Three Hundred Years in the Middle of the Flood--Evidence of Time in the Geologic Record

Copyright 2001 G. R. Morton, This may be freely distributed and linked to so long as no changes are made to the file and no charges are assessed. (

One of the things that young-earth creationists miss is the activities of biological organisms in the fossil record. Desert varnish is an iron manganese oxide coating that is found on rocks in arid regions. For years this coating was thought to be an abiologic chemical reaction. This has been shown to be false. Desert varnish is now known to be the result of bacteria which live on the surface of the rocks and through their biologic activity deposit a manganese rich coating on the rock surface. Living in nearly a waterless environment, these microbes protect themselves from ultraviolet light by oxidizing the manganese in the rock. (Wills and Bada 2000, p. 165-166)

When European priests first entered the arid southwestern US, they found vast tracks of land with cobbles dark on the top and light on the undersides. They turned the stones over making huge, light-colored crosses in the desert. In the intervening 300 years, the crosses are still visible but are now beginning to fade. It has taken 300 years for the microbes to cover the stones' upper surfaces with varnish.

With this as a background, what is one to conclude when we find this same type of varnish coating Permian sand grains in the Zechstein of the North Sea? The Permian rocks are from the very middle of the supposedly flood deposited rocks. This should be the time of the maximal flooding of the earth, yet here we find desert varnish which requires at least 300 years to form. Not only this, the sand grains which are coated with this slow-forming film, are found in shape of sand dunes like those found in arid regions today. (Ruffell and Shelton, p. 305)

Clearly this evidence shows that there was at least a 300 year interval in the middle of the flood. This is something that the young-earth creationists never tell you!


  • A. H. Ruffell and R. G. Shelton, “Permian to Late Triassic Post-Orogenic Collapse, and Early Atlantic Rifting, Deserts, evaporating Seas and Mass Extinctions,” in Nigel Woodcock and Rob Strachan, editors, Geological History of Britain and Ireland, (London: Blackwell Science, 2000), p. 305)
  • Christopher Wills and Jeffrey Bada, The Spark of Life, (Cambridge MA: Perseus Publishing, 2001), p. 165-166).

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