Scientists from Brown University and University of California, Santa Barbara examined the spreading rates at 18 different ocean ridges.1 Studying the magnetic seafloor record, the team calculated the speeds of spreading for the last 19 million years, in evolutionary time.1 These ages correlate to the end of the Tejas megasequence, which we interpret to have occurred during the late receding phase of the Flood approximately 4500 years ago.2
According to conventional scientists,
The seafloor is destroyed in subduction zones, where oceanic crust slides under continents and sinks back into the mantle, and is reforged at seafloor spreading ridges…The crust's magnetic record tracks this pattern, producing identifiable strips every time the Earth's magnetic field reverses.5
Interestingly, evolutionary scientists found that the spreading rates first dropped 15-16 million years ago, in evolutionary time. Then they found that the rates dropped again by another 35% at 5-6 million years ago.6
In an unrelated and earlier study, conventional scientists found that the subduction rate at Borneo stopped at about the same time. They said, “As recently as 5 million years ago [Pliocene or Late Cenozoic], subduction stopped along the eastern margin of Sabah [Borneo] for reasons we do not fully understand.”7
Using satellite data, we can measure the rates the plates are still moving today. Most are moving only a few inches per year. However, many creation geologists think that the plates moved much more rapidly during the Flood year, at rates of several yards per second. Complex computer models by Dr. John Baumgardner showed that this type of movement is possible and likely to have occurred during the Flood year.3,4 These discoveries led to a completely new theory called catastrophic plate tectonics.8
Dr. Baumgardner also theorized that plate motion was controlled by the high-density contrast between the “heavier” original pre-Flood ocean lithosphere9 and the new “lighter” ocean lithosphere created during the Flood (formed at ocean ridges).4 He reasoned that the consumption of the older, denser material would have continued until the original oceanic plates were completely consumed by subduction. At that point, plate motion would cease abruptly because it no longer could subduct the newer, lighter crust.4
Is this why global seafloor spreading has slowed dramatically? And is this why subduction ceased at Borneo at about the same time? It seems most likely.
Also, the timing for the most intense rate change is exactly as predicted by Flood geologists. The greatest slowing of spreading rates and subduction rates coincide with the Early Pliocene (latest Tejas megasequence) when most of the world’s plates had also nearly stopped. This is also when we see that the Flood had nearly drained off the continents completely, creating the high Cenozoic Flood boundary.2
Sadly, most evolutionary geologists reject the idea of rapid plate motion in the past. They refuse to consider runaway subduction because it suggests a global catastrophe like that described in Genesis. It is unfortunate that the secular world has been so willingly blinded to the truth of the global Flood. It explains so much of what we observe.
1. Dalton, C.A., et al. 2022. Evidence for a global slowdown in seafloor spreading since 15 Ma. Geophysical Research Letters. 49 (6). e2022GL097937.
2. Clarey, T. 2020. Carved in Stone: Geological Evidence of the Worldwide Flood. Dallas, TX: Institute for Creation Research.
3. Baumgardner, J. 2016. Numerical Modeling of the Large-Scale Erosion, Sediment Transport, and Deposition Processes of the Genesis Flood. Answers Research Journal. 9:1-24.
4. Baumgardner, J. 1994. Runaway Subduction as the Driving Mechanism for the Genesis Flood. In Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Creationism. R. Walsh, ed. Pittsburgh, PA: Creation Science Fellowship Inc., 63-75.
5. American Geophysical Union. 2022. Seafloor spreading has been slowing down. Posted at Science Daily. April 14, 2022, accessed May 5, 2022.
6. These inflated dates are based on faulty assumptions involving radioactive dating methods.
7. Pilia, S. et al. 2019. The fate of Borneo’s plunging tectonic plates. EOS. 100 (10): 18-23.
8. Austin, S.A., J. R. Baumgardner, D. R. Humphreys, A. A. Snelling, L. Vardiman, and K. P. Wise. 1994. Catastrophic plate tectonics: a global Flood model of earth history. In Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Creationism. Walsh, R. E., ed. Pittsburgh, PA: Creation Science Fellowship, 609-621.
9. Lithosphere is composed of the Earth’s crust, whether oceanic or continental, and the uppermost mantle. It extends down to about 60 miles in the earth and is synonymous with a tectonic plate.
10. Baumgardner, J. 2005. Recent Rapid Uplift of Today’s Mountains. Acts & Facts. 34 (3).
Stage Image: West Mata volcano erupting in 2009
Stage Image credit: Copyright © NOAA/NSF/WHOI. 2009. Used in accordance with federal copyright (fair use doctrine) law. Usage by ICR does not imply endorsement of copyright holder.
*Dr. Clarey is Research Scientist at the Institute for Creation Research and earned his doctorate in geology from Western Michigan University.