Category Archives: Geology

Earthquakes and Earth’s History

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up… Genesis 7:11

One of the most interesting things I’ve learned from creation geologists is how much information they get from this one verse. Yes, the rain comes right after, but the event starting the world-wide Flood in motion was from underground.

What were those “fountains of the great deep”?

How deep were they?

What else was in there besides H2O?

What happened when they were “broken up”?

Some of these things are still puzzled over and discussed among Bible believing scientists, but one thing we are pretty sure about: when the ground broke up, there were earthquakes and more.

We know when God made the world, He said everything was “very good”. Genesis 1 even talks about all the waters being gathered into one place, which means the dry ground would have been in one piece, too. Nowadays, most geologists recognize this as most likely too and even have a name for that massive continent: Pangaea.

But the world doesn’t look like this any more! Something huge rearranged the whole landscape, forcing up mountains, and leaving the whole world under enormous tension.

Every giant piece of earth’s crust is trying to shift positions to get more comfortable. But there are snags holding them back: at least for a time. Whenever there is an earthquake, a little of this tension is released. Nice for the earth, rotten for those of us living nearby!

But it’s not going to always be this way:

[Jesus,] whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. Acts 3:21 ESV

The Bible even gives us some really cool clues about how Jesus is going to restore all things to a “very good” state again. Have a look at these verses:

     And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; Revelation 6:12 
     And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. Revelation 8:5 
     And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. Revelation 11:13 
     And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail. Revelation 11:19 

     And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. Revelation 16:18 

Let’s see, that’s five earthquakes, including one so huge earth has never seen anything like it! I could go back to the Old Testament and find more mentions of earthquakes, like in Ezekiel 38:19, but you get the point.

When I read about these things happening, it looks like God is planning a couple of things. Sure, it’s going to be awful for Jesus’ enemies who refuse to submit to Him, but it’s also going to help the earth finally finish settling down from the Flood. From the time of the last great earthquake on, things will be far safer along the world’s coasts, in California (if it survives), and anywhere else you never know will get a serious shaking today.

Oh, yes, about that lightning. Remember what we’ve discovered about earthquakes and electricity? Cool stuff!

God may not have written the Bible as a “science textbook”, but we can sure learn a lot by comparing what He says and what we’ve discovered. :-D

Check out ICR’s a nice long article about:  Continental Drift, Plate Tectonics, and the Bible 

Fossil Formation: Preserved by No-Oxygen Water?

Anoxic: without oxygen

Remember how Uniformitarians want to believe a lake can only lay down one layer of mud in a year? But, then they have to figure out a way to explain the fossils sticking up through several or even lots of these layers.

How could these animals or plants not rot away before they had a chance to turn into fossils? They’ve got a pretty good sounding answer to this problem:

Put them in water with no oxygen until the sediment builds up around them. It’s called Anoxic Preservation and we can see this happening today.

The coolest place I found where the water works like this is in Florida. There is a sinkhole called the Little Salt Spring almost full of anoxic water. Nothing lives in there now, although a lot of Ostracods [microscopic clam-like creatures] lived there up to at least 800 years ago.

We’ve learned a lot about the Ice Age people in the area from things they put or dropped into the water. There are bits of wood and even a human brain we know are 1,000s of years old. So, the water there is certainly good at preserving things!

None of them have been turned to stone, though. Even the little things buried in more than 30 feet [10 m] of sediment are still “fresh”.

There are some other places around the world where the water doesn’t have any oxygen in it. Most of these places would normally be rich in creatures because of the good flow of nutrients for things to live on. The problem is, the oxygen-using algae and stuff grow so fast, the oxygen-makers can’t keep up. If there’s not a good flow of new oxygen-rich water, you end up with Anoxic conditions especially at the bottom.

“Dead Zones” without oxygen around the world

One place off the west coast of Canada has a sort of underwater bowl, keeping water from moving in and out near an inlet bringing in fresh nutrients. It is especially interesting because the sediments pile up just like they tell us in annual layers, called “varves”.

But, the only “fossils” anyone is reporting are diatoms and microfossils. Things way smaller than an annual layer’s thickness.

The Black Sea has the largest area of anoxic water. Pretty much the whole bottom is a “dead zone” of water without enough oxygen for life. So, it’s a perfect place for fish and other creatures to sink to the bottom and get preserved. Especially since the 20th Century was really hard on them.

Even there, the only preserved lifeforms getting scientists excited are the miniature ones. No one is talking about anything bigger than a millimeter.

What happened to the big guys?

There’s something else extra special about that Florida spring: it doesn’t have “anoxic microorganisms”. Most everywhere else, there are tiny creatures designed to fill even places like pockets at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea where there is never any oxygen. What do these things eat?

From the Role of Microbe in Ecosystems, University of Michigan: “But in shallow waters, coastal oceans, lakes and estuaries, 25-60% of the organic matter produced may settle out of the upper waters rapidly and be decomposed anaerobically.

“Anaerobically” means done without oxygen. These little guys are busy, not much escapes them in a recognizable form!

The Baltic Sea is having a hard time with falling oxygen levels and anoxic conditions from too much algae. There are plenty of large creatures dying and sinking to the bottom. Yet, no one is claiming they can see them turning into fossils. There are too many decomposers happily digesting away.

The fossil record is full of a lot more than plankton, algae, and diatoms. Before they can expect us to believe it was anoxic conditions over a long time preserving these fossils, they need more evidence. And, it doesn’t seem the scientists are even interested in studying this out.

And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day. Genesis 1:22-23

PS According to this interview, the first people living in Florida, “”had a very well developed technology, and they took full advantage of the natural resources of their environment. The more we learn about them, the more impressed we are with their technology.”…. “There was nothing primitive about them as human beings,” [the scientist] said.”

Do Rock Layers Equal Time Charts? Part 2 Experiments

Continued from Part 1:

Today’s reading:

“Geologists studied the rates of processes they could observe first hand, such as filling of lakes and ponds by sediment, to estimate the time it took to deposit sedimentary rock layers. They quickly realized that millions of years were necessary to accumulate the rock layers we see today. As the amount of evidence grew, scientists were able to push the age of the Earth farther and farther back in time.” US Geological Survey National Park Service

And 3 minute video:

These scientists were doing “real” science, working with experiments we can still do today.

So, I guess we have to go along with their “slow, boring ages” and throw out the Bible. Or, do we?

Can you think of something they forgot to include when thinking of ways to get sediment to collect in layers? How about an enormous, world-wide, watery Catastrophe!

What would the water have been like during Noah’s Flood? Still and quiet like a tranquil lake today? Or, perhaps like a small glass of muddy water? Hardly. It would have been moving around like crazy. We call this movement:

Water currents

There’s a scientist named Guy Berthault who decided to see for himself what happens to the bits of mud, sand, and rocks when you put them into flowing water. Here’s one of his videos (30 seconds):

And a sample of a large scale experiment showing the different layers after the water drained away (1 minute):

There’s no talking on these videos because Berthault speaks French, so we get a taste of what non-English speakers get every day. To find out more about his experiments and discoveries, check out Sedimentology.fr, which is all in English! On the left, click on “Experiments” and “Experiments (cont’d)” to read all about the videos and how they did them.

One of the first experiments Berthault did even took the same idea the Uniformitarians expect. He poured the sedimentary bits into still water:

You can do this for yourself with a Sand Art picture any time you like!

It will take a couple more minutes to read, but have a look at the sand layers that formed when a ship covered a beach with a mixture of sand and muddy water. They know exactly how long it took for the hose to pour all that out: less than one hour.

Do these experiments help you see slow, boring years as you examine rocks?

It all comes back to what you expect and want to see.

More coming up!

Ps 24:1  « A Psalm of David. » The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

Review: Awesome Science, Mount St Helens

awesome-science-mt-st-helens-(dvd)

Back at Christmas, a church group gave us some spending money. We had enough socks already, so I decided the best thing for the kids (OK, it was really for me) would be to get the Awesome Science DVDS done by the Justice family. Here’s what I think of them.

If you can’t afford the whole set, get the St Helens one at least. Why? Because that volcano has given us observational science opportunities like no other. My personal favorite way to learn about the events there is the book by Dr. Austin, but my kids haven’t once looked at my copy. For them, a video is the way to go.

The idea of the Awesome Science series is really good. Having a “kid” do the talking gives it an instant connection with young people. The graphics and footage are well done, you can turn off the rock music in the settings, and there is a lot of information on each episode (they’re nearly an hour long).

The reason I didn’t write before is one major beef I have with the series; you need an adult vocabulary to fully understand what’s going on. I can’t imagine Noah (the c.14 year old host) wrote the script himself. In the Grand Canyon DVD (the first) he talks about how scientists “infer” things. I’ve got the study guides and that word didn’t even make the vocabulary list, they forgot how unusual it is for kids to talk about anyone ‘inferring’ anything.

Here’s a list of words I pulled from the Mount St Helens episode to give you an idea of what you’re in for. All of these were used without explanations. He wasn’t introducing you to these words, he expected you to already know how to use them:

  • empiricalDictionary
  • lateral
  • equivilent
  • estimated
  • alleged
  • direct observation
  • homogenized
  • indications are
  • subsequent models
  • lakes were breached
  • hence
  • displaced the lake
  • interpret a geologic site
  • hypothesised
  • aniseptic waters
  • waters prevailed
  • subsequent
  • ultimate authority

A few of these terms are mentioned in the teacher’s guide where it would be easier to pause and find out what he was talking about. But for kids watching a movie on the weekend, that’s a lot of big words!

With my family, I’ll probably sit down and teach them the big words Noah uses (“if he can understand them, you can too”) so they can expand their vocabulary. The problem comes if you want to show the films to everyday kids, they will miss some of the more important scientific points. At the same time, they’ll still learn a lot, so it’d be worth it anyway. Plus, my kids enjoy them. Watching for the 2nd and 3rd time, most of them wandered off to play, but my 6 year old stuck it through to the end ’cause he loves volcanoes!

I’m looking forward to what the Justice family is able to film this year. The more images of real geology not filtered through the Uniformitarian mindset we get in our heads, the better!

Remember your Creator while you are young, before the bad times come—before the years come when you say, “I have wasted my life.” Ecclesiastes 12:1 Easy-to-read Version

PS Check the “Resources” page under the For Parents section to find the easiest places to order the series from.