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A Shooting in Deadwood

Sounds like an old Western headline, doesn’t it?

Actually, we just finished at short week of the Genesis filming in South Dakota and the first half was dedicated to examining the geological layers called the Deadwood Formation that extends from the Dakotas and Montana up into Canada. It is named after the town Deadwood, where we spent our first night.

Dr. Marcus Ross, a paleontologist, joined us for this segment and it was a pleasure to get to know him and to learn from him.

The Deadwood Formation is at the bottom of the sedimentary layers and rests on what is called “The Great Unconformity”. This is the boundary between the “Precambrian Metamorphic” rocks and all of the sedimentary layers that are between it and the surface above. From a creationist perspective, this is the boundary between the rocks that came into existence when God said “Let there be…” and the first wave of sediment laid down as a result of the Flood. These “basement rocks” comprise the foundation that is found around the world and covered primarily with layer after layer of sedimentary rock.

The Deadwood Formation itself consists of multiple layers of sandstone, limestone, clay or shale, etc. The bottom picture shows those layers, with the black arrow pointing to the basement rocks. The blue arrow is pointing to the third sub-layer of the Deadwood Formation. The top picture is taken underneath that sub-layer where multiple “worm burrows” are visible if you look closely. They are all over the bottom of this sub-layer.

What is interesting about these burrows is that they still exist.

If the standard geological story is correct, and these layers were laid down over thousands and millions of years, then burrows like this would be obliterated by other living creatures and erosion. But if the Genesis story is correct and these layers were laid down rapidly in a tumultus flood, then the worms would have been buried in the clay layer below and would have been trying to find a way out, but would have been blocked by the thick layer above. What we see here is the struggle for life. These layers also contain trilobite tracks. Trilobite fossils don’t exist here, but the tracks of their desperate attempts to work their way upward are. Their fossils are found in the sub-layers above. That was as far as they got before they, too, perished.

The Cambrian layer contains tons of very diverse life: trilobites, brachiopods, crinoids, and a host of other complex creatures. This is where the term “Cambrian Explosion” came from. It is a major problem for the standard story, for there is no evidence of gradual development of these creatures. Instead, they appear in the fossil record fully formed. For the Genesis story, however, this is exactly what we would expect to see: the early phases of the Flood depositing these marine creatures, all over the world, with evidence that they were buried rapidly and in a catastrophic manner.

Tomorrow we will go a mile higher in the sedimentary layer and look at the top. You may be surprised at what we find.


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A Shooting in the Badlands

I have to tell you…I was stunned at the beauty here. Pictures don’t do it justice.

We are now about a mile above the “basement rocks” and the “Deadwood Formation” that we were examining earlier. It is amazing to think that there could be that much sedimentary material, but this is actually not as deep as we might find in other places where it can be 17,000 feet thick.

But what amazed me more was what Dr. Ross told me about the scene before us. The upper layers, above the yellow/orange line, are layers that were laid down after the Flood. These are deposits that were part of the numerous smaller catastrophic events that continued to shake a world still “trembling” from the effects of being “destroyed”, as Peter puts it. Not only were the continental plates moving and volcanic eruptions on-going, but large bodies of water became trapped behind natural berms that eventually breached, creating local floods that were catastrophic in their own rights.

So, these upper Badland layers were also deposited rapidly, though post-flood, and then easily eroded as they continue to be today. The tops of the hills here are losing as much as six inches every year to the effects of wind and rain and runoff.

It is easy to look at all of this and think, because we have been told the standard geological story in school and in the national park signage, that it is very, very old…the result of millions of years of slow, gradual processes. But a closer examination raises a lot of problems with that story and, instead, the evidence matches more closely the story that was recorded thousands of years ago in the ancient scrolls.

We are now off to the Grand Canyon for a week of examination and filming. It is one of my favorite places in the entire world!

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Grand Canyon Filming 1

I have rafted down the Grand Canyon twice and been to the rim numerous times, but it still takes my breath away. This is our third day here and we finally made it up to the eastern end of the South Rim. Tom is manning one camera out on the point. We are with Dr. Steve Austin, an incredibly smart geologist who has spent years below the rim studying nautiloid fossils and other features in this amazing place.

Beyond the beauty, however, the Grand Canyon gives us the unique opportunity to see a stark display of sedimentary layers…layers that are found all over the world. They sit on top of a bed of metamorphic rock and extend, in some places, upward for three miles. The odds are you are standing on massive layers of sediment right now.

The conventional story that is told in our schools and universities and even the signs in the National Parks is that all of this was formed over millions and millions of years by slow, gradual processes. The problem is that the evidence doesn’t match that story. We saw at Mt. St. Helens how complex geological formations can appear in a matter of hours or days. Even conventional geologists are beginning to look more toward a “catastrophic” answer to what they see, not only in the Grand Canyon, but around the world. Dr. Austin is one of many scientists that are finding that the history recorded in Genesis is accurate and gives us a true basis for understanding the geological story that is recorded in the earth.

In the next few days, we will look at a some of that evidence.

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Grand Canyon Filming 2

We are on a special permit many miles deep into the Hualapai Reservation (pronounced wal-a-pie) along Diamond Creek.  The formation we are looking at is called “The Great Unconformity”. It is the boundary between the metamorphic “basement” rocks below and the sedimentary layers that extend, in some places, three miles up. The purple looking rock is granite. The khaki looking layers above are called the Tapeats Sandstone. This Unconformity boundary is prominent here and it can be found all over the world.

The conventional story is that this boundary represents close to half a billion years of elapsed time. In other words, the lower rocks were formed and then 500 million years went by before the sediment was laid down on top of it as the result of a slow process of material settling to the bottom of a placid ocean over millions of years.

The Genesis record leads to a radically different conclusion. The granite most likely represents the original creation rocks and the sedimentary layers on top of it were laid down rapidly during the flood.

There are several things about this that are interesting to note:

The top of the granite at the boundary has been “sheared” off. The shearing force pulverized and ground up the top portion of the granite almost like a piece of colossal sandpaper grinding it down to the boundary line we see. The pulverized granite was then suspended in water and it became part of the sediment in the layers that were deposited above.

The Scriptures imply that the flood of Genesis 6-8 was a whole lot more that the nursery rhyme that sings, “The rain came down and the floods came up”. This was a breaking open of the crust of the earth. The fountains of the great deep burst open. Other passages lead us to believe that the crust under the oceans might have risen and the massive water of the sea began to pour onto the land.

Dr. Austin gave us four ways that water can tear down other material. One of those was called “cavitation”. This is a very interesting physical phenomenon that occurs when water is moving rapidly. When it encounters an obstacle, it flows over that obstacle and creates a vacuum that can reach extraordinary levels of explosive, hammering pressure, up to tens of thousands of pounds per square inch. When the Glen Canyon Dam was in danger from excessive run-off in 1983, they opened one of the overflow gates to take pressure off of the dam. Water flowed into the tunnel that had been cut into the solid granite walls of the canyon for this purpose and lined with concrete and reinforced steel. Within seconds, the dam was shaking and the water flowing out the end of the tunnel had turned pink. They quickly shut the overflow gate. When they inspected the tunnel, the water had pulverized the concrete, the steel and had eaten into the granite…all within a matter of a few minutes.

This is the enormous power of water. And it is evident here at the Great Unconformity.

Additionally, if the conventional story were true, then the granite rocks would have been a top surface exposed to erosion, just as the top surface is now. If you look at the top layers in the picture, you will see what we all see around the world: evidence of erosive forces. In the background you can see Diamond Mountain and the effects of erosion there are quite evident. However, the Great Unconformity shows none of that. The evidence for a half billion years just isn’t there.

However, the catastrophic power of enormous amounts of water, moving at high speeds, pulverizing the granite basement rocks and tearing up the rest of the earth’s surface and then laying down miles of sedimentary rock, rapidly, layer upon layer, burying and fossilizing all kinds of living creatures, is a consistent picture of what was recorded for us in the ancient documents.

Tomorrow we will look at the fossils.

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Grand Canyon Filming 3

We have hiked even deeper in to the Hualapai Reservation to look at a bed of nautiloid fossils.

A nautiloid is a squid-like creature that lived in a long cone-shaped shell. They were predators and could reach four feet in length. Although they don’t exist today, they were prevalent at the time of the flood. Dr. Austin led us to one of his favorite places where he had found 21 nautiloids exposed in a flat rock layer of the upper Redwall Limestone.

Here are two pictures that I took. One shows the cone end of a nautiloid fossilized in a horizontal position. You can clearly see its segments and the central tube was even preserved. The second was really interesting to me because it is a nautiloid fossilized in a vertical position.

Think about this.

The conventional story is that fossils come about when creatures die, sink to the bottom of the ocean, and are then buried slowly by a gradual sedimentation deposition. Imagine how a four-foot nautiloid could be suspended vertically for thousands, if not millions of years, as sediment was slowly building up around it so that it could be eventually fossilized.

That is crazy.

The only explanation is that this nautiloid had to be buried rapidly. In fact, it is the argument for virtually all of the fossils…any of the fossils. When a creature dies, it decomposes rapidly or it is scavenged. It doesn’t remain intact for weeks, let alone years. If it is to be preserved by fossilization, it has to be buried quickly and catastrophically.

Dr. Austin has been studying the nautiloid fossils for a long time and he stated that about one in seven are in a vertical position. Not only that, but they all seem to be oriented in a similar direction. All of the ones we saw, other than the vertical one, were parallel to each other. Dr. Austin believes this indicates that the nautiloids were being tumbled in a mudflow until it eventually came to rest and they were “frozen” in the positions we now see them. He believes there are billions of nautiloids buried throughout the Grand Canyon.

How could all of this happen?

The best paradigm is the catastrophic flood that is recorded in Genesis.

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