Flood geology and erosion

Another question for creationists: how does flood geology account for the difference between cherts, diatomites, and other siliceous marine deposits of microfossils and chalk and other calcareous deposits? How can the carbonate compensation depth be relevant to deposition in a violent flood?

Sediment transport depends on flow (cubic feet or meters per second) as well as velocity. Consider the Mississippi versus a small mountain trout stream.

Averages quickly become meaningless when you are looking at numbers that range through many orders of magnitude. If we put 9 paupers and one millionaire in a room, is the average worth $100,000?

Erosion, transport and deposition have always been going on throughout the Earth’s history. Many sedimentary rocks show clear evidence of being deposited with older eroded and transported rocks. Be aware that there is more than one definition for the “geological column”.

Think of the chronographic column as a desk calendar. Different calendars will all show the days, weeks, years, etc but there will be very different events written down on other people’s pages.

The stratgraphic column on the other hand describes the sequential rock formations found at specific places. The stratigraphic columns in New Mexico, Quebec, Cornwall, and Hong Kong will show very different formations, and in many places large time periods show no existing rocks (unconformities).

It’s also pretty much impossible to calculate average flows when there is no rock record to study. In central New Mexico the example I noted, of Pennsylvanian 300 mya rocks on 1.6 bya basement means that 300 million years of evidence is lost but, a relatively complete sequence from the Pennsylvanian to Cretaceous is exposed for study. But 100 miles south, the Cretaceous rests on the Pennsylvanian: the entire Permian, Triassic and Jurassic units are missing.

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Multiple marine basins hold 1000s of feet of carbonates (limestone, dolomite) and evaporites (salt, gypsum, anhydrite) that are formed in situ without the erosion/transport/deposition needed for clastic rocks.
In shelf facies (shallow margins of deeper basins) we commonly see rhythmic sequences of clastics, carbonates and evaporites reflecting large-scale changes in water depth, salinity and sediment inputs. Time scales range from years to millenia.
How can a “Flud” deposit up to 1,000 feet of salt in the Permian Basin? Why does the geometry of laminate interbeds in the salt reflect the Milankovitch Cycles?


Evaporites, especially evaporites interbedded with sediments, are a huge problem for any Flood model, but I was talking about something quite different: the problem of siliceous ooze, which just shouldn’t happen at all under Flood conditions. Neither should calcareous ooze, for that matter. Thus no chert, no diatomite, and no chalk should be in Flood deposits. Really, we should see only poorly sorted, angular particulates, maybe with a bit of upward fining toward the very top, and only very fragmentary fossils, non in situ.

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Ok, lets go back to square 1 then.

Essentially I wanted to show that the energetic nature of the events he needs to explain the observations that he likes will necessarily imply predictions inconsistent with observations.

Or, in simpler terms: “look man, if you send a flood along to kill everything, then after that everything is dead. Noah wakes up on the day after the flood waters recede, and he sees a barren wasteland. There would be no food, no plants, nothing but blasted rock. If Noah survived the flood you are describing, it would only have been to die on a barren world.”

So I guess the first question is, from a geological perspective, do you think that is even right, or am I talking out of my [posterior region]?

Second, if it is right, how do we boil this down to something we can calculate or walk someone through without it becoming too complicated to pin them down in 2 hours?

Maybe if we just focus on erosion?

  • would it be reasonable to say that if you look anywhere in the world, there is evidence in the geologic column (or in this case stratigraphic column of any particular place) of erosion on the order of at least 1 Km over the relevant 500 million years?
  • If so, could we reasonably say that if enough water comes along to rip off the top 1 Km of the earth, grind it up, and puts it back, that is also enough violence to kill everything?

How about just the transportation?

  • Is all the water in the oceans enough to transport the sediment necessary? How fast would it have to be going?
  • If it were going that fast, would there be some evidence of that?
  • Would such an event be survivable for anything not on the ark?

Is this line of thought even fruitful?

I appreciate your insights.

Yep. All of geology is just one enormous fining-upward transgressive sequence.

Every thing we see in the rock record can be explained by basic processes that we can observe and test here and now. Magic need not apply.

There are plenty of places on Earth where unconformities over 1 km exist.

No theorys of geology, and no geologists, hold that the erosion forces that removed kms of rocks in unconformities included mega tsunamis; nor were thick sequences ever built by that process either. A large percentage of continental rocks are non-marine deposits, and very little of continental erosion is from marine energy.

Erosion at the continental scale is the same process that washes out your garden in a rainstorm. As we speak the Mississippi River is hauling 400,000 to 500,000 tons of sediment per day down ro the Gulf of Mexico and building up the Mississippi delta.

Chemical, petrological and paleocurrent studies show that the +1,000 foot Jurassic Morrison Formation, found in the southern Colorado Plateau, is sourced from the erosion and river transport of Triassic and Jurassic volcanoes that sat in what is now Arizona.

Other Jurassic formations in the US SW include the +1,000 foot Entrada Sandstone. This formation was a large sand desert, and was transported and deposited by winds.

Most of the marine rocks on the continents are carbonates and evaporites. These are typically deposited in shallow, warm, placid waters.

Very few clastic rocks on the continents ever tasted salt water.

There. Was. No. Flood.

My sense is that you will be arguing on the ground of your opponents choosing.

The target audience understands squat about the hydraulics of sediment transport, and what they do not understand, they will decide not on technicalities but on trust. When YEC says their math works and throws in some sciency jargon, their audience will trust them and not you.

All is not lost, however. What discomforts even YEC laypeople is an obvious self contradiction. Any event with enough disruptive power to scoop up continental amounts of sediment would destroy everything in its path. The greater the energy, the more chaotic the effect. Far from sorting by grain size, creating strata, and leaving deposits over existing layers, that energy would disrupt the ground underneath and jumbo everything together. Those dinosaur footprints YEC insist show rapid burial, would be shredded. The dinosaur eggs, which lie on top of what YEC considers previous flood deposits (how???), would be smashed to bits. You cannot suck and blow at the same time; you cannot simultaneously have high energy and low energy.

What we actually find is strata reflecting low energy deposition reflecting long term changes in conditions. It is worth reading oil geologist Glenn Morton’s essay on the geological column here, but the counter examples to a catastrophic flood are endless.

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At some point, engaging with YECs becomes a waste of breath. How can anyone have a rational, factual discussion with some one who ascribes to:

No apparent, perceived, or claimed evidence in any field of study, including science, history, and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture obtained by historical-grammatical interpretation.

(AGI Statement of Faith)

You’re dealing with someone who rejects the scientific method itself, remember?

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Generally, I tend to agree as regards debates. I think that the best approach is to counter the misinformation directly like @Joel_Duff or Erika @GutsickGibbon do on their websites.

Erika is hitting very impressive view numbers, and when I read the comments there is typically a sprinkling of ex-YEC thanking her for her work. There are people who are convinced of YEC because that is what they have been exposed to, and many of these are reachable.

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