Geology Disproves a Global Flood 5200 Years Ago and a Young Earth -- Part 1
The most popular creationist theory maintains that God created the earth and universe about 6000 to 12000 years ago. This theory is commonly called the young-earth or young-earth-global-flood theory. Also, this theory claims that a global flood, the Noachian Flood, occurred about 2100 to 8000 B.C. with an average of about 3200 B.C. According to this theory, all, or at least most, fossil-bearing sedimentary rock resulted from this Flood.
Below some geological evidence is examined to see if it is compatible with the young-earth-global-flood theory.
Coral Reefs. Coral reefs argue against a global flood. Coral reefs are structures that are built up slowly. Slow growth rates would be incompatible with reef formation during a brief period of the Flood year. Reefs generally grow only a few centimeters per year under ideal conditions.
Advocates of a global flood claim that the fossil reefs were antediluvian reefs that were eroded and redeposited during the Flood. They claim that enough time has elapsed since the Flood to allow the formation of the currently existing reefs. However, this position is untenable.
Could a reef that is almost 1000 feet thick and several miles in diameter be a redeposited antediluvian reef? Could any kind of flood dislodge and transport such a large structure without smashing it to pieces? Hardly. Yet the cataclysmic global-flood theory demands such action, for all ancient fossil-containing rock is, according to this theory, the result of a global flood.
Furthermore, in the Midwest these gigantic reefs lie on top of other carbonate rocks, which in turn lie on top of sandstone that is 300 feet thick. These reefs would have had either to remain suspended while the carbonate rocks and sandstone were deposited, or else to be transported to and deposited on top of these rocks by a force powerful enough to move these gigantic reefs, but gentle enough not to disturb the sediment, which would not have had enough time to solidify within a few weeks or months of continuous violent rushing water. A flood powerful enough to move these reefs would certainly have disturbed the sediment. Moreover, could a flood violent enough to keep such a gigantic reef suspended allow material that was of a much finer grain and of a lower density to be deposited under it? Floods generally deposit larger objects before they deposit smaller ones. Smaller objects tend to remain suspended longer.
Another piece of evidence that these reefs were not redeposited is that none are upside down. If a violent flood had transported these reefs, surely at least one of them would have been deposited upside down. All the evidence shows that these reefs grew in place over an already deposited carbonate sediment.
Reefs grow only in lightly agitated warm water. They do not grow under turbulent conditions such as floods. Violent conditions, such as hurricanes, destroy them. The flood described by advocates of a cataclysmic global flood would have been much more violent than any hurricane and would have utterly destroyed these reefs.
Furthermore, cemented coral reefs grow only a few millimeters per year. Coral atolls, e.g., Eniwetok atoll, and barrier reefs, e.g., the fossil Rainbow Lake reef in western Canada, formed from cemented coral and require tens of thousands of years to reach their present size. Conventional geologists estimate that the Rainbow Lake reef required 160,000 years to grow to its present size.
Evaporite Deposits. Evaporite deposits argue against a global flood that occurred a few thousand years ago. Evaporite deposits contain minerals that are soluble in water, such as halite (sodium chloride or table salt), sylvite (potassium chloride), calcite (calcium carbonate), limestone (calcium carbonate), gypsum (hydrated calcium sulfate), potash (potassium carbonate), borax (sodium tetracarbonate) and Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate). According to the generally accepted theory, these deposits are formed slowly by gradual and repeated evaporation of salt water. Such deposits can occur when an arm of a sea is cut off from the ocean. The water evaporates, and then the depression refills with water from the ocean. This cycle is repeated several times. The typical deposit of evaporites requires the evaporation of thousands cubic miles of sea water.
Some examples of evaporite deposits that required thousands of years to form are the Castilian evaporites (8000 sq. mi.) in Texas, the Zectstein evaporites in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, and the Gulf of Mexico evaporites. According to conventional geology, the Castilian and Zectstein required hundreds of thousands of years to form. For the Castilian evaporites to form during the year of the Flood would have required the varves of calcite and anhydride to be deposited 260.000 times in one year. Most likely, about 260,000 years were needed to form the Castilian evaporates.
Another example of a large evaporite is the Mediterranean basin. In the distant past (six to eight million years ago, according to conventional geology), the Mediterranean dried up several times. As it dried, it formed evaporites — calcite at the rim and rock salt at the deepest points. Successive drying produced evaporite deposits a thousand feet or more thick. Sediment now covers much of the evaporites. However, the weight of the sediment has forced the evaporites up in places to form salt domes. Some of these domes are a few miles across and thousands of feet deep. A global flood a few thousand years ago cannot account for this phenomenon.
If a violent global flood happened, it most likely would have dissolved these most soluble salts. A turbulent flood should have mixed these soluble minerals with clastic sediments. Unfortunately for the young-earth-global-flood theory, clastic minerals are usually not found in evaporites. Further, pieces of evaporites are not found in clastic sedimentary deposits above or below evaporite deposits. If the global-flood theory were valid, evaporite fragments should be found in these sedimentary layers.
Moreover, evaporite deposits could not have been formed as a result of the flood waters evaporating and leaving behind a precipitate of salts. Evaporites are found buried under thick clastic sediments not on the surface. Evaporites simply cannot be accounted for by a rapid, one-year process. The great thicknesses involved suggest slow deposition over considerable time.
Sedimentary Rock. The sedimentary rock record argues against a global flood. Although many examples of sedimentary rock formations show evidence of having been formed by moving water, many examples of deposits also show that they could not have formed at all in surging flood waters. These include sedimentary deposits that were evidently formed in lacustrine (lake) and desert environments.
Moreover, the volume of fossil-bearing sedimentary rock argues against a recent global flood. According to the young-earth-global-flood theory, all or nearly all fossil-bearing rock resulted from the Noachian Flood. The volume of fossil-bearing rock is 157 cubic miles as compared with 336 cubic miles of water on earth. Such a mixture would result in a thick, creamy mixture of mud in which no fish could survive.
An example of a sedimentary rock formation that could not have formed during the Noachian Flood is the Raymond Formation. It is less than a mile thick, but it contains more than 30,000 alternating layers of sandstone and shale. (Shale is formed from clay, and sandstone, from sand.) Turbulent flood waters keep clay suspended, yet it had to deposit clay during the Flood to form this formation. (Clay only settles in very calm water.) During the Flood, alternating layers of sand and clay had to be deposited within minutes. This process had to be repeated 15,000 times. Such action is an impossibility under the conditions of the Noachian Flood.
Limestone. Limestone argues against a young earth and a recent global flood. Limestone is made of the skeletons of microscopic sea animals. About 1.5 pentagrams (1.7 billion tons) of limestone are deposited annually in the oceans. If ten times this amount were deposited for 5000 years, it would account for less than 0.02 percent of the limestone deposits.
Chalk Beds. Chalk beds like the 1329 feet of chalk at the cliffs of Dover, England, argue against the young-earth-global-flood theory. Chalk is a calcium carbonate formed from residues of amorphous shell deposited from ocean oozes. It is a soft powdery limestone consisting mostly of fossil shells of Foraminifera.
Conventional geologists claim that millions of years are needed for the formation of deep chalk beds like the one at Dover. However, according to some geologists, chalk deposits generally form at a rate of one to ten centimeters per year. Thus, at least 4050 to 40,500 years are needed to form the Dover chalk bed. Even at this rate, much more time than the 371 days of the Noachian Flood is needed. Using the most rapid formation calculations and assumptions, young earth creationists have lowered this time to 75 years — still more than 371 days.
Whatever the time required for chalk beds to form, they could not form during the Noachian Flood. According to the young earth creationists, the flood current ranged between 89 and 179 miles per hour. Chalk forms in calm, shallow water. It cannot form under flood conditions. The particles are too small to settle at the speeds estimated for the Noachian Flood and would remain suspended and would eventually dissolve. Thus, if the young-earth-global-flood theory is correct, chalk beds should not exist.
For example the Niobrara Chalk of North America contains more than 100 bentonite beds. Thus, 100 periods of deposition during calm periods are needed to form these beds. Such calm periods could not have occurred under the catastrophic conditions of the Noachian Flood.
Conglomerates. Conglomerates argue against a global flood a few thousand years ago. Conglomerate is a sedimentary rock containing rounded pebbles of various sizes up to the size of boulders cemented with fine-grain rocks like sand.
Large deposits of conglomerate are found on top of sandstone and other fine-grain sedimentary rock of thicknesses up to several miles. An example of such a conglomerate is the sea cliffs near Marseilles, which contain boulders more than a foot in diameter. Under flood conditions, conglomerates are deposited before sand and other fine-grain material.
Moreover, a sharp boundary is often found between a conglomerate and the underlying sandstone. Thus, the sand must have hardened into sandstone before the conglomerate deposited on top of it. How could a flood deposit both layers in quick succession?
Lacustrine Deposits. Supporters of a global flood claim that lacustrine deposits occurred during the waning stage of the Flood. Gradual upheaval of the surrounding terrain formed vast sedimentary basins. Shallow turbidity currents carried soft sediment and organic slime into basins to form the laminated sediments. This explanation may explain some lacustrine deposits, but not all. Some lacustrine deposits are covered by thick unconsolidated sediments, which would suggest that the Flood was still active in these areas long after it ceased to be active in others.
An example of a lacustrine deposit is the Green River Formation at Flaming Gorge, Utah. A million thin layers of varves make up this formation. Deposits from several different contemporary lakes make up the Green River Formation. If the varves at Green River formed at the same rate as that of the Swiss lake example used by young earth creationists, 1.2 million years are needed to form the Green River Formation.
Fossilized Eolian Deserts. Fossilized eolian deserts argue against a recent global flood. Eolian deserts are the sand dune deserts. They are composed predominately of quartz sand. The sand is well rounded with a frosted surface. Clay and mica are usually absent. A good deal of time is required to erode bedrock to sand and to blow it into dunes. Moreover, desert deposits require dry land to form. Thus, the Flood could not have formed them.
Examples of ancient fossilized deserts are the Old Red Sandstone that stretches from the British Isle to White Sea in Russia and parts of the Grand Canyon (the Coconino Sandstone, see below). These sandy deserts could not have formed during a global flood. Also, some of these sites contain evaporites.
A fossil desert in southern Utah, the Navajo Sandstone, which is between 1600 and 2000 feet thick, was formed from windblown sand. It is not mixed with the mud that lies beneath it. Thus, the Flood could not have formed it; a desert could not have formed in the middle of a global flood.
Furthermore, the Navajo Sandstone and the strata above it contain fossils. According to young earth creationists, the Navajo Sandstone formed during the middle of the Noachian Flood. Unfortunately for them, dinosaur footprints have been found in the sandstone — at a time when all dinosaurs and all other land animals that were not on the ark should have been drowned.
Also, above the Navajo Sandstone are the Entrada Sandstone, which contains desert dune sandstone, and the Dewey Bridge Member, which is a marine deposit about 200 feet deep. Next comes the thin Summerville Formation, a siltstone formed in a lake or lagoon environment. Then comes the Morrison Formation followed by the Dakota Sandstone, which resulted from a beach environment, and the Mancoa, which formed from a shallow marine environment. As all these deposits are above the Navajo Sandstone, they were deposited after the Navajo. Moreover, the Navajo Sandstone is above all the layers of the Grand Canyon.
The Morrison Formation is known for its dinosaur fossils and footprints. This formation sits above 11,000 feet of sediment laid down by the Flood according to the young-earth-global-flood theory. That is, it is 11,000 feet above the first horizontal layer of the Grand Canyon, which according to the young earth creationists, was the first layer laid down by the Flood. At the time that this formation was formed, no dinosaurs should have been alive according to young earth creationists.
Another desert-created sandstone is the Coconino Sandstone of the Grand Canyon. The Coconino is 315 feet thick and was created in a desert environment from wind-blown sand dunes. This sandstone contains fossils. According to the young earth theory, the Noachian Flood formed the Coconino Sandstone. Above the Coconino Sandstone are two fossil-bearing rock layers, the Toroweap Limestone and Kaibab Limestone.
For these three strata to occur according to the young-earth-global-flood theory, the waters would have had to recede to form the sandstone. Then it would have had to return to form the layers of limestone. However, according to the Biblical account, the waters rose and then receded. The account does not suggest cycles of water rising and then receding. The desert formation of the Coconino Sandstone argues against its formation during a flood and against a young earth.
In Mongolia, dinosaur fossils are found in eolian sandstone. Thus, those dinosaurs died in a sandstorm instead of drowning in a flood. The young-earth-global-flood theory would predict them to have died of drowning.
1. Thomas Coley Allen, Adam to Abraham: The Early History of Man (Franlinton, N.C.: TC Allen Co., 1988), pp. 171-174.
2. Christopher Gregory Weber, “The Fatal Flaws of Rood Geology," Creation Evolution Journal, 1, no. 1 (1980) http://ncse.eom/cej/l/l/fatal-flaws-flood-geology, Dec. 18, 2015. Davis A. Young, Christianity & the Age of the Earth (Thousand Oaks, California: Artisan Sales, 1988), pp. 84-86.
3. Richard Burky, “Are Geologic Strata the Result of the Biblical Flood?” Grace Communion International, 1990, https://www.gci.org/science/burkyl, Dec. 18, 2016. Mark Isaak, “Problems with a Global Flood” (2nd ed., 1998), http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-noahs-ark.html#georecord, Dec. 18, 2015. Weber. Young, Christianity, pp. 86-87.
4. Alan Hayward, “Flood Geology and Related Fallacies,” https://www.gci.org/science/hayward8, Dec. 18, 2015. Isaak. John Pye Smith, The Relation Between the Holy Scriptures and Some Parts of Geological Science (London: Henry G. Bolin, 1854), p. 77. Young, Christianity, pp. 87.
6. Isaac. Greg Neyman “Creation Science Rebuttals – Can Noah’s Flood Make Any Chalk Beds?,” Jan. 28, 2003, http://www.oldearth.org/nochalk.htm. Dec. 18, 2015. Phil Senter, “The Defeat of Flood Geology by Flood Geology: The Ironic Demonstration That There Is No Trace of the Genesis Flood in the Geologic Record,” Reports of the National Center for Science Education, 31.3 (May-June 2011), 1.1-1.14.
8. Greg Neyman, “Creation Science Exposed – Stratigraphy and the Young Earth Global Flood Model – Part 5,” Jan. 2003, Feb. 2006, http://www.oldearth.org/stratigraphy5.htm, Dec. 18, 2015. Senter. Young, Christianity, p. 88-89.
9. Burky. Greg Neyman, “Creation Science Exposed – The Desert Problem,” Feb. 2, 2003 http://www.oldearth.org/desertproblem.htm, Dec. 18, 2015. Greg Neyman, “Creation Science Rebuttals Technical Journal (TJ) – The Navajo Sandstone,” Dec. 29, 2005, http://www.oldearth.org/rebuttal/magazines/TJ/vl8/TJ18_navajo_san..., Dec. 18, 2015. Greg Neyman, “Creation Science Exposed – Stratigraphy and the Young Earth Global Flood Model – Part 3,” Jan. 2003, Feb. 2006, http://www.oldearth.org/stratigraphy3.htm, Dec. 18, 2015. Greg Neyman, “Creation Science Exposed – Stratigraphy and the Young Earth Global Flood Model – Part 4,” Jan. 2003, Feb. 2006, http://www.oldearth.org/stratigraphy4.htm, Dec. 18, 2015. Senter. Weber. Young, Christianity, p. 91.
Copyright © 2016 by Thomas Coley Allen.
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