Review by Greg Neyman
© Old Earth Ministries
Andrew Snelling's third article in a series on flood evidences makes the claim that widespread rock layers are solid proof for a worldwide flood.1 Snelling claims that if the worldwide flood were true, then we would expect to find rock layers all over the world, filled with dead animals and plants. Of course, that is what geologists find. Does this prove that there was a global flood? Let's examine the claims made by Snelling.
Rapidly Deposited Layers over Vast Areas
Snelling begins by stating that sedimentary rock layers that cover vast areas are found on every continent, and that when geologists look at these rocks, "they find evidence that the sediments were deposited rapidly." The last statement in quotes is very misleading. Yes, geologists have identified sediments that were rapidly deposited, but this is the exception rather than the rule. Geologists recognize that most layers are deposited slowly over millions of years. I believe what Snelling is referring to here is young earth geologists. Since they believe the flood deposited all these layers, they naturally believe they were deposited rapidly. However, normal geologists correctly recognize the evidences for slow deposition.
For an example of one of these vast layers, Snelling mentions the Tapeats Sandstone of the Grand Canyon. He mentions that the base of this unit contains huge boulders and sand beds deposited by storms. The Tapeats was deposited in a shallow marine environment, so one would expect to see sand beds with ripple marks. As for the boulders, Snelling does not give any information on the type of boulders, so I'll give it to you. The base of the Tapeats contains brecciated debris flows, with large boulders. The source of these boulders is the Shimono quartzite.2 Snelling is correct that the boulders would require a catastrophic event, and these events are known as turbidite flows. There is nothing here to imply that a worldwide flood caused these debris flows. Thus an old earth explanation is sufficient, without the need to "assume" the worldwide flood did it.
Snelling states that "Slow-and-gradual (present-day uniformitarian) processes cannot account for this evidence, but the global catastrophic Genesis Flood surely can." As a geologist, Snelling is aware that slow and gradual deposition (uniformitarianism) also includes catastrophic events. For example, we see turbidite flows occurring in our oceans today, so geologists recognize that they also occurred in the past. Of course, Snelling is not going to mention this in a magazine article intended for a young earth audience. In other words, he knows that uniformitarianism can account for this evidence, but he cannot mention this, thus the statement is a lie by omission.
Next, Snelling mentions the fast limestones that include the Redwall Limestone of the Grand Canyon area. There is nothing in the section that needs addressed.
Snelling notes that the chalk beds of England also stretch across europe and far into the middle east. He states that these beds have the same fossils across their range. No other information is given. However, it is important to consider how chalk is made. For more on this subject, please see the article "No Chalk Beds."
Having the same fossils actually is proof against Noah's Flood. If all animals were killed in a worldwide flood, you would have humans, dinosaurs, mammals, insects, and marine organisms fossilized in the same rock layers. However, they are clearly segregated. Snelling's statement that the rock units all contain the same fossils supports evolution and old earth creationism, and argues against young earth creationism.
The next fact Snelling uses to impress his readers is the wide-ranging coal formations of the world. He also mentions that the beds share the same kind of plant fossils across the region. I don't know if these coal beds are actually the same geologic formation across the globe, but it doesn't matter. The young earth method for coal formation is the Floating Forest Theory, and we know that this theory is fatally flawed. Again, slow deposition of coal beds over millions of years is the correct answer.
Evidence of Rapid Deposition
Fortunately, Snelling uses the example of the Coconino Sandstone to argue for rapid deposition of a rock layer. This unit has been extensively examined in this article. While young earth proponents such as Snelling continue to claim that this unit is deposited underwater, the evidence from the formation itself proves that it is a desert sandstone. Of course, there cannot be a desert in the middle of Noah's Flood! I urge you to read the link above, and the article "Desert Problem" for a thorough rebuttal of these claims.
It is astounding that YEC scientists have not come up with a better answer to the Coconino Sandstone. Unfortunately, they cannot admit the truth (that it is a desert sandstone), so they must, at all costs, prove that the Coconino is a water-deposited sandstone. Unfortunately, the evidence is clearly contrary to their claims. They are boxed into a corner, and have no where to go, and cannot do a thing to change this predicament, unless they admit it was a desert, and become old earth creationists. They will not do that, so they will blindly continue on this path, which makes them look foolish.
Another popular topic of young earth creationists is mentioned next. Ayers Rock in Australia is a large sandstone rock formation , primarily made up of coarse-grained arkose. Snelling notes that the sand grains appear jagged, implying rapid transport and deposition. Geologists agree with this statement, however, where Snelling claims this transport process took a matter of hours, geologists would claim it took much longer. The transport of this sediment is similar to that proposed for the Coconino sediment. Unfortunately, Snelling's math leaves a lot to be desired, and he provides plenty of reasons not to believe in his theory (see the Coconino article).
God's Judgment "Clearly Seen"
Snelling sums it up by claiming Noah's Flood catastrophically formed all these rock layers. While I believe in God's judgment during Noah's time, the geologic evidence does not support a worldwide flood. The old earth theory of a local flood is a much better fit with the geologic facts.
1 Transcontinental Rock Layers, by Andrew Snelling. Answers Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 3, July-September 2008. pp. 80-83. Also found online here.
2 Arthur V. Chadwick and M. Elaine Kennedy, "Depositional Environment of the Tapeats Sandstone in the Region of Grand Canyon, Arizona," Geoscience Research Institute, Loma Linda University, California. 2001.
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