Flood Evidence from Sea Levels and Strontium | The Institute for Creation Research
Flood Evidence from Sea Levels and Strontium

Vernon R. Cupps, Ph.D., and Tim Clarey, Ph.D.

The October 2019 issue of Acts & Facts ran an article on the variation of the 87Sr/86Sr ratio in marine rocks.1 One of our readers noticed a similarity between the 87Sr/86Sr graph in that article and the megasequence/geological column graph of relative sea levels that first appeared in the February 2019 issue.2,3 When placed together on the same secular timescale, the Figure 1 dual graph is the result.

Using the secular timescale on the left side, sea level steadily increased from the Precambrian era (~540 million years ago) until the end of the Cretaceous system (~66 million years ago). This was based on the progressive continental sediment coverage we observed.3 Global sea level shows a precipitous decrease from the Cretaceous system to the late Neogene system (~2.5 million years ago). The accompanying rise in the 87Sr/86Sr ratio is typically interpreted as reflecting the uplift of the Himalayas during the Paleogene system.4

Veizer and Mackenzie4 conclude this ratio is primarily controlled by two sources: the “mantle” (formation of ocean crust) and the “river” flux.5 When combined, these two sources can be placed in a balance equation with approximately 75% coming from the river sources and 25% coming from the mantle sources, to give the value of 0.7092. If one assumes Figure 1 represents 540 million years, then one is forced to conclude the balance between mantle and river flux contributions to the ratio was in continual change for those 540 million years, with the mantle contribution dominating the river contribution. However, over millions of years, one would expect a more uniform change in the sea level, and especially in the strontium ratio.

Figure 1. The 87Sr/86Sr ratio chart superimposed on a nominal geological column representing Earth’s sea levels during its hypothetical 540- million-year history. Courtesy of Davis J. Werner.
 

These two data sets appear to support several conclusions:

  1. Like the strontium ratio, the sea’s final level is approximately the same as where it started. This better represents a catastrophic flood thousands of years ago rather than millions of years of slow variation.
  2. The strontium isotope ratios seem to be strongly influenced by the formation of new ocean crust during the Flood, with the lowest ratios corresponding to the maximum volume of seafloor formation. The formation of new, hot ocean crust pushes up the sea bottom and raises global sea level.
  3. The timing of formation of maximum ocean crust corresponds with the highest sea level. This is what we would expect to occur in the Flood year.
  4. It also indicates that a decrease in the 87Sr/86Sr precedes a significant rise in sea level. Could this indicate significant volcanic activity (the fountains of the deep breaking up in Genesis 7:11) from the lower crust/upper mantle before a significant rise in sea level?
  5. Note that the maximum sea level is attained at the end of the Cretaceous system—the K-T or K-Pg boundary. In a biblical interpretation, this would be the peak of Noah’s Flood (Genesis 7:19).
  6. In a biblical worldview, the Paleogene and Neogene systems represent a floodwater recession period, finally returning the isotope ratios and sea level to their pre-Flood values (Genesis 8:2-3).
  7. Thus, in a biblical worldview, Earth dried and Noah emerged from the Ark sometime near the end of the Neogene system.

The strontium isotope ratio for seawater better supports the biblical catastrophic megasequence interpretation of Earth history rather than the conventional hundreds of millions of years view.

References

  1. Cupps, V. R. 2019. Strontium Ratio Variation in Marine Carbonates. Acts & Facts. 48 (10): 9-10.
  2. M. Luebke email communication to the Acts & Facts editor on September 23, 2019.
  3. Clarey, T. 2019. A Rock-Based Global Sea Level Curve. Acts & Facts. 48 (2): 9-10.
  4. Veizer, J. and F. T. Mackenzie. 2013. Sediments, Diagenesis, and Sedimentary Rocks. 7.15.11.2.1. In Treatise on Geochemistry, 2nd ed. H. D. Holland and K. K. Turekian, eds. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier Science.
  5. The former can be thought of as strontium exchanged between seawater and the oceanic crust with an average 87Sr/86Sr ratio of ~0.703. The latter is viewed as reflecting the more fractionated composition of the continental crust that feeds more 87Sr into the oceans via rivers. In 1989, the average strontium isotope ratio for rivers was estimated to be ~0.712. See Palmer, M. R. and J. M. Edmond. 1989. The strontium isotope budget of the modern ocean. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 92 (1): 11-26.

* Dr. Cupps is Research Associate at the Institute for Creation Research and earned his Ph.D. in nuclear physics at Indiana University-Bloomington. Dr. Clarey is Research Associate at the Institute for Creation Research and earned his Ph.D. in geology from Western Michigan University.

Cite this article: Various Authors. 2020. Flood Evidence from Sea Levels and Strontium. Acts & Facts. 49 (3).

The Latest
NEWS
Fossil Chromatin Looks Young
What are the odds that a buried animal would still have intact DNA after 125 million years? Researchers publishing in the journal Communications Biology...

NEWS
Inside October 2021 Acts & Facts
How is the Lord’s handiwork on display at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park? Does the universe look old? What can we learn about science and...

NEWS
Two-Volume Series: Restoring the Truth about Origins
The subject of origins continues to attract interest from the public and the scientific establishment. Understanding our origins informs us of who we are...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Floods Form Fossils Fast
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
A Battle for Hearts
Since the ICR Discovery Center for Science & Earth History opened in fall of 2019, tens of thousands of people have walked through our doors. They...

APOLOGETICS
Eating Bugs Isn't Always So Simple
The Lord Jesus Christ deserves glory for why He made Earth’s diverse creatures, and He also deserves glory for the complicated details of how...

ACTS & FACTS
Does the Universe Look Old?
Since distant galaxies are billions of light-years away, some understandably assume that distant starlight must have taken billions of years to reach...

ACTS & FACTS
Hawaii Behind the Scenes
ICR Research Scientist Dr. Brian Thomas and ICR Video Producer Clint Loveness, with help from friends and family, recently shot footage in Maui, Hawaii,...

ACTS & FACTS
Mutation, Design, and Faith
Any alteration in a cell’s DNA sequence is a mutation. These changes can come from copying errors, exposure to chemicals or radiation, or from...

ACTS & FACTS
Another Function of 'Junk DNA' Discovered
For decades, evolutionists suggested that huge sections of our genome (about half) did not actively code for the production of proteins or polypeptides—and...