by Bill Nugent
The colorful rock layers so clearly visible in the walls of the Grand Canyon of northern Arizona in the USA are like the pages of a textbook.. The Grand Canyon textbook gives abundant evidence that it was formed rapidly during a worldwide flood during which time planet earth was convulsed by intense volcanic activity and the shifting, breakup and subduction of the continental plates.
Nature has been called God’s second book and the pages of that book in the Grand Canyon are not only among the most beautiful in the world but also the most informative. In this article we will look at how recent advances in the geology of the Grand canyon give evidence of the young age of earth and evidence of the historical accuracy of the Bible regarding the worldwide flood described in Genesis chapters seven and eight.
Much of this evidence has been gathered, analyzed and published by mainstream geologists. Facts are facts and any objective scientist must go where the facts take him or her. Though most establishment geologists remain skeptical, the facts they have gathered are increasingly pointing to a young age of earth.
At the very base of the Grand Canyon you can clearly see a dividing line in the rock strata that geologists call The Great Unconformity. Below this line are rock layers that have a very different chemical composition than the colorful layers above and have no fossils. Above the Great Unconformity are rock layers that contain fossils.
Let me name the layers above The Great Unconformity in order from bottom to top: the Tapeats Sandstone, the Bright Angel Shale, the Muav Limestone, the beautiful Redwall Limestone, the Supai Group sandstones and shales, the Hermit Formation, the Coconino Sandstone, the Toroweap Sandstone and theKaibab Limestone at the top.
The layers above the Great Unconformity are rich in fossils, especially marine fossils of mollusks and fish despite the fact that the Grand Canyon is more than a mile above sea level and hundreds of miles from the ocean. Also of interest is that the rock layers are very distinct in color and often exhibit knife edge distinct boundaries.
There is no evidence of erosion or bioturbation between the layers such as we would expect if the layers were laid down gradually over millions of years. In other words, if a layer of sediment were gradually laid down and hardened into stone there would be a million years of erosion and disturbance by life forms living on its surface (bioturbation). We don’t see that evidence of erosion and life activity between layers.
The old earth evolutionist explanation of the Grand Canyon is the claim that North America once held a huge inland sea and the sediments eroded off surrounding landmasses and built up sediment at the bottom of the sea. The inland sea dried up and a river cut through the solid rock over long ages of time. This explanation is falsified by many aspects of the geologic evidence. Recent advances in geology clearly undermine the traditional uniformitarian old age position.
First of all, we now know that the bedrock that composes the continents, including North America are much lighter than the bedrock that composes the ocean floors. The continents float on the earth’s mantle. A continent can’t become an ocean floor and then become a dry continent again. The lighter continental rocks cause the continent to remain high and dry. The fact that the continents remain high and dry is the reason that Noah’s flood was a temporary event. The global upheavals that caused the ocean waters to wash over the continents did not flood the continents permanently. The ocean waters receded off of the continents in a little over a year.
Secondly the layers of rock in the Grand Canyon do not at all resemble ocean floor sediment. Deep ocean sediment is a muddy ooze composed mostly of calcium from the skeletons of microscopic sea life. The Atlantic and Pacific seabeds don’t have limestone and sandstone forming in neat colorful layers! In fact the lack of thick deep sea sedimentation is another evidence for young earth. The only places in the oceans where there is significant sedimentation from erosion are where rivers enter the sea. The Mississippi Delta and the Nile Delta have vast areas of mud and silt but nothing like the Grand Canyon layers.
The flood of Noah is described in Genesis chapters seven and eight. Genesis 7:11 says that “all the fountains of the great deep burst open” (NAS).This is a reference to the intense worldwide volcanic activity and plate tectonics that occurred during this global catastrophe. The earth’s plates collided and some were subducted which means they were driven down under other plates. This accounts for oil deposits as deep as 50,000 feet below the earth’s surface because vast amounts of vegetation were sucked down with the descending plates. The vegetation was subjected to intense pressure and changed into petroleum.
The volcanic activity blasted up vast amounts of ash, lime, broken rock and sediment. The roiling waters carried the volcanic materials in continent wide slurries of materials that precipitated out in layers of lime that became limestone and clays that became shale and sand that became sandstone. Receding floodwaters cut vast channels in the still soft sediments and further upheavals caused the sediment layers to buckle and twist. That’s why you see the curved and bent rock layers in virtually every road cut as you drive through the mountains.
This rapid rock layer formation process was observed in miniature in our own lifetimes in the volcanic eruptions of Mount St. Helens in the early 1980s. The vast amounts of sediment spewed out by the volcano formed distinct layers that are already hardening into stone. There is even one section of the Mt. St. Helens devastation that is like a Grand Canyon in miniature!
I will mention in closing that the sediments that form the rock layers of the Grand Canyon extend far beyond the Grand Canyon. The Tapeats Sandstone and Redwall limestone can be traced across the United States, up into Canada and across the Atlantic into parts of England. The same rock layers with the same chemical composition so beautifully displayed in the Grand Canyon extend across continents!. This is evidence that they were laid down in a global catastrophe such as the Bible describes. (See article Geologic Evidences for the Genesis Flood by Andrew Snelling, Ph. D. available at www.answersingenesis.org.)
The Grand Canyon evidence of the flood again shows the Bible’s accuracy in describing real events of real history. The Grand Canyon evidence is consistent with a young age of earth. Young earth renders evolution impossible. Evolution requires hundreds of millions of years. There is much scientific evidence that the earth was created less than 10,000 years ago.