For years I’ve heard about how the landscape all around the Grand Canyon is flat. But, it’s
not easy to find photographs showing whether this is accurate or not. Until now. Big Sky Ken has some amazing pictures taken from above the rim of the Canyon. That way, those of us far away can get a taste of what they’re talking about.
Now, I couldn’t remember what the flatness of the country tells us about Arizona geological history. So, I went looking around. Turns out this is evidence of huge amounts of erosion:
Answers in Genesis: Feedback: Grand Canyon Elevation Everyone generally agrees that sheet erosion on a massive scale has removed thousands of feet of strata from above the rims of the canyon—strata that outcrops to the north and south of the Grand Canyon, for example, in Zion National Park to the north and Flagstaff, Arizona, to the south.
(Zion National Park and Flagstaff are several hundred miles [km] away from each other.)
So, what is this “sheet erosion”?
Let’s find out!
From Wild Again Reforestation Trust: Sheet Erosion:
When the ground surface is stripped of vegetation, the upper soils are vulnerable to both wind and water erosion. Soil is washed into rivers when it rains, and then out to sea. This destroys the ability for the land to regenerate because it has lost its topsoil. It also destroys marine environments. In several parts of the world, entire sections of countries have been rendered unproductive because of soil loss.
The best definition is on a page with the html showing (so I don’t know who made it), but it explains what’s going on so clearly I had to share:
Somewhere on ThinkQuest: Sheet Erosion
Sheet erosion is a specific case of accelerated erosion. It occurs when a layer of soil over an entire area is washed away. The soil is eroded evenly, often leading to the formation of gullies or landslides. Sheet erosion also increases water run-off, the accumulation and subsequent washing away of water on the surface of soil. Soil that contains few plants is especially susceptible to this type of erosion. Because the soil is not protected by plant cover and plant roots, rainfall can easily remove soil particles, humus, and minerals. As this rainfall continues, the soil becomes increasingly compacted, and water accumulates on the surface instead of being absorbed. The fewer air spaces that remain inside the soil, the less water it can absorb. Ultimately, erosion produces a bare expanse of soil that contains few nutrients and as such is unable to sustain plant and animal life.
That’s powerful water!
Now, let’s check out what the Oxford Dictionary of Geography claims:
Sheet Erosion: A very slow-acting form of erosion whereby a thin film of water—sheet wash—transports soil particles by rolling them along the ground.
From what you’ve just read, does this seem likely even today? Or, are they just hoping it is “very slow-acting” so they don’t have to see a quick Flood rather than millions of years?
When you look down into the Grand Canyon you can see thousands of feet of sedimentary rock, much of it chock full of marine [sea] fossils.
When you look at the cliffs and formations above the Grand Canyon, you can see there was a lot more sediment with matching pieces left behind in far away places. In between, something stripped these upper layers completely off, flat as a pancake.
Some people insist this happened very slowly. We know there is a completely different way of looking at it!
For this people’s heart has grown thick, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. Matthew 13:15-16
General article on the Grand Canyon’s formation: Creation Ministries International: Grand Canyon, What is the Message?
You can do your own Sheet Erosion Experiment!