Mount St Helens, photo credit: SD4ever

Book Review: Footprints in the Ash


Mount St Helens, photo credit: SD4ever

Cover of

It’s big, 7″ x 9″ [c. 18 x 23cm]

One of the books I got with my birthday money [in 2012] was this one by John Morris and Steven A. Austin. I was especially looking forward to reading it because I’ve heard how much evidence the Mount St. Helens explosion gave us. I’ve even heard a story of a scientist finding Jesus as his Savior and Lord following the study of this volcano (he hasn’t posted his testimony online to my knowledge).

Cover of

I’m actually going to start with a mini review of the book, Grand Canyon: A Different View.  There was a copy of that book at the retreat center my writers conference was held at a few months ago, so I stayed up late one night to check it out. It looked beautiful (all the hard covers I’ve seen from Master Books do), and had some amazing pictures. But it didn’t take long before I started noticing a very defensive tone in their writing. They were always saying things like, “although main stream science claims… we believe it happened much faster.” The tone almost sounded whiny with frustration at not being accepted.

I did not order that book for my personal library.

Mount St Helens erupting, photo credit, NASASo, just a bit concerned, I cracked open my lovely edition of the book Footprints in the Ash last week. I needn’t have worried. The style and voice of this book couldn’t have been more different. Dr. Morris and Dr. Austin ooze with confidence and excitement. They spend very little time talking about “millions of years,” and “slow and gradual geological change” and get straight to the facts.

Everything they share from their first-hand experience is backed up with amazing pictures and diagrams. I especially liked the maps showing the drainage patterns before, shortly after, and several years after the main explosion.

I’m not going to cover their evidences in detail, but here are their main points:

Stratification (rock layering) can happen very quickly (in seconds to minutes)

Canyons can erode in a few hours

Uprooted trees still often end up being buried upright, but not where and how they grew

Peat layers (like coal is made from) can form very quickly

Recovery from a disaster happens much faster than scientists predicted

One of the things I was most impressed by with this book was their awareness of the reader. This is not a book that requires you to have already accepted the authors’ claims before you can bear to read it. It would be excellent to give to a geology lover who has never considered the possibility of a world-wide catastrophe before. They’ll get the point, but not by having it stuffed down their throats. The book does end with a gently-stated call to choose eternal protection in Jesus.

You can check out more reviews at the publisher’s page.

The glory of the LORD shall endure for ever: the LORD shall rejoice in his works.
He looks on the earth, and it trembles: he touches the hills, and they smoke.
I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. Psalm 104:31-33

PS My kids (9 and under) couldn’t care less about this book, but have really enjoyed the video Noah Justice did on Mount St. Helens.

Rock Salt Mine showing bent layering, Wiki Commons

Study Guide: Rock Salt, Evidence for Catastrophe!

Wiki Commons

Rock Salt Mine (look at that cool bent layering!)


“One of the most obvious and easily understood forms of sedimentary evidence for very long periods of time in earth’s history is the existence of multiple-layer, thick beds of evaporite* minerals in many parts of the world.” -NEGLECT OF GEOLOGIC DATA:  Sedimentary Strata Compared with Young-Earth Creationist Writings

Evaporite: noun, Geology 1. any sedimentary rock, as gypsum or rock salt, formed by precipitation from evaporating seawater.

Oh, no! We can’t trust the Bible, we’ll just have to admit today’s Uniformitarian scientists have been right all along. Or, do we?

Here’s the typical story you’ll hear about how the massive layers of rock salt around the world got there:

Long, long ago, there were shallow seas where everything was lovely, but then things started to dry up. So, “living creatures swam to a more suitable home” (remember this, it will be important later). The heavy salts settled out gradually forming salt beds. These beds can be enormously thick, for example, one area of Michigan has rock salt layers 1300 feet [396m] thick.

Today we find rock salt layers under somewhere around 2% of the dry land. This doesn’t sound very big, But this means around 1,149,816.8 square miles [2978800km2] are covered in salt layers!

One of the things I’ve always wondered was where the salt came from in the first place. You can see the Uniformitarians think the salt came from the ocean and dried up on land to form all these layers. But, I checked where the salt in the ocean comes from with the US Navy. They say the salt comes from land’s rock salt.

Now, I’m really confused!

Look at what the University of Hawaii tells us about the formation of rock salt:

how is it formed?
It is typically formed by the evaporation of salty water (such as sea water)

If we know the salt didn’t come from the ocean in the first place, why do they believe the salt on the dry land came from the ocean? Seems they might have their thinking in a knot.

So, what’s really going on? There’s a man who’s been studying the rock salt near his home in the Netherlands and has found out some amazing things. The video itself doesn’t tell you anything about him, so I’ll send you to the Biblical Geology Blog to learn a bit about Stef Heerema. Then, come on back and we’ll examine his video.

His accent is a little thick so I’ll post a few of his words helping you can follow along better. After you’ve watched the video, see how many of the questions you can answer.

Here’s the link to YouTube (be sure to give him a like while your over there, too!)

The European salt formation is called the Zechstein salt formation

Evaporate model = theory of rock salt formation from evaporating sea water

Magma chamber

Magmetic = coming from under the earth’s crust

Catastroph = Catastrophe

Rock salt is most often table salt (sodium chloride) or calcium sulfate (CaSO4, also known as anhydrite)

Primary igneous origin = straight from under the crust

basin = low point on earth’s crust

Thermal shrink = getting smaller as it cools

Direct contact = no insulation between two things

Slanic Salt Mine Cavern, Wiki Commons

Unirea mine chamber, height 54m, 177 ft, Romania

Underground salt body = main layer of salt

  • We find _________ fossils in rock salt.  Would an animal or plant trapped in the salt have been destroyed or preserved by the salt?
  • Salt acts as a __________ when it is really hot. It flows like _________ but is twice as _________ as water
  • Hot salt will do what to anything organic (animal or plant remains) caught underneath it? _____________________
  • Do table salt and calcium sulfate mix together when they crystallize?
  • Where and when have scientists seen salt erupting from under earth’s crust? _______________________ in 19_____ For more see this link: unfortunately it’s a scientific paper, but just have a look for (CaSO4)
  • When the salts are so hot they are liquified, the salts can mix.
  • Which salt crystallizes first? _____Sodium Chloride  _____Calcium Sulfate
  • At what temperature does it solidify (answer on the left side of the chart)? ____________ in Fahrenheit this is ______________ (in Celsius this is ____________)
  • Which one is denser? ______________
  • Which salt is found in the highest layer of the Zechstein formation? _______________
  • At what temperature does the other salt solidify (T= on the chart)? _______________
  • Do these salts stay mixed as they crystallize? __________________
  • The first chart of rock pillars with houses on top is inaccurate. He’s showing what Uniformitarians tell us happened. Why couldn’t it have happened? The weight would have __________________
  • The next possible explanation was “plate tectonics.” You can learn about them in the posts on Folded Mountains.  Could this explain the salt pillars under Holland? ___________

Now for the Flood model of the salt pillars:

  • Salt erupts over a wide area, slowly cooling from the top down
  • Something cracks the crystalized top layers (perhaps volcanic activity, seismic waves, or contracting as it cools)
  • Liquid salt has enough heat energy to evaporate ____/______ of the same volume of water
  • That experiment is really cool, isn’t it! What happened to the red layer when the water above it started boiling? _______________
  • Why didn’t the white layers rise too? ________________
  • How is this like the solid layers of salt near the salt pillar? _______________________
  • When this lifts liquid salt up in the water, does it quickly cool to a stop or keep the process going? ____________________
  • The pillars can be up to 3.5km high. in miles this is _______________

Those detached diapirs (dye-ah-pier, not diaper, this is a geological term for a dome) are cool. How do we know there was something besides water and salt in the area when the pillars were forming? ______________________________________

  • The next chart shows a simple version of what would have been there as the salt rose. What does the brown color stand for? ___________

The next chart shows some odd colored lines running through. These are thin slices of the sedimentary layers covering all of the area with the rest stripped away so you can see the salt pillar. Pay attention to where the different colors are.

  • The lower layers of sediment don’t cover the top, so we know they were/weren’t there when the pillar was pushed up.
  • Those lower layers do rise up along the sides of the pillar. What could have pushed them up against the pillar as it formed? ______________________
  • Does the Gulf of Mexico salt formation make sense from a Uniformitarian view? Why? __________________________
  • Gypsum is made of ______________________ and ____________
  • You can’t make gypsum out of _________________ salt
  • There is gypsum on top of the salt pillars so the water they formed in was ______________. This is important because we need answers for how freshwater creatures could survive the Flood.

Does the evidence force us to abandon what God tells us about the early history of our world? Are creationists anti-science walking through life with our eyes blinded?

Not in the slightest

Praise the Lord we can know the truth and Him!

Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another. Mark 9:50

PS, Creation Ministries International has a whole long article by Heerema with a great map of world rock salt locations and lots more.

On November 19, 2013, Stef Heerema responded to a number of objections to his theory. It’s not the easiest reading, but gives a great example of how evidence can be used both ways and we aren’t the ones having to ignore it!

Folded Rock Layers-Zion Nation Park, Wikimedia Mossy Rock Folded Rock Layers-Zion Nation Park, Wikimedia Marsh Blooms Fossilized Leaves in Travertine Folded Rock Layers-Zion Nation Park, Wikimedia

Ocean and Coastal Features left behind by the Ice Age

Continental Shelf, Florida

Continental Shelf, Florida

What kinds of marks would hundreds of years of lower sea levels leave on the earth?  Can we still see these signs?  Here are some of the evidences I’ve been able to find:

I want to start with a great picture that clearly shows erosion like we see all the time above water, but this one is submerged off the coast of Los Angeles.

This bit of the Wikipedia page on the continental shelves tells us that most of the sediment found on them come from the Ice Age.

There were a number of gigantic underwater landslides as the sea levels rose around the world as well.  There were ones of the northwest coast of Africa,  some off the coast of Norway, over 15 around the islands of Hawaii.  The ones off Hawaii caused unbelievable wave damage with high water marks as high as 1000 ft (304m) above today’s sea level!!!

Next we turn to today’s coastal features.  We know that they are often formed by things that were happening during the Ice Age.  Some are obvious like the fjords of Norway, Alaska, and New Zealand (be sure to look at these breathtaking pictures!). Others are not so obvious, like the bays we build our sea ports in.  You can take your pick of countries to learn from.  The USA says this all happened 16,000 years ago and has slightly better pictures.  New Zealand says they formed about 15,000 years ago and has more info. Really these pages are so similar, I think they were copying each other.

Victoria and Tasmania showing the Bassian Plai...

Victoria and Tasmania showing the Bassian Plain filling as Sea Levels rise about 14,000 years ago.

For those of you in high school, you might have a look at this PDFfrom Nova Scotia.  They talk about a number of landforms that were formed at this time like sea cliffs and barrier sandbars which would make a great geology study. Interestingly, they say the sea levels rose just 10,000 years ago (do you think they all might just be guessing??)

Diagram of the continental shelf and slope of ...

continental shelf and slope of the southeastern United States

There is also evidence that coral reefs were farther out and deeper during the Ice Age.  This is a really long scientific PDF about the drowned coral reeks beyond the Great Barrier Reef of Australia and around the world.

During my research today I also found a few things to add to my Submerged Ice Age Ruins and The Ice Age: Part 1 posts.

Psalm 93  The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.
Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting.
The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves.
The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea.
Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, for ever.