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Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth, Volume II The age of the earth is an important issue in Christianity today. If the six-day Genesis account is fallacious, then how can the rest of Scripture be relied upon? Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth: Results of a Young-Earth Creationist Research Initiative addresses the issues raised by the RATE I technical book in 2000. The RATE team dared to ask tough questions and has discovered that radioactive dating methods and their results are not thorough, consistent or reliable. One of the "pillars" of old-earth evolution really supports the scriptural account of "in the beginning." More Information   Free Download of RATE II — click on the chapters below: Table of Contents (PDF) Chapter 1: Introduction (PDF) Chapter 2: Young Helium Diffusion Age of Zircons Supports Accelerated Nuclear Decay Chapter 3: Radiohalos in Granites: Evidence for Accelerated Nuclear Decay Chapter 4: Fission Tracks in Zircons: Evidence for Abundant Nuclear Decay Chapter 5: Do Radioisotope Clocks Need Repair? Testing the Assumptions of Isochron Dating Using K-Ar, Rb-Sr, Sm-Nd, and Pb-Pb Isotopes Chapter 6: Isochron Discordances and the Role of Inheritance and Mixing of Radioisotopes in the Mantle and Crust Chapter 7: Accelerated Decay: Theoretical Considerations Chapter 8: Carbon-14 Evidence for a Recent Global Flood and a Young Earth Chapter 9: Statistical Determination of Genre in Biblical Hebrew: Evidence for an Historical Reading of Genesis 1:1-2:3 Chapter 10: Summary of Evidence for a Young Earth from the RATE Project (PDF) Index (PDF) Inside Covers (PDF)

The Fossil Record: Unearthing Nature’s History of Life by John Morris, Ph.D., and Frank Sherwin, M.A. Foreword Dr. John Morris received his Ph.D. in geological engineering from the University of Oklahoma and is President of the Institute for Creation Research in Dallas, Texas. Frank Sherwin received his graduate training in biology from the University of Northern Colorado, Both have extensive resumes in creation research and ministry. During their many travels throughout the United States and abroad, they have lectured in schools, universities, churches, and other venues, presenting the scientific and biblical evidence for creation. The combination of Morris’ training and experience in geology and Sherwin’s expertise in zoology has resulted in this beautiful and persuasive book on The Fossil Record. There are some evolutionists who, while defending evolution, do admit that the fossil record provides adequate evidence to determine which has the strongest evidence, creation or evolution. Thus, evolutionists Glenister and Witzke state that “the fossil record affords an opportunity to choose between evolutionary and creationist models for the origin of the earth and its life forms.1 Futuyma expressed a similar belief when he said: Creation and evolution, between them, exhaust the possible explanations for the origin of living things. Organisms either appeared on the earth fully developed or they did not. If they did not, they must have developed from pre-existing species by some process of modification. If they did appear in a fully developed state, they must have been created by some omnipotent intelligence.2 The authors begin by documenting that the worldviews of those involved in this contest are of considerable importance. Thus, Richard Lewontin, evolutionist and Harvard professor, states: Yet, whatever our understanding of the social struggle that gives rise to creationism, whatever the desire to reconcile science and religion may be, there is no escape from the fundamental contradiction between evolution and creationism. They are irreconcilable world views.3 The authors make it abundantly clear that theirs is the biblical worldview, which holds that God created the earth and all living organisms, as related in the first ten chapters of the book of Genesis. They then describe what should be found in the fossil record if creation is true and contrast that to what should be found if evolution is true. This discussion includes information on important aspects of geology and dating methods. As you read this book, you will find that Morris and Sherwin indeed present powerful scientific evidence from the fossil record that living organisms appeared abruptly on the earth in a fully formed state and remained in stasis until the present day. They exhibit amazing complexity from the start, not simple-to-complex evolution. Their fossils point to rapid burial in catastrophic, watery conditions, and are typically found today in mass fossil graveyards with organisms from mixed habitats, having suffered agonizing deaths. These features are just what should be present if they resulted from creation and a cataclysmic flood such as that recorded in the Bible. The authors then dig into the most interesting part of this book as they lay out the scientific evidence from the fossil record that in many cases is devastating to evolution. One example was so utterly contradictory to evolution that the evolutionist source proclaimed that “this is one count in the creationist’s charge that can only evoke in unison from the [evolutionary] paleontologists a plea of nolo contendere”!4 Thus, they leave the evolutionists in a position of no defense. Morris and Sherwin have thoroughly searched the scientific literature that augments their personal field study of the fossil evidence related to many features from fossils of the smallest organisms to the origin of man. They have assembled a wealth of material that is sufficient to enable all who study the fossil record with an open mind to realize that the record declares that “in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” I urge everyone who has an interest in the fossil record to obtain a copy of this excellent book. Duane Gish, Ph.D. Senior Vice President Emeritus Institute for Creation Research References Glenister, B. F. and B. G. Witzke, 1983, Did the Devil Make Darwin Do It?, D. B. Wilson, ed., Ames, IA: State University Press, 58. Futuyma, D. J., 1983, Science on Trial, New York: Pantheon Books, 197. Lewontin, R., 1983, In the Introduction to Scientists Confront Creationism, L. R. Godfrey, ed., New York: W.W. Norton and Co., xxvi. Strahler, A. N., 1987, Science and Earth History – The Evolution/Creation Controversy, Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 408. This beautiful, full-color book in hardcover is only $19.95 (plus shipping and handling). Order your copy today!   The Fossil Record The claim that fossils document evolution is simply not true. ICR geologist Dr. John Morris and zoologist Frank Sherwin unearth the evidence of earth’s history and conclude that the fossil record is incompatible with evolution, but remarkably consistent with the biblical account of creation and the great Flood of Noah’s day. To order The Fossil Record, click here.  

The Moon Creation and Composition: The Apollo Missions by Duane T. Gish* A discussion of the accomplishments of the Apollo Program. What did we learn about the origin, the nature and the age of the moon? Since the fourth day of creation, a beautiful silvery object we call the moon has orbited the earth, flooding the landscape with a soft light that engenders romantic expressions in poetry, song, and in the minds of earth-bound creatures. Earthbound, that is, until July 20, 1969, when the landing module of Apollo 11 touched down on the surface of the moon, and for the first time in the history of mankind, humans actually had their abode, as temporary as it was, on a body other than the earth. The three astronauts who participated in that visit to the surface of the moon spent a little less than two and a quarter hours walking on the moon, returning with 21.7 kilograms (about 47.7 pounds) of rock samples from the surface. This historic event was an accomplishment that astounded the world and thrilled a proud nation. Many of us remember looking at the moon during that time in awesome wonder realizing that there were human beings actually walking on its surface at that very moment. Thus, this month, July 1994, twenty-five years later, we commemorate that amazing event. Since that time, five other manned U.S. space craft have landed on the moon, culminating with the touchdown of the landing module from Apollo 17 on December 11, 1972. Each time samples of soil and rock were returned to the earth for analysis, the final sample from Apollo 17 amounting to 110.5 kilograms, or about 243 pounds. For the crews of the last three expeditions, Apollo 15, 16, and 17, a lunar vehicle, Rover, enabled the astronauts to cover distances up to 20 kilometers (12 miles) during their explorations and sampling forays. Now, after a quarter of a century, it is time to look back and reflect on what has been accomplished as a result of these human excursions on the surface of the moon, as well as the many unmanned landings on its surface, both preceding and following the manned landings. What were the expressed purposes and goals of those who planned, executed, and analyzed the results of these visits to the moon? Just what inspired this monumental effort of human endeavor and expenditure of huge amounts of money, and indirectly, cost the lives of three American astronauts while in training at Houston? Was it national pride? Was it real hope for practical results, or was it simply a desire to confirm theories on the evolutionary origin of the moon and the solar system? Certainly national pride was involved, as the U.S. was engaged with the Russians in a race to put the first man on the moon, but there is no doubt that the motivation of those planning and directing the project was to investigate the origin of the moon and to confirm one of the several theories concerning its evolutionary origin. Creation scientists, based on the clear and unequivocal statements in the Word of God, and firmly supported by well-established natural laws and the failure of all theories on the evolutionary origin of the universe, accept the supernatural, special creation of the universe, which, of course, includes the origin of the solar system with its earth and moon. And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: He made the stars also (Genesis 1:14-16). By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast (Psalm 33:6,9). Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested or the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made (Genesis 2:1 3). Thus, using special processes operating nowhere in the natural universe today, God created all the heavenly bodies, including the earth, the moon, the sun, and all the other objects in the solar system. Furthermore, Scripture makes clear that at the close of the sixth day of creation God had finished the work of creating the universe�the heavens and the earth for He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. Evolutionists, on the other hand, reject any explanation for the origin of the universe that involves God, or supernatural intervention of any kind. Thus, the late Professor Harlow Shapley, an astronomer at Harvard University, declared, "Some people piously proclaim, in the beginning God. I say, in the beginning hydrogen." Evolutionists are forever seeking after and exploring naturalistic theories concerning the origin of the universe and what they believe to be the subsequent origin of second and third generation stars. Naturally, these theories include those concerning the origin of the solar system, and the origin of particular objects within that system, including the earth and moon. In October of 1984, a conference on the origin of the moon convened in Kona, Hawaii. During the two-and-a-half day conference, 58 papers by 62 lunar scientists were presented. The results of the conference were published in 1986 in a volume entitled, Origin of the Moon. 1 In the preface (p.vii) it is stated that ". . . solving the mystery of the Moon's origin was billed as a major goal of lunar exploration." After a dozen years of analyzing all the data gathered from the samples of soil and rocks of the moon, and analyzing thermal,magnetic,and seismic data gathered by instruments placed on the moon or in orbital subsatellites, what can be said of success or failure of efforts to solve the mystery of the origin of the moon? Let us again quote from the Preface of the above-mentioned volume: "As it turned out, neither the Apollo astronauts, the Luna vehicles, nor all the kings horses and all the kings men could assemble enough data to explain circumstances of the Moon's birth" (p.vii). What these data were sufficient to do was to falsify all the theories on the origin of the moon that had been contenders up until that time. One of the participants in the conference was the geochemist Stuart Ross Taylor of the Research School of Earth Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra. He was paraphrased by Sean Solomon, another participant, as follows: 2 Taylor's Axiom: The best models of lunar origin are the testable ones. Taylor's Corollary: The testable models for lunar origin are wrong. David Hughes, in his review of the book edited by Hartmann, Phillips, and Taylor, says, "In astronomical terms, therefore, the Moon must be classed as a well-known object, but astronomers still have to admit shamefacedly that they have little idea as to where it came from. This is particularly embarrassing, because the solution of the mystery was billed as one of the main goals of the U.S. lunar exploration programme." 3 Does all of this prove that creation scientists have been shown to be correct, and all attempts to contrive an evolutionary explanation for the origin of the moon will be abandoned? Of course not. But the results so far are precisely what creation scientists expected. That is, no theory postulating a naturalistic, mechanistic, evolutionary origin of the moon will be consistent with the actual data derivable from the moon because it did not arise as the result of such a process. On the other hand, if the data could be made to conform to an evolutionary theory on the moon's origin, reasonable or not, evolutionists would be proclaiming victory. Headlines on the front pages of practically every major newspaper in the world would have proclaimed, "Moon data solve mystery of its origin." Of course, no such headlines appeared. To evolutionists, in spite of the wealth of data gathered from our visits to the moon, or perhaps we should say, because of the data obtained from our visits to the moon, its origin remains as mysterious as ever. THEORIES ON ORIGIN OF THE: MOON Three theories concerning the evolutionary origin of the moon have been dominant until very recently. These are the intact capture theory, the coaccretion theory, and the fission theory. With the data retrieved from lunar explorations, manned and unmanned, of the past three decades, severe constraints have been placed on theories of the moon's origin. Our moon is far more massive, relative to the earth, than is the moon or satellite system of any other planet, except, possibly, the relative size of Charon, the moon of Pluto. The angular momentum of the earth-moon system (that is, a combination of the forces due to the rotation of the earth on its axis and the orbit of the moon around the earth) is anomalously large when compared to the angular momentum density of other planets, and any theory on its origin must account for this large angular momentum. A study of Apollo samples showed that the rocks and soils of the moon are severely depleted in volatile elements and greatly enhanced in refractory elements. The moon is greatly deficient in iron, containing only about one-fourth of the cosmic abundance of this element. This is one of the strongest constraints, along with the data on angular momentum, that limit theories on the origin of the moon. However, the oxygen isotope signature of lunar material (the ratios of 16^O, 17^O, and 18^O) is identical to that of the earth. It is believed that oxygen isotopic ratios vary with position in the solar system. Thus, the similarity of oxygen isotopic ratios of the earth and moon would require their evolutionary origin from similar bodies of protoplanetary material, at the same radial distance from the sun. INTACT CAPTURE THEORY This theory was widely popular in the 1960s (and still has some defendants), but has largely fallen into disfavor. It was postulated that the earth and moon formed in widely separated parts of the solar system and were later joined as the moon was captured by the earth. This would supposedly account for the large differences in elemental composition, particularly the large difference in iron content of the earth and moon. Later it was realized that the moon could not have been captured if it originated in a remote region of the solar system since its encounter with the earth would have occurred at a relative high velocity, which would have rendered capture virtually impossible. Of course this theory, if acceptable, would have only explained the union of the earth and moon into its present system. The intact capture theory offers no explanation for the origin of either the earth or the moon. COACCRETION THEORY The modern coaccretion theory postulates that the earth, during its accretion, accumulated a disk of solid particles orbiting the proto-earth. These particles then accreted to form the moon. Because this theory does not involve wildly implausible ad hoc assumptions, it has been favored by many lunar scientists. This theory, however, encounters serious difficulties. It cannot account for the angular momentum of the earth-moon system, the differences in the chemical compositions of the earth and moon (which should be very similar if the earth and moon accreted from material in the same region of the solar system), and the assumed melting of the magma ocean of the moon. FISSION THEORY George H. Darwin, the son of Charles Darwin, announced his fission theory for the origin of the moon in 1878. Based on the observed secular acceleration of the moon (the rate of increase in orbital velocity and thus its movement away from the earth), Darwin worked backward to a state in which he postulated the earth and moon would have consisted of a common, molten, viscous mass, rotating rapidly with a period of approximately five-and-one-half-hours. He invoked the sun's tidal action to trigger fission, a mass approximately equal to the mass of the moon spinning off from the rapidly rotating earth mass. Others later suggested that the Pacific Ocean Basin was the scar left over from the separation of the material which constituted the moon. By the end of the 19th century, Darwin's theory was widely accepted and had taken its position among other myths made popular by widely disseminated scientific notions. In 1936, a children's radio program made available by the United States Office of Education included the following: 4 FRIENDLY GUIDE: Have you heard that the moon once occupied the space now filled by the Pacific Ocean? Once upon a time--a billion or so years ago, when the Earth was still young--a remarkable romance developed between the Earth and the Sun--according to some of our ablest scientists. In those days the Earth was a spirited maiden who danced about the princely Sun--was charmed by him--yielded to his attraction, and became his bride. The Sun's attraction raised great tides upon the Earth's surface. The huge crest of a bulge broke away with such momentum that it could not return to the body of mother Earth. And this is the way the Moon was formed! GIRL: How exciting! Professor Harold Jeffries of England, one of the world's foremost astronomers of that time, refuted some of the objections to the fission theory in 1917, and became one of its strongest proponents, helping to reestablish its position as a credible theory following attacks against this idea by a number of astronomers. However, in 1930, Jeffries discovered what he considered to be a fatal objection to the theory, having to do with the earth's viscosity and its effect in dampening the motions required to generate a resonant vibration necessary to induce fission. Thus, switching from the position of one of its strongest proponents of the fission theory, he became one of its most elective opponents. As pointed out by Stuart Ross Taylor and others, according to the fission hypothesis, the bulk composition of the moon should resemble that of the mantle of the earth, but there are substantial differences. In rejecting the fission hypothesis, Taylor lists seven critical objections to the theory. 5 Earlier, reference was made to the secular acceleration of the moon. The gravitational effect of the moon creates tides on the oceans of the earth. Due to the speed of rotation of the earth, these tidal bulges precede the moon's changing location in space. This fact causes the earth's rotation to slow slightly, and the moon is pulled forward in its orbit by the gravitational pull of the tidal bulges, increasing its orbital speed, causing the moon to move away from the earth. Laser-ranging instruments measure the earth-moon distance to within a few centimeters and have determined the rate of separation to be a few centimeters per year. The rate of separation, based on uniformitarian assumptions, would have been greater in the past. 6 According to some calculations, it would have taken no more than about 1.8 billion years, and possibly even less, for the moon to reach its present position from any possible minimal position. 7 If this is true, evolutionists must either abandon the fission theory or their ideas about the age of the earth. There is little doubt that they would give up the former rather than the latter. Fission theory has few supporters today. COLLISION EJECTION THEORY The capture, coaccretion, and fission theories of lunar origin had dominated the thinking of evolutionary theorists up until the results of the Apollo explorations on the moon raised fatal objections to these theories. A new theory was desperately needed, causing theorists on the origin of the moon to rethink the whole problem. Not yet willing to admit that the problem is intractable (most would never consider supernatural creation), and never short on imagination, these theorists have come up with a new idea: collision ejection theory. This theory postulates that during the final stages of its accretion, the earth was struck by a large planetesimal. According to this hypothesis, some of the material ejected by the collision went into orbit around the earth and formed the moon. This theory has come into prominence only recently, first of all because it is now much in need. Two serious objections to such a theory had previously existed. First, it would have involved a collision with a planetesimal as large as 0.1 earth mass, and it was believed up until recently that objects impacting the earth towards the end of its accretion were no larger than about one thousandth earth mass. Secondly, up until then it seemed obvious that material ejected off the earth would return to the earth and reaccrete after one geocentric orbit. Now, as Wood describes, 8 some astrophysicists have decided that collision during planetary accretion with planetesimals as large as 0.1 earth mass is actually to be expected. Other theorists struggled with the second problem and postulated that most of the debris ejected by a collision of two bodies already hot and partially molten could be in the form of a vapor rather than solids. This would get some of the material into orbit around the earth in position to form the moon. This theory on the origin of the moon involves a series of assumptions, by nature of which most are untestable. No attempt has been made to account for the chemical composition of the moon that would have been produced by formation of the moon by collisional ejection. Wood states, "This hypothesis is so new that its weaknesses have not yet become apparent." 9 It is popular today only because of the consistent failure of all other models. We can say with great confidence, then, that the results of the Apollo explorations to the moon, and data from all other sources as well, contradict and frustrate all human efforts to provide a naturalistic evolutionary origin of the moon. The uniqueness of the moon, as is also increasingly apparent from every other object in the solar system, is providing powerful, positive evidence for their special creation by God as proclaimed in Genesis and throughout all Scripture. DATING OF MOON ROCKS AND SOIL The supposed age of 4.5 billion years of the earth is actually based on radiometric age determinations of meteorites. Radiometric dating methods are based on a series of assumptions, and thus the accuracy of the method depends, of course, on the reliability of these assumptions. These assumptions have been questioned, and the vastages thus derived have been challenged. 10-12 Even if such methods were reliable, the catastrophic effects and reworking of the surface of the moon brought about by the bombardment of the moon by planetesimals and meteorites, especially as envisioned by evolutionary scientists, would render the dating of the origin of the moon by these methods impossible. It is often claimed that the age of the earth and of the solar system of about 4.5 billion years was confirmed by ages obtained for the moon. Actually, ages obtained for various moon rocks showed a very large spread, some giving a sample age of 20 billion years. The following table, reproduced from Whitcomb and DeYoung, 13 is based on data compiled by John G. Read, and shows some of the variations for Apollo sample material. Taylor also discusses some of the problems generated by ages obtained Jon lunar soil and rocks. He points out that soils in the maria had model rubidium-strontium ages of about 4.6 billion years, although they were supposedly derived from rocks which, according to radiometric dating methods, were only 3.6-3.8 billion years old; an impossible situation. Some soils gave model ages even greater than 4.6 billion years, the supposed age of the solar system. Taylor rejects these ages out of hand since, he declares, there is so much evidence indicating the formation of the solar system about 4.6 billion years ago. These ages are thus rejected as unacceptable. 14 Once it had been assumed that dating of meteorites had established the age of the solar system at approximately 4.6 billion years, evolutionists have clung tenaciously to that age, and calibrate events in earth history accordingly. Gale, Arden, and Hutchison, however, have discovered serious problems with the data from meteorites and the assumptions on which ages of these meteorites were derived, which had supposedly established an age of 4.5 billion years for the solar system. They declared, "We suspect that the lack of concordance may result in some part from the choice of isotope ratios for primitive lead, rather than from lead gain or uranium loss. It therefore follows that the whole of classical interpretation of the meteorite lead isotope data is in doubt, and that the radiometric estimates of the age of the Earth are placed in jeopardy. 15 This is not to infer that these scientists are declaring that the earth may be young, but certainly the 4.6 billion years religiously assumed by evolutionists for the age of the earth may be in serious doubt according to these scientists. Furthermore, as described in the books by Whitcomb and Morris 11 and H. M. Morris, 12 there are a great number of physical processes that indicate a young age for the earth and solar system. It can be said that in dating moon rocks, radio chronologists have applied the same assumptions used in methods to date rocks on the earth, which may be totally invalid. Their interpretation of the order of events on the moon and the nature of various components of the surface of the moon, therefore, may be completely erroneous. SUMMARY In his summing-up of the Kona conference on the origin of the moon, Wood states that the shift of confidence by lunar scientists in favor of the collision ejection model did not occur because strong evidence was presented that the moon was formed that way, or even that it was possible, but simply because the coaccretion model, most widely favored up until that time, was effectively disproved. 16 As Hughes stated, astrophysicists are actually embarrassed because of their admission, following the Apollo visits to the moon, that they still have little idea where the moon came from. 3 The Apollo missions to the moon, as well as the unmanned landings on the moon by Russian and American spacecraft, were a great scientific accomplishment, and the first step of Neil Armstrong on the moon on July 20, 1969, will always be remembered as one of the most memorable events in earth history, "One small step for man, but a giant leap forward for mankind." And in spite of, or better because of, all the data derived from these visits to the moon, we can say with greater confidence than ever that the best statement we can make, scientifically, concerning the origin of the moon is still . . . REFERENCES W.K Hartmann, R.J. Phillips, and G.J. Taylor, Eds., Origin of the Moon, Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, TX, 1986. W.K. Hartmann, et al, ibid. p. vi. David Hughes, Nature, vol. 327, p. 291 (1987). Stephen G. Brush, "Early History of Selenogony," in W.K. Hartmann, et al, ibid., p. 9. Stuart Ross Taylor, Planetary Science: A Lunar Perspective, Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, IX, 1982, p. 425. J.C. Whitcomb and D.B. DeYoung, The Moon--Its Creation, Form, and Significance, BMH Books, Winona Lake, IN, 1978, p. 39. R.B. Baldwin, A Fundamental Survey of the Moon, McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc., 1965, p. 40 (as quoted by Whitcomb and DeYoung, Ref. 6). John A. Wood, "Moon Over Mauna Loa: A Review of Hypotheses of Formation of Earth's Moon," in W.K Hartmann, et al, ibid., p. 42. John A. Wood, ibid., p. 44. J.C. Whitcomb and D.B. DeYoung, ibid., p. 99. J.C. Whitcomb and H.M. Morris, The Genesis Flood, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1961, pp. 333-344. H.M. Morris, Scientific Creationism, 2nd Ed., Creation-Life Publishers, Colorado Springs, CO, 1985, pp. 137-149. J.C. Whitcomb and D.B. DeYoung, ibid., p.100 (reproduced by permission). S.R. Taylor, ibid., pp. 123-126. N. Gale, J. Arden, and R. Hutchison, Nature (Physical Sciences), vol. 240, p. 57 (1972). John A. Wood, ibid., p. 47. * At time of publication, Dr. Duane T. Gish was Senior Vice President of the Institute for Creation Research. He has written extensively on the scientific implications of the biblical doctrine of creation.

ICR Research at a Glance Investigating the science that confirms biblical creation Astronomy Distant Starlight Project: answering the question of how starlight can arrive within the biblical time frame Intergalactic Structures Project: analyzing SDSS (Sloan Digital Sky Survey) data for patterns that challenge Big Bang assumptions Genetics Human Genome Project: disproving the myth that humans and chimps have 98% identical DNA Chimp Genome Project: reconstructing the chimp genome without evolutionary assumptions Climate Refuting Milankovitch Project: exposing circular and inconsistent reasoning in secular methodologies Pre-Flood Climate Project: reconstructing antediluvianconditions to confirm creation Fossils Dinosaur Proteins Project: characterizing the nature and extent of short-lived fossil biomaterials like intact vertebrate proteins and elements such as radiocarbon found inside dinosaur and other ancient bones Geology Column Project: analyzing rock layers globally to reconstruct the stages of the Genesis Flood and explain why certain fossils are found only in certain areas, and to determine the approximate topography of the pre-Flood world Physics Radiometric Dating Project: exposing the errors in secular dating methods to negate deep time Accelerated Decay Project: analyzing the conditions under which decay can be accelerated Isotope Project: analyzing samples for intermediate half-life elements to refute deep time Anatomy Organism Interface Project: applying engineering principles to reveal biological details of how organisms successfully relate with their environments and with other organisms Keep Up to Date on ICR Research Scientific research sometimes leads to unexpected but exciting conclusions. Stay abreast of ICR’s research results with updates on how our four sub-projects are progressing. Magazine articles Technical articles Meet the ICR Science Team Who are the scientists engaged in ICR’s mission to conduct quality scientific research within the realms of origins and earth history? Meet the team of individuals who are applying their training and expertise to questions that impact our understanding of the Genesis account of creation, the Flood, and beyond. Read the bios of the ICR Science Team. A Legacy of Creation Science Research For over 40 years, ICR has been the leader in scientific research from a biblical perspective, conducting innovative laboratory and field research in the major disciplines of science, as well as in ancient biblical studies. The institute’s mission has been to advance quality research that impacts our understanding of the creation model as described in Genesis. Since ICR’s founding by Dr. Henry Morris in 1970, ICR scientists have endeavored to utilize their research to demonstrate the evidence for creation as understood in Scripture, with the ultimate goal of magnifying the Creator. “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20) Learn more about the history of ICR. Click below to review previous ICR research initiatives. The RATE Project The CLIMATE Project The FAST Project The COSMOS Project The EPIPHANY Project

RATE Posters Well Received at AGU Conference Three RATE scientists presented posters at the 2003 American Geophysical Union Fall Conference in San Francisco in early December. John Baumgardner, Russell Humphreys, and Larry Vardiman each offered exciting results coming from research on Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth for the first time to a general science conference. The posters were well received by the organizers and attendees at the conference. About 10,000 scientists from all fields of geophysics meet annually at the Moscone Center in San Francisco to make presentations on their latest research. This year's conference included a session on the Centennial Celebration of Radioisotopic Geochronology: Dates, Rates, and New Debates. Abstracts at the conference may be reviewed at their website under Fall 2003 conference. This seemed like an ideal opportunity for RATE to report its latest results in a public forum. Dr. Humphreys, recently of Sandia National Laboratories and now full-time with ICR, reported on Recently Measured Helium Diffusion Rate for Zircon Suggests Inconsistency With U-Pb Age for Fenton Hill Granodiorite (V32C-1047). His actual poster had a title even more provocative to geoscientists: Precambrian zircons yield a helium diffusion age of 6,000 years. (“Precambrian” implies an accepted age of more than a half-billion years.) He presented his findings that granites which are dated at more than a billion years old with Uranium-Lead dating methods still have large quantities of helium in them. This Helium along with Lead are daughter products of the radioactive decay of Uranium. The Helium should have all diffused out of the granite by now if it were a billion or more years old. However, if the granite is only thousands of years old, the quantity of Helium still remaining agrees very closely with the rates Dr. Humphreys obtained from laboratory measurements of helium diffusivity in zircon. The measurements of the helium gave an age for the zircons of Biblical proportions: 6,000 ± 2,000 years. These findings indicate more than a billion years worth (at today's rates) of nuclear decay of Uranium has occurred within the last 6,000 years! Dr. John Baumgardner from Los Alamos National Laboratory and an active member of the RATE group reported on The Enigma of the Ubiquity of 14C in Organic Samples Older than 100 ka ( V32C-1045). He discussed his findings that various geological samples which are thought to be millions of years old, including diamonds, contain measurable amounts of Carbon-14. Samples this old should Dr. John Baumgardnerhave no Carbon-14 because it would have all decayed by now. Residual Carbon-14 found above the background level indicates that these samples thought to be millions of years old can be at most thousands of years old. The presence of Carbon-14 in diamond was of particular interest because diamonds eliminate the likelihood of contamination. Dr. Larry Vardiman, the facilitator of the RATE project, presented a poster prepared by Dr. Andrew Snelling on Abundant Po Radiohalos in Phanerozoic Granites and Timescale Implications for Their Formation (V32C-1046). He discussed the presence of Polonium radiohalos in granites and a mechanism for their formation. Radiohalos are discolored spheres of crystal surrounding centers of radioactive material like Uranium, Thorium, and Polonium. These Polonium radiohalos appear to have formed under catastrophic conditions which occurred during Creation or the Flood only a few thousand years ago. Radiohalos can only form very rapidly in a narrow temperature range after granite has cooled from magma to crystalline rock cooler than 150oC but before the radioactive center has completely decayed and hydrothermal circulation through the rock ceases. In the case of Polonium this must have happened on the order of weeks, not thousands or millions of years and was probably part of a brief but intense hydrothermal process combined with extremely rapid nuclear decay. The three papers were controversial but were accepted for poster presentations by the AGU organizing committee and were well received by those who interacted with the authors. The RATE scientists were greatly encouraged by the good reception they received. Some of the scientists who visited and talked with them were from radioisotope laboratories at the University of California at Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore, Yale, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Michigan, etc. The visiting scientists did not necessarily agree with the conclusions but the authors received no major negative comments. Some visitors actually offered suggestions to assist in future research. We hope these researchers will spread the word that Creationist scientists are conducting quality work and have solid evidence for a completely different paradigm about the age of the earth. Posters from conference: AGU Poster by Dr. D. Russell Humphreys-Precambrian Zircons Yield a Helium Diffusion Age of 6,000 years (December, 2003). AGU Poster by Dr. John R. Baumgardner-The Enigma of the Ubiquity of 14C in Organic Samples Older than 100 ka (December, 2003). AGU Poster by Dr. Andrew Snelling-Abundant Po Radiohalos in Phanerozoic Granites and Timescale Implications for their Formation (December, 2003). Back to top

ANDESITE FLOWS AT MT NGAURUHOE, NEW ZEALAND, AND THE IMPLICATIONS FOR POTASSIUM-ARGON "DATING" ANDREW A. SNELLING, Ph.D. - 1998 Presented at the Fourth International Conference on Creationism Pittsburgh, PA, August 3-8, 1998 Copyright 1998 by Creation Science Fellowship, Inc. Pittsburgh, PA USA - All Rights Reserved KEYWORDS Andesite, 1949-1975 flows, Mt Ngauruhoe, New Zealand, potassium-argon dating, anomalous model "ages", excess 40Ar*, excess 40Ar* in rocks and minerals, upper mantle, geochemical reservoirs, mantle-crust domains, crustal mixing, magma genesis ABSTRACT New Zealand's newest and most active volcano, Mt Ngauruhoe in the Taupo Volcanic Zone, produced andesite flows in 1949 and 1954, and avalanche deposits in 1975. Potassium-argon "dating" of five of these flows and deposits yielded K-Ar model "ages" from <0.27 Ma to 3.5 - 0.2 Ma. "Dates" could not be reproduced, even from splits of the same samples from the same flow, the explanation being variations in excess 40Ar* content. A survey of anomalous K-Ar "dates" indicates they are common, particularly in basalts, xenoliths and xenocrysts such as diamonds that are regarded as coming from the upper mantle. In fact, it is now well established that there are large quantities of excess 40Ar* in the mantle, which in part represent primordial argon not produced by in situ radioactive decay of 40K and not yet outgassed. And there are mantle-crust domains between, and within, which argon circulates during global tectonic processes, magma genesis and mixing of crustal materials. This has significant implications for the validity of K-Ar and 40Ar/39Ar "dating". INTRODUCTION Mt Ngauruhoe is an andesite stratovolcano of 2,291 m elevation, rising above the Tongariro volcanic massif within the Tongariro Volcanic Center of the Taupo Volcanic Zone, North Island, New Zealand (Figure 1) [38, 97]. Though not as well publicised as its neighbor, Mt Ruapehu (about 12 km to the south), Ngauruhoe is an imposing, almost perfect cone that rises more than 1,000 m above the surrounding landscape. Eruptions from a central 400 m diameter crater have constructed the steep (33-), outer slopes of the cone [46, 97]. GEOLOGIC SETTING The Taupo Volcanic Zone, a volcanic arc and marginal basin of the Taupo-Hikurangi arc-trench (subduction) system [13], is a southward extension on the Tonga-Kermadec arc into the continental crustal environment of New Zealand's North Island. It has been interpreted as oblique subduction of the Pacific plate beneath the Australian plate. The zone extends approximately 300 km north-northeast across the North Island from Ohakune to White Island (Figure 1) and is up to 50 km wide in the central part, narrowing northwards and southwards. This volcano-tectonic depression (Taupo-Rotorua depression [42]) comprises four rhyolitic centers (Rotorua, Okataina, Maroa and Taupo), plus the calc-alkaline Tongariro Volcanic Center, part of a young (<0.25 Ma) andesite-dacite volcanic arc with no associated rhyolitic volcanism extending along the eastern side of the zone [38]. The Tongariro Volcanic Center extends for 65 km south-southwest from Lake Taupo at the southern end of the Taupo Volcanic Zone (Figure 1) and consists of four large predominantly andesite volcanoes - Kakaramea, Pihanga, Tongariro and Ruapehu (Figure 2); two smaller eroded centers at Maungakatote and Hauhungatahi; a satellite cone and associated flows at Pukeonake and four craters at Ohakune (Figure 2) [15, 46]. Figure 1. The location of Mt Ngauruhoe in the Taupo Volcanic Zone (TVZ), New Zealand, showing the main structural features. The shaded area is the andesite arc, and the inset shows the major components of the boundary between the Australian and Pacific Plates in the New Zealand region (arrows indicate relative motions). Solid triangles are basalt-andesite volcanoes [38]. Most vents lie close to the axis of a large graben in which Quaternary volcanic rocks overlie a basement of Mesozoic greywacke and Tertiary sediments [41, 69]. North-northeast-trending normal faults with throws up to 30 m cut the volcanoes within the graben. Nearly all vents active within the last 10 ka lie on a gentle arc which extends 25 km north-northeast from the Rangataua vent on the southern slopes of Ruapehu through Ruapehu summit and north flank vents, Tama Lakes, Ngauruhoe, Red Crater, Blue Lake and Te Mari craters. None of the young vents lie on the mapped faults, which mostly downthrow towards the axis of the graben. The vent lineation lies above this axis, which is considered to mark a major basement fracture [41, 43, 69] that allows the intrusion of andesite dikes. The Tongariro volcanics unconformably overlie late Miocene marine siltstones beneath Hauhungatahi, and a minimum age for the onset of volcanism is measured by the influx of andesite pebbles in early Pleistocene conglomerates of the Wanganui Basin to the south [15, 43]. The oldest dated lavas from the Tongariro massif are horn-blende andesites exposed at Tama Lakes between Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu, at 0.26 - 0.003 Ma; from Ruapehu, 0.23 � 0.006 Ma; and from Kakoramea, 0.22 - 0.001 Ma (potassium-argon dates) [91]. Tongariro itself is a large volcanic massif that consists of at least 12 composite cones, the youngest and most active of which is Ngauruhoe. A broad division has been made into older (>20 ka) and younger (<20 ka) lavas [15, 92]. There is a north-northeast alignment of the younger vents of Tongariro, particularly evident between Te Mari and Ngauruhoe. NGAURUHOE Ngauruhoe is the newest cone of the Tongariro massif and has been active for at least 2.5 ka [43, 69, 97]. It has been one of the most active volcanoes in New Zealand, with more than 70 eruptive episodes since 1839, when the first steam eruption was recorded by European settlers [41, 69, 97]. Prior to European colonisation the Maoris witnessed many eruptions from the mountain [41]. The first lava eruption seen by European settlers occurred between April and August 1870, with two or three flows witnessed spilling down the north-western flanks of the volcano on July 7 [41, 69]. Following that event there have been pyroclastic (ash) eruptions every few years [69], with major explosive activity in April-May 1948. Figure 2. Location and deposits of the Tongariro Volcanic Center [15, 46]. The next lava extrusion was in February 1949, beginning suddenly with ejection of incandescent blocks, and a series of hot block and ash flows down the north-western slopes on February 9 [41, 69]. The southern sub-crater filled with lava, which by late on February 10 had flowed over the lowest part of the rim and down the north-west slopes of the cone. By February 12 the flow had ceased moving, subsequent mapping placing its volume at about 575,000 m3 (Figure 3) [7, 41]. Further explosive pyroclastic (ash) eruptions followed, reaching a maximum about February 19-21. The eruptions ended on March 3. The eruption from May 13, 1954 to March 10, 1955 began with explosive ejection of ash and blocks, although red-hot lava had been seen in the crater five months previously [41, 69]. The eruption was remarkable for the estimated large volume of almost 8 million m3 of lava that then flowed from the crater from June through September 1954, and was claimed to be the largest flow of lava observed in New Zealand (that is, by the European settlers) [41, 97]. The lava was actually expelled from the crater in a series of 17 distinct flows on the following dates [40, 41]: June 4, 30 July 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 23, 28, 29, 30 August 15 (?), 18 September 16, 18, 26 Figure 3. Map of the north-western slopes of Mt Ngauruhoe showing the lava flows of 1949 and 1954, and the 1975 avalanche deposits [7, 40, 41, 68, 69]. The location of samples collected for this study are marked. Figure 3 shows the distribution of those 1954 lava flows that are still able to be distinguished on the north-western and western slopes of Ngauruhoe. All flows were of aa lava (as was the February 1949 flow), typified by rough, jagged, clinkery surfaces made up of blocks of congealed lava. The lava flows were relatively viscous, some being observed at close quarters slowly advancing at a rate of about 20 cm per minute [40, 41, 97]. The August 18 flow was more than 18 m thick and still warm almost a year after being erupted. Intermittent explosive eruptions and spectacular lava fountaining during June and July 1954 built a spatter-and-cinder cone around the south sub-crater, modifying the western summit of the mountain. Activity decreased for two months after the last of the lava flows on September 26, but increased again during December 1954 and January 1955 with lava fountaining and many highly explosive pyroclastic (ash) eruptions. The last ash explosion was reported on March 10, 1955, but red-hot lava remained in the crater until June 1955 [40, 41]. After the 1954-1955 eruption, Ngauruhoe steamed semi-continuously, with numerous small eruptions of ash derived from comminuted vent debris. Incandescent ejecta were seen in January 1973, and ash erupted in December 1973 contained juvenile glassy andesite shards [69]. Cannon-like, highly explos-ive eruptions in January and March 1974, the largest since 1954-1955, threw out large quantities of ash and incandescent blocks, one of which was reported as weighing 3000 tonnes and thrown 100 m [69, 97]. Pyroclastic avalanches flowed from the base of large convecting eruption columns, down the west and north slopes of the cone, and the crater became considerably shallower [69, 70]. A series of similar but more violent explosions occurred on February 19, 1975, accompanied by clearly visible atmospheric shock waves and condensation clouds [67, 69, 97]. Ash and blocks up to 30 m across were ejected and scattered within a radius of 3 km from the summit. The series of nine, cannon-like, individual eruptions followed a 1.5 hour period of voluminous gas-streaming emission, which formed a convecting eruption plume between 11 km and 13 km high [68, 69, 97]. The explosions took place at 20-60 minute intervals for more than five hours. Numerous pyroclastic avalanches were also generated by fallback from the continuous eruption column, the avalanches consisting of a turbulent mixture of ash, bombs and larger blocks which rolled swiftly down Ngauruhoe's sides at about 60 km per hour [69, 97]. The deposits from these avalanches and the later explosions accumulated as sheets of debris in the valley at the base of the cone, but did not extend beyond 2 km from the summit. It is estimated that a minimum bulk volume of 3.4 million m3 of pyroclastic material was erupted in the 7-hour eruption sequence on that day [68]. Figure 3 shows the location of these avalanche deposits. There have been no eruptions since February 1975. A plume of steam or gas is still often seen above the summit of the volcano, as powerful fumaroles in the bottom of the crater discharge hot gases. However, the temperature of these fumaroles in the crater floor has steadily cooled significantly since 1979, suggesting that the main vent is becoming blocked. SAMPLE COLLECTION Field work and collection of samples was undertaken in January 1996. The Ngauruhoe area was accessed from State Highway 47 via Mangateopopo Road. From the parking area at the end of the road, the Mangateopopo Valley walking trail was followed to the base of the Ngauruhoe cone, from where the darker-colored recent lava flows were clearly visible and each one easily identified on the north-western slopes against the lighter-colored older portions of the cone (Figure 3). Eleven 2-3 kg samples were collected - two each from the February 11, 1949, June 4, 1954 and July 14, 1954 lava flows and from the February 19, 1975 avalanche deposits, and three from the June 30, 1954 lava flows. The sample locations are marked on Figure 3. Care was taken to ensure correct identification of each lava flow and that the samples collected were representative of each flow and any variations in textures and phenocrysts in the lavas. LABORATORY WORK All samples were sent first for sectioning - one thin section from each sample for petrographic analysis. A set of representative pieces from each sample (approximately 100 g) was then despatched to the AMDEL Laboratory in Adelaide, South Australia, for whole-rock major, minor and trace element analyses. A second representative set (50-100 g from each sample) was sent progressively to Geochron Laboratories in Cambridge (Boston), Massachusetts, for whole-rock potassium-argon (K-Ar) dating - first a split from one sample from each flow, then a split from the second sample from each flow after the first set of results was received, and finally, the split from the third sample from the June 30, 1954 flow. At the AMDEL Laboratory each sample was crushed and pulverised. Whole-rock analyses were undertaken by total fusion of each powdered sample and then digesting them before ICP-OES for major and minor elements, and ICP-MS for trace and rare earth elements. Fe was analysed for amongst the major elements by ICP-OES as Fe2O3 and reported accordingly, but separate analyses for Fe as FeO were also undertaken via wet chemistry methods. The detection limit for all major element oxides was 0.01%. For minor and trace elements the detection limits varied between 0.5 and 20 ppm, and for rare earth elements between 0.5 and 1 ppm. The potassium and argon analyses were undertaken at Geochron Laboratories under the direction of Richard Reesman, the K-Ar laboratory manager. No specific location or expected age information was supplied to the laboratory. However, the samples were described as andesites that probably contained "low argon" and therefore could be young, so as to ensure the laboratory took extra care with the analytical work. Because the sample pieces were submitted as whole rocks, the K-Ar laboratory undertook the crushing and pulverising preparatory work. The concentrations of K2O (weight %) were then measured by the flame photometry method [18], the reported values being the averages of two readings for each sample. The 40K concentrations (ppm) were calculated from the terrestrial isotopic abundance using the measured concentrations of K2O. The concentrations in ppm of 40Ar*, the supposed "radiogenic" 40Ar, were derived using the conventional formula from isotope dilution measurements on a mass spectrometer by correcting for the presence of atmospheric argon whose isotopic composition is known [18]. The reported concentrations of 40Ar* are the averages of two values for each sample. The ratios 40Ar*/Total Ar and 40Ar/36Ar are also derived from measurements on the mass spectrometer and are also the averages of two values for each sample. PETROGRAPHY AND CHEMISTRY Clark [11] reported that most of the flows from Ngauruhoe are labradorite-pyroxene andesite with phenocrysts of plagioclase (labradorite), hypersthene and rare augite in a hyalopilitic (needle-like microlites set in a glassy mesostasis) groundmass containing abundant magnetite. However, all lava, lapilli and incandescent blocks that have been analysed from eruptions this century also contain olivine; chemically they may be classed as low-silica (or basaltic) andesites (using the classification scheme of Gill [36]). The published analyses in Table 1 show only trivial changes in composition between 1928 and 1975. In fact, the 1954 and 1974 andesites are so similar that Nairn et al. [70] suggested that a solid plug of 1954-andesite was heated to incandescence and partially remobilised on top of a rising magma column in 1974. This plug was disrupted and blown from the vent as ejecta ranging in texture from solid blocks, through expanded scoria to spatter bombs. Table 2 lists the whole-rock major element analyses of the eleven samples collected in this study. Comparison of the data for each flow with the corresponding data in Table 1 indicates that in their bulk chemistries all the samples analyzed (and thus all the flows) are virtually identical to one another, the trivial differences being attributable to the statistics of analytical errors, sampling and natural variations. Thus it is not unreasonable to conclude that these basaltic andesites are cogenetic, coming from the same magma and magma chamber, even as they have been observed to flow from the same volcano.   1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 SiO2 56.63 57.24 55.90 56.22 56.2 55.83 55.73 56.05 TiO2 0.81 0.81 0.76 0.76 0.8 0.76 0.77 0.84 Al2O3 16.71 16.75 16.90 16.63 16.6 17.03 17.23 16.08 Fe2O3 1.16 1.54 2.10 2.37 1.4 2.14 2.13 3.24 FeO 7.00 6.44 6.30 6.14 7.0 6.36 6.47 5.57 MnO 0.16 0.12 0.15 0.15 0.1 0.16 0.16 0.15 MgO 4.85 4.58 5.20 5.24 5.2 4.79 4.89 5.03 CaO 8.16 7.95 8.40 8.31 8.3 8.37 8.52 7.93 Na2O 2.85 2.74 2.60 3.14 3.1 2.93 2.86 2.82 K2O 1.16 1.49 1.00 1.14 1.2 1.20 1.08 1.23 P2O5 0.16 0.17 0.10 0.17 0.2 0.15 0.15 0.15 H2O 0.31 0.24 0.06 0.19 N/A 0.14 0.10 0.38 TOTAL 99.95 100.07 99.47 100.46 100.1 99.86 100.09 99.47   1. Ejecta from March 1928 eruption [11,46] 2. Lava from February 1949 eruption [11, 46, 90] 3. Lava from June 30, 1954 flow [11, 27, 90] 4. 1954 lava (VU 29250) [38] 5. 1954 lava (VU 29250) [15, 69] 6. Average of four lava flows from 1954 eruptions [46, 70] 7. Average of five blocks and bombs from January and March 1974 eruptions [46, 70] 8. Lapilli from February 19, 1975 eruption [46]     Table 1. Whole-rock, major-element oxide analyses of recent lava flows at Mt Ngauruhoe, New Zealand, as reported in the literature. Nevertheless, Nairn et al.[70] suggested that even though the 1949 and 1954 lavas were both olivine-bearing andesite, the chemical analyses (Table 1) showed the 1954 lava to be slightly more basic than the 1949 lava, with slightly higher MgO, CaO and total iron oxides, but lower SiO2 and alkalis. However, these trends are not duplicated with any statistical significance by the analytical results of this study (Table 2). At least they found that their analyses of the 1974 lava blocks and bombs were identical within the limits of error with the 1954 lava (Table 1), which was also substantiated in this study with respect to the 1975 avalanche material and the 1954 lava (Table 2). Clark [11] and Cole [12] recognized five lava types in the Tongariro Volcanic Center based on the modal proportions of the phenocryst minerals. Graham [37] modified this scheme to six types based on a combination of mineralogy and chemistry, but given their uniform bulk chemistry and petrology, these Ngauruhoe lava flows group together as plagioclase-pyroxene andesite within Graham's -Type 1-. Cole et al. [15] have described -Type 1- lavas as volumetrically dominant within the Tongariro Volcanic Center and as exhibiting coherent chemical trends with increasing silica content. They are relatively Fe-rich and follow a typical calc-alkaline trend on the AFM diagram.   1A 1B 2A 2B 3A 3B 3C 4A 4B 5A 5B SiO2 56.7 56.2 55.3 55.8 56.3 55.9 55.6 56.1 55.6 56.0 55.4 TiO2 0.79 0.85 0.74 0.77 0.76 0.75 0.74 0.75 0.84 0.79 0.78 Al2O3 17.2 17.3 16.5 17.3 17.0 16.9 16.7 16.9 17.5 17.0 16.5 Fe2O3* 9.10 9.63 9.26 9.23 9.11 9.17 9.59 9.29 9.61 9.25 9.43 MnO 0.15 0.16 0.15 0.15 0.15 0.15 0.16 0.15 0.16 0.15 0.16 MgO 4.28 3.84 5.21 4.71 4.75 5.00 5.09 4.71 3.84 4.31 5.27 CaO 7.61 7.93 8.22 8.29 7.95 8.16 8.17 8.00 8.17 7.83 8.56 Na2O 3.08 3.19 2.91 3.03 3.06 2.98 2.95 3.02 3.11 3.08 2.86 K2O 1.15 1.01 1.05 1.00 1.10 1.08 1.06 1.12 1.04 1.10 1.09 P2O5 0.13 0.13 0.12 0.12 0.13 0.13 0.13 0.13 0.13 0.14 0.14 L0I 0.42 0.48 0.51 0.37 0.38 0.50 0.53 0.62 0.42 0.70 0.41 TOTAL 100.51 100.72 99.97 100.77 100.69 100.72 100.72 100.79 100.42 100.35 100.60 *Total Fe as Fe2O3 1. February 11, 1949 flow, samples A and B 2. June 4, 1954 flow, samples A and B 3. June 30, 1954 flow, samples A, B and C 4. July 14, 1954 flow, samples A and B 5. February 19, 1975 flow, samples A and B   Table 2. Whole-rock, major-element oxide analyses of five recent lava flows at Mt Ngauruhoe, New Zealand (Analyst: AMDEL, Adelaide; April 1996). Adapting the terminology of Gill [36], the Ngauruhoe lavas are described as basic andesites (53-58 wt% SiO2) [15]. Their designation as plagioclase-pyroxene andesites is based on the predominant phenocrysts present, with plagioclase greater than or equal to pyroxene. Two modal analyses are listed in Table 3 which very closely resemble the samples collected for this study. Component 1 2 Plagioclase Augite Orthopyroxene Olivine Iron Oxide Xenoliths Groundmass 22.6 2.6 6.0 0.2 - 2.6 66.0 21.6 2.6 5.8 0.2 g* 4.5 65.3 TOTAL 100.0 100.0 g* in groundmass 1. Ngauruhoe VU 29250 [15], a 1954 flow. 2. Olivine-bearing low-Si andesite, June 30, 1954 Ngauruhoe flow [12]. Table 3. Modal analyses of two recent lava flows at Mt Ngauruhoe, New Zealand, as reported in the literature. All samples of the five lava flows examined in this study exhibited a porphyritic texture, with phenocrysts (up to 3 mm across) consistently amounting to 35-40% by volume. The phenocryst assemblage is dominated (2:1) by plagioclase, but orthopyroxene and augite (clinopyroxene) are always major components, while olivine and magnetite are only present in trace amounts. This POAM phenocryst assemblage is a typical anhydrous mineralogy [15]. The groundmass consists of microlites of plagioclase, orthopyroxene and clinopyroxene, and is crowded with minute granules of magnetite and/or Fe-Ti oxides. Small amounts (9-10%) of brown transparent (acid-residuum) glass are also present, and the overall texture is generally pilotaxitic. Steiner [90] stressed that xenoliths are a common constituent of the 1954 Ngauruhoe lava, but also noted that Battey [7] reported the 1949 Ngauruhoe lava was rich in xenoliths. All samples in this study contained xenoliths, including those from the 1975 avalanche material. However, many of these aggregates are more accurately described as glomerocrysts and mafic (gabbro, websterite) nodules [39]. They are 3-5 mm across, generally have hypidiomorphic-granular textures, and consist of plagioclase, orthopyroxene and clinopyroxene in varying proportions, and very occasionally olivine. The true xenoliths are often rounded and invariably consist of fine quartzose material. Steiner [90] also described much larger xenoliths of quartzo-feldspathic composition and relic gneissic structure. The plagioclase phenocrysts have been reported as ranging in composition from An89 to An40 (andesine to bytownite), but in Ngauruhoe lavas are usually labradorite (An68-55). They are subhedral and commonly exhibit complex oscillatory zoning with an overall trend from calcic cores to sodic rims [12, 14, 15]. Thin outer rims are usually compositionally similar to groundmass microlites. Twinning and hourglass structures are common. Orthopyroxene predominates (>2:1) over clinopyroxene. Subhedral-euhedral orthopyroxene is typically pleochroic and sometimes zoned. Compositions range from Ca4 Mg74 Fe22 to Ca3 Mg47 Fe50 [14, 15], but representative bulk and partial analyses of Ngauruhoe orthopyroxenes [12, 26, 38] indicate a hypersthene composition predominates, which is confirmed by optical determinations [11, 12]. Euhdral-subhedral clinopyroxene is typically twinned and zoned, but compositions show a restricted range of Ca43 Mg47 Fe10 to about Ca35 Mg40 Fe25, all of which is augite [15, 39]. The olivine present is strongly magnesian, analyses indicating some compositional zoning from Fo88 to Fo78. The magnetite present in the groundmass is titanomagnetite, judging from the amount of TiO2 present in whole-rock analyses (Tables 1 and 2), but some ilmenite is likely to occur sporadically in association with it [15, 39]. K-Ar RESULTS All analytical results received from Geochron Laboratories are listed in Table 4, grouped in chronological order according to the historic date of each flow. The 40Ar* quantity refers to the amount of radiogenic 40Ar measured in each sample. All other quantities are self-explanatory, some of them being calculated from the analytical results supplied by the laboratory. The "age" of each sample is calculated from the analytical results using the general model-age equation [21, 28]:- (1) where: t=the "age" l =the decay constant of the parent isotope Dt=the number of daughter atoms in the rock presently Do=the number of daughter atoms initially in the rock Pt=the number of parent atoms presently in the rock To date a rock, Dt and Pt are measured, and equation (1) can then be used if an assumption about the original quantity of daughter atoms (Do) is made. Applied specifically to K-Ar dating, equation (1) thus becomes:- (2) where: t=the "age" in Ma (millions of years) 5.543 x 10-10=the current estimate for the decay constant of 40K 0.1048=the estimated fraction of 40K decays producing 40Ar 40Ar*/40K=the calculated mole ratio of radiogenic 40Ar to 40K in the sample It should be noted that to make equation (2) equivalent to equation (1), 40Ar* is assumed to be equal to (Dt - Do), which thus means the 40Ar* measurement has included within it an assumption concerning the initial quantity of 40Ar in the rock, namely, no radiogenic argon is supposed to have existed when the rock formed (that is, Do=0). Thus equation (2) yields a "model age" assuming zero radiogenic argon in the rock when it formed. The model ages listed in Table 4 range from <0.27 Ma to 3.5 - 0.2 Ma. However, it should be noted that the samples, one from each flow, that yielded model ages of <0.27 Ma and <0.29 Ma (that is, below the detection limits of the equipment for 40Ar*) were all processed at the K-Ar laboratory in the same batch, suggesting the possibility of a systematic problem with the analytical procedure and equipment (in particular, the gas extraction "line"). When this question was raised with the laboratory manager, Richard Reesman, he kindly rechecked his equipment and then re-ran several of the samples, producing similar results and thus ruling out a systematic laboratory "error". Click here to view Table 4 Table 4. K-Ar analytical results and model ages for five recent lava flows at Mt Ngauruhoe, New Zealand (Analyst: Geochron Laboratories, Boston; July 1996, December 1996, September 1997 and January 1998). Constants used: 40K/K=1.193 x 10-4g/g; Fraction of 40K decays to 40 Ar*=0.1048; Decay constant of 40K=5.543 x 10-10yr-1; Atmospheric 40Ar/36Ar=295.5 However, an independent blind check was then made, by submitting to the K-Ar laboratory duplicate splits from two samples already analysed, to establish if results really were reproducible. The samples chosen were the A and B samples of the June 30, 1954 flow, because their first splits had produced the lowest and highest model ages, <0.27 Ma and 3.5 - 0.2 Ma respectively. The results of these additional analyses are shown in Table 4 as A#2 and B#2, and yielded model ages of 1.3 - 0.3 Ma and 0.8 - 0.2 Ma respectively. Clearly, reproducibility was not obtained, but this is not surprising given the analytical uncertainties at such low to negligible levels of 40Ar*, which are at the detection limits of the laboratory's equipment [84]. DISCUSSION In spite of the wide variations in model "ages" obtained between and within these recent lava flows, and of the difficulties obtaining analytical reproducibility, it is apparent that the cause of the anomalous K-Ar model "ages" is excess argon in the lavas, that is, non-zero concentrations of radiogenic argon (40Ar*). This of course is contrary to the assumption of zero radiogenic argon in equation (2) for calculating the model "ages". When analysed the oldest of the lavas was less than 50 years old, so there has been insufficient time since cooling for measurable quantities of 40Ar* to have accumulated within the lavas due to the slow radioactive decay of 40K. Thus the measurable 40Ar* can't be from in situ radioactive decay since cooling, and therefore must have been present in the molten lavas when extruded from Mt Ngauruhoe. No Radiogenic Argon Assumption Violated by Many Anomalous "Ages" The assumption of no radiogenic argon (40Ar*) when the rocks formed is usually stated as self-evident. For example, Geyh and Schleicher [35, p.56] state: What is special about the K-Ar method is that the daughter nuclide is a noble gas, which is not normally incorporated into minerals and is not bound in the mineral in which it is found. Similarly, Dalrymple and Lanphere [18, p.46] state: "a silicate melt will not usually retain the 40Ar that is produced, and thus the potassium-argon clock is not "set" until the mineral solidifies and cools sufficiently to allow the 40Ar to accumulate in the mineral lattice." Dalrymple [17, p.91] has recently put the argument more strongly: "The K-Ar method is the only decay scheme that can be used with little or no concern for the initial presence of the daughter isotope. This is because 40Ar is an inert gas that does not combine chemically with any other element and so escapes easily from rocks when they are heated. Thus, while a rock is molten the 40Ar formed by decay of 40K escapes from the liquid." However, these dogmatic statements by Dalrymple are inconsistent with even his own work on historic lava flows [16], some of which he found had non-zero concentrations of 40Ar* in violation of this key assumption of the K-Ar dating method. He does go on to admit that "Some cases of initial 40Ar remaining in rocks have been documented but they are uncommon" [17], but then refers to his study of 26 historic, subaerial lava flows [16]. Five (almost 20%) of those flows contained 'excess argon', but Dalrymple still then says "that 'excess' argon is rare in these rocks"! The flows and their "ages" were [16]:  " Hualalai basalt, Hawaii (AD1800-1801) 1.6 - 0.16 Ma 1.41 -0.08 Ma Mt Etna basalt, Sicily (122BC) 0.25 -0.08 Ma Mt Etna basalt, Sicily (AD1792) 0.35 - 0.14 Ma Mt Lassen plagioclase, California (AD1915) 0.11 - 0.03 Ma Sunset Crater basalt, Arizona (AD1064�1065) 0.27 - 0.09 Ma 0.25 - 0.15 Ma Far from being rare, there are numerous examples reported in the literature of excess 40Ar* in recent or young volcanic rocks producing excessively old whole-rock K-Ar "ages": Akka Water Fall flow, Hawaii (Pleistocene) 32.3 - 7.2 Ma [58] Kilauea Iki basalt, Hawaii (AD1959) 8.5 - 6.8 Ma [58] Mt Stromboli, Italy, volcanic bomb (Sept. 23, 1963) 2.4 - 2 Ma [58] Mt Etna basalt, Sicily (May 1964) 0.7 - 0.01 Ma [58] Medicine Lake Highlands obsidian, Glass Mountains, California (<500 years old) 12.6 - 4.5 Ma [58] Hualalai basalt, Hawaii (AD1800�1801) 22.8 - 16.5 Ma [58] Rangitoto basalt, Auckland, NZ (<800 yrs old) 0.15 - 0.47 Ma [65] Alkali basalt plug, Benue, Nigeria (<30 Ma) 95 Ma [30] Olivine basalt, Nathan Hills, Victoria Land, Antarctica (<0.3 Ma) 18.0 - 0.7 Ma [1] Anorthoclase in volcanic bomb, Mt Erebus, Antarctica (1984) 0.64 - 0.03 Ma [25] Kilauea basalt, Hawaii (<200 yrs old) 21 - 8 Ma [72] Kilauea basalt, Hawaii (<1,000 yrs old) 42.9 - 4.2 Ma [19] 30.3 - 3.3 Ma [19] East Pacific Rise basalt (<1 Ma) 690 - 7 Ma [34] Seamount basalt, near East Pacific Rise (<2.5 Ma) 580 - 10 Ma [33] 700 - 150 Ma [31] East Pacific Rise basalt (<0.6 Ma) 24.2 - 1.0 Ma [23] Other studies have also reported measurements of excess 40Ar* in lavas. Fisher [29] investigated submarine basalt from a Pacific seamount and found "the largest amounts of excess 4He and 40Ar ever recorded" (at that time). McDougall [64] not only found "extraneous radiogenic argon present in three of the groups of basalt flows" on the young volcanic island of R�union in the Indian Ocean, but "extraneous argon" was also "detected in alkali feldspar and amphibole in hyperbyssal drusy syenites that are exposed in the eroded core of Piton des Neiges volcano." Significant quantities of excess 40Ar* have also been recorded in submarine basalts, basaltic glasses and olivine phenocrysts from the currently active Hawaiian volcanoes, Loihi Seamount and Kilauea, as well as on the flanks of Mauna Loa and Hualalai volcanoes, also part of the main island of Hawaii [51, 95], and in samples from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, East Pacific Rise, Red Sea, Galapagos Islands, McDonald Seamount and Manus Basin [62, 89]. Patterson et al. [76] claimed that some of the initial Loihi analytical results were due to atmospheric contamination of the magma either during intrusion or eruption, but subsequent work [51, 95] has confirmed that the excess 40Ar* is not from atmospheric contamination at all.   Excess 40Ar* Occluded in Minerals Austin [2] has investigated the 1986 dacite lava flow from the post-October 26, 1980 lava dome within the Mt St Helens crater, and has established that the 10-year-old dacite yields a whole-rock K-Ar model "age" of 0.35 - 0.05 Ma due to excess 40Ar* in the rock. He then produced concentrates of the constituent minerals, which yielded anomalous K-Ar model "ages" of 0.34 - 0.06 Ma (plagioclase), 0.9 - 0.2 Ma (hornblende), 1.7 - 0.3 Ma (pyroxene) and 2.8 - 0.6 Ma (pyroxene ultra-concentrate). While these mineral concentrates were not ultra-pure, given the fine-grained glass in the groundmass and some Fe-Ti oxides, it is nonetheless evident that the excess 40Ar* responsible for the anomalous K-Ar "ages" is retained within the different constituent minerals in different amounts. Furthermore, the whole-rock "age" is very similar to the "age" of the plagioclase concentrate because plagioclase is the dominant constituent of the dacite. That the excess 40Ar* can be occluded in the minerals within lava flows, rather than between the mineral grains, has been established by others also. Laughlin et al. [60] found that the olivine, pyroxene and plagioclase in Quaternary basalts of the Zuni-Bandera volcanic field of New Mexico contained very significant quantities of excess 40Ar*, as did the olivine and clinopyroxene phenocrysts in Quaternary flows from New Zealand volcanoes [78]. Similarly, Potts et al. [83] separated olivine and clinopyroxene phenocrysts from young basalts from New Mexico and Nevada and then measured "ubiquitous excess argon" in them. Damon et al. [20] have reported several instances of phenocrysts with K/Ar "ages" 1�7 million years greater than that of the whole rocks, and one K/Ar "date" on olivine phenocrysts of greater than 110 Ma in a recent (<13,000 year old) basalt. Damon et al. thus suggested that large phenocrysts in volcanic rocks contain the excess 40Ar* because their size prevents them from completely degassing before the flows cool, but Dalrymple [16] concluded that there does not appear to be any correlation of excess 40Ar* with large phenocrysts or with any other petrological or petrographic parameter. Most investigators have come to the obvious conclusion that the excess 40Ar* had to have been present in the molten lavas when extruded, which then did not completely degas as they cooled, the excess 40Ar* becoming 'trapped' in the constituent minerals, and in some instances, the rock fabrics themselves. Laboratory experiments have tested the solubility of argon in synthetic basalt melts and their constituent minerals near 1300-C at one atmosphere pressure in a gas stream containing argon [8,9]. When quenched, synthetic olivine in the resultant material was found to contain 0.34 ppm 40Ar*. Broadhurst et al. [8] commented that "The solubility of Ar in the minerals is surprisingly high", and concluded that the argon is held primarily in lattice vacancy defects within the minerals. In a different experiment, Karpinskaya et al. [54] heated muscovite to 740--860-C under high argon pressures (2,800-5,000 atmospheres) for periods of 3 to 10.5 hours. The muscovite absorbed significant quantities of argon, producing K/Ar "ages" of up to 5 billion years, and the absorbed argon appeared like ordinary radiogenic argon (40Ar*). Karpinskaya subsequently [53] synthesized muscovite from a colloidal gel under similar argon pressures and temperatures, the resultant muscovite retaining up to 0.5 wt% argon at 640-C and a vapor pressure of 4,000 atmospheres. This is approximately 2,500 times as much argon as is found in natural muscovite. These experiments show that under certain conditions argon can be incorporated into minerals and rocks that are supposed to exclude argon when they crystallize.   Applications to the Mt Ngauruhoe Andesite Flows Therefore, the analytical results from the very recent (1949-1975) andesite flows at Mt Ngauruhoe, New Zealand, that yield anomalous K-Ar model "ages" because of excess 40Ar*, are neither unique nor an artifact of poor analytical equipment or technique. This realization that the presence of the excess 40Ar* in these rocks is both real and measurable, and has not been derived from radioactive decay of 40K in situ, leads to the obvious questions as to whether there is any pattern in the occurrences of excess 40Ar*, and from whence came this excess 40Ar*? It is clear that the excess 40Ar* was in the lavas when they flowed from the Mt Ngauruhoe volcano and were trapped in the andesite as it cooled. That there were gases in the lavas is readily evident from the copious "frozen" bubble holes now in the rock, implying that much of the gas content escaped as the lavas flowed and cooled. When choosing samples, care was taken to select pieces from each flow that were different from one another (e.g., copious "frozen" gas bubble holes compared with virtually no such holes). It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the 40Ar* measurements on four of the five flows were consistent with such differences - the samples from each flow which had very few or virtually no "frozen" gas bubble holes yielded excess 40Ar* and thus anomalous K-Ar model "ages", whereas the other samples from each of these flows which contained copious "frozen" gas bubble holes failed to yield detectable 40Ar* (<0.27 Ma and <0.29 Ma in Table 4). The exception was the June 30, 1954 flow - not only was this expected relationship between excess 40Ar* and lack of "frozen" gas bubble holes not duplicated, but analyses on duplicate splits off the same samples yielded widely divergent results (<0.27 Ma versus 1.3 - 0.3 Ma and 3.5 - 0.2 Ma versus 0.8 - 0.2 Ma, see Table 4). Thus the presence (or absence) of excess 40Ar* must also depend on which portion of a rock sample is being analysed, which in turn implies dependence on the mineral constituents present, including the glass in the groundmass. As already noted, Austin [2] found widely different amounts of excess 40Ar* in the mineral separates concentrated from Mt St Helens 1986 dacite, while numerous other studies [60, 78, 83, 95] have located excess 40Ar* in phenocrysts.   Cooling Rates, Pressures and Potassium Alteration Another factor is the rate of cooling of lavas. Dalrymple and Moore [19] found that the 1 cm thick glassy rim of a pillow in a Kilauea submarine basalt had greater than 40 times more excess 40Ar* than the basalt interior just 10 cm below. The glassy pillow rim is, of course, produced by rapid quenching of the hot basalt lava immediately it contacts the cold ocean water, so the excess 40Ar* in the lava is rapidly trapped and retained. Dymond [23] obtained similar results on four deep-sea basalt pillows from near the axis of the East Pacific Rise. Dalrymple and Moore [19] also found that the excess 40Ar* contents of the glassy rims of basalt pillows increased systematically with water depth, leading them to conclude that the amount of excess 40Ar* is a direct function of both the hydrostatic pressure and the rate of cooling. In a parallel study, Noble and Naughton [72] reported K-Ar "ages" from zero to 22 Ma with increasing sample depth for submarine basalts probably less than 200 years old, also from the active Kilauea volcano. Seidemann [86] has reported yet another intriguing relationship. He analysed deep-sea basalt samples obtained from DSDP drillholes in the floor of the Pacific Ocean basin and found K-Ar "ages" increased with increasing K contents of the basalts, a relationship he noted also appeared in similar data published by DSDP staff [86, Figure 1]. In basalt pillows the K content increases from the margin to a maximum at an intermediate distance into the pillows, whereas holocrystalline basalts show a decrease of K inward from the margin [49]. Seidemann [86] concluded, as had others before him, that submarine weathering adds K to the basalts, as does alteration at the time of formation, whereas the glassy pillow margins are largely impervious to seawater. The net result, however, is unreliable K-Ar "dates", because the measured 40Ar* was probably not derived by radioactive decay of the measured 40K contents. Seidemann also determined that sediment cover is not a significant barrier to the diffusion of K into basalt. It is possible that some of these factors are relevant to the pattern of excess 40Ar* measured in the samples from the recent Mt Ngauruhoe andesite flows. For example, the surfaces of the flows would have cooled more rapidly to crusts on top of the still molten flow interiors, which would certainly have been the case with the August 18, 1954 flow that was reported as being 18m thick. Furthermore, the overburden pressure within the deep interiors of such thick flows would likewise inhibit degassing of the lava as it cooled. However, so long as the crusts on the tops of the flows remained unbroken and intact they would have sealed in the molten lava and its contained gases, including excess 40Ar*. But this sealing was probably short-lived, because today the flows mostly outcrop as piles of pieces of andesite that look like rubble (typical aa lavas). The continued flow of the lavas down the sides of the volcano would have broken up the crusts as soon as they congealed, as would contraction with cooling, thus enabling the molten interiors to degas as they cooled. So the speed of cooling was likely the most relevant factor, and this would have varied laterally and vertically within the flows, even at localised scales of a few centimeters. Any effects of weathering on the K contents of these flows can be discounted. On the one hand these are subaerial flows that do not appear to have been subjected to leaching or addition of K, or to any K-rich alteration for that matter, while on the other they have very uniform K contents (see Tables 1, 2 and 4). This is not unexpected, given the fact they flowed from the same magma source/chamber close together timewise. The K-Ar data in Table 4 do not reveal any discernible relationship between K contents and K-Ar model "ages" of these flows, unlike the negative correlation found in the Middle Proterozoic Cardenas Basalt upper member flows in Grand Canyon, Arizona [3]. Perhaps the key issues, though, are where this excess 40Ar* has come from, and whether it has been derived from radioactive decay of 40K. One possibility is that the excess 40Ar* can be accounted for by radioactive decay during long term residence of magmas in chambers before eruption. Esser et al. [25] discounted this option for the Mt Erebus anorthoclase phenocrysts. Dalrymple [16] found that whereas the Mt Lassen (1915) plagioclase phenocrysts yielded excess 40Ar* and an anomalous K-Ar model "age", a plagioclase from the 1964 eruption of Surtsey only had argon whose isotopic composition matched that of air. Because phenocrysts usually crystallize from lavas after eruption, they may arbitrarily trap excess 40Ar* during lava cooling, 40Ar* that will thus not be from in situ 40K radioactive decay.   Negative K-Ar Model "Ages" and Atmospheric Argon Another relevant consideration bearing on these issues is the observation noted by Dalrymple [16] that some modern lava samples actually yield negative K-Ar model "ages", apparently due to excess 36Ar. Air has an 40Ar/36Ar ratio of 295.5, but some of Dalrymple's samples had ratios less than 295.5 (and hence negative "ages"). Some of the Mt Ngauruhoe samples in this study also yielded 40Ar/36Ar ratios less than 295.5 (see Table 4). According to the straightforward interpretation of the K-Ar dating methodology, this should be impossible. Dalrymple was not willing to attribute these anomalous ratios to experimental error, and neither was Richard Reesman of Geochron Laboratories. Dalrymple [16] suggested three possible explanations that might account for the excess 36Ar: (1) incorporation of "primitive argon", (2) production of 36Ar by the radioactive decay of 36Cl, or (3) fractionation of atmospheric argon by diffusion. He rejected the possibility of significant 36Ar formation in situ from nuclear reactions [option (2)] because the Cl content of basalts and the production rate of 36Cl by cosmic-ray neutrons both are too low to account for any significant amount of 36Ar. Instead, Dalrymple seemed to favor option (3), that when atmospheric argon diffused back into lavas as they cooled, 36Ar diffused in preferentially. However, he also recognized the weakness of this argument -- it is difficult to explain why some lavas are enriched in 36Ar while others are not (as at Mt Ngauruhoe also). To be consistent, if fractionation of atmospheric argon occurred during diffusion, then this would mean that even supposedly "zero age" lavas actually have an apparent age, and that most lavas do not degas upon eruption. In fact, depending on how strong the fractionation of 36Ar was during diffusion, it could even be that all lavas do not completely degas. This only leaves Dalrymple's option (1), that the lavas with the anomalously high 36Ar come from areas of the mantle (and perhaps also the crust) which have primordial argon that has not been diluted with radiogenic 40Ar, and have not completely degassed. However, this means that there is no reason to assume that lavas whose argon matches that in the atmosphere have degassed either, because they may have simply started with argon which matches atmospheric argon. Nevertheless, Dalrymple is convinced that "much of the volatile juvenile content may still be present in volcanic rocks quenched on the ocean floor" [19]. Indeed, Dalrymple has specifically defined excess 40Ar* as 40Ar that is not attributed to atmospheric argon or in situ radioactive decay of 40K [18]. Krummenacher [58] is more cautious, attributing anomalous 40Ar/36Ar ratios and excess 40Ar* to the "mass fractionation effect on argon of atmospheric isotopic composition" trapped in the lavas, as well as to the presence of "magmatic" argon different in isotopic composition. The Role of Xenoliths Is the excess 40Ar* simply "magmatic" argon, that is, argon that collects in the magma and then is inherited by the lavas from it? Funkhouser and Naughton [32] found that the excess 40Ar* in the 1800?1801 Hualalai flow, Hawaii, resided in fluid and gaseous inclusions in olivine, plagioclase and pyroxene in ultramafic xenoliths in the basalt. The quantities of excess 40Ar* were sufficient to yield K-Ar model "ages" from 2.6 Ma to 2960 Ma. However, Dalrymple [16] subsequently only used the presence of the ultramafic xenoliths and their excess 40Ar* contained in inclusions to explain partly the excess 40Ar* and anomalous K-Ar model "ages" he obtained from the same 1800?1801 Hualalai flow, suggesting instead that the large single inclusions are not directly responsible for the excess argon in the flows and that the 40Ar* is distributed more uniformly throughout the rocks. Nevertheless, those K-Ar and Ar-Ar geochronologists who are concerned about the excess 40Ar* in their samples undermining their "dating" are careful to check for xenoliths, and xenocrysts. Esser et al. [25] did so and discounted xenocrystic contamination. Xenoliths are present in the Ngauruhoe andesite flows (Table 3), but they are minor and less significant as the location of the excess 40Ar* residing in these flows than the plagioclase and pyroxene phenocrysts, and the much larger glomerocrysts of plagioclase, pyroxene, or plagioclase and pyroxene that predominate. The latter are probably the early-formed phenocrysts that accumulated together in the magma within its chamber prior to eruption of the lava flows. Nevertheless, any excess 40Ar* they might contain had to have been supplied to the magma from its source. The xenoliths that are in the andesite flows have been described by Steiner [90] as gneissic, and are therefore of crustal origin, presumably from the basement rocks through which the magma passed on its way to eruption. Noble Gases from the Mantle With the advent of the necessary technology, the isotopic concentrations and ratios of noble gases (including argon) in rock and mineral samples are now obtainable. Honda et al. [51] have reported such analyses on submarine basalt glass samples from Loihi Seamount and Kilauea, Hawaii, and concluded that helium and neon isotopic ratios in particular, being uniquely different from atmospheric isotopic ratios, are indicative of the mantle source area of the plume responsible for the Hawaiian volcanism rather than from atmopsheric contamination of the magma [76]. The 40Ar/36Ar ratios are consistent with excess 40Ar* having also come with the magma from the mantle. A subsequent study [95], in which a larger suite of basalt glass samples, and also samples of olivine phenocrysts, from the same and additional Hawaiian volcanoes were analysed, concluded that the isotopic systematics indicate that the helium and neon have been derived from the mantle and have not been preferentially affected by secondary processes. Consequently, the excess 40Ar* also in these samples would have been also carried from the upper mantle source area of these basalts by the magma plume responsible for the volcanism. Moreira et al. [66] have suggested, based on new experimental data from single vesicles in mid-ocean ridge basalt samples dredged from the North Atlantic, that the excess 40Ar* in the upper mantle may be almost double previous estimates [89] (that is, almost 150 times more than the atmospheric content relative to 36Ar), and represents a primordial mantle component not yet outgassed. Burnard et al. [10] obtained similar results on the same samples, but maintained that because some of the 36Ar is probably surface-adsorbed atmospheric argon, the upper mantle content of excess 40Ar* could be even ten times higher. Similar results [94] have been obtained from ultramafic mantle xenoliths in basalts from the Kerguelen Archipelago in the southern Indian Ocean, and the considerable excess 40Ar* measured concluded to be a part of the mantle source signature of this hotspot volcanism. However, it has not only been the suboceanic mantle that has thus been sampled for its excess 40Ar* via such magma plumes. Matsumoto et al. [63] have reported high 40Ar/36Ar ratios in spinel-lherzolites from five eruption centers in the youthful (<7 Ma) Newer Volcanics of southeastern Australia. These anhydrous lherzolites have compositions representative of the upper lithospheric mantle, and the significant excess 40Ar* in them indicates the presence of a subcontinental mantle reservoir with a very high 40Ar/36Ar ratio, and thus substantial excess 40Ar*, similar to that found in mid-ocean ridge and plume/hotspot basalts. Another example is the Cardenas Basalt and associated diabase (Middle Proterozoic) of eastern Grand Canyon, regarded as part of the pervasive mafic mid-continental magmatism of the southwestern United States and thus also sourced from the subcontinental mantle. Austin and Snelling [3] have found that the 40Ar/36Ar?40K/36Ar isochrons for 14 and six samples of these rocks respectively yield initial 40Ar/36Ar ratios of 787 ? 118 and 453 ? 42, indicative of some initial excess 40Ar*. Sampling the Mantle with Diamonds and Their Inclusions Another means of "sampling" the mantle is the study of diamonds and their micro-inclusions. It is now firmly established that diamonds are thermodynamically stable in the pressure-temperature regime in the mantle at depths greater than 150 km, and their origin is believed to extend back to the Archean and the early crust of the Earth [55, 56]. Diamonds are formed in a number of processes associated with two rock types, ecologite and peridotite, xenoliths of which are also brought up into the upper crust with diamonds from the upper mantle below continental Precambrian shields (cratons) by kimberlite and lamproite "pipe" eruptions [44, 45, 56]. Even though the host kimberlite or lamproite may be relatively young (even in conventional terms), many diamonds date back to the Archean and thus the early history of the Earth [56, 85]. To account for all this evidence, it is postulated that the formation of most diamonds was closely associated with subduction of the Archean oceanic crust into the mantle [55, 56], the required carbon, which was originally thought to be primordial carbon already in the mantle, now believed to derive from sedimentary marine carbonates and biogenic carbon from bacteria/algae in the sediments subducted with the oceanic crust [24, 56, 57]. The noble gas contents of diamonds are consistent with their ancient and mantle origin, high helium isotopic ratios (290 times the atmospheric ratio) being regarded as primordial and rivalling those measured for the Sun today [44, 73]. Of significance here is the postulation that He, Ar, K, Pb, Th and U are added to the convecting upper mantle circulation, and the proportions and isotopic compositions are strongly determined by entrainment from the lower mantle (below 670 km) [45, 50]. This is reflected in those Ar isotopic measurements that have been made on diamonds and their micro-inclusions. Rather than focus on attempting to date only diamond micro-inclusions as others had done, Zashu et al. [98] carefully selected 10 Zaire diamonds and examined them for purity before undertaking K-Ar dating analyses of the diamonds themselves. However, at the outset they noted that there had been almost no direct radiometric dating of diamonds except for conventional K-Ar dating, and the results had been questionable due to the possible presence of excess 40Ar*. To avoid this problem, they used the K-Ar isochron dating method. Their experimental data showed good linear correlations, but these isochrons yielded an age of 6.0 ? 0.3 Ga, which of course was unacceptable because these diamonds would be older than the Earth itself. Mistakes in the experimental procedure were easily discounted, so they were forced to conclude that excess 40Ar* was responsible, and that it needed to be in a fluid state to ensure the homogenization necessary to give such a constant 40Ar/K ratio. Alternately, they speculated that the diamonds might differ in K isotopic composition from common potassium, but this was discounted in a follow-up study [81] in which it was found that 40K was present in these diamonds in normal abundance. Because 40Ar/39Ar analyses yielded the same unacceptable "age", it was concluded that the excess 40Ar* was not generated in situ, but was an inherited or "trapped" component from the mantle reservoir when and where the diamonds formed. These Zaire diamonds are not the only ones which have yielded excess 40Ar*. Phillips et al. [79] used a laser-probe to 40Ar/39Ar date eclogitic clinopyroxene inclusions in diamonds from the Premier kimberlite, South Africa, and found moderate 40Ar/36Ar ratios indicative of much less excess 40Ar* than in the Zaire diamonds. The "age" of these eclogitic diamonds was thus determined to be 1.198 ? 0.014 Ga, much younger than the 3.3 Ga peridotitic diamonds at Kimberley and Finsch [56], also in South Africa, so Phillips et al. [79] interpreted the moderate excess 40Ar* as characteristic of mantle conditions prevailing at the time and in the region of Premier eclogitic diamond formation. Zashu et al. [98] postulated that the excess 40Ar* in the Zaire diamonds needed to be in a fluid state. Though Navon et al. [71] did not analyse for argon when they investigated fluids in micro-inclusions in diamonds from Zaire and Botswana, they found a high content of volatiles and incompatible elements in the uniform average composition of the micro-inclusions, with the amounts of water and CO2 (in carbonates) almost an order of magnitude higher than the volatile contents of kimberlites and lamproites (host rocks to diamonds). At 1?3 wt%, the chlorine levels were also much higher than those of kimberlites (<0.1%), although the bulk composition of the micro-inclusions, including the high K2O content (up to 29.7 wt%), resembled that of such potassic magmas. They concluded that these micro-inclusions represent the volatile-rich (~40% volatiles) fluid or melt from the upper mantle in which the diamonds grew, and that because of the high volatile content in this hydrous mantle fluid, high levels of rare gases may also be expected and explain the high 40Ar/K ratios (the excess 40Ar*) and anomalous "ages". As a result of continued investigation of the Zaire cubic diamonds, which produced 40Ar/39Ar age spectra yielding a ~5.7 Ga isochron, Ozima et al. [74] discovered that just as there was an excellent correlation between their potassium contents and 40Ar/36Ar ratios, there is also a correlation between their chlorine contents and 40Ar. They concluded from their data "that the 40Ar is an excess component which has no age significance, and that the 40Ar and its associated potassium are contained in sub-micrometer inclusions of mantle-derived fluid." Turner et al. [93] also used the 40Ar/39Ar technique through correlations with K, Cl and 36Ar to unscramble the mixtures of radiogenic and parentless (excess) Ar components in fluid inclusions in "coated" Zaire diamonds and in olivine from an East African mantle xenolith. Their results proved conclusively that 40Ar is present in a widespread chlorine-rich component, which implies the existence of H2O/CO2-rich phases with 40Ar/Cl ratios that are "remarkably uniform over large distances", with enrichments of these two incompatible elements by almost four orders of magnitude relative to bulk upper-mantle values. Clearly, excess 40Ar* is abundant in the mantle and can be easily transported up into the crust. Crustal Excess 40Ar* Is there only evidence for excess 40Ar* in the mantle, gleaned from rocks (basalts and ultramafic xenoliths) and minerals (olivine, pyroxene, plagioclase and diamonds) that were formed in, or ascended from, the mantle? Patterson et al. [77] envisage noble gases from the mantle (and the atmosphere) migrating and circulating through the crust, so there should be evidence of excess 40Ar* in crustal rocks and minerals. In fact, noble gases in CO2-rich natural gas wells support such migration and circulation ?that is, the isotopic signatures clearly indicate a mantle origin for the noble gases, including amounts of excess 40Ar* in some CO2-rich natural gas wells exceeding those in the mantle-derived mid-ocean ridge basalts [6, 10, 66, 88, 89]. Staudacher [88] also notes that the quantities of excess 40Ar* in the continental crust can be as much as five times that found in such mantle-derived mid-ocean ridge basalts [89], strongly suggesting that excess 40Ar* in crustal rocks and their constituent minerals could well be the norm rather than the exception, thus making all K-Ar (and Ar-Ar) dating questionable. It has now been established that some diamonds can form in the crust ? during high-grade metamorphism [22, 87] and via shock metamorphism during meteorite or asteroid impact [52]. The pressures and temperatures of high-grade metamorphism had been regarded as insufficient to produce diamonds, but the key ingredient was found to be volatile N2-CO2-rich fluids. Noble gas data on these diamonds are not yet available, due to their size and rarity, but such data have been definitive in establishing the crustal origin of carbonado diamonds [75]. Nevertheless, they still contain excess 40Ar*. Dalrymple [17], referring to metamorphism and anatexis of rocks in the crust, commented, "If the rock is heated or melted at some later time, then some or all the 40Ar may escape and the K-Ar clock is partially or totally reset". In other words, 40Ar* escapes to migrate in the crust where it may then be incorporated in other minerals as excess 40Ar*, just as 40Ar* degassing from the mantle does. Thus, for example, excess 40Ar* has been recorded in many minerals (some of which contain no 40K) in crustal rocks, such as quartz, plagioclase, pyroxene, hornblende, biotite, olivine, beryl, cordierite, tourmaline, albite and spodumene [33, 61] ? in pegmatites, metamorphic rocks, and lavas. And it is not just K-Ar dating analyses that detect excess 40Ar*, as Lanphere and Dalrymple [59] used the 40Ar/39Ar method to confirm the presence of excess 40Ar* in feldspars and pyroxenes. Indeed, in a recent study [80], 128 Ar isotopic analyses were obtained from ten profiles across biotite grains in amphibolite-granulite facies metamorphic rocks, and apparent 40Ar/39Ar "ages" within individual grains ranged from 161 to 514 Ma. The investigators concluded that these observations cannot be solely due to radiogenic build-up of 40Ar*, but must be the result of incorporation by diffusion of excess 40Ar* from an external source, namely, 40Ar* from the mantle and other crustal rocks and minerals. Indeed, Harrison and McDougall [47] were able to calculate a well-defined law for 40Ar diffusion from hornblende in a gabbro due to heating. They also found that the excess 40Ar* which had developed locally in the intergranular regions of the host gabbro reached partial pressures in some places of at least 10-2 atm. This crustal migration of 40Ar* is known to cause grave problems in attempted regional geochronology studies. In the Middle Proterozoic Musgrave Block of northern South Australia, Webb [96] found a wide scatter of K-Ar mineral ages ranging from 343 Ma to 4493 Ma due to inherited (or excess) 40Ar*, so that no meaningful interpretation could be drawn from the rocks (granulite, gneiss, pseudotrachylite, migmatite, granite and diabase). Of the diabase dikes which gave anomalous ages, he concluded that "The basic magmas probably formed in or passed through zones containing a high partial pressure of 40Ar*, permitting inclusion of some of the gas in the crystallizing minerals." Likewise, when Baski and Wilson [5] attempted to argon date Proterozoic granulite-facies rocks in the Fraser Range (Western Australia) and Strangways Range (central Australia), they found that garnet, sapphirine and quartz in those rocks contained excess 40Ar* that rendered their argon dating useless because of "ages" higher than expected. They also concluded that the excess 40Ar* was probably incorporated at the time of formation of the minerals, and their calculations suggested a partial pressure of ~0.1 atm Ar in the Proterozoic lower crust of Australia, which extends over half the continent. In a detailed 40Ar/39Ar dating study of high-grade metamorphic rocks in the Broken Hill region of New South Wales (Australia), Harrison and McDougall [48] found evidence of widely distributed excess 40Ar*. The minerals most affected were plagioclase and hornblende, with step heating 40Ar/39Ar "age" spectra yielding results of up to 9.588 Ga. Such unacceptable "ages" were produced by excess40Ar* release, usually at temperatures of 350?650?C and/or 930?1380?C, suggesting the excess 40Ar* is held in sites within the respective mineral lattices with different heating requirements for its release. There are three principal trapping sites for Ar in solids ? structural holes, edge dislocations and lattice vacancies. (Argon is also known to be held sometimes in some minerals in fluid inclusions.) Clearly, this study shows that at crustal temperatures, which are less than 930?C, some excess 40Ar* will always be retained in those trapping sites in minerals where it is obviously "held" more tightly, thus rendering K-Ar and 40Ar/39Ar dating questionable. Harrison and McDougall [48] were only able to produce a viable interpretation of the data because they made assumptions about the expected age of the rocks and of a presumed subsequent heating event (based on Pb-Pb and Rb-Sr dating), the latter being the time when they conjecture that accumulated 40Ar* was released from minerals causing a significant regional Ar partial pressure of ~3x10-4 atm to develop. Mantle-Crust Domains and Excess 40Ar* Harte and Hawkesworth [50] have identified domains within the mantle and crust and described the interaction between them, all of which is relevant to the migration and circulation of argon (and thus excess 40Ar*) from the lower mantle to the crust and to lavas extruded on the Earth?s surface. The six domains are physically distinct units which show wide differences in average physical and chemical properties, as well as apparent age, structure, and tectonic behavior. They are the lower mantle (below 670 km), upper mantle, continental mantle lithosphere, oceanic mantle lithosphere, continental crust and oceanic crust, and each is a distinct geochemical reservoir. Each domain may provide material for magmatic rocks, and particular geochemical features of magmas may be associated with particular domains. Thus the convecting upper mantle which comes to the surface at mid-ocean ridges may be identified as the source of most geochemical features of mid-ocean ridge basalts, including their excess 40Ar* content. Similarly, the convecting lower mantle is regarded as the primordial or bulk Earth geochemical reservoir, which may also contribute excess 40Ar* to mid-ocean ridge basalts, but is more important for its contribution to ocean island basalts (e.g. Hawaii) and other plume-related basalts (continental alkali basalts and continental flood basalts). However, considerable complexity may be added to the deeper mantle geochemical structure as a result of localized accumulation of subducted oceanic lithosphere. Porcelli and Wasserburg [82] have proposed a steady-state upper mantle model for mass transfer of rare gases, including argon. The rare gases in the upper mantle are derived from mixing of rare gases from the lower mantle, subducted rare gases, and radiogenic nuclides produced in situ. Porcelli and Wasserburg claim that all of the 40Ar in the closed-system lower mantle has been produced by 40K decay in the lower mantle, but this claim is based on the assumption of a 4.5 Ga Earth. In any case, they contradict themselves, because they also state [82, p. 4924], "The lower mantle is assumed to have evolved isotopically approximately as a closed system with the in situ decay of 129I, 244Pu, 238U, 232Th, and 40K adding to the complement of initial rare gases." In other words, they admit that some of the 40Ar must be primordial and not dervied from radioactive 40K. They then go on to claim that in the upper mantle, 40K decay further increases the radiogenic 40Ar from the lower mantle by a factor of ~3, but again this presupposes a 4.5 Ga Earth and doesn?t allow for primordial 40Ar that could well be also in the upper mantle if it?s admitted to be in the lower mantle. In the case of the continental and oceanic lithospheric domains, the lack of convective stirring means that different geological processes and events may implant in each domain a variety of geochemically distinct materials which will remain isolated from one another. Therefore, these domains do not have a single set of geochemical characteristics; thus identification of geochemically defined "sources" with particular physically defined crust-mantle domains is complex, and the geochemical definition of particular reservoirs cannot be regarded as simply definition of major physical entities. Nevertheless, excess 40Ar* will be added to these domains by the passage of basaltic magma plumes from the upper mantle to the Earth?s surface. Furthermore, the processes of oceanic lithosphere formation from the convecting upper mantle in association with mid-ocean ridge activity mean that its isotopic characteristics everywhere will be largely similar to those of the convecting upper mantle and mid-ocean ridge basalts, including the addition of excess 40Ar*. The corollary to this is that the oceanic crust is formed as part of these same processes. However, the oceanic crust generally has a thin veneer of sediments over it, and thick wedges of sediments adjacent to the domains of continental crust, whereas sections of oceanic crust are hydrothermally altered. The compositions of these components of the oceanic crust may, therefore, include a considerable contribution from continental detritus and ocean water, so that this oceanic crustal material may give rise to a distinct geochemical reservoir, the fate of which during subduction back into the upper mantle becomes critically important if it contributes to island arc volcanics, plume-related intra-place magmas and mantle-derived xenoliths. The complexity of continental crustal material is well known through direct observation, and the mantle lithosphere attached to it may be expected to show a similar complexity. Nevertheless, it is evident that excess 40Ar* also resides in the continental mantle lithosphere, as indicated by xenoliths [63]. Likewise, there is evidence of excess 40Ar* in crustal magmatic rocks (e.g., gabbros [47], pegmatites [61]), migrating through metamorphic terrains [5, 48, 96], and in natural gas in sedimentary reservoirs [88]. Mt Ngauruhoe in its Tectonic Framework The presence, therefore, of excess 40Ar* in the recent andesite flows at Mt Ngauruhoe is to be expected. The Taupo Volcanic Zone is a volcanic arc and marginal basin of the Taupo-Hikurangi arc-trench system (see Figure 1 again), which is a southward extension of the Tonga-Kermadec arc into the continental crustal environment of New Zealand?s North Island [13]. Geophysical investigations indicate that the Pacific Plate is being obliquely subducted beneath the Australian Plate on which most of New Zealand?s North Island sits, and that the volcanoes of the Taupo Volcanic Zone, including Ngauruhoe in the Tongariro Volcanic Center, are about 80 km directly above the subducting Pacific Plate, a zone of earthquakes revealing where the movement is taking place [97]. Friction along the plane of contact is believed to cause melting to produce pockets of magma, which then feed via conduits to the volcanoes above. Thus the recent andesite flows at Mt Ngauruhoe are calc-alkaline island arc volcanics. The tectonic and geochemical framework of the Ngauruhoe andesite flows within the mantle-crust domains of Harte and Hawkesworth [50] is that of subducting oceanic crust (derived from the convecting upper mantle), carrying with it the wedge of continental sedimentary detritus which has accumulated at the continental margin and in the adjacent trench to the east of the coastline. Attached beneath the subducting oceanic crust is its associated oceanic mantle lithosphere, and together they are being thrust downwards into the upper mantle. Above the subducting plate are the continental crust and continental mantle lithosphere of the overriding plate, the continental crust being at the contact plane at shallow depths near the trench, and then the attached continental mantle lithosphere beneath at a depth of about 35 km [38]. Thus the geochemical reservoir from which the Ngauruhoe andesite magma has been drawn is potentially a mixture of melted oceanic crust, continental sedimentary detritus and continental crust, and possibly continental mantle lithosphere, or even upper mantle. Genesis of the Mt Ngauruhoe Andesite Magma and its Excess 40Ar* One of the easier investigations of the petrogenesis of these volcanic rocks of the Taupo Volcanic Zone was that of Stipp [91], and Ewart and Stipp [27]. They analysed samples that had been systematically collected, including not only the lavas and the pyroclastics, but also the Permian to Jurassic interbedded greywackes, siltstones and shales (the potential crustal source rocks) which are spatially related to, and underlie, the volcanics. Of primary interest were Sr, Rb and K contents, and 87Sr/86Sr and 87Rb/86Sr ratios. Three possibilities for the origin of the calc-alkaline andesite magma were under investigation ? fractional crystallization of a basalt magma under oxidizing conditions; some form of hybridization between basaltic and acidic magmas, possibly followed by fractional crystallization; and derivation of a primary andesite magma from the upper mantle. Ewart and Stipp [27] regarded their Sr isotopic data as more consistent with the production of the andesites by partial assimilation of sedimentary material by basaltic magma (derived from the upper mantle), the adjacent greywackes, siltstones and shales being the most likely sedimentary material, and the unassimilated gneissic xenoliths probably representing the basement rocks to those sediments. However, they admitted that the data did not exclude the possibility of a primary andesitic magma derived directly from the upper mantle, provided that some assimilation of crustal material modified it prior to eruption. Subsequent investigations by Cole [12] favored the alternate petrogenetic model of a primary andesitic magma. He suggested that the subducting oceanic crust assimilated the greywacke-siltstone-shale and overlying sediments east of the Taupo Volcanic Zone to produce amphibolite, which subsequently broke down to produce phlogopite eclogite below 90 km. This in turn partially melted at 150?200 km, and the resultant magma fractionated in the upper mantle or lower crust to produce andesite. However, based on rare-earth element geochemistry, Cole et al. [14] modified that petrogenetic model, suggesting that while the andesite magma genesis was probably associated in the upper mantle with the downgoing slab and some crustal contamination occurred, the andesite does not appear to have had an eclogite parent. This would then suggest that the melting associated with the subducting slab to generate the andesite magma occurred at a depth of less than 90 km. Graham and Hackett [38] agreed with this conclusion, demonstrating from geophysical evidence that the top of the subducting slab is at a depth of about 80 km below Ngauruhoe, and that the crust there is probably less than 20 km thick. Thus the upper mantle wedge between would consist only of plagioclase-peridotite and spinel-peridotite. At 80 km depth the hydrated amphibolite assemblage of the upper portion of the subducting slab of oceanic crust and oceanic mantle lithosphere would have started to dehydrate, thus liberating water and possibly other volatile constituents into the overlying upper mantle wedge, significantly lowering its melting point. Graham and Hackett [38] then showed that the geochemical evidence requires the andesite magma for the Ngauruhoe lava flows to have been generated from an original low-alumina basalt magma produced in the upper mantle wedge by anatexis of the asthenosphere (uppermost mantle) and/or subcontinental mantle lithosphere probably catalysed by hydrous, metasomatic fluids from the subducting slab. Some specific geochemical enrichment then appears to have occurred as a result of this mantle metasomatism and continental crustal contamination during ascent and storage of the magma. Graham and Hackett [38] used least squares geochemical modelling to show how the andesite magma could be generated from such a parent basalt magma by a process of combined assimilation of crustal material (addition of 6 per cent assimilant) and fractional crystallization (30 per cent removal of crystals). Furthermore, the presence of xenoliths in the Ngauruhoe andesite flows, particularly the vitrified meta-greywacke and gneissic xenoliths, indicate conclusively that the assimilant was most likely a partial melt of gneiss, originally the adjacent greywacke-siltstone-shale sediments [38, 39]. These processes responsible for the generation of the andesite magma did not diminish the excess 40Ar* content of the resultant flows. Though the amount of excess 40Ar* is not high when compared with that found in mid-ocean ridge basalts, it is nonetheless significant that the excess 40Ar* was still present in the lavas upon eruption and cooling. The evidence indicates that the parent basaltic magma was generated in the upper mantle where the excess 40Ar* in the geochemical reservoir is now known to be upwards of 150 times more than the atmospheric content, relative to 36Ar. The subsequent crustal contamination and fractional crystallization to form the andesite magma during ascent, and the degassing of the magma during eruption and lava flow and cooling, did not remove all the excess 40Ar*, a small portion of which was left to be trapped in the congealed lava and its constituent minerals. This model for the generation of the andesite magma in the post-Flood world is, of course, based on the plate tectonics model for global tectonics through Earth history. Even though the postulated plate movements today are extremely slow, and thus extrapolated back over millions of years by uniformitarians, a catastrophic model for plate tectonics in the context of the Flood is entirely compatible with both Scripture and the scientific data [4]. Plate movements are regarded as occurring catastrophically during the Flood and then rapidly slowing down to today?s rates in the post-Flood era. CONCLUSIONS The fact that there is even some excess 40Ar* in these recent andesite flows, and that it appears to have ultimately come from the upper mantle geochemical reservoir, where it is regarded as leftover primordial argon not yet fully expelled by the process of outgassing that is supposed to have occurred since the initial formation of the Earth, has very significant implications. First, this is clearly consistent with a young Earth, where the very short time-scale since the creation of the Earth has been insufficient for all the primordial argon to be released yet from the Earth?s deep interior. Furthermore, it would also seem that even the year-long global catastrophic Flood, when large-scale convection and turdecer occurred in the mantle [4], was insufficient to expel all the deep Earth?s primordial argon. Second, this primordial argon is, in part, "excess" 40Ar not generated by radioactive decay of 40K, which has then been circulated up into crustal rocks where it may continue migrating and building up to partial pressure status regionally. Because the evidence clearly points to this being the case, then when samples of crustal rocks are analysed for K-Ar "dating" the investigators can never really be sure that whatever 40Ar* is in the samples is from in situ radioactive decay of 40K since the formation of the rocks, or whether some or all of it is from the "excess 40Ar*" geochemical reservoirs in the lower and upper mantles. This could even be the case when the K-Ar analyses yield "dates" compatible with other radioisotopic "dating" systems and/or with fossil "dating" based on evolutionary assumptions. And there would be no way of knowing because the 40Ar* from radioactive decay of 40K cannot be distinguished analytically from primordial 40Ar not from radioactive decay, except of course by external assumptions about the ages of the samples. Therefore, these considerations call into question all K-Ar "dating", whether "model ages" or "isochron ages", and all 40Ar/39Ar "dating", as well as "fossil dating" that has been calibrated against K-Ar "dates". Although seemingly insignificant in themselves, the anomalous K-Ar "model ages" for these recent andesite flows at Mt Ngauruhoe, New Zealand, lead to deeper questions. Why is there excess40Ar* in these rocks? From where did it come? Answers to these questions in turn point to significant implications that totally undermine such radioactive "dating" and that are instead compatible with a young Earth. FUTURE RESEARCH Further research is very definitely warranted. The most pressing need is to attempt to quantify how much primordial 40Ar there is today in the upper mantle. Also, how much has circulated into crustal rocks, how much is in natural gas reservoirs, and how much might have escaped into the atmosphere during 6,000?7,000 years, including accelerated rates during the Flood. It might then be possible to quantify how much primordial 40Ar there was in the mantle at the time of the Earth?s creation. From these calculations and associated modelling exercises there might develop quantifiable evidence for the Earth?s youthfulness. Additionally, further research is needed to quantify how much "excess 40Ar*" is in all the crustal rocks and minerals that have been, and are, subject to K-Ar and 40Ar/39Ar "dating". This would include what are regarded as mantle xenoliths and xenocrysts (e.g. diamonds). 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[96] Webb, A.W., Geochronology of the Musgrave Block, Mineral Resources Review, South Australia, 155 (1985), pp. 23-27. [97] Williams, K., Volcanoes of the South Wind: A Field Guide to the Volcanoes and Landscape of the Tongariro National Park, Tongariro Natural History Society, Turangi, New Zealand (1994). [98] Zashu, S., Ozima, M. and Nitoh, O., K-Ar Isochron Dating of Zaire Cubic Diamonds, Nature, 323 (1986), pp. 710-712. Additional Resources: Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth by Vardiman, Snelling, Austin, Chaffin, DeYoung, Baumgardner (2001) Impact #309 Potassium-Argon and Argon-Argon Dating of Crustal Rocks and the Problem of Excess Argon by Andrew A. Snelling (Mar. 1999) Impact #307 "Excess Argon": The "Achilles' Heel" of Potassium-Argon and Argon-Argon "Dating" of Volcanic Rocks by Andrew A. Snelling, Ph.D. (Jan. 1999) The Mythology of Modern Dating Methods by John Woodmorappe (1999) Excess Argon within Mineral Concentrates from the New Dacite Lava Dome at Mount St. Helens Volcano by STEVEN A. AUSTIN, Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal - Vol. 10 Part 3 (1996)

RUNAWAY SUBDUCTION AS THE DRIVING MECHANISM FOR THE GENESIS FLOOD JOHN R. BAUMGARDNER, Ph.D. 1965 Camino Redondo Los Alamos, NM 87544 Presented at the Third International Conference on Creationism Pittsburgh, PA, July 18-23, 1994 Copyright 1994 by Creation Science Fellowship, Inc. Pittsburgh, PA  USA - All Rights Reserved (click here to a link to the figures that go with this paper) KEYWORDS Runaway subduction, Genesis flood, power-law creep, thermal runaway, catastrophic plate tectonics ABSTRACT Experimental investigation of the solid state deformation properties of silicates at high temperatures has revealed that the deformation rate depends on the stress to a power of about 3 to 5 as well as strongly on the temperature. This highly nonlinear behavior leads to the potential of thermal runaway of the mantle's cold upper boundary layer as it peels away from the surface and sinks through the hot mantle. The additional fact that the mineral phase changes that occur at 660 km depth act as a barrier to convective flow and lead to a tendency for large episodic avalanche events compounds the potential for catastrophic dynamics. Two-dimensional finite element calculations are presented that attempt to model these strongly nonlinear phenomena. It is proposed that such a runaway episode was responsible for the Flood described in Genesis and resulted in massive global tectonic change at the earth's surface. INTRODUCTION The only event in Scripture since creation capable of the mass destruction of living organisms evident in the fossil record is the Genesis Flood. A critical issue in any model for earth history that accepts the Bible as accurate and true is what was the mechanism for this catastrophe that so transformed the face of the earth in such a brief span of time. The correct answer is crucial to understanding the Flood itself and for interpreting the geological record in a coherent and valid manner. It is therefore a key element in any comprehensive model of origins from a creationist perspective. Ideas proposed as candidate mechanisms over the past century include collapse of a water vapor canopy [5], near collision of a large comet with the earth [12], rapid earth expansion [11], and violent rupture of the crust by pressurized subterranean water [4]. There are serious difficulties with each of these ideas. Another possibility is that of runaway subduction of the pre-Flood ocean lithosphere [2,3]. A compelling logical argument in favor of this mechanism is the fact that there is presently no ocean floor on the earth that predates the deposition of the fossiliferous strata. In other words all the basalt that comprises the upper five kilometers or so of today's igneous ocean crust has cooled from the molten state since sometime after the Flood cataclysm began. The age of today's seafloor relative to the fossil record is based on two decades of deep sea drilling and cataloging of fossils in the sediments overlying the basalt basement by the Deep Sea Drilling Program as well as radiometric dating of the basalts themselves [14]. Presumably, there were oceans and ocean floor before the Flood. If this pre-Flood seafloor did not subduct into the mantle, what was its fate? Where are these rocks today? On the other hand, if the pre-Flood seafloor did subduct, it must have done so very rapidly --within the year of the Flood. In regard to the fate of the pre-Flood seafloor, there is strong observational support in global seismic tomography models for cold, dense material near the base of the lower mantle in a belt surrounding the present Pacific ocean [16]. Such a spatial pattern is consistent with subduction of large areas of seafloor at the edges of a continent configuration commonly known as Pangea. There are good physical reasons for believing that subduction can occur in a catastrophic fashion because of the potential for thermal runaway in silicate rock. This mechanism was first proposed by Gruntfest [6] in 1963 and was considered by several in the geophysics community in the early 1970's [1]. Previous ICC papers [2,3] have discussed the process by which a large cold, relatively more dense, volume of rock in the mantle generates deformational heating in an envelope surrounding it, which in turn reduces the viscosity in the envelope because of the sensitivity of the viscosity to temperature. This decrease in viscosity in turn allows the deformation rate in the envelope to increase, which leads to more intense deformational heating, and finally, because of the positive feedback, results in a sinking rate orders of magnitude higher than would occur otherwise. It was pointed out that thermal diffusion, or conduction of heat out of the zone of high deformation, competes with this tendency toward thermal runaway. It was argued there is a threshold beyond which the deformational heating is strong enough to overwhelm the thermal diffusion, and some effort was made to characterize this threshold. The important new aspect addressed in this paper is the dependence of the viscosity on the deformation rate itself. Although this deformation rate dependence of viscosity has been observed experimentally in the laboratory for several decades, the difficulty of treating it in numerical models has deterred most investigators from exploring many of its implications. Results reported in the previous ICC papers did not include this highly nonlinear phenomenon. Significant improvements in the numerical techniques that permit large variations in viscosity over small distances in the computational domain, however, now make such calculations practical. The result of including this behavior in the analysis of the thermal runaway mechanism is to discover a much stronger tendency for instability in the earth's mantle. Moreover, deformation rates orders of magnitude higher than before throughout large volumes of the mantle now can be credibly accounted for in terms of this more realistic deformation law. This piece of physics therefore represents a major advance in understanding how a global tectonic catastrophe could transform the face of the earth on a time scale of a few weeks in the manner that Genesis describes Noah's Flood. Recent papers by several different investigators [10,13,18,19] have also shown that the mineral phase changes which occur as the pressure in the mantle increases with depth also leads to episodic dynamics. The spinel to perovskite plus magnesiowustite transition at about 660 km depth is endothermic and acts as a barrier to flow at this interface between the upper and lower mantle. It therefore tends to trap cold material from the mantle's upper boundary layer as it peels away from the surface and sinks. Numerical studies show that, with this phase transition present, flow in the mantle becomes very episodic in character and punctuated with brief avalanche events that dump the cold material that has accumulated in the upper mantle into the lower mantle. The episodic behavior occurs without the inclusion of the physics that leads to thermal runaway. This paper argues that when temperature and strain rate dependence of the rheology is included, the time scale for these catastrophic episodes is further reduced by orders of magnitude. In this light, the Flood of the Bible with its accompanying tectonic expressions is a phenomenon that is seems to be leaping out of the recent numerical simulations. MATHEMATICAL FORMULATION In this numerical model the silicate mantle is treated as an infinite Prandtl number, anelastic fluid within a domain with isothermal, undeformable, traction-free boundaries. Under these approximations the following equations describe the local fluid behavior:   0=- (p - pr) + (r - rr) g + t (1)   0= (r u) (2)   dT/dt=- (T u) - (g - 1) T u + [ (k T) + t : u + H]/rrcv (3) where t =m [ u + ( u)T - 2 I ( u)/3] (4) and r=rr + rr(p - pr)/K - a(T - Tr). (5) Here p denotes pressure, r density, g gravitational acceleration, t deviatoric stress, u fluid velocity, T absolute temperature, g the Grueneisen parameter, k thermal conductivity, H volume heat production rate, cv specific heat at constant volume, m dynamic shear viscosity, K the isothermal bulk modulus, and a the volume coefficient of thermal expansion. The quantities pr, rr, and Tr are, respectively, the pressure, density, and temperature of the reference state. I is the identity tensor. The superscript T in (4) denotes the tensor transpose. Equation (1) expresses the conservation of momentum in the infinite Prandtl number limit. In this limit, the deformational term is so large that the inertial terms normally needed to describe less viscous fluids may be completely ignored. The resulting equation (1) then represents the balance among forces arising from pressure gradients, buoyancy, and deformation. Equation (2) expresses the conservation of mass under the anelastic approximation. The anelastic approximation ignores the partial derivative of density with respect to time in the dynamics and thereby eliminates fast local density oscillations. It allows the computational time step to be dictated by the much slower deformational dynamics. Equation (3) expresses the conservation of energy in terms of absolute temperature. It includes effects of transport of heat by the flowing material, compressional heating and expansion cooling, thermal conduction, shear or deformational heating, and local volume (e.g., radiogenic) heating. The expression for the deviatoric stress given by equation (4) assumes the dynamic shear viscosity m depends on temperature, pressure, and strain rate. The stress therefore is nonlinear with respect to velocity, and the rheological description is non-Newtonian. This formulation is appropriate for the deformation regime in solids known as power-law creep to be discussed below. Equation (5) represents density variations as linearly proportional to pressure and temperature variations relative to a simple reference state of uniform density, pressure and temperature. Parameter values used are rr =3400 kg m-3, pr=0, Tr=1600 K, g=10 m/s, g=1, k=4 W m-1K-1, H=1.7 x 10-8 W m-3, cv =1000 J kg-1K-1, and K=1 x 1012 Pa. POWER-LAW CREEP Laboratory experiments to characterize the high temperature solid state deformation properties of silicates have been carried out by many investigators over the last three decades [8,9]. These experiments have established that, for temperatures above about sixty percent of the melting temperature and strain rates down to the smallest achievable in the laboratory, silicate materials such as olivine deform according to a relationship of the form [8] =A sn exp[ -(E* + pV*)/RT] (6) where e is the strain rate, A a material constant, s the differential stress, n a dimensionless constant on the order of 3 to 5, E* an activation energy, p is pressure, V* an activation volume, R the universal gas constant, and T absolute temperature. This relationship implies that at constant temperature and pressure the deformation rate increases dramatically more rapidly than the stress. Because the strain rate increases as the stress to some power greater than one, this type of deformation is known as power-law creep. This relationship may also be expressed in terms of an effective viscosity m=0.5s/e that depends on the strain rate e as [9, 17, p. 291] m=B -q exp[(E* + pV*)/nRT] (7) where B=0.5A-1/n and q=1 - 1/n. A value for n of 3.5, appropriate for the mineral olivine [8,9], yields a q of 0.714. This means that the effective viscosity m decreases strongly as the strain rate increases. A tenfold increase in the strain rate, for example, yields an effective viscosity, at fixed temperature and pressure, a factor of 5.2 smaller! For a 1010 increase in strain rate, the effective viscosity decreases by more than a factor of 107. The effect is even more pronounced for larger values of n. Fig. 1 is a deformation mechanism map for olivine that shows the region in stress-temperature space where power-law creep is observed. Note that there exists a boundary between the power-law creep regime and that of diffusional creep. Because the strain rates for diffusional creep are so small--too small in fact to be realized in laboratory experiments--this boundary is poorly constrained. Kirby [8, p. 1461] states that the boundary may in actuality be substantially to the left of where he has drawn it. In any case at a given temperature there is a threshold value for the strain rate at which point one crosses from the diffusional regime--where the strain rate depends linearly on the stress--into the power-law regime. From Fig. 1 this threshold is on the order of 10-17 to 10-14 s-1 for temperatures about 60% of the melting temperature and stresses of about 1 MPa. Power-law creep is included in the numerical model simply by using the effective viscosity given by (7) in (4), where the scalar strain rate e is obtained by taking the square root of the second invariant of the rate of strain tensor d=(u + uT)/2. To remove the singularity in (7) for zero strain rate and to model explicitly the transition between diffusion creep and power-law creep, a minimum or threshold strain rate o is incorporated into the formulation. For regions in the domain where the strain rate exceeds o, equation (7) applies. Otherwise the viscosity is strain rate independent. The parameter B is specified in terms of a reference viscosity mo at reference temperature Tr and zero strain rate as B=mo/{o-q exp[(E* + pV*)/nRTr]}. To model the viscosity contrast between the upper mantle and lower mantle, the reference viscosity is allowed to vary with depth and increase in a linear fashion by a factor of 50 between 400 and 700 km. For purposes of numerical stability the threshold strain rate o is assumed to vary as 1/mo. PHASE CHANGES The jumps in seismic quantities observed at depths of about 410 km and 660 km in the earth closely match phase transitions observed in laboratory experiments at similar temperatures and pressures for olivine to spinel and from spinel to perovskite silicate structures, respectively. These phase transitions that occur as the pressure increases and the crystal structures assume more compact configurations almost certainly play a critical role in the mantle's dynamical behavior. In a calculation in which silicate material is transported through these depths and undergoes these phase changes, two effects need to be taken into account. One is the latent heat released or absorbed and the other is the deflection of the phase boundary upward or downward. The latent heat may be accounted for by adding or removing heat through the volume heating term in equation (3) proportional to the vertical flux of material through the transition depth. The latent heat per unit mass is obtained from the Clapeyron equation which expresses that in a phase transition DH=(dp/dT) T DV, where DH is the enthalpy change, or latent heat, and DV is the change in specific volume. The Clapeyron slope (dp/dT) is a quantity that can be determined experimentally for a given transition. The deflection in the location of a phase boundary occurs because the pressure, and therefore the depth, at which the phase change occurs depends on the temperature. The effect of such a deflection enters as a contribution to the buoyancy term in equation (1). A downward deflection represents positive buoyancy because the lighter phase now occupies volume normally occupied by the denser phase. The Clapeyron slope is also a constant of proportionality in the boundary deflection Dh=-(dp/dT) DT/rg that arises from a deviation DT from the reference temperature. The values for the Clapeyron slope used here are 1 x 106 Pa/K for the 410 km transition and -2 x 106 Pa/K for the 660 km transition. Note that the exothermic 410 km transition leads to a positive or upward deflection for a cold slab and hence increased negative buoyancy, while the endothermic 660 km transition leads to a downward deflection and reduced negative buoyancy. The 660 km transition therefore acts to inhibit buoyancy driven flow while the 410 km transition acts to enhance it. NUMERICAL APPROACH The set of equations (1)-(5) is solved in a discrete manner on a uniform rectangular mesh with velocities located at the mesh nodes and temperatures, pressures, and densities at cell centers. Piecewise linear finite elements are used to represent the velocity field, while the cell centered variables are treated as piecewise constant over the cells. The calculational procedure on each time step is first to apply a two-level conjugate gradient algorithm [15] to compute the velocity and pressure fields simultaneously from Eq. (1) and (2). This task involves solving 3n simultaneous equations for 2n velocity unknowns and n pressure unknowns, where n is the total number of nodes in the mesh. Key to the procedure is an iterative multigrid solver that employs an approximate inverse with a 25-point stencil. This large stencil for the approximate inverse enables the method to handle large variations in viscosity in a stable fashion. The outstanding rate of convergence in the multigrid solver is responsible for the method's overall high efficiency. The piecewise linear finite element basis functions provide second-order spatial accuracy. The temperature field is updated according to Eq. (3) with a forward-in-time finite difference van Leer limited advection method. RESULTS Two calculations will now be described that illustrate the effects of power law creep on the stability of a sinking slab. The two calculations are identical except for the value of the strain rate threshold above which power law creep occurs. In the first case, the threshold o in the upper 400 km is 3 x 10-13 s-1 which is sufficiently large that no power law creep occurs anywhere in the domain. In the second case, the threshold is 6.5 x 10-14 s-1, about a factor of five smaller. In this case runaway eventually takes place. These calculations are performed in a rectangular domain 2890 km high and 1280 km wide on a mesh with 64 x 64 cells of uniform size. The viscosity mo at zero strain rate and 1600 K increases in a simple linear fashion by a factor 50 between 400 km and 700 km depth to represent the stiffer rheology of the earth's lower mantle compared with the upper mantle. The phase changes at 410 km and 660 km depth are both included. The endothermic phase transition at 660 km as well as the higher intrinsic viscosity below this depth both act to inhibit flow from above. The calculations are initialized with a uniform temperature of 1600 K except for a slablike anomaly 100 km wide extending from the top to a depth of 400 km with a central temperature of 1000 K and a thermal boundary layer at the top such that the temperature in the topmost layer of cells is initially 1000 K. The upper boundary temperature is fixed at 700 K and the bottom at 1600 K. Fig. 2 shows four snapshots in time spaced roughly 6 x 106 years apart of the calculation with the larger strain rate threshold. Plots of temperature and effective viscosity are displayed with velocities superimposed. Note that the initial maximum velocity drops by a factor of two as the slab encounters increasing resistance from the higher viscosity and 660 km phase change. The colder material tends to accumulate and thicken in width in the depth range between 400 and 700 km. When sufficient thickening of the zone of cold material has occurred, it begins to penetrate slowly into the region below 700 km. Fig. 3 shows the effects of a strain rate threshold o sufficiently low that power law creep is occurring in a significant portion of the problem domain. The first three snapshots in time for this case resemble those for the previous case. The main difference are regions of reduced effective viscosity in the region below 700 km evident in the first and third snapshots due to the power-law rheology. A major change is observed, however, in the fourth snapshot with an increase in peak velocity and a notable reduction in effective viscosity below the head of the developing cold plume. In the fifth snapshot the peak velocity has increased by another 80% and there is more than a factor of ten reduction in the effective viscosity ahead of the plume. Also displayed in this snapshot is the viscous heating rate that shows intense heating surrounding the plume. In the sixth snapshot, the head of the cold plume is preceded by a belt of high temperature, the velocity has almost doubled again, the effective viscosities near the plume have dropped even further, and the heating rate adjacent to the plume has more than doubled. Shortly after this point in the calculation, runaway occurs and the computation crashes. DISCUSSION What do these calculations have to say about the mantle and the Flood? First of all, power-law rheology dramatically enhances the potential for thermal runaway. Numerical calculations are not really necessary to reach this conclusion. Equation (7) indicates an increase in the deformation rate leads to a reduction in the effective viscosity and reinforces the reduction in viscosity an increase in temperature provides. These effects work together in a potent way. An exciting further consequence of the power-law rheology is that high velocities and strain rates can now occur throughout the mantle. A hint of this can be inferred from the last two snapshots in Fig. 3. Large and increasing velocities are not just associated with the sinking plume itself but are observed throughout the domain. The remaining horizontal sections of the initial cold upper boundary layer, for example, are also moving at much higher speeds. In interpreting these numerical experiments it is important to realize that one is attempting to explore numerically a physically unstable process. Customary numerical difficulties associated with strong gradients in the computed quantities are compounded when such a physical instability occurs. The strategy is to explore the region of parameter space nearby but not too close to where the instability actually lives. The calculation of Fig. 3 therefore does not reveal the true strength of the instability relative to the situation of a moderately lower value for the threshold strain rate. It is also useful to point out how various quantities scale relative to one another. The velocities are inversely proportional to the reference viscosity. A tenfold reduction in the reference viscosity gives ten times higher velocities. Similarly, the threshold strain rate for runaway behavior is inversely proportional to the reference viscosity since strain rate is proportional to velocity. So reducing the reference viscosity by a factor of ten yields a threshold strain rate for runaway ten times larger. This neglects the diminished influence of thermal diffusion at the higher velocities. How do the parameters used in these calculations compare with those estimated for the earth? The values used for g, g, k, H, rr, cv, Tr, and a in eq. (1)-(5) are all reasonable to within +/-30% for the simplified reference state that is employed. The values used for the Clapeyron slopes for the phase transitions are two to three times too small and so the effects of the phase changes are underrepresented. The most important parameters are the reference viscosity and the threshold strain rate for power-law creep. The reference viscosity leads to velocities prior to runaway that are in accord with current observed plate velocities of a few centimeters per year. The threshold strain rates used are within the power-law creep region for olivine as given by Kirby (Fig. 1). A large uncertainty is the extrapolation of the creep behavior of olivine to the minerals of the lower mantle for which there is essentially no experimental data. The issue is not whether power-law creep occurs in these minerals but what the stress range is in which it occurs. It is likely the threshold strain rate is not many orders of magnitude different from olivine. These calculations therefore seem relevant to the earth as we observe it today. One difficulty in making a connection between these calculations and the Flood is their time scale. Some 2 x 107 years is needed before the instability occurs in the second calculation. Most of this time is involved with the accumulation of a large blob of cold, dense material at the barrier created by the phase transition at 660 km depth. This time span disappears when the initial condition consists of a large belt of cold material already trapped above this phase transition in the pre-Flood mantle. A relatively small amount of additional negative buoyancy in such a belt can then trigger runaway. One means for providing a quick pulse of negative buoyancy is by the sudden conversion to spinel of olivine in a metastable state that resides at depths below the usual transition depth of about 410 km. Such metastability can arise because the changes in volume and structure associated with a phase transition do not necessarily occur spontaneously as transition conditions are reached, especially if the material is cold. Some means of nucleation of seed crystals of the new phase is generally required. If such nucleation does not happen, then substantial amounts of the less dense phase can survive to depths much greater than what the assumption of a spontaneous transition would imply. Indeed, there is observational evidence for significant amounts of metastable olivine in the slab currently beneath Japan [7]. A shock wave passing through such a volume of metastable material can initiate the nucleation and cause a sudden conversion to the denser phase. Present day deep focus earthquakes likely represent manifestations of such a process on a small scale. In the context of the Flood, it is conceivable that an extraterrestrial impact of modest size could have triggered a sudden conversion of metastable material to the denser phase and the resulting earthquakes then propagated in a self-sustaining manner to convert the metastable material throughout much of the upper mantle to the denser spinel phase, which in turn initiated the runaway avalanche of upper mantle rock into the lower mantle. It is also conceivable that a single large earthquake generated by causes internal to the earth could have been the event that caused a sudden conversion of the metastable material and then the runaway avalanche. CONCLUSIONS Rapid sinking through the mantle of portions of the mantle's cold upper boundary facilitated by the process of thermal runaway appears to be a genuine possibility for the earth. A highly nonlinear deformation law for silicate minerals at conditions of high temperature known as power-law creep, documented by decades of experimental effort, in which the effective viscosity decreases strongly with the deformation rate, makes thermal runaway almost a certainty for a significant suite of conditions. This deformation law also makes possible strain rates consistent with large scale tectonic change within the Biblical time frame for the Flood. Mineralogical phase changes combined with the viscosity contrast between upper and lower mantle conspire to provide the setting in which a sudden triggering of a runaway avalanche of material trapped in the upper mantle into the lower mantle can occur. Calculations by other investigators that include the endothermic phase transition, but not temperature or strain rate dependent viscosity, also display the tendency for episodic avalanche events [10,13,18,19]. Such an episode of catastrophic runaway is here presented as the mechanism responsible for Noah's Flood. REFERENCES O. L. Anderson and P. C. Perkins, Runaway Temperatures in the Asthenosphere Resulting from Viscous Heating, Journal of Geophysical Research, 79(1974), pp. 2136-2138. J. R. Baumgardner, Numerical Simulation of the Large-Scale Tectonic Changes Accompanying the Flood, Proceedings of the International Conference on Creationism, R. E. Walsh, et al, Editors, 1987, Creation Science Fellowship, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA, Vol. II, pp. 17-28. J. R. Baumgardner, 3-D Finite Element Simulation of the Global Tectonic Changes Accompanying Noah's Flood, Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Creationism, R. E. Walsh and C. L. Brooks, Editors, 1991, Creation Science Fellowship, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA, Vol. II, pp. 35-45. W. T. Brown, Jr., In the Beginning, 1989, Center for Scientific Creation, Phoenix. J. C. Dillow, The Waters Above, 1981, Moody Press, Chicago. I. J. Gruntfest, Thermal Feedback in Liquid Flow; Plane Shear at Constant Stress, Transactions of the Society of Rheology, 8(1963), pp. 195-207. T. Iidaka and D. Suetsugu, Seismological Evidence for Metastable Olivine Inside a Subducting Slab, Nature, 356(1992), pp. 593-595. S. H. Kirby, Rheology of the Lithosphere, Reviews of Geophysics and Space Physics, 21(1983), pp. 1458-1487. S. H. Kirby and A. K. Kronenberg, Rheology of the Lithosphere: Selected Topics, Reviews of Geophysics and Space Physics, 25(1987), pp. 1219-1244. P. Machetel and P. Weber, Intermittent Layered Convection in a Model Mantle with an Endothermic Phase Change at 670 km, Nature, 350(1991), pp. 55-57. G. R. Morton, The Flood on an Expanding Earth, Creation Research Society Quarterly, 19(1983), pp. 219-224. D. W. Patton, The Biblical Flood and the Ice Epoch, 1966, Pacific Meridian Publishing, Seattle. W. R. Peltier and L. P. Solheim, Mantle Phase Transitions and Layered Chaotic Convection, Geophysical Research Letters, 19(1992), pp. 321-324. Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program A. Ramage and A. J. Wathen, Iterative Solution Techniques for Finite Element Discretisations of Fluid Flow Problems, Copper Mountain Conference on Iterative Methods Proceedings, Vol. 1., 1992. M. A. Richards and D. C. Engebretson, Large-Scale Mantle Convection and the History of Subduction, Nature, 355(1992), pp. 437-440. F. D. Stacey, Physics of the Earth, 2nd ed., 1977, John Wiley & Sons, New York. P. J. Tackley, D. J. Stevenson, G. A. Glatzmaier, and G. Schubert, Effects of an Endothermic Phase Transition at 670 km Depth on Spherical Mantle Convection, Nature, 361(1993), pp. 699-704. S. A. Weinstein, Catastrophic Overturn of the Earth's Mantle Driven by Multiple Phase Changes and Internal Heat Generation, Geophysical Research Letters, 20(1993), pp. 101-104. FIGURES (click here to a link to the figures that go with this paper) Back to top

Highlights of the Los Alamos Origins Debate John R. Baumgardner, Ph.D. The following article has been adapted from my contributions to an ongoing debate over origins issues in the letters to the editor section of our local newspaper [1]. Our town, Los Alamos, located in the mountains of northern New Mexico, is the home of the Los Alamos National Laboratory which, with approximately 10,000 employees, is one of the larger scientific research facilities in the United States. Can Random Molecular Interactions Create Life? Many evolutionists are persuaded that the 15 billion years they assume for the age of the cosmos is an abundance of time for random interactions of atoms and molecules to generate life. A simple arithmetic lesson reveals this to be no more than an irrational fantasy. This arithmetic lesson is similar to calculating the odds of winning the lottery. The number of possible lottery combinations corresponds to the total number of protein structures (of an appropriate size range) that are possible to assemble from standard building blocks. The winning tickets correspond to the tiny sets of such proteins with the correct special properties from which a living organism, say a simple bacterium, can be successfully built. The maximum number of lottery tickets a person can buy corresponds to the maximum number of protein molecules that could have ever existed in the history of the cosmos. Let us first establish a reasonable upper limit on the number of molecules that could ever have been formed anywhere in the universe during its entire history. Taking 1080 as a generous estimate for the total number of atoms in the cosmos [2], 1012 for a generous upper bound for the average number of interatomic interactions per second per atom, and 1018 seconds (roughly 30 billion years) as an upper bound for the age of the universe, we get 10110 as a very generous upper limit on the total number of interatomic interactions which could have ever occurred during the long cosmic history the evolutionist imagines. Now if we make the extremely generous assumption that each interatomic interaction always produces a unique molecule, then we conclude that no more than 10110 unique molecules could have ever existed in the universe during its entire history. Now let us contemplate what is involved in demanding that a purely random process find a minimal set of about one thousand protein molecules needed for the most primitive form of life. To simplify the problem dramatically, suppose somehow we already have found 999 of the 1000 different proteins required and we need only to search for that final magic sequence of amino acids which gives us that last special protein. Let us restrict our consideration to the specific set of 20 amino acids found in living systems and ignore the hundred or so that are not. Let us also ignore the fact that only those with left-handed symmetry appear in life proteins. Let us also ignore the incredibly unfavorable chemical reaction kinetics involved in forming long peptide chains in any sort of plausible non-living chemical environment. Let us merely focus on the task of obtaining a suitable sequence of amino acids that yields a 3D protein structure with some minimal degree of essential functionality. Various theoretical and experimental evidence indicates that in some average sense about half of the amino acid sites must be specified exactly [3]. For a relatively short protein consisting of a chain of 200 amino acids, the number of random trials needed for a reasonable likelihood of hitting a useful sequence is then on the order of 20100 (100 amino acid sites with 20 possible candidates at each site), or about 10130 trials. This is a hundred billion billion times the upper bound we computed for the total number of molecules ever to exist in the history of the cosmos!! No random process could ever hope to find even one such protein structure, much less the full set of roughly 1000 needed in the simplest forms of life. It is therefore sheer irrationality for a person to believe random chemical interactions could ever identify a viable set of functional proteins out of the truly staggering number of candidate possibilities. In the face of such stunningly unfavorable odds, how could any scientist with any sense of honesty appeal to chance interactions as the explanation for the complexity we observe in living systems? To do so, with conscious awareness of these numbers, in my opinion represents a serious breach of scientific integrity. This line of argument applies, of course, not only to the issue of biogenesis but also to the issue of how a new gene/protein might arise in any sort of macroevolution process. One retired Los Alamos National Laboratory Fellow, a chemist, wanted to quibble that this argument was flawed because I did not account for details of chemical reaction kinetics. My intention was deliberately to choose a reaction rate so gigantic (one million million reactions per atom per second on average) that all such considerations would become utterly irrelevant. How could a reasonable person trained in chemistry or physics imagine there could be a way to assemble polypeptides on the order of hundreds of amino acid units in length, to allow them to fold into their three-dimensional structures, and then to express their unique properties, all within a small fraction of one picosecond!? Prior metaphysical commitments forced him to such irrationality. Another scientist, a physicist at Sandia National Laboratories, asserted that I had misapplied the rules of probability in my analysis. If my example were correct, he suggested, it "would turn the scientific world upside down." I responded that the science community has been confronted with this basic argument in the past but has simply engaged in mass denial. Fred Hoyle, the eminent British cosmologist, published similar calculations two decades ago [4]. Most scientists just put their hands over their ears and refused to listen. In reality this analysis is so simple and direct it does not require any special intelligence, ingenuity, or advanced science education to understand or even originate. In my case, all I did was to estimate a generous upper bound on the maximum number of chemical reactions -- of any kind -- that could have ever occurred in the entire history of the cosmos and then compare this number with the number of trials needed to find a single life protein with a minimal level of functionality from among the possible candidates. I showed the latter number was orders and orders larger than the former. I assumed only that the candidates were equally likely. My argument was just that plain. I did not misapply the laws of probability. I applied them as physicists normally do in their every day work. Why could this physicist not grasp such trivial logic? I strongly believe it was because of his tenacious commitment to atheism that he was willing to be dishonest in his science. At the time of this editorial exchange, he was also leading a campaign before the state legislature to attempt to force this fraud on every public school student in our state. Just How Do Coded Language Structures Arise? One of the most dramatic discoveries in biology in the 20th century is that living organisms are realizations of coded language structures. All the detailed chemical and structural complexity associated with the metabolism, repair, specialized function, and reproduction of each living cell is a realization of the coded algorithms stored in its DNA. A paramount issue, therefore, is how do such extremely large language structures arise? The origin of such structures is, of course, the central issue of the origin of life question. The simplest bacteria have genomes consisting of roughly a million codons. (Each codon, or genetic word, consists of three letters from the four-letter genetic alphabet.) Do coded algorithms a million words in length arise spontaneously by any known naturalistic process? Is there anything in the laws of physics that suggests how such structures might arise in a spontaneous fashion? The honest answer is simple. What we presently understand from thermodynamics and information theory argues persuasively they do not and cannot! Language involves a symbolic code, a vocabulary, and a set of grammatical rules to relay or record thought. Many of us spend most of our waking hours generating, processing, or disseminating linguistic data. Seldom do we reflect on the fact that language structures are clear manifestations of non-material reality. This conclusion may be reached by observing the linguistic information itself is independent of its material carrier. The meaning or message does not depend on whether it is represented as sound waves in the air or as ink patterns on paper or as alignment of magnetic domains on a floppy disk or as voltage patterns in a transistor network. The message that a person has won the $100,000,000 lottery is the same whether that person receives the information by someone speaking at his door or by telephone or by mail or on television or over the Internet. Indeed Einstein pointed to the nature and origin of symbolic information as one of the profound questions about the world as we know it [5]. He could identify no means by which matter could bestow meaning to symbols. The clear implication is that symbolic information, or language, represents a category of reality distinct from matter and energy. Linguists therefore today speak of this gap between matter and meaning-bearing symbols sets as the 'Einstein gulf' [6]. Today in this information age there is no debate that linguistic information is objectively real. With only a moment's reflection we can conclude its reality is qualitatively different from the matter/energy substrate on which the linguistic information rides. From whence then does linguistic information originate? In our human experience we immediately connect the language we create and process with our minds. But what is the ultimate nature of the human mind? If something as real as linguistic information has existence independent of matter and energy, from causal considerations it is not unreasonable to suspect an entity capable of originating linguistic information also is ultimately non-material in its essential nature. An immediate conclusion of these observations concerning linguistic information is that materialism, which has long been the dominant philosophical perspective in scientific circles, with its foundational presupposition that there is no non-material reality, is simply and plainly false. It is amazing that its falsification is so trivial. The implications are immediate for the issue of evolution. The evolutionary assumption that the exceedingly complex linguistic structures which comprise the construction blueprints and operating manuals for all the complicated chemical nanomachinery and sophisticated feedback control mechanisms in even the simplest living organism simply must have a materialistic explanation is fundamentally wrong. But how then does one account for symbolic language as the crucial ingredient from which all living organisms develop and function and manifest such amazing capabilities? The answer should be obvious -- an intelligent Creator is unmistakably required. But what about macroevolution? Could physical processes in the realm of matter and energy at least modify an existing genetic language structure to yield another with some truly decel capability as the evolutionists so desperately want to believe? On this question Prof. Murray Eden, a specialist in information theory and formal languages at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, pointed out several years ago that random perturbations of formal language structures simply do not accomplish such magical feats [7]. He said, "No currently existing formal language can tolerate random changes in the symbol sequence which expresses its sentences. Meaning is almost invariably destroyed. Any changes must be syntactically lawful ones. I would conjecture that what one might call 'genetic grammaticality' has a deterministic explanation and does not owe its stability to selection pressure acting on random variation." In a word, then, the answer is no. Random changes in the letters of the genetic alphabet have no more ability to produce useful new protein structures than could the generation of random strings of amino acids discussed in the earlier section. This is the glaring and fatal deficiency in any materialist mechanism for macroevolution. Life depends on complex non-material language structures for its detailed specification. Material processes are utterly impotent to create such structures or to modify them to specify some decel function. If the task of creating the roughly 1000 genes needed to specify the cellular machinery in a bacterium is unthinkable within a materialist framework, consider how much more unthinkable for the materialist is the task of obtaining the roughly 100,000 genes required to specify a mammal! Despite all the millions of pages of evolutionist publications -- from journal articles to textbooks to popular magazine stories -- which assume and imply material processes are entirely adequate to accomplish macroevolutionary miracles, there is in reality no rational basis for such belief. It is utter fantasy. Coded language structures are non-material in nature and absolutely require a non-material explanation. But What About the Geological/Fossil Record? Just as there has been glaring scientific fraud in things biological for the past century, there has been a similar fraud in things geological. The error, in a word, is uniformitarianism. This outlook assumes and asserts the earth's past can be correctly understood purely in terms of present day processes acting at more or less present day rates. Just as materialist biologists have erroneously assumed material processes can give rise to life in all its diversity, materialist geologists have assumed the present can fully account for the earth's past. In so doing, they have been forced to ignore and suppress abundant contrary evidence that the planet has suffered major catastrophe on a global scale. Only in the past two decades has the silence concerning global catastrophism in the geological record begun to be broken. Only in the last 10-15 years has the reality of global mass extinction events in the record become widely known outside the paleontology community. Only in about the last 10 years have there been efforts to account for such global extinction in terms of high energy phenomena such as asteroid impacts. But the huge horizontal extent of Paleozoic and Mesozoic sedimentary formations and their internal evidence of high energy transport represents stunning testimony for global catastrophic processes far beyond anything yet considered in the geological literature. Field evidence indicates catastrophic processes were responsible for most if not all of this portion of the geological record. The proposition that present day geological processes are representative of those which produced the Paleozoic and Mesozoic formations is utter folly. What is the alternative to this uniformitarian perspective? It is that a catastrophe, driven by processes in the earth's interior, progressively but quickly resurfaced the planet. An event of this type has recently been documented to have occurred on the earth's sister planet Venus [8]. This startling conclusion is based on high resolution mapping performed by the Magellan spacecraft in the early 1990's which revealed the vast majority of craters on Venus today to be in pristine condition and only 2.5% embayed by lava, while an episode of intense volcanism prior to the formation of the present craters has erased all earlier ones from the face of the planet. Since this resurfacing volcanic and tectonic activity has been minimal. There is pervasive evidence for a similar catastrophe on our planet, driven by runaway subduction of the pre-catastrophe ocean floor into the earth's interior [9]. That such a process is theoretically possible has been at least acknowledged in the geophysics literature for almost 30 years [10]. A major consequence of this sort of event is progressive flooding of the continents and rapid mass extinction of all but a few percent of the species of life. The destruction of ecological habitats began with marine environments and progressively enveloped the terrestrial environments as well. Evidence for such intense global catastrophism is apparent throughout the Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and much of the Cenozoic portions of the geological record. Most biologists are aware of the abrupt appearance of most of the animal phyla in the lower Cambrian rocks. But most are unaware that the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary also represents a nearly global stratigraphic unconformity marked by intense catastrophism. In the Grand Canyon, as one example, the Tapeats Sandstone immediately above this boundary contains hydraulically transported boulders tens of feet in diameter [11]. That the catastrophe was global in extent is clear from the extreme horizontal extent and continuity of the continental sedimentary deposits. That there was a single large catastrophe and not many smaller ones with long gaps in between is implied by the lack of erosional channels, soil horizons, and dissolution structures at the interfaces between successive strata. The excellent exposures of the Paleozoic record in the Grand Canyon provide superb examples of the this vertical continuity with little or no physical evidence of time gaps between strata. Especially significant in this regard are the contacts between the Kaibab and Toroweap Formations, the Coconino and Hermit Formations, the Hermit and Esplanade Formations, and the Supai and Redwall Formations [12]. The ubiquitous presence of crossbeds in sandstones, and even limestones, in Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and even Cenozoic rocks is strong testimony for high energy water transport of these sediments. Studies of sandstones exposed in the Grand Canyon reveal crossbeds produced by high velocity water currents that generated sand waves tens of meters in height [13]. The crossbedded Coconino sandstone exposed in the Grand Canyon continues across Arizona and New Mexico into Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Kansas. It covers more than 200,000 square miles and has an estimated volume of 10,000 cubic miles. The crossbeds dip to the south and indicate that the sand came from the north. When one looks for a possible source for this sand to the north, none is readily apparent. A very distant source seems to be required. The scale of the water catastrophe implied by such formations boggles the mind. Yet numerical calculation demonstrate that when significant areas of the continental surface are flooded, strong water currents with velocities of tens of meters per second spontaneously arise [14]. Such currents are analogous to planetary waves in the atmosphere and are driven by the earth's rotation. This sort of dramatic global scale catastrophism documented in the Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and much of the Cenozoic sediments implies a distinctively different interpretation of the associated fossil record. Instead of representing an evolutionary sequence, the record reveals a successive destruction of ecological habitat in a global tectonic and hydrologic catastrophe. This understanding readily explains why Darwinian intermediate types are systematically absent from the geological record -- the fossil record documents a brief and intense global destruction of life and not a long evolutionary history! The types of plants and animals preserved as fossils were the forms of life that existed on the earth prior to the catastrophe. The long span of time and the intermediate forms of life that the evolutionist imagines in his mind are simply illusions. And the strong observational evidence for this catastrophe absolutely demands a radically revised time scale relative to that assumed by evolutionists. But How Is Geological Time To Be Reckoned? With the discovery of radioactivity about a century ago, uniformitarian scientists have assumed they have a reliable and quantitative means for measuring absolute time on scales of billions of years. This is because a number of unstable isotopes exist with half-lives in the billions of year range. Confidence in these methods has been very high for several reasons. The nuclear energy levels involved in radioactive decay are so much greater than the electronic energy levels associated with ordinary temperature, pressure, and chemistry that variations in the latter can have negligible effects on the former. Furthermore, it has been assumed that the laws of nature are time invariant and that the decay rates we measure today have been constant since the beginning of the cosmos -- a view, of course, dictated by materialist and uniformitarian belief. The confidence in radiometric methods among materialist scientists has been so absolute that all other methods for estimating the age of geological materials and geological events have been relegated to an inferior status and deemed unreliable when they disagree with radiometric techniques. Most people, therefore, including most scientists, are not aware of the systematic and glaring conflict between radiometric methods and non-radiometric methods for dating or constraining the age of geological events. Yet this conflict is so stark and so consistent that there is more than sufficient reason in my opinion to aggressively challenge the validity of radiometric methods. One clear example of this conflict concerns the retention of helium produced by nuclear decay of uranium in small zircon crystals commonly found in granite. Uranium tends to selectively concentrate in zircons in a solidifying magma because the large spaces in the zircon crystal lattice more readily accommodate the large uranium ions. Uranium is unstable and eventually transforms through a chain of nuclear decay steps into lead. In the process, eight atoms of helium are produced for every initial atom of U-238. But helium is a very small atom and is also a noble gas with little tendency to react chemically with other species. Helium therefore tends to migrate readily through a crystal lattice. The conflict for radiometric methods is that zircons in Precambrian granite display huge helium concentrations [15]. When the amounts of uranium, lead, and helium are determined experimentally, one finds amounts of lead and uranium consistent with more than a billion years of nuclear decay at presently measured rates. Amazingly, most of the radiogenic helium from this decay process is also still present within these crystals that are typically only a few micrometers across. However, based on experimentally measured helium diffusion rates, the zircon helium content implies a time span of only a few thousand years since the majority of the nuclear decay occurred. So which physical process is more trustworthy -- the diffusion of a noble gas in a crystalline lattice or the radioactive decay of an unstable isotope? Both processes can be investigated today in great detail in the laboratory. Both the rate of helium diffusion in a given crystalline lattice and the rate decay of uranium to lead can be determined with high degrees of precision. But these two physical processes yield wildly disparate estimates for the age of the same granite rock. Where is the logical or procedural error? The most reasonable conclusion in my view is that it lies in the step of extrapolating as constant presently measured rates of nuclear decay into the remote past. If this is the error, then radiometric methods based on presently measured rates simply do not and cannot provide correct estimates for geologic age. But just how strong is the case that radiometric methods are indeed so incorrect? There are dozens of physical processes which, like helium diffusion, yield age estimates orders of magnitude smaller than the radiometric techniques. Many of these are geological or geophysical in nature and are therefore subject to the question of whether presently observed rates can legitimately be extrapolated into the indefinite past. However, even if we make that suspect assumption and consider the current rate of sodium increase in the oceans versus the present ocean sodium content, or the current rate of sediment accumulation into the ocean basins versus the current ocean sediment volume, or the current net rate of loss of continental rock (primarily by erosion) versus the current volume of continental crust or the present rate of uplift of the Himalayan mountains (accounting for erosion) versus their present height, we infer times estimates drastically at odds with the radiometric time scale [16]. These time estimates are further reduced dramatically if we do not make the uniformitarian assumption but account for the global catastrophism described earlier. There are other processes which are not as easy to express in quantitative terms, such as the degradation of protein in a geological environment, that also point to a much shorter time scale for the geological record. It is now well established that unmineralized dinosaur bone still containing recognizable bone protein exists in many locations around the world [17]. From my own first hand experience with such material, it is inconceivable that bone containing such well preserved protein could possibly have survived for more than a few thousand years in the geological settings in which they are found. I therefore believe the case is strong from a scientific standpoint to reject radiometric methods as a valid means for dating geological materials. What then can be used in their place? As I Christian, of course, I am persuaded the Bible is a reliable source of information. The Bible speaks of a worldwide cataclysm in the Genesis Flood which destroyed all air breathing life on the planet apart from the animals and humans God preserved alive in the Ark. The correspondence between the global catastrophe in the geological record and the Flood described in Genesis is much too obvious for me not to conclude that these events must be one and the same. With this crucial linkage between the biblical record and the geological record, a straightforward reading of the earlier chapters of Genesis is a next logical step. The conclusion is that the creation of the cosmos, the earth, plants, animals, as well as man and woman by God took place just as it is described only a few thousand years ago with no need for qualification or apology. But What About Light From Distant Stars? An entirely legitimate question then is how we could possibly see stars millions and billions of light years away if the earth is so young. Part of the reason scientists like myself can have confidence that good science will vindicate a face-value understanding of the Bible is because we believe we have at least an outline of the correct answer to this important question [18]. This answer draws upon important clues from the Bible while applying standard general relativity. The result is a cosmological model that differs from the standard Big Bang models in two essential respects. First, it does not assume the so-called cosmological principle, and, second, it invokes inflation at a different point in cosmological history. The cosmological principle is the assumption that the cosmos has no edge or boundary or center and, in a broad-brush sense, is the same in every place and in every direction. This assumption concerning the geometry of the cosmos has allowed cosmologists to obtain relatively simple solutions of Einstein's equations of general relativity. Such solutions form the basis of all Big Bang models. But there is growing observational evidence that this assumption is simply not true. A recent article in the journal Nature, for example, describes a fractal analysis of galaxy distribution to large distances in the cosmos that contradicts this crucial Big Bang assumption [19]. If instead the cosmos has a center, then its early history is radically different from that of all Big Bang models. Its beginning would be that of a massive black hole containing its entire mass. Such a mass distribution has a whopping gradient in gravitational potential which profoundly affects the local physics, including the speed of clocks. Clocks near the center would run much more slowly, or even be stopped, during the earliest portion of cosmic history [20]. Since the heavens on a large scale are isotropic from the vantage point of the earth, the earth must be near the center of such a cosmos. Light from the outer edge of such a cosmos reaches the center in a very brief time as measured by clocks in the vicinity of the earth. In regard to the timing of cosmic inflation, this alternative cosmology has inflation after stars and galaxies form. It is noteworthy that within the past year two astrophysics groups studying high-redshift type Ia superdecae both conclude cosmic expansion is greater now than when these stars exploded. The article in the June 1998 issue of Physics Today describes these "astonishing" results which "have caused quite a stir" in the astrophysics community [21]. The story amazingly ascribes the cause to "some ethereal agency." Indeed, the Bible repeatedly speaks of God stretching out the heavens: "...O LORD my God, You are very great, ... stretching out heaven as a curtain... (Ps. 104:1-2); "Thus says God the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out..." (Is. 42:5); "... I, the LORD, am the maker of all things, stretching out the heavens by Myself..." (Is. 44:24); "It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it. I stretched out the heavens with My hands, and I ordained all their host." (Is. 45:12). As a Christian who is also a professional scientist, I exult in the reality that "in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth" (Ex. 20:11). May He forever be praised. References A collection of these letters is available on the World Wide Web at C. W. Allen, Astrophysical Quantities, 3rd Ed., University of London, Athlone Press, p. 293, 1973; M. Fukugita, C. J. Hogan, and P. J. E. Peebles, "The Cosmic Baryon Budget," Astrophys. J., 503, 518-530, 1998. H. P. Yockey, "A Calculation of the Probability of Spontaneous Biogenesis by Information Theory, Journal of Theoretical Biology, 67, 377-398, 1978; Information Theory and Molecular Biology, Cambridge University Press, 1992. F. Hoyle and N. C. Wickramasinghe, Evolution From Space, J. M. Dent, London, 1981. A. Einstein, "Remarks on Bertrand Russell's Theory of Knowledge", in The Philosophy of Bertrand Russell, P. A. Schilpp, ed., Tudor Publishing, NY, p. 290, 1944. J. W. Oller, Jr., Language and Experience: Classic Pragmatism, University Press of America, p. 25, 1989. M. Eden, "Inadequacies of Neo-Darwinian Evolution as a Scientific Theory," in Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution, P. S. Moorhead and M. M. Kaplan, eds., Wistar Institute Press, Philadelphia, p. 11, 1967. R. G. Strom, G. G. Schaber, and D. D. Dawson, The Global Resurfacing of Venus, Journal of Geophysical Research, 99, 10899-10926, 1994. S. A. Austin, J. R. Baumgardner, D. R. Humphreys, A. A. Snelling, L. Vardiman, and K. P. Wise, "Catastrophic Plate Tectonics: A Global Flood Model of Earth History," pp. 609-621; J. R. Baumgardner "Computer Modeling of the Large-Scale Tectonics Associated with the Genesis Flood," pp. 49-62; "Runaway Subduction as the Driving Mechanism for the Genesis Flood," pp. 63-75, Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Creationism, Technical Symposium Sessions, R. E. Walsh, ed., Creation Science Fellowship, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA, 1994. O. L. Anderson and P. C. Perkins, "Runaway Temperatures in the Asthenosphere Resulting from Viscous Heating, Journal of Geophysical Research, 79, 2136-2138, 1974. S. A. Austin, "Interpreting Strata of Grand Canyon," in Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe, S. A. Austin, ed., Institute for Creation Research, Santee, CA, 46-47, 1994. Ibid., pp. 42-51. Ibid., pp. 32-36. J. R. Baumgardner and D. W. Barnette, "Patterns of Ocean Circulation over the Continents During Noah's Flood," Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Creationism, Technical Symposium Sessions, R. E. Walsh, ed., Creation Science Fellowship, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA, 77-86, 1994. R. V. Gentry, G. L. Glish, and E. H. McBay, "Differential Helium Retention in Zircons: Implications for Nuclear Waste Containment, Geophysical Research Letters, 9, 1129-1130, 1982. S. A. Austin and D. R. Humphreys, "The Sea's Missing Salt: A Dilemma for Evolutionists," Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Creationism, Vol. II, pp. 17-33, R. E. Walsh and C. L. Brooks, eds., Creation Science Fellowship, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA, 1990. G. Muyzer, P. Sandberg, M. H. J. Knapen, C. Vermeer, M. Collins, and P. Westbroek, "Preservation of the Bone Protein Osteocalcin in Dinosaurs," Geology, 20, 871-874, 1992. D. R. Humphreys, Starlight and Time, Master Books, Colorado Springs, 1994. P. Coles, "An Unprincipled Universe?," Nature, 391, 120-121, 1998. D. R. Humphreys, "New Vistas of Space-Time Rebut the Critics," Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal, 12, 195-212, 1998. B. Schwarzschild, "Very Distant Superdecae Suggest that the Cosmic Expansion is Speeding Up," Physics Today, 51, 17-19, 1998. Additional Resources  Astronomy and the Bible by Donald B. DeYoung (1989, 146 pp.) The Origin of the Universe by Harold S. Slusher (1980, 90 pp.) The Age of the Solar System by Harold S. Slusher and Steven G. Robertson (1982, 131 pp.) Origin of the Universe - video by Duane Gish (50 min.) What is Creation Science? by Henry M. Morris and Gary E. Parker (2nd ed., 1987, 336 pp.) Age of the Earth’s Atmosphere by Larry Vardiman (1990, 32 pp.) Journeys to the Edge of Creation - 2 videos: "Our Solar System" & "The Milky Way and Beyond"     by the Moody Institute of Science (40 min. each) Back to top

THE SANDS OF TIME: A BIBLICAL MODEL OF DEEP SEA-FLOOR SEDIMENTATION by Larry Vardiman * Received 13 december 1995; Revised 11 April 1996 CRSQ Volume 33, december 1996 Institute for Creation Research, PO Box 2667, El Cajon, CA 92021 Voice: (619) 448-0900 FAX: (619) 448-3469 Copyright 1996 © by Creation Research Society ISSN 0092-9166 All Rights Reserved. Abstract Modern evolutionism requires that the earth be very old. One line of evidence cited is the length of time required to deposit the observed thickness of sea-floor sediments far from any direct continental source. Using the low current depositional rates results in a minimum age of tens of millions of years. The model of deposition presented in this paper differs from the conventional model primarily in the rate of deposition, which is asserted to have peaked at an enormous level during and after the biblical Flood and is presumed to have fallen at an exponential rate to the present low level. Because biblical evidence strongly supports a short historical period between the Flood and the present, the shape of the decay curve is very steep. Data from the Deep-Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) were reinterpreted for this paper. By estimating the thickness of sediment corresponding to this interval and asserting a set of boundary conditions, an analytical model is presented that estimates the age of sediment from a particular depth at a given borehole. If the modern evolutionary model of deposition is correct, the water temperature evidenced by fossils would show only small, random variations. If a catastrophic event such as the Flood occurred, temporary warming of the water immediately after the catastrophe should have occurred and may be detectable. Fossil evidence of water temperature at the time of deposition is believed by some researchers to correlate with the ratio of oxygen isotopes of mass 16 and 18. Because foraminifera are common in both present-day and ancient sediments and contain oxygen in their carbonate skeletal remains, they are often analyzed for the oxygen isotope ratio and an inferred water temperature is calculated. Based on DSDP data from selected boreholes, and plotted on a time scale modified by the analytical model derived in this paper, a general cooling trend appears plausible from the limited dataset. Introduction Near the mouth of a muddy river flowing into the ocean, it is common knowledge that sediments transported by the river slowly settle out of the water and form deposits on the sea floor. In some locations, such as the delta regions near the mouth of the Mississippi River or the Nile River, the build-up of sediments has resulted in the addition of large regions of new land. However, it is less well known that the growth, death and deposition of microorganisms in the deep ocean have contributed to the formation of sea-floor sediments, particularly in mid-ocean regions. These microorganisms make up the bulk of what is called plankton. Sediments, derived from rock (lithogenous) and various life forms (biogenous), accumulate on the ocean floor and form a record of earth history. If the characteristics of the sediments can be related to events and processes which supplied the sediment, they can be a valuable tool to study earth history. Scientific research on sea-floor sediments has been actively pursued for over 200 years with a concentrated emphasis during the past 40. Sediment cores have been extracted from the sea floor at locations throughout the earth and analyzed for types of lithogenous material, types of biogenous forms, sedimentation rate thickness, date of accumulation, and many other interesting features. One of the most interesting fields of research has been the study of paleoclimates using the measurement of oxygen isotopes in the tests from types of microorganisms called foraminifera. This specialized field has developed an explanation for climate fluctuations from warm periods in the Cretaceous, when dinosaurs are thought to have roamed the earth, to cold periods, such as the recent "ice age" Strong attempts have been made to explain the cyclical layering of sediments as caused by periodic occurrences of Ice Ages" caused, in turn, by orbitally-induced fluctuations in solar heating of the earth. The time frame offered by the conventional explanations of climate suggest that the ocean sediments accumulated over tens of millions of years, and recent "ice ages" occurred over periods of time on the order of 100 millennia. These ages are not compatible with a literal interpretation of the biblical account of creation and earth history. The main sources of disagreement between the conventional model of earth history and a model consistent with the Bible for sediment accumulation are the assumptions about the magnitude of the driving mechanism and the process rates. The conventional model assumes sediment accumulated slowly over long periods of time by low-energy processes. The creation model, to be developed in this paper and with more supporting documentation in Vardiman (1995), assumes most of the thick sedimentary layer on top of the continental basement and underwater accumulated rapidly over a relatively short period of time by catastrophic processes during and following the global Flood described in Genesis. Biblical Time Constraints The Bible does not speak directly about sea-floor sediments or foraminifera. Nowhere do the scriptures describe the vast layers of sediment which cover the ocean floor, nor do they discuss the processes by which they were formed. Scripture contains only brief, general references that discuss the creation of the sea and God's control over its devastating power. Yet, it is evident that if a global Flood occurred as described in scripture, catastrophic events would have occurred in the ocean and massive quantities of sediments would have been produced and distributed over the continents and the ocean floor. Some sediments may have originated on the third day of the creation week when the continents were separated from the oceans, as described in Genesis 9,10. However, it is likely that most of the sediments were produced during the Flood. The Flood is described in Genesis 7 primarily in relation to the destruction of life upon the earth. God's concern centers around man. However, if " . . . every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground . . " and ". . . all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered . . . ," it is logical to assume that major devastation to the crust of the earth occurred as well. The Scriptures do not address these effects, but if one accepts the biblical account that a global Flood occurred, then the geologic evidence over the earth bears silent testimony to the destructive power of the Flood event. The conventional old-earth model assigns an age of about 65 million years BP to the end of the Cretaceous period. A literal interpretation of scripture would suggest that the origin of planet earth occurred quite recently—much less than 65 million years ago. The recent-creation model, which I will use assumes God created the world in a supernatural creative event some 6,000 years ago, and judged His creation through a worldwide catastrophic Flood some 4,500 years ago. The assumption that the Flood occurred about 4,500 years ago is derived from Ussher (1786) using the Textus Receptus. Some would choose a longer chronology based on the Septuagint and relaxation of additional time constraints (Aardsma, 1993). However, the author prefers this time frame, at least to start the study. Between God's supernatural interventions in the affairs of the world, He normally allows the physical processes to operate according to the laws of science. We wish to determine whether the sea-floor sediment data can be reasonably explained within this conceptual framework. Thickness of Sediments and Accumulation Rates The occurrence of a global Flood, as described in the Bible, would have produced layers of sediment on both the continents and the sea floor. Many of these sediments would have been deposited rapidly during and immediately following the Flood. After the Flood, as the frequency and intensity of the tectonic events subsided (Wise et al., 1994), the rate of lithogenous sediment deposition would have decreased in proportion to the decrease in tectonic activity and in proportion to the reestablishment of vegetative cover. Because the oceans would have been well-mixed by the Flood and probably warmed somewhat by the energy released from frictional forces and heat from magma, brines, etc. brought up from deep within the earth associated with ". . . all the fountains of the great deep . . . " (Gen. 7:11), as well as volcanism, it is likely that biogenic sedimentation would have increased after the Flood for some time until the nutrients were depleted. As the nutrients were depleted and the ocean cooled and stratified, the biogenic sediments would have decreased with time. The functional change in sediment formation after the Flood is unknown. However, it is reasonable to assume an exponential decrease in tectonic activity and, consequently, an exponential decrease in sedimentation. It is commonly found in geophysical phenomena that a sudden pulse in activity (earthquake frequency, volcanic activity, rate of erosion, sediment deposition, etc.) is often followed by an exponential decrease in intensity and/or frequency. An exponential function decreases by 63% over a given period called the relaxation time. For example, if the sea-floor sediment deposition rate was 100 cm/year at the end of the Genesis Flood and the relaxation time was 500 years the deposition rate would be only 37 cm/year, 500 years after the Flood. One thousand years after the Flood the deposition rate would decline further to 14 cm/year, etc. The relaxation time is determined by the characteristics of the physical system and is generally defined as the time interval required for a system exposed to some discontinuous change of environment to undergo 1/e (e = 2.718...) of the total change of state which it would exhibit after an infinitely long time. A refinement to the assumption of an exponential decrease in deposition may need to be made later by treating the accumulation of lithogenous and biogenous sediments separately. For now, a simple exponential decrease, irrespective of type, will be assumed. The current accumulation rate for sediment formation in the deep ocean has been measured extensively. The rate appears to vary between about 1 cm/1000 years to about 10 cm/1000 years, depending on the investigator and location on the earth. The rate is so small that direct measurements are difficult. In addition, corrections must be made to account for dissolution and other effects. Traps are positioned at various levels in the ocean to collect samples of sediments as they drift downward from biogenous and lithogenous sources. For calibration purposes a uniform accumulation rate is assumed and the observations are compared with the upper layers of sediment formed over the past few hundred years. Since the conventional interpretation of sea-floor sediment accumulation requires at least tens of millions of years for the formation of the observed layers, it is likely that the average accumulation rates quoted are biased to small values. Nevertheless, the model developed here will assume today's average accumulation rate of deep sea-floor sediment is 2 cm/1000 years or 2 x 10-5 meters/year. The thickness of sea-floor sediment accumulated since the Flood is unknown. It is unclear how much of the sediment was formed during the energetic events of the Flood and how much formed later as the effects of the Flood subsided. There is no uniformity of opinion among creationists as to the location of the boundary between pre-Flood and Flood rocks on the continents, let alone between Flood and post-Flood strata on the ocean floor. For example, some creationist scientists believe the boundary between pre-Flood and Flood rocks in the Grand Canyon occurs between the Vishnu Schist/Zoroaster Granite and the Tapeats Sandstone at the Great Unconformity about 4,000 feet below the south rim. Others would include the tilted layers of Dox Sandstone, Shinumu Quartzite, Hakatai Shale, and Bass Limestone in the Flood sediments. Some would even include the metamorphosed Vishnu Schist and Zoroaster Granite as Flood layers. Morris (1976) indicates that the entire continental Tertiary Period was probably produced by the events of the Flood. If creationists cannot agree on the location of the boundaries between major events on the continents where there are numerous exposures to study, how much less likely is agreement on boundaries in sediments miles under the ocean? For the purpose of this first study, the partition between the Flood and post-Flood events will be assumed to be at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary. This is one of the most recognizable boundaries in the geologic column. It is the boundary between two of the major eras—the Mesozoic and the Cenozoic. It has been identified by creationists and non-creationists alike as the location of major changes in geologic history. In fact, some evolutionists are now suggesting worldwide catastrophic events at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary—namely, the impact of asteroids on the earth, a worldwide dust cloud, global winter, and the destruction of the dinosaurs and many major life forms. Many of these scenarios fit well with the devastation suggested by creationists in the global Flood of Genesis. Figure 1. Frequency histogram of sediment thickness above the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary for 186 cores from the DSDP. In addition to this easily-recognizable boundary and the catastrophism associated with it, the temperatures inferred by the 18O record show a decline to the present from a maximum during the Cretaceous Period. If the oceans were heated by events of the Flood, the Cretaceous Period would logically be included in the Flood. Several warm events occurred following the Cretaceous but these were of smaller magnitude, lending support to the idea of the Tertiary coming after the year of the Flood. Use of temperature estimates from dpwO of foraminifera should always be used with caution. Some of the data sources used in this study only reported a single value at intervals of 140 centimeters. The most precise data were at five centimeter intervals, but variances were not provided. DSDP extracted cores from 624 sites on the ocean floors of the globe. Cores from most of these sites showed only recent sediments from the Tertiary and Quaternary periods. Of the 624 total sites only 186 contained sediments from the Cretaceous period or earlier. This means that the ocean floor is relatively young compared to the continents. The mean thickness of the sediments above the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary (as identified by DSDP based on fossils, paleo-magnetics stratigraphy, etc.) for all 186 sites was 322 meters, with a standard deviation of 273 meters. Figure 1 shows a histogram of sediment depth for the 186 sites. The mean thickness of the sediments reported below the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary was about 400 meters in the Atlantic Ocean and 100 meters in the Pacific Ocean. A Young-Earth Age Model The conventional age model used to calculate the age of sediment as a function of depth assumes that the accumulation rate of sediment was essentially constant over millions of years at today's rate of about 2 x 10-5 meters/year. If, in fact, the accumulation rate was much greater following the Flood and decreased exponentially until today, then the period of time back to the formation of a given layer can be found from the following sediment accumulation model. Let the sediment accumulation rate be an exponentially decreasing function of time since the Flood: Eq. 1 where y represents the height of a sediment layer above a reference point (in this case the Cretaceous/ Tertiary boundary), A is a constant to be determined from the boundary conditions, t the relaxation time, and t is the time after the Flood when a layer of sediment was laid down. This equation can be integrated to give the height y directly: Eq. 2 where C represents a constant of integration to be determined from the boundary conditions. For the first boundary condition, y = 0 at t= 0. It is assumed in this model that initially no sediment had yet begun to accumulate, so: Eq. 3 Solving for C and substituting into Eq. 2: Eq. 4 For the second boundary condition, y = H at t = tF, where H represents the total depth of the sediment above the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary and tF is the time in years since the Flood. For this condition: Eq. 5 Solving for A: Eq. 6 Substituting back into Eq. 4: Eq. 7 A more useful relationship may be found by inverting this equation to find t as a function of y, H. and T. Eq. 8 This relationship is typically called an age model and is used to find the age of a layer based on its vertical position. At this point, it is not specific to any particular worldview and can be applied to any chronology by substituting any time frame tF, between the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary and today. When applying Eq. 8 to a specific site, the value of H for that site should be used, not the average sediment thickness discussed earlier. If the chronology of the Biblical events according to Ussher (1786) is assumed to be true approximately 4,500 years have transpired since the Flood (tF = 4,500). Using this time interval, the average observed depth of sea-floor sediment above the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary (322 meters), and the measured accumulation rate of sediment today (2 x 10-5cm/year), the relaxation time, t, may be determined from Eqs. 1 and 5. Substituting the time interval since the Flood and today's sediment accumulation rate into Eq. 1: Eq. 9 The initial sedimentation rate, A, in terms of the relaxation time t may he found: Eq. 10 Substituting A into Eq. 5: Eq. 11 Rewriting in order to facilitate solving for: Eq. 12 This is a transcendental equation in t The solution for t can be found using iterative methods or by finding the point at which the two sides of the equation are satisfied jointly. The second method was used here by plotting the left and right sides of Eq.12 simultaneously and solving for t using the average value of H. The solution to this transcendental equation gives a value for t of 373 years. Substituting t = 373 years and tF = 4,500 years into Eq. 8 results in the following young-earth age model derived from young-earth boundary conditions: Eq. 13 Figure 2. Age of sediment layer from the young-earth age model vs. height above the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary and the total sediment thickness, H, in meters. This age model is displayed in Figure 2. The height of sea-floor sediment above the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary, y, is shown on the vertical axis and time since the Flood, t, on the horizontal axis. The age model is shown for several total sediment depths, H. Note, that each curve asymptotically approaches the value of H as time approaches 4,500 years after the Flood. In general, it can be seen from Eq. 7 that y = 0 when t = 0 and y - H when t = tF. Application of a Young-Earth Age Model The age model developed here can now be applied to data used by Kennett et al., (1977) to estimate ocean temperatures from the Cretaceous to the present. The analytical procedures and interpretations are contained in Shackleton and Kennett (1975). For this analysis the total sediment thickness H above the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary was found to be 760 meters. Figure 3 shows the results of applying the new young-earth age model to these same data. A significantly different interpretation of the data from that of Kennett et al. (1977) results. First, the period over which the data occur is assumed to be about 2000 years, rather than 65 million years. Second the temperature initially decreases rapidly, followed by a slower decrease. The decrease shown by Kennett et al., (1977) is basically linear with a few short-period departures implying a gradual cooling over a long period of time. The trend shown in Figure 3 is typical of rapid cooling driven by a large temperature gradient. If the oceans were initially warm at the end of the Flood and were cooled to a new equilibrium temperature by radiation to space in the polar regions, this would be the type of cooling curve one would expect. The relaxation time appears to be about 1000. This curve was derived from benthic foraminifera in the South Pacific at high latitudes, so polar ocean bottom waters show a dramatic cooling of about 20°C. Similar analyses of polar surface waters using planktic foraminifera show a similar cooling trend of about 20°C but averages that are slightly warmer. Equatorial surface waters show only a minor cooling of 5°C or so while equatorial bottom temperatures show a similar cooling trend as polar waters of about 20°C. The initial temperature for each of these cases was estimated to be about 20°C. Figure 3. Polar ocean bottom temperature vs. time afetr the Flood. Data are from Kennett et al. (1977) composited from DSDP sites 277, 279, 281. These results are interpreted as surface cooling of polar waters followed by sinking and movement toward the equator along the ocean floor. A general oceanic circulation is established where warm equatorial water is transported poleward at the surface and cold polar water is transported toward the equator at the ocean floor. Horizontal gyres within the separate ocean basins are superimposed on these latitudinal motions by the Coriolis force. In the polar regions one would expect surface cooling to decrease the temperatures at the ocean floor because the cooler water aloft would sink and displace the warmer water below. This interchange would result in vigorous vertical mixing and cooling of bottom waters. During this strong cooling period one would predict outstanding conditions for nutrient supply and formation of biogenous sediments in the polar regions. In the tropics the ocean would have become more stratified with time because of the advection of cold bottom water under the warmer surface water. Except for specific regions of upwelling along the continents and near the equatorial counter-currents, vertical transport of nutrients and, therefore, the formation of biogenous sediments, would have been more restricted. The data resolution in Figure 3 is very coarse. Near the top of the sediments sampling occurs at close intervals for the young-earth model because the sedimentation rate is decreasing exponentially. Fortunately, many cores have been extracted in recent years and sampled for d18C at very high resolution. This allows time to be resolved to short intervals near the top of the core. It is desirable that data be displayed over equal time intervals to avoid potential aliasing problems, however, this was not attempted in this study. Resampling would be required to avoid this problem which may even require additional chemical analyses. Figure 4. Polar ocean bottom temperature vs. time afetr the Flood. Data are from core RC11-120 used in the CLIMAP project. Figure 4 shows the results of applying the new young-earth age model to a high-resolution core extracted from site RC11-120 in the Sub-Antarctic Pacific at about 45° S latitude. Note that a consistent warming trend of about 5°C has occurred in the recent past preceded by rapid fluctuations at various time scales. Rapid warming followed by a slow cooling trend occurred between 1500 and 2500 years after the Flood. The "ice age" in the young-earth chronology (Vardiman, 1993, 1994a 1994b) would have ended about 2000 years ago. This event has been identified in the literature as the most recent "ice age" followed by rapid deglaciation. Note that the period of this event is on the order of 700 years for the young-earth model instead of the conventional 100,000 years. If the "ice age" ended about 2000 years ago as suggested above, there should be evidences for recent dramatic changes in climate. Historical and archeological records between 0 and 2000 B.C. should reveal changes in ice cover on mountains and in polar regions changes in sea level, and expanding deserts. Most conventional reports place the end of the "ice age" between 11,000 and 20,000 B.C. With the exception of a report by Hapgood (1966) which presents data on advanced civilizations during the "ice age," the author is unaware of evidences for such events between the time of Christ and Abraham. The Chronology earlier than about 1000 B.C. is based heavily on carbon dating techniques which are suspect if the Genesis Flood occurred only slightly earlier. The search for historical and archeological evidence for a recent "ice age" should be given high priority. Figure 5. Equatorial Pacific Ocean surface temperature vs. time after the Flood. Data are from core V28-238 used in the CLIMAP project. The young-earth age model has also been applied to a second high-resolution core taken from site V28-238 in the Pacific near the equator. The results, shown in Figure 5, also show a 5°C warming trend in the recent past preceded by similar oscillations in temperature. The period of the feature in this core associated with the most recent "ice age" is also about 700 years, but the temperature is about 15°C warmer. Because this core was longer than the previous one we can see a longer period of temperature oscillations into the past. Notice that these oscillations have a fairly uniform period of about 100 years. This compares to a period of about 20,000 years derived from the conventional model. Implications of a Young-Earth Age Model It has been recognized for several years that the layering of sediments on the ocean floor has been deposited in such a manner indicating that some type of harmonic process has occurred. Analysis of d18O in fine resolution cores show periodic repetitions of cold and warm periods. A statistical correlation between the temperature oscillations and the periods of the three orbital parameters of the earth/sun system has led to stronger support for the astronomical theory. CLIMAP and SPECMAP were two projects designed to strengthen this relationship. A frequency analysis of many cores with the traditional age model found that peaks in the frequency spectra occurred at periods of approximately 20, 40 and 100 thousand years. Because these periods were similar to those of the orbital parameters, it has been assumed that the driving mechanism for the temperature fluctuations derived from sea-floor sediments is the change in radiational warming of the earth as the earth/sun distance and orientation change. These concepts have become known as the astronomical theory a revision of a theory proposed by Milankovich (1930, 1941). However, several difficulties have yet to be resolved with this theory. First, the magnitude of the change in radiational heating calculated from the orbital parameters does not seem to be large enough to explain the observed cooling and heating. Secondary feedback mechanisms have been proposed to amplify the orbital effects. However, it has been found that many of the hypothetical feedback mechanisms are of the wrong sign at certain phases of the orbital cycles. A major result of this need for feedback mechanisms has been the development of a perspective that the earth's climate systems are extremely sensitive to minor disturbances. A relatively minor perturbation would initiate a non-linear response which could lead to another "ice age" or "greenhouse" Because of the fear of the consequences such a small perturbation might cause, radical environmental policies on the release of smoke, chemicals, and other pollutants and the cutting of trees have been imposed by some countries. If the basis for the astronomical theory is wrong, many of the more radical environmental efforts may be unjustified. A second difficulty with the astronomical theory is the relative effect of the orbital parameters. The orbital parameter which has a period of about 100,000 years produces the weakest change in radiational heating. If the "ice ages" are caused by radiational changes, the orbital parameter causing them should be the largest of the three. Yet, the orbital parameter with the 100,000 year period is the smallest of the three. If the young-earth age model proposed by this work is valid, the conventional correlation between sea-floor sediments and the orbital parameters is completely false. The periods illustrated in Figures 4 and 5 are on the order of 100 years and 700 years. Rather than an external forcing function like orbital parameters causing fluctuation in the earth's climate system, it is suggested that these oscillations are a manifestation of frequencies which are naturally present in the earth-atmosphere-ocean system. These natural frequencies were probably excited by the initial high-energy events of the Flood. In the young-earth model there has been only enough time for one "ice age" since the Flood. The initial forcing function for the "ice age" was the tremendous amount of heat left in the oceans by the events of the Flood. The length of the "ice age" would have been determined by the amount of time for the oceans to lose their heat to the atmosphere and subsequently to space. Many other shorter-period oscillations in the earth's climate system may still be operating, however. For example, a significant oscillating climate event which has received a large amount of international research attention recently is the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) which has been documented in the equatorial Pacific (Jacobs et al., 1994). This climate event starts as a warming of surface waters in the western equatorial Pacific. It progresses eastward over a period of two to four years increasing precipitation along the equator and changing the wind patterns. When it intersects the Americas, it produces flooding and major changes in marine habitats along the west coasts of both continents. Effects further east cause wet and dry regions over large areas. This oscillation has a period of about seven years and may be just one example of many such oscillations still observable in our atmosphere/ocean system. If a young-earth model of sea-floor sediment accumulation such as that developed in this monograph can be justified, the conventional theories of multiple "ice ages," greenhouse warming, and millions of years of earth history required for evolutionary processes will be refuted. Conclusions and Recommendations An alternative, analytic, young-earth model of sea floor sediment accumulation has been developed in this treatment. Rather than a slow accumulation of sediments at a nearly constant rate of a few centimeters per millennium over millions of years, an initially rapid accumulation of sediments decreasing exponentially to today's rate over some 4,500 years was assumed. Observations of d18O from sea-floor sediment cores were transformed to estimates of temperature and plotted as a function of time of deposition in accordance with this exponential model. These plots indicate that temperature at the floor of tropical and polar oceans and the surface of polar oceans decreased rapidly, immediately following the estimated end of the Flood. This decrease was on the order of 15°C and asymptotically cooled to today's average value of 4°C. The major portion of the cooling occurred in about 1000 years, in agreement with Oard's (1990) estimates of cooling following the Flood. Application of this model to very detailed tropical cores found a consistent warming trend of about 5°C over the recent past, preceded by rapid fluctuations of temperature at various time scales. The period of the longer fluctuations, typically identified with the "ice ages, is on the order of 700 years, rather than the conventional 100,000 years. The period of the shorter fluctuations is about 100 years, compared to the conventional 20,000 years. The major decrease in oceanic temperature by 15°C, following the Cretaceous Period, is suggested to be the cooling of the ocean to a lower equilibrium temperature following the Genesis Flood. The 100-year and 700-year fluctuations are suggested to be transient oscillations as the ocean/atmosphere system reached equilibrium. Massive quantities of data available from DSDP ODP, and other sea-floor core drilling projects may be used to investigate other features of sediment accumulation from a young-earth perspective. d18O is only one of many variables available for such studies. Cores from almost 1000 sites and nearly every region of the ocean floor are available for study. It is likely that an entirely new understanding of paleoceanography could be developed from this preliminary age model. In order to improve the young-earth model proposed here, similar analyses should be made of d18O measurements for many additional cores. The results of Douglas and Savin (1971,1973, 1975), Savin, Douglas, and Stehli (1975), and Shackleton and Kennett (1975) should be replicated with more recent cores over a wider geographic distribution. d18O observations from the upper 50 meters of sediment would be of particular interest. Further consideration should be given to the identification of the Flood/post-Flood boundary. It may be that the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary is too deep in the geologic column. A larger survey of sediments above the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary may lead to smaller values for a typical thickness, reducing the model accumulation rate and revising other parameters in the young-earth model. A universal average sediment thickness should not be used to plot time versus depth at any single site. An analysis of the productivity of biogenous sediments in the post-Flood ocean should be made and compared with the mass of sediments observed. The accumulation of hundreds of meters of sediment, on the average, and kilometers of sediment in some locations, such as the Arctic Ocean, require very high productivity following the Flood. Although the potential for high productivity has been suggested by Roth (1985), can the oceans supply enough nutrients, in some 4,500 years, to explain the observed sediments? Refinements in the young-earth model should be made to better simulate the formation of sediments. Such assumptions as the exponential decrease in accumulation, the total depth of post-Flood sediments, and the composite of biogenous and lithogenous sediments should be explored further. The model may need separate parameters for different oceans, latitudes, and sediment types, as well as sites. A similar study should be conducted for d18C. d18O was selected for this first study because of its immediate relationship to climate and the polar ice sheets. However, the burial of carbon has major implications on the mass balance of carbon in the hydrosphere biosphere, and atmosphere. It affects the formation of carbonates, the radiation balance and temperature of earth, and paleochronometers such as 14C. Combinations of d18O and d13C may be useful for estimating productivity and sediment accumulation rates. The result of this effort was to initiate the development of an analytical model of sea-floor sediment accumulation. The model uses the measured sediment accumulation rate of today, the observed sediment depth on the ocean floor, and a literal Biblical time frame as boundary conditions. An exponentially-decreasing accumulation function was assumed. All of the questions have not been answered. In fact, this monograph may raise more questions than it answers. Other researchers are encouraged to work on portions of this problem and to keep me informed. Acknowledgments Thanks are extended to the reviewers who helped make this a better document, especially Gerald Aardsma, John Baumgardner, Richard Bliss, Robert Brown, David Bowdle Jim Cook, Henry Morris, John Morris, Michael Oard, Andrew Snelling, and Kurt Wise. One of the CRSQ reviewers was particularly helpful with his extensive comments and suggested abstract. Data for the Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) were provided on CD-Rom by the National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) Data and Information Service. References to specific reports and data are made in the article to the Initial Reports of the DSDP. Analyses were partially conducted on computer equipment provided by Steve Low and his associates with the Hewlett-Packard Company. Also I thank Dr. Henry Morris and the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) for providing the opportunity and facilities to conduct the research supporting this article. It was a very real joy to be able to work on this project. The opportunity to ". . . think God's thoughts after Him . . ." is not available to everyone. References Aardsma, G. E. 1993. Radiocarbon and the Genesis Flood. Institute for Creation Research Monograph. San Diego, CA. Austin, S. A. and K. P. Wise. 1994. The pre-Flood/Flood boundary as defined in Grand Canyon, Arizona and eastern Mojave Desert Arizona. In Walsh, R. E., editor, Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Creationism, Creation Science Fellowship. Pittsburgh, PA. pp. 3747. Douglas, R. G. and S. M. Savin. 1971. Isotopic analyses of planktonic foraminifera from the Cenozoic of the Northwestern Pacific, Leg 6. In Fisher, A. G., B. C. Heezen, R. E. Boyce, D. Bukry, R. G. Douglas, R. E. Garrison, S. A. Kling, V. Krasheninnikov, A. P. Lisitzen, and A. C. Pimm, Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project. 6:1123-1127. GPO. Washington, D.C. Douglas, R. G. and S. M. Savin. 1973. Oxygen and carbon isotope analyses of Cretaceous and Tertiary foraminifera from the Central North Pacific. In Roth, P. H. and J. R. Herring, editors, Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project 17 591-605. GPO. Washington, D.C. Douglas, R. G. and S. M. Savin. 1975. Oxygen and carbon isotope analyses of Tertiary and Cretaceous microfossils from Shatsky Rise and other sites in the North Pacific Ocean. In Gardner, J. V., editor, Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project. 32:509520. GPO. Washington, D.C. Hapgood, C. H. 1966. Maps of the sea kings: Evidence of advanced civilizations in the ice age, First Edition. Chilton Books. Philadelphia, PA. Jacobs, G. A., H. E. Hurlburt, J. C. Kindle, E. J. Metzger, J. L. Mitchell, W. J. Teague, and A. J. Wallcraft. 1994. decade-scale trans-Pacific propagation and warming effects of an El Niño anomaly. Nature 370:360-363. Kennett, J. P. R. E. Houtz, P. B. Andrews, A. R. Edwards, V. A. Gostin, M. Hajis, M. Hampton, D. G. Jenkins, S. V. Margolis, A. T. Ovenshine, K. Perch-Nielsen. 1977. Descriptions of procedures and data for sites 277, 279, 281 by the shipboard party. In Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project 29:45-58,191-202, and 271-285. GPO. Washington D.C. Milankovitch, M.1930. Mathematische klimalehre und astronomische theorie der klimaschwankungen. In Köppen, l. W. and R. Geiger, editors, Handbuch der Klimatologie. Gebruder Borntraeger. Berlin, Germany. Milankovitch, M.1941. Canon of insolation and the ice age problem (in Yugoslavian). Serbian Academy Beorg. Special Publication 132. English translation in 1969 by Israel Program for Scientific Translations. Jerusalem, Israel Morris, H. M. 1976. The Genesis Record. Baker Book House. Grand Rapids, MI. Creation-Life Publishers. San Diego, CA. Oard, M. J. 1990. An Ice Age Caused by the Genesis Flood. Institute for Creation Research Monograph. San Diego, CA. Roth, A. A. 1985. Are millions of Years required to produce biogenic sediments in the deep ocean? Origins 5:48-56. Savin, S. M., R. G. Douglas, E G. Stehli. 1975. Tertiary marine paleotemperatures. Geological Society of America Bulletin 86: 1499-1510. Shackleton, J. J. and J. P. Kennett. 1975. Paleotemperature history of the Cenozoic and the initiation of Antarctic glaciation: Oxygenand carbon isotope analyses in DSDP sites 277, 279,281. In Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project 29:743-755. GPO. Washington, D.C. Ussher, J. 1786. The Annals of the world. Printed by E. Tyler for J. Crook and G. Bedell. London, England. Vardiman, L. 1993. Ice Cores and the Age of the Earth. Institute for Creation Research Monograph. San Diego CA. Vardiman, L. 1994a. An analytic young-earth flow model of ice sheet formation during the ice age' In Walsh, R. E., editor, Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Creationism. Creation Science Fellowship. Pittsburgh, PA. pp. 561-568. Vardiman, L. 1994b. A conceptual transition model of the atmospheric global circulation following the Genesis Flood. In Walsh R. E., editor, Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Creationism. Creation Science Fellowship. Pittsburgh, PA. pp. 569-579. Vardiman, L. 1995. Sea-Floor Sediment and the Age of the Earth. Institute for Creation Research Monograph. San Diego, CA. Wise, K. P. S. A. Austin, J. R. Baumgardner, R. D. Humphreys, A. A. Snelling, and L. Vardiman. 1994. Catastrophic plate tectonics: A global flood model of earth history In Walsh, R. E., editor Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Creationism. Creation Science Fellowship. Pittsburgh, PA. pp. 609-621. * Larry Vardiman, Ph.D., Institute for Creation Research, 10946 Woodside Ave. N., Santee, CA 92071. This "Research Paper" was converted to HTML, for Web use, from the original formatted desktop article. Comments regarding typographical errors in the above material are greatly appreciated. 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Humans are unique from every other living organism in the world, specially created and specially purposed.  The Earth is also like no other planet, specially created by God for humans, and we can observe evidence of His design elements in His creation. God Caused Beauty God saw that His creation was good, in appearance as well as in all other sensory aspects, and humans get to "behold" beauty because He first caused beauty to exist. More... God Caused Justice Our postmodernist age has redefined "right" and "wrong" in terms of subjective feelings and personal perspectives.  Yet despite the passing of ages, humans still have an innate sense of absolute right and wrong because God Himself is just. More... God Caused Love Like gravity and aerodynamics, we cannot scientifically prove the existence of love, yet we know it exists and can observe its effects. More... God Caused Meaning Every part of creation has a specific meaning and purpose for existing, which we can most easily observe in the study of various ecosystems. More... God Caused Order As wild and untamed our world is, everything in nature follows a specific order orchestrated by God . More... God Caused Time, Space, and Matter The cause of the universe is God. Our Creator is outside of the physical creation he made. Time is not eternal, but created. More... God Caused Wisdom All organisms react to their environments, but humans are the only creatures capable of rationalization and acquiring knowledge and wisdom.  That is because humans are the only part of the universe that was made in the Creator's image. More...

Wisdom is, essentially, the effective understanding and use of information.  Humans discover information; we do not invent it.  Through wisdom, humanity has developed (i.e. used information effectively) a set of scientific laws that elegantly express reality in the language of mathematics.  Johann Kepler, the noted founder of physical astronomy, is said to have considered his science to be "thinking God's thoughts after Him." The unfathomable intelligence that was used to invent the universe, and to pre-program its interactive workings, is a source of "wisdom" beyond-the-imagination.  In particular, the cause of our universe coming into being, and of its continuing to operate as it does, is a dynamic display of the Creator's wisdom, some of which we can scientifically understand and effectively apply.  When we do, we are (as Kepler) "thinking God's thoughts after Him." To the extent that humans have any wisdom at all, much less the wisdom necessary to understand a meaningful amount of the working of the universe, the very fact that we can understand at all is more amazing than the marvelous physics of the universe!  How can an immaterial mind, residing inside a human body, made mostly of water (along with other constituent elements of the earth), comprehend anything, even this sentence? It is only by God's creative grace that human being can think any thoughts at all, much less thoughts that are logical and analytical enough to be called "scientific."

Ordered systems or structures do not happen spontaneously.  We never observe orderliness occurring by accident, without an intelligent cause to direct the order.  No amount of power or energy is enough to bring order out of chaos.  Try shooting a wristwatch with a bullet; the watch's order does not increase!  (The only order in a watch is that which the watchmaker intelligently puts into it at the beginning.) Likewise, if we drop a plain glass bottle of spoiled milk on bricks, it quite naturally shatters into a more disorderly arrangement: chaotic glass fragments mixed with spilt spoiled milk.  It could never reform itself into a more exquisitely-sculpted glass container containing fresh milk! The mere addition of "lots of energy" is not enough, either.  A tired human eats to gain food energy, but eating hot coals is not an adequate energy source, because it fails to match and cooperate with the orderly design of human digestive systems. Everyday experiences, such as broken watches and spilled milk, remind us that order does not happen by itself.  In fact, our entire universe teaches us that same truth.  The earth's rotation, the moon cycle, and the changing seasons are just a few of the ordered processes observable in nature.  These processes don't happen randomly but are divinely caused by God. God is the Author and Organizer of orderliness.  His design and construction of our own bodies, through the complexity of biogenesis, is a proper reason for glorifying and thanking Him for making us.

Humans in particular seek a "reason to exist" and for the most part find it difficult to accept that we are simply here to consume the earth's resources and die.  However, God in the beginning created the heavens, the earth, and all living creatures—especially mankind—with special purposes in mind, which He explained in His Word. Here is the essence of the naturalistic-evolutionary "story." There is no God (or "god" is in the forces of nature, or in man himself).  Nothing "supernatural" exists (except perhaps some "extra-terrestrial" race of super-intellects that have evolved in other parts of the universe.  Since no evidence for the Bible's "God" exists, we can be certain that there is no such thing as a "plan for your life."  And since there is so, there is no future, no "afterlife."  Speculative Hollywood movies notwithstanding, and the many reported "out of the body experiences" to the contrary, no rational naturalist believes in any form of "eternal life."  When you're dead, you're dead! Such hopeless beliefs drive many into lives of debauchery and hedonism, and fill the couches of psychologists and psychiatrists all over the world.  Teenage suicide is alarmingly high, and the therapitst themselves continue to manifest one of the highest suicide rates in civilized countries.  Scandals abound among the leaders of world business, politics, and churches. "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable" (1 Corinthians 15:19). There is no "good news" in the evolutionary theory. There is, however, glorious wonder and life-changing power in the "everlasting gospel" (Revelation 14:6). • power to transform (Romans 12:2) • power to enrich (2 Corinthians 9:11) • power to bring satisfying peace to all situations (Hebrews 13:20-21) • power to change the mortal body into the immortal and everlasting being that will live eternally with the Creator (1 Corinthians 15:53-54). Conventional wisdom tells us to "grab all the gusto you can; you only go around once in life!" We are told to "just be yourself" and that we should "let the good times roll." These and hundreds more clichés sprinkled throughout our culture misdirect our thinking and undermine real satisfaction, purpose, and meaning in life. God designed humanity to enjoy the happiness of stability, the happiness of productivity, and the happiness of success (see Psalm 1).  Jesus said, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).

Everyone is given a sense of morality. We were created to love our Creator and to love one another. We experience guilt when we do not. Knows That Good Is Better Than Evil All societies try, or claim to try, to suppress "evil" and promote "good." More... Acknowledges a Spiritual Part of Life All societies are permeated with "religious" worship and/or sensitivity to "spiritual" things. Somehow what is "spiritual" is connected to what we call our conscience. More... Recognizes Man's Authority over Animals and Earth All societies demonstrate and understand that humans dominate the earth, ruling over animals, plant life, and the physical environment. More...

The evidence for creation can be clearly seen from that which has been made by our Creator. God's Attributes Are Revealed Nature reveals God's attributes. Through what was made we can see God's power, presence,  protection, provision, and wisdom.  More... The Earth Is Unique Our planet has been uniquely created by God for life, especially human life. More... The Heavens Declare Our universe is filled with wonder that demonstrates our wonderful Creator. More...

Even a child can see stars at night.  But who has the power necessary to put them there? A small reflection of the power of our Creator is seen in the thousands of stars shining in the night sky. Galaxies are millions of stars packed close together. And billions of galaxies fill the universe. The amount of power displayed in the heavens is overwhelming, if we take the time to look up at night and think about it. This reveals God's power at the cosmic level. Everyone can appreciate sun-power.  The sun lights our days so we can see nature all around us.  (Even a blind person can feel the warmth of the sun.) Our sun and other stars are bright because they radiate energy, both visible and invisible.  Some of this energy radiating from the sun is needed, directly and indirectly, to power all life forms on earth. Some of the other energy, also very powerful, is harmful to life. The energy that is useful to life is a very small part of the spectrum. That part is also the part that we can see. Due to our Creator’s laws of physics, visible light is the best energy for the chemical reactions of life. Unlike high-energy radiation, such as x-rays and gamma rays (which harm living cells), visible light enables human eyes to see, plus it powers plant growth, the foundation of all food chains on earth.  Even the energetic behavior of little bugs ultimately depends on  sun-power. God's power extends from wonders great and small that we can observe in our awesome universe, like the sun and stars (which look small to us, yet are huge in actual size).

God's presence can be detected even in the most commonplace substances, like water.  All of us have physical bodies that are mostly water!  God provides the water for life.  Our planet is close enough to the sun to provide the liquid water that is necessary for life.  But if it were just a little farther away, all that water would become ice! While water itself is a very small molecule (just a three-atom unit of hydrogen and oxygen) it is a primary ingredient of our planet.  God's design of how water's specific molecules behave (and the impact water has on our entire planet) is an example of God's creative design and custodial presence, even on the smallest and largest scales. Water expands when it freezes, unlike most other substances. Ice and snow take up more volume than the same amount of liquid water. This makes water denser as a liquid than when frozen, so ice floats. If ice did not float on the surface of the water, the floors of oceans and lakes would be covered with glaciers of ice that would never melt. Surface ice also helps regulate the climate by reflecting energy. As a liquid, water’s temperature range is perfect for cycling water from the oceans to the land. Water requires a lot of energy to evaporate into a vapor and it releases this energy when it condenses back into liquid. This balances temperatures in the earth’s climate, as well as inside living cells. If less energy were required for evaporation, then streams, rivers, and lakes would evaporate away quickly. Beautiful clouds and sunsets inspire praise for the Creator who forms them. Because God's creative presence is shown in even commonplace yet needful things, we are blessed by the huge quantities of water that flow through our biosphere.

Paleontologists, operating under the assumption that earth’s strata represent millions or billions of years, have not looked for fresh tissues within fossilized remains. But fresh biological material within some fossils has been there all along and is being continually discovered, despite the protests of biochemists that it should not exist. Molecules such as proteins, pigments, and DNA—as well as intact cells and, in some cases, cells still grouped together in tissues—have been found in fossils that are supposedly millions of years old. Whole organisms are sealed in amber deposits, and over a thousand still-living kinds of microbes have been extracted from them. Fresh tissues and living cells cannot possibly be millions of years old, and they constitute some of the strongest evidence for the young world that the Bible describes.

God provides everything we need. Consider this: why does the earth provide edible food in the first place?  If the planting and harvesting of crops were not so commonplace, we would (or should) regard growing cycles of corn, beans, fruit trees, potatoes, or any other plant as amazing miracles. The sun's energy warms our planet. Hot air blows from areas heated by the sun to cooler areas. The sun's energy brings rain. Water evaporates from the ocean and falls to the land as it cools. The sun powers the winds that move the water vapor to the land. The sun's energy renews air. With our sun's energy, plants convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. The sun's energy grows food. Plants capture sunlight and store it in sugar, starch, and fat. Many other stars are too hot to support life. Many are too cold. Some vary from hot to cold too much. Some stars are too big and some are too small. Our sun is one of the few types that is ideally suited to support life. It has the right brightness and variability. It radiates the right range of energy in the right amounts. Most stars in the universe are not perfectly balanced for life, but our sun is. There are thousands of examples of an integrated and purposeful plan for provision through the flora and fauna of our planet.  Everywhere one looks, if one really tries to understand what is going on, it is easy to see an Intelligent Designer behind the common, everyday occurences of our world.