Visualization/Animation of Objections to Old Age Geological Column

this thread is a spin off this discussion:

Is it possible to rationally believe YEC? - #76 by stcordova

I said:

Diagrams like this (such as the Grand Staircase) really make it hard to believe the mainstream account of how it formed.

I look at it and how the mainstream says this structure came to exist doesn’t make sense. I can’t deny what is so obviously wrong in the mainstream paradigm:

I mentioned that I want to work on vizualization/animation tool to help explain why I find structures like this problematic.

faded_glory responded:

Before you do any work it might be helpful if you could say what processes you hope to visualise? Perhaps the problems you see are not really problems worth the effort of a visualisation? I’d be glad to help you along.

There were comments between us that I’ve omitted mentioning for the sake of brevity, but which can be found by going to the original thread.

I’d like to thank faded_glory for offering pointed criticisms of the YEC/YFR (Young Fossil Record) model that I think all YECs (including those I teach through my church) should carefully consider.

It may be a surprise to some that there are geology departments or geology classes at YEC universities in the USA that are accredited such as Cedarville University and Loma Linda University. I have contacts at these universities through YEC organizations, and I’m hoping what I describe here I can pursue some more, but unfortunately it’s on the bottom of the queue right now.

faded_glory was kind enough to provide some points to consider and wrote lengthy comments such as this one:

Is it possible to rationally believe YEC? - #90 by faded_Glory

and this one:

Is it possible to rationally believe YEC? - #91 by faded_Glory


Leonard Brand, a YEC (or perhaps more properly a YFR), is a professor of paleontology and was on the February 2004 cover story of the journal Geology for his work on fossil whales.

Brand wrote some of his speculations regarding the Grand Staircase here:

One can see that this is an enormous structure spanning at least 2 North American States.

The first problem that always bothered me is what would the source of these different sediments be? My understanding is the strata are made of qualitatively different sediments.

So did we have one source that created one kind of sediment for one strata, and then another source for another strata. The volume of the source would have to be comparable to the volume of the grand stair case at least. And why would the sources of sediment change so abruptly?

The contact zones between strata are awfully smooth.

Though faded_glory provided examples of weathering between layers, and tectonic activity between the formation of new layers, it just doesn’t look like there is evidence this was a widespread phenomenon.

It’s hard however to make this assertion without the vizualization/animation tool that will depict the conceptual problem visually.

Thank you for posting this dedicated thread. I hope we can have a good discussion!

Up front I have to make a disclaimer: although I am an MSc geologist, and before I retired worked for 35 years in the oil & gas industry, I don’t have any particularly deep knowledge of the local geology of the interior USA. My comments are therefore going to be based more on general geological concepts and on analogs I do know better from other places. I think there are others on here who have more direct knowledge of the Grand Staircase, and I hope they may chip in and correct me in I get it wrong in the local details.

There are of course many areas in the world where the sedimentary rock layers are quite flat and very extensive. Generally, these areas were continental shelves during prolonged periods of high sea level, such as during most of the Jurassic and the Late Cretaceous (caused by factors such as the climate, and high oceanic spreading rates). Underlying the sedimentary rocks is what we call ‘basement’, much older or even primary continental crust that forms large areas (cratons) that have remained largely stable thoughout geological history. In other places these cratons are currently exposed at the surface, e.g. the Canadian Shield and the Baltic Shield. Here, it has been buried over time by younger sediments.

In essence, these were large shallow (‘epicontinental’) seas. Sediment input would be from one or more land areas bordering these seas, and of course some of the formations are carbonates that were formed in-situ through organic action. Clastic sediments on continental shelves move around a lot because of waves and currents, and will get ‘smeared out’ over large areas not in the immediate vicinity of the input points. This can all be observed in modern seas.

A short duration Flood model has a much bigger problem in explaining these extensive regular beds, because there simply won’t have been the time necessary to distribute the sands over such large areas, nor the time and amount of organisms necessary to form thick carbonate layers in-situ. Also, given the extreme assumptions about the state of the planet during the Flood, what with continents moving thousands of kilometers in a month, the energy and turbulence in the waters would be so high (if it hadn’t all boiled away, but that is another discussion) that extensive regular beds simply woudn’t be formed (let alone organic carbonate beds). These type of deposits need a fairly calm environment or else the sediment would remain in suspension.

There is more to be said about the fossils we find in these sediments - many are bottom dwellers. How would they survive being buried by kilometers of sediment coming down on them in just one month? The ones living on the seabed at the start of the flood woud perish, and nothing would be alive in there for the rest of the time. Yet, we find such fossils abundantly throughout the column. These are marine fossils so they would not have been transported there from the land. Moreover, there is exquisite vertical sorting throughout - not by size or weight, but by morphology. What caused this sorting, in the conditions assumed during the Flood?

Which brings us to another problem: how deep would the water column have to be to accommodate the sediments of this entire column all at the same time? You are talking many kilometers. Where did all that water come from, and where did it go? Where is it now?

Ther is a lot more, but this will do for now. Over to you.


I don’t know, but it’s something you could look up. Generally, the source for such wide deposits would be a big mountain range. The reason the sediments change is not typically a change of source but a change of local environment, most often distance from land. Further, what you see as one facies was not laid down all at once; they are typically time-transgressive. As sea level rises and falls, the places where, for example, sand is deposited also change in a continuous manner.

You have been shown examples of the contrary.

Why would you think that?

Also, why do you consistently ignore it when people bring up angular unconformities?

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But does the mainstream account make more or less sense than the alternative(s)?

I’m not aware of any YEC account of the grand staircase formation that covers the features in your diagram, such as the unconformities near the grand canyon, the ‘colour’ cliffs above it, the hurricane fault and the absence of the upper strata across most of the area.

If it is hard to believe the mainstream account of how these features formed, how much harder is it to believe a non-existent alternative account?


This is going to be another classic Sal “dodge 'em” thread where he ignores all the evidence he can’t explain. Like angular conformities described here. Like infilled paleochannels eroded between layers of strata shown here and here.

It’s almost impossible to keep up the pretense someone is discussing in good faith when so much evidence is deliberately ignored. :roll_eyes:


Note that Sal was already provided an answer to the question of the origin of the Grand Staircase materials here but as usual chose to ignore it.

All in keeping with the time-honored YEC tradition of dodging facts you don’t like of course. :slightly_smiling_face:

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If you want a chuckle go look at the Cedarville University Geology Department web site. They explain in a video CU teaches mainstream geology so their students will be able to find jobs and get into graduate programs in the real world. :slightly_smiling_face: Then the YEC head of the department gives the Christian students his YEC explanations for their own personal consideration.

Seems like they don’t have near as much faith in their YEC geology as Sal thinks. :slightly_smiling_face:

Thank you for weighing in. I should like to reference parts of another thread since I will be inviting people from my church where I teach creationism to read.

Here are some of yours others people’s points I felt they should be appraised of, and which I could not sweep under the rug in good conscience. I’ve omitted some linking to some comments for the sake of brevity, but readers can visit the original thread for all the comments now that they will have the following links:

Chemically and Electrically Assisted Nuclear Reactions and YEC - #74 by faded_Glory


Chemically and Electrically Assisted Nuclear Reactions and YEC - #98 by faded_Glory



There were several more, but those are the ones that stood out.

It;s very kind of you to provide your pupils with an example of you attempting to change the subject by introducing irrelevancies. This thread, which you created, is about visualisation of objections to the geological column, using the grand staircase as an example. It is not about moon rocks or contamination in carbon dating.

Will you return to discussing the grand staircase, or will you also provide your pupils with an example of you vanishing in a cloud of squid ink?


Incidentally, as an analogy, must of the area between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains is covered by what’s called the Tertiary Clastic Wedge, deep layers of sediments shed by the rising Rockies. Think of a gigantic bajada. Add an uplift to the east and enough time, and you would get another Grand Staircase.

What will you tell them when they ask you to explain angular unconformities and infilled paleochannels? Tell them Da Debbil planted fake evidence to fool them? :slightly_smiling_face:

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Sal, are you ever going to adress the fact of the widespread consilience of radiometric data? Did you even get my point about the incredible coincidences required to make isochrons look the way they do, if they were not indicative of old age?


The simple answer is no, Sal won’t address the data. All data which contradicts his YEC beliefs is invisible to him. Look at how he’s refused to address the various geologic features he claimed don’t exist.


I’m getting the feeling that Sal is being paid to promote Walt Brown’s hydroplate nonsense on the Internets. Everything he posts about geology comes straight from there, and he ignores anything that Brown doesn’t have a response to.


No, because I don’t have a good answer at this time. So I’m acknowledging a defect in my model at the present time, and I’m saying before readers who may be visiting from my church creationist study group.

But, that doesn’t mean I (or the YEC community) might not have an answer in the future. Patience is sometimes rewarded for me holding a position for 10 years and then later being vindicate ( much to the chagrin of a certain professor of biology on another thread about genetic entropy).

Same for a problem the YECs had for Ohno’s hypothesis in 1984, which has now collapsed after 36 years, but was cited and promoted for years that protein evolution didn’t need God’s help…

The supposed consilience of dates is cherry picking away of the failure of non-consiient dates. I could put those on the table too.

BUT, this OP was about the vizualization tool, which will I hope to highlight the absurdity of how structures like the Grand Staircase are supposedly formed. I should cast some doubt on the dating models too in the process.

But for now, you can assume a simple “no, for now” as an answer.

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I’m not getting paid (yet) to promote Walt’s hypothesis.

I did get paid to find papers on introns, ERVs, Alu, ENCODE, 4D nucleome and circulate summaries of them. My reports have ended up influencing pro-ID and creationist books and some current thinking on the topics.

BUT, what’s on the table is presently helping to formulate methods to raise awarements of a multi-million dollar proposal by Stephen Austin, professor of Geology at Cedarville University for a Flume Hydrologic Sorting experimental facility. This would be so much better a use of creationist money than some creationist Amusement Park in Kentucky…

Lol. No.

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No it isn’t. There is a difference between “doesn’t always work” and “never works.”

In order to demonstrate that radiometric dating is so unreliable that it can not distinguish between thousands and billions, you need to demonstrate that major inconsistencies (on the scale of orders of magnitude) are the rule, not the exception. A minority of 5-10% of anomalous dates simply isn’t going to cut it. Especially not when the anomalies are mostly no more than 20-30% or so, or when they come from pushing the measurement techniques to the limits of their sensitivity.

What I’ve seen isn’t a case of scientists “cherry picking away the failure of non-consilient dates.” It’s young-earthers exaggerating the extent and significance of non-consilient dates out of all proportion.