around, leaving tracks in sand dunes in the middle of a global flood, especially after thousands of feet of sediments had been deposited by that flood beneath them?

Did they tread water, managing to stay afloat and alive without food for months on end so that when the waters receded they could start walking around again, build nests and start again? If they did, that would conflict with the Biblical account anyway, since all animal life was supposed to have been wiped out save those kept alive on the ark. Either way, flood geology is shown to be nonsense.

This problem of animals walking around and going about their lives in the middle of this global flood is an insurmountable problem for flood geology. Let’s look at dinosaur nesting sites, which have been found all over the world. Perhaps the best example is in Montana at what is now called Egg Mountain. This formation contains an extraordinary number of dinosaur nests containing fossilized eggs and the fossilized remains of their parents as well.

Why is this a problem for flood geology? Well, because that formation sits on top of a mile of sediments below it, sediments allegedly deposited by the flood, and it is around 80 million years old, so it would then have been covered by more alleged flood sediments as well. One has a hard time imagining how a group of dinosaurs were alive and going about their day, peacefully building nests to hatch their young on solid ground, in the midst of a global flood that had already deposited thousands of feet of sediment below them. They must tread water really, really well.

This is only a very small sample of the problems that flood geology has trying to jam every single event recorded in nearly 700 million years of deposition into a single year. I’ll keep posting them. And David Buckna will no doubt keep leaving links and not giving a damn whether the information found in them makes any sense at all.