Colorado Plateau: Parks Signs Have It All Figured Out, But…

After a 150 years of going by the evolutionary model, geologists are still scratching their heads to trying figure out how a vast region rose 2 kilometers high away from plate boundaries while maintaining sedimentary strata miles thick that often lie flat as a pancake for hundreds of miles!

Rebecca M. Flowers wrote this month in the Journal of Geology the following…

“How and when the Colorado Plateau attained its current mean elevation of ~2 km has puzzled scientists for nearly 150 yr. This problem is most dramatically manifest when standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon, viewing the extraordinary 1500-m-deep gorge carved into nearly horizontal sedimentary rocks that were deposited during the 500 m.y. prior to plateau uplift when the region resided near sea level?

What caused the elevation gain of this previously stable cratonic region in Cenozoic time? Did the source of buoyancy for plateau uplift arise from the crust, lithospheric mantle, or asthenosphere, or through some combination of the three? Why did this low-relief plateau escape significant upper crustal strain during uplift, in contrast to the Cenozoic surface deformation that is so strikingly apparent in the high-relief landscape of the surrounding Rocky Mountain, Rio Grande Rift, and Basin and Range provinces?”

There are two new theories but Rebecca M. Flowers is not convinced by either one of them and describes the contradictory interpretations that go on with trying to fit the Plateau in the evolutionary model. While the Parks Signs tell tourists it’s all figured out and this is what happened…


The creationist viewpoint on the Colorado Plateau:

“The biblical explanation for how the Canyon formed is actually quite simple. The “basement” layers, consisting of granites and metamorphic rocks, were formed by Day 3 of Creation Week. Some sedimentary layers were deposited on these rocks late in the Creation Week and during the pre-Flood period. The horizontal sedimentary layers were then deposited over all other rocks by the waters of the global Flood as described in Genesis 7-8.”

“These unhindered, swirling currents picked up, transported and eventually deposited tons of sedimentary layers. These strata were then in places tilted and went through great tectonic activity as the Colorado Plateau was uplifted during the final stages of the Flood. The sedimentary layers which make up the nine distinct layers of the third major division of the Canyon walls show that they were soft and unconsolidated when they bent, unlike the basement rocks which fractured.”

“The sand grains in these sedimentary layers show no evidence that the material was brittle and rock-hard, and neither has the mineral cementing the grains been broken. Instead, the evidence points to the whole 4,000-feet (1.220 m) thickness of horizontal strata being still “plastic” when it was uplifted and bent.

“Once the floodwaters receded, the recently placed layers of sediment continued to harden into rock. As the floodwaters receded, the uplifted plateau acted like a dam wall, trapping the waters behind it. In a subsequent catastrophic event, this earthen dam ruptured, releasing a barrage of water that carved the Canyon itself..”

The catastrophic power of the Flood is the best explanation of what happened to the Colorado Plateau with it’s steep elevation away from plate boundaries while maintaining sedimentary strata miles thick that often lie flat as a pancake for hundreds of miles! Evolutionists enjoy being in the dark as though they are going to run out of work for some reason. They could still work on this for another 150 years with no results but they should however, take a hard look at creation papers on the subject, and they will find it’s not that confusing after all! In fact, it  makes much more logical sense!

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21 thoughts on “Colorado Plateau: Parks Signs Have It All Figured Out, But…

  1. “After a 150 years of going by the evolutionary model, geologists are still scratching their heads to trying figure out how a vast region rose 2 kilometers high away from plate boundaries while maintaining sedimentary strata miles thick that often lie flat as a pancake for hundreds of miles!”

    What on earth does evolutionary biology have to do with geology ?

    Anyway, you still haven’t answered these outstanding questions:

    (1) Blog readership numbers ?

    (2) Your qualifications to discuss any scientific subject, in response to the challenge to Olorin.

    (3) A substantive review of Signature in the Cell, promised for August 2009.

    (4) outstanding question from Upson Downes on mitochondrial Eve

  2. Eelco,

    Evolution has many different meanings from change over time to complexification to Darwinian natural selection. Hazen who is a scientist at Carnegie Institution of Washington’s Geophysical Laboratory is the one who you have a beef with…lol…He states… “You cannot be a geologist without thinking of biology and you cannot be a biologist without thinking of geology.” Integration of Darwinian evolution is something you will catch later. Anyway, the main term is slow change over time…

  3. Nonsense. You mentioned ‘150 years’, clearly indicating you talk about biological evolution, which has nothing to do with the rise of a plateau.

    Now for those outstanding questions ….

  4. Eelco,

    My statement had to do with Rebecca M. Flowers who said, “How and when the Colorado Plateau attained its current mean elevation of ~2 km has puzzled scientists for nearly 150 yr.” By the way she uses erosional evolution in her paper.

  5. Ah, so because she said this plateau rise has puzzled scientists for 150 yr., and evolutionary biology exists for 150 yr., you link the two ?

    That is just silly.

  6. Eelco,

    No, you linked the two together, the rest of the content makes a distinction. Now I know what talk show hosts go through…lol

  7. Uh ?
    You use the word ‘evolutionary model’ in the first sentence which is about plateau rise ! You are the one linking the two right there.
    As far as I know there is no ‘evolutionary model’ in geology.

  8. Michael,

    I still want you to refute me on what I show about the bacterial flagellum. . . .

    . . . the flagellum IS NOT EVEN IRREDUCIBLE. — In 1988, G. Kuwajima was able to remove ONE-THIRD of the 497 amino acids from the flagellum, AND IT STILL WORKED PERFECTLY!!!!! . . . Also, we know that the L and the P-rings can be taken away from the flagellum, and it will STILL work. . . .

    Still waiting for a refutation . . . .

    You realize that failure to refute can be taken as an indirect admission?

  9. Eelco,

    As far as I know there is no ‘evolutionary model’ in geology.

    As someone who did pretty well when I took Geology, I can tell you there isn’t any such model.

  10. Let’s see.

    The catastrophic power of the Flood is the best explanation of what happened to the Colorado Plateau with it’s steep elevation away from plate boundaries while maintaining sedimentary strata miles thick that often lie flat as a pancake for hundreds of miles!

    The canyon takes many U-turns. How many times did the flood waters decide to meander?

    Canyons formed in a single event are essentially straight lines. The fact that the canyon takes plenty of U-turns proves it took a long time to form.

  11. There are two new theories but Rebecca M. Flowers is not convinced by either one of them and describes the contradictory interpretations that go on with trying to fit the Plateau in the evolutionary model. While the Parks Signs tell tourists it’s all figured out and this is what happened…

    Well, that settles it, then. If you can’t trust the signs in a national park, what can you trust?

  12. Michael continually accuses science of telling just-so stories. I have already noted the difference between just-so stories, which are create4d only to fit the observations that are already known, and scientific narratives, whose purpose is to test alternative theories by going beyond the data to make predictions that can bve tested in order to confirm or refute the various models.

    In this post we have a scientific narrative and a creationist just-so story.

    Let’s start with the just-so story.

    The biblical explanation for how the Canyon formed is actually quite simple. The “basement” layers, consisting of granites and metamorphic rocks, were formed by Day 3 of Creation Week(A). Some sedimentary layers were deposited on these rocks late in the Creation Week and during the pre-Flood period.(B) The horizontal sedimentary layers were then deposited over all other rocks by the waters of the global Flood as described in Genesis 7-8.”(C)

    “These unhindered, swirling currents picked up, transported and eventually deposited tons of sedimentary layers.(D) These strata were then in places tilted(E) and went through great tectonic activity(F) as the Colorado Plateau was uplifted during the final stages of the Flood.(G) The sedimentary layers which make up the nine distinct layers of the third major division of the Canyon walls show that they were soft and unconsolidated when they bent, unlike the basement rocks which fractured.”(H)

    “The sand grains in these sedimentary layers show no evidence that the material was brittle and rock-hard, and neither has the mineral cementing the grains been broken. Instead, the evidence points to the whole 4,000-feet (1.220 m) thickness of horizontal strata being still “plastic” when it was uplifted and bent.(I)

    “Once the floodwaters receded, the recently placed layers of sediment continued to harden into rock. As the floodwaters receded, the uplifted plateau acted like a dam wall,(J) trapping the waters behind it. In a subsequent catastrophic event, this earthen dam ruptured,(K) releasing a barrage of water that carved the Canyon itself..

    NOTES
    (A) What is the evidence for Day 3? What would be thwe difference in geology if the basement layers had been created on Day 4? Name one prediction this model would make beyond the data we already have?

    (B) How did many hundreds of meters of sediment get so far above sea level? Where did the water come from? Name a geological test to distinguish between pre-flood and flood periods?

    (C) Which layers were pre-flood and which layers were during the flood? How would you distinguish geologically between the two? For example, pre-flood might be more evenly distributed, while flood would be morre broken up, from turbulence. Has any of this been tested?

    (D) What is the evidence for “swirling: currents? Why would the flood necessarily create fast movements of water? How much water would it take to deposit the sedimentary layers from this period?

    (E) Name a geological process that would occur during a flood that would “tilt” rock strata? Why did the layers tilt in one place but not in the others? What evidence would you look for to test the “tilt-by-flood” model?

    (F) In what way is “tectonic” activity compatible with a flood? What mechanism, connected with a flood can produce major shifting of tectonic plates? Give an example. Where would you look for tectonic plates and boundaries to test this hypothesis?

    (G) Cite evidence for uplift during the “final” stages of the flood? Why not during earlier stages? How would you differentiate between the two?

    (H) I just can’t let this one pass. Michael, the basement layers are basaltic granite. If you have ever even seen a piece of granite—it breaks, it doesn’t bend. If you have ever fished by the bank of a stream, you may notice that the sediment that is forming the banks is “soft and unconsolidated.” Duh.

    (I) Elsewhere you claim that the flood produced great turbulence and rushing water. How can that be compatible with an unbroken cementing of smooth rock that appears undisturbed?

    (J) Where was the dam wall located? What is the evidence for any vertical wall in the horizontal layers of sedimentary rock? What is the evidence that the plateau could have been tilted so as to hold vast amounts of water in one location. How would you test this hypothesis?

    (K) What evidence do you have for a rupture? Where was it located? How did a sudden burst of water flow carve such a meandering canyon? Why is the canyon so narrow, if this water was released all at once? Water flows downhill; why does the canyon not follow the topography of the surrounding land?

    Something else we should note is that every one of the above features is totally inconsistent with radio dating of both the basement and the sedimentary layers, which show a consistent progression over 500 million years—complete with neatly segregated fossils from appropriate periods. The just-so story is also incompatible with known geologic processes of sediment rate and formation.

    So, Michael, can you propose—or find in the creationist literature— models for the identified features of this just-so story, and specific predictions that these models would make.

    .

    The scientific narratives for the Colorado plateau propose a number of models for its formation, and suggest ways to test the models and make predictions based upon them. Some of them are mentioned in the Geology article.

    (A) Evaluate three possible models of buoyancy for plateau uplift—crust, lithospheric mantle, or asthenosphere, or through some combination of the three?

    (B) Why did this low-relief plateau escape significant upper crustal strain during uplift, in contrast to the surrounding areas? Plate boundaries/ (Note to self: Look for plate boundaries under the plateau.) Cordilleran orogenesis? (Compare with known examples.) Sevier-Laramide contraction? (Investigate regional extensional tectonism in adjacent provinces.) In fact, we have here a surfeit of possible mechanisms for this uplift—so many that the main problem is to decide between them: “artial removal of the lithospheric mantle (e.g., Spencer, 1996), chemical alteration of the lithosphere owing to volatile addition or magma extraction (e.g., Humphreys et al., 2003; Roy et al., 2004), warming of heterogeneous lithosphere (Roy et al., 2009), hot upwelling within the asthenosphere (Parsons and McCarthy, 1995; Moucha et al., 2009), and crustal thickening (McQuarrie and Chase, 2000).”

    (C) Can inverse mantle convection explain the uplift? This model predicts that the plateau was tilted to the northeast in Late Cretaceous–Early Tertiary time, with later differential elevation gain of the plateau interior that diminished or reversed this tilt. We can test that.

    (D) Deciphering the paleoelevation of continents is extremely difficult, and the plateau’s elevation history is critically important for isolating the correct uplift mechanism. Question to be investigated: develop new methods for dating uplift histories. Can we find reliable proxies? Paleotemperature? Hydrology? Paleotopography? Marine fossils for determining sea level?

    (E) Two studies propose two different uplift models that can be tested by evidence to decide in favor of one or the other—or neither: “Liu and Gurnis focus on an explanation for the Late Cretaceous through mid-Cenozoic uplift history of the southwestern plateau, whereas van Wijk et al. explore a mechanism for late Cenozoic elevation gain and differential uplift along the plateau edges.”

    That’s not everything in the article, but it is infinitely more than the creationists have to offer. We can sum up this way—

    Both studies are significant in advancing potentially important and viable mechanisms to explain key features of the plateau. They are therefore serious contenders among the suite of competing models for plateau elevation gain. However, determining the extent to which these models approximate reality must in part await additional constraints on the uplift history with which to further test the predictions of each study.

    .

    Once more, a creationist just-so story is made up to fit the available facts; it proposes no testable mechanisms, and makes no predictions.

    On the other hand,. the scientific narratives propose a plethora of models that can be tested, and suggests what evidence is required to confirm or refute the various models.

    Does anyone still wonder why we laugh at creationist pretensions to science?

  13. . . . . . . . . . Offer Expires August 18!

    That should get your attention. Creationists have an understanding of how science operates that is lower than a boll weevil’s knees. Michael thinks that theories should not go beyond the evidence, yet the sole purpose of a scientific theory is to do exactly that. CbD thinks that finding a function for “junk DNA” somehow invalidates evolution, when the question is irrelevant to the subject, either way..

    Here is your chance, denizens of darkness! The Teaching Company offers college-level video/audio lecture series on a ranger of topics in science, philosophy, religion, history, and the arts. From personal experience in several fields, they are very good.[1]

    A 24-lecture series entitled “Science Wars: What Scientists Know and How They Know It” is on sale until August 18, 2010. Each lecture is 1/2 hour long, and this course is available in both audio (CD) and video (DVD) formats, for $49.95 and $69.95, respectively. Your lecturer is Prof. Steven Goldman at Lehiigh University. Just think—a colleague of Michael Behe.

    In my experience, a course such as this works just as well in the audio CD version. That way, you can listen to it during your commute. (Watch your driving, though. It is possible to get deeply absorbed in these lectures.) The Teaching Company hangs out here.
    Your local library may have many of these series. Mine does, and it’s just a poky little branch in a suburban county.[2]

    So hop to it. Here’s your chance to know more about science than the Institute for Creation Research—although heaven knows that couldn’t be too difficult. They can’t even get a school accredited in Texas, where half the Board are creationists.

    We might not even laugh quite so hard if you had a twinkling of an idea what you were talking about.

    =============

    [1] My most recent purchase was on Complexity Theory.

    [2] Full disclosure: I’m on a review panel for The Teaching Company.

  14. According the the paper from Answers in Genesis,

    The biblical explanation for how the Canyon formed is actually quite simple. The “basement” layers, consisting of granites and metamorphic rocks, were formed by Day 3 of Creation.

    Two things wrong with this:

    1. There is no “biblical explanation” for the formation of the Grand Canyon for one simple reason: The Bible does NOT say anything about how the Canyon formed. The Canyon is not mentioned in the Bible. I wish YECs would stop inserting words and readings in the Bible (which I have high regard for) that aren’t there.

    2. What Geological and Biblical evidence is there that the granit formed by the 3rd Creation day? The answer is: None! This claim is untenable. The Bible doesn’t say any such thing, nor does geology confirm that claim.

    Some sedimentary layers were deposited on these rocks late in the Creation Week and during the pre-Flood period. The horizontal sedimentary layers were then deposited over all other rocks by the waters of the global Flood as described in Genesis 7-8.”

    There are two things wrong with what AiG is saying here:

    1. The claim that the verticle sedimentary layers were created in Creation week is rendered unlikely because SINGLE events which took EXTREMELY SHORT periods of time would usually deposit SINGLE layers. There shouldn’t be multiple layers, but one layer in the case of the verticle layers.

    2. There is no evidence that horizontal layers were layed by a flood. Catostrophism keaved evidence in the layers that it does leave, and yet there is none to speak of that we know of.

    These unhindered, swirling currents picked up, transported and eventually deposited tons of sedimentary layers.

    1. The currents would have been unhindered. . . BUT, they wouldn’t have been swirling. Canyons created in single events are always formed by unswirling waters, HENCE the essentially straight lines they leave behind. .

    2. Most of those deposits would have been to heavy to have just been “picked up, and transported,” so this is an easily falsified claim.

    These strata were then in places tilted and went through great tectonic activity as the Colorado Plateau was uplifted during the final stages of the Flood.

    1. Tectonic activity doesn’t act that fast.

    2. What proof or evidence does Answers in Genesis have that this was during the last stages of the flood?

    The sedimentary layers which make up the nine distinct layers of the third major division of the Canyon walls show that they were soft and unconsolidated when they bent, unlike the basement rocks which fractured.

    Answers in Genesis has just shown it’s ignorance of geologic processes. The rocks were bent by a process called “PLASTIC DEFORMATION. This is a well known geological process which Young Earth Creationists seem to know nothing about.

    Link for further reading: http://www.answersincreation.org/print/plasticdeformation.pdf

    The sand grains in these sedimentary layers show no evidence that the material was brittle and rock-hard, and neither has the mineral cementing the grains been broken. Instead, the evidence points to the whole 4,000-feet (1.220 m) thickness of horizontal strata being still “plastic” when it was uplifted and bent.

    And the source for this claim made by AiG is?????

    -hums jeapordy-

    Once the floodwaters receded, the recently placed layers of sediment continued to harden into rock.

    If this happened 4,000 years ago, they still wouldn’t have hardened into rock, even if the process were going on.

    In a subsequent catastrophic event, this earthen dam ruptured, releasing a barrage of water that carved the Canyon itself..”

    Completely falsified many times on this blog. I already explained that short time events carve canyons that are essentially straight lines. The canyon takes plenty of U-turns, and therefore this didn’t form the canyon in a short period of time.

    I already posted this in an article on my blog:

    Link http://evolutionid.wordpress.com/2010/06/23/yec-obsession-on-the-grand-canyon/

    There you have it. AiG’s junk scientific method:

    1. Make untestable or falsified hypothesis.

    2. Hope the gullible just swollow them.

  15. Yes, krissmith, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel, isn’t it?

    They’ll just disregard everthing you say, or require more detail..

    But their children will find out, if they don’t keep them tethered closely. Too bad many of them will become atheists in the process.

  16. Olorin,

    you say:

    But their children will find out, if they don’t keep them tethered closely. Too bad many of them will become atheists in the process.

    Definitely, I agree with you, unfortunately. — When I was raised in the Seventh-Day Advantist Church (which I am still a member of), I was always taught that Evolution was equal to atheism. — In fact, there was a perception that ANYTHING that went against a certain Pre-conceived view in the church was Atheistic. . .

    I remember one time I mentioned in Sabbath School (our equivalent to Sunday School) that a certain Encyclopedia (Encyclopedia Britanica) claimed that a certain book in the Bible was written later that what many think. . . The response I got from that was ” So what? They believe in Evolution.”

    –For the record, it was the Book of Daniel, and I still hold to the traditional date it rather then the late date, but I digress.–

    I started looking into Creation/Evolution atbout two years ago exactly, in the summer of 08. I had some perception still that Evolution was inherently Atheistic. — Had I accepted the evidence on the spot, I would have become an Atheist. . . . So, I think my gradual “evolution” from believing Creationism to accepting the fact of Evolution was the better way for me. I think that process saved me from becoming an Atheist in the long run.

  17. Krissmith, I see the problem to be that both the atheists and the creationists attempt to define God in terms of scientific evidence. Ironic, isn’t it? The two opposing camps operate under the same false assumption.

    .

    Seventh-Day Adventists were the first to embrace 6-day creation as a denomination. (The others were split into factions on both sides). George McCready Price, the first to maintain that 6-day creation and the Noachian flood could be established through scientific evidence, was a Seventh-Day Adventist.

    Oddly enough, the foremost expert on creationism, Ronald Numbers,[1] was[2] also a Seventh-Day Adventist. Some reviewers feel that this background gives Numbers a distorted view of creationist beliefs and attitudes from other denominations.

    ============

    [1] i recently bought the expanded edition of his magnum opus, The Creationists: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design (Harvard University Press 2006), but have not yet read it. (I have read the previous edition, which stopped short of ID.)

    [2] Yes, past tense is correct. He now flies the atheist flag.

    .

  18. Olorin,

    I see the problem to be that both the atheists and the creationists attempt to define God in terms of scientific evidence. Ironic, isn’t it? The two opposing camps operate under the same false assumption.

    And our friend, CreationByDesign, is no exception. —

    His questions to us “What did God Create?” and “How do we know?” are a clear demonstration of that.

    I have my reasons for not answering his questions clearly. One reason is because it’s a trap used for him to justify his oversimplification that if we accept God created one thing directly, then we therefore have to accpet he created everything in the same way. — Also because neither of them can be answered.

    To the first question “What did God Create?” — All I can say is I do not know what God created directly. I can tell you what I THINK he created, but I wouldn’t attempt to prove it. Therefore the second question “How do You know?” would therefore be irrelevant.

    About Price . . . He based his ideas off Ellen White’s visions, and then Henry Morris rehashed them in his book “The Genesis Flood.” — What I find most ironic is that most YECs reject Ellen White, and yet they hold to ideas that were inspired by her. . .

  19. Posted by krissmith777 on June 29, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    There you have it. AiG’s junk scientific method:

    1. Make untestable or falsified hypothesis.

    2. Hope the gullible just swollow them.

    The difference, as I see it, between AiG and Michael is that the AiG people know they’re lying, while Michael is merely ignorant and blinkered by his beliefs. That’s why I’m hoping that Michael will admit his lack of qualifications. If he does have a background, then he’s lying too. Instead of merely having reckless disrega5rd for truth.

    One of the many ironic aspects of this debate is the low moral standards of the supposedly religious creationists, as compared to scientists, many of whom are not religious. Perhaps the creationists agree with Martin Luther that “A small lie in the service of the Lord is not a sin.” (Being Lutheran myself, this statement is galling. But isn some ways Luther was not a nice person. Ask the Jews.)

  20. Sentence completion contest:

    Colorado Plateau: Parks Signs Have It All Figured Out, But…

    My entry: “… there’s still that pesky problem about the evidence.”

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