Flat Gaps and Interbedded Strata Pt 2

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By Jon Covey, BA, CLS(ASCP)

Edited by Anita Millen, MD, MPH, MA

A few readers say our discussion last mopdf_button24nth on flat gaps (paraconformities) went over their heads. I hope this essay will clear up any confusion on this important issue. In his book, The Global Flood, John Morris discusses the dynamics of the Genesis Flood in detail. He explains much about how and why the six megasequences of rock strata covering North America got to be the way they are.

The definition of a megasequence can be fairly complex, but it is essentially a sequence of strata sandwiched between unconformities. An unconformity represents a time when sedimentation appears to have stopped, some of the previously deposited rock was eroded, and sedimentation resumed. Most geologists assume this process required millions of years, while creationist geologists say most of the sediments from the Cambrian onward were rapidly generated and deposited by the Flood.

Creationary geologists often refer to Grand Canyon features because it’s easy to see thick layers of sediments. According to geologist Steve Austin, tremen­dous, catastrophic erosion produced the canyon.

mapIn Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe, a very helpful book, Austin explains how the natural dam formed by the Kaibab Upwarp broke and catastrophically released the water from Vernal, Canyonlands, and Hopi lakes (shown in the accompanying map from his book), excavating Grand Canyon within a few days. Austin proposes the following sequence: the Kaibab Upwarp natural dam holding back the water of Hopi Lake failed catastrophically due to siphoning (piping) of the lake’s water beneath a low point in the Kaibab Upwarp near Grand Canyon village. This then destabilized the natural dam for Canyonlands Lake that also failed, catastrophically releasing the lake’s water. “The rapid drainage of Canyonlands Lake excavated Marble Canyon,” weakening the dam holding the water in Vernal Lake.

Austin then explains important details of the major causes “of erosion of solid bedrock during a large flood. High-velocity flow produces cavitation down-current from an obstruction, as vacuum bubbles implode, inflicting hammer like blows on the bedrock surface.” In addition to the cavitation bubbles, there is also hydraulic plucking, which just another way of saying water ripping up chunks of rock from the bedrock, which takes place along bedrock-joint surfaces. Also, flood flow produces hydraulic vortices called kolks, which produces intense lifting force and rips up blocks of bedrock. [1]

Figure 1 Strata laid down side by side. As an energetic turbidity current or mudflow encoun-ters land, it first erodes, and then deposits large boulders, then sand and smaller particles, ending up in a vertical series of layers. From The Global Flood by John Morris, Ph.D., Insti-tute for Creation Research, location 3752 of the Kindle version.

Figure 1 Strata laid down side by side. As an energetic turbidity current or mudflow encoun-ters land, it first erodes, and then deposits large boulders, then sand and smaller particles, ending up in a vertical series of layers. From The Global Flood by John Morris, Ph.D., Insti-tute for Creation Research, location 3752 of the Kindle version.

Morris also explains some of the hydrological dynamics of the Flood, which he shows in Figure 1, a colorized version of the diagram from Austin’s book. Both books would be excellent additions for your library.

Explaining the drawing, Morris says, “To simplify the story, when shallow but powerful water first encounters the land and water energies are greatest, erosion is extensive. As velocities lessen and begin to curl back, only large boulders and cobbles can be deposited. As the water velocity tapers off with increasing depth and wider area, larger and then smaller sand grains drop out, then finer particles, and finally chemical precipitates. As transgression progresses, three zones are deposited laterally and essentially simultaneously. As shown in the accompanying diagram, as the transgression moved inland, the zones took shape as linear beds, one on top of the other. In the first stage, larger particles are carried out by stronger currents where they are deposited, then smaller ones as current slows. Meanwhile, smaller particles are transported even farther out. All were deposited virtually simultaneously, as their lateral extent progressed.”[2]

Morris says, “We can clearly see the ferocity of the Flood’s initial activity when we examine the rocks. In Grand Canyon, the first thing on the record is a mighty episode of erosion, an unconformity. Here, the underlying metamorphic, igneous, and sedimentary rocks are beveled off to an amazingly flat surface. One rock type overlies a very different rock type at this interface, separated in only a few places by a thin disrupted zone. Uniformitarians consider the time represented by this erosion episode to be many millions of years, but such a view does not match the observation. A long period of erosion would almost certainly result in a thick rubble layer, stream channels, or at least an undulating surface, with pronounced highs and lows. Except for a few places where a hard, resistant Shinumo boulder is lodged near the erosion surface, the erosion plane exhibits little relief.” [3]

Morris describes the lowest layer in Grand Canyon, the Tapeats Sandstone as a “pancake-like rock [that] varies from 125 to 325 feet in thickness throughout the area, and consists of quartz sand grains cemented into hard rock, with larger grains and even cobbles and boulders clustered at the very bottom. Beneath this layer is the Great Unconformity, which Morris says is the result of the mighty episode of erosion that beveled off the underlying metamorphic and igneous rocks to an amazingly flat surface. The Genesis flood had the power to produce this flat-planed surface and is a better explanation for the Great Unconformity than that offered by uniformitarian geologists, because the Flood’s power “was able to carry along large boulders, which first leveled the terrain and then deposited its sediment load, beginning with the largest boulders. The erosional surface has aptly been named ‘The Great Unconformity,’ for it is indeed “great,” extending across the continent.”

3Morris further explains, “the Tapeats, however, produces a surprise, for the “pancake” layer extends across Arizona into New Mexico, up into Utah, into Colorado, and farther. It is reliably correlated with beds in Montana, Wyoming, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, up into Canada, and around into Greenland and Europe. At least continental in scope, it can be labeled hemispherical, far different from any local deposit uniformit[arianism] might propose.”

This is a stunning revelation, but no more so than his description of the overlying 400-foot-thick Bright Angel Shale, which in turn is covered by the Muav Limestone, approximately 650 feet thick. The Tapeats, Bright Angel, and Muav compose the first of the six megasequences in North American called the Sauk.

Widespread Deposits and Missing Time

When you look at the surface of the earth, what do you see? Do you see hills, valleys, stream beds, canyons, mountains, rivers, lakes and such? The southern Great Plains states are not pancake flat, even though seemingly endless hours of driving the interstate highways through this region gives one the impression of a nearly monotonous, featureless expanse, but on closer inspection, even Kansas has the features just mentioned. Elevations in Kansas range from 679’ in the east to over 4,039’ in the west. Neighboring Nebraska elevations run from 840’ to 5424’ and Oklahoma rises from 289’ to 4973’.

The Great Basin region contains Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, the Rocky Mountains, and many other breath-taking locations. Secular geologists say that mountain-building episodes 80-55 million years ago (Ma) created today’s Rocky Mountains, which contains rock remnants of the Ancient Rocky Mountains (we say that they were the pre-Flood mountains). Within the Great Basin, there’s a series of formations that includes Shinarump and Chinle. Also, the Dakota formation (~135 Ma) runs from Arizona to Wisconsin (bright magenta dashed zone). The widespread deposition of these formations are better explained by Flood geology than uniformitarian speculation.

The black dashed zone shows the approximate boundary of the dinosaur-riddled Morrison formation and looks like a blanket thrown over the Rocky Mountains. This formation is about 150 Ma according to geologists, indicating that when the Genesis Flood deposited the Morrison, the altitude of the Ancient Rocky Mountains had to be much lower than today. Psalm 104:8 says the mountains rose up and the valleys sank down at the end of the Flood, indicating that there was much tectonic activity at that time..

Now we are coming to the point where a flat-lying time gap (paraconformity) is comprehensible by Flood geology but not by uniformitarian geology. Only a catastrophic, sediment-laden flood could deposit sediment layers of such wide lateral extent and leave flat-lying surfaces that are characteristic of the layers seen in Grand Canyon and elsewhere. Depending on the direction of the Flood waters and the sources from which the sediments came explains why there are “missing” time gaps in the geologic record. The time isn’t really missing because the year-long Flood produced all the sediments from the Cambrian Period to at least the Cretaceous Period, but from the evolutionists’ perspective, many millions of years are missing in the flat time gaps that they refer to as paraconformities, or more generally as disconformities. (To be continued)


[1] Austin, S, Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe, Institute for Creation Research, Santee, CA, pp. 102-106, 1994.

[2] Morris, John D. (2013-06-17). The Global Flood: Unlocking Earth’s Geologic History (Kindle locations 3756-3757). Institute for Creation Research. Kindle Edition.

[3] Morris, John D. (2013-06-17). The Global Flood: Unlocking Earth’s Geologic History (Kindle Locations 3687-3688). Institute for Creation Research. Kindle Edition.


About the Author
Jon Covey and is wife Anita have been long-time members of the South Bay Creation Science Association. Jon and Anita write the monthly Creation in the Crossfire newsletter and have been invaluable in adding great research and insight into the creation articles we send out.