What Are Polystrate Fossils? | The Institute for Creation Research

What Are Polystrate Fossils?

The term "polystrate" was coined to describe a fossil which is encased within more than one (poly) layer of rock (strata) thus "polystrate or "many layers." A wonderful story can be told by these fossils which invalidates the commonly held uniformitarian idea of slow and gradual accumulation of sediments.

For years evolution's twin theory was the principle of uniformity, that things have been "uniform" throughout the past. Advocated by Charles Lyell in the early 1800s, it became the "politically correct" position with its dictum "the present is the key to the past." Since the 1960s or so, strict uniformitarian thinking has relaxed somewhat, but still nothing too catastrophic is considered, such as the Flood of Noah's day.

We first note that fossil-bearing sedimentary rock consists (with few exceptions) of sediments which accumulated in a watery environment and are now hardened into sedimentary rock. Rock units are separated by obvious bedding planes, but frequently even small-scale banding is visible, interpreted as yearly indicators, much like tree rings in a tree. Counting these yearly bands of dividing rock thickness by today's meager accumulation rates, gives support to the millions of years concept of geological ages. The question is, were past sedimentation rates equivalent to today's rates, (or perhaps higher to account for minor catastrophes) or were they accomplished by processes whose rates, scales, and intensities are not occurring, or perhaps not even possible today. Polystrate fossils can address this question.

Polystrate fossils are the exception to the rule, but are known to all geologists. Frequently trees are found protruding out of coal seams into the strata above, and perhaps extending into a second coal seam, several feet above the first. I have been in many coal mines and have seen such fossils (or their remaining impressions), in nearly all. I've also discovered thin, reed-like stem, transgressing numerous layers. Furthermore, I've seen hundreds of individual fossils whose body width exceeds the width of the banded layers in which they are encased. Obviously the layers cannot be the result of slow accumulations, for a dead fish, for example, will not remain in an articulated condition for several years while sediment accumulates around it. No, it must be quickly buried in order to be preserved at all. Some of the big polystrate trees transgress strata otherwise thought to have required tens of thousands of years. Obviously, the entire section required less time than it takes a tree to rot and fall over.

It has now been well demonstrated that rapidly-moving, sediment-laden fluids can result in an abundance of laminations and/or layers. They can be formed in lab experiments, by hurricanes, and were even formed by catastrophic mud flows associated with the eruption of Mount St. Helens.

A better interpretation of past deposits would stem from acceptance of rapid intense geologic processes, such as Noah's Flood.

*Dr. John Morris is the President of ICR.

Cite this article: John D. Morris, Ph.D. 1995. What Are Polystrate Fossils?. Acts & Facts. 24 (9).

The Latest
NEWS
Florida Fossil Shows Porcupines Have Always Been Porcupines
The porcupine is an animal (rodent) that one does not soon forget. It is armed with formidable quills that deter even the hungriest predators. What...

NEWS
Webb Telescope Discovers Another Record-Breaking Galaxy
Astronomers using the James Webb Space Telescope have recently confirmed that two galaxies are extremely distant, with one becoming the new record holder...

CREATION PODCAST
The Power of Film & Video: Reaching All Ages with Truth | The...
Is there a place for the use of film and video within Christianity? If so, how can we leverage this powerful tool to reach viewers of all ages...

NEWS
Scaly Skin on a Feathered Dinosaur?
Fossil experts from University College Cork in Ireland took stunning images of Psittacosaurus skin. The dinosaurs’ belly shows patches of skin...

NEWS
T. rex Not as Smart as Thought
Have movies and most conventional paleontologists got it all wrong? T. rex and other theropod dinosaurs (the meat-eaters) are often portrayed as intelligent...

NEWS
June 2024 ICR Wallpaper
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." (Ephesians 2:8 NKJV) ICR June...

NEWS
A “Just-so” Story About Ancient Genes
An evolutionary website recently published “a groundbreaking study” that supposedly identifies a basic, uncomplicated, “simple”...

CREATION PODCAST
Dinosaurs with Bird Brains??? | The Creation Podcast: Episode...
Evolutionists claim that birds are descended from dinosaurs. A feature that is often cited as linking these two types of creatures is the brain....

CREATION.LIVE PODCAST
From Ruins to Revelation: Truths Revealed Through Biblical Archaeology...
The Bible is full of people and places that are seemingly lost to time, but through the field of archaeology, new finds are shedding light on the incredible...

NEWS
Bergmann’s Rule Falsely Refuted
A recent study of dinosaur sizes claims to break Bergmann’s rule.1 Bergmann’s rule was named after biologist Carl Bergmann, who...