Geology Questions


A Rock and Fossil Summary

The Himalayas
The White Cliffs of Dover
Magma and Radioactive Decay
An Expanding Earth?
Non-biogenic petroleum
Where Does Oil Come From?
The Geologic Column
A Complete Geologic Column?
Pre-Flood Rocks
Increasing Land Mass?
The Rockies and the Appalachians
The Flood and the Strata
The Last Ice Age
Salt Deposits and the Flood
Salt Domes
Carboniferous Coal Measures
New Zealand Geology
What About Gentet's CCC Model?
Dinosaur Footprints in Australia
A Flat Earth?


The Himalayas

Question: A documentary about the Himalayas reported that marine fossils were found at their highest elevations. Do you understand that geology as being in accord with the biblical orbital-year chronology? 

Setterfield: Yes! That geology is in basic harmony with the Bible. What has happened was that the strata of the Himalayas was laid down under water in the period from the Cambrian (about 540 million atomic years) to the Cretaceous (ending about 65 million atomic years ago). The Cambrian started just after Noah's Flood, and the Cretaceous ended at the time of the Peleg continental division (Genesis 10:25 when continental drift started). At the continental division, India was separated from Australia and Antarctica and moved rapidly northwards. Shortly afterwards, the Indian plate collided with the Eurasian plate. The buckling of the (still soft) sediments that had been laid down under water began, and the Himalayas started to rise. They are still rising today at a slow rate, of about 5 mm per year. In the early days the rise would have been very much faster and then slowed as the two plates interacted with each other.  The catastrophe of the Peleg continental division began about 3050 BC. The Cambrian strata were being laid down just after the Flood of Noah about 3450 BC. So there was a period of about 400 years for the strata to be laid down under very active geological conditions, then the buckling of the strata to form the mountains went on from 3050 BC up to the present time. Erosion on the still-plastic sediments gave their craggy look. There are legends of people seeing mountain ranges rise in their life-times, but I would have to check to see if the Himalayas were among them, or whether it was just the Andes.
Please get back to me if you have any questions.


The White Cliffs of Dover

Question: How could the chalk in the White Cliffs of Dover and other chalk deposits around the world happen in one year in the Flood?

Setterfield: I don't think that is a possibility. I was particularly impressed by an article by David Tyler, who has assembled a large number of facts which are important.

If we summarize the facts relating to the chalk deposits, they are as follows:

  1. The purity of the chalk indicates that no other material has come in, so there are no turbidity currents involved in their deposition
  2. There are horizons called “hard grounds” which are very common.  In these hard grounds there are burrows and boring and encrusting organisms.  This indicates the sediments had formed a firm surface and so deposition had stopped.  These surfaces form bedding planes a half to two metres apart.  In some cases there are over a hundred horizons.  On these horizons, at the top of these horizons, there is often bentonite, which is a form of clay which comes from the weathering of volcanic ash in the presence of water, and it contains a high percentage of iron oxide.   For this reason the bentonite layers, or hard grounds, are orange or brown, because of the iron.
  3. There is the thickness.  We have up to 350 metres of material in some places.
  4. There are speciation trends, or a change in the type of microfossil as you progress up through the sequence.  This indicates longer time intervals are involved, which is the same impression we get from the horizons of hard grounds.

In addition to these points, some more can be made.  In the book Petrology, by W.T. Huang (McGraw Hill, 1962) he makes the point that chalk contains microfossils which range from 17-34% of the total rock.  The remainder of the rock is usually calcium carbonate.  He also makes the point that these rocks are formed at depths usually less than a few hundred feet.  So we have shallow water.  He says that the purest limestones and chalks form as very shallow water deposits.  He also points out that chemically precipitated calcium carbonate, which makes up the majority of the chalk, forms in warm, shallow, quiet waters, but there must be good circulation.  He suggests that for continuous precipitation or precipitation over lengthy periods, to give these horizons, the sea bottom is undergoing slow, continuous subsidence. 

He said this precipitation occurs as a result of one or more of these factors:  a rise in temperature which would warm water brought up from depths, or by warm air currents, evaporation with a hot sun, a decrease in barometric pressure, and the removal of carbon dioxide from oceans by photosynthesis and the secretion of calcium carbonate by organisms.   These are all the factors that we have to deal with.

There are several factors in here which impinge on our modeling.  First of all, the Cretaceous and the Mesozoic generally was  period of high temperatures.  The average temperature was about ten degrees higher than what we have today.  This means that there would be enhanced evaporation and water coming up from the interior would also be warmed.  The second thing is that photosynthesis by these algae was proceeding at a much faster rate because of the higher speed of light at that time (the lower ZPE strength).  This would aid in the removal of CO2 from the oceans and also the secretion of calcium carbonate by organisms.  Both of these result in rapid formation of chalk deposits.

I strongly disagree with Andrew Snelling that these depositions could build up in six days.  I think Tyler is much more on target talking about decades for the building up of these layers.  The evidence that this has taken time, even with rapid photosynthesis comes from the fact that deposition has stopped when the hard grounds were formed and that speciation trends are present. 

There is one final point which must be made.  We have mentioned in Data and Creation that the plasma model for the formation of the solar system and the earth results in a layered planet.  It also means that the planet is heating from the interior outwards, and that water is being driven out of rocks from the interior outwards.  This means that, because of the  layering of the elements, the first waters coming out from the interior would be rich in silicon and this is also why the early granites are tonalitic, or sodium-rich.  It is only later that the predominant constituent of these interior waters would be carbonates.  As a consequence, the deep layers of carbonates in the Mesozoic can be attributed to the waters coming out from the interior of the earth being rich in that chemical.  And so precipitation of limestones and chalks would be facilitated. 

In summary, it would seem that the conditions required for the chalk beds to build up cannot be satisfied by the Flood process in a period of one year or less.  It must have come subsequent to that event and taken at least several decades to have formed. 

Additional note: There is a basic problem with chalks and several other sediments that accumulate slowly today. This basic problem for young universe creationists is one of time for known processes to operate. This problem is extreme for Flood geologists who have less than one year for processes to form the strata. The problem is considerably lessened for those who do not insist that the majority of the geological column formed in one year, but rather over a period of several thousands of years as is the case with the ZPE-Plasma model.

Thus, for Flood geologists, even the simple testimony of hardground horizons in the chalk become an intense problem. These horizons speak of a time interval in which burrowing creatures etc attached themselves to what was then the top layer of strata. This time is not available to the Flood geologist, so the data must then receive a totally novel interpretation after expensive research. In contrast, the hardgrounds can be taken at face value on the ZPE-Plasma model without any novel interpretations. As Mike has pointed out, hardgrounds are also common in the Ordovician. This evidence also suggests that there were depositional intervals with gaps of time between them in which the surface layers hardened. But the Flood geologist can scarcely have the time available for this to happen. In contrast, the ZPE-Plasma model has considerably more time available which allows these Ordovician hardgrounds to form as an initial assessment might suggest. So both the Cretaceous chalk hardgrounds and those in the Ordovician, taken at face value, suggest that these strata did not form in the one year of Noah's Flood. If this conclusion is not accepted, a lot of time and money can be spent on research to try and find out how hardgrounds and their burrowing populations might have formed in days rather than years.   

It should also be mentioned that coccolithophores need light, nutrients and carbon dioxide. Because of the higher speed of light, more photons of light of lower amplitude were arriving per second. So the ZPE-Plasma model has all the necessary light photons available. In addition, the testimony of the Mesozoic is that carbon dioxide levels were up to 10 times higher than now. So plenty of carbon dioxide was available on the ZPE-Plasma approach. As for the nutrients, the coccolithophores actually require the absence of nutrients, but need still water and sunlight to proliferate. There were exceptional conditions in the Bering Sea in 1999 which allowed the proliferation of the coccolithophores.

Here is kernel of what was reported: "Balch explained that most one-celled marine plants (phytoplankton) do not do well in still, lukewarm water. Marine plant "fertilizers," usually in the form of nitrates, come from deep, cold layers of the ocean and are brought to the surface by strong currents and inclement weather. When the water is calm and warm, the plants do not get these nutrients, so they cannot grow, Balch said. "

"The coccolithophores are the exception. "They favor temperate conditions where the nutrients have been stripped away," said Balch. Under normal conditions, the coccolithophores do not compete well with other microscopic plants in nutrient-rich seas. When the competition is diminished by a low food source, the scaly plants have a chance. They usually end up proliferating in areas where the temperature is moderate, the sun is usually out, the water is calm, and the nutrient levels are low."

Because of the accelerated cycle of growth from high photon reception rate, and the high carbon dioxide levels during the Mesozoic, it would be very easy to form massive quantities of coccoliths in a very short time. That same article quoted above also states: "The concentration of the coccoliths detached from coccolithophores reached nearly 6 million per milliliter over the past two summers."  This figure gives some idea of the conditions needed to produce the chalk beds. These conditions were not likely to exist during most of the Flood year. However, the conditions for the formation of superblooms were definitely available during the period after the Flood and before the Peleg continental division on the ZPE-Plasma model, which is in contrast with what Mike claimed. 

The other factor that needs to be taken into account is the previously indicated dropping land levels in the coastal regions of the original supercontinent that later broke up in the days of Peleg. The invasion of the sea onto the dropping land surface gave large areas where warm shallow water existed. If these areas dropped when earthquake activity occurred, then there is a mechanism for pulses of sea water to come in with other fossils torn from their habitat. This is in direct agreement with Lasseur et al in 2009 in Sedimentary Geology 213:1-26 who suggested that chalk was deposited either by pulses of mass flow or from the upper flow regime as sheets over broad areas.

The conclusion is that the main elements of the problem are basically solvable on the ZPE-Plasma model, whereas both Flood geologists and uniformitarian geologists have some problems, albeit very different ones.

I trust that is some help in determining which approach we should adopt to these chalk data.


Magma and Radioactive Decay

Question: I have read in materials from ICR that radiometric dating has been done on rocks from recent lava flows (tens of years) the indicate thousands or millions of years of radioactive decay. I have asked ICR this question and have been told to read one of their books on the subject. However, I consider this question to be a straightforward Yes or No question. Does radioactive decay occur in magma? Their discussion seems to indicate that radioactive decay only begins when the magma solidifies into rock. If it does occur in magma the what is being measured is the length of time the magma has been in existance, not the age of the rock. What am I missing?

Setterfield: You ask an important question. You mention that some recent lava flows have dated thousand or millions of years old. The reason for that is that the potassium/argon dating method was used. The inherent problem there is that argon is a gas and therefore migrates very easily and is lost to the system, thereby yielding incorrect results.

The next part of the question, does radioactive decay occur in magma, has the answer yes. But a word of explanation is needed here also. Because the magma is in a fluid state, the parent and daughter nuclei become easily separated and swept away while the rock is still molten. It is only after the rock has crystallized that the parent and daughter nuclei are compelled to remain together in the same location. It is from that moment that the radiometric clock is actually registering a radiometric age. In other words, in a magma, even though decay is occurring, the radiometric clock is continually being set to zero. Once the rock solidifies, the clock starts to register an actual time.

I hope  that answers your questions. If you have further questions, or if something is still not clear, then please get back to me.


An Expanding Earth?

Question:     Have you ever seen this video? It shows that the Earth expanded in size -- it shows that if the earth's radius was smaller, all the land masses would fit perfectly together! i know you've investigated geology too. what do you think?

Setterfield: Thank you for sending me the video link. I have looked at it and find it interesting. It makes a good point, but several matters need comment.

First, Neal Adams claims that everything fits perfectly together without the necessity for rotation if earth expansion occurred at the mid-ocean ridges. A close inspection shows that he does have some rotational movement, but not nearly as dramatic as the currently accepted standard model requires. In one sense this is a plus, but a mechanism is lacking for the expansion.

Second, for the effects to occur that Adams indicates, the earth would have to have almost doubled in diameter. As indicated, the mechanism for this is a problem unless it is conceded that the whole universe and everything in it is likewiise expanding. The idea of a currently expanding universe has only one origin; the redshift of light from distant galaxies. The data, however, indicate that the redshift is not from universal expansion but rather from an increasing strength of the Zero Point Energy which is affecting atomic processes. So we need to look further before whole-heartedly accepting this.

Third, from the figures he presents, it also requires the expansion to be occurring much more rapidly now than in the past; in other words accelerating expansion. Until recently, it was claimed that the expansion rate of the universe was slowing down. But other data have one interpretation that requires the expansion rate to be increasing. So the standard model in astronomy is ambivalent on that one. 
Fourth, if all the earth were originally one land mass, that does not leave room for oceans, and the Bible says that they were there originally.

So while the presentation is very interesting, my impression is that it does not contain the whole truth. The heating of the earth interior will result in a 5% increase in linear dimensions as it became molten. This gives an increase in diameter of 400 miles or an increase in circumference of 1200 miles. While this can account for the width of the Atlantic, there is a huge problem with the Pacific Ocean which does not fit in with Adams' scenario. So at this stage, while I consider it an interesting possibility, I must put it back on the shelf until further information comes in which will validate the concept. 

Responding email: Thank you Barry for your reply.
I agree that there is no mechanism presented. But who knows what happens inside the earth =)
As for oceans, Neal Adams said that previously there were no oceans, only shallow seas -- above the current land mass. But yes, the Bible mentions the waters being gathered to one place, wherever that was.  Perhaps part of the Pacific was the original sea.  My first thought was that expanding the earth's surface area would be a convenient way to drain the flood waters off the surface of the land. 
I looked on wikipedia and they mentioned the gravitational constant might have changed. What effect would that have? Thanks

Setterfield: Thanks for the link. I think that it summarizes the situation fairly well.

You ask about the gravitational constant changing, but the link points out several problems. On the ZPE approach, the gravitational acceleration, g, will always be constant. The only way that I can think of accounting for an expanding earth is the hypothesis of Dirac in 1974, and subsequently followed through by Hoyle and Narlikar, called multiplicative creation of mass. In that hypothesis, they proposed that, wherever there were atoms, a process was in operation whereby more mass would be generated. This was distinct from the possibility of additive creation of mass whereby mass was created uniformly throughout the universe over time. On this second approach, something like one hydrogen atom was estimated to be created in the volume of the Empire State building in a period of 100 years. On the multiplicative approach, the higher the original concentration of matter, the faster the creation rate. It is this multiplicative process which would result in the creation of more atoms in the volume of the earth thereby multiplying its mass, and so cause expansion. 

If a changing ZPE scenario is considered, even though individual atomic masses increase as the strength of the ZPE increases, there are no extra atoms formed, and atomic volumes decrease rather than increase. So that line of argument will not produce the desired effect.

Some links regarding the Dirac and Hoyle discussions are

Dirac's Large Numbers Hypothesis and the Acceleration of the Moon's Mean Longitude

Formation of Galaxies in G-Variable Cosmologies: II. The Hoyle-Narlikar and the Brans-Dicke Gravitational Theories

Cosmology and Controversy, page 183

I trust that this gives you a feel for the possibilities or otherwise of the proposal.


Non-biogenic petroleum

Question: I believe I earlier saw reference to the plasma formation of petroleum like products.... possibly in some of my initial perusal of some of Barry's posted materials.  If you could point me to where this might have been, or even if you have any unpublished thoughts on this, I would appreciate any help you might be able to provide.

Setterfield: Thank you for the question. In response it can be said that plasma physics does have some suggestions on this matter.

Plasma forms filaments, and frequently they will pinch because of an instability in the circling magnetic field. This pinch concentrates the plasma and forms balls of material, whether they be stars or planets. In this context, one other item is important. In a plasma filament, ionized atoms are sorted according to ionization potential. The atoms with lowest ionization potential collect closest to the center of the filament, while those with the highest ionization potential collect on the outside of the filament. This process is called Marklund convection.  Thus when the pinch occurs to form a planet, the planet is already layered and cool, since Marklund convection, when complete, results in cool atoms.

The ionization sequence is of importance here. I give my students a Periodic Table of elements listed in order of their first ionization potential. If the order is given from the center of the earth outwards, a representative sequence would run from , potassium, sodium, uranium, nickel, iron and other easily ionized metals concentrated towards the core. Going outwards we find less easily ionized elements such as magnesium, silicon, and sulfur concentrated in the middle layers.  Then carbon, hydrogen and oxygen in the penultimate layer, with nitrogen and helium in the outermost layer. These layers are not sharply defined, but exist as mixes in the boundary areas.   In solar system formation, the sorting is happening at several levels at once, since the primary filament from which the solar system formed was undergoing Marklund convection at the same time as the convection was occurring in the lesser filaments from which the individual planets formed. This in turn meant that the supply of material for each individual planet was dependent upon where it was situated in the primary filament. And it was then this supply which was further sorted for the planet involved.

That having been said, it consideration suggests that, near the uppermost layers of the solid earth, there would be a concentration of carbon, then hydrogen, then oxygen. Since hydrogen is  reactive, it would be expected that the nearby and overlapping concentration of carbon atoms would form a hydrocarbon enriched layer. On the other side, closer to the surface, the hydrogen might be expected to react with the overlapping concentration of oxygen atoms and form a water enriched layer. The oxygen concentration would still be high in the atmosphere along with nitrogen.  

It is significant that there exists a water enriched layer beneath the crust called the asthenosphere from about 45 miles down to a depth of about 200 miles. Geologically, it is also known that the condition for diamonds to form from carbon lies at a depth of about 250 miles. This attests to the concentration of carbon existing at that depth. Therefore, the hydrogen enriched layer exists about 200 miles down and hydrocarbons would be likely to form at approximately that depth.

This would then suggest that at least a reasonable percentage of hydrocarbons originate from deep in the earth. This is attested by the fact that in Russia and Scandinavia oil sources are found to bubble up through cracks in granite or collect in drill holes in that granite. Since the granite goes to depths far greater than 10 miles, and seems to form the core of that segment of the continental mass, and that the oil originates below this mass, then the field evidence indicates that the hydrocarbons come from a deep layer beneath the earth's surface crust. This evidence is in complete accord with the plasma model.

That having been said, Dr. Andrew Snelling investigated the Bass-Strait oil fields in Australia and noted that the Yallourn coal fields were nearby. He suggested that the oil was bubbling off the coal. This is also a possibility that needs further investigation.

Where does oil come from?

Question: I am a 65 year old oil field worker, love the Lord and creationist information, and I have a question that I've never heard addressed. Where does oIl come from, and how did it get there ?

Of course I know the standard answer, but even a secularist would have some problems with that. For oil at 10,000 feet down, even millions of years couldn't account for this depth. As a Christian, its simple; God created it there in place. But scientifically, how can they explain it ? Thanks !


Many thanks for your email and its question. First, let me make an observation; if something exists in some place, there is usually a very good scientific reason why it is there. The Almighty frequently uses the laws and processes He set in place at the beginning to bring about the effects that we see today in the universe around us. It is up to us to search out those reasons.

You specifically ask about the origin of oil, particularly those supplies which occur at great depths, say, 10,000 feet or more. Since we are both aware of the usual answer attributing the origin of oil to the decomposition of material which has become fossilized, and some of the difficulties involved, let me move right along and give a different perspective. I will start with the formation of the solar system, as the process is ultimately relevant to the question. Please be patient!

Plasma is the fourth state of matter; we are all familiar with solids, liquids and gas. Then if a gas is heated or energized sufficiently so that electrons are stripped off the atoms, leaving ions and electrons, the result is a plasma. Plasmas usually form filaments and sheets, as can be seen in the toy plasma balls available from stores.

According to plasma physics and plasma astronomy, the solar system formed from a major plasma filament that fragmented into a series of lesser filaments. This filamentary system, like many others we see out in space, underwent what is called a Bennett Pinch, with the pinch working its way in from the outside. Where the lesser filaments pinched inwards, spherical bodies (planets) were formed. The sun was formed as the last part of the pinching process. It is at this point that another feature of plasma physics needs to be noted.

In plasma filaments, there is a process operating called Marklund Convection. This process actually sorts the ions of the various elements making up the plasma. This is done according to “ionization potential” or the “voltage needed to ionize the neutral atom” to become an ion. In the original plasma, the ions of all the elements were already there because of a separate process which we will ignore for this discussion.

The Marklund Convection process sorts the ions so that the most easily formed ions “convect” to the middle of the plasma filament and become concentrated there. The ions of nickel, iron, and some radioactive elements are the most easily formed and so these tend to collect at the middle of the filament. The most difficult atom to ionize is helium, and so it collects at the outermost parts of any filament. The ions of the elements therefore become arranged from the center of the filament out to the edge by Marklund Convection in a sequence that goes as follows: Iron, Nickel, Silicon, Magnesium, Sulfur, Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Helium. Then, when the pinch happens, the result is layered balls of material that go to make up the planets. Because the Marklund Convection process leaves the ions neutralized and cool, the planets also started off layered and cool. This is in stark contrast to the usual gravitational model which starts with a molten earth.

We now come to something note-worthy. The core of the Earth is nickel-iron. The mantle is composed of silicates. We have water on the surface, a combination of hydrogen and oxygen, with an atmosphere that also has some oxygen, but is predominantly nitrogen. This is basically the same as the Marklund Convection sequence. I believe this is not a coincidence. A similar sequence is followed for all the planets, and when their distance from the center of the original filament is factored in, the composition of the planets and their structure works out in accord with plasma physics.

Given that background, we can now come more directly to your question. There is a zone in the upper mantle of the Earth which, according to Marklund Convection, will be enriched in carbon, then hydrogen, then oxygen. There will be quite a bit of overlap. The region of the earth where the hydrogen and oxygen have concentrated is in the Asthenosphere which has a high percentage of water. Below that there is expected to be a layer where carbon will be concentrated. It is for this reason that carbon in the form of diamonds originate at depths of 250 miles and then are brought to the surface at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour by volcanic type processes. This is where the carbon is concentrated in the asthenosphere region.

Next you will have noticed that carbon and hydrogen are concentrated next to each other by the convection process. At the diffuse boundary between the carbon and hydrogen enrichment in the asthensophere, hydrocarbons (oil) would be expected to form. Their buoyancy would then allow them to ascend towards the surface and ultimately allow them to become trapped by certain rock layers. This may be the reason why some oil and natural gas deposits have been found under more than 10 km of granite in Russia and Scandinavia. This may also be the reason why some oil wells which have been pumped dry, appear to regenerate as oil continues to ascend from the hydrogen/carbon enrichment zone to the entrapment layers.

Something similar, but without Marklund Convection, was proposed by Thomas Gold in 1999 [The Deep, Hot Biosphere, Copernicus Books]. A related origin for oil was proposed by S.B. Keith and M.M. Swan in 2005. They considered that evidence suggests that oil is the product of “hydrothermal, geochemically-zoned fluid plumes.” [Abstracts of the AAPG Research Conference, Calgary, Canada, 2005]. They indicated that both a carbon-rich and hydrogen-rich environment was needed in that case. This is exactly what Marklund Convection suggests exists in our asthenosphere.
I hope that answers your question satisfactorily.

The Geologic Column

In your reply about the formation of the geological column, you said- "In other words, the geological column has been formed over a 3000 year period since Creation. A similar statement can be made for radiometric ages of astronomical bodies, like the Moon, or meteorites." The Bible says the Flood lasted for about one year. So how could it have been formed "over 3,000 years"?

Setterfield: A couple of points need to be made. First, the redshift observations show a systematic decrease in the speed of light. In fact the redshift data have allowed the cDK curve to be formulated with some exactness. It is a smooth exponential-type decline with a very small oscillation superimposed. As a result of the redshift data, the value of light-speed at any time in the past can be fairly closely determined.

Second, it is established from the physics of the situation that some atomic processes, including radiometric decay are light-speed dependent. More correctly, both light-speed and radioactive decay are mutually affected by the increasing energy density of the ZPE. Thus, as light-speed is smoothly dropping with time, so is the rate of radioactive decay upon which radiometric dates are dependent. The redshift data reveal that the bulk of this decay has occurred over a 3000 year period during which predicted radiometric ages dropped from 14 billion years down to a few thousand years on the atomic clock. More particularly, the Cryptozoic strata formed over a period of 2250 years, while the Phanerozoic strata formed over a period of 750 years.

The third point follows on from these two. You cannot account for all the radiometrically dated strata in a 1 year period. The whole process took close to 3000 years according to the redshift data. As a consequence, the data point to the geological column being formed by a series of catastrophes and their ongoing processes over three millennia rather than one catastrophe lasting just 1 year. If you turn the argument around the other way, one may predict that the strata from the Flood would date radiometrically from about 650 million years and younger. The Babel incident would correspond to events around 245 million years atomically, while the Peleg continental division would occur about 65 million years ago on the atomic clock. These are all significant atomic dates in the geological column.

Fourth, if you want to account for the bulk of the geological column and its dates in just one year, that would require the observed redshift sequence to undergo a massive jump at a set distance in space. This is certainly not observed. Likewise the value of light-speed would have to undergo a dramatic drop, a discontinuity, which the data do not reveal.

Fifth, the redshift data do something else. Evolutionists have been puzzled by some interesting facts. The asteroid impacts that ended the Mesozoic would have been expected to wipe out the dinosaurs. Yet a few dinosaurs were still there up to 2 million atomic years after the impact. They cannot account for this. However, the redshift data explains why. The speed of light at that point in time was about 500,000 times its current speed, so that 2 million years were just 4 years of actual time - soon enough after the catastrophe and the changing conditions it brought. The second puzzle that evolutionists have that has received a lot of attention in the Creationist press is the so-called "discordant" radiometric dates. There is a good reason for this, too. During much of the Palaeozoic, light-speed was around 1.5 to 2 million times its current speed. That means that the radiometric clocks ticked off about 2 million years in one orbital year. If a granite pluton was intruded into strata being laid down at that time, its interior would take some considerable time to cool. Time of the order of 10 years or more may not be unreasonable. That will give a spread of 20 million years in the dates from that structure. This might be considered to be an error of up to 10% in the radiometric date, when in reality it is quite accurate.

Finally, there is a problem facing Creationists who require the majority of the geological column to be built up at the time of the Flood. In the first place, throughout the fossil record there are many examples of creatures eating each other. According to Genesis 9:3-5 compared with Genesis 1:29-30 and Genesis 6:21, the diet of all creatures was vegetarian until after the Flood. Therefore, fossils of creatures eating other creatures must be post-Flood if the Scripture is to have any relevance on this matter.

In the second instance, the fossil record poses some significant problems in another way. The mammoths of Siberia were buried near the surface, virtually in situ. Yet they are underlain by thousands of feet of sediments, some fossiliferous. If their demise was in the Flood, where were they during the first few months when those sediments were being laid, and how did their food supply have time to germinate and flourish since they obviously did not starve to death? A similar problem exists with the Paluxy dinosaurs. These Mesozoic prints overlie thousands of feet of Palaeozoic sediments. Their food supply and method of survival during the first few months of the Flood while surrounded with water is a conundrum, unless they perished in a separate disaster in the days of Peleg.

This problem of in situ fossils is repeated many times throughout the geological column. It cannot be explained by the ecological zoning argument, nor the action of turbidity currents and sorting. In Europe, eggs from dinosaurs such as Protoceretops are found in their nests. Other dinosaurs were entombed by windstorms that built up the Mesozoic desert dune systems. In each case they lay on top of Palaeozoic sediments. These Mesozoic sands in Europe and the USA are nearly all of non-marine origin. However, they all lie on top of marine Palaeozoic sequences. Such wind-blown sand systems take time to develop, as do the annual layers of dinosaurs nests found in them. So do the many coral deposits that overlie Palaeozoic strata. This model based on the redshift data allows these fossil species to develop in situ on top of existing sediments and then be preserved in a separate (Scriptural) catastrophe.

As a consequence, the redshift model necessitates a re-think of some basic Creationist traditions which are not necessarily supported by Scripture. Yes the Flood lasted one year, but the Scripture does not say that all the geological strata formed at that time. I am acutely aware that this will be most unsatisfactory to many creationists who have supported the traditional Model over the years, but it really does seem to overcome a lot of problems which that Model has. We may yet have to put this new wine into new wineskins. But let's see how things develop. I trust that this answers the question. (October 22, 1999).

A Complete Geologic Column?

Question: . I tried to contact CSE to ask them whether any polystrait fossils had been found and documented that passed though one major geologic period into an adjacent one. Unfortunately, I have not heard back yet. I presume they are just very busy. I have heard they get thousands of e-mails.

On that note, do you know of any websites that clearly show photos of the major geologic periods appearing in the correct order, anywhere in the world?
If so, please could you send them to me, as this is an area I have not researched very well, and have only heard that such an order does not exist anywhere except in the text books.

Any help would be much appreciated.

Setterfield: There has been a lot of mis-information by creationists on the topic of the complete geological column. We were told that nowhere does it actually exist - not anywhere on earth, period. That was their approach in the 1980's and that has basically carried through until the present, with some modifications. It was pointed out by Glenn Morton in an excellent article that those statements are absolutely fallacious. Despite the fact that Glenn's article appeared in the Talk Origins Archive, it is a valuable contribution. Glenn is a good geologist with a lot of field experience. He has access to data from the oil industry which has literally drilled thousands of wells through strata to great depths. His article presents data that is extremely important in this context. Glenn actually lists a number of places on earth where a complete column occurs and then gives details about one of them: the Williston Basin which occupies Montana, North Dakota and southern Canada. His article, which also includes some other problems that Creationists have not addressed, can be found here.

Glenn wrote that in 2001. He made the comment several times that shale cannot be deposited rapidly; it only forms in still quite water.
Since then, further work has been done on shale. In 2007 Schieber et al published an article in Science 14 December 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5857, pp. 1760 – 1763. It was entitled , “Accretion of Mudstone Beds from Migrating Floccule Ripples,”. They conclude: 

"Our observations do not support the notion that muds can only be deposited in quiet environments with only intermittent weak currents. Instead, bedload transport of flocculated mud and deposition occurs at current velocities that would also transport and deposit sand. Clay beds can accrete from migrating floccule ripples under swiftly moving currents in the 10 cm/s to 26 cm/s velocity range, a range likely to expand as flows with larger sediment concentrations are explored…. In the course of two decades of detailed studies of shales and mudstones, one of us has seen comparable low-amplitude bedforms  in shale units that were deposited in a wide variety of environments. Examples can be found in the Mid-Proterozoic Belt Supergroup, the Devonian of the eastern United States, the Jurassic Posidonia Shale, the Cretaceous Mancos Shale, and the Eocene Green River Formation. This suggests that mud accretion from migrating floccule ripples probably occurred throughout geologic history. Many ancient shale units, once examined carefully, may thus reveal that they accumulated in the manner illustrated here, rather than having largely settled from slow-moving or still suspensions. This, in turn, will most likely necessitate the reevaluation of the sedimentary history of large portions of the geologic record."

So Glenn is wrong in his assertions about shales. However he is correct that worm burrows in the shales indicate that there was a period of time between deposition of the shale and the next layer in the sequence. So this still does not fit in with a "One Flood did Everything" model that is so prevalent among American, Australian and British Creationists. Note that the Europeans have a different model.

As a consequence of these data, the classical creationist assertion that "the complete geological column does not exist anywhere on earth and is only a theorerical construct", is proven to be false and dangerously misleading. It simply is not true, and as such they should issue a public apology for having made the Truth of the Scriptures the object of ridicule.

I trust that this answers your question. If you have any more queries, please get back to me.

Response: "I was curious though as one of the arguments in there were that the shale contained fossils of burrowing worms if I remember correctly. This is suggested by him to require some time before the layers of sand and silt were further deposited along with clay deposits after."

Setterfield: This is absolutely true. The video that you gave me to watch in no way invalidates that. In that video a dead worm was introduced into the flow and became a polystrate fossil. I have no trouble with that; that can easily occur. But that is NOT what is being talked about here. What we have in this case are actual worm burrows in the strata (sometimes along with the worm) which could not, and do, not form in a flowing water situation. If I remember rightly, some of these burrows are then filled with sand which was deposited on TOP of the mud layer that the worms were active in. Thus there was time between the deposition of the mud layers (which later turned to shale) and the burrowing of the worms, before the next sandy layer was deposited which also filled in some of the burrows.

It is for a multitude of similar evidence in geology that make the standard creationist model of "one Flood did everything" so impossible. It is obvious that time has elapsed between such events and, even given the fact that shales etc were deposited rapidly, there still needs to be enough time for these "ecosystems" to build up (if I can use that word to describe them). The typical creationist approach has been to use special pleading in each of these cases to overcome the difficulty. When such pleading has to be done so often, it becomes obvious that the whole model is out of touch with reality.

Another typical one are the layers upon layers of dinosaur nests. For the typical creationist, the response has been that after some initial strata were laid down, the dinosaurs laid their eggs, then ran away as the flood waters came back. Then after they receeded, they came back and made more nests, laid more eggs, and then the next wave of flood activity inundated them and so on. The actual evidence indicates otherwise, as the strata underneath the dinosaur nests often exceeds thousands of feet -- which, according to their model, had been laid down just days or weeks ahead of the nest-building. How could the dinosaurs possibly have survived in that area under those conditions let alone build nests on top of these huge amounts of recent, soggy sediment?.
The video also mentions the cross-bedding seen in many sandstones and claims that they were formed in water. Again, what he demonstrated is not what is being discussed by geologists. What he showed was that water can form the largescale fore-set, slope and bottom-set seen in some strata. This is NOT what is meant by cross-bedding. Here is an illustration of cross bedding.

cross bedding

This is obviously different to the fore-set, slope, and bottom-set shown in the video, which is therefore very misleading to those not aware of the actual geological examples. I did field-work on sand dune deposits in South Australia. I could actually see the pattern in the process of formation in the moving dunes in the wind. In the old consolidated dunes that had been cut or eroded, the classical patterns could be seen in their entirety. This form of cross-bedding does not form in water because of the high angles involved. I suggest that you look at our website for more details about that here.

In contrast, polystrate fossils are very definitely evidence for rapid deposition. But in modern geology, even with their neo-catastrophism, they are still coming to terms with this in the cases of coal seams. In other situations, the evidence for neo-catastrophic action may be admitted, but their old approach to coal still needs to be re-evaluated. The article you sent is a good one. Many Thanks. However, there is one point I would like to re-emphasize; one which many creationists seem to frequently ignore. The new approach in geology does indeed acknowledge that catastrophes have occurred; this is what marked the close of many geological "eras". The physical evidence is there. What disturbs me is that creationists themselves are ignoring the evidence for these separate catastrophes and trying to lump them all together under the one catastrophe of the Flood. The geological evidence is definitely against this.

Let me give you an illustration. In Spain, the coal measures which trend across Europe, Britain and the eastern USA (there was originally one supercontinent) give evidence of catastrophic conditions near the close of the Paleozoic, in the period from roughly 300 to 250 million atomic years ago (this corresponds to the time of Babel when the mathematical correction is made). Stratigraphically above the coal measures is a sponge reef that spreads from Spain to Germany and across to Romania. The sponges are all in-situ; they have not been washed in as they are vase-shaped with their narrow ends anchored in the mud and their open ends uppermost. Their bases are surrounded by sponge debris so they are obviously in growth positions. If they were washed in, they would be lying on their sides and broad tops, but they are not. They did not grow in just one year; the ecosystem took time to build. Furthermore, stratigraphically above them are layer upon annual layer of dinosaur nests. All this cannot happen in just one year. It required several hundred years, and that is what our work shows has happened. This sequence is repeated in China where the layers of dinosaur nests sit above coal seams.

So our work accepts the 4 main geological eras (starting from the bottom) the Archaeozoic, the Paleozoic, the Mesozoic and the Cenozoic which were separated by 3 catastrophes, the Snowball Earth at the end of the Archaeozoic (Noah's Flood); the Permian extinction at the close of the Paleozoic (The Babel Catastrophe) , and the Cretaceous/Tertiary (or K/T) extinction (the division of the continents at the time of Peleg) which was followed by an iceage in the Cenozoic. These 4 eras with 3 catastrophes correspond with the 4 eras in Genesis 1-12; the period from Creation to the Flood, from the Flood to Babel; from Babel to Peleg and from Peleg to Abraham. The 3 catastrophes are the Flood, the Babel event; and the Peleg continental division, followed by the ice-age in the time of Job. Thus the geological column was built up over a period of about 3000 years or so, complete with the Biblical catastrophes. This allows for ecosystems to build up after each catastrophe just as the geological column shows. You can find more about this on our website in The Bible and the Geologic Column.

You can follow through a more complete explanation at Time, Life and Man, and continuing through the associated links.

The combined timeline may also help.

I hope that you find all this helpful.


Pre-Flood Rocks

Question: Are there any pre-Flood rocks that we can find today?

Setterfield:   On the data I am using from the redshift,  the Flood occurred about 700 million atomic years ago.  The oldest earth rocks about 4.4 billion date from near the birth of Noah or a little earlier on the redshift correction.  If the redshift correction is used, the Sturtian  diamictites are the beginning of the Flood.  Any rocks which are prior to the Sturtian diamictities would be pre-Flood.

Increasing Land Mass?

Question: Then did the entire landmass increase in volume and extent up to Cenozoic?

Setterfield:  The  model I am favouring at present has the shield areas swept clear by the Flood and the debris deposited in the mobile belts surrounding them, which grew from there.  Geological activity continued up to the Cenozoic.  For example, in the Mesozoic, strata were being added around the edge of the supercontinent [H.H. Read and Janet Watson, Introduction to Geology, volume 2, Earth History, 1985, MacMillan Education Ltd, London, p. 180].

Thus the supercontinent was certainly added to, and grew, after the Flood.  The supercontinent was then divided at the end of the Mesozoic and the separate fragments moved to their present position during the Cenozoic, which added to landmass in some areas and decreased it in others.  Increases would include mountain building and decreases in areas that were submerged in the process.



Question: What are varves? Don't thousands of layers help show the age of the earth too?

Setterfield:  Varves are apparently cyclical deposits, usually finely layered.  It is presumed that they are annual, reflecting seasonal deposits.  However, in some cases at least, it has turned out that these are not seasonal at all, but often diurnal, reflecting the tides, and therefore indicating up to two daily deposits.  For instance, the Elatina Formation in South Australia averages 120-150 meters in depth (thickness) and, in some places extends to 250 meters thick.  It is composed of very fine varve-like layered materials (laminations).  It had been presumed that this formation took millions of years to form.  Closer study indicated that these were not annual varves at all, but tidal deposits and several million years was then shrunk down to about sixty years for the Elatina Formation to be formed.  

The articles are in

Australian Geologist #117, Dec. 31, 2000, starting on p. 22, in an article entitled “Proterozoic Equatorial Glaciation: Has Snowball Earth a Snowball’s Chance?” 

Another article about this same thing can be found in the Scientific American of Feb. 1989, starting on p. 11, in an article entitled “Blame it on the Moon”. 

The Rockies and the Appalachians

Question: Mainstream science tells us that older ranges will have lower and more dome shaped mountains because time allowed more erosion to take place. Younger ranges will have taller and more pointed peaks because erosion had less time.

A classical example is that of the Appalachian versus the Rocky mountains. Appalachian mountains should be formed a staggering ~0.5-1 billion years ago whereas the Rockies are 'only' ~35-65 million years old. Thus the Appalachian mountains are lower and more dome shaped and the Rockies are higher and more jagged since they are much younger.

 If we however hold that the earth is only a few thousand years old, there can be no huge difference in the age of Appalachians and Rockies. So where do the different heights and shapes of these mountains come from then? Any idea?

Setterfield: In response, let me state that your comments probably over simplify the situation somewhat. So lets look at this all again.

First, it is true that the Appalachians originated about 200 million to 250 million atomic years ago, and that the Rockies underwent their major uplift about 55 million atomic years ago. So there really is an atomic time difference between their formation times.

In the  context that Creationists and the USA and Australia usually place on geology, these mountain ranges should have formed at nearly the same time, namely Noah's Flood or shortly after. The time difference on this approach is minimal, so your comments are valid if that scenario is being followed.

However, on the ZPE-Plasma model, these two mountain building processes occurred at different times. The Appalachians formed some 300 years after the Flood and were upthrust around the time of the Babel catastrophe. Then the Rockies were uplifted after the Peleg continental division of Genesis 10:25. The Alexandrian Septuagint makes it plain that this is a completely different event from the Babel scenario and followed it by some 300 years. So there is a definite time gap of at least 300 years involved between the two events. This approach is therefore more in keeping with the physical data.

Second, you mention erosion processes. The longer the mountains are exposed to the elements, the more erosion there will be. However, in addition to the usual forms of erosion considered today (water and wind), there was another factor. Paul Anderson has done an analysis of data which shows that the main erosion patterns of mountains are basically electrical, being the same pattern as lightning, rather than by water-flow. If that is true, then, in the early days when there was a much lower Zero Point Energy,with consequent stronger electric currents and hence lightning bolts, the erosion could have been much more intense than otherwise expected. Three hundred years of this treatment could make a real difference in elevation.

As part of the erosion processes which are usually considered, the effects of ice must be factored in as well. In addition, the composition of the rocks plays an important role in all this. Obviously, granite is harder to erode than soft limestone. Yet a proportion of the Appalachians is composed of limestone and would thereby be more easily weathered by all processes.

The third factor is the uplift of the mountains themselves. In the case of the Appalachians, they have been tectonically "quiet" with essentially no uplift for 200 million atomic years. A small segment of them underwent uplift about 8 million atomic years ago, but it was isolated and left the main range untouched. It is for this reason that the Appalachians only attain a height of 6,600 feet.

In the case of the Rockies, the initial upthrust included such huge amounts of sediments that the resulting folds were both broad and high. It was different for the Appalachians. But there was a major difference between the two systems. The maximum height of 14,400 feet occurs for the Rockies because the uplift is still continuing today. It is stated that, geologically, the Rockies have risen 6000 feet in the last 5 million atomic years. Indeed, current rates of uplift more than keep up with erosion. This is very different to the tectonically quiet Appalachians. This is probably the major difference between the two mountain chains, apart from the time factor.

Several websites which will help fill in the picture for you on the Rockies are here:

Rocky Mountains

Ancestral Rocky Mountains Come and Go -- quickly

Here is additional material on the Appalachians

I trust this is some help.

The Flood and the Strata

Question: "I just had a question about your model of the flood where the pre-Cambrian layer was the flood, and the layers above it were post-flood.
I am just wondering if the pre-Cambrian layers could have been generated from the initial cataclysmic event, and some of the later layers could have been layed down after the water had become more stagnant?"

Setterfield: Many thanks for your questions; they are appreciated.

First, the question about the Precambrian layers, that is the Archaeozoic, being all generated by the initial part of the Flood catastrophe. It is not possible for all of the Archaeozoic  to be part of the Flood catastrophe. Throughout these strata there are intervals where there are colonies of stromatolites built up. Their characteristics and orientation show the direction of the daily tides. Furthermore they are not just "washed in" as they are in growth positions on their stems. Also the argument that they are merely chemically deposited structures and not life-related has been shown to be false as analysis of their layers shows that they are definitely built by cyanobacteria or algae.

The problem for the argument that the Flood encompassed all these layers, or at least a number of them, is that the stromatolites took time to form. They did not grow overnight. It takes a number of years  for them to build up their colonies. So we have a time-marker here. The problem with your proposition is that there are stromatolites  both immediately below and at the top of the snowball earth sequence that we are referring to. In other words, the strata afterwards were not formed in the time that the Flood occurred.

There is a further problem with the layers of the Paleozoic Era being Flood strata, which many of my friends in Europe consider it to be. In that Era there are two different horizons where massive reef systems are found. These reefs are definitely in place and show all the characteristics of being a mature system.  My friends in Europe admit that at least large chunks of the reefs are complete in themselves. However they claim that these large chunks were floated into place by massive flood waters. The difficulty with this proposition is that the reef systems are continuous. It requires special pleading to require large chunks of reef, grown elsewhere, to be uprooted and redeposited in such a way that they form a continuous system without evidence of any disturbance. This is special pleading, and does violence to the data.

So as to the second part of your question regarding the Cambrian and subsequent strata, it is not possible for them to be part of the Flood sequence because of the evidence that various biological systems, each of which took time to build up, are found in these layers. Therefore these layers could not have formed in the few months of the Flood.

Remember, the Flood was only building up for 150 days, and was then draining off and eroding after that. Remember, too, that Genesis 1 and Genesis 9 indicate that all creatures were vegetarian before the Flood. It was only after that time that meat-eating was ordained. Therefore the additional evidence in the Paleozoic and later strata of animals eating other animals is a plain indication that they are post-Flood and not part of the Flood sequence of rocks.

This only leaves the Archaeozoic Era for the Flood to occur, and the only strata which fit the criteria are the Cryogenian strata of the Neo-Proterozoic, beginning with the 1000 foot thick debris layer as we have in South Australia and in Death Valley California which begin the Snowball Earth sequence.

I hope that answers your questions. Please get back to me if there is something more required.

The Last Ice Age

Question: "I know, this question may sound a bit odd, but do you thinkit is probable, that the last tilt took place at around 11.500 BC? I read that the sea level before that time, might have been much lower than it is now. And if this approx. 20° shift took place, itwould probably affected the glaciers of the northern hemisphereto melt."

Setterfield: Let me answer in the following fashion. Please bear with me as we come to your points.

The axis tilt in 2345 BC was accompanied by archaeological, geological and climatological changes as well as sea-level changes which have been documented by various disciplines. It has been an effort to bring these disciplines together as they have each seen effects at that time, but not had a broad enough outlook to embrace the research of disciplines other than their own. There has been move recently to overcome this problem, one of which was an article I wrote for an archaeological journal, but which was rejected for publication because it involved studies outside of their own discipline!

Remember that this Dodwell axis tilt event changed the tilt by at least 2 degrees and it might have been much more. This change in axis tilt would certainly cause the glaciers in the northern hemisphere to melt and bring about the observed change in climate, including a raising of sea-levels. In fact, the archaeological, climatological and geological data all indicate that this is indeed what happened. 

However, you ask about an event in 11,500 BC which may have changed the axis tilt by 20 degrees and caused ice to melt, as sea levels were lower before then. I am aware of these data. But there are several problems. The main problem is that there is a disconnect between these dates and actual history or pre-history. Indeed, the archaeological and other data just mentioned indicate this disconnect. But there are other sources. For example, if Jewish literature is taken as a guide, examination of the book of Job shows it was written during the ice-age at a time when the continents were still separating. See our analysis on this matter in the article on Job as well as in the Peleg section of our Genesis 1-11 Bible study.

But the scientific dates based on the atomic clock give a time frame of about 1 million to 1.6 million years ago for this ice-age to be in full force. Yet other evidence from the book of Job, including genealogies, suggests this event was more recent, about 2800 to 2900 BC. The archaeological data suggest that the great change at the end of the ice-age occurred around 2350 BC. The scientific dates suggest 10,000 BC or a bit earlier. The key point is that these scientific dates have been obtained by either using (1) atomic clocks, or (2) Carbon 14 dates based on tree-ring chronology or related methods of counting time associated with C-14 such as varves. Remember,Carbon 14 itself is one form of atomic clock, but it is particularly unreliable because of all these other associations. Lets look at some of these issues briefly.

First, in the case of atomic clocks, they are dependent on the rate of atomic processes which are electric and magnetic in character. Electric, because atoms are made up of electrically charged particles, and magnetic because a charge in motion is an electric current which always has a circling magnetic field. Atoms are therefore affected by changes in the electromagnetic properties of the vacuum, and these properties are governed by the Zero Point Energy (ZPE). The ZPE originates with the stretching of the cosmos, and as the stretching went on with time, the strength of the ZPE built up and the electromagnetic properties of the vacuum altered. This affected the rate of ticking of atomic clocks, such that, in the early days of our universe, when the ZPE strength was low, these clocks were running very significantly faster than they do now. Light from distant galaxies has a signature in it which tells us how the ZPE has behaved and so how fast atomic clocks were ticking right back to the origins of the universe. From these data, a well-known mathematical relationship exists which allows atomic time to be corrected to orbital time (which runs at a constant rate for all ZPE changes). As a result, a date of 13,500 BP (Before Present) or 11,500 BC corrects to something more recent in actual orbital time. Indeed it comes in close accord with the archaeological and climatological data mentioned above.

Second, the situation with Carbon-14 and tree-ring dating and their interconnected ice-core and varve dating techniques have several major difficulties. The oldest living tree, a bristlecone pine gives us a continuous sequence of tree-rings back only as far as about 1203BC. The research in detail can be found in the relevant section of our online paper, "Data and Creation."   In fact, the longest reliable chronology using any tree-ring sequence only goes back to about 1650 BC.. 

The reason is that these tree-ring sequences need to be anchored by historical events to give an accurate C-14 chronology. Indeed, R.H. Brown, (Origins 21 (2), 1994, pp:66-79) has stated that “The validity of tree-ring master sequences on which the data is based is controlled by the availability of material which can be C-14 dated and also has an unquestioned historical age. The time range from which such samples are available extends to the vicinity of 3500 BP (about 1500 BC).” It therefore becomes apparent why this system of correction breaks down for dates earlier than about 1650 BC. The Santorini explosion is the earliest historical event that shows up in the tree-ring sequences. Baillie and Munro have pointed out that it does so as frost-rings in Irish (bog) oaks [Nature, 332 (1988), pp. 344-346]. The bristlecone pine data also have a significant frost ring event for 1626 BC [V.C. LaMarche and K.K. Hirschboeck, Nature, 307 (1984), pp.121-126].

For dates prior to 1650 BC,statistical ‘wiggle matching’ techniques are used to extend the tree-ring and C-14 chronology. But to do so, the tree ring sample must first be C-14 dated to find an approximate position in the chronology. This is an extension based on a circular argument (you want to verify the carbon sample by the tree rings but you cannot do so until the tree rings have been carbon-14 dated). Furthermore, this matching is not exact, but rather done on the basis of t-statistic scores which give a wide variety of options. For example, one set of rings from a single tree gave 113 matches which were extremely good statistically, but were each proven false. [D.K. Yamaguchi, Tree Ring Bulletin 46:47-54 (1986)]. Because of these factors, 1650 BC is often taken as the reliable limit to which C-14 corrections based on dendrochronology can be taken. 

The situation with varves is related to this as the C-14 dates from tree-rings are used  for varve analysis of material from the end of the last iceage, including the information you have regarding 11,500 BC.. Some initial comments on varves can be found above here on this page.

Tree-rings have been used for setting a Carbon 14 timescale back to about 13,000 BC. Because of the circularity in the system pointed out above, this C14 date for those tree-rings is highly suspect. Nevertheless, that date has then been used to date the varve systems in places like Lake Suigetsu in Japan. These varves then ostensibly extend the chronology to 38,000 BP. It is from these (and similar) processes that the date of 11,500 for the end of the ice-age is usually given.

Quite apart from the circularity and the problems which result from that, there is another matter. The formation of these lake varves is assumed to be annual. Instead, as in other instances in geology, they may vary with the lunar cycle or with storm surges or both. This is a likely scenario after a catastrophe. If the varves in Lake Suigetsu were lunar dependent, then the total time of formation drops from 26,000 years to just over 2,000 years. The current explanation of 26,000 years critically hinges on the stable uniformitarian environment proposed for the system. These conditions were not realized during the ice-age process. In addition it relies absolutely on the correctness of the carbon 14 timescale earlier than 1650 BC. As a result of all these uncertainties, I, personally would rather run with a shorter timescale for these events in accord with the ZPE data than use an overinflated system based on Carbon 14 - which, it must be remembered, is also a form of atomic clock and so subject to ZPE considerations. When these considerations are taken into account a date of 2350 BC +/- 100 years or thereabouts for the end of the last ice-age seems to be appropriate.

I hope that gives you an understanding for what is happening and the reasons for my conclusions. Any further comments will be welcome.

Carboniferous Coal Measures

Question: The ZPE-Plasma Model has the Carboniferous coal measures laid down by tsunamis activated by the dropping of a major trough on fault-lines across Europe and the USA. How frequently did these tsunami events occur or were they a continuous series?

Setterfield: It is certainly possible that the tsunamis may have been an almost continuous event activated by the earthquakes caused by a steadily dropping fault block. This would probably be required by those claiming that the Flood produced the geological column or, more reasonably, produced the Paleozoic Era. However, the data from that fault trough across Europe and the USA suggest something different; something more in accord with the ZPE-Plasma Model. In fact, there seems to have been a series of events which, in each case, produced a similar result that built up the successive layers which make up the “coal measures.” A word of explanation is needed here.

In each location, the “coal measures” are made up of a repeating series of strata, which include a number of coal seams. In each of the strata series there are beds of detritus, mudstone, shales and marine fossils as well as a layer of coal. The beds are laid down in a distinct pattern. The pattern then repeats and it also includes another layer of coal. The precise pattern holds regionally, but may differ from one large-scale basin to the next within the overall fault trough. This pattern has a name; it is called a “cyclothem.” The full coal measures in any given locality are made up of a number of cyclothems. Each cyclothem is often considered to be the evidence of a massive earthquake or tectonic event which triggered a significant drop of the fault block in that location. The ZPE-Plasma Model suggests that the volcanism and earthquake generated by this fault-block drop caused a giant tsunami sequence which carried huge quantities of debris and mudflows to the deposition site along with the ripped up vegetation which was deposited at a specific time in the sequence.

As we look at several coal fields, the number of cyclothems, and hence coal layers, is known. For example, the Middle Coal Measures of the Nottinghamshire coalfield is made up of 9 cyclothems giving a total thickness of 250 meters. That is about 30 meters of strata for each cyclothem event. The maximum thickness of the entire coal measures there is about 1500 meters which would be about 50 cyclothems. According to the ZPE-Plasma Model, the entire Paleozoic lasted for 350 years. This means that the entire Carboniferous lasted about 60 years and the Upper Carboniferous, when the coal layers were formed, would have been built up over about 30 years. In that time, in that part of Britain, 50 cyclothems occurred representing 50 occasions when the local part of the fault block dropped dramatically. That is to say there would be one significant earthquake and tsunami event every 7 months or so.  The vegetation would have plenty of time to settle and have finer material still in suspension deposited around it and on top of it, forming the clay base for the next sequence.

In the case of the deepest section of the fault trough we have the Westphalian coal measures in the Ruhr area of Germany. In that location, the cyclothems average between 30 to 80 meters in thickness, and the whole coal measures total 6000 meters thick. If we take as an average value 50 meters for one cyclothem there, then there would be approximately 120 cyclothems needed to build up the sequence. If the Upper Carboniferous lasted about 30 years as the ZPE-Plasma Model suggests, then that is one massive earthquake and tsunami event every 3 months. Since it is frequently stated that the Mt St. Helens explosion deposited about 400 feet of strata (close to 120 meters) during its explosive outbursts, we have a similar comparison. In that example, over 150 square miles of forest were flattened in 6 minutes. The rock-slide debris caused a water wave in Spirit Lake which stripped trees from slopes 850 feet above the pre-eruption water level and deposited them in the lake. So there are some similar, though not identical, conditions to guide our thinking.

Even though each basin was dropping individually, it was within an overall, much larger system. The whole system seems to have been fault-controlled, with the main fault line being the dark line through the center of the entire fault block as shown in the diagram in Figure 4 of the previous answer. As each basin activated, it probably underwent a series of tectonic events which progressively enlarged the basin laterally as well as deepened it. This had the effect of engulfing larger and larger areas of forest and so supplying the new vegetation and material for each tsunami series.  Under these conditions, the proposition seems reasonable. In contrast, the more contracted timescale of the Flood geologists, and even that of the Paleozoic Flood geologists, may be a little too restrictive.

Dinosaur Footprint Fossils in Australia

Question: Do you have any comments about the dinosaur footprints in Australia? They are here:

Setterfield: The dinosaur footprints are found in the west Kimberley region of Western Australia, on the Dampier Peninsula. They are found in Cretaceous Sandstone, dating about 130 million atomic years ago, during the Mesozoic Era. The Kimberley Plateau rose above the ocean about 1800 million atomic years ago, or before the Flood, and has remained basically dry land ever since. (Although the Flood buried most of the land under miles of deposits, the craton areas remained, but were swept clean by the force of the waters). About 350 million atomic years ago, or just after the Flood, it was surrounded by a barrier reef. Importantly, it had an independent drainage system that continues until today. That system has been maintained due to a raised feature called the Kimberley Rim. The Kimberley Plateau was eroded by an enormous river system which carried sedimentary deposits down to the shallow sea. Sandstone was laid down in several sequences due to this. The dinosaurs were living near the ocean in the river valleys of this system, and their footprints were preserved due to new series of sediments as they were laid down from the river system. It is important to understand that the footprints and fossilized remains of the large dinosaurs are always found where the ancient river systems were, and usually near where they emptied into the sea. The idea of the giant dinosaurs wandering around on land, via Jurassic Park, is a complete misnomer. They needed the water for buoyancy of their large masses as well as for the greater amounts of food found in those areas.

A Flat Earth?

We have been amazed at the number of emails we have received claiming the earth is flat. A good number are coming from the geocentrists, who also claim the earth is the center of not only our solar system, but of the entire universe. Here are some comments regard the flat earth nonsense:

Setterfield: First, an excellent article by Jeffrey Russell shows the history of the flat earth ideas. An additional article by Dr. Wile is also informative. Anyone who has travelled any distance in a plane knows the earth is not flat. If it were, however, the times of sunrise and sunset would be the same all over the world -- there would be only very minor time differences from one 'edge' of the earth to the other. It might also be mentioned that the knowledge of a sphericle, rotating earth is a primary component in all the maths used to send spaceships into orbit and bring them back home again. Global positioning systems work on the basis of the fact that the earth is, in reality, a globe. The earth is large enough that the horizon may look flat from any given place ON the earth, but once we are above it, in a plane or space ship, the reality of a spherical earth becomes readily apparent.

In addition, orbiting space craft orbit in response to the earth's gravity. That requires a sphere. If the earth were a flat disk, the space craft would only be orbiting above the circumference of the disk and there would be no gravitational hold on them at that point.

The picture below was taken by a pilot at about 30,000 feet. His purpose was the aurora borealis. But the curvature of the earth is definitely seen even from this height.

aurora from a plane