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This article is from
Creation 25(1):40–43, December 2002

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Warped earth

by

Image1FoldedLimestonePeruvianAndes
Image 1: Folded limestone in the Peruvian Andes. Click for larger view.

Image2FossilShells
Image 2: Fossil shells. Click for larger view.

Image3FoldedRock
Image 3: Tightly folded rock. Click for larger view.

Image4CloseUpFoldedRock
Image 4: Close-up of tightly folded rock. Click for larger view.

Have you been taught that folded rocks were deformed over millions of years by gradual application of heat and pressure? That’s what I was taught at high school.

However, geologic formations commonly show clear evidence that the rocks could not have been hard and brittle before they were folded.

Soft and plastic

When I was studying at university, I inspected numerous rock outcrops on geology excursions. At the majority of outcrops where the rocks were folded, lecturers would explain that the rock must have been deformed while the sediment was still unconsolidated and saturated with water.

They said this because, although the rocks were obviously severely deformed, there was hardly any fracturing. We all realized that the rock could not have been brittle when it was folded so tightly. It must have been soft and plastic. If the rocks had been hard and solid before they were deformed, they would have fractured, not folded.

In my work as a geophysicist, I have observed many examples of soft sediment folding, including rocks at Turon River (Image 3 and Image 4) and Ulladulla (Image 7) in Australia and at Jaipur in India (See Image 8, Image 9, Image 10, Image 11).

The lecturers also wanted us to carefully examine the minerals and texture of the rock outcrops. They pointed out that there was no evidence that the rocks had been subjected to much heat or pressure. Instead, it was clear that bending had taken place at normal temperatures.

Many of the folded layers of rock that we observed were enormous. What could have formed these folds? In most cases, the lecturers could only point to catastrophe. They could not suggest any gradual process that could deform rocks into tight folds under normal temperature conditions without fracturing them. Even the thick strata in Grand Canyon were still soft and plastic when they were deformed. (See Grand Canyon strata show geologic time is imaginary.)

Enormous forces

However, there are other instances where it is obvious that the folding occurred while the rock was solid. Deformation experiments have shown that such folding is possible under extreme pressure in a short time or under moderate pressure in a long time. Some tightly folded rock layers are so large that they can only be properly observed from the air (Image 6).

Massive folds in hard rock over such a huge area had to involve enormous forces that can only be explained by enormous catastrophe. Could continental-scale earth movements during the Genesis Flood have produced the great forces needed to fold such large, tight folds quickly?

Global catastrophe

Many scoff at the thought of the global Flood, claiming that normal climatic events could not cause such an event. They are right! It was not a normal event. The Flood started when ‘the fountains of the great deep broke forth and the floodgates of the heavens were opened’ (Genesis 7:11). The Bible is very clear that the Flood was a real event—an incredible worldwide catastrophe.

Image5Microscope
Image 5: Folds under the microscope. Click for larger view.

Image6FoldsMountIsa
Image 6: The enormous folds near Mt Isa, Queensland, Australia. Click for larger view.

Image7Ulladulla
Image 7: The Ulladulla formation explained. Click for larger view.

In spite of this, some people imagine that the Bible must be describing a local flood. And they only look for evidence for large local floods in the Middle East. However, if they could bring themselves to accept (even if only for the sake of the argument) the immensity of the Flood, they would soon ‘see’ that the geological evidence for global cataclysm is overwhelming.

Logical explanation

Many creationist geologists believe that the Genesis Flood involved rapid movement of the huge plates comprising the crust of the Earth. This explains why so much sediment was still soft when it was deformed. No sooner would floodwaters have deposited great volumes of mud and sand than moving plates would have crumpled and deformed the sediment while it was still saturated. The Flood also explains the colossal forces needed to fold enormous areas of hard rock.

The Biblical Flood is a simple, logical, and valid explanation for why we find so much rock that has been catastrophically deformed on all the continents.

Folded limestone

In the Peruvian Andes (Ancash Province), limestone has been folded (Image 1) as an oceanic plate pushed against the edge of the South American Plate. Fossilized shells found in the rock (Image 2) were once in the sea. Dinosaur footprints have also been found at this location. Experiments with deforming limestone1 show that strata such as these could have been folded within the year-long Genesis Flood.

Tectonic movement during the Genesis Flood has pushed these Peruvian strata 5,000m (16,000 ft) above sea level. During this upheaval, rapid erosion by a rushing mixture of water and rock, followed by glacial erosion in the post-Flood Ice Age, would have left the landscape as observed in Image 1. Today, the glaciers have receded and erosion has slowed down. Even at the present rate, erosion is occurring much too fast for these mountains to have existed nearly as long as the evolutionary geological timescale suggests.2

Folded mud

All the rock in Image 3 is tightly folded—the close-up (Image 4) shows one fold. The minerals in the rock indicate that it has not been heated much, so it must have been folded when the sediment was water-saturated and unconsolidated. The Genesis Flood provides a logical explanation of how such large volumes of sediment could have been folded so tightly before they had a chance to consolidate. (Chelseigh Formation, greywacke and shale on the Turon River, west of Sofala, New South Wales, Australia.)

Great and small

Image8Jaipur
Image 8: Catastrophically deformed mudstone near Jaipur, Rajastan, India. Click for larger view.

Image9JaipurWithRadio
Image 9: Another image of the deformation at Jaipur, Rajastan, India. Click for larger view.

Image10RockDeformation
Image 10: Swirls in mudstone Jaipur, Rajastan, India. Click for larger view.

Image11Deformation
Image 11: Mudstone deformation Jaipur, Rajastan, India. Click for larger view.

Folds of all scales proliferate in the rocks of the Earth—many are so small that they can only be seen under the microscope (Image 5). Others are so large (Image 6) they can only be seen from the air. Image 5 (at 160x magnification) shows severely deformed quartz and muscovite mica (from near Cooma, New South Wales, Australia).

Mineralogy of the photomicrograph suggests that in this case the rock was solid when deformed. Folding like this has been reproduced and recorded during experiments in the laboratory, so millions of years are not required.3

In contrast, the aerial photo below (Image 6) shows enormous folds near Mt Isa, Queensland, Australia. Rapid plate movement during the Genesis Flood would have provided the immense forces needed to compress and fold such great volumes of rock.

In this case, the evidence is consistent with some heating of the rock, probably due to the forces involved.

Faulting and sliding

Not only is there a vast amount of evidence around the world for catastrophic folding of soft, waterlogged sediment, but also for faulting and sliding of huge blocks of material. In Image 7, a 4 km2 block of sediment broke away and slid into this position rapidly.4

Under the front of the block, the sediment is extremely deformed. If this sediment had been laid down over millions of years, it would have consolidated and solidified, making such incredible movement impossible. However, during the global Flood, the frequent movement of large blocks of water-saturated unconsolidated sediment would be anticipated. (Ulladulla Mudstone, Warden Head, Ulladulla, New South Wales, Australia.)

‘Rainbow cake’ mix

Image12CakeSwirl
Image 12: Swirls in a cake mix.

A vast expanse of catastrophically deformed mudstone north of Jaipur, Rajastan, India (Image 8), was deposited by water and severely deformed before it could solidify into rock. No gradual process taking place over millions of years can explain such large-scale deformation.

Other rock at the same location in India (See Image 9, Image 10, Image 11) has been deformed so much that it looks like a rainbow-cake mix (Image 12). The catastrophic global Flood is the event which logically explains how such mixing could have taken place—not small, gradual, everyday events over millions of years.

Just as swirls in a rainbow cake were formed quickly before the mix was baked into cake, folds in much of the crust of the Earth were formed quickly in a great watery catastrophe before the rocks were solidified. Mineralogical evidence confirms that such folds could not have formed slowly over millions of years. All such occurrences can, however, be well explained in the context of the Biblical Flood.

Grand Canyon strata show geologic time is imaginary

GrandCanyonCrossSection
Click for larger view.

Visitors to Grand Canyon hear the usual geological interpretation involving millions of years. We are told that the horizontal formation at the bottom, the Tapeats Sandstone, was deposited 550 million years ago, and the Kaibab Limestone that forms the rim is 250 million years old (see diagram). It is difficult to imagine the immense time involved in this interpretation.

Interestingly, the Grand Canyon strata extend over 400 km (250 miles) into the eastern part of Arizona.1 There, they are at least 1,600 m (one mile) lower in elevation. Supposedly, the uplift of the Grand Canyon area occurred about 70 million years ago—hundreds of millions of years after the sediments were deposited. One would expect that hundreds of millions of years would have been plenty of time for the sediment to cement into hard rock.

Yet, the evidence indicates that the sediments were soft and unconsolidated when they bent. Instead of fracturing like the basement did, the entire layer thinned as it bent. The sand grains show no evidence that the material was brittle and rock-hard, because none of the grains are elongated.1 Neither has the mineral cementing the grains been broken and recrystallized. Instead, the evidence points to the whole 1,200-m (4,000-ft) thickness of strata being still ‘plastic’ when it was uplifted. In other words, the millions of years of geologic time are imaginary. This ‘plastic’ deformation of Grand Canyon strata dramatically demonstrates the reality of the catastrophic global Flood of Noah’s day.—Tas Walker

Reference

  1. Morris, J.D., The Young Earth, Master Books, Arizona, pp. 106–109, 1994.

Notes and references

  1. Clark, I.F. and Cook, B.J., Geological Science—Perspectives of the Earth, Ausralian Academy of Science, Canberra, Fig. 15.49, p. 404, 1986. Return to text.
  2. Allen, D., Sediment transport and the Genesis Flood—case studies including the Hawkesbury Sandstone, Sydney, J. Creation 10(3):358–378, 1996. Return to text.
  3. Wilson, C.J.L., Burg, J.P. and Pottage, A., Dynamic processes in shear of ice as a rock analogue, video, University of Melbourne, 1986. The video is available from the Audio-visual Coordinator—Centre for the Study of Higher Education, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, 3052, Australia. Videos of deformation experiments with materials other than ice are also available. Return to text.
  4. Gostin, V.A. and Herbert, C., Stratigraphy of the Upper Carboniferous and Lower Permian sequence, Southern Sydney Basin, J. Geol. Soc. Aust. 20(1):49–70, 1973. Return to text.

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Readers’ comments

Stephen N.
Excellent article. The enhanced images of the photographs and diagrams were extremely helpful. After looking at this article with the images, I can't see how anyone could logically argue against the fact of a global flood, especially professing Christians!
Richard H.
Great article, and excellent evidence for Noah's flood in the pics. A person tries to imagine the continents shifting and the water moving while the world's mountain ranges were being thrust up! Here in Arizona by our home is a huge folded area in the rock the size of a house. I sat and tried to imagine the sound that a mountain would make as it moved vertically from the ocean floor to miles above sea level. Catastrophic volumes of water and earth moving in all directions must have made for some amazing sounds!
Jim A.
We've seen ample folding in the Rocky Mountains driving from our home to Edmonton, through Jasper, in Canada. This is known as sedimentary rock, but it doesn't look like its hardened sediment, and, furthermore, no evidence to support this concept of sedimentary rock has been looked for in drill core of the oceans floors. This looks more like it was squeezed out like toothpaste and hardened in place just like concrete does. Could all this 'sedimentary rock', including the layers of limestone, have been formed inside the 'fountains of the deep' before the flood took place, then got squeezed out along with all the rounded rocks formed inside the mechanism that produced the mists that went up and watered earth pre-flood? Geological scientists need to speculate about what earth looked like, and how the mists that watered the earth were generated in sufficient force and quantity pre-flood.
Tas Walker
The sediments that now comprise the Rockies would have been deposited as the waters of Noah's Flood were rising. Yes, when we are thinking about the past like this we do need to do a lot of speculation.
David P.
A hilariously ludicrous article. Last month I heard from you that Mt Everest, was not only entirely covered by water - 6 miles high - but that the Himalayas were formed by tectonic plates floating around in months, not several billion years as every geologist has known for over 100 years. Do you also believe the earth was or possibly still is flat? Your entire reason for existence negates virtually the entire knowledge of science including physics, geology, paleontology, genetics, cosmology, DNA - need I go on? Somewhere else in your great volumes of fantasy you say that 50% of Americans don't believe that Darwin was right. As allegedly the most powerful nation on earth, this gives the rest of the world cause for great alarm and pity. What an ill educated and gullible nation you are.
Tas Walker
No, it is not ludicrous. All geologists believe that the sediments at the top of Mt Everest were deposited under the ocean in marine conditions, and that it was formed by tectonic movements of the earth's plates. And no geologist would say it took several billion years, as you said. And no we do not negate all those disciplines of knowledge you listed. The big issue is whether what the narrative pushed on us was actually observed or whether it is atheistic speculation. No, we do not believe in a flat earth. And no, neither Dr David Allen or I are from the US. Clearly you are carrying around a lot of wrong information in your head. So I would encourage you to intentionally do more reading of the articles on this website. Enjoy.
Dale B.
The article was written in 2002, almost 20 years ago. Where is David Allen today? Does he still hold to the CMI Statement of Faith? I can't recall seeing his name until now. Many thanks .
Tas Walker
David Allen is very busy running a geological company exploring for groundwater. However, he is still actively connected with CMI at every opportunity and an enthusiastic supporter as far as his time allows.

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