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An explanation for Apsley Falls, Australia

How published geological reports help develop a biblical interpretation

Figure 1. Extract from Hastings geological map showing Apsley Falls. Blue is Myra beds. Pink’ coded Tb is Tertiary basalt. Map is approximately 15 km wide.
Published: 6 April 2019 (GMT+10)

We regularly receive questions about specific geological sites, such as this one from Graham B. of Australia, who asks about Apsley Falls, some 300 km (200 mi) north of Sydney, Australia, not far from the coast. He’s curious about the ‘official’ explanation from the National Parks and Wildlife Service. CMI geologist Dr Tas Walker responds.


I have some photographs from a rock formation at Apsley Falls in a national park near where I live and was after an explanation for their unusual shape. Essentially, the rocks slope on an angle from left to right. I’ve also included a photograph of the ‘official’ explanation on a sign, which they call Hill Creep.


Cgoodwin / Wikimedia commonsfig-2
Figure 2. Apsley Falls flowing through narrow gorge. Note vertical orientation of slatey rocks.

Hi Graham,

Thanks for your email and the pictures.

My first step is to find a geological map to see what geologists have reported about the area. Many are readily available on the web these days. The 1:250,000 scale geological map for Hastings (Sheet SH 56-14) shows Apsley Falls on an area coloured pale blue called the Myra Beds. These rocks are comprised of metamorphic rock, including slate, phyllite, chert, jasper, and basalt. Figure 1 has a 15 km-wide extract from that map. As well as the ‘blue’ Myra beds the extract shows areas of ‘pink’ coded Tb, which stands for Tertiary basalt.

Figure 2 shows a photo of the falls. Notice the narrow gorge that the river is flowing through. The rocks are metamorphosed, and the cleavage is orientated almost vertically. You explained that near the falls the rocks are not so vertical but sloping on an angle. Notice too that the land surface at the top of the picture is reasonably flat, compared with depth of the gorge. That surface cuts across the structure of the underlying rocks at right angles. This flat surface is part of an extensive plateau called the New England Tableland, which forms a portion of the Great Dividing Range that runs parallel to the east coast of Australia. It’s not unusual for that plateau to be 1,000 m above sea level.

We have looked at the geological history of eastern Australia on a few occasions previously, such as in the article The geological history of the Brisbane and Ipswich areas, Australia. The Apsley Falls are in a feature called the New England Fold Belt, which extends for more than 1,000 km along the coast of Australia. The rocks in this enormous feature were deposited as the waters of Noah’s Flood were rising on the earth. There was a large volume of a variety of materials deposited, including fine silt, poorly sorted sand, beds of chemically deposited silica, and black volcanic lava.

Then, as the Flood continued, after perhaps just a week or so, tectonic movements in the earth’s crust compressed and uplifted these deposits above sea level, deforming the rocks and metamorphosing them. This intense folding is why the structure of the rocks, that is the dip of the layers, is approximately vertical. After these rocks were uplifted, folded, and metamorphosed, the surface of the continent was greatly eroded, forming the flat plateau. There were two periods of erosion here, one after the rocks were folded and metamorphosed, and another later in the Flood as the waters on the continent were flowing into the ocean. The narrow gorge was excavated by receding floodwaters very late in the Flood, which is why it is so narrow. It is not unlike the gorge formed at the Wollomombi Falls some 65 km to the NNE. (See How landscapes reveal Noah’s Flood.)

The sign you photographed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service talks about the slatey rocks and their straight lines. As we have discussed, this metamorphism and vertical orientation is due to the folding that occurred in the first ‘half’ of the Flood. The sign mentions that the rocks near the stairway near the falls are bending forward and slumping out into the gorge. It explains this slumping as ‘hill creep’, possibly caused by more clay, softer materials, and water penetration. This seems quite a reasonable explanation. This hill creep is likely still occurring.

However, the sign also speaks of this creep as continuing a process that started millions of years ago. This ‘throw-away’ millions of years is not correct. In millions of years the gorge would no longer be so narrow but have eroded much, much wider. The millions of years also contradicts the time information in the Bible. Rather, the process began after the narrow gorge was first carved, and this would have been not very long ago. It is likely to have been carved very late in Noah’s Flood. The ongoing creep and erosion has continued in the 4,500 years since the Flood, but not much has happened relatively in that period compared to the erosion that occurred during the Flood itself. Hence, the gorge is still very narrow.

This illustrates how the work published by secular geologists can be useful in understanding what is going on from a biblical Flood viewpoint. We simply need to be aware of the philosophical bias of those geologists, understand how to interpret geology from a biblical perspective, and adjust their explanations accordingly. And of course, we need to reinterpret the dates they quote.

All the best,

Tas Walker

Geologist, Speaker, Writer
Creation Ministries International—Australia

Helpful Resources

Readers’ comments

John P.
The flood destroyed all evidence of past preflood civilisations but the descendants of Noah coming off the ark certainly could have used advanced technology as Noah very likely kept records of technological achievements and the ancients were smarter being closer to the time of creation with less deleterious mutations. The puzzle of Ancient Man by Donald Chittick is a good book to start on.
Evidence of the global flood of Noah's day is all around us. The rolling hills around the Barossa and Kapunda areas where I live and large boulders and smoothed (on one side or rectangular) rocks show evidence of being transported by massive water run offs—some even seem to have small sea fossils and some are conglomerates. No such thing as uniformitarianism here. Peter prophesied about this and going after strange doctrines in the last days as we see happening now.
Sam P.
Cool website
I have been watching Brien Foerster videos on YouTube of him touring various archaeological sites like the Egyptian pyramids. His theory is they are older than claimed, show water damage, and the people who built them used advanced technology that has been lost. This fits with the theory that pre flood people built them who were bigger, and smarter than us (Genesis 6 4), and the flood damaged them but not totally destroyed them, same with other huge rock man made structures around the world he tours. The reason no tools are found in these sites is because the flood would of washed them away, same with the giants bodies which then would of been eaten by animals in the sea. So the evidence of the pre flood world is actually all around us. The pyramids, and sphinx are carbon dated to 2500 bc which which means if true they were built only 200 years before the flood.

You have an article mentioning the Ipuwer papyrus but then someone commented that it is not good evidence for the bible. The reasons he gave are absurd. The events described in the papyrus are rare horrible events that have never been recorded elsewhere in history- except the bible- like river turning to blood. This papyrus is a great talking tool for creationists so should be used aggressively. So should the Ebla tablets but you have no article on them. I recommend an article on them because they are far more important than the dead sea scrolls which receive mention all the time.

Imhotep being Joseph is another good talking point. They even mention it in secular archaeology studies.

Keep up the good work.
Tas Walker
Thank you for your comment (which is off topic, but I'll respond anyway) and your encouraging words. The Pyramids were built after the Flood by people descended from those who came off the Ark. They sit on Mesozoic rocks which were deposited as the floodwaters were approaching their peak. Always the problem is the date quoted for events such as this. The DVD Patterns of Evidence discusses the problems with Egyptian dating (and also mentions Joseph) as does the article Timing is everything. Also check articles on radioactive dating, such as How dating methods work, and Related articles cited at the bottom of that article. Thanks for the heads up on the Ebla tablets.
Just another idea to consider, the Apsley Canyon is very convoluted, not at all like the flow of water, especially very rapidly flowing water, across a table-land. Looking at more pictures on line, it looks a lot like the Great Atlantic Rift Canyon that goes under water in Iceland, and a lot like the Grand Canyon, USA, except in different composition rocks. These may all be like the Atlantic Rift, pull-a-part canyons, produced as the HOT sediments cooled. This is an idea that needs to be considered.

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