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Biblical Geology: Properly Understanding the Rocks DVD
by Dr Tas Walker

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New evidence of Noah’s Flood from Mexico

Dinosaur dig reveals dramatic insights into the degree of devastation, not so long ago

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Image from <www.centralpt.com/pageview.aspx?id=21220>

Artist rendering of Velafrons coahuilensis

Artist rendering of Velafrons coahuilensis

A new dinosaur find from Mexico gives a vivid insight into the enormous extent of Noah’s Flood catastrophe as well as the magnitude of the processes involved. An international research team led by scientists from the Utah Museum of Natural History unveiled the fossilized remains of one of the casualties of that event, a previously unknown species of dinosaur, which they called Velafrons coahuilensis.1,2

The team, of course, did not report the evidence within a Flood framework. So, although the team hopes the find will give fresh insights into the ancient environments of western North America, they have not considered the most important factor—Noah’s Flood. It’s a bit like trying to explain the history of Europe without reference to the Second World War.

Rapid sedimentation

The dinosaur skeleton was excavated in the 1990s in north-central Mexico about 27 miles west of Saltillo, near a small town called Rincon Colorado in the state of Coahuila. The creature was a hadrosaur, or duck-billed dinosaur, with a large crest on its head that looked like a small sail.

Diagram after Eberth, D.A., et al., ref. 3

Diagram

Part of the sedimentary section of Cerro del Pueblo Formation in which Velafrons coahuilensis and other dinosaur fossils were found. (Cl=claystone; Si=siltstone; Fss=fine grained sandstone; Mss= medium grained sandstone; Css=coarse grained sandstone; Cg=conglomerate). The vertical trace fossils interpreted as burrows could rather be dewatering tubes.
Click here for larger view.

Even though the animal was judged to have been young when it died it would still have been some 25 feet long. Its remains would have needed to be buried promptly to be preserved, and this would require a considerable quantity of sediment.

The sedimentary layers in which the remains of the animal were buried were thick. They are part of the sedimentary rock unit called the Cerro del Pueblo Formation, and its characteristics indicate something of the enormous magnitude of the watery catastrophe involved.

Paleocurrent analysis reveals that the floodwaters were flowing to the east while the enormous quantities of sediment comprising the formation were deposited in huge sheets over a wide geographical area.3

The thickness of the formation varies from about 500 m in the west to 150 m in the east near Saltillo, a distance of 70 km. The Cerro del Pueblo Formation is part of a much larger sedimentary package many kilometres thick deposited in the extensive Parras Basin.4 Such a huge depth of sediment would not accumulate unless the relative sea level in the area was rising continually to provide the necessary accommodation.

The flow of water was highly variable during deposition, as indicated by characteristics of the different strata. There was ample evidence of cross-stratification within the strata, including planar cross-stratification, trough cross-stratification and ripple cross-lamination, all of which indicate strong water flow.5

Some sandstone strata contained pebbles and granules, which also give insight into the water currents involved.

Another indication of the power of the water was the thicknesses of the individual strata. The beds of sandstone were frequently massive and many metres thick. There were numerous multi-metre beds of massive mudstone that coarsened upwards, suggesting repeated, enormous and extensive mudflows. Beds often displayed what is called ‘soft sediment deformation’, indicating a deposition so rapid that the beds slumped and moved before they had time to settle and consolidate.

Widespread devastation

Image from <www.centralpt.com/pageview.aspx?id=21220>

Reconstructed skull of Velafrons coahuilensis

Reconstructed skull of Velafrons coahuilensis.

It’s clear that the events that deposited the sediments had a devastating effect on the living environment, unlike anything that we see happening in storms and floods today. Not only was the hadrosaur, Velafrons, buried, but excavations unearthed a second kind of duck-bill dinosaur, a horned dinosaur similar to Triceratops with two massive horns and a long bony frill. They also uncovered several large tyrannosaurs (related to T. rex), and smaller animals with hooked claws on their feet like Velociraptor.

The dinosaur remains were not just buried as isolated skeletons, but excavations uncovered large beds containing the bones of duck-bill and horned dinosaur skeletons all jumbled together. Team leader, Terry Gates said that the region was outstandingly prolific, yielding large numbers of high quality, well-preserved dinosaur fossils.

The catastrophe affected both the land and the sea. Other vertebrate fossils recovered from the formation included turtles, fish, and lizards—that is, both terrestrial and marine animals buried together.

The Cerro del Pueblo Formation also includes fossils of snails, marine clams, ammonites, marine snails, oysters, non-marine snails, fossil wood, leaves and fruit.6 Again, terrestrial and marine life within the same formation.

What happened?

Image from <www.centralpt.com/pageview.aspx?id=21220>

Field crew

Field crew at site where Velafrons coahuilensis was found

The researchers tried to reconstruct the sort of environment that could explain the remarkable evidence they were finding in the area, but by ignoring Noah’s Flood they were hard pressed to make a plausible story. It was clear that the sediments pointed to a large watery catastrophe involving mass deaths but they were straining to find a modern analogy.

The team speculated that the events were associated with high sea levels that caused the flooding of the low-lying areas (the Cretaceous is recognized as a period of high sea level around the world). They suggested that powerful storms devastated miles of fertile coastline, killing off entire herds of dinosaurs. Perhaps, they said, the storms were like the storms that occur around the southern tips of Africa and South America today. But storms in these areas do not kill and bury entire herds of animals, such as crocs, along with fish, and lizards, shells, wood and leaves. Such storms do not preserve the remains of such creatures in animal graveyards buried in metre-thick layers of mud and sand.

Where is the time represented in the geological section? How could animals be buried and preserved at such a slow sediment accumulation rate?

Rapid and catastrophic deposition of sediments, of course, means that they would not take much time to accumulate. In other words, there is a problem with the age of 72 million years quoted for the sediments, which was established from the standard geological column (based on the kinds of fossils found). There is also a problem with the average deposition rate for the formation of 0.55 mm per year, which was based on magnetostratigraphic data.7 The long-age paradigm has a time problem. Where is the time represented in the geological section? How could animals be buried and preserved at such a slow sediment accumulation rate?

Towards the end of the inundation stage

Within a biblical framework, that is, the historically documented eye-witness account of history, the sediments would have been laid down as a result of Noah’s Flood. It’s clear that they do not represent events during Creation week because there was no death or suffering at that time, hence no fossils. It’s also clear that they do not represent sediments deposited before or after the Flood because of the sheer geographical extent and physical thickness of the sediments. We can conclude that the sediments were deposited as the floodwaters were rising on the earth, because the land animals were still alive, as indicated by the assemblages of dinosaur trackways found in the area.8 It’s likely that these sediments were deposited just before the time when the floodwaters covered the entire earth.9

The new dinosaur find from Mexico and the associated investigations of the geology provide a new and exciting window onto past events. They reveal vivid insights into the conditions and devastation associated with the largest watery catastrophe of all time—Noah’s Flood—and into the sorts of animals that were caught up in that event.

Recommended Resources


References

  1. Gates, T.A., et al., Velafrons coahuilensis, a new lambeosaurine hadrosaurid (dinosauria: ornithopoda) from the Late Campanian Cerro del Pueblo Formation, Coahuila, Mexico, Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 27(4):917–930, 2007. Return to text.
  2. University of Utah, New duck-billed dinosaur from Mexico offers insights into ancient life on West America, ScienceDaily, 13 February 2008. Return to text.
  3. Eberth, D.A., et al. Cerro del Pueblo Fm (Difunta Group, Upper Cretaceous), Parras Basin, southern Coahuila, Mexico: reference sections, age and correlation, Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Geologicas 21(3):335–352, 2004, p. 345. Return to text.
  4. Eberth, ref. 3, p. 336. Return to text.
  5. Eberth, ref. 3, pp. 340, 342. Return to text.
  6. Eberth, ref. 3, p. 340. Return to text.
  7. Eberth, ref. 3, pp. 335, 346–348. Return to text.
  8. See: Walker, T.B., Walker, T., A biblical geological model; in: Walsh, R.E. (Ed.), Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Creationism, Creation Science Fellowship, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pp. 581–592, 1994. <www.biblicalgeology.net>; and Walker. T., The Great Artesian Basin, Australia, Journal of Creation 10(3):379–390, 1996. Return to text.
  9. For an explanation of dinosaur trackways within a Flood perspective see: Oard, M.J., The extinction of the dinosaurs, Journal of Creation 11(2):137–154, 1997. Return to text.
Published: 22 February 2008(GMT+10)

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