Creation Science

Old Earth Creationism

Why Believe In An Old Earth?

Evidence #2: Deserts - The Coconino


by Greg Neyman


     Unless you live in Arizona, or are familiar with the Grand Canyon, you probably do not know about the Coconino.  This is a sandstone formation, widespread over a large area of the western United States.  It represents a former desert, having formed about 260 million years ago, during the Permian Period.  In places it is as thick as 650 feet.

      The evidences for this formation being a desert sandstone include the following:

  1. Angle of the crossbeds in the sandstone, which average 24 degrees (eolian crossbedding can vary from 10 to 34 degrees, but the average is 25-28 degrees).  By contrast, water-deposited crossbeds rarely exceed 10 degrees

  2. The size of the crossbeds.  Coconino crossbeds are tens of feet tall, whereas water-deposited crossbeds are much smaller

  3. The Coconino contains fossil trackways from land-based organisms, at least 10 invertebrate ichnospecies and 16 vertebrate ichnospecies, including fossil tracks of scorpions, millipedes, isopods, and even what appears to be spiders.

  4. The Coconino contains fossilized raindrop impressions, clearly indicating that deposition was not underwater.


      The Coconino is one of the prominent rock layers of the Grand Canyon, with many layers above and below it.  The YEC model claims that these layers were deposited during the Flood of Noah.  However, you cannot have a wind-blown, desert sandstone right in the middle of Noah's Flood.  This is why YEC's have expended so much effort trying to prove the Coconino was deposited underwater.  Unfortunately for them, all the evidence points to a desert sandstone.  Fortunately, this desert sandstone presents no problems for old earth creationists.

     Because the Coconino presents many problems for the young earth model, it has been the subject of many YEC claims, none of which are scientifically valid.   I won't repeat all these claims here, but you can view the main claims on the Coconino page


Other YEC Claims

  • The Coconino contains what some YEC's call 'injectiles,' that appear to be spikes of sandstone that go down 15 feet into the rock layer below.  One person claims that these are "shot" into the shale below, proving the Coconino was still wet sand.  In reality, this is merely the cracks in the shale being filled with sediment as it is blown/washed over the cracks.  Instead of calling them 'injectiles,' they could be called 'fill-in-tiles"

  • There is a layer missing below the Coconino.  YEC's deny that any layers are missing, and they were laid down continuously during the flood.  But missing layers present no problems for the old earth understanding, and they do not cast any doubt upon the great age of the Coconino

  • There are current marks in the Coconino.  Although it is a desert sandstone, occasional rains could have easily created streams that create current marks


     If you are not a Christian, and you have been holding out on making a decision for Christ because the Church always preached a message that was contrary to what you saw in the scientific world, then rest assured that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and you can believe in Christ and receive salvation, while still believing in an old earth.  Click here for more.


    Are you a Christian who believes in young earth creationism?  Now that we have shown the many difficulties of the young earth creation science model in this and many other articles, how does this impact your Christian life?  If you are a young earth creationism believer, click here.


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 To learn more about old earth creationism, see Old Earth Belief, or check out the article Can You Be A Christian and Believe in an Old Earth?  

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