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1GEOLOGY AND THE FLOODPaul Garner1TheOCCASIONAL PAPERSGeology and the FloodTHEgendumGenesis
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© The Genesis Agenda 1997Internet edition (text unaltered)© The Genesis Agenda 2001PO Box 5918Leicester LE2 3XE UKWeb: http://www.GenesisAgendum.org.ukemail: post@GenesisAgendum.org.ukThe Genesis Agendum is a Charitable Company registered in EnglandRegistered Company No: 3175961Registered Charity No: 1054336The Genesis Agendum Occasional Papersare intended to disseminate the results of current studyand research, often in advance of definitive publication.The views expressed in the papers are those of the authorand not necessarily those of The Genesis Agenda or its Trustees…… demonstrating the accuracy of the Bible through historical and scientific scholarship …..


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Geology and the Flood
Paul Garner
Introduction

First of all, let me say how pleased I am to have beeninvited to give this presentation this afternoon 1 . it is apleasure to be associated in this way with The GenesisAgenda project.As some of you may be aware, thelast year has seen some excitingdevelopments in UK creationist ge-ology and this afternoon I wouldlike to share some of these withyou. Perhaps the best way of ap-proaching this is to present to youa reasoned scientific case for theFlood from geology, incorporatingthe model that is being advancedby a number of us here in the UK.We will be looking at a numberof ways in which the biblical recordcan be correlated with the geo-logical record. To do this, we needto go back to the Bible to ensurethat we have a good understand-ing of what it tells us about theFlood.The Bible describes a global ca-unique tastrophe in the history ofthe earth. The English word,’Flood’ doesn’t really convey theenormity of the event we are con-sidering today. In the Hebrew theword is ‘mabbul’ and it is used onlyof the Noachian Flood. Similar,the Greek New Testament scripttures have a unique word to referto this event — ‘kataklusmos’ —from which we derive our Englishword ‘cataclysm’. Genesis 7:19tells us that “all the high hills un-der the whole heaven were cov-ered” — the phrase that stresses the worldwide natureof this awesome event, ruling out any possibility thatwe are dealing with a mere local inundation. such anevent would have left a global geological signature —in other words, we should be able to identify the Floodin the rock record beneath our feet.the geological columnBefore we can begin looking for correlations betweenthe record of earth history in the Bible and the recordin the rocks, we must first agree on what the record inthe rocks is. Figure 1 shows thestandard geological column that youwill find in textbooks. the questionwe must ask ourselves is whetherthis column is a genuine reflectionof what geologists find in the field.A most important point to make isthat the essentials of this columnwere put together well before giving-win published Origin of Species andevolutionary theory became widelyaccepted. the pioneering geologistsof the eighteenth and nineteenthcenturies — many of whom wereChristians, catastrophists, andcreationists 2 — recognized patternsin the rock sequences with whichthey were familiar. they recognizedthat there were successions of rocktypes. For instance, the Carbonifer-ous is well known for the wide-spread development of coal, thePermian and Triassic for the wide-spread development of red beds,and the Upper Cretaceous for thecommon development of Chalk(Ager 1981, pp 1-14). These char-acteristic rock types occur in a con-system order the world over. Su-perimposed on the rock succession,the early geologists recognized a fo-sil succession. Fossils do not appearrandomly in the geological record.There is an orderly succession interms of the first appearance ofmajor fossil groups: single-celled creatures, multi-celledcreatures, invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles,mammals and birds. There are many reasons fordoubting the conventional view that this succession isan evolutionary sequence, but I do not intend to dis-cuss them here as that is not within the remit of mylecture (I will briefly discuss our proposed non-evolu-Figure 1: Standard geological column.PRECAMBRIANProterozoicarchaean


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THE GENESIS AGENDUM OCCASIONAL PAPER 14Figure 2: The development of the geological column. Most of the systems making up thecolumn was defined during a period of about 50 years in the first part of the nineteenthcentury, prior to the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species.tionary explanation for this sequence later). the pointthat is significant is that the fossils do appear in anordered succession. We do not find trilobites in thesame layers as the dinosaurs, for instance.These basic facts about the record were recognized bythe early geologists nearly 200 years ago (see Figure 2).Decades of field work since then by thousands of ge-ologists have corroborated the findings of those men.The essentials of the geological column can be checkedout and validated by those who have a mind to do so.The geological column is, I believe, a reasonable rep-resentation of field evidences (Robinson 1997).Constraining the time scales for depositionand erosionThe next issue to address is how long it must havetaken to lay down the rocks that are the basis forthis column. If the young-earth time scale is correct,we should find overwhelming evidence that thehistory of our planet has been dominated by rapidand catastrophic events. Indeed, this is what wefind. Let us take a brief look at just some of theevidence in favor of geological catastrophism.turbiditesOn 18 November 1929 the Grand Banks earthquakestruck the coast of New England and the Maritime Prov-inces of Canada. The earthquake a large massof sediment to move down the continental slope intodeep water in the Atlantic Ocean. As the slurry trav-elled along it snapped 13 transatlantic cables on thesea ​​floor. From the times at which these cables weresnapped scientists worked out that the flow was mov-ing at up to 80 km/h (50 miles per hour) and traveledover 800 km (500 miles) in a little over 13 hours. Thelayer of sediment that was deposited by this flow cov-ered more than 260,000 km² (100,000 miles²) and,was 0.6-0.9 m (2-3 feet) thick. geologists call flowslike this turbidity currents, and the resulting sedimentsare called turbidites. Thousands of layers, previouslythought to have been laid down slowly in shallow wa-tue, are now recognized as turbidites laid down rapidlyin deep water.Conglomerates and BrecciasConglomerates and breccias are rocks made up of peb-bles and boulders that have been cemented together.The size of the pebbles and boulders tells us that pow-erful water currents were needed to form these layers.Some contain boulders so large that they have beencalled megabreccias (Chadwick 1978). geologists thinkthat many conglomerates and breccias were laid downduring hurricanes, typhoons, or storms. The conglomerate-even on the Welsh coast, once thought to have takenfive million years to be laid down, has been reinter-preted as a storm deposit laid down in only minutes orhours (Ager 1986).


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5GEOLOGY AND THE FLOODichthyosaurs can be seen within the rib-cage of themother, and a fourth had just been born (see coverphotograph in Carroll 1988).Another extraordinary find was of two duelling dino-saurs – Velociraptor and Protoceratops — discov-ered during an expedition to Mongolia in 1971. Thepositions in which the animals were excavated indi-cates that the Velociraptor had jumped onto theProtoceratops and was in the middle of attacking itwhen both animals were buried and fossilized (Calais1989; Halstead 1975 p 80).More evidence of rapid burial comes from the studyof fossil trilobites — an extinct group of marine arthro-pods. They look superficially like woodlice, and wereable to roll up in a similar way for protection (Nieldand Tucker 1985, p 17). Many trilobites are foundfossilized in this position; I have two in my own collec-tion. This tells us that these animals were buried alivewhile trying to protect themselves.Fossil crinoids (sea-lilies) also give us excellent evidencefor rapid burial. Crinoids are made up of small cal-cium carbonate plates, called ossicles, that are heldtogether by soft tissues. When the creature dies, thesoft tissues quickly decay and the ossicles begin to breakapart. Experiments and observations of moderncrinoids show that dead sea-lilies completely break upin a matter of days, even in still water (Liddell 1975;Meyer 1971). Well-preserved and intact crinoids, suchthose found in the Jurassic rocks of Dorset, mustbe specimens that were buried in sedimentwhile the creatures were still alive or very soon afterdeath.Were there long time gaps between layers?Many professional geologists have come to recognizethe impressive evidence for catastrophism in the geo-logical record, although most of them still believe thatthe earth is over four-and-a-half billion years old be-cause of radiometric dating methods. But this leavesthem with a big problem. If the rocks were often laiddown rapidly, then where are the missing millions ofyears?The answer, according to these geologists, is that themissing time is represented by gaps in the geologicalrecord when no sediments were laid down orwhen erosion removed sediments that had previouslybeen laid down. These geologists place great empha-sis on the role of erosive events in forming the geologycal record. The late Dr Derek Ager, a former Presidentdent of the Geologists’ Association, put it like this:“… the history of any one part of the earth,like the life of a soldier, consists of long periodsof boredom and short periods of terror.” (Ager1981, pp 106-7)cross-bedded sandstonesWithin beds of sandstone it is common to find inclinedlayering called cross-bedding. Cross-bedding is formedthe sand dunes migrate across the sea floor under theinfluence of powerful water currents. single cross-bedsform today in the Mississippi River in less than oneminute (Nevins 1971). Cross-bedding is often there-fore a sign of rapid deposition. Add cross-bedding isso enormous that it staggers the imagination. TheCoconino Sandstone of the Colorado Plateau, for in-stance, averages about 96 m (315 feet) in thicknessand covers an area of ​​around 518,000 km² (200,000miles²). It contains cross-beds up to 9 m (30 feet)thick, which would have required a water depth ofabout 90 m (300 feet). The current velocity neededto form these sand dunes would have been betweenone and one-and-a-half meters (three and five feet)per second (Austin 1994). Fast-flowing water 90 m(300 feet) deep over an area almost twice the size ofthe US state of Colorado is a catastrophe by almostany standard! 3fossilsFossils are remains or traces of animals and plants pre-served in sedimentary rocks. Rapid burial is usuallyneeded to preserve a creature as a fossil. take fish, forinstance. Experiments show that fish decay and be-come dismembered by currents and scavengers in amatter of days or weeks, even in oxygen-poor condi-tions. Yet the geological record contains many layerswith millions of well-preserved fossil fish. the famousexample is the Old Red Sandstone of Scotland. trewin(1985) draws attention to a specimen from Caithnesswhich shows a large fish (Glyptolepis) fossilized in themiddle of a meal! The tail of a smaller fish can be seenclearly, protruding from the mouth of the larger fish.In fact, many similar specimens are known from sev-general localities around the world (Vetter 1990). In somecases, fish have been buried and fossilized so rapidlythat even the delicate soft tissues have been preserved.The Santana Formation of Brazil contains fish whosegills and muscles are so perfectly preserved that geolo-gists believe they were fossilized within five hours ofdeath! The foremost expert on these Brazilian fossils,Dr. David Martill (1989), has called this ‘the Medusaeffect’, after the creature of Greek mythology who couldturn people to stone instantly with her stare.Fish are not alone in their striking testimony to rapidburial and fossilization. Extinct marine reptiles such asichthyosaurs, which tend to be preserved in muddysediments, have been found with even their skin pre-served as a black carbon film around the skeleton. THEgreat deal of mud is needed to bury a creature as largeas an ichthyosaur. How rapidly was this change afterited? An ichthyosaur found at Holzmaden in 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THE GENESIS AGENDUM OCCASIONAL PAPER 16If the idea that the earth is billions of years old is tohave any credibility, then the missing millions of yearsmust be in the gaps. But does this idea stand up toscientific examination?There are places where there is evidence for the pas-sage of time between layers. For instance, there aredocumented cases of colonized sea-floors(hardgrounds) throughout the geological record (Wilsonand Palmer 1992). They are quite common in Ordo-vician, Jurassic, and Cretaceous rocks. Hardgroundsare places where sedimentation ceased, the sea-floorbecame hardened, and burrowing and boring crea-tures like clams, worms, or shrimps colonized the hard-ened surface (see Figure 3). Of course, hardgroundslike these require time to develop. what areiststo make of them? Do they invalidate the idea of ​​ayoung earth?Creationists need to investigate the problem ofhardgrounds much more thoroughly than they havedone to date. However, here are some preliminarythoughts. The first point to make is that the time rep-resented by these hardgrounds is relatively short —only months, years, or decades — not thousands ormillions of years! The time required for the formationof hardground surfaces is compatible with a youngearth. Secondly, it is significant that hardgrounds aremuch less common in the older Palaeozoic rocks thanin the younger Mesozoic and Cenozoic rocks. pal-aeozoic hardgrounds also tend to be less well-devel-oped and less mature than younger hardgrounds.These trends can best be explained by the idea thatthe Palaeozoic rocks were laid down more rapidly thanthe Mesozoic and Cenozoic rocks. Mesozoic andCenozoic hardgrounds are more common and moremature because these rocks were laid down in thecenturies after the flood when there was more timeavailable for the formation of hardgrounds.Powerful evidence against long time gaps (thousandsor millions of years) in the geological record is pro-vided by what geologists call paraconformities.






Figure 3: Reconstruction of a Middle Ordovician hardgroundcommunity with boring and encrusting organisms. Adapted fromBrett and Liddell (1978).





Figure 4: The north face of Pen and Fan, Brecon Beacons, SouthWales. Conventional geologists postulate a time gap of 10million years at the interval marked XY.Paraconformities are places where huge amounts oftime are thought to have passed, yet there is very littlephysical evidence to show it. remember that the topof each layer must once have formed the sea-floor (orland surface) before it was covered up by the nextlayer. We know that if the layer forms the sea-bed orland surface for a substantial period of time it is veryvulnerable to damage. For instance, it will be exposedto erosion. The very next tide or rainstorm will beginto scour the sediment away. More importantly, theseas tee with living creatures that burrow into thesediment, excavating it, to build dwelling places or tofeed. This process is called bioturbation. Bioturbationis an extremely effective way of destroying layering insedimentary rocks, by mixing up the sediment and ho-mogenising it. It is easy to find modern-day examplesof this. Hurricane Carla laid down a distinctive layerof sediment off the coast of central Texas in 1961.About twenty years later, geologists returned to thislayer to find out what had happened to it. Most of thelayer had been destroyed by living creatures burrow-ing into it and disturbing it, and where the layer couldstill be found it was almost unrecognizable (Morris1994). It is difficult to imagine a layer of sedimentsurviving intact for more than a few centuries at thevery outside.In the geological record there are many instances wherethe junction between two layers is supposed to repre-sit a gap of millions of years. If this were true thenthere ought to be ample evidence of erosion and dis-disruption at these junctions. What does a close examnation of these gaps and the adjacent layers tell us?Let us consider a few examples of real-life rock if-quences.Figure 4 shows the north face of Pen and Fan in the Bre-con Beacons, South Wales. Along the line marked X-


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7GEOLOGY AND THE FLOOD


Figure 5: A reconstruction of the events of the first day of the Flood (from Robinson 1996 p 45). The Flood began with the breaking upof the fountains of the great deep, accompanied by torrential rain.Y there is a claimed gap of 10 million years (Garton1993). 





Geologists think that the layer below XY was aland surface exposed to erosion before it was buriedby the sediments above (Dineley 1992, pp 186, 200;Cocks 1993). The illustration shows that the junctionis flat and smooth. There is little evidence of pro-long exposure as a land surface — note the mo-notony and the continuity of the layers, all intact.From Dead Horse Point in Utah it is possible to ob-serves dramatic canyon erosion by the Colorado River.Exposed there are two major gaps in the geologicalsequence — one thought to represent 10 million years,and the other 20 million years (Roth 1988). The 10million year gap has been traced over 250,000 km 2(100,000 miles²). Sandwiched between these two gapsare deposits of the Moenkopi Formation, a sequenceof continental deposits (important, because on land alayer is more vulnerable to gully and channel erosion).Yet again, there is no evidence of a prolonged periodof erosion along the tops of these layers. they arequite flat and featureless.Many other examples of paraconformities like thesehave been described (Roth 1988). well-known onegeologist admitted:”The origin of paraconformities is uncertain, andI certainly do not have a simple solution to thisproblem.” (Newell 1967, p 364)The obvious answer is that the time spans representedby these gaps in the sedimentary record were verymuch shorter than most geologists assume.Contrary to the popular notion that geological proc-these are extremely slow and gradual, we have seenthat the history of the Earth has been dominated bycatastrophism. Furthermore, the idea that millions ofyears can be accommodated in the gaps between sedi-mentary layers does not stand up to critical scientificexamination. These facts are consistent with the crea-tionist view that our planet has had a short but dy-namic history.Can Flood geology explain the geologicalrecord?It is one thing to show that there are problems withthe conventional view of earth history, but the creationistswe cannot afford to stop there. It is incumbent on usto present a sound alternative theory that accounts forthe data more cogently. So I want to consider nowwhether Flood geology has the potential for explain-ing the geological record in a convincing fashion.The horror of the Flood is all too often understated,even in creationist literature. For lack of modern ana-logs, we find it difficult to imagine. In particular, weoften make the mistake of de-emphasizing the sud-Denness of the Onset of the Flood. According to Gen-esis 7:24 the waters “prevailed” from the very first day,and it seems clear from reading the account that thegreatest destruction of the flood took place in the first40 days. In fact, the Flood proper really only lasted40 days (Genesis 7:17), the remaining 330 days beingthe after-effects.The Bible describes the events of the first day of theFlood like this:“In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in thesecond month, the seventeenth day of themonth, the same day were all the fountains ofthe great deep broken up, and the windows ofheaven were opened.” (Genesis 7:11)According to this passage, the Flood began with thefountains of the great deep breaking up, accompa-nied by torrential rain. An important question con-fronts us here: what were these fountains of the greatdeep? A study of the Hebrew indicates that these werepre-Flood terrestrial springs, issuing forth subterraneanwaters to irrigate the ground (Hasel 1974). Genesis2:6 indicates that this was how the earth was watered


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THE GENESIS AGENDUM OCCASIONAL PAPER 18before the Flood. In other words, there appear tohave been vast underground water sources beneaththe pre-Flood continents.The Flood was initiated by the breaking up of thesefountains of the great deep, releasing vast quantities ofpossibly superheated water onto the continents. suchan event would have been accompanied by the mostcatastrophic earthquake, volcanic and tectonic activity(Figure 5). Genesis 6:13 and 9:11 tell us that the Flooddid not passively cover the earth, but destroyed theearth. As the continental crust broke up, the pre-Floodland surfaces were destroyed. Any pre-Flood hills wereleveled. The heat released would have baked the crust,producing metamorphic rocks. much of the water fromthe fountains may have been ejected high into theatmosphere, to fall again as rain. this was the time atwhich the Flood was at its most violent. nothing wouldhave survived on the land. This is one of the reasonswhy is it so hard to explain the order of the fossil recordas a result of the different escape abilities of peopleand animals as they fled to the hills for refuge. 4 Thecontinents were being scoured down to their roots —there were no hills to which men and animals couldflee! It is difficult to imagine how any terrestrial crea-tures could have survived the Flood in its initial fury.The biblical text indicates that all the land-dwelling air-breathing animals were obliterated during this earlyphase of the Flood. For instance, God said to Noah:“For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rainupon the earth forty days and forty nights; andevery living substance that I have made will Idestroy from off the face of the earth.” (Genesis7:4)The text goes on to tell us:“And all flesh died that moved upon theearth………All in whose nostrils was the breathof life, of all that was in the dry land, died. Andevery living substance was destroyed which wasupon the face of the ground, both man, andcattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl ofthe heaven; and they were destroyed from theearth…..” (Genesis 7:21-23)It is interesting that the Hebrew word translated “de-stroyed” in these verses is “machah”, the same wordused in Psalm 51 in which David is leading with Godto “blot out” his transgressions. when God blots outour sin he remembers it no more. It is as if our sin hadnever existed. In the same way, the forceful nature ofthe text in Genesis indicates that the destruction of theland-dwelling air-breathers was total. We should re-member again the violence of the Flood. the originalland surface was being stripped away, there was wide-spread volcanism and metamorphism, physical dismem-berment by buffeting waters, abrasion and pulverisa-tion by sediments, and chemical decomposition. At thetrace of the land-dwelling air-breathers — not even infossil form — was left.Now let us turn to the geological record. One strikingfeature of the record is the complete absence of anyfossils of air-breathing land animals — or traces madeby them — either in the Precambrian or in Lower Pal-aeozoic rocks. Terrestrial air-breathers do not begin toappear in the record until the Upper Palaeozoic. TheEuropean Flood model proposes, therefore, that thePrecambrian and Lower Palaeozoic represent the com-plete wiping out of the prediluvian world during thosefirst few terrible days of the Flood. The scriptures indi-cates, the land-dwelling air-breathers were completelyobliterated with no remaining trace.It is significant that separating the Precambrian fromoverlying younger rocks is an extraordinarily wide-spread erosion surface. In the words of one geologist:“The continental nuclei at that time were largelystripped down to the crystalline basement. An-scientific mountain systems were worn down to theirroots reducing the continents more nearly to aplain than they have ever been before or since.”(Olson 1966 p 458)As the subterranean water chambers emptied, the landwas leveled, and the oceans began to inundate thecontinents. The resulting erosion surface — the so-called ‘Great Unconformity’ — marks the rapid in-coming of the sea after the collapse of the fountains ofthe great deep. Immediately above this erosion sur-face we commonly find Cambrian sediments whichindicate deepening water — a basal conglomerate orboulder bed, followed by sandstones, and then shalesand limestones (Ager 1981 p 11). These Cambrian headquartersments are very widespread, indicating that the LowerPalaeozoic represents a time of unprecedented cont-nental flood by marine waters. Figure 6 showsthe distribution of Upper Cambrian sediments acrossthe United States and southern Canada. this showsthe extent of the flood of this continent at thattime — only the Transcontinental Arch remained abovewater, and that was too flooded by the Late Ordovi-cian.Let me quote Dr TH van Andel (1994), to CambridgeUniversity geologist, in his book New Views on an OldPlanet:“Regarding the early Palaeozoic in this bright light,we find a wet world, its continents 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9GEOLOGY AND THE FLOODfar more than they have ever been since then,and the rise of the sea continuing. Before thisrise ended, very little land remained above wa-to have.” (p 179)It is likely that in the Precambrian all the pre-Floodland was underwater as a result of the breaking up ofthe fountains of the great deep. The Lower Palaeo-zoic represents a marine flood, the ocean waterssweeping over the continents as they foundered.We now come to the issue of where the Flood ends inthe geological record. If the continents were underwater during the Precambrian and Early Palaeozoic,then at what point does the rock record begin to showsigns that the Flood waters are receding?The post-Flood worldWhile the beginning of the Flood was a sudden geo-logical event (the breaking up of the fountains of thegreat deep), its ending was gradual and protracted.Noah stepping off the Ark was not a geological eventthat can be pinpointed in the rock record. the landwas dry enough in the region where the Ark becameGrounded for Noah and the animals to leave the dresssel, but many other parts of the world may have beenstill under water. The after-effects of the Flood musthave lasted for centuries — a catastrophe of the mag-nitude of the Flood does not end abruptly with theworld suddenly returning to calm and equilibrium.Why did Noah and his descendants need the promiseof the rainbow? God knew that there would be timeswhen they would doubt His promise never again todestroy the earth in a Flood. The “world that then”was” (2 Peter 3:6) had perished and the harsh newworld was not an easy place in which to live. Post-Flood catastrophism creates problems for us in decid-ing where to draw the line in the fossil record to markthe Flood/post-Flood boundary. However, there arevarious lines of evidence that help us make a divisionin the record between Flood and post-Flood rocks.Let us look briefly at a few of these.Submersion of the continentsI noted earlier that geological evidence indicates themaximum flooding of the continents — by subterra-nean terrestrial waters — occurred in the Precambrian,followed by an incoming of marine waters as the con-tinents sank in the Early Palaeozoic. from that timeonwards, the geological evidence indicates that flood-Figure 6: Distribution of Upper Cambrian deposits across the United States and southern Canada (from Robinson 1996 p 40). Onlypreserved strata are shown, and thicknesses therefore represent minimum values.


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THE GENESIS AGENDUM OCCASIONAL PAPER 110distinguished from lava flows formed under water. theycan therefore give us crucial evidence for the exist-ence of large tracts of dry land in the past, and help usdecides when the continents were flooded and whenthey were above water.Figure 8 shows the distribution of CFBs throughout thegeological record. One example is known from theProterozoic, and another from the Lower Cambrian(although this is not certain). then thereis a gap in the record where in CFBsare known. They reappear in the Meso-zoic, and examples are known through-out the Mesozoic and Cenozoic. thisdistribution is striking and needs to beexplained. I suggest that CFBs are ab-sent from the Palaeozoic because thecontinents were under water at that time(Garner 1996b). It was only in the Meso-zoic, with the re-emergence of dry landthat CFBs are able to form. This indi-cates to Flood/post-Flood boundarysomewhere around the end of the Pal-aeozoic.vertebrate tracksLet us now consider the incidence of fossiltracks in the geological record. livinganimals can walk and leave footprints;dead animals cannot. we have alreadyemphasized the suddenness and violenceof the Flood. The Bible describes thetotal annihilation of all the pre-Flood air-breathers in the first 40 days of the Flood.We should expect, therefore, to find noevidence of living land animals (eg, foot-prints) in Flood layers, but we would ex-pect to find plenty of evidence of living land animals inpost-Flood layers, after the animals had stepped offthe Ark and begun to repopulate the earth. we cantherefore look at the distribution of footprints in thegeological record to help us identify Flood rocks.Figure 9 shows the distribution of tracks (Garton 1996).The Lower Palaeozoic layers are barren of tracks. Am-phibians and reptiles characterise the Upper Palaeo-zoic, reptiles the Triassic, and dinosaurs (with somebirds) the later Mesozoic. In other words, the tracks ofair-breathing land animals lie on top of thousands ofmeters of sediments that contain no tracks. This distri-button can be understood if the flood ends in theUpper Palaeozoic. This would explain why tracks areabsent from the Lower Palaeozoic — these are Floodrocks laid down at a time when all the land creatureshad perished. It would also explain why the tracks ofterrestrial creatures characterise the Mesozoic — theseare post-Flood animals descended from those on boardthe Ark. The amphibian and reptile tracks in the Up-ing was never so extensive again (Figure 7). Evidenceindicating the substantial re-emergence of dry land be-gins to appear in the Devonian. The end of the Pal-aeozoic and the beginning of the Mesozoic is charac-terised worldwide by continental red-beds (eg, wind-blown sands) of the Permo-Triassic, and extemely lowsea-levels correlating well with drying out of theland after the Flood (Genesis 8:13).In these turbulent post-Flood timesthere was major tectonic activity stillgoing on. Convincing geological evi-dence indicates that towards the endof the Flood, the continental plates hadcollided to form a supercontinent,which geologists call Pangaea. this wasprovidential in that it paved the wayfor the rapid recolonization of theEarth by the animals preserved on theArk. It appears that in early post-Floodtimes, this supercontinent began tobreak up. hot magma rising at themid-ocean ridges buoyed up the ocean-anic crust, displacing ocean water ontothe continents. This led to the re-in-foundation of some continental areas af-have the Flood. i understand that thisproposal may make some creationistsuncomfortable. After all, don’t we readthat God promised Noah that he wouldnever again destroy the earth with aFlood? But let us put this post-Floodactivity into context. the maximumsubmersion of the continents belowwater after the Early Palaeozoic wasduring the Late Cretaceous, and eventhen there was still plenty of dry land. I quote VanAndel (1994):“During the Cretaceous, the flood of thecontinents reached an extent not seen since theearly Palaeozoic, and in the end little more thanhalf of the present land area remained abovethe waves.” (p 183)God kept his promise! — never again did the watersdestroy the earth with a Flood.continental flood basaltsTo illustrate this point further, let us look at continentalflood basalts (CFBs). These are remarkably widespreadlavas that dwarf any known today. they are calledCFBs, not because geologists think they formed duringthe Flood, but because of their vast extent — they aretruly floods of lava. Hundreds of cubic kilometers ofbasalt were erupted in just days or weeks. The signifi-cancel of these particular basalt flows is that they ap-pear to have been erupted on dry land, and can beFigure 7: Eustatic sea level curvederived by estimating the area ofcontinental flooding. there aretwo major peaks of flooding — onein the Lower Palaeozoic and alesser one in the upperCretaceous. Adapted from Hallam(1984).


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11GEOLOGY AND THE FLOODper Palaeozoic appear to be those of semi-aquatic crea-tures that were able to survive outside the Ark(Robinson 1996, pp 52-53).dinosaursOne of my contributions to the current debate aboutwhere the Flood/post-Flood boundary is locateda review of the data on dinosaur nesting sites (Garner1996a). While the presence of bones does not neces-sarily tell us whether an animal was alive or not whenit was buried, dinosaur nests, like tracks, are obviouslymade by living dinosaurs. These nests are found atmultiple levels throughout the Mesozoic sediments(such as the example (Figure 10) from Egg Mountain,Montana), and like the tracks they overlie thousandsof meters of sedimentary rock that does not containdinosaur remains of any kind. these are facts that anycreationist model of earth history must be able to ex-plain.If we plot the distribution of nests on the geologicalcolumn, we find that they occur, not haphazardlythroughout the column, but from the Triassic onwards.There is also an apparent increase in the numbers ofeggs and nests found throughout the Mesozoic, withthe largest concentration occurring in the Upper Cre-taceous sediments. Again, this non-random distribu-tion of nests points to a Flood/post-Flood boundarybefore the Triassic.Pattern of the fossil recordEarlier I mentioned the orderly succession of fossils —particularly the widely known vertebrate succession —in the rock record. If — as creationist geologists in theUK have proposed — all the air-breathing vertebrateswere destroyed in the flood, then the fossil record ofthe air-breathers must be post-Flood. Most scientists,of course, think that this succession is an evolutionarysequence — reptile, mammal, bird and finally man.Can we explain the succession of terrestrial vertebratesin the fossil record based on a creationist post-Floodmodel?I’m not going to look at this in great detail, but in hispaper in the Technical Journal, Steven Robinson (1996)examined this question and if you’d like more info-ation please consult that paper. However, I will makea few preliminary comments.To a first approximation it is possible to explain theorder of first appearance of land-dwelling, air-breath-





Figure 8: Map showing the distribution of the major continental flood basalt provinces (from Garner 1996b p118): (1) Keweenawan Province, (2) North Australian Province, (3) Siberian Province, (4) Karoo-AntarcticProvince, (5) Paranà-Etendeka Province, (6) Deccan Province, (7) North Atlantic Tertiary Province, (8) EthiopianProvince, (9) Eastern China Province, (10) Columbia River Province.


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THE GENESIS AGENDUM OCCASIONAL PAPER 112Figure 9: Stratigraphic distribution of vertebrate fossil tracks (from Garton 1996 pp 84-5). Note the lack of tracksin the Lower Palaeozoic.


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13GEOLOGY AND THE FLOODsignificant numbers until the Cenozoic. Calculationsshow that elephant reproduction rates, for example,are such that we should not expect to find these crea-fossilized tures in the first 200 years after the Floodbecause the population numbers would have beentoo small (Robinson 1996 pp 63-4). The first indisput-able elephant fossils are found in the Eocene, whichaccords very well with this model, in which the Meso-zoic and Cenozoic represent the first two or three cen-turies after the Flood.So it appears that the Flood/post-Flood boundary issomewhere in the Upper Palaeozoic 5 . This concludedsion does not rest on any single piece of evidence, butis corroborated by a number of independent lines ofevidence that all point in the same direction.ConclusionScripture is quite clear that in the days of Noah therewas a Flood of waters which engulfed the entire earthand destroyed every creature that lived on it. thistestimony is supported by Flood traditions all over theworld. The geological record also abundant suppliesevidence of a worldwide cataclysm. nevertheless, wemust hold our scientific models lightly. we must bewilling to subject our models to criticism and peer re-view. We do not present this model of earth history toyou as the final word on the subject. It is a summary ofour current thinking, and will need to be reviewed,criticized and, if necessary, modified.Our concern is not simply to show that the theory ofevolution is an inadequate explanation of the fossilrecord, but to develop a sound, scientific alternativeto that theory. It is vitally important that creationistsapply themselves to the development of a young-earthview of geological history that is in harmony with boththe scientific evidence and scripture. this is importantnot only for the academically or scientifically minded,but it is vital if we are to have any impact on the secularworld. There is a message in the rocks — a message ofjudgment, of God’s abhorrence of sin — that is for allmankind. These issues of Flood geology — touchingas they do on fundamental issues of man’s origin anddestiny — are crucial as we seek to expand the crea-tionist ministry, take the hope of the Gospel out intothe world, and see men and women saved.Notes1 Text of a lecture delivered at the autumn meeting of The Gen-esis Agendum at Baden-Powell House, London on Saturday, 30November 1996.2 Albeit they were old-earth creationists.3 It might be objected that these calculations are invalid since theCoconino Sandstone is usually considered as an aeolian (ie, wind-blown) deposit. However, there is compelling palaeontological andgeological evidence against an eolian interpretation and in fa-



Figure 10:(a) Map and vertical section of Willow Creek Anticline locality, EggMountain, Montana, showing a number of egg clutches attributedis a hypsilophodont-like ornithopod dinosaur. The clutches occuron at least three different horizons in a three-metre (10-feet)section. Values ​​represent the number of eggs per nest, brokenlines close clutches found on single horizons.(b) Typical clutch arrangement viewed from above.(c) Egg clutch viewed from the side showing the partial burial ofthe eggs in siliceous carbonate sediment.From Garner (1996a p 103).ing creatures on the basis of dispersal rates and repro-ductive rates after the animals came off the Ark. takethe dinosaurs, for instance. The earliest dinosaurs —in the Triassic — are bipedal reptiles that would havebeen capable of traveling long distances rapidly. it isno surprise, therefore, that these are the first to ap-pear in the fossil record. there are three importanttrends throughout the dinosaur record:(i) increasing number of fossils, reflecting the increase-ing number of animals as they multiplied,(ii) growing diversity of dinosaur types, reflecting(a) the increasing likelihood, as they multiplied,that particular types would be buried, and(b) post-Flood variation within the kinds,(iii) increasing body size, reflecting the slower repro-duction rates of larger animals and the continuinggrowth of dinosaurs as they became older.Recent Studies Have Indicated That Dinosaur Reproducestion rates were extremely high (Paul 1994). For in-stance, it is estimated that in about 40 years a sauropoddinosaur could have produced up to 4,000 eggs. Inaddition, it is thought that the juveniles grew very rap-idly. The reproductive output of dinosaurs is thoughtto have equaled or exceeded that of rodents, andwas much higher than large mammals like elephants.This would explain why dinosaurs appear in the fossilrecord before the mammals, which do not appear in


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THE GENESIS AGENDUM OCCASIONAL PAPER 114vour of an underwater origin (Brand 1979; Brand and Tang 1991;Visher 1990).4 This was one of the proposals of Whitcomb and Morris (1961 pp270-88) to explain the order of the fossil record.5 It has recently been suggested that the boundary may be as lowin the geological column as the Silurian (Steven J Robinson, per-communication, 1997).ReferencesAger, DV (1981), The Nature of the Stratigraphical Record, Sec-where Edition, MacmillanAger, D (1986), ‘A reinterpretation of the basal ‘Littoral Lias’ of theVale of Glamorgan’, Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association97, 29-35Austin, SA (ed) (1994), Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastro-phe, Institute for Creation Research, Santee, CaliforniaBrand, LR (1979), ‘Field and laboratory studies on the CoconinoSandstone (Permian) vertebrate footprints and their paleoecologicalimplications’, Paleogeography, Paleoclimatology, Paleoecology 28,25-38Brand, LR and Tang T (1991), ‘Fossil vertebrate footprints in theCoconino Sandstone (Permian) of northern Arizona: evidence forunderwater origin’, Geology 19, 1201-4Brett, CE and Liddell, WD (1978), ‘Preservation and paleoecologyof a Middle Ordovician hardground community’, Paleobiology 4,329-48Calais R (1989), ‘Dulling dinosaurs die in diluvial disaster’, Crea-tion Ex Nihilo 11(3), 44-5Carroll, RL (1988), Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution, WHFreeman, New YorkChadwick, AV (1978), ‘Megabreccias: evidence for catastrophism’,Origins [Geoscience Research Institute] 5, 39-46.Cocks, LRM (1993), ‘Triassic pebbles, derived fossils and the Or-dovician to Devonian palaeogeography of Europe’, Journal of theGeological Society 150, 219-26Dineley, DL (1992), ‘Devonian’, in Duff, PMD and Smith AJ(eds), Geology of England and Wales, Geological Society, LondonGarner P (1996a), ‘Where is the Flood/post-Flood boundary? Im-plications of dinosaur nests in the Mesozoic’, Creation Ex NihiloTechnical Journal 10, 101-6Garner, P (1996b), ‘Continental flood basalts indicate a pre-Meso-zoic Flood/post-Flood boundary’, Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Jour-nal 10, 114-27Garton, M (1993), ‘Rocks and Scripture: the millions of years time-scale and some geological common sense’, Origins [Biblical Crea-tion Society] 6(15), 17-23Garton, M (1996), ‘The pattern of fossil tracks in the geologicalrecord’, Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal 10, 82-100Hallam, A (1984), ‘Pre-Quaternary sea-level changes’, Annual Re-views of Earth and Planetary Science Letters 12, 205-43Halstead, LB (1975), The Evolution and Ecology of the Dinosaurs,Peter LoweHasel, GF (1974), ‘The fountains of the great deep’, Origins[Geoscience Research Institute] 1, 67-72Liddell, WD (1975), ‘Recent crinoid biostratinomy’, GeologicalSociety of America Abstracts with Programs 7, 1169Martill, DM (1989), ‘The Medusa effect: instantaneous fossilizationtion’, Geology Today 5, 201-5Meyer, DL (1971), ‘Post mortem disarticulation of recent crinoidsand ophiuroids under natural conditions’, Geological Society ofAmerica Abstracts with Programs 3, 645-6Morris, JD (1994), The Young Earth, Master Books, ColoradoSprings, ColoradoNevins, SE (1971), ‘Stratigraphic evidence of the Flood’, in Patten,DW (ed), A Symposium on Creation III, Baker Book House, GrandRapids, Michigan, 33-65Newell, ND (1967), ‘Paraconformities’, in Teichert, C andYochelson EL (eds), Essays in Paleontology and Stratigraphy, De-department of Geology, University of Kansas Special Publication 2,The University of Kansas Press, 349-67Nield, EW and Tucker, VCT (1985), Palaeontology: An Introduc-tion, Pergamon Press, OxfordOlson, WS (1966), ‘Origin of the Cambrian-Precabrianunconformity’, American Scientist 54, 458-64Paul, GS (1994), ‘Dinosaur reproduction in the fast lane: implicationtions for size, success and extinction’, in Carpenter, K, Hirsch, KF,and Horner, JR (eds), Dinosaur Eggs and Babies, Cambridge Uni-Versity Press, Cambridge, 244-55Robinson, SJ (1996), ‘Can Flood geology explain the fossil record?’,Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal 10, 32-69Robinson, SJ (1997), ‘The geological column: a foundational concept.mental to Flood geology’, Origins [Biblical Creation Society], inpressRoth, AA (1975), ‘Turbidites’, Origins [Geoscience Research In-stitute] 2,106-7Roth, AA (1988), ‘Those gaps in the sedimentary layers’ Origins[Geoscience Research Institute] 15, 75-92Trewin, NH (1985), ‘Mass mortalities of Devonian fish — theAchanarras Fish Bed, Caithness’, Geology Today March-April, 45-9.Van Andel, TH (1994), New Views on an Old Planet, Second Editiontion, Cambridge University Press, CambridgeVetter, J (1990), ‘Double tragedies frozen in lime’, Creation ExNihilo 12(4), 10-14.Visher, GS (1990), Exploration Stratigraphy, Second Edition, PennWell Publishing Company, Oklahoma, 211-3Wilson, MA and Palmer TJ (1992), Hardgrounds and HardgroundFaunas, Institute of Earth Studies Publications 9, University of Wales,AberystwythWhitcomb, JC and Morris, HM (1961), The Genesis Flood, Pres.byterian and Reformed Publishing Company, Phillipsburg


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15GEOLOGY AND THE FLOODThe Occasional Papers are intended primarily to makesome of the lectures given at The Genesis Agentum’smeetings more widely available but they may also in-include other papers. They provide a forum to disseminatenate constructive discussion and the results of recentstudy and research demonstrating the accuracy of theBible, thus contributing to a key aim of The GenesisAgenda These Papers are intended, however, toprovide information for an informed lay readershiprather than as a vehicle for the definitive publicationof research.Scripts Authors are encouraged to submit theirpapers on disk or by email. they should be in aWindows word-processed text, agreed with the Editorand in unjustified format, or ascii text . a hard copyof the text should also be provided. This will be re-garded as a the final version of the paper and shouldtherefore include all corrections and instructions. Inpreparing the manuscript the following points shouldbe observed:Size Manuscripts should not normally exceed 8,000words in length, including footnotes, references, etc.The inclusion of illustrations will reduce the wordagepermitted as the maximum format of twelve A4 pagesused for these Occasional Papers cannot be exceeded.Style and Spelling Authors are particularly asked toconsider the intended readership in preparing theirmanuscripts and to avoid unnecessary jargon. Ondealternative spellings for a word exist, the practice ofthe Oxford English Dictionary should be followed.General guidance on printing conventions and relatedtopics can be found in Horace Hart’s Rules for Com-positors and readers at the University Press, Oxford.Other languages ​​Manuscripts must be supplied inEnglish Where other languages ​​are quoted, any day-criticism should be shown on the hard copy (if not ondisk). Recognized transliteration may be used. Non-Latin scripts (other than Greek and Hebrew) are notavailable.Measurements Measurement units should be usedconsistently and where appropriate the metric/impe-rial equivalent should be given.Footnotes These should be marked in the text con-sequentially with superior numbers and listed in numeral-cal order at the end of the manuscript.Copyright The author is responsible for obtaining per-mission to reproduce any copyright material.Notes for AuthorsBibliographic references: The Harvard system of ref-erencing is preferred in which the author and date aregiven in the text, eg (Schaub 1993, 47) and the au-thors listed alphabetically with their works in chrono-logical order at the end of the paper:Ager, DV (1993a), The nature of the stratigraphical record(3rd edition), John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester.Ager, DV (1993b), The new catastrophism, Cambridge Uni-Versity Press, Cambridge.Douglass, E (1996), ‘The geologic history of the Moon’, Selenology15(2), American Lunar Society. <http://www.media.wright.edu/studorgs/lunar/mooni~l.htm&gt; (17 Nov 1997).Eriksson, KA and Simpson, EL (2000), ‘Quantifying the oldest tidalrecord: the 3.2 Ga Moodies Group, Barberton Greenstone Belt,South Africa’, Geology 28, 831-4Schaub, R. Thomas (1993), ‘Bab edh-Dhra’ in The New Ency-clopaedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land. Vol.1. (Ed Ephraim Stern), The Israel Exploration Society. Letter,Jerusalem.Guidance will be provided for electronic referencingsources on the Internet. where the use of internetsources is extensive, reference should be made toHarnack, Andrew and Kleppinger, Gene, Online! THEReference Guide to Using Internet Sources, Bedford/St Martin’s Press, New York, 1998.References to unpublished works should include detailsof location.Illustrations These may be line drawings or glossyphotographic prints and will be reproduced in blackand white. They should not exceed A4 size (297 x210 mm/11.69 x 8.27 inches), be prepared on sepa-rate sheets, have regard to the final size of reproductiontion and therefore be capable of reduction. The ap-approximate position of the illustration should be markedon the hard copy of the article. An illustration shouldbe referred to as ‘Figure’ and each one numberedconsecutively. A full list of captions should be pro-vided on a separate sheet at the end of the text.Proofs A page proof will be issued to the author (ormain author). This should be checked carefully fortypesetting errors and returned promptly. Substantialchanges other than these may be charged to the au-thor.Offprints Five copies of the article will be providedfree to the author(s) who may buy additional copies atcost price provided they are ordered when returningthe proof.


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THE GENESIS AGENDUM OCCASIONAL PAPER 116