Creation Studies Institute
Grand Canyon

Geological Column and Inherent Problems

The Geological Column is contrary to the idea of a sudden catastrophic worldwide Flood.

The Geological Column is a popular timetable used to mark different strata by the use of fossils. Geologists have found that classifying rocks by comparison of fossils in all parts of the world is a very valuable tool. Part of the historical geological record is made using index fossils spanning 570 millions years. Theoretically, the whole geological record goes back in time some two billion years. These index fossils have specific characteristics. Most come from marine hard shell material. Of all the millions and millions of fossils, 95 percent are marine in nature. Index fossils have to fit certain criteria. They must:

Fossils, in general, are distributed by kind, as follows:

Proponents of Darwin Use Circular Reasoning to Confirm the Evolutionary Timeline

The Geological Column theorizes that the complexity of fossils in the ground will increase as one ascends the column toward the earth’s surface. Thus, the placement of a fossil in the Geological Column determines the age of the fossil.

If you were to dig a big hole, you would expect to find, according to the Geological Column, an orderly progression of fossils with the most simple at the bottom and the more complex toward the top. The theory holds that successive strata are marked with index fossils. It is important to note that sedimentary rocks, the rocks in which all fossils are found, cannot be dated by the radioisotope dating method; instead, these rocks are dated by means of index fossils.

grand canyonWere you to find an index fossil, you would be able to take that fossil to the geological record to determine the age of the stratum in which the fossil was found. The strata are rock layers supposedly laid down millions of years ago. Sedimentary rock layers cannot be dated on their own. They need index fossils. But how was the age of individual index fossils in the Geological Column determined? They were determined on the presupposition that evolution is true. The rock age was determined by evolution. Yet evolutionists lean on the Geological Column to affirm evolution. This is circular reasoning.

This poses something of a problem: If we date the rocks by the fossils, how can we then turn around and talk about the pattern of evolutionary change through time in the fossil record?" (Eldridge, Niles, Time Frames, 1985, p. 52)

"A circular argument arises: Interpret the fossil record in the terms of a particular theory of evolution, inspect the interpretation, and note that it confirms the theory. Well, it would, wouldn’t it?" (Kemp, Tom, "A Fresh Look at the Fossil Record," New Scientist, vol. 108, Dec. 5, 1985, p. 67.)

Nowhere in the earth is this complete column observable. There are small sections available in different parts of the world. One of the most impressive formations is the Grand Canyon. There are several geological layers representing the Paleozoic era exposed in the canyon. Even with the biggest hole on earth, the Grand Canyon, the geological formations, compared to the complete record, are terribly incomplete. Things have not changed in this area over the years. Brown, Monnet, and Stovall in their geology text, Introduction to Geology, made an honest assessment of the incompleteness problem;

“If the complete story of the earth is compared to an encyclopedia of thirty volumes, then we can seldom hope to find even one complete volume in a given area. Sometime only a few chapters, perhaps only a paragraph or two will be the total geological contribution of a region; indeed, we are often reduced to studying scattered bits of information more nearly to a few words or letters.” (H. Brown, V. Monnett, J. Stovall: Introduction to Geology (McGraw –Hill, 1952), p. 418)

The Facts Refute the Concept of Long Periods of Time between Rock Layers

The Geological Column concept also relies on the presupposition that long periods of time elapsed between each stratum. The evidence noted below contradicts this claim and points to the rapid deposition of rock material by a catastrophic event.

1. Surface Features: Ripple marks, raindrops and animal tracks are found on sedimentary rocks. These imprints had to have the right conditions to harden. The rock material was apparently soft enough to make impressions, but had the capacity to harden quickly.

2. Bioturbation: Biological activity on the top of the surface can easily destroy the internal structure of sedimentary rock layering. The earth has always been biologically active, and therefore all the layering effects should be void. This is not the case. There is a distinct pancake layering in the geological record, demonstrating that no biological activity has been going on. The layering had to take place catastrophically.

3. Lack of Soil Layer: If each layer represents a long period of time then activity on the earth by living and nonliving forces would have produced weathering, water erosion and chemical deterioration. Biological interactions with earth would have formed a soil layer. Soil supports all living systems. The layers of rocks have no fossilized evidence of a past existence of organic soil. There is layer upon layer of rock and no trace of fossilized organic material. One would have to conclude that layering of this rock was a one-time event, not multitude periods of time ranging in the millions of years, as evolutionists propose for the Geological Column.

4. Soft Sediment Deformation: The sedimentary layers are deformed in places. These layers bend like a wave or contort in a downward or upward fashion. How does hard, brittle rock bend without cracking? According to the worldwide Flood model there were, during the Flood, heat and sediments falling out, giving a layering effect. The sediments were soft and could be molded easily at the beginning of this process. They gradually settled and hardened in the way we see them today.

5. Polystrate Fossils: Numerous examples of trees that have been petrified and pass through several layers of rocks have been discovered in the fossil record. These stone trees are embedded vertically in the layers of the Geological Column, supposedly across thousands or millions years of time. This is an evolutionist’s nightmare. Creationists have explained this scientifically, using the Flood model, demonstrating that the catastrophic force of floodwaters and movement of the surface of the earth dislodged these trees. As the sediments began to fall making layers of rock, so did the weighted, unbalanced trees. They landed vertically in the sediments. When the earth began to drain, the sedimentary rocks were hardened in layers surrounding the tree, making it a geological phenomenon. (John Morris, The Young Earth Master Books, Green Forest, AR, 1994 pp 93-117)

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