Flat Gaps and Interbedded Strata Pt 3

Comment are off

By Jon Covey, BA, CLS(ASCP)

Edited by Anita Millen, MD, MPH, MA

As we explained in part 1, paraconformities, referred to as flat-lying time gaps, belie the claim that the geologic record represents billions of years. It is nearly impossible to tell where a time gap is without examining the fossils in the rock layer immediately above and below the gap. Each layer is often interpreted to represent multimillions of years, depending on variables such as the rate of sedimentation and the amount of sediment deposited. The layers above and below a time gap are usually horizontal and parallel. The exposed layers of Grand Canyon are a good example of numerous flat-lying, parallel rock strata, which supposedly represent big time gaps.

Ariel Roth referred to the layer immediately below the time gap as the underlayer, and the layer above the time gap as the overlayer. (See Flat Gaps at www.creation.com)

The case of the missing bread slices

Paraconformities are like the missing slices in a very specially prepared loaf of bread. Each slice varies in thickness and composition. One is composed of whole-wheat, others of rye, barley, sourdough, or other flours. One slice contains raisins, the next flax seeds, the third sunflower seeds, the fourth pumpkin seeds, the fifth fig or date bits, and so on. The raisins, figs, and various seeds might represent fossil assemblages, while differing flours represent disparate sediments such as limestone, shale, sandstone, etc.

Some of the adjacent slices would look exactly the same from the outside. The equally browned crust of some slices would make it difficult to discern where one slice began and another ended because the gap between each slice is knife-edge thin, much like the alleged missing time at a paraconformity. Like any analogy, this breaks down if scrutinized too literally.

Geologists often have difficulty finding a paracon­formity (time gap) because the under- and overlayers are often made of the same type of sediment and appear continuous. However, based on index fossil assemblages found in the underlayer and overlayer, nearly 200 million years by evolutionary reckoning might separate the layers. Creationary geologists can explain this in terms of sedimentation produced by the Genesis Flood. When the fountains of the great deep erupted they produced very complex patterns of tectonic movements, water currents, and sedimentation.

Last month we reviewed some of the hydrological dynamics of the Flood, including Dr. Morris’ discussion of the violent onslaught of highly energetic Flood waters that rushed across Nevada, Arizona, and into New Mexico. This rushing water, powered by tremendous tectonic forces when the fountains of the great deep erupted, shaved off the metamorphic and igneous bedrocks, creating the worldwide flat surface of the Great Unconformity (Figure 1).

Flood Model

Figure 1 From The Global Flood by John Morris, p. 151, Institute for Creation Research. (Used by permission.)

As the velocity of the Flood waters began to slow and their depth increased, large boulders, rocks, pebbles, and sand settled atop the Great Unconformity, creating the lowest layer, the Tapeats Sandstone. Fine silt and clay particles settled next, producing the Bright Angel Shale. Mainly dissolved calcium carbonate precipitated and formed the Muav Limestone. The particle size decreases with each subsequent layer, becoming finer upward to complete the Sauk Megasequence. This sequence is followed by another similar sequence at the top of the Muav, beginning with an obvious discontinuity of coarse sediments followed by smaller particles fining upward, producing the Tippecanoe Megasequence.

This pattern of discontinuity and fining upward continues through the remaining four megase­quences. As Morris says, “Each represents one great dynamic incursion of the ocean onto the land.”[1] Each megasequence represents continuous fallout of sediments that produced distinct layers. We reviewed Morris’ book (Oct ’13) and concluded that this fining-up sequence strongly suggests these megasequences are actually megaturbidites. Turbidites are produced by turbidity currents and make up 30-50 percent of all sedimentary rock. See Dr. Morris’ article “Catastro­phic Deposition of Megabreccias” at www.icr.org for a clear explanation of turbidity currents and turbidites resulting from Flood action.

Discontinuous fossil record

Paleontologists have always noticed the discontinuity of the fossil record. There is no gradual transition of intermediate forms leading from one major kind to another as Darwin’s theory requires. This was one of the gravest objections Darwin said could be raised against his theory.[2] Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge remarked that the discontinuous nature of the fossil record was the trade secret of paleontologists, and that what they actually see is: 1) abrupt appearance of a species, 2) stasis, i.e., no change for millions of years, and 3) extinction. All paleontologists recognize this pattern.

Paleontologists know that the Precambrian time’s “Avalon explosion” of the Ediacaran period consisted of soft-bodied fossils. The Ediacaran fossils were a plethora of strange creatures that disappeared before the Cambrian explosion: the abrupt appearance of 20 phyla of unrelated animals with no common ancestor.[3]

Ichnofossils aka trace fossils

Annual rains cause runoffs with sediments that slowly bury some areas, while water and wind erode other areas. Where sediments gather, burrowing creatures burrow upwards to keep within their ecological zone, leaving behind old burrows that get filled in with sedimentary minerals producing what paleontologists call trace fossils (ichnofossils). Burrows by various creatures are abundant in fossilized soils. Worms and crawling creatures, as well as birds, four-legged amphibians, reptiles, and mammals all left their tracks in soft mud along with raindrop impact craters. Sudden burial of these ephemeral marks by Flood sediments protected them from erasure by water flow or wind, and as the sediments hardened the tracks were preserved in the sedimentary rocks. These delicate structures become ichnofossils if sediments bury them before they are erased by water movement or wind.

Something we might overlook is that plants have root systems that eventually become part of the geologic column if conditions favor fossilization. This happens even in deserts. Additionally, many burrowing animals, such as insects, worms, bivalves, crustaceans, etc., cause bioturbation that reworks the soils and sediments. An internet search will bring up many pictures and discussions of bioturbation caused by various creatures.

Dr. Don Patton wrote,“The lack of bioturbation (worm holes, root growth) at paraconformities (flat gaps) reinforces the lack of time involved where evolutionary geologists insert many millions of years to force the rocks to conform with the ‘given’ timescale of billions of years.”[4]

Bioturbation is not seen in the layers bracketing the flat-lying time gaps deemed paraconformities. This indicates that the two layers bracketing the time gap were deposited in rapid succession, preventing erosion in the underlayer. The two layers bracketing a paraconformity are composed of source material coming from different areas. Those water surges powered by fountains of the great deep probably came from different directions and the surges picked up sediments containing plant and animal remains of very different ecological zones. This is fully documented in John Woodmorappe’s Studies in Flood Geology.[5]

Under the current idea that it takes many years to form a single layer of sediment that will harden to rock even if there had been large semi-continental areas as flat as those layers found at the flat gaps, there would be many artifacts, such as burrows, plant roots, gullies, canyons and river beds preserved in the rock layer lying immediately below the overlying rock that marks the multimillion-year time gap, but those features are missing in the paraconformity’s bracketing layers.

Interbedded strata separated by long periods

An interesting feature found in Grand Canyon and elsewhere is the interbedding of two strata from geological periods supposedly separated by multi-millions of years.

If geologic periods, such as the Triassic and Jurassic, truly represent long ages separated by multimillions of years, the Cambrian Muav and Mississippian Redwall limestones couldn’t have been deposited simultaneously, yet there they are interbedded. This can be understood if the Genesis Flood is true because flood waters coming simultaneously from different directions could produce the kind of interbedding seen in the geologic record. The Muav is supposedly 150 million years older than the Red Wall, yet the sediments of these two periods are interbedded much like when you interlace your fingers (see photos and discussion at http://www.bible.ca/tracks/grand-canyon-interbedding.htm .

No Missing Time – It never existed

How do sediments supposedly separated by millions of years become so interbedded? The time is not missing; it never transpired!

Dr. Steve Austin carefully explains the nature of the formations from the Muav to the Redwall.[6] The Cambrian Muav is yellowish-brown and varies from 350 to 1,000 feet thick. The Flood waters were deeper and slower when Muav was deposited than when the much coarser Tapeats and Bright Angel sediments were deposited. This means the Muav was deposited farther offshore. In this case, farther offshore would be located in Nevada. The heavier Bright Angel begins closer offshore in western Arizona, while Tapeats Sandstone contains coarse sands, pebbles and boulders, and covers the Arizona region. The Great Unconformity is the erosion zone seen closest offshore where the water’s energy noticeably diminished and finally stopped ripping up bedrock. Concerning the formation of the Sauk Megasequence, see Figure 1 which shows the direction of the Flood waters from Nevada to New Mexico and the location where each deposit begins. Dr. Austin’s drawing of the same figure is more detailed and describes the speed and depth of the Flood water in zones 1-6.

At zone 6 (Nevada), the water was moving slower than 0.5 m/sec (1.1 mph) and was deepest, while at zone 1 (New Mexico), the shallow water was moving very fast and scoured the bedrock to the flat surface characteristic of the Great Unconformity.

In part 2 of this series, we mentioned the destructive power of cavitation bubbles. There’s much information on the web about cavitation. Cavitation begins when the water reaches about 30 feet/sec (20 mph). When the bubbles implode, they can shatter concrete reinforced with rebar.

The Flood waters raced across Nevada and Arizona to reach New Mexico in the opening salvo of the fountains of the great deep, pulverizing and sweeping away the igneous bedrock the entire distance. The actual speed was likely much faster than the 20 mph needed to produce cavitation bubbles (tsunamis reach 500 mph[7]). In a YouTube video on cavitation bubbles, SciShow’s Hank Green, MS (Environmental Studies), said that the temperature of the gas coming out of the bubbles can reach 15,000°K and they cause pits and scars in motorboat propellers.

Realize that each zone was hit by fast moving water as the Flood raced farther inland, grinding the bedrock to the flatness of the Great Unconformity before depositing thick layers of sediments thousands of feet deep.

On page 69 of Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe, Dr. Austin gives many more details than we can give here. This book has withstood the vitriolic attacks of many evolutionists, many of which can be found at skeptics’ websites. We strongly recommend studying this book and John Morris’ The Global Flood.

[1] Morris, John D. (2013-06-17). The Global Flood: Unlocking Earth’s Geologic History (Kindle Location 3752). Institute for Creation Research.

[2] Darwin, C., The Origin of Species, p. 280

[3] Meyer, S., Darwin’s Doubt, HarperCollins publishers, 2013.

[4] Patton, D., “Age of the earth: 101 evidences for a young age of the earth and the universe,” http://creation.com/age-of-the-earth

[5] Woodmorappe, J, “A Diluviological Treatise on the Stratigraphic Separation of Fossils” in Studies in Flood Geology, Institute for Creation Research, 2000.

[6] Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe, Steve Austin, editor, Institute for Creation Research, pp.67-77

[7] abcnews.go.com/Technology/Weather/story?id=365979

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.