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Journal of Creation 30(3):5–6, December 2016

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Much supposed geological time missing from strata


For many years, Ager pointed out that there was an enormous amount of time missing from the strata relative to the long geological time assigned to the strata by geological dating methods.1,2 In other words, there are many more gaps than record. Sadler agrees that the time gaps in the rocks are ubiquitous.3 Interestingly, in spite of all these apparent gaps, Ager admitted the sedimentation appears to be continuous:

Figure 1. The Muav Redwall contact (arrow) shows little if any physical evidence for erosion, despite 160 Ma of missing geological time.
… we cannot escape the conclusion that sedimentation was at times very rapid indeed and that at other times there were long breaks in sedimentation, though it looks both uniform and continuous.4

Roth has demonstrated the continuous nature of sedimentary layers by showing there is little or no erosion between layers, which he calls ‘flat gaps’.5 There should be physical evidence of extreme erosion, if these time gaps were real. The contact in figure 1 supposedly represents a gap of 160 Ma, yet shows little physical erosion of the flat gap between the underlying Cambrian Muav Limestone and the overlying Mississippian Redwall Limestone in the Grand Canyon.

Their belief in actualism forces geologists to see sedimentation as an ongoing process, depending on the environment, yet the rocks have another message. But most ignore the flat gaps in the strata and assume the strata are continuous over time. A few recognize the problem:

The implication of these concepts is that the stratigraphic record is highly fragmentary, consisting of ‘frozen accidents’ (in the phrase of Bailey and Smith, 2010). Most studies that attempt to extract rates and scales of processes largely ignore this important point, treating sedimentary successions, apart from the obvious breaks such as sequence boundaries, as if they represent continuous sedimentation.6

When the huge gaps in their alleged time are recognized, geologists ignore their significance. Three geologists writing about the continuous 600-m-thick sequence of sedimentary rocks in the southern Teton Mountains, north-west Wyoming, USA, stated:

The regularity and parallelism of the layers in well-exposed sections suggest that all these rocks were deposited in a single uninterrupted sequence.7

But do they believe their observations? No, instead they spread what looks like continuous deposition from one event into a 200 Ma sequence by inserting many flat gaps, one of which is 80 Ma in duration.

Figure 2. Flat contact (arrow) between the underlying Hermit Shale and overlying Coconino Sandstone in the Grand Canyon where supposedly 5–10 Ma of time is missing.

Missing time in the Mesaverde Group, Utah, USA

A recent paper emphasized the pervasiveness of similar gaps by analyzing the missing time in the Mesaverde Group, Book Cliffs, Utah, USA.8 Previous researchers have ignored the missing time in the Mesaverde Group: “However, the issue of fragmentary preservation of the record has not been discussed.”9 Miall shows that only little of the time attributed to the deposition of the Mesaverde Group is represented by rocks. The gaps represent anywhere from 10,000 to 1 Ma of missing time from a sequence that supposedly covers a period of almost 5 Ma. Most significantly, there is little physical evidence for the supposed missing time, just as Roth has pointed out. Such a gap has simply been labelled a paraconformity by geologists. A good example of a paraconformity is the 5–10 Ma of missing time at the flat contact between the Hermit Shale and the Coconino Sandstone in the Grand Canyon (figure 2).

Miall further notes these obscure gaps are typical of strata worldwide and that sedimentation provides a record of only 10% of the time, while 90% is not represented by any strata at all. A recent monograph has also emphasized that the time, required by their philosophy, really is missing.10 Reed has also documented the missing time and has pointed out that geologists are finally becoming aware of this as a significant problem for their uniformitarian interpretation of stratigraphy.11–14

Strata defy uniformitarianism

Miall has also pointed out a fact that many others have noticed: modern day sedimentation rates are much higher than rates inferred by the assumed multi-million-year ages of the strata:

This is not a trivial issue. The principle of uniformitarianism holds that processes observed in modern environments and interpreted from the ancient record should operate over the same range of rates. If such rates are measured in modern settings (floodplains, deltas, shoreface settings, etc.) over time periods of years to decades, sedimentation rates are up to five orders of magnitude more rapid than those that may be extracted from a typical geological succession … .15

Reed and I have verified this contrast between modern rates of erosion and sedimentation versus those sedimentation rates inferred from the strata.16


Uniformitarian geologists largely ignore the obvious implications of the missing time to their geological belief system, for instance the missing time in the Teton Mountain strata. Continuous sedimentation implies a ‘single uninterrupted sequence’. Lack of erosion within and between layers of strata is confirming evidence that the sequence is uninterrupted. This is exactly the sort of evidence we would expect from Noah’s Flood and further implies that the claimed millions of years are imaginary. The blindness of uniformitarian scientists to the significance of missing layers and lack of erosion cautions us. Be aware that important data may be ignored by secular geologists when the data do not support their belief in uniformitarianism and millions of years.

Posted on homepage: 27 July 2018


  1. Ager, D., The Nature of the Stratigraphic Record, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1973. Return to text.
  2. Ager, D., The New Catastrophism: The Importance of the Rare Event in Geological History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K., 1993. Return to text.
  3. Sadler, P.M., Sediment accumulation rates and the completeness of stratigraphic sections, J. Geology 89:569–584, 1981. Return to text.
  4. Ager, ref. 2, p. 49. Return to text.
  5. Roth, A.A., Origins: Linking Science and Scripture, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Hagerstown, MD, pp. 222–229, 1998. Return to text.
  6. Miall, A., The emptiness of the stratigraphic record: a preliminary evaluation of missing time in the Mesaverde Group, Book Cliffs, Utah, USA, J. Sedimentary Research 84:457–469, 2014. Return to text.
  7. Love, J.D., Reed Jr, J.C., and Pierce, K.L., Creation of the Teton landscape: A Geological Chronicle of Jackson Hole & the Teton Range, Grand Teton Association, Moose, WY, p. 42, 2007. Return to text.
  8. Miall, ref. 6, pp. 457–469. Return to text.
  9. Miall, ref. 6, p. 458. Return to text.
  10. Smith, D.G., Bailey, R.J., Burgess, P.M. and Fraser, A.J. (Eds.), Strata and Time: Probing the Gaps in Our Understanding, Geological Society Special Publication No. 404, Geological Society London, 2015. Return to text.
  11. Reed, J.K., Time Warp I: The Permian-Triassic Boundary in the Texas Panhandle, CRSQ 39(2):97–100, 2002. Return to text.
  12. Reed, J.K., Time Warp II: Basalt Flows at the Midcontinent Rift System, CRSQ 39(3):194–197, 2002. Return to text.
  13. Reed, J.K., Time Warp III: The Proterozoic-Paleozoic Hiatus in the northern Midcontinent, CRSQ 40(4):7–10, 2004. Return to text.
  14. Reed, J.K., Changing paradigms in stratigraphy—a quite different way of analyzing the record, J. Creation 30(1):83–88, 2016. Return to text.
  15. Miall, ref. 6, p. 457. Return to text.
  16. Reed, J.K. and Oard, M.J., The sedimentary record and Earth’s past, Part I: not enough rocks, J. Creation 31(2):84–93, 2017. Return to text.

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