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Creation 38(3):24–27, July 2016

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Long-distance boulder deposits reveal Noah’s Flood



Geomorphology is a field of study involving the features of the earth’s surface. It provides dramatic evidence of the Recessive Stage1 of Noah’s Flood.2 The floodwaters rushing off the land into the oceans, initiated by the mountains rising and ocean basins sinking,3 would have eroded massive amounts of rock from the continents.4 This flowing water would have transported the material for long distances, pulverizing the softer rocks and rounding the harder ones. We would expect to find rounded, hard rocks far away from the mountain ranges where they originated. This is exactly what we do observe, and Flood runoff seems to be the only way to account for these observations.5 The following are some telling examples.

1. Northern Rocky Mountains

Quartzite is a hard metamorphosed sandstone that outcrops in layers in the western Rocky Mountains of North America, specifically in central/northern Idaho, far western Montana, and Canada.6 As the Rockies, running roughly north-south, uplifted, floodwater eroded hard quartzite rock from these mountains and spread it far away to the west and east.7 Well-rounded quartzite rocks from that source in the Rockies are found dumped at numerous locations in the northwest USA and adjacent Canada. (As for all of our examples, the source location is determined by analysis of the rocks’ makeup and is not in dispute.) Some have been transported 640 km (400 miles) west to the Pacific Ocean.8 Others have travelled over 1,000 km (600 miles) east all the way to the High Plains in southwest Manitoba and North Dakota (figure 1).

Figure 1. Northern Rocky Mountains (USA) source of bedded quartzite and long distance transport of quartzite cobbles and boulders to the west and east.

Amazingly, quartzite cobbles and boulders are also found on the tops of four sets of mountains: the northern Teton Mountains of northwest Wyoming (figure 2), the Gravelly Mountains of southwest Montana (figure 3), the Wallowa Mountains of northeast Oregon (figure 4), and the Blue Mountains of central Oregon. The receding waters of Noah’s Flood explain this puzzle. To begin with, as the continent started to rise in the second1 (Recessive) stage of the Flood, the waters receded in wide sheets with fast-flowing currents, carving the land flat to produce ‘planation surfaces’ and depositing the rocks on top. As the waters continued to recede, the mountain ranges within the greater Rocky Mountains rose above the water, lifting the rocks with them.

As the water carried the quartzite boulders along, they would have crashed together ferociously leaving percussion marks on their surfaces (figure 3). These arc-shaped marks are easily seen with the naked eye. Not all quartzite boulders have percussion marks but many do. Importantly, no river has been known to create percussion marks on rocks as hard as quartzite.

These rocks have travelled far from their source and sometimes accumulated in large, deep cracks in the upper crust. Some of the deposits have an estimated present-day depth of about 4,500 m (14,800 ft) in eastern Idaho and 3,000 m (9,800 ft) in northwest Wyoming. The tops of these have been re-eroded. The weight of rock piled on top of rock has fractured the rock surfaces, and created pressure solution marks on the points of contact (figure 5).

Figure 2. The largest quartzite boulder, about 50 cm (20 in) long, from on top of Red Mountain, northern Teton Mountains, Wyoming, USA.
Figure 3. Well-rounded quartzite boulder about 60 cm (24 in) long with numerous percussion marks from on top of the Gravelly Mountains, southwest Montana, USA. Note the glassy texture of the quartzite boulder in the chipped part, bottom left edge.

2. Southern Rocky Mountains

Quartzite boulders and other hard rocks were carried east onto the High Plains from the central and southern Rockies. These are mixed with abundant sand and are by and large called the Ogallala Formation. It is generally undisputed that this used to cover some 1.5 million km2 (580,000 sq miles). Today, it covers only 768,000 km2 (296,000 sq miles), because the deposit was re-eroded as the floodwaters continued to recede. Hard rocks have been transported as far east as central Texas, 800 km (500 miles) away, where they are found on ridges up to 300 m (1,000 ft) high.9 I even found well-rounded quartzite rocks with percussion marks in a gravel pit in southwest Iowa, about 1,000 km (600 miles) from their source.

3. Into northern Arizona

Quartzite boulders and other hard rocks were transported northeast into northern Arizona from their point of origin in southern and central Arizona, more than 80 km (50 miles) away.10 These are called the Rim Gravel (figure 6), found capping the highest terrain. It is obvious (and generally accepted) that this was formerly much more widespread, and that what we find are only the remnants from re-erosion of the Rim Gravel. Interestingly, this source area is presently much lower than northern Arizona. Since rocks are always transported by water from higher areas, a few kilometres of erosion must have taken place over southern and central Arizona during Flood runoff.

Figure 4. Polished quartzite boulder weighing about 200 kg (440 lb) from on top of the Wallowa Mountains, northeast Oregon, USA (courtesy of Paul Kollas with my youngest son, Nathan, as scale).
Figure 5. Pressure solution marks on a quartzite rock from the top of Red Mountain, northern Teton Mountains, Wyoming, USA. This rock likely was re-eroded from the very thick accumulation in eastern Idaho and transported east to be caught up in the rising Teton Mountains.

4. Around the Appalachians

During the Flood, hard rocks, mostly of a form of quartz called chert, were spread east, south, and west of the Appalachian Mountains, located on the eastern side of the continental US. These rocks were transported up to about 800 km (500 miles) west into western Kentucky and are found on the highest elevations. Quartzite rocks are found in drill holes in Florida, extending as far as the Florida Keys, 1,000 km (600 miles) away from the Appalachians.11

5. North of the Alaska Range

As the Alaska Range in southern Alaska, USA, rose, an abundance of hard rocks were washed north and accumulated over a 14,000 km2 (5,400 sq mile) area, up to 1,200 m (3,900 ft) deep (figure 7).12 The thickness of the rock layer decreases north of the range, but they are found in drill holes below the silt which presently covers the surface of the Tanana River Valley, more than 100 km (60 miles) away.

Figure 6. Quartzite boulder from just south of the Mogollon Rim, southwest of Heber, Arizona, USA. Note the abundant percussion marks on the well-rounded rock.
Figure 7. Rounded rocks of the Nenana Gravel, shed during the uplift of the Alaska Range, about 5 km (3 miles) north of Healy, Alaska, USA (Hank Giesecke for scale).

6. South-central Asian mountains

A thick sheet of gravel rings the mountains and plateaus of south-central Asia: the Himalayan, Tien Shan, and Zagros Mountains, and the Tibetan Plateau.13 As the mountains uplifted, the hard rocks were eroded and transported away from their source. They were then deposited in continuous sheets 3,000 m (9,800 ft) thick close to the uplifts, thinning out into the adjacent basins. Figure 8 shows part of a 1,000 m (3,000 ft) stack of rounded rocks in the Sichuan Basin, China, just east of the Tibetan Plateau.

Figure 8. Thick gravel, western Sichuan Basin, China (courtesy of Vern Bissell).

Far-transported rocks a problem for secular geology

The above examples are just the few I have studied. Other mountain ranges of the world undoubtedly will also show evidence of the erosion and spread of hard rocks from mountains by powerful water currents flowing from the continents as the mountains rose in the second part of the Flood (the Recessive Stage).

Everything about the transportation of hard rocks defies the secular belief that they were transported by the sorts of rivers we see today.14 The rocks have travelled much too far for them to be moved merely by rivers and flash floods. The evidence against this slow-and-gradual geological philosophy is overwhelming. The quartzite rocks on the High Plains of the northern United States and adjacent Canada came mostly from the opposite side of the continental divide. Water-rounded rocks are found on the tops of mountains and plateaus. The abundant percussion marks on many quartzite rocks are evidence of enormous water currents and extreme turbulence, unlike any flash flood today. And finally, the thickness of the accumulations defies any slow-and-gradual geological explanation.

The Recessive Stage of the Flood, when the ocean basins sank and the continents rose, easily explains how the hard rocks were eroded and spread away from the mountain ranges of their origin.15 During the Flood, the water covered the whole earth; then the mountains rose. The tremendous mountain-building event caused fast currents to rush off the continents spreading the hard rocks far and wide, capping flat planation surfaces. They also deposited heaps of rocks in large cracks in the earth, sometimes up to several kilometres deep. Well-rounded cobbles and boulders found on mountaintops indicate that some mountain ranges uplifted after the hard rocks were spread. The sum of this evidence gives powerful support for the global Flood.

Posted on homepage: 9 April 2018

References and notes

  1. This refers to CMI geologist Tas Walker’s biblical geological Flood model, see creation.com/walkermodelpic for a graphical depiction. Details at Dr Walker’s site biblicalgeology.net. Return to text.
  2. Oard, M.J., Geomorphology provides multiple evidences for a global Flood, Creation 37(1):47–49, 2015; creation.com/geomorph. Return to text.
  3. Oard, M.J., How did the waters of Noah’s Flood drain off the continents? Creation 37(3):28–30, 2015; creation.com/flood-drain. Return to text.
  4. Oard, M.J., Massive erosion of continents demonstrates Flood runoff, Creation 35(3):44–47, 2013; creation.com/continental-erosion. Return to text.
  5. Oard, M.J., Earth’s surface shaped by Genesis Flood runoff (ebook), michael.oards.net/GenesisFloodRunoff.htm, 2013. Return to text.
  6. A second type of quartzite is a hard cemented sandstone, which outcrops in the eastern Rocky Mountains, which is not disscused in this article. Return to text.
  7. Hergenrather, J., Noah’s long distance travelers: quartzite boulders speak powerfully of the Genesis Flood, Creation 28(3):30–32, 2006; creation.com/nldt. Return to text.
  8. Oard, M.J., Hergenrather, J., and Klevberg, P., Flood transported quartzites: Part 2–west of the Rocky Mountains, J. Creation 20(2):71–81, 2006; creation.com/ftq2. Return to text.
  9. Byrd, C.L., Origin and history of the Uvalde Gravel of Central Texas, Baylor Geological Studies Bulletin No. 20, Baylor University Department of Geology, Waco, TX, 1971. Return to text.
  10. Oard, M.J., and Klevberg, P., Deposits remaining from the Genesis Flood: Rim Gravels in Arizona, Creation Research Society Quarterly 42(1):1–17, 2005. Return to text.
  11. Froede Jr., C.R., Neogene sand-to-pebble size siliciclastic sediments on the Florida Peninsula: sedimentary evidence in support of the Genesis Flood, Creation Research Society Quarterly 42(4):229–240, 2006. Return to text.
  12. Oard, M.J., Long-distance Flood transport of the Nenana Gravel of Alaska—similar to other gravels in the United States, Creation Research Society Quarterly 44(4):264–278, 2008. Return to text.
  13. Oard, M.J., Retreating Stage formation of gravel sheets in south-central Asia, J. Creation 25(3):68–73, 2011; creation.com/south-asia-erosion. Return to text.
  14. Oard, M.J., Hergenrather, J., and Klevberg, P., Flood transported quartzites: Part 3–failure of uniformitarian interpretations, J. Creation 20(3):78–86, 2006; creation.com/ftq3. Return to text.
  15. Oard, M.J., Hergenrather, J., and Klevberg, P., Flood transported quartzites: Part 4–diluvial interpretations, J. Creation 21(1):86–91, 2007; creation.com/ftq4. Return to text.