By Greg Neyman
© 2009, Old Earth Ministries
First Published 29 Jul 2009
John Morris of the Institute for Creation Research reported on the ICR website about a new study concerning bioturbation of sedimentary structures.1 The research he is referring to is titled “How fast do marine invertabrates burrow?, from the journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. You can view this entire report online here. The report examined the rate at which marine species rework sediment, thus removing any sedimentary structures such as ripple marks and laminations.
The results of the study concluded that sediment could be reworked in a short time by the marine organisms. The time depended on the type of organism, and the population density. For Morris, the implications of the study are this…since the geologic record is full of sedimentary structures such as laminated beds, ripple marks, etc, then they must have been buried quickly in order for them to be preserved. If they were not buried quickly, then they would have been bioturbated, and thus the structures would not be present in the rock record.
The authors had a different use for their conclusions. By examining the amount of bioturbation, one could possibly estimate the population density of the marine organisms. In other words, sediment that is largely free of bioturbation had a low population density.
Morris claims that “the geologic record abounds with such sedimentary structure. This comprises a good geologic age indicator, and in fact points to a young earth.” While it is true that the rock record is full of ripple marks and laminations, it is also full of bioturbation features. In some rock units, the bioturbation has removed all sedimentary structure, but in others, there is none at all. And of course, much sedimentary rock falls somewhere in between these two extremes. Thus it makes sense that the amount of bioturbation could be used as an indicator of population density and time.
A young earth creationist could still argue that Morris’ points are still valid. Based on the information above, this is true. However, when examining sedimentary rock, we must consider all the evidence, and not just the one piece mentioned by Morris. Here are a few reasons that Morris is wrong:
1. Raindrop impressions. The rock record contains many different levels of rocks with raindrop impressions. In the young earth model, there should be raindrop impressions at the lowest level, but once the earth was covered in water, there would be no more. If the young earth theory is correct, then it must come up for a way for dry land to reappear numerous times during Noah’s Flood.
2. Deserts. There is ample evidence of desert deposits right in the middle of rocks that young earth creationists call flood rocks. The young earth model has no way to account for a desert forming (numerous times) during Noah’s Flood. (see Desert Problem)
3. Meteor craters. Throughout the rock layers that young earth creationists say are flood deposits, there are meteor craters formed from meteor strikes on dry land.2,3 (List of Impact Craters on Earth)
4. Dessication Cracks. Mud cracks from an arid environment, throughout the layers of rocks classified as flood rocks.4
5. Coral Reefs. These form in shallow water environments and appear throughout the supposed rocks of Noah’s Flood.5
6. River Deposits. Evidence of river channel deposits occur throughout the supposed Noah’s Flood rock layers. If the world was one big ocean, how could there be rivers?
7. Topsoil. Clear evidence of topsoil appears in the rock layers. You cannot have topsoil underwater during the flood.6
8. Glaciers. There is clear, indisputable evidence of glaciers during the Carboniferous and Permian periods, from 354 to 248 million years ago. These are right in the middle of rocks supposedly laid down by the Flood. You cannot have a global flood and glaciers at the same time. (see Ice Ages)
The above are only evidences based on rock structures. Other evidence, such as fossil distribution, strongly supports an old earth. For an example, read about dinosaur evidences for an old earth.
While it is possible to show that a piece of evidence supports a young earth, when you take the whole picture into account, it is clear that the earth is old. As I’ve stated many times before, the evidences for the age of the earth are like a stack of straw. While a few pieces of straw can be used to argue for a young earth, (if taken out of context), when you consider the whole, it is clear that the earth is old. Thus, all Morris is doing with this article is grasping at a few straws, while ignoring the 10 foot tall haystack that he is buried under.
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1 http://www.icr.org/article/sedimentary-structure-shows-young-earth/. Featured on the front page of the ICR website on 28 July.
2 Grieve, R. A. F., 1997. Extraterrestrial impact events: the record in the rocks and the stratigraphic record. Palaeogeography, Paleoclimatology, Paleoecology 132: 5-23.
3 Schmitz, B., B. Peucker-Ehrenbrink, M. Lindstrom, & M. Tassinari, 1997. Accretion rates of meteorites and cosmic dust in the Early Ordovician. Science 278: 88-90.
4 Andrews, J. E., 1988. Soil-zone microfabrics in calcrete and in desiccation cracks from the Upper Jurassic Purbeck Formation of Dorset. Geological Journal 23(3): 261-270.
5 Wilson, J. L., 1975. Carbonate Facies in Geologic History. Springer-Verlag, New York.
6 Reinhardt, J., and Sigleo, W.R. (eds.), 1989. Paleosols and weathering through geologic time: principles and applications. Geological Society of America Special Paper 216, 181pp.
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