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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.

Posted on homepage: 25 February 2019

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.