This article is from
Creation 45(4):32–35, October 2023

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The Genesis Flood for kids: Vast, wide rock layers

by Jonathan Sarfati

Published in Creation 45(4):32–35, 2023

In previous articles of this series, we learned how the Bible teaches a worldwide Flood. It destroyed all people and land vertebrates off the Ark. Many creatures were buried, forming fossils all around the world. But could the fossils be the result of local floods instead of a global Flood? In many cases, this is not possible because they are in rock layers covering huge areas—rocks clearly laid down by water.

Sometimes they span whole continents and even across different continents around the world. Geologists use the term megasequence for some of them (mega is Greek for ‘big’). If the layers are extremely wide, then whatever caused them must also have been extremely wide. Let’s see some examples from around the world.

Pictures clockwise: © Kateleigh | Dreamstime, © Gianluca Nostro | Dreamstimem, © Galyna_Andrushko | elements.envato.com, © ChantelleL3 | elements.envato.comnorth-america-cfk

One of the most famous natural wonders in the USA is the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona. It is 446 km (277 miles) long, over 1.6 km (1 mile) deep, and 6.4 km (4 miles) to 29 km (18 miles) wide. Standing on one rim and looking at the opposite wall, the layers of rock look like a giant stack of pancakes.

One of the easiest layers to spot is the almost-white Coconino Sandstone. From the other side, it looks thin (arrow, top right). But it is actually about 96 m (315 ft) thick. It is so wide that it covers 519,000 km2 (200,000 square miles)—almost twice the size of Colorado! It contains 41,700 km3 (10,000 cubic miles) of sand.

Where did all this sand come from, and how did it get there? The sandstone has slanting lines, called crossbeds (‘fossil’ sand dunes). The slope is at a particular angle—the angle of a sand slope under water. The crossbeds are so large that deep flowing water, covering a vast area, must have formed them.

Pictures clockwise: © MatthewWilliams-Ellis | elements.envato.com, © Stbernardstudio | Dreamstime.com, © CMIAustralia-cfk

The interior of Australia is very dry—lots of desert. However, people could still settle in those areas and graze cattle because lots of suitable water was underground. People could drill into water-containing sandstone, and the water didn’t need pumping. Instead, the rock weight above the water-containing layer produces so much pressure that the water is forced up through the drill hole.

Wells with so much pressure are called artesian wells (after Artois in France, which has lots of wells like that). So the rock formation that supplies the Australian wells is called the Great Artesian Basin—the largest artesian basin in the world. It covers 1.8 million km2 (700,000 square miles), up to 3,000 m (9,800 ft) deep, and holds 64,900 km3 (15,600 cubic miles) of fresh water. Its huge size and other features suggest that it was formed near the Flood’s peak (or zenith).

Another large formation is famous in Australia’s largest city, Sydney (population: over 5 million people). It is called the Hawkesbury Sandstone, or just Sydney Sandstone. The sandstone is quite hard and strong, and it was used for many of Sydney’s public buildings.

The Sydney Sandstone is 350 km (220 miles) long, 250 km (150 miles) wide, and nearly 300 m (1,000 ft) thick in places. This also contains large crossbeds. One secular geologist said that the sandstone was deposited by huge waves of water mixed with sand. How big? 250 km (150 miles) wide—about the same as the sandstone deposit—and 20 m (66 ft) high, travelling about 100 km (60 miles) per hour. Such waves might be too much even for the best surfers! We don’t see them happening now. But a worldwide Flood explains them.

Pictures left to right: © Msujan | Dreamstime.com, © Debove Eric | Dreamstime.comEurope-cfk

The English Channel separates the island of Great Britain from the rest of Europe. Those sailing (or swimming, if you are very strong) from one side to the other will often choose the narrowest point. This is 34 km (21 miles) wide, between Dover (in Kent, southeast England) and Calais (in Normandy, northern France). The waterway is called the Strait of Dover in English and the Pas de Calais (Strait of Calais) in French.

Travellers sailing into England look forward to seeing the famous White Cliffs of Dover. They stretch 16 km (10 miles) on both sides of Dover and are 110 m (360 ft) high. Also, they have matching cliffs on either side of Calais. The same chalk formation goes into Northern Ireland, northern Europe, and even Egypt in northwest Africa.

The chalk is very pure (98%) calcium carbonate. It came from skeletons of single-celled algae, a type of water plant that floated in the sea (plankton). They can grow very quickly in warm water with lots of nutrients. During the Flood, warm water poured into the oceans from underground. And the Flood buried billions of animals. Their rotting carcasses provided immense amounts of plant food. So, the algae multiplied in enormous numbers over wide ocean areas. When they died, they formed the huge chalk beds over vast areas.

Some other very wide rock formations in Europe are in Germany, called Keuper, Muschelkalk, and Bunter (or Buntsandstein). They have a distinctive colour and structure. But these formations span Europe from England to Bulgaria. They even extend into North America across Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.

By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this, he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith (Hebrews 11:7).


Noah’s obedience

God’s word tells us that Noah was a righteous man who trusted God’s warning of the Flood. Noah obeyed God’s command to build a huge boat called the Ark to save some people and animals. (The Ark itself is fascinating—see Creation 45(2):32–35) Those not on board the Ark died because the Flood covered the whole earth. The wide, continent-spanning rock layers are a gigantic monument to this Flood.

Posted on homepage: 29 November 2023

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