Remembering Mount St. Helens 35 Years Later

The volcano’s main 1980 eruption filled in an entire valley with hundreds of feet of sediment. Another smaller eruption event deposited more material on top of that, and then a third deposition occurred in 1982. Later, a catastrophic flood of snowmelt water and muddy debris tore a gash through those fresh deposits, revealing sharp and flat contacts between each earlier deposit. It also showed that fast-flowing currents can lay down multiple layers thinner than a finger width.

Mount St. Helens revealed to the world that both thick and thin layering can happen fast. Millions of years are not needed to form sedimentary rock or stratigraphic layering.

Sedimentary layers hundreds of feet thick formed within hours during the eruption itself, and then hardened into rock soon after the water drained from them. Could other layered sedimentary rocks in Earth’s crust have formed rapidly?

The mountain also provided a clear reason to distrust radioisotope dating. Geologist Steve Austin sampled new rock from atop the mountain that formed in 1986. If the K-Ar radioisotope method really works, then it should have revealed the rock’s true age of only ten years. Instead, three rock “ages” ranged from 340,000 to 2,800,000 years.1 What other rocks from around the world have been dated incorrectly by following those same questionable age-dating protocols?

Because of the Mount St. Helens eruption, scientists know that sedimentary rock layers and steep-walled canyons can form in only hours, rather than millions of years. The documented evidence is undeniable. It also exposes flaws in radioisotope dating. In just the past 35 years, catastrophism has become readily accepted in the geological sciences. How many other Earth surface features will scientists recognize as having formed suddenly or much more recently than previously recognized?

References

  1. Austin, S. A. 1996. Excess Argon within Mineral Concentrates from the New Dacite Lava Dome at Mount St. Helens Volcano. Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal. 10 (3): 335-343.

*Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Article posted on May 26, 2015.

The Latest
NEWS
Are the Galápagos Islands a Laboratory of Evolution?
A recent Livescience article1 is entitled “The Galápagos Islands: Laboratory of Evolution.” It addresses, among other things, “unique...

TESTIMONIALS
Reaching a New Generation
I’m Jeff Tomkins, the Director of Life Sciences at ICR. Unlike many researchers working in the field of creation science, I was not raised with...

NEWS
ICR Kids’ Book: God Made Gorillas, God Made You
In the last few years, ICR has released numerous resources to help parents teach their children creation truth. Our Guide to… series is perfect...

NEWS
More Whopper Sand Evidence of Global Flood
In the U.S. Gulf Coast region, the Upper Jurassic Norphlet Sandstone rests right on top of thousands of feet of Middle Jurassic salt, known as the Louann...

TESTIMONIALS
Bringing Clarity to Confusion
Hi, I’m Michael Hansen, Executive Assistant to ICR’s CEO. Science and the Bible agree. But our culture doesn’t echo this truth....