Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Big Bat Cave Bother For Creationists

Gomantong Cave, Borneo, Malaysia
Photo: Donald McFarlane
https://eos.org/articles/how-bat-breath-and-guano-can-change-the-shapes-of-caves

Deep inside a massive limestone cave in Borneo, there is a mound of bird and bat droppings, produced by a constant 'rain' of fresh excrement from the bats and birds that occupy the ceiling of the cave, some 60 metres above.

This is not a place for the squeamish, and probably not a nice place for creationists desperate to believe Earth is just a few thousand years old.

In places, this mound can be 10 to 12 metres high. So massive it it that is sustains a whole ecosystem of cockroaches, microorganisms and other creatures that depend entirely on the fresh guano.

The guano just a metre and a half below the surface is about 40,000 years old!

But that's not the only worrying fact for creationists.

As the organisms that live on the guano process it, it becomes acid, as, now rich in nitrates and phosphates, it mixes with moisture to produce highly corrosive nitric and phosphoric acid. This dissolves the limestone walls of the cave, and any boulders that fall from the ceiling into it, undercutting the walls of the cave and turning boulders into strange, almost organic shapes.

But this acid is not the only thing dissolving the walls of the cave. As the hundreds of thousand of roosting birds and bats breathe, they produce carbon dioxide and moisten the air in the otherwise dry cave. The carbon dioxide dissolves in the moisture as it condenses out on the cooler walls and ceilings of the cave, to produce carbonic acid which further erodes the cave walls, literally enlarging it.

The bats and birds are slowly but surely dissolving the very cave they live in and enlarging it as they do so.

As well as producing the cathedral like domed ceiling, the roosting bats and birds also produce the long, vertical tubes known as 'apse flutes'. In the absence of water percolating down from the ground above, the only explanation for these structures is the acid formed from the breath of these vertebrates.

In a paper published in Geomorphology in 2015, authors, Joyce Lundberg of Carleton University, Ottawa ON, Canada, and Donald A.McFarlane of The Claremont Colleges, Claremont CA, USA said:

Speleogenetic assessment suggests that as much as 70–95% of the total volume of the modern cave may have been opened by direct subaerial biogenic dissolution and biogenically-induced collapse, and by sub-cutaneous removal of limestone, over a timescale of 1–2 Ma.

So, here we have a cave which birds and bats have been enlarging as a measurable rate for 1-2 million years, containing a pile of guano some 10-12 metres high which has taken 40,000 to add the top 1.5 metres, on a planet that creationists claim is just a few thousand years old.

It can't be easy being a dedicated creationist when all the evidence shows how wrong you are.







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