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Sunday, November 8, 2015

NOAH FLOOD FACTS OR NOT


2 Peter 3:6
Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood.


Paleosols: formed during Noah's Flood?


Soils are complex geologic/minerological structures formed by the physical, chemical and organic weathering of some parent material, which could be anything from crystalline igneous rocks to soft, unconsolidated sediments. Numerous studies of pedogenic (soil-forming) processes operating in natural environments show that well-developed soils require hundreds to thousands of years to form, depending upon climate, intensity of weathering, type of parent material and so on (Buol et al., 1989, pp. 175-188). Obviously soils could not form during a flood. However, numerous paleosols exist in the geologic record (e.g. Retallack 1990; Meyer 1997; Martini and Chesworth 1992; Reinhardt and Sigleo 1988), including, among other soil types, vertisols, calcisols, oxisols, spodosols, ultisols, argillosols, and gleysols.

In many sections numerous stacked soil horizons have been documented, each of which would require decades to centuries or more to form. For example, Allen (1986) documents several hundred pedogenic calcrete horizons within a 3km section of the Old Red Sandstone in the Anglo-Welsh area of southern Britain. Retallack (1977) documents at least 16 stacked paleosols from the Triassic age Upper Narrabeen Group of the Sydney Basin. Retallack (1983; 1992) documents 87 palaeosols in the Eocene-Oligocene Brule and Chadron Formations in South Dakota (see also Terry 2001). Kraus (e.g. 1997), Bown and Kraus (1981), and others have documented hundreds of paleosols within the Eocene Willwood Formation. Many other examples are known (e.g. Arndorff 1994; Bestland et al. 1996; Wright 1982).

Coals are often found directly above fossil soils. Most paleosols underlying Carboniferous coals are only weakly-developed, others are exceptionally "mature." The most frequently observed variety of paleosol underlying coal seams are so-called "underclays." These paleosols typically lack strong horizonation and display pedogenic characteristics similar those found today in peat-accumulating environments. As an example, evidence of pedogenesis in the underclay beneath the Upper Elkhorn Coal in eastern Kentucky include features such as roots and/or root traces, downprofile decrease in kaolinite/mica ratio, mica thickness, and vermiculite content, up-profile decrease in chlorite, and the presence of siderite nodules (Gardner et al. 1988). Jonathon Clarke describes an early Carboniferous paleosol from South Wales, which occurs in association with thin coal seams.

Although most 'underclay' paleosols are only weakly to moderately developed, some paleosols underlying coals are in fact very well-developed. For instance, Gill and Yemane (1996, p. 905–908) describe an exceptionally mature and complete Ultisol profile beneath the lower Pennsylvanian Lykens Valley #2 coal in northeastern Pennsylvania. The paleosol contains deep and abundant rooting, strong base leaching, clay cutans, blocky peds, a distinctive Bt horizon, and many other pedogenic features. The authors estimate on the basis of modern analogues that the substrate may have undergone up to 100,000 years worth of weathering and leaching, requiring a hiatus in sedimentation at least that long (pedogenesis probably began long before the coal began accumulating). They write (p. 908):

Both bulk and clay mineralogy, as well as geochemical and petrographic analyses, indicate that the underclay beneath the Lykens Valley #2 coal is a complete and well-formed soil profile. However this soil profile does not exhibit characteristics typical of a water-logged Histosol (Levine and Slingerland, 1987), nor does it appear to have been a poorly formed Entisol or Inceptisol as might form on a flood-plain levee. Rather, the Lykens Valley profile shows evidence of substantial leaching and translocation of material, indicating a sustained period of soil formation. The Lykens Valley paleosol profile, with its albic horizon and well-developed Bt horizon, is consistent with that of an Ultisol. Ultisols are highly weathered, base-poor, oxidized soils of warm, humid forest regions (Brady, 1990; Retallack, 1990). Modern Ultisols are characterized by their low base status, the predominance of 1:1 clays such as kaolinite, and illuvial accumulation of clay in the B horizon (Brady, 1990).

The degree of weathering, the distribution of minerals, and the fabrics of the Lykens Valley underclay are consistent with that of a modern Ultisol. Ultisols typically take from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years to form in warm, moist tropical or subtropical environments (Retallack, 1990). The persistence of a stable environment over the period of time necessary for such a soil to form indicates that the Lykens Valley paleosol did not form in a rapidly changing flood-plain environment. Had deposition continued during soil formation, even at a slow pace, the soil profile would have remained immature with poorly expressed E and B horizons. The pedogenic formation of such a mature profile requires a hiatus in sedimentation.

While most paleosols within early and middle Pennsylvanian cyclothems are inferred to have formed in wet, poorly-drained environments, late Pennsylvanian and early Permian cyclothems contain paleosols which are indicative of dry or seasonal climate (calcisols, vertisols). Thick coal seams are not present in these cyclothems, nor would we expect them to be, since peat cannot accumulate in an arid environment (on the flood "model," it is not clear why coals are not found in association with arid "paleosols"). For instance, Miller et al. (1996) documents 5 paleosol-bearing intervals within the early Permian Council Grove Group and Chase Group of Kansas. The intervals commonly contain more than one paleosol. Pedogenic features present in one or more of the paleosols include well developed B, Bt, Bk and C horizons, clay cutans on blocky to fine peds, carbonate glabules and rhizocretions (up to 4cm in diameter and 60cm in length). The uppermost paleosol is classified as a vertisol, and displays well-developed pedogenic slickensides, pseudoanticlines and mukarra structure. These features are typical of soils formed under semi-arid conditions, which of course is inconsistent with the flood model. Tabor and Montanez (1999) describe a similar shift to semiarid/arid climate paleosols in late Pennsylvanian/early Permian of the Midland Basin, Texas.

Fossil soils are also found in cyclothems without associated coals. Some are these are well-developed and mature. Joeckel (1995) describes a prominent paleosol profile developed atop Upper Pennsylvanian limestones of the Shawnee Group in Nebraska and Iowa. The profile, which is up to 4m thick, displays well-developed horizonation (A, Bt, Btk horizons), clay cutans and other clay illuviation features, and many other soil structures. Small carbonate nodules are present within the Bt horizon (p. 166). The lowermost horizon contains large (up to 9cm) clasts of limestone weathered out of the underlying Ost Limestone. The Ost Limestone beneath the paleosol displays abundant karst weathering features extending to a depth of several meters. Joeckel notes:

By Midcontinent Pennsylvanian standards, the development of karstic features in the Ost is extreme . . . Karstic features in the Ost consist of: (1) a pervasive, three-dimensional network of fine microkarst veins (silt and clay-lined cracks), which occupy an estimated 10-25% of the rock volume; (2) regularly interspersed, vertically oriented solution pipes, locally occupying as much as 10-20% of the volume of the unit; and (3) a few, poorly-defined shallow depressions up to 50cm deep and 120cm in diameter (p. 167).

Tandon and Bird (1997) describe several prominent calcrete horizons up to 1 meter thick and tracable for more than 30km along strike present within coal-bearing cyclothems of the Sydney Basin of eastern Canada. The limestones beneath the calcretes preserves large polygonal dessication cracks up to 1m deep. Unlike the pedogenic features present in the underclays, which imply a submerged, humid climate, the nodular calcretes imply a relatively more arid climate during lowstands within the cyclothems. Tandon and Bird note that the "alteration of calcrete and coal is an unusual aspect of the cyclothems for, in modern landscapes, calcretes are generally developed in relatively arid settings and coals in relatively humid settings" (p. 44). The repeated alteration of these paleosols suggests that climate changed cyclicaly during deposition of the cyclothems. In other words, the eustatic cycles which created the cyclothems were linked to climate such that lowstands of the sea were associated with arid conditions, and highstands with humid conditions. Tandon and Gibling note that a similar lowstand-aridity correlation has been documented for the Australian interior during the past 300k years (e.g. Kershaw and Nanson 1993).

Vertical pedogenic trends, in conjunction with relative sea-level curves for the Sydney cyclothems, indicate that relatively arid, seasonal conditions prevailed during lowstand and early transgression. The relatively mature, nodular calcretes reflect prolonged periods of minimal sedimentation during lowstand. . . In contrast, relatively humid conditions prevailed during during late transgressin and highstand, with the formation of peat (coal) and hydromorphic paleosols. These observations are in accord with Quaternary climatic evidence, and suggest that climate and relative changes in sea level were linked (p. 64).

Roof shale rhythmites as a depositional chronometer

Many Carboniferous coals in the mid US (Illinois, Kansas, Indiana) are overlain by "roof shales" containing rhythmic laminae sequences interpreted as tidal rhythmites (e.g. Archer at al. 1995; Greb and Archer 1998). These roof shales often bury upright trees above coals. These sedimentary deposits are very distinctive in appearance. They usually consist of sand-mud couplets, each about 1mm-1cm thick. These couplets are usually flat (planar) to slightly wavy. The individual couplets are arranged in larger sequences of about 10-12 couplets, which progressively increase and then decrease in thickness. Seperating each sequence of couplets is a distinct dark band, which in modern examples represent bacterial colonization of the tidal flats during the period of neap emergence. Similar tidal rhythmites have been documented burying trees in Alaska, near the town of Portage, where coseismic subsidence in the year 1964 resulted in the aggradation of tidal flats over spruce groves near the coast (Atwater et al., 2001).

Paleosols: formed during Noah's Flood?

Soils are complex geologic/minerological structures formed by the physical, chemical and organic weathering of some parent material, which could be anything from crystalline igneous rocks to soft, unconsolidated sediments. Numerous studies of pedogenic (soil-forming) processes operating in natural environments show that well-developed soils require hundreds to thousands of years to form, depending upon climate, intensity of weathering, type of parent material and so on (Buol et al., 1989, pp. 175-188). Obviously soils could not form during a flood. However, numerous paleosols exist in the geologic record (e.g. Retallack 1990; Meyer 1997; Martini and Chesworth 1992; Reinhardt and Sigleo 1988), including, among other soil types, vertisols, calcisols, oxisols, spodosols, ultisols, argillosols, and gleysols.

In many sections numerous stacked soil horizons have been documented, each of which would require decades to centuries or more to form. For example, Allen (1986) documents several hundred pedogenic calcrete horizons within a 3km section of the Old Red Sandstone in the Anglo-Welsh area of southern Britain. Retallack (1977) documents at least 16 stacked paleosols from the Triassic age Upper Narrabeen Group of the Sydney Basin. Retallack (1983; 1992) documents 87 palaeosols in the Eocene-Oligocene Brule and Chadron Formations in South Dakota (see also Terry 2001). Kraus (e.g. 1997), Bown and Kraus (1981), and others have documented hundreds of paleosols within the Eocene Willwood Formation. Many other examples are known (e.g. Arndorff 1994; Bestland et al. 1996; Wright 1982).

Coals are often found directly above fossil soils. Most paleosols underlying Carboniferous coals are only weakly-developed, others are exceptionally "mature." The most frequently observed variety of paleosol underlying coal seams are so-called "underclays." These paleosols typically lack strong horizonation and display pedogenic characteristics similar those found today in peat-accumulating environments. As an example, evidence of pedogenesis in the underclay beneath the Upper Elkhorn Coal in eastern Kentucky include features such as roots and/or root traces, downprofile decrease in kaolinite/mica ratio, mica thickness, and vermiculite content, up-profile decrease in chlorite, and the presence of siderite nodules (Gardner et al. 1988). Jonathon Clarke describes an early Carboniferous paleosol from South Wales, which occurs in association with thin coal seams.

Although most 'underclay' paleosols are only weakly to moderately developed, some paleosols underlying coals are in fact very well-developed. For instance, Gill and Yemane (1996, p. 905–908) describe an exceptionally mature and complete Ultisol profile beneath the lower Pennsylvanian Lykens Valley #2 coal in northeastern Pennsylvania. The paleosol contains deep and abundant rooting, strong base leaching, clay cutans, blocky peds, a distinctive Bt horizon, and many other pedogenic features. The authors estimate on the basis of modern analogues that the substrate may have undergone up to 100,000 years worth of weathering and leaching, requiring a hiatus in sedimentation at least that long (pedogenesis probably began long before the coal began accumulating). They write (p. 908):

Both bulk and clay mineralogy, as well as geochemical and petrographic analyses, indicate that the underclay beneath the Lykens Valley #2 coal is a complete and well-formed soil profile. However this soil profile does not exhibit characteristics typical of a water-logged Histosol (Levine and Slingerland, 1987), nor does it appear to have been a poorly formed Entisol or Inceptisol as might form on a flood-plain levee. Rather, the Lykens Valley profile shows evidence of substantial leaching and translocation of material, indicating a sustained period of soil formation. The Lykens Valley paleosol profile, with its albic horizon and well-developed Bt horizon, is consistent with that of an Ultisol. Ultisols are highly weathered, base-poor, oxidized soils of warm, humid forest regions (Brady, 1990; Retallack, 1990). Modern Ultisols are characterized by their low base status, the predominance of 1:1 clays such as kaolinite, and illuvial accumulation of clay in the B horizon (Brady, 1990).

The degree of weathering, the distribution of minerals, and the fabrics of the Lykens Valley underclay are consistent with that of a modern Ultisol. Ultisols typically take from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years to form in warm, moist tropical or subtropical environments (Retallack, 1990). The persistence of a stable environment over the period of time necessary for such a soil to form indicates that the Lykens Valley paleosol did not form in a rapidly changing flood-plain environment. Had deposition continued during soil formation, even at a slow pace, the soil profile would have remained immature with poorly expressed E and B horizons. The pedogenic formation of such a mature profile requires a hiatus in sedimentation.

While most paleosols within early and middle Pennsylvanian cyclothems are inferred to have formed in wet, poorly-drained environments, late Pennsylvanian and early Permian cyclothems contain paleosols which are indicative of dry or seasonal climate (calcisols, vertisols). Thick coal seams are not present in these cyclothems, nor would we expect them to be, since peat cannot accumulate in an arid environment (on the flood "model," it is not clear why coals are not found in association with arid "paleosols"). For instance, Miller et al. (1996) documents 5 paleosol-bearing intervals within the early Permian Council Grove Group and Chase Group of Kansas. The intervals commonly contain more than one paleosol. Pedogenic features present in one or more of the paleosols include well developed B, Bt, Bk and C horizons, clay cutans on blocky to fine peds, carbonate glabules and rhizocretions (up to 4cm in diameter and 60cm in length). The uppermost paleosol is classified as a vertisol, and displays well-developed pedogenic slickensides, pseudoanticlines and mukarra structure. These features are typical of soils formed under semi-arid conditions, which of course is inconsistent with the flood model. Tabor and Montanez (1999) describe a similar shift to semiarid/arid climate paleosols in late Pennsylvanian/early Permian of the Midland Basin, Texas.

Fossil soils are also found in cyclothems without associated coals. Some are these are well-developed and mature. Joeckel (1995) describes a prominent paleosol profile developed atop Upper Pennsylvanian limestones of the Shawnee Group in Nebraska and Iowa. The profile, which is up to 4m thick, displays well-developed horizonation (A, Bt, Btk horizons), clay cutans and other clay illuviation features, and many other soil structures. Small carbonate nodules are present within the Bt horizon (p. 166). The lowermost horizon contains large (up to 9cm) clasts of limestone weathered out of the underlying Ost Limestone. The Ost Limestone beneath the paleosol displays abundant karst weathering features extending to a depth of several meters. Joeckel notes:

By Midcontinent Pennsylvanian standards, the development of karstic features in the Ost is extreme . . . Karstic features in the Ost consist of: (1) a pervasive, three-dimensional network of fine microkarst veins (silt and clay-lined cracks), which occupy an estimated 10-25% of the rock volume; (2) regularly interspersed, vertically oriented solution pipes, locally occupying as much as 10-20% of the volume of the unit; and (3) a few, poorly-defined shallow depressions up to 50cm deep and 120cm in diameter (p. 167).

Tandon and Bird (1997) describe several prominent calcrete horizons up to 1 meter thick and tracable for more than 30km along strike present within coal-bearing cyclothems of the Sydney Basin of eastern Canada. The limestones beneath the calcretes preserves large polygonal dessication cracks up to 1m deep. Unlike the pedogenic features present in the underclays, which imply a submerged, humid climate, the nodular calcretes imply a relatively more arid climate during lowstands within the cyclothems. Tandon and Bird note that the "alteration of calcrete and coal is an unusual aspect of the cyclothems for, in modern landscapes, calcretes are generally developed in relatively arid settings and coals in relatively humid settings" (p. 44). The repeated alteration of these paleosols suggests that climate changed cyclicaly during deposition of the cyclothems. In other words, the eustatic cycles which created the cyclothems were linked to climate such that lowstands of the sea were associated with arid conditions, and highstands with humid conditions. Tandon and Gibling note that a similar lowstand-aridity correlation has been documented for the Australian interior during the past 300k years (e.g. Kershaw and Nanson 1993).

Vertical pedogenic trends, in conjunction with relative sea-level curves for the Sydney cyclothems, indicate that relatively arid, seasonal conditions prevailed during lowstand and early transgression. The relatively mature, nodular calcretes reflect prolonged periods of minimal sedimentation during lowstand. . . In contrast, relatively humid conditions prevailed during during late transgressin and highstand, with the formation of peat (coal) and hydromorphic paleosols. These observations are in accord with Quaternary climatic evidence, and suggest that climate and relative changes in sea level were linked (p. 64).

Roof shale rhythmites as a depositional chronometer

Many Carboniferous coals in the mid US (Illinois, Kansas, Indiana) are overlain by "roof shales" containing rhythmic laminae sequences interpreted as tidal rhythmites (e.g. Archer at al. 1995; Greb and Archer 1998). These roof shales often bury upright trees above coals. These sedimentary deposits are very distinctive in appearance. They usually consist of sand-mud couplets, each about 1mm-1cm thick. These couplets are usually flat (planar) to slightly wavy. The individual couplets are arranged in larger sequences of about 10-12 couplets, which progressively increase and then decrease in thickness. Seperating each sequence of couplets is a distinct dark band, which in modern examples represent bacterial colonization of the tidal flats during the period of neap emergence. Similar tidal rhythmites have been documented burying trees in Alaska, near the town of Portage, where coseismic subsidence in the year 1964 resulted in the aggradation of tidal flats over spruce groves near the coast (Atwater et al., 2001).

Fountains of the Great Deep

Genesis 7:11In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.


Water is what gives our planet its beautiful blue color and is critical for the existence of life as we know it. Our entire planet is nicknamed after it - the "blue planet", or "pale blue dot". A new study led by geophysicist Steve Jacobsen of Northwestern University and seismologist Brandon Schmandt from the University of New Mexico has yielded evidence that vast oceans worth of water are tied up within Earth’s mantle. The results are published in Science.

Four hundred miles beneath North America, Schmandt and Jacobsen found deep pockets of magma, which indicates the presence of water. However, this isn’t water in any of the three forms we are familiar with. The pressure coupled with the high temperatures forces the water to split into a hydroxyl radical (OH) which is then able to combine with the minerals on a molecular level.

This water, which is bound up in rock, could indicate the largest water reservoir on the planet. It is believed that plate tectonics cycle the water in and out, and the water affects the partial melting of rock in the mantle.

"Geological processes on the Earth's surface, such as earthquakes or erupting volcanoes, are an expression of what is going on inside the Earth, out of our sight," said Jacobsen in apress release. "I think we are finally seeing evidence for a whole-Earth water cycle, which may help explain the vast amount of liquid water on the surface of our habitable planet. Scientists have been looking for this missing deep water for decades.”

To laymen, the Earth has three layers: crust, mantle, and core. It is a bit more complex than that, as the mantle itself has four distinct layers: lithosphere, athenosphere, upper mantle, and lower mantle. Even among those layers, different areas have different features. Many scientists have assumed that the transition zone between the upper and lower mantle (250-410 miles beneath the surface) contained water, though this experiment is the first to provide the necessary direct evidence to support that theory.

”Melting of rock at this depth is remarkable because most melting in the mantle occurs much shallower, in the upper 50 miles," said Schmandt, the paper’s lead author. "If there is a substantial amount of H2O in the transition zone, then some melting should take place in areas where there is flow into the lower mantle, and that is consistent with what we found.”

For this study, the researchers utilized the USArray, which collects information from over 2,000 seismometers in the United States. The observations were supported by computer models that replicated conditions from the transition zone. The key to storing the water, they found, is a mineral called ringwoodite, which is a form of olivine that exists under high pressure and temperature.

"The ringwoodite is like a sponge, soaking up water," Jacobsen said. "There is something very special about the crystal structure of ringwoodite that allows it to attract hydrogen and trap water. This mineral can contain a lot of water under conditions of the deep mantle.”

According to experiments, at depths around 400 miles, the ringwoodite should melt partially. This was done by using diamonds to exert tremendous pressure on the synthesized ringwoodite while subjecting it to high temperatures. The effects were studied with a combination of x-rays, electrons, and light. The researchers found that these experimental conditions supported observations from USArray.


"When a rock with a lot of H2O moves from the transition zone to the lower mantle it needs to get rid of the H2O somehow, so it melts a little bit," Schmandt said. "This is called dehydration melting.” After the rock melts, the researchers say, the water becomes trapped in the transition zone, creating a reservoir.


In March, a paper published in Nature from a different research group used a series of techniques including x-ray diffraction and infrared spectroscopy to confirm that a ringwoodite sample (the first to ever come from within the Earth and not just created in a lab) had a had a water content above one percent. This quantity matches what has been predicted by Schmandt’s experiments. Earth’s mantle is so vast, that if 1% of the material in the transition zone is actually water, it would represent a reservoir three times larger than all of Earth’s oceans combined.

"Whether or not this unique sample is representative of the Earth's interior composition is not known, however," Jacobsen said. "Now we have found evidence for extensive melting beneath North America at the same depths corresponding to the dehydration of ringwoodite, which is exactly what has been happening in my experiments.”

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