Where Are Fossils Found? | The Institute for Creation Research

Where Are Fossils Found?

Fossils are typically found in sedimentary rock, almost all of which were originally deposited as sediments by moving water. Subsequent processes hardened them into sedimentary rock, as overlying pressure squeezed the water out and the grains were cemented together. Often plants and animals were trapped, being buried in the sediments. As the sediments hardened into sedimentary rock, the dead things hardened into fossils.

The vast majority of visible fossils are marine invertebrates, animals that live in the sea and have no backbone, mostly animals with a hard outer shell. This would include clams, coral, brachiopods, ammonites, and other animals familiar to us, as well as extinct animals like trilobites and crinoids. In some locations the deposits are dominated by fish fossils and more rarely insects.

Interestingly enough, while sedimentary rocks are found in most places, fossils are not so easy to find. Lots of sedimentary rocks contain no recognizable fossils at all, other than microscopic remains such as plankton, pollen, or spores. For instance, Grand Canyon, with thick sequences of sedimentary rock, contains surprisingly few fossils. This explains the excitement over the discovery of billions of two-foot long nautiloids in the Redwall Limestone by ICR's Steve Austin. "Fossils are where you find them" paleontologists say, and these fossils were found as creationists did their research from a creationist/flood perspective. They found what evolutionist/uniformitarian seekers missed.

The sedimentary rocks in which the fossils are found usually give evidence of rapid catastrophic deposition. The Grand Canyon nautiloids were trapped and buried by an extensive underwater gravity flow of mud covering what is now portions of several states, at least. Other Grand Canyon layers like the Bright Angel Shale and the Kaibab Limestone are equally widespread and are also thought to have resulted from catastrophic processes. They contain little more than fragments of fossils in a jumble of transported pieces.

One more thing. These catastrophically deposited marine fossils, entombed as they are in regionally extensive sedimentary rock, are all found on the continents! There are hardly any marine fossils found in the deep ocean basins.

The standard evolutionary view is that from time to time over the eons, a calm and placid sea covered what is now the continents. Over the millions of years of living and dying and coming and going the fossils were preserved as sediments slowly collected on the ocean bottom. But is there a better understanding? Let's summarize.

Marine fossils are found in rock layers which give testimony to dynamic water processes having deposited them. The layers themselves cover vast areas, sometimes on a continental or hemispherical scale. And they are prominently on today's continents.

Rather than demanding the conclusion of long ages of uniformity and evolution, the fossils speak of a time when the oceans fully destroyed the continents, employing catastrophic hydraulic and tectonic forces—a flood on a scale not witnessed today. Just such a flood was witnessed in yesteryear, however, and recorded for our edification in Genesis. It was the great Flood of Noah's day.

Cite this article: John D. Morris, Ph.D. 2004. Where Are Fossils Found?. Acts & Facts. 33 (7).

The Latest
APOLOGETICS
Christ’s Providence Is Clearly Seen in Bird Migrations
Just as monkeys can’t accidently type Shakespeare texts, birds can’t migrate by evolutionary luck, despite imagined eons of time for “lucky”...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Snowflakes
by Christy Hardy and Susan Windsor* You’re never too young to be a creation scientist! Kids, discover fun facts about God’s creation with...

ACTS & FACTS
The Gift of God Himself
Each Christmas we remember how deeply God loves us. His wondrous plan of salvation—first set in motion in the Garden of Eden—was miraculously...

ACTS & FACTS
Early Land Plant Evolution?
In a recent Science article, two evolutionists consider land plants (embryophytes) to have evolved from stoneworts (charophyte algae).1 A...

ACTS & FACTS
Biblical Creation and Intellectual Foolishness
In a recent interview discussing his new book In Quest of the Historical Adam, philosopher and Christian apologist William Lane Craig acknowledged his...

ACTS & FACTS
Are Birds “Cousins” to Reptiles?
Are today’s birds genealogical “cousins” to today’s reptiles due to a shared evolutionary ancestry? No. However, birds and...

ACTS & FACTS
Haleakala National Park: One of Many Young-Looking Volcanoes
You can start the day atop the cold peak of Mt. Haleakala and end it on a warm beach on Maui. The sprawling volcanic mountain rises 10,000 feet above...

ACTS & FACTS
The Oceans Point to a Young Earth
by Jeffrey P. Tomkins, Ph.D., and Tim Clarey, Ph.D.* Over 70% of Earth's surface is covered by water, most of which is marine and contained in...

ACTS & FACTS
Jesus Christ Is Our Perfect Mediator
We’ll never get bored throughout eternity. There is always something wonderfully new to learn about our precious Lord Jesus, the uplifting Holy...

DAYS OF PRAISE DEVOTIONALS
Winter 2021
...