/* */ Rosa Rubicondior: Creationist Failure News - Gaps in the Geological Record Refute YEC Bible Literalists

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Creationist Failure News - Gaps in the Geological Record Refute YEC Bible Literalists

The Grand Canyon. More bad news for Creationists
Geologists dig into Grand Canyon’s mysterious gap in time | CU Boulder Today | University of Colorado Boulder

Normally, Creationists love gaps in science as somewhere to sit their ever-diminishing little god, and actively look for them and even try to invent them where none exist.

However, this is a gap they will most probably ignore in the hope it'll go away.

The reason? It is a gap (known as the "Great Unconformity") of almost 1 billion years in a geological record of some 2 billion years. Moreover, the gap is not everywhere - which is how we know about it - but just occurs in a few locations. And having a gap as wide as almost 1 billion years anywhere, utterly refutes any notion that Earth could be just a few thousand years old, and puts it beyond doubt that Earth is much older than Creationists claim from their literalist reading of the Bible. And, to disconcert Creationists even more, this gap is most noticeable in the Grand Canyon, that Creationist frauds lie so much about, ludicrously claiming it as evidence of a global flood "where the water ran off! [sic]"

The gap is missing rock - lots of it - but the mystery remains - where did all that rock go to?

And this is what the researchers from University of Colorado Boulder believe they have solved. They published their findings in the journal of the Geological Society of America, Geology. Sadly, the paper appears to be behind a paywall, however the UC Boulder news release contains the details:
The research comes closer to solving a puzzle, called the “Great Unconformity,” that has perplexed geologists since it was first described nearly 150 years ago.

Barra Peak rests her hand on the line where old rocks and new rocks meet in the Grand Canyon.
Credit: Barra Peak
Think of the red bluffs and cliffs of the Grand Canyon as Earth’s history textbook, explained Barra Peak, lead author of the new study and a graduate student in geological sciences at CU Boulder. If you scale down the canyon’s rock faces, you can jump back almost 2 billion years into the planet’s past. But that textbook is also missing pages: In some areas, more than 1 billion years’ worth of rocks have disappeared from the Grand Canyon without a trace.

Geologists want to know why…

Now, [Barra Peak] and her colleagues think they may be narrowing in on an answer in a paper published this month in the journal Geology. The team reports that a series of small yet violent faulting events may have rocked the region during the breakup of an ancient supercontinent called Rodinia. The resulting havoc likely tore up the earth around the canyon, causing rocks and sediment to wash away and into the ocean.

The team’s findings could help scientists fill in missing pieces of what happened during this critical period for the Grand Canyon—today one of North America’s foremost natural wonders…

The Great Unconformity is one of the first well-documented geologic features in North America,” Peak said. “But until recently, we didn’t have a lot of constraints on when or how it occurred…

There are beautiful lines. At the bottom, you can see very clearly that there are rocks that have been pushed together. Their layers are vertical. Then there there’s a cutoff, and above that you have these beautiful horizontal layers that form the buttes and peaks that you associate with the Grand Canyon…

There’s more than a billion years that’s gone. It’s also a billion years during an interesting part of Earth’s history where the planet is transitioning from an older setting to the modern Earth we know today.
Barra Peak, lead author
Graduate student in geological sciences
Colorado University Boulder, CO, USA
It’s a mystery that goes back a long way. John Wesley Powell, the namesake of today’s Lake Powell, first saw the Great Unconformity during his famed 1869 expedition by boat down the rapids of the Colorado River.

Peak, who completed a similar research rafting trip through the Grand Canyon in spring 2021, said that the feature is stark enough that you can see it from the river…

The difference between those two types of rocks is significant. In the western part of the canyon toward Lake Mead, the basement stone is 1.4 to 1.8 billion years old. The rocks sitting on top, however, are just 520 million years old. Since Powell’s voyage, scientists have seen evidence of similar periods of lost time at sites around North America…

To explore the transition, Peak and her colleagues employed a method called “thermochronology,” which tracks the history of heat in stone. Peak explained that, when geologic formations are buried deep underground, the pressure building on top of them can cause them to get toasty. That heat, in turn, leaves a trace in the chemistry of minerals in those formations.

We have new analytical methods in our lab that allow us to decipher the history in the missing window of time across the Great Unconformity. We are doing this in the Grand Canyon and at other Great Unconformity localities across North America.

Rebecca Flowers, co-author
Professor of geological sciences
Colorado University Boulder, CO, USA
Using this approach, the researchers conducted a survey of samples of rock collected from throughout the Grand Canyon. They discovered that the history of this feature may be more convoluted than scientists have assumed. In particular, the western half of the canyon and its eastern portion (the part that tourists are most familiar with) may have undergone different geologic contortions throughout time.

Roughly 700 million years ago, basement rock in the west seems to have risen to the surface. In the eastern half, however, that same stone was under kilometers of sediment.

The difference likely came down to the breakup of Rodinia, a gigantic land mass that began to pull apart at about the same time, Peak said. The researchers’ results suggest that this major upheaval may have torn at the eastern and western halves of the Grand Canyon in different ways and at slightly different times—producing the Great Unconformity in the process.
An explanation of the observable evidence then that only makes any sense as a process occurring over many millions of years - unlike the Creationist myths that try to compress everything into a few weeks or even a few days. And how does the childish belief that the strata through which the Colorado River cuts were deposited over the course of a year as the result of a single geological process, account for these unconformities and folds? It can't of course. That can only be explained by the sorts of long, slow geological processes associated with major tectonic plate activity such as the splitting of continents that resulted in a dome rising up under the bed of an existing river at a rate slow enough for the flow of the river to erode it.

Scientists these days no longer set out to discredit Creationism like this. In fact, it's not they who do so, but the facts that they reveal using scientific methods and analysis. A superstition which can be refuted with facts has something wrong with it. Any decent hypothesis worth considering should not need to ignore inconvenient evidence such as this.

Thank you for sharing!

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