New Evidence for Catastrophic Plate Tectonics (CPT)? | The Institute for Creation Research

New Evidence for Catastrophic Plate Tectonics (CPT)?

Geophysicist Samantha Hansen and colleagues may have just strengthened evidence for catastrophic plate tectonics (CPT), the leading theoretical model for explaining the Genesis Flood.1 Almost 40 years ago, creation scientist and geophysicist Dr. John Baumgardner suggested that the entire pre-Flood ocean floor logically must have been rapidly subducted into the earth’s mantle during the Flood cataclysm:2,3

Placing the beginning of the Flood at the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary implies that dramatic tectonic change including the breakup of the supercontinent Pangea, the subduction of all the pre-Mesozoic oceanic lithosphere, and the formation and cooling of all the present-day oceanic lithosphere must have occurred during and since the Flood.4 (emphasis mine)

Many people learned about plate tectonics or continental drift in school. Today, new seafloor is gradually forming as hot molten material emerges at the mid-ocean ridges where plates are pulling apart, while older seafloor is being pulled into the earth’s mantle at subduction zones, all at very slow speeds. However, Dr. Baumgardner pointed out that under certain conditions, these processes can occur at extreme rates, and he argued that they did do so during the Genesis Flood.5

Because of their worldview, uniformitarians ignore in their theories and models the experimental finding that silicate rocks can weaken by factors of billions or more under the levels of shear stress that can arise in the earth’s mantle. As a consequence of this rapid runaway subduction, new ocean floor is rapidly formed. Because this hot ocean floor is buoyant, it rises and forces enormous amounts of seawater onto the continents, causing catastrophic flooding on a global scale. However, as this new ocean crust cooled, it shrank and caused the height of the ocean bottom to decrease and allowed the floodwaters to drain off the continents.7 Furthermore, the resulting warmer oceans and volcanoes associated with the rapid subduction would have been prime triggers for the post-Flood Ice Age.8

In 1994, Baumgardner pointed out that spectacular geophysical evidence for this recently subducted ocean floor exists today near the base of the mantle:

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.5 (footnote in original)

The apparent coolness of the subducted slabs at the base of the mantle today is an argument that the subduction occurred in the quite recent past.6 Recent research simply affirms this earlier finding, based on research published last year,9 that the remains of ancient ocean seafloor indeed are present in the southern hemisphere’s lower mantle just above the outer core:

The most high-resolution map yet of the underlying geology beneath Earth’s Southern Hemisphere revealed something we previously never knew about: an ancient ocean floor that may wrap around the core.1

Creation researcher David Coppedge points out in his “Darwin Dictionary” that evolutionists have an annoying habit of implicitly including creationists when claiming “we” are surprised by results that contradict evolutionary expectations, when it is really only the evolutionists who are surprised, not creationists!10

Geophysicists can infer clues about Earth’s composition from the way earthquake waves travel through the interior. Sound waves move especially slowly in areas called ultralow velocity zones (ULVZs). Hansen and her colleagues found “anomalous” ULVZs (see figure) in the deep mantle above the Core Mantle Boundary (CMB). These ULVZs were between a few kilometers and tens of kilometers thick:

According to the researchers, these ULVZs are most likely oceanic crust buried over millions of years....It’s tricky to make assumptions about rock types and movement based on seismic wave movement, and the researchers aren’t ruling out other options. However, the ocean floor hypothesis seems the most likely explanation for these ULVSs right now.1 (emphasis mine)

This interpretation of the data is yet further affirmation of creation science and catastrophic plate tectonics (CPT). Readers interested in learning more about CPT are encouraged to read popular-level articles on the subject archived at as well as Dr. Baumgardner’s technical papers, all of which are archived at Dr. Baumgardner’s personal website.


  1. Nield, D. Earth’s Core Seems to Be Wrapped in an Ancient, Unexpected Structure. ScienceAlert. Posted on June 15, 2024, accessed June 17, 2024.
  2. Baumgardner, J. 2022. Creation Pioneer John Baumgardner. Acts & Facts. 51 (6): 10–11.
  3. A 1997 article in U.S. News & World Report described Baumgardner as “the world’s pre-eminent expert in the design of computer models for geophysical convection.”
  4. Baumgardner, J. R. 1986. Numerical simulation of the large-scale tectonic changes accompanying the Flood. Proceedings of the International Conference on Creationism. 1, article 56: 17–30.
  5. Baumgardner, J. R. 1994. Runaway subduction as the driving mechanism for the Genesis Flood. Proceedings of the International Conference on Creationism. 3, article 14: 63–76.
  6. Clarey, T. Cold Slabs Indicate Recent Global Flood. Creation Science Update. Posted on November 8, 2018, accessed June 17, 2024.
  7. Clarey, T. 2016. Embracing Catastrophic Plate Tectonics. Acts & Facts. 45 (5): 8–11.
  8. Clarey, T. 2019. Subduction Was Essential for the Ice Age. Acts & Facts. 48 (3): 9.
  9. Hansen, S. E. et al. 2023. Globally distributed subducted materials along the Earth’s core-mantle boundary: Implications for ultralow velocity zones. Science Advances. 9 (14): eadd4838.
  10. Coppedge, D. F. The Darwin Dictionary: Tontologism. Creation Evolution Headlines. Posted on, accessed June 17, 2024.

Stage image: Based on previous ULVZ studies and lower most mantle structures
Stage image credit: Copyright © based on ULVZ studies distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License 4.0 (CC BY-NC). Used in accordance with federal copyright (fair use doctrine) law. Usage by ICR does not imply endorsement of copyright holder.

* Dr. Jake Hebert is a research associate at the Institute for Creation Research and earned his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Texas at Dallas.

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