Surtsey: A Young-earth Laboratory
by Frank Sherwin, M.A. *
Surtsey is an island volcanically formed just 45 years ago off the coast of Iceland. Science Illustrated has highlighted this unique island in its May/June 2008 issue. “Surtsey always provides surprises,” remarked one of the life scientists who study it. “We discover about 20 new species each year.”
Surtsey’s rapidly growing ecosystem is a goldmine for researchers who maintain that the Genesis Flood occurred some 4,000+ years ago. But creation critics have long maintained that the earth couldn’t possibly have recovered from a worldwide flood in such a short time. Many thousands of years would be needed to repopulate and foliate such a devastated environment, they say. However, a more famous land mass, Mount St. Helens, has proven that claim false.
The insect population on Surtsey, for instance, is “burgeoning” and there are five gull species plus “seven other bird species.” Mosses, lichens, and an evergreen shrub thrive on the island. Together, about 60 plant species have become established there—in less than a half-century.
Science Illustrated stated that certain geological processes are occurring faster than believed possible. For example, loose volcanic ash has become the hard and glassy mineral palagonite tuff. Geologists have thought this process alone took thousands of years, and yet it has happened on Surtsey in a matter of decades.
“The data offered up by Surtsey over the past four decades provides new insights into how barren land sprouts life,” the article states. Like Mount St. Helens’ recovery, research on Surtsey is providing valuable information regarding questions of land reclamation after the Flood.
But in spite of compelling evidence such as that found on Surtsey, compromising Christians—embracing corrupt hybrid theories of creation—call on leading young-earth organizations like the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) to “admit” that the earth is 4.6 billion years old. Their rationale: If ICR scientists would give up this “silly notion” of a young earth, then thousands of scientifically literate individuals would embrace Christianity.
This is something, however, that researchers who conduct good science cannot do when phenomena like Surtsey continue to add to the growing body of evidence for a young-earth and a recent, global Flood.
An Island Laboratory. Science Illustrated. May/June 2008, 42-47.
* Mr. Sherwin is Science Editor.