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Journal of Creation 33(3):7–8, December 2019

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Glacial-like striations formed in less than 90 seconds


wikipedia.org/Walter Siegmundglacial-scouring

Secular scientists postulate there were five major ice age periods (table 1). The Pleistocene is a geological period that generally brackets the recent ice ages within the past 2.6 Ma. This period does not reflect the post-Flood Ice Age, which generally corresponds to the uniformitarian ‘last’ ice age.

Pleistocene sediments or geomorphological features before the last ice age could represent either activity before an area was glaciated or Flood features. An example of the latter is found in the ‘terrace’ remnants along the northeast Wind River Mountains of Wyoming.1 The remnants are commonly thought to be eroded outwash features from early ice ages. Yet, they are not connected to a moraine or any other glacial features. A better explanation is that they are pediments formed during channelized Flood runoff that were later dissected to remnants.

Secular scientists once believed there were only four ice ages, but now they propose 50 Pleistocene ice ages. However, the evidence on the land surface and in the ice cores from Greenland and West Antarctic reveal just one Ice Age. The other 49 are determined by wiggles in oxygen isotope ratios in deep-sea cores.2 This determination came from their need for long ages and was justified by the weak Milankovitch mechanism, the astronomical theory of the ice ages.3 They explain the lack of evidence for previous ice ages on the continents by saying that the evidence for each previous ice age was destroyed by the succeeding one.

Table 1. The five main ice age periods within the uniformitarian paradigm and their inferred evolutionary age range.4

Geological period Secular approximate age range
Pleistocene 11.7 ka to 2.6 Ma ago
Late Paleozoic 256 to 338 Ma ago
Late Ordovician 429 to 445 Ma ago
Late Precambrian 520 to 950 Ma ago
Mid Precambrian 2.2 to 2.4 Ga ago

Regarding pre-Pleistocene or ‘ancient’ ice ages, secular scientists are adamant that there were four main ice age periods, each lasting for millions of years (table 1). Because of their strong commitment to ancient ice ages and because many of the diagnostic features are marine and from a tropical paleolatitude, they have been forced to conclude that the earth was totally or almost totally glaciated—more than once. They call this ‘snowball earth’. The fatal flaw with snowball earth is that it would be nearly impossible to melt the ice.5

Several secular authors have challenged some of the ancient ice ages, such as Shermerhorn, who warned that other geological processes can duplicate the major glacial diagnostic features, such as striated bedrock.6 Moreover, an ‘Eocene’ landslide, now at the top of the Gravelly Mountains of Southwest Montana,7 has resulted in striated stones in the landslide material and striated bedrock. Mass flows can produce these same ice-age–like features, including supposed diagnostic indicators.7-8 More recently, another report in the literature shows that landslides can produce not just glacial-like striations, but also several other features thought diagnostic of glaciation.9

A glacial-like striated pavement with other ‘glacial-diagnostic’ features

A rock avalanche on Jiweishan Mountain, China, occurred on 5 June 2009, killing more than 70 people. It also destroyed farms and covered up an underground iron mine.

Figure 1. Chattermarks from the Laurentide Ice Sheet on a polished, striated granite bedrock surface from Acadia National Park, Maine, USA.

Some researchers who investigated the avalanche came to believe that the slide was a grain flow with low dynamic friction, and that the base of the slide was heated to about 800°C, producing high-pressure steam and carbon dioxide. They removed a thin covering of landslide debris on the mountain, providing a rare opportunity to examine the sliding surface. They were surprised to find “a well-preserved, polished and striated pavement … highly reminiscent of a classical striated rock pavement from beneath a glacier”.10 Moreover, the striations and grooves were not always straight, but sometimes sets of striations crossed each other at an angle of up to 30°. This was previously thought to be diagnostic of glaciation, but this avalanche shows it can also be explained by shifting rocks in the bottom of the slide.

Moreover, the slide displayed chattermarks and plucking scars on the surface. Chattermarks are thought to be indicative of glacier sliding (figure 1). Because some of the striations had beginnings, they are reminiscent of nailhead striations thought to be produced only by glaciation.

Example offers more support that ‘ancient ice ages’ are Flood landslides

Several creation scientists have provided evidence that diamictite, a non-genetic term for a non-sorted or poorly sorted sedimentary rock with a wide range of particle sizes, and other glacial-diagnostic features can be a result of gigantic submarine debris flows during the Flood.11-14 The debris flows would be much larger than those of today because the Flood rapidly laid down huge volumes of sediments over large areas. An earthquake or some other perturbation (e.g. crater impact or tsunami) could easily start a huge slide that would flow rapidly and mostly come to a halt on a generally level surface, as with the Dwyka ‘tillite’ in South Africa.

If such a relatively small slide as the Jiweishan Mountain slide (a true post-Flood landslide) produced friction temperatures up to 800°C with high-pressure steam and carbon dioxide, the much larger slides of a global Flood would easily and quickly have slid long distances. Submarine landslides would produce all the so-called indicators of glaciation.

References and notes

  1. Oard, M.J., Were the Wind River terraces caused by multiple glaciations? CRSQ 50(3):154–171, 2014. Return to text
  2. Walker, M. and Lowe, J., Quaternary science 2007: a 50-year retrospective, J. Geological Society London 164:1,073–1,092, 2007. Return to text
  3. Hays, J.D., Imbrie, J., and Shackleton, N.J., Variations in the earth’s orbit: Pacemaker of the ice ages, Science 194:1,121–1,132, 1976. Return to text
  4. Crowell, J.C., Pre-Mesozoic ice ages: their bearing on understanding the climate system, Geological Society of America Memoir 192, Boulder, CO, 1999. Return to text
  5. Oard, M.J., ‘Snowball earth’–a problem for the supposed origin of multicelullar animals, J. Creation 16(1):6–9, 2002. Return to text
  6. Schermerhorn, L.J.G., Late Precambrian mixtites: glacial and/or nonglacial? American J. Science 274:673–824, 1974. Return to text
  7. Oard, M.J., Ancient Ice Ages or Gigantic Submarine Landslides? Creation Research Society Books, Chino Valley, AZ, 1997. Return to text
  8. Oard, M.J., Landslides win in a landslide over ancient ‘ice ages’; in: Oard, M.J. and Reed J.K. (Eds.), Rock Solid Answers: The biblical truth behind 14 geological questions, Master Books and Creation Research Society Books, Green Forest, AR and Chino Valley, AZ, pp. 111–123, 2009. Return to text
  9. Hu, W. and McSaveney, M.J., A polished and striated pavement formed by a rock avalanche in under 90 s mimics a glacial striated pavement, Geomorphology 320:154–161, 2018. Return to text
  10. Hu and McSaveney, ref. 9, p. 154. Return to text
  11. Molén, M., Diamictites: ice ages or gravity flows? in: Walsh, R.E. and Brooks, C.L. (Eds.), Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Creationism, vol. II, Creation Science Fellowship, Pittsburgh, PA, pp. 177–190, 1990. Return to text
  12. Sigler, R. and Wingerden, V., Submarine flow and slide deposits in the Kingston Peak Formation, Kingston Range, Mojave Desert, CA: evidence for catastrophic initiation of Noah’s Flood; in: Walsh, R.E. (Ed.), Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Creationism, technical symposium sessions, Creation Science Fellowship, Pittsburgh, PA, pp. 487–501, 1998. Return to text
  13. Wingerden, C.V., Initial Flood deposits of the western North American Cordillera: California, Utah and Idaho; in: Ivey Jr, R.L. (Ed.), Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Creationism, technical symposium sessions, Creation Science Fellowship, Pittsburgh, PA, pp. 349–357, 2003. Return to text
  14. Austin, A.A. and Wise, K.P., The pre-Flood/Flood boundary: as defined in Grand Canyon Arizona and eastern Mojave Desert, California; in: Walsh, R.E. (Ed.), Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Creationism, technical symposium sessions, Creation Science Fellowship, Pittsburgh, PA, pp. 37–47, 1994. Return to text

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Readers’ comments

Christopher H.
Secular scientists don't critically think about what they are suggesting. Tropical plants and animals, actually all life, could not survive millions of years on a snowball Earth. When I lived in Alaska, I saw the effect of glaciers and how much they move. They carry gravel and boulders a mile or more every 50 years or so. Each year there are avalanches and calving of the glaciers that cause erosion at a rapid pace. It certainly does not take millions of years.
Nichola W.
I never understood that the idea of a 'snowball earth' would be considered valid. I once saw this depiction in a pictorial timeline of earth. I reasoned that no animal or plant could survive for so long on a totally frozen planet.

Do you think that the people who suggest these ideas and those who subsequently believe them, actually critically think about them?
Tas Walker
They think about some aspects of ideas. They are already committed to their belief system. Any problem they encounter is put to one side assuming it will be solved by further research.
Chuck R.
Very convenient for evolutionists to make up scenarios such as ‘snowball earth’ and that each ice age erased the evidence of previous ice ages.
The stories some tell are just never wrong.

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