The age of arches
(Article updated 7 October 2020)
We had an article in Creation magazine in 2015 about the instability of a lot of geological features that are touted as being ‘millions of years’ old. The common belief that cliffs and arches have been there a long time and are therefore stable in our lifetime, and unlikely to give way under someone standing on them today, the author judged a “dangerous view”.1
Probably the most famous example of rock arches is Arches National Park in Utah, USA. Typical of such features in national parks, the explanation given is: “Millions of years of erosion and weathering are responsible…”.2
Arches National Park has over 2,000 rock arches. Forty-three collapsed between 1977 and 2015, according to park rangers.3 That gives a rate of collapse of about one per year, allowing that vandals might have destroyed a small number. Such an attrition rate would mean that all would be gone in about 2,000 years, at the prevailing rates of erosion from wind and rain.
This is thoroughly consistent with the biblical timeframe, as it easily fits with the iconic features of Arches National Park forming at the end of Noah’s Flood, about 4,500 years ago.4
However, it is quite inconsistent with the claim that the features are old; even just 100,000 years would mean an original number of arches of 50 times the number of arches still standing. The numbers just don’t add up for ‘deep time’.
The conditions that formed these arches do not prevail today, so no new arches are forming in the National Park—and certainly not at a rate of one per year. Again, this is consistent with the real history of the world from the Bible, with the arches forming under the special conditions that prevailed in the Flood or soon after.
The Bible’s real history makes sense of the real-world evidence around us; if we only have eyes to see!
References and notes
- Catchpoole, D., A dangerous view, Creation 37(2):12–15, April 2015; creation.com/a-dangerous-view. Return to text.
- Himiak, L., Arches National Park, Utah, Updated 17th May 2017; tripsavvy.com/arches-national-park-utah-3361622. Return to text.
- O’Hanlon, L., Natural arches hum their health and scientists are listening, 7 August 2015; blogs.agu.org/geospace/2015/08/07/natural-arches-hum-their-health-and-scientists-are-listening. Return to text.
- Oard, M., Many arches and natural bridges likely from the Flood, J. Creation 23(1):115–118, 2009; creation.com/natural-bridges. Return to text.