Flood geology and erosion

Wow. That might actually be crazier than Hydroplate Theory, and it sounds like a variation on that silliness.

The geology of the Hawaiian Islands are a nice counter-example.


1 Like

The fact that index microfossils in their teeming billions, such as ostracods, foraminifera, conodonts, and coccolithophores, are stratified throughout sedimentary rock is absolutely inexplicable in a global catastrophic flood model. This is absolutely worth pursuing, especially as YEC studiously avoid the topic.

Nanofossils and mircofossils are of interest for oil and gas exploration, as they inform as the age and thermal history of energy prospects.


Micropaleontology in Petroleum Exploration


1 Like

Shouldn’t a flood violent enough to produce the stratigraphic record have distributed sediments all over the world, including the ocean basins? And yet we see them only quite near continents.

And to what does your opponent attribute the biotic succession in the fossil record? Is it that angiosperms can run to high ground faster than pterodactyls can fly? But of course any fossil would have been ground to bits in the flood postulated here.

The fact that index microfossils in their teeming billions, such as ostracods, foraminifera, conodonts, and coccolithophores, are stratified throughout sedimentary rock is absolutely inexplicable in a global catastrophic flood model. This is absolutely worth pursuing, especially as YEC studiously avoid the topic

Ok, this is really interesting. Maybe I should ditch the original idea in favor of focusing on this. What do you guys think?

1 Like

I think you mean foraminifera; ostracods are crustaceans.

Where did you get this idea? The Great Unconformity is exposed in the Grand Canyon, but it’s not found everywhere. There are many places where the Precambrian transitions into the Cambrian as continuoously as the rock record ever is. Nor does the Great Unconformity mark the beginning of the Cambrian, even in the Grand Canyon. It just happens that the rock just above the unconformity is Cambrian and that below is Precambrian, but there’s a lot of missing time, both Cambrian and Precambrian, that would have been in between.


The Hawaiian islands tie together into a cohesive illustration of geological process accessible to any clear thinking, informed person. GPS measurement confirms the rate of plate tectonic drift matches the radiometric dating and paleomagnetic signature of the volcanic rock. The pattern of erosion, from the Big Island with elevation high enough the be the best telescope siting in the world, to progressively more eroded in exact sequence, to once proud islands now worn away to submarine seamounts, fits entirely with science and not at all with Hydroplate nonsense.

As creationist geologist Tim Clarey ironically states: “If the islands are really millions of years old, they should have eroded beneath the sea long ago.” What he hides from his readers in that this is exactly what happened. “The Emperor Seamount extends for more than 6,000 kilometers (3,728 miles) from Hawai’i up to the Aleutian Trench in Alaska.” The greater part is far beneath the waves.

@Joel_Duff has a nice article: Smoking Gun Evidence of an Ancient Earth: GPS Data Confirms Radiometric Dating


I think, if I am going to use this as my main argument, I would broaden it to microfossils generally. The debate would center around whether a flood model can explain the patterns of microfossils across space and time.

The pitch would be as follows:

Just as the fossil fuel industry relies upon radiometric dating to construct basin models in areas where there has been volcanic activity or igneous deposition, it relies heavily on microfossils to construct its models in areas where there is, or was once, a marine environment.

In such soils, it is common to find the fossilized remains of micro organisms that made hard shells, such as ostracods, forminera and others. What’s more, the morphology of those shells shows variation over time, or in some cases by environment, and often have analogs to similar creatures that exist today.

Paleontologists working for oil companies regularly examine soils brought up from the tips of oil wells to find the microscopic fossils, and there is a catalogue against which thier morphologies are compared that is used to determine the age of the rocks for the purposes of finding oil. This allows drillers to make sure they are in the right part of a geologic formation as they dig different wells, or drill directionally.

Similarly, when conducting exploration, keeping track of what kind of microfossils are in the soil can allow you to determine whether you are drilling in to an ancient river bed, or a lakeside, or an ancient wetland, depending on what the fossils look like. This is a clear and consistent pattern, and that pattern is useful because it helps us find oil.

The challenge, in essence, to the creationist is to provide a mechanism that explains why the morphology of these microorganisms changes over space and time in a way that matches the information provided by radiometric dating, and that corresponds with hypotheses about what the palaeoecology of the formation would have been, to a degree that it is economically prudent to rely on that information, given the YEC contention that the relationship is spurious.

In particular it should be noted that the differences between many of these microfossils species are so slight that they are often in the same genus and in some cases are likely the descendants of each other. They often have the same intelligences, mobility and habitat as each other and yet the morphology varies according to the depth of the sedimentary layers. As such, the usual explanations given for why birds and dinosaurs are above fish and clams well not help in this case. The organisms are too similar.

Is this a better angle than the “give me your calculations” thing I started off with?

Whoops. Well, as you may have already realized, I’m not a geologist. Is this fatal to the argument, or just a detail I need to correct in the way I’m presenting the premises?

Also, I greatly appreciate your input. Thank you.

Why just microfossils? Shouldn’t the entire biotic succession be the issue? And I don’t think ostracods and conodonts are microfossils. They certainly weren’t microorganisms.

They don’t help in the case of birds, dinosaurs, fish, and clams either.

If there is a better angle at all, this is probably it. But if you’re trying to convince a creationist, there’s no angle that would work.

It does point out that there is no objective way to determine where in the record the Flood starts or ends. Even YECs disagree about both. You can only choose whatever your opponent currently accepts. It’s currently popular to begin the Flood at the start of the Cambrian and end it at the K/T boundary. But neither the start nor end of the supposed Universal Flood is universally accepted, and that’s an argument in itself.

You want to define your topic very narrowly because it allows you to hold your opponent’s feet to the fire. The broader the topic, the more your opponent is able to flit from one subject to another, and the harder it is to pin them down. I would prefer to include ostracods and conodonts in the discussion, because I believe conceptually they are similar, but if it is not defensible to include them in the definition of “microfossils” then I would rather abandon them than cloud the issue. That would be a shame though, since as I understand it, conodonts are one of the best “microfossils” (as I would define the word for the purposes of the debate) for determining ages, as well as temperatures.

Maybe it would be better to say “micro/index fossil” but I don’t want to get in to anything large enough to be seen without at least a magnifying glass, because I don’t want to deal with the traditional defences associated with sorting by intelligence, strength, and mobility (ecological niche is OK). Any ideas for how to solve this problem?

It’s not because I don’t think I can deal with those objections, its because they are a distraction that I don’t want him to resort to. They derail the questioning. If we are only concerned with creatures that do not have any appreciable mobility, strength, or intelligence, and certainly have no discernable differences between species, then those defences don’t need to be debunked, they are irrelevant from the start, and the question simply becomes “how do you explain this pattern, in these organisms?”

I want to be saying things like “I don’t care about the dinosaurs, or the birds. How do you explain the shells? This one here has two extra little bumps. What in your model explains why it is always in higher layers than this other one without those two bumps?”

It’s like in science when you try and eliminate as many other variables as you can. You have to cut off escape routes, and it starts with selecting a clear, well defined topic.

You are right again, here. But then convincing the person is not the point. What I am trying to do is to lead him to an intersection, and present him with a choice between either turning right, and admitting something that damages the young earth position, turning left and saying something that is faintly ridiculous, or going straight and refusing to answer.

None of the options are good choices, and what ever he does can then be brought up again and again whenever he tries to trot out this argument.

For a good example of how this technique works, see either of my two debates against Kent Hovind.

Conodont animals were actually fairly large, the largest over a foot long; the conodonts — teeth, more or less — are easily visible without magnification. They’re small, abundant fossils, but not microfossils. But the animals were big enough to be able to move a fair distance. How that would result in sorting is not easily answered, and you shouldn’t let the creationists have that defense. “Index fossils” should be good enough. How are brachiopods or clams going to be sorted by mobility, strength, or intelligence? Rather than avoiding that excuse, you should run straight at it.

Then it’s not microfossils you want, per se. It’s immobile ones. Not conodonts, but clams, brachiopods, crinoids, etc. Ostracods, forams, or any other plankton are fine too, but not highly mobile vertebrates like conodonts. I’d say that reef-builders would be good: hexacorals, octacorals, rudists. Why are there reefs preserved, reasonably intact, at different levels of the column with radically different composition?

As noted above, there are many places where there are continuous sediments across the Cambrian-preCambrian boundary.
As for the depth of the Great Unconformity, I can look out my bedroom window and see it, and it’s about 10,000 feet above sea level. The strata overlying the 1.6 bya granite is Pennsylvanian (~320 mya) limestone.
When someone starts talking about “water in the mantle” inform them that the “water” in ringwoodite is chemically bound in the crystal structure and is in no way free or flowing.
A good example is plaster. A 4’x8’ sheet of plasterboard holds about 10 pounds of water. Ask them to pour themselves a glass.
Here’s a good free, online geology text that will let you brush up on your arguments.


Thank you. I have started reading the text with interest. I’m not worried about the ringwoodite issue, as that does not appear to be a thing my opponent intends to argue.

I did have a discussion with him yesterday however, and he does not appear to be interested in discussing microfossils. This is disappointing, but he does appear to be willing to discuss this issue of deposition from the flood. If the manger (correction: manner) in which I estimated the total sediment deposited does not work, is there a better way to do it, or are you aware of any calculation that has occurred?

I would also be very grateful if you could point me in the right direction with respect to getting an idea of how much water pressure would be required to erode and deposit the necessary amount of rock in one year. I can only imagine the force will be massive.

What, no room at the inn?

1 Like

What a delightful typo, and so true to the season, and the biblical nature of this discussion. I wonder if autocorrect would have done that at any other time of year.

This reminds me of a few years ago when I was trying to explain the discovery of the Higgs boson to my wife, but she was falling asleep. I asked her if she was drifting off, or if she was listening to me.

She said “I’m listening, but what about the stork?”
“what stork?”
“the stork brings mass to all the mommies and the daddies…”

We talked about it later.

1 Like

Erosion and/or deposition can vary by many orders of magnitude at different times and places.
Water pressure has little to do with erosion or deposition, it is grain size and the velocity of water (and wind and ice) that are the major factors. The Hjulstrom Curve sums this up quite nicely. Sediments can be eroded, transported and deposited depending on their grain size and fluid velocity.

When we see a river carving a valley through bedrock, transporting sediments to the sea, and then building a delta we can see this in action.

The reason that we see marine microfossils in such consistent order is that the host rocks (shales amd mudrocks) were deposited in deep, relatively quiet waters where deposition greatly exceeds erosion and transport.

Another great example of age preservation in fine sediments is seen in Lake Suigetsu. Here, summer blooms of diatoms (algae with silica shells) die and sink to the bottom in the winter, and non-organic sediments settle down onto the diatom layer. This forms varves, or repetative light/dark layer at millimeter scales.

Each varve catches and traps small amounts of organic matter (leaves, twigs, etc). Careful core drilling allows scientists to count each annual varve, and also to collect and carbon-date the material in each varve.

The results? Over 50,000 years of a very precise calibration curve for carbon dating.


I may have mentioned this before, but if I were starting an alt-country band, I would call it Higgs Boson and the Large Hadron Colliders.


This is great information, thank you for this. Am I correct in assuming that the amount of erosion or sedimentation that would be possible for a given amount of water in a given year is going to be dependent on the water velocity?

I’m really interested in somehow determining what the peak and average water velocity would have to be in order to see the erosion and subsequent deposition of the entire geologic column from the cambrian to the end of start of the last ice age, using only the water currently in the word’s oceans.

I appreciate the information about varves and diatoms, as well. I am likely going to have to save that for a different victim. Apparently there are some flood geologists who will be doing a Q and A with live questioning on SFT sometime in the new year. I think maybe I’ll hit them with the “microfossil problem” I think its great because it is simple, widespread, and impossible to explain.
This could be the next “heat problem!” Maybe we can convince @GutsickGibbon to take up the cause. (Erika, if you read this, see post 28 for a summary).

Unfortunately, “massive” is not a very precisely defined unit of measurement. Ball mills are used by mining companies as an efficient means of grinding rock to powder, so the power vs tonnage would give some idea of the order of magnitude of work required.

I have no idea of how you would even go about calculating water pressure required, as the whole idea of continent crossing tsunamis is nonsense. However erosion happens, energy is required. This is the crux, and why the heat problem is intractable for flood geology. Without energy, the reshaping of the Earth, the movement of crust and water, can not happen. So you need a source for that energy. But any sufficient supply of energy will produce enough heat to vaporize the water and melt the crust, and that is even before even the friction from all this movement.