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Creation 39(4):27, October 2017

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Gorge ‘looks thousands of years old’, but created in months


Photographer Genevieve KingRafting-gorge
Rafting through the newly formed gorge, courtesy of Clarence River Rafting.

Two minutes after midnight on 14 November 2016, the upper South Island of New Zealand experienced a 7.8-magnitude earthquake—the second strongest in NZ since Europeans arrived.1 

There were a number of faults that ruptured, moving the north-eastern tip of the South Island closer to the North Island by 2 m (6.5 ft); one fault moved 10 m (32 ft) sideways. The event is named the Kaikoura earthquake, after the town (pop. 2,080) very near to one of the faults.

The quake caused an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 landslips.2 A number of large slips blocked rivers in the region. In the months since, these slips have been eroded by the rivers flowing over and through them.

These newly created landforms have amazed those who believe that such things take eons to form. One observer wrote:

“In the space of four months, a gorge that looks like it has been there for thousands of years has been gouged from the soft limestone of the Clarence River. Rivers are always changing, but the speed of the transformation wrought by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake last November has amazed those working on the water.”3

A rafting company operator is quoted in the same article as saying:

“See this gorge, it looks like it could have been here for thousands of years … But it was created in four months—the earthquake brought the entire slab of limestone up out of the ground and the river cut through it just like a saw.”

Of course, age has no appearance. The earth’s features neither ‘look old’ nor ‘look young’ in themselves; such concepts are imposed on the evidence we see depending on the ‘filters’ of assumptions through which we interpret them.4

For those who, due to the conditioning of our culture, believe that millions of years are involved in such major landform changes, the speed of this change seems extraordinary. For those, however, who understand that landform changes can occur suddenly and quickly, as Flood geological researchers have highlighted time and time again, this comes as no surprise. The global Flood as described in Genesis would have been accompanied by almost unimaginable hydraulic and tectonic forces and upheavals.

Someone coming to this geological formation unaware of what had happened, and with the wrong assumptions, would gain an erroneous impression of its age.

References and notes

  1. Normile, D., New Zealand earthquake rattles experts, sciencemag.org, November 2016. Return to text.
  2. Landslides and Landslide dams caused by the Kaikoura Earthquake, info.geonet.org.nz, December 2016. Return to text.
  3. Lewis, O., Clarence River Rafting makes most of post-earthquake changes to Clarence River, stuff.co.nz, February 2017. Return to text.
  4. See Wieland, C., The earth: how old does it look? Creation 23(1):8–13, 2000;creation.com/earth-look. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

Flood By Design
by Michael J Oard
US $15.00
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by Michael J Oard
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Readers’ comments

Mike D.
I find stuff like this & Mt St Helens etc happening is also validating Romans 1. Its proving things to make things plainly evident leaving it so that no one, including theistic evolutionist, can have any excuse! That doesn't even include the more science we learn in all areas the intricate we find Intelligent Design! I'd sure not enjoy being one standing before Creator & Savior God Jesus & try to defend how I accepted Him as Savior but rejected Him as Creator God as the inerrant Word of God & Jesus validated. Talk about End times making sure God has made it even more plainly evident leaving no one with an excuse.

I don't understand how they are so hard headed. We are to love Gods word & learning like a deer pantheth after water. They not only don't do that they fight strongly against it even as evidence like all this piles up more for Creationism.
M P.
This article would be stronger if it included the geological evidence that makes the gorge look thousands of years old. Anybody can say "This looks like it has been here forever" but wouldn't geologists have specific features they would look at to make that claim, such as type of rock and how the layers look? If any geologist would look at this and say - "You can tell this was recently created by these features..." then this article may be doing more harm than good in holding this up as an example for us to use. in other words, does this gorge really look thousands of years old?
Tas Walker
As was mentioned in the article, those at the site were amazed at the speed with which the gorge formed. That is because most people think that geological features take a long time to form. Examples like this are good because they help dispel such wrongly-held cultural beliefs that undermine the history of the Bible.
Frank B.
This article does give me the impression of how quickly the Grand Canyon must have formed after the Noachian Deluge.
To Richard G. : very wise and touching. So much care in writing that piece. Thanks a lot!
This means that the Kaikoura earthquake moved on a Listric fault. Listric faults are associated with extensional regimes, and can be defined as "curved normal faults in which the fault surface is concave upwards. Its dip decreases with depth" (see a better definition with illustrations on line). It is the type of fault formed by the slumping of the transient rim of impact craters (compare the formation of multi-ringed Orientale Basin/ Crater on the Moon). The Grand Canyon was also formed around a number of Listric faults, as were most of the studied landscapes of the earth. Fossil bearing limestones, like the Redwall, Tapeats, and Morrison formations, are a common layer moved by Listric faults, indicating they were laid and exposed in the midst of the impacts. This is the vastest evidence for an extensive history of impacts in the Flood.
Richard G.
In 1879 in this town of Kaikoura, a son was born. Forty-six years later he married a widow who had lost her husband in World War One. She must have figured she was still young enough at 33 to obey I Timothy 5:14 about younger widows remarrying, having children, and ruling the household, which ruling both parents did assiduously. I suggest God is making "all things work together for good" through this earthquake and in your life and mine. Dad (you've guessed it) told us how God preserved him from death seven times. This must have been so Dad could produce us seven and see four of us leave him and New Zealand and work as foreign missionaries. He missed this earthquake but tells of nearly dying when he caught a bee and strung a thread from his clothes on the bee's leg. the leg-roped bee led him to the hive but a bee-sting swelled his tongue and nearly killed him. On another occasion he fell in front of his earth-cutting discs but his workhorse stopped at his command. God says, "Pray without ceasing" so let's pray for CMI as they proclaim the truth widely. And let us get the Creation/Salvation message out and out. Yesterday I heard Discovery Institute interview the great Professor /Doctor John Lennox and heard Bro Lennox's clever take on Genesis One re not knowing when the creation took place. Primed by CMI I sent Discovery Exodus 20:11. Who knows? God will use an earthquake to wake sinners up, and He uses the jawbone of an ass like me (and you?) to spread His salvation and hope which evolution and its bedfellows admit being unable to offer us.

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