Another Attempt to Solve the Mystery of Plate Motion | The Institute for Creation Research
Another Attempt to Solve the Mystery of Plate Motion
The beginning of modern-style plate tectonics is another unsolved mystery in uniformitarian geology. No secular geologist seems to have a good answer. Some have even speculated that massive meteorites or large mantle plumes could have started the plates moving, but there is little physical evidence to support either.1

Recently, another attempt was made to solve this mystery. A new study published in Science Advances has suggested that plate motion may have begun even earlier than first believed: in part of the Precambrian called the Archean.2

The uniformitarian authors said, “While plate tectonics have characterized Earth’s geodynamics in recent geologic time, it is unknown whether long-range horizontal motion of lithospheric plates occurred before ~2.7 Ga.”2

To try and solve this mystery, Alec Brenner of Harvard University, and colleagues from several institutions across the U.S.A., studied a basalt flow claimed to be 3.2 billion years old from the East Pilbara Craton in Western Australia. Cratons are claimed to be the oldest remnants of continental crust.2

The scientists gathered 235 oriented cores from two sites where the basalt was exposed.2 They used an instrument called a quantum diamond microscope, which allowed them to track subtle changes in the orientation of magnetic minerals.1 These minerals serve as miniature compasses and lock in the earth’s magnetic field at the time of cooling.

By studying the orientation of the magnetic minerals, they concluded that the crust was likely moving during the formation of the lavas that make up the basalt rocks. Carolyn Gramling of Science News reported,

Active, modern-style plate tectonics is the most likely explanation for the data, the researchers say. But they acknowledge other possible explanations can’t yet be ruled out, including an early, episodic, fit-and-start style of plate tectonics.1

Secular scientists still aren’t sure when or how modern-style plate tectonics began. The present study merely indicates some motion was likely occurring at the time these rocks cooled. However, these same changes in magnetic orientation could also be explained by a shift in earth’s magnetic poles, with no physical plate motion at all.

“We know too little to answer this question with confidence,” said Stephan Sobolev of the University of Potsdam in Germany, who was not involved in the recent study.1

Many creation geologists think that true plate motion began at the onset of the Flood following the bursting of the fountains of the great deep (Genesis 7:11).3 This likely created the tectonic plates and caused them to begin to move. Creation scientists also disagree with the claimed 3.2 billion year-old date for the basalt rocks in Australia, knowing that radioisotope dates are fraught with assumptions and speculation.4

The evidence that there was a global Flood that occurred about 4500 years ago continues to mount.3 There is no mystery about the beginning of plate tectonics. One just has to examine the rock data and believe God’s Word as truth.

Stage image: Artist's interpretation of Earth's interior.
Stage image credit: Alec Brenner/Harvard University
. Copyright © 2020. Adapted for use in accordance with federal copyright (fair use doctrine) law. Usage by ICR does not imply endorsement of copyright holders.

References
1. Gramling, C. 2020. Plate tectonics may have started 400 million years earlier than we thought. Science News. Posted on sciencenews.org April 22, 2020, accessed May 7, 2020.
2. Brenner, A., et al. 2020. Paleomagnetic evidence for modern-like plate motion velocities at 3.2 Ga. Science Advances. 6 (17): 8670. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaz8670.
3. Clarey, T. 2020. Carved in Stone. Dallas, TX: Institute for Creation Research, 114-151.
4. Cupps, V. 2019. Rethinking Radiometric Dating. Dallas, TX: Institute for Creation Research.

*Dr. Clarey is Research Associate at the Institute for Creation Research and earned his doctorate in geology from Western Michigan University.
The Latest
NEWS
ICR’s 2021 Science Expedition Update–Dinosaur Fossils
A team of 11 people from the Institute for Creation Research is currently traveling on a multistate science expedition to dig up fossils, conduct field...

NEWS
ICR’s 2021 Science Expedition Update
A team of 11 people from the Institute for Creation Research is currently traveling on a multistate science expedition to dig up fossils, conduct field...

NEWS
ICR’s 2021 Science Expedition Begins!
The Institute for Creation Research launched its 2021 multistate science expedition last week as a nine-member team left the ICR headquarters in Dallas,...

NEWS
Inside September 2021 Acts & Facts
Why does ICR focus on scientific research? How could paleontologists mistake a lizard fossil for a dinosaur? Is animal death before the Fall theologically...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Beauty by Design
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
Defend Your Faith with ICR
Have you ever heard a pastor question the historical nature of Genesis? “The days of creation weren’t really 24 hours long. The Bible is...

ACTS & FACTS
Animal Death Before the Fall?
Both the Old and New Testaments teach that death entered the world when Adam ate the forbidden fruit (e.g., Genesis 2:17 and Romans 5:12). Since fossils...

APOLOGETICS
Transmitting Truth in a Modern Pagan World
We share the world with modern pagans who worship the sun—or idolize an imagined primordial Big Bang—so we need to be truth witnesses unto...

ACTS & FACTS
Waco Mammoth National Monument
Hunters in the 1970s discovered mammoth bones exposed in sediments near the confluence of the Bosque and Brazos Rivers in north central Texas. They...

ACTS & FACTS
Three Hurdles for Evolution
Sure, finch beaks shift their shapes, but does that mean nature invented beaks and birds from stardust? Evolution’s proponents often speak as...