Volcanos and Supervolcanos “PUSUK BUHIT”

October 20, 2008 at 1:24 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

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Posted by Rocky Raccoon (Member # 5764) on 15-04-2005 16:45:
In our vicinity Sumatra is the site of the last supervolcanic eruption 75,000 years ago, but statistical probability dictates to me this is highly unlikely to happen in any of our lifetimes(which is just as well) – even at Yellowstone which many people claim is just about due for one. BTW Yellowstone will be featured on a feature length movie on the ABC next Sunday 8.30PM

However the upside to a far less disastrous scenario like at Krakatoa, (which I can quite easily occur within most of our lifetimes), would be the tremendous sunsets like the 19th century landscape artists across the world were in awe of these spectacular sunsets after the eruption of Krakatoa and their work is testimony to that one spectacular event.

Cheers, Paul [Cheers]

Posted by Pacman (Member # 517) on 15-04-2005 18:00:
Shaky faultline raises the threat of a super-volcano
Leigh Dayton, Science writer

AS if earthquake-ravaged Indonesia doesn’t have enough to worry about, now scientists warn that a Sumatran super-volcano might blow its top at any time.

If it does, the blast will toss hundreds of thousands of cubic kilometres of rock and ash into the atmosphere, dwarfing the eruptions of Krakatoa, Mount St Helens, Pinatubo and any conventional volcanic explosion of the past tens of thousands of years.

“These super-volcanoes are potentially the greatest hazard on Earth, the only greater threat being an asteroid impact from space,” said Ray Cas, a vulcanologist with Monash University in Melbourne.

Professor Cas said a “major tectonic event” could be enough to trigger a deadly super-volcanic eruption.

The likelihood that the Toba – the largest super-volcano on Earth – will erupt has increased significantly due to geological stresses generated by the recent quakes.

Worse, Toba sits directly atop the faultline running down the spine of Sumatra. That is where seismologists say a third quake might strike.

Because of the increased risk, Professor Cas called for increased monitoring of Toba.

“With enough precursor information and signals like gas releases, we (could) warn of a significant eruption in days, weeks or months,” he said.

Professor Cas’s call follows a report early this month to the British Government’s Natural Hazard Working Group by the Geological Society of London. The report called for increased awareness of the risks posed by super-volcanoes and development of mitigation strategies.

Vulcanologist Stephen Self of Britain’s Open University said a super-volcanic eruption might cover an entire continent with ash that could take decades to erode.

“(Such an eruption) could result in the devastation of world agriculture, severe disruption of food supplies and mass starvation,” he told the online journal LiveScience.

Professor Cas said super-volcanoes tended to erupt in 2000-year cycles. The Toba super-volcano last erupted 73,000 years ago.

Eruption fears in Indonesia
11 volcanoes under close watch

JAKARTA — Indonesian scientists yesterday placed 11 volcanoes under close watch after a series of powerful quakes awoke intense subterranean forces and increased the chances of a major eruption.
As tens of thousands spent a third night in temporary camps after fleeing Sumatra island’s slopes of Mount Talang, where hot ash has been raining down since Monday, more volcanoes began rumbling to life.
Two earthquakes — of magnitudes 5.2 and 5.8 — struck Indonesia’s Kepulauan Menta-wai region at 5.30pm on Wed-nesday and 11.30pm yesterday respectively, according to the United States Geological Survey’s website.
Late on Wednesday Anak Krakatau — the “child” of the legendary Krakatoa that erupted in 1883 in one of the worst-ever natural disasters — was put on alert amid warnings of poisonous gas emissions. No one lives on Krakatau, which forms a small island in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra. But the peak is a popular tourist spot, attracting both Indonesian and foreign day trippers.
A similar warning was earlier issued for Tangkuban Perahu, near the west Java city of Bandung. Next week, the city will host more than 50 heads of state at a summit of Asian and African leaders.
Isya Nur Ahmad Dana of Indonesia’s Volcanology Office said Mount Merapi, 70km north of the Sumatran city of Padang, had been on alert since last August, but was now under closer watch along with seven other peaks.
Jakarta has urged people to remain calm. But Vice-President Yusuf Kalla warned people living near active volcanoes to take precautions and urged local officials to make contingency plans in anticipation of an eruption.
After a massive 9.3-magnitude quake on Dec 26, which spawned the deadly tsunami, and the last month’s quake measuring 8.7 on the Richter scale, scientists have warned of a possible third disaster — either a quake or an eruption from a so-called super volcano, such as the giant crater of Lake Toba on Sumatra, where increased activity has been recorded.
Mount Talang, a 2,599m volcano that last erupted in 2003, remained on standby for eruption yesterday with scientists unable to determine if the peak was beginning to calm down. Indonesia has 130 active volcanoes. — AFP
11 volcanoes under close watch

[ 15.04.2005, 18:07: Message edited by: Pacman ]

Posted by Rocky Raccoon (Member # 5764) on 15-04-2005 19:37:
Wow! that’s pretty scarey stuff, but I am hedging my bets on something like the Sumatran land Fault giving way and thus triggering a row of eruptions which may not necessarily on the Volcanic Explosivity Index(VEI) scale of the 1883 Krakatoan eruption (a VEI 6+) by themselves, but collectively eject for more cubic kilometers of material equivilant to rival a VEI 7+ eruption.
Toba was a VEI 8 [Eek!]

Cheers, Paul [Cheers]

Posted by Pacman (Member # 517) on 15-04-2005 19:46:
Also i forgot to add that there is a doc tomorrow night on 7 networks called “Tsunami chasers” at 6.30pm.
I remember hearing that the east coast of Aus is a high risk Tsunami area.

Sure is scary stuff Rocky, right on our doorstep.

Posted by bigwilly (Member # 5351) on 15-04-2005 21:00:
Bugger I missed Catalyst, I’ll have to remember to chuck a tape in to tape the show on Sunday night.
I read a brief overview of the show in the paper and it sounded fascinating.
I believe the fear of tsunamis on the E coast of Australia comes from the possibility of parts of the continental shelf collapsing. Recent evidence uncovered around Nowra shows that a similar event happened a few 10,000s of years ago, from memory.

[Cheers] Will

Blue Mountains Photography

Posted by Rocky Raccoon (Member # 5764) on 16-04-2005 00:03:
IMHO This is the site of most concern for either one, or a series of major eruptions. That Sumatra Fault runs down the full length of the island and many magma chambers may be stired to life if the is a earthquake of magnitude 7.5 or greater.


Source here
Sumatra Observed GPS vectors (in blue) showing how sections of Indonesia are moving relative to Asia (orange vectors are predicted results of our simulations). The orange shaded areas are the rupture areas of the 1833 magnitude 8.7 earthquake and the 1861 magnitude 8.4 quake. The 12/26 magnitude 9.0 quake apparently ruptured from the north edge of the 1861 event all the way north to the northern end of the subduction zone


Posted by Baylee (Member # 5906) on 16-04-2005 01:49:

Posted by Claire J (Member # 235) on 16-04-2005 11:39:
This site has detailed information and photographic evidence of a major tsunami event which hit the South Coast of NSW some hundreds of years ago:


Having bushwalked to Mermaid Inlet near Jervis Bay some years ago I could not believe the destruction I saw there. Boulders the size of large cars were strewn all over the inlet and it was very obvious they did not result from rock falls from the nearby cliffs.

Posted by Karl Lijnders (Member # 183) on 16-04-2005 14:39:
Fascinating stuff Clare thanks for posting that link. Makes my next trip to the south coast more interesting!

Karl [Smile]

Posted by Rocky Raccoon (Member # 5764) on 16-04-2005 15:49:
Try this one  - for size. The steepest continental slope on the face of the planet. If it collapses due to volcanic activity in the area around the Holocene volcanos of the Mount Gambier region it would be a real lulu, as creates a mega-tsunami so huge it would swell every ocean on earth. It would be so big, ocean swells would swamp Manhattan and London.

Fortunately events like that may only happen once every few million or so.

Posted by Craig Arthur (Member # 63) on 16-04-2005 16:35:
Interesting the linked article mentions nothing about potential landslips associated with this area. Are you simply trying to excite some sort of fear about a steep canyon? Is there any evidence to support any significant seismic activity in this region? I personally think regions on continental margins near tectonic plate boundaries or seismically active areas would pose a much greater threat of mega-tsunami genmeration than the Murray Canyons. Regions such as the Sumatran coastline, the Chilean coast, or perhaps even the mid-Atlantic ridge where there is an abundance of (moderately) steep ocean floor topography and seismic activity. Do a quick search for “Canary Islands Tsunami” and see what comes up, for example.

Posted by Rocky Raccoon (Member # 5764) on 16-04-2005 18:03:
The steepness of the Murray Canyon is testimony to just how seismically stable it has been in the past. I am just stating if that seismically stability deteriorates it just what it needs to give it decent “kick” for a land slip of that would be catastrophic.

I understand off the coast of Norway there was also a major land slip about 7,000 years ago that inundated much of coastal Scotland.

[Cheers] Paul

Posted by Rocky Raccoon (Member # 5764) on 16-04-2005 20:14:
Just found what I was looking for.
Source to that image is

There is a little more the Storegga slide here

and here

You should find it interesting.

A steep continental slope does necessarily need an earthquake or a volcano to cause it to fail. It can simply “fail on its own” like old or badly built buildings can fail and collapse all on their own without the assistance of an earthquake, storm, bomb, fire, or wreckers ball etc. Just age and entropy is all it needs to do the deed.

However, I have to stand corrected on the earlier post in stating these events only occur every few million years or so. It is more like every few thousand years. Making the coasts a lot less safe than I first thought.

[Cheers] RR

[ 16.04.2005, 20:22: Message edited by: Rocky Raccoon ]

Posted by hit4six (Member # 6442) on 18-04-2005 04:45:
did anyone see the year without summer on discovery channel last night

Posted by Rocky Raccoon (Member # 5764) on 18-04-2005 11:12:
Also did anyone see Supervolcano on the ABC last night. I felt it was very far fetched myself, but I did find it rather amusing about Mexico having to close it’s border to stop all the American refugees from flooding across after Yellowstone erupted. [Laugh]

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 18-04-2005 11:34:
No didn’t see but heard mention of….just suppose, for a minute or two, that the science used for dating is flawed….just like the science that told us if you travel faster than 30 miles an hour, all the air will be forced out of your lungs & you will suffercate!….just suppose that these past catastrophes only happened less than 10,000 years ago!….just assume the ‘not in our life time’ is totally incorrect!….just assume it is much later/sooner than we think!….Most can sense something is brewing, something is up!….the disscussions, the movies, even the scientists want increased monitoring….WHY?….Is it because all the warning signs are there?….Is it because all the records are being broken & the wierd weather is in our faces?….is this a fear trip or a reality check?….For many i assume it’s both….for me it’s just another promise being kept….(“Countries will fight eachother;kingdoms will attack one another. There will be famines and earthquakes everywhere….soon after the trouble of those days, the sun will grow dark, the moon will no longer shine, the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers in space will be driven from their courses….when you see all these things, you will know that the time is near….Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”)….The worst Earthquake of all time….Huge hailstones, each weighing as much as fifty kilograms….The sun became black like coarse black cloth, and the moon turned complety red like blood,. The stars fell down to the earth, like unripe figs falling from the tree when a strong wind shakes it….The sky disappeared like a scoll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved from its place….Hail and Fire, mixed with blood, came pouring down on the earth….Then i saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and earth disappeared, and the sea vanished….”)….That was some info from Jesus & John, but there is much more to it than that!

Posted by Blair Trewin (Member # 135) on 18-04-2005 12:11:


Originally posted by Rocky Raccoon:
The steepness of the Murray Canyon is testimony to just how seismically stable it has been in the past. I am just stating if that seismically stability deteriorates it just what it needs to give it decent “kick” for a land slip of that would be catastrophic.

It’s not totally seismically stable – probably the biggest earthquake in eastern Australia since European settlement occurred near Kingston in 1899 – I believe the magnitude has been estimated in the high 6s or low 7s. It’s not a particularly densely-settled area now and was even less densely-settled then – from the accounts I’ve read the only major damage was to the Cape Jaffa lighthouse.

It is also thought in some quarters that the SE SA/SW Victorian volcanic area isn’t totally extinct – I’ve seen assessments by people at the University of Melbourne putting the probability of further eruptions as being in the order of 1-5% during the next 100 years.

Posted by Rocky Raccoon (Member # 5764) on 18-04-2005 12:40:


Originally posted by dave7:
The sky disappeared like a scoll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved from its place….Hail and Fire, mixed with blood, came pouring down on the earth….Then i saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and earth disappeared, and the sea vanished….”)….That was some info from Jesus & John, but there is much more to it than that!

Yes I have no doubts that volcanic events had a major influence of Biblical scriptures if not the biggest influence, which is not surprising really because the Middle East is right on the edge of tectonic boundaries where such events are common.

It is as though the Bible speaks in a form of volcanic language such as, “pillar of smoke by day and the pillar of smoke by night”, “fire and brimstone” and the “lake of fire and sulplur” in Revalations to name just a few.

[Cheers] RR

[ 18.04.2005, 12:55: Message edited by: Rocky Raccoon ]

Posted by Rocky Raccoon (Member # 5764) on 18-04-2005 12:48:


Originally posted by Blair Trewin:


Originally posted by Rocky Raccoon:
The steepness of the Murray Canyon is testimony to just how seismically stable it has been in the past. I am just stating if that seismically stability deteriorates it just what it needs to give it decent “kick” for a land slip of that would be catastrophic.

It’s not totally seismically stable – probably the biggest earthquake in eastern Australia since European settlement occurred near Kingston in 1899 – I believe the magnitude has been estimated in the high 6s or low 7s. It’s not a particularly densely-settled area now and was even less densely-settled then – from the accounts I’ve read the only major damage was to the Cape Jaffa lighthouse.

It is also thought in some quarters that the SE SA/SW Victorian volcanic area isn’t totally extinct – I’ve seen assessments by people at the University of Melbourne putting the probability of further eruptions as being in the order of 1-5% during the next 100 years.

Yes and some of those volcanic events also occurred during the Holocene which is the equivalent of a geological yesterday. I feel it would be highly implausible the Europeans entered the scene in a country with millions of years of past volcanic activity would cease only within the past 5.000 years. That IMO would be an improbable coincidence.


Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 18-04-2005 18:01:
Found this info re:Dating Science…. (How the carbon clock works
Carbon has unique properties that are essential for life on earth. Familiar to us as the black substance in charred wood, as diamonds, and the graphite in ‘lead’ pencils, carbon comes in several forms, or isotopes. One rare form has atoms that are 14 times as heavy as hydrogen atoms: carbon-14, or 14C, or radiocarbon.

Carbon-14 is made when cosmic rays knock neutrons out of atomic nuclei in the upper atmosphere. These displaced neutrons, now moving fast, hit ordinary nitrogen (14N) at lower altitudes, converting it into 14C. Unlike common carbon (12C), 14C is unstable and slowly decays, changing it back to nitrogen and releasing energy. This instability makes it radioactive.

Ordinary carbon (12C) is found in the carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air, which is taken up by plants, which in turn are eaten by animals. So a bone, or a leaf or a tree, or even a piece of wooden furniture, contains carbon. When the 14C has been formed, like ordinary carbon (12C), it combines with oxygen to give carbon dioxide (14CO2), and so it also gets cycled through the cells of plants and animals.

We can take a sample of air, count how many 12C atoms there are for every 14C atom, and calculate the 14C/12C ratio. Because 14C is so well mixed up with 12C, we expect to find that this ratio is the same if we sample a leaf from a tree, or a part of your body.

In living things, although 14C atoms are constantly changing back to 14N, they are still exchanging carbon with their surroundings, so the mixture remains about the same as in the atmosphere. However, as soon as a plant or animal dies, the 14C atoms which decay are no longer replaced, so the amount of 14C in that once-living thing decreases as time goes on. In other words, the 14C/12C ratio gets smaller. So, we have a ‘clock’ which starts ticking the moment something dies.

Obviously, this works only for things which were once living. It cannot be used to date volcanic rocks, for example.

The rate of decay of 14C is such that half of an amount will convert back to 14N in 5,730 years (plus or minus 40 years). This is the ‘half-life.’ So, in two half-lives, or 11,460 years, only one-quarter will be left. Thus, if the amount of 14C relative to 12C in a sample is one-quarter of that in living organisms at present, then it has a theoretical age of 11,460 years. Anything over about 50,000 years old, should theoretically have no detectable 14C left. That is why radiocarbon dating cannot give millions of years. In fact, if a sample contains 14C, it is good evidence that it is not millions of years old.

However, things are not quite so simple. First, plants discriminate against carbon dioxide containing 14C. That is, they take up less than would be expected and so they test older than they really are. Furthermore, different types of plants discriminate differently. This also has to be corrected for.2

Second, the ratio of 14C/12C in the atmosphere has not been constant—for example, it was higher before the industrial era when the massive burning of fossil fuels released a lot of carbon dioxide that was depleted in 14C. This would make things which died at that time appear older in terms of carbon dating. Then there was a rise in 14CO2 with the advent of atmospheric testing of atomic bombs in the 1950s.3 This would make things carbon-dated from that time appear younger than their true age.

Measurement of 14C in historically dated objects (e.g., seeds in the graves of historically dated tombs) enables the level of 14C in the atmosphere at that time to be estimated, and so partial calibration of the ‘clock’ is possible. Accordingly, carbon dating carefully applied to items from historical times can be useful. However, even with such historical calibration, archaeologists do not regard 14C dates as absolute because of frequent anomalies. They rely more on dating methods that link into historical records.

Outside the range of recorded history, calibration of the 14C clock is not possible.4

Other factors affecting carbon dating
The amount of cosmic rays penetrating the earth’s atmosphere affects the amount of 14C produced and therefore dating the system. The amount of cosmic rays reaching the earth varies with the sun’s activity, and with the earth’s passage through magnetic clouds as the solar system travels around the Milky Way galaxy.

The strength of the earth’s magnetic field affects the amount of cosmic rays entering the atmosphere. A stronger magnetic field deflects more cosmic rays away from the earth. Overall, the energy of the earth’s magnetic field has been decreasing,5 so more 14C is being produced now than in the past. This will make old things look older than they really are.

Also, the Genesis flood would have greatly upset the carbon balance. The flood buried a huge amount of carbon, which became coal, oil, etc., lowering the total 12C in the biosphere (including the atmosphere—plants regrowing after the flood absorb CO2, which is not replaced by the decay of the buried vegetation). Total 14C is also proportionately lowered at this time, but whereas no terrestrial process generates any more 12C, 14C is continually being produced, and at a rate which does not depend on carbon levels (it comes from nitrogen). Therefore, the 14C/12C ratio in plants/animals/the atmosphere before the flood had to be lower than what it is now.

Unless this effect (which is additional to the magnetic field issue just discussed) were corrected for, carbon dating of fossils formed in the flood would give ages much older than the true ages.

Creationist researchers have suggested that dates of 35,000 – 45,000 years should be re-calibrated to the biblical date of the flood.6 Such a re-calibration makes sense of anomalous data from carbon dating—for example, very discordant ‘dates’ for different parts of a frozen musk ox carcass from Alaska and an inordinately slow rate of accumulation of ground sloth dung pellets in the older layers of a cave where the layers were carbon dated.7

Also, volcanoes emit much CO2 depleted in 14C. Since the flood was accompanied by much volcanism, fossils formed in the early post-flood period would give radiocarbon ages older than they really are.

In summary, the carbon-14 method, when corrected for the effects of the flood, can give useful results, but needs to be applied carefully. It does not give dates of millions of years and when corrected properly fits well with the biblical flood.

Other radiometric dating methods
There are various other radiometric dating methods used today to give ages of millions or billions of years for rocks. These techniques, unlike carbon dating, mostly use the relative concentrations of parent and daughter products in radioactive decay chains. For example, potassium-40 decays to argon-40; uranium-238 decays to lead-206 via other elements like radium; uranium-235 decays to lead-207; rubidium-87 decays to strontium-87; etc. These techniques are applied to igneous rocks, and are normally seen as giving the time since solidification.

The isotope concentrations can be measured very accurately, but isotope concentrations are not dates. To derive ages from such measurements, unprovable assumptions have to be made such as:

The starting conditions are known (for example, that there was no daughter isotope present at the start, or that we know how much was there).

Decay rates have always been constant.

Systems were closed or isolated so that no parent or daughter isotopes were lost or added.

There are patterns in the isotope data
There is plenty of evidence that the radioisotope dating systems are not the infallible techniques many think, and that they are not measuring millions of years. However, there are still patterns to be explained. For example, deeper rocks often tend to give older ‘ages.’ Creationists agree that the deeper rocks are generally older, but not by millions of years. Geologist John Woodmorappe, in his devastating critique of radioactive dating,8 points out that there are other large-scale trends in the rocks that have nothing to do with radioactive decay.

‘Bad’ dates
When a ‘date’ differs from that expected, researchers readily invent excuses for rejecting the result. The common application of such posterior reasoning shows that radiometric dating has serious problems. Woodmorappe cites hundreds of examples of excuses used to explain ‘bad’ dates.9

For example, researchers applied posterior reasoning to the dating of Australopithecus ramidus fossils.10 Most samples of basalt closest to the fossil-bearing strata give dates of about 23 Ma (Mega annum, million years) by the argon-argon method. The authors decided that was ‘too old,’ according to their beliefs about the place of the fossils in the evolutionary grand scheme of things. So they looked at some basalt further removed from the fossils and selected 17 of 26 samples to get an acceptable maximum age of 4.4 Ma. The other nine samples again gave much older dates but the authors decided they must be contaminated and discarded them. That is how radiometric dating works. It is very much driven by the existing long-age world view that pervades academia today.

A similar story surrounds the dating of the primate skull known as KNM-ER 1470.11 This started with an initial 212 to 230 Ma, which, according to the fossils, was considered way off the mark (humans ‘weren’t around then’). Various other attempts were made to date the volcanic rocks in the area. Over the years an age of 2.9 Ma was settled upon because of the agreement between several different published studies (although the studies involved selection of ‘good’ from ‘bad’ results, just like Australopithecus ramidus, above).

However, preconceived notions about human evolution could not cope with a skull like 1470 being ‘that old.’ A study of pig fossils in Africa readily convinced most anthropologists that the 1470 skull was much younger. After this was widely accepted, further studies of the rocks brought the radiometric age down to about 1.9 Ma—again several studies ‘confirmed’ this date. Such is the dating game.

Are we suggesting that evolutionists are conspiring to massage the data to get what they want? No, not generally. It is simply that all observations must fit the prevailing paradigm. The paradigm, or belief system, of molecules-to-man evolution over eons of time, is so strongly entrenched it is not questioned—it is a ‘fact.’ So every observation must fit this paradigm. Unconsciously, the researchers, who are supposedly ‘objective scientists’ in the eyes of the public, select the observations to fit the basic belief system.

We must remember that the past is not open to the normal processes of experimental science, that is, repeatable experiments in the present. A scientist cannot do experiments on events that happened in the past. Scientists do not measure the age of rocks, they measure isotope concentrations, and these can be measured extremely accurately. However, the ‘age’ is calculated using assumptions about the past that cannot be proven.

We should remember God’s admonition to Job, ‘Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?’ (Job 38:4).

Those involved with unrecorded history gather information in the present and construct stories about the past. The level of proof demanded for such stories seems to be much less than for studies in the empirical sciences, such as physics, chemistry, molecular biology, physiology, etc.

Williams, an expert in the environmental fate of radioactive elements, identified 17 flaws in the isotope dating reported in just three widely respected seminal papers that supposedly established the age of the earth at 4.6 billion years.12 John Woodmorappe has produced an incisive critique of these dating methods.13 He exposes hundreds of myths that have grown up around the techniques. He shows that the few ‘good’ dates left after the ‘bad’ dates are filtered out could easily be explained as fortunate coincidences.

What date would you like?
The forms issued by radioisotope laboratories for submission with samples to be dated commonly ask how old the sample is expected to be. Why? If the techniques were absolutely objective and reliable, such information would not be necessary. Presumably, the laboratories know that anomalous dates are common, so they need some check on whether they have obtained a ‘good’ date.

Testing radiometric dating methods
If the long-age dating techniques were really objective means of finding the ages of rocks, they should work in situations where we know the age. Furthermore, different techniques should consistently agree with one another.

Methods should work reliably on things of known age
There are many examples where the dating methods give ‘dates’ that are wrong for rocks of known age. One example is K-Ar ‘dating’ of five historical andesite lava flows from Mount Nguaruhoe in New Zealand. Although one lava flow occurred in 1949, three in 1954, and one in 1975, the ‘dates’ range from less than 0.27 to 3.5 Ma.14

Again, using hindsight, it is argued that ‘excess’ argon from the magma (molten rock) was retained in the rock when it solidified. The secular scientific literature lists many examples of excess argon causing dates of millions of years in rocks of known historical age.15 This excess appears to have come from the upper mantle, below the earth’s crust. This is consistent with a young world—the argon has had too little time to escape.16 If excess argon can cause exaggerated dates for rocks of known age, then why should we trust the method for rocks of unknown age?

Other techniques, such as the use of isochrons,17 make different assumptions about starting conditions, but there is a growing recognition that such ‘foolproof’ techniques can also give ‘bad’ dates. So data are again selected according to what the researcher already believes about the age of the rock.

Geologist Dr Steve Austin sampled basalt from the base of the Grand Canyon strata and from the lava that spilled over the edge of the canyon. By evolutionary reckoning, the latter should be a billion years younger than the basalt from the bottom. Standard laboratories analyzed the isotopes. The rubidium-strontium isochron technique suggested that the recent lava flow was 270 Ma older than the basalts beneath the Grand Canyon—an impossibility.

Different dating techniques should consistently agree
If the dating methods are an objective and reliable means of determining ages, they should agree. If a chemist were measuring the sugar content of blood, all valid methods for the determination would give the same answer (within the limits of experimental error). However, with radiometric dating, the different techniques often give quite different results.

In the study of the Grand Canyon rocks by Austin, different techniques gave different results.18 Again, all sorts of reasons can be suggested for the ‘bad’ dates, but this is again posterior reasoning. Techniques that give results that can be dismissed just because they don’t agree with what we already believe cannot be considered objective.

In Australia, some wood found in Tertiary basalt was clearly buried in the lava flow that formed the basalt, as can be seen from the charring. The wood was ‘dated’ by radiocarbon (14C) analysis at about 45,000 years old, but the basalt was ‘dated’ by potassium-argon method at 45 million years old!19

Isotope ratios or uraninite crystals from the Koongarra uranium body in the Northern Territory of Australia gave lead-lead isochron ages of 841 Ma, plus or minus 140 Ma.20 This contrasts with an age of 1550-1650 Ma based on other isotope ratios,21 and ages of 275, 61, 0,0, and 0 Ma for thorium/lead (232Th/208Pb) ratios in five uraninite grains. The latter figures are significant because thorium-derived dates should be the more reliable, since thorium is less mobile than the uranium minerals that are the parents of the lead isotopes in lead-lead system.22 The ‘zero’ ages in this case are consistent with the Bible.

More evidence something is wrong—14C in fossils supposedly millions of years old
Carbon dating in many cases seriously embarrasses evolutionists by giving ages that are much younger than those expected from their model of early history. A specimen older than 50,000 years should have too little 14C to measure.

Laboratories that measure 14C would like a source of organic material with zero 14C to use as a blank to check that their lab procedures do not add 14C. Coal is an obvious candidate because the youngest coal is supposed to be millions of years old, and most of it is supposed to be tens or hundreds of millions of years old. Such old coal should be devoid of 14C. It isn’t. No source of coal has been found that completely lacks 14C.

Fossil wood found in ‘Upper Permian’ rock that is supposedly 250 Ma old still contained 14C.23 Recently, a sample of wood found in rock classified as ‘middle Triassic,’ supposedly some 230 million years old, gave a 14C date of 33,720 years, plus or minus 430 years.24 The accompanying checks showed that the 14C date was not due to contamination and that the ‘date’ was valid, within the standard (long ages) understanding of this dating system.

It is an unsolved mystery to evolutionists as to why coal has 14C in it,25 or wood supposedly millions of years old still has 14C present, but it makes perfect sense in a creationist world view.

Many physical evidence contradict the ‘billions of years’
Of the methods that have been used to estimate the age of the earth, 90 percent point to an age far less than the billions of years asserted by evolutionists. A few of them follow.

Evidence for a rapid formation of geological strata, as in the biblical flood. Some of the evidence are: lack of erosion between rock layers supposedly separated in age by many millions of years; lack of disturbance of rock strata by biological activity (worms, roots, etc.); lack of soil layers; polystrate fossils (which traverse several rock layers vertically—these could not have stood vertically for eons of time while they slowly got buried); thick layers of ‘rock’ bent without fracturing, indicating that the rock was all soft when bent; and more. For more, see books by geologists Morris26 and Austin.27

Red blood cells and hemoglobin have been found in some (unfossilized!) dinosaur bone. But these could not last more than a few thousand years—certainly not the 65 Ma since the last dinosaurs lived, according to evolutionists.28

The earth’s magnetic field has been decaying so fast that it looks like it is less than 10,000 years old. Rapid reversals during the flood year and fluctuations shortly after would have caused the field energy to drop even faster.29

Radioactive decay releases helium into the atmosphere, but not much is escaping. The total amount in the atmosphere is 1/2000th of that expected if the universe is really billions of years old. This helium originally escaped from rocks. This happens quite fast, yet so much helium is still in some rocks that it has not had time to escape—certainly not billions of years.30

A supernova is an explosion of a massive star—the explosion is so bright that it briefly outshines the rest of the galaxy. The supernova remnants (SNRs) should keep expanding for hundreds of thousands of years, according to physical equations. Yet there are no very old, widely expanded (Stage 3) SNRs, and few moderately old (Stage 1) ones in our galaxy, the Milky Way, or in its satellite galaxies, the Magellanic Clouds. This is just what we would expect for ‘young’ galaxies that have not existed long enough for wide expansion.31

The moon is slowly receding from the earth at about 4 centimeters (1.5 inches) per year, and this rate would have been greater in the past. But even if the moon had started receding from being in contact with the earth, it would have taken only 1.37 billion years to reach its present distance from the earth. This gives a maximum age of the moon, not the actual age. This is far too young for evolutionists who claim the moon is 4.6 billion years old. It is also much younger than the radiometric ‘dates’ assigned to moon rocks.32

Salt is entering the sea much faster than it is escaping. The sea is not nearly salty enough for this to have been happening for billions of years. Even granting generous assumptions to evolutionists, the sea could not be more than 62 Ma years old—far younger than the billions of years believed by the evolutionists. Again, this indicates a maximum age, not the actual age.33

Dr Russell Humphreys gives other processes inconsistent with billions of years in the pamphlet Evidence for a Young World.34

Creationists cannot prove the age of the earth using a particular scientific method, any more than evolutionists can. They realize that all science is tentative because we do not have all the data, especially when dealing with the past. This is true of both creationist and evolutionist scientific arguments—evolutionists have had to abandon many ‘proofs’ for evolution just as creationists have also had to modify their arguments. The atheistic evolutionist W.B. Provine admitted: ‘Most of what I learned of the field [evolutionary biology] in graduate (1964-68) school is either wrong or significantly changed.’ 35

Creationists understand the limitations of dating methods better than evolutionists who claim that they can use processes observed in the present to ‘prove’ that the earth is billions of years old. In reality, all dating methods, including those that point to a young earth, rely on unprovable assumptions.

Creationists ultimately date the earth historically using the chronology of the Bible. This is because they believe that this is an accurate eyewitness account of world history, which bears the evidence within it that it is the Word of God, and therefore totally reliable and error-free.

Then what do the radiometric ‘dates’ mean?
What the do the radiometric dates of millions of years mean, if they are not true ages? To answer this question, it is necessary to scrutinize further the experimental results from the various dating techniques, the interpretations made on the basis of the results and the assumptions underlying those interpretations.

The isochron dating technique was thought to be infallible because it supposedly covered the assumptions about starting conditions and closed systems.

Geologist Dr Andrew Snelling worked on dating the Koongarra uranium deposits in the Northern Territory of Australia, primarily using the uranium-thorium-lead (U-Th-Pb) method. He found that even highly weathered soil samples from the area, which are definitely not closed systems, gave apparently valid ‘isochron’ lines with ‘ages’ of up to 1,445 Ma.

Such ‘false isochrons’ are so common that a whole terminology has grown up to describe them, such as apparent isochron, mantle isochron, pseudoisochron, secondary isochron, inherited isochron, erupted isochron, mixing line and mixing isochron. Zheng wrote:

Some of the basic assumptions of the conventional Rb-Sr [rubidium-strontium] isochron method have to be modified and an observed isochron does not certainly define valid age information for a geological system, even if a goodness of fit of the experimental results is obtained in plotting 87Sr/86Sr. This problem cannot be overlooked, especially in evaluating the numerical time scale. Similar questions can also arise in applying Sm-Nd [samarium-neodymium] and U-Pb [uranium-lead] isochron methods.37

Clearly, there are factors other than age responsible for the straight lines obtained from graphing isotope ratios. Again, the only way to know if an isochron is ‘good’ is by comparing the result with what is already believed.

Another currently popular dating method is the uranium-lead concordia technique. This effectively combines the two uranium-lead decay series into one diagram. Results that lie on the concordia curve have the same age according to the two lead series and are called ‘concordant.’ However, the results from zircons (a type of gemstone), for example, generally lie off the concordia curve—they are discordant. Numerous models, or stories, have been developed to explain such data.38 However, such exercises in story-telling can hardly be considered as objective science that proves an old earth. Again, the stories are evaluated according to their own success in agreeing with the existing long ages belief system.

Andrew Snelling has suggested that fractionation (sorting) of elements in the molten state in the earth’s mantle could be a significant factor in explaining the ratios of isotope concentrations which are interpreted as ages.

As long ago as 1966, Nobel Prize nominee Melvin Cook, professor of metallurgy at the University of Utah, pointed out evidence that lead isotope ratios, for example, may involve alteration by important factors other than radioactive decay.39 Cook noted that, in ores from the Katanga mine, for example, there was an abundance of lead-208, a stable isotope, but no Thorium-232 as a source for lead-208. Thorium has a long half-life (decays very slowly) and is not easily moved out of the rock, so if the lead-208 came from thorium decay, some thorium should still be there. The concentrations of lead-206, lead-207, and lead-208 suggest that the lead-208 came about by neutron capture conversion of lead-206 to lead-207 to lead-208. When the isotope concentrations are adjusted for such conversions, the ages calculated are reduced from some 600 Ma to recent. Other ore bodies seemed to show similar evidence. Cook recognized that the current understanding of nuclear physics did not seem to allow for such a conversion under normal conditions, but he presents evidence that such did happen, and even suggests how it could happen.

Anomalies in deep rock crystals
Physicist Dr Robert Gentry has pointed out that the amount of helium and lead in zircons from deep bores is not consistent with an evolutionary age of 1,500 Ma for the granite rocks in which they are found.40 The amount of lead may be consistent with current rates of decay over millions of years, but it would have diffused out of the crystals in that time.

Furthermore, the amount of helium in zircons from hot rock is also much more consistent with a young earth (helium derives from the decay of radioactive elements).

The lead and helium results suggest that rates of radioactive decay may have been much higher in the recent past. Humphreys has suggested that this may have occurred during creation week and the flood. This would make things look much older than they really are when current rates of decay are applied to dating. Whatever caused such elevated rates of decay may also have been responsible for the lead isotope conversions claimed by Cook (above).

Orphan radiohalos
Decaying radioactive particles in solid rock cause spherical zones of damage to the surrounding crystal structure. A speck of radioactive element such as Uranium-238, for example, will leave a sphere of discoloration of characteristically different radius for each element it produces in its decay chain to lead-206.41 Viewed in cross-section with a microscope, these spheres appear as rings called radiohalos. Dr Gentry has researched radiohalos for many years, and published his results in leading scientific journals.42

Some of the intermediate decay products—such as the polonium isotopes—have very short half-lives (they decay quickly). For example, 218Po has a half-life of just 3 minutes. Curiously, rings formed by polonium decay are often found embedded in crystals without the parent uranium halos. Now the polonium has to get into the rock before the rock solidifies, but it cannot derive a from a uranium speck in the solid rock, otherwise there would be a uranium halo. Either the polonium was created (primordial, not derived from uranium), or there have been radical changes in decay rates in the past.

Gentry has addressed all attempts to criticize his work.43 There have been many attempts, because the orphan halos speak of conditions in the past, either at creation or after, perhaps even during the flood, which do not fit with the uniformitarian view of the past, which is the basis of the radiometric dating systems. Whatever process was responsible for the halos could be a key also to understanding radiometric dating.44

There are many lines of evidence that the radiometric dates are not the objective evidence for an old earth that many claim, and that the world is really only thousands of years old. We don’t have all the answers, but we do have the sure testimony of the Word of God to the true history of the world.

References and notes
Also known as isotope or radioisotope dating.
Today, a stable carbon isotope, 13C , is measured as an indication of the level of discrimination against 14C.
Radiation from atomic testing, like cosmic rays, causes the conversion of 14N to 14C.
Tree ring dating (dendrochronology) has been used in an attempt to extend the calibration of carbon-14 dating earlier than historical records allow, but this depends on temporal placement of fragments of wood (from long dead trees) using carbon-14 dating, assuming straight-line extrapolation backwards. Then cross-matching of ring patterns is used to calibrate the carbon ‘clock’—a somewhat circular process which does not give an independent calibration of the carbon dating system.
K.L. McDonald and R.H. Gunst, ‘An Analysis of the Earth’s Magnetic Field from 1835 to 1965,’ ESSA Technical Report IER 46-IES, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C., p. 14, 1965.
B.J. Taylor, ‘Carbon Dioxide in the Antediluvian Atmosphere,’ Creation Research Society Quarterly, 30(4):193-197, 1994.
R.H. Brown, ‘Correlation of C-14 Age with Real Time,’ Creation Research Society Quarterly, 29:45-47, 1992. Musk ox muscle was dated at 24,000 years, but hair was dated at 17,000 years. Corrected dates bring the difference in age approximately within the life span of an ox. With sloth cave dung, standard carbon dates of the lower layers suggested less than 2 pellets per year were produced by the sloths. Correcting the dates increased the number to a more realistic 1.4 per day.
J. Woodmorappe, The Mythology of Modern Dating Methods, Institute for Creation Research, San Diego, CA, 1999.
G. WoldeGabriel et al., ‘Ecological and Temporal Placement of Early Pliocene Hominids at Aramis, Ethiopia,’ Nature, 371:330-333, 1994.
M. Lubenow, The Pigs Took It All, Creation 17(3):36-38, 1995.
M. Lubenow, Bones of Contention, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI, pp. 247-266, 1993.
A.R. Williams, Long-age Isotope Dating Short on Credibility, CEN Technical Journal, 6(1):2-5, 1992.
Woodmorappe, The Mythology of Modern Dating Methods.
A.A. Snelling, The Cause of Anomalous Potassium-argon ‘Ages’ for Recent Andesite Flows at Mt. Nguaruhoe, New Zealand, and the Implications for Potassium-argon ‘Dating,’ Proc. 4th ICC, pp.503-525, 1998.
Note 14 lists many instances. For example, six cases were reported by D. Krummenacher, Isotopic Composition of Argon in Modern Surface Rocks, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 6:47-55, 1969. A large excess was reported in D.E. Fisher, Excess Rare Gases in a Subaerial Basalt in Nigeria, Nature, 232:60-61, 1970.
See note 14, p. 520.
The isochron technique involves collecting a number of rock samples from different parts of the rock unit being dated. The concentration of a parent radioactive isotope, such as rubidium-87, is graphed against the concentration of a daughter isotope, such as strontium-87, for all the samples. A straight line is drawn through these points, representing the ratio of the parent:daughter, from which a date is calculated. If the line is of good fit and the ‘age’ is acceptable, it is a ‘good’ date. The method involves dividing both the parent and daughter concentrations by the concentration of a similar stable isotope—in this case, strontium-86.
S.A. Austin, editor, Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe, Institute for Creation Research, Santee, CA, pp. 120-131, 1994.
A.A. Snelling, Radiometric Dating in Conflict, Creation, 20(1):24-27, 1998.
A.A. Snelling, The Failure of U-Th-Pb ‘Dating’ at Koongarra, Australia, CEN Technical Journal, 9(1):71-92, 1995.
R. Maas, Nd-Sr Isotope Constraints on the Age and Origin of Unconformity-type Uranium Deposits in the Alligator Rivers Uranium Field, Northern Territory, Australia, Economic Geology, 84:64-90, 1989.
See note 20.
A.A. Snelling, Stumping Old-age Dogma. Creation, 20(4):48-50, 1998.
A.A. Snelling, Dating Dilemma, Creation, 21(3):39-41, 1999.
D.C. Lowe, Problems Associated with the Use of Coal as a Source of 14C Free Background Material, Radiocarbon, 31:117-120, 1989.
J. Morris, The Young Earth, Master Books, Green Forest, AR, 1994.
Austin, Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe.
C. Wieland, Sensational Dinosaur Blood Report, Creation, 19(4):42-43, 1997, based on M. Schweitzer and T. Staedter, The Real Jurassic Park, Earth, pp. 55-57, June 1997.
D.R. Humphreys, Reversals of the Earth’s Magnetic Field During the Genesis Flood, Proc. First ICC, Pittsburgh, PA, 2:113-126, 1986.
J.D. Sarfati, The Earth’s Magnetic Field: Evidence That the Earth Is Young, Creation, 20(2):15-19, 1998.
L. Vardiman, The Age of the Earth’s Atmosphere: A Study of the Helium Flux through the Atmosphere, Institute for Creation Research, San Diego, CA, 1990.
J.D. Sarfati, Blowing Old-earth Belief Away: Helium Gives Evidence That the Earth is Young, Creation, 20(3):19-21, 1998.
K. Davies, Distribution of Supernova Remnants in the Galaxy, Proc. Third ICC, R.E. Walsh, editor, pp. 175-184, 1994.
D. DeYoung, The Earth-Moon System, Proc. Second ICC, R.E. Walsh and C.L. Brooks, editors, 2:79-84, 1990. J.D. Sarfati, The Moon: The Light That Rules the Night, Creation, 20(4):36-39, 1998.
S.A. Austin and D.R. Humphreys, The Sea’s Missing Salt: A Dilemma for Evolutionists, Proc. Second ICC, 2:17-33, 1990.
J.D. Sarfati, Salty Seas: Evidence for a Young Earth, Creation, 21(1):16-17, 1999.
Russell Humphreys, Evidence for a Young World, Answers in Genesis, 1999.
A review of Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science, National Academy of Science USA, 1998, by Dr Will B. Provine, online at http://fp.bio.utk.edu/darwin/NAS_guidebook/provine_1.html, February 18, 1999.
See Woodmorappe, The Mythology of Modern Dating Methods, for one such thorough evaluation.
Y.F. Zheng, Influence of the Nature of Initial Rb-Sr System on Isochron Validity, Chemical Geology, 80:1-16, p. 14, 1989.
E. Jager and J.C. Hunziker, editors, Lectures in Isotope Geology, U-Th-Pb Dating of Minerals, by D. Gebauer and M. Grunenfelder, Springer Verlag, New York, pp. 105-131, 1979.
M.A. Cook, Prehistory and Earth Models, Max Parrish, London, 1966.
R.V. Gentry, Creation’s Tiny Mystery, Earth Science Associates, Knoxville, TN, 1986.
Only those that undergo alpha decay (releasing a helium nucleus).
Gentry, Creation’s Tiny Mystery.
K.P. Wise, letter to the editor and replies by M. Armitage and R.V. Gentry, CEN Technical Journal, 12(3):285-90, 1998.
An international team of creationist scientists is actively pursuing a creationist understanding of radioisotope dating. Known as the RATE (Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth) group, it combines the skills of various physicists and geologists to enable a multi-disciplinary approach.)

Posted by Pacman (Member # 517) on 18-04-2005 18:20:
OMG [Eek!] i think this is a record. [Roll Eyes]
I saw the show Supervolcanoe lastnight and thought it interesting to see how they combined the facts into a movie. Not my style, however very informative.

Posted by hit4six (Member # 6442) on 18-04-2005 18:22:
how long did it take you to put all that information into this thread

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 18-04-2005 18:41:
About 2 seconds:)….Pacman, watched movie too, some very useful info for us in future….i’m thinkin particle masks:)…..Won’t be ice-age though, this time it’s FIRE….Rocky it was a Pillar of CLOUD that God used to guide His people (Isrealites/our ancestors) through the desert after He freed them from the Egyptians,and a pillar of FIRE to lead them at night….at that time He was in their face, unlike now where He works with FAITH, but they still didn’t get it!….so they missed out!

[ 18.04.2005, 19:02: Message edited by: dave7 ]

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 18-04-2005 19:12:
Heres an interesting story…. Tarawera’s night of terror
by Renton Maclachlan

At 1:40 am, on the morning of 10 June 1886, a mountain a mere 29 kilometres (18 miles) from Rotorua in the North Island of New Zealand, blew its top. For around four hours, Mt Tarawera, as it is now known, spewed red hot rocks, mud, ash, and smoke over the countryside from fissures up to three kilometres wide and around 19 kilometres (12 miles) long.1 The immediate area around the mountain was devastated with an estimated 15,000 square kilometres (5,800 square miles) of countryside affected in some way.

The mission house on the hill above Te Wairoa, following the eruption.
By 5:30 am the eruption was over, although ash continued to fall, and steam vented from the mountain for days. The death toll was 153, a relatively small number due to the low population of the area, but two whole Maori villages were wiped out.

Close by the mountain at its western end were two of the wonders of the world. The famous pink and white terraces descended the slopes alongside Lake Rotomahana in a series of brilliant white and pink steps.2 The white terraces were the larger, covering some three hectares (eight acres) and beginning in an enormous boiling cauldron 243 metres (about 800 feet) above lake level. The steps formed as a result of sinter3 dissolved in the water being deposited as the water made its way to the lake. When the sun shone on the vast area of silica-coated steps it sparkled like crystal. The colouration of the pink terraces went from pure white at the bottom through various shades of pink, which deepened towards the top. Then the colour mingled with a yellowish tinge until right at the top it became a delicate primrose. From all reports the terraces were a stunning sight. One observer said, ‘This is a revelation of beauty that strikes one dumb. I have seen all the world has to offer in glory and grandeur and this is supreme among them all’.4

The text of The Great Eruption of Tarawera, a tourist booklet, describes them this way: ‘In sunlight they glittered like a footstool of heaven itself as St John the Divine might have described it; flashing with varied hues of opal, its pools azure blue, and every terraced step hung with chalcedonic stalactites’.5

An old photograph shows the white terraces as they appeared before their destruction in Tarawera’s volcanic firestorm.

A petrified bowler hat from The Buried Village.

The large pools formed behind the steps varied in temperature from boiling in the highest to cold in those near the lake. The lower ones were ideal for visitors to bathe in.

The eruption on that 10 June blew the pink and white terraces out of existence. New Zealand and the world lost two of their natural wonders.

Te Wairoa was a small settlement close to the mountain on its north-west side. It had a church, a school, and two hotels, all of which were destroyed. The Te Wairoa of 1886 is today ‘The Buried Village’. The remains of some of the buildings have been excavated, and artefacts entombed in the ash for 60 or so years are displayed in a small museum.

Some of these artefacts are fascinating, as the photos below show. For example, there is a bowler hat which is now as hard as stone. Further, you could, if you had the stomach, tuck into a petrified sandwich or two. Along with a fossilized bag of flour for the bread, there’s a petrified ham for the filling. There are other items that look like sausages. Who could resist petrified sausages? However, for all their appearances, it seems they are not sausages at all, but perhaps some sort of medicine or fuel.6 All these artefacts were petrified as a result of being buried in the ash from the eruption.

Recently, as a result of inquiring after the whereabouts of this fossilized ham, I received a letter from the Physics Department of the University of Auckland. The writer said, among other things, ‘You may of course be using the term “fossil” in a loose sense but a ham could really in no way be a fossil—nor indeed could it be ‘petrified’ in so short a space of time. (True petrification takes times in the order of millions of years.) I do not know the state of the ham when discovered but there are a number of processes that I could imagine would harden it significantly and it was no doubt one of these that produced the item …’.7

I asked why the ham could not be a fossil, and was given the following definition from the Dictionary of Geological Terms, 1974, published for the American Geological Institute:

‘FOSSIL: 1. The remains or traces of animals or plants which have been preserved by natural causes in the Earth’s crust exclusive of organisms which have been buried since the beginning of historic time. 2. Anything dug from the Earth. (Obsolete)’.8

As the ham was petrified within ‘historic time’, it was excluded on the basis of the first of these definitions from being called a fossil. Furthering the amiable exchange, I objected to the definition, even though it came from a reputable dictionary.

A petrified bag of flour from The Buried Village

Sausage-like objects that are believed to be medicine or lampfuel.
First, fossilization occurs through a number of processes. How fast or when those processes occurred is irrelevant. The important thing is that a process has occurred. Second, the definition stacks the deck in favour of a particular view of history—the evolutionary view, by including in the definition an evolutionary concept. Since creationists say there is no such thing as ‘prehistory’, only history (man has been here from the beginning), this definition works against their understanding of fossils. If a fossil was determined purely on the basis of a process having occurred, which is the creation position, then much of the evolutionary mystique attached to fossils would evaporate.

One consequence of focusing on the process is that we know it is incorrect to say petrification takes millions of years. This ham, flour, and hat have not even taken 110 years to fossilize. They would have been transformed into their petrified state in perhaps days or weeks, or at the outside, a few years. The absolute maximum is 60 years—the length of time they were buried.

Actually, some of the Maori folk who lived in the area made pocket money as a result of the tourist trade developing around the pink and white terraces. They placed various items, such as hats, into the water at the terraces so as to petrify them.* Once petrified, they were sold as souvenirs.

And then there was the tourist graffiti. Hundreds of names, dates, addresses and poems, even the name of Sir George Gray, an early Governor of New Zealand, were scribbled on the silica to be covered in short measure by a transparent film and so be indelibly there for all to see!9 Fossilized graffiti!

How about lunch papers and tins and bottles the tourists left behind? A sheet of newspaper left on the white terraces was within days encased in silica. Fossilized news or garbage depending on how you view last week’s paper!

Of course things fell into the waters of their own accord. One scientific visitor to the terraces in 1868 found ‘many insects, such as beetles and dragon-flies, as well as some feathers of a lark, and the whole body of a hawk’ encrusted in the sinter.10

Mt Tarawera is yet another testimony to the rapidity with which fossilization can occur, and that the evolutionary concept of fossils as being ‘prehistoric’ does not conform with the evidence.

References and notes
The name Tarawera originally applied to only one of three peaks that make up the mountain. One of the peaks, Ruawahia was a sacred burial ground where Maori chiefs of the area were laid to rest. The third peak was named Wahanga.
The Maori name for the pink terraces was Otukapuarangi, and for the white, Te Tarata.
‘Sinter is the material deposited by hot springs and geysers. It may be derived from the calcium carbonate of underground limestone (forming travertine) or from silica-containing rocks (forming siliceous sinter). Sinter deposits in the Rotorua district are siliceous’. Tarawera and the Terraces, by Philip Andrews, Wilson and Horton, 1986, p. 25.
The Great Eruption of Mt Tarawera, D.W. Smith, Rotorua Printers Ltd, undated, p. 9.
Ibid, p. 9.
In personal correspondence, Pat McGrath, who oversees The Buried Village, says he ‘tends to think that the material is some sort of camphor or creosote-based product used for medicinal use or maybe even as a fuel for a lamp’. He has had one cut open, but it has not been analysed.
Personal correspondence, R.F.Keam, 7 June 1995. Keam is the author of a very detailed book on the eruption and its effects, entitled Tarawera, R.F.Keam, Physics Department, Auckland University, 1988.
Personal correspondence with R.F. Keam, 9 August 1995.
Tarawera and the Terraces, Philip Andrews, Wilson and Horton, 1986, p. 26.
Ibid, p. 25.


* There are two types of petrification of organic substances such as wood. In one, the wood decays in a hot, mineral-rich environment. As the wood decomposes and is carried away, it is replaced molecule for molecule by the mineral. This may take many years, even perhaps hundreds of years, to be complete. In the other type, the mineral-rich solution infiltrates the specimen, which becomes impregnated with and/or encased by solid rock as the minerals precipitate, but the organic material remains, protected from further decay. This is the type of petrification which would be in view here.

Posted by Rocky Raccoon (Member # 5764) on 18-04-2005 19:20:


Originally posted by dave7:
About 2 seconds:)….Rocky it was a Pillar of CLOUD that God used to guide His people (Isrealites/our ancestors) through the desert after He freed them from the Egyptians,and a pillar of FIRE to lead them at night….at that time He was in their face, unlike now where He works with FAITH, but they still didn’t get it!….so they missed out!

…and is according to a tribal myth, the pulsating heart of Maui’s fish (New Zealand’s North Island). Fed by the spirited Rivers of the Sacred Mountains this beautiful clear deep volcanic lake is the lifeforce of its surrounding land and its guardians.

The point I am making here is that early humans were in so much awe of these spectacular events when they happened, it is no surprise they would resonate for generations to come in their folklore like in Bali and any other cultures that sleeps in the shadows of these sleeping menaces. Many of the native Indonesians believed the Dutch presence there in the 19th were angering the gods beneath the Krakatau volcano.

BTW the Taupo eruption 26,500 years ago would be almost up there with the last eruption of Yellowstone (about 600,000 years ago). Not the first one which was three times great or Lake Toba which was four times greater.


The Oruanui eruption 26,500 years ago
The largest eruption from Taupo occurred 26,500 years ago producing 300 km³ of ignimbrite, 500 km³ of pumice and ash fall and a unknown volume of material inside the caldera. The Oruanui eruption is thought to have formed the caldera now filled by Lake Taupo, but this large eruption also shows the influence of lake water in its fine grain size and abundant evidence for heavy rain during the eruption. This implies the existence of a large lake prior to the eruption. The Oruanui ignimbrite is seen in many road cuttings about Taupo, draped by the layers of younger tephra. Fine ash from this eruption has been found throughout New Zealand and in many offshore core samples.


Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 18-04-2005 19:30:
 -  -  - ….Yes Rocky, many Myths.

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 18-04-2005 19:49:
Dead whales: telling tales?
How did over 300 whales, porpoises, turtles, seals, fish, and land animals such as ground sloths and penguins end up being catastrophically buried together?
by Michael Oard

‘We knew it was a great find,’ said paleontologist Leonard Brand about the fossil whales he saw in Peru in 1999, 350 km (200 miles) south of Lima, the capital. Eagerly he organized a team of creationist research scientists. They recently published their findings in the secular journal Geology.1,2,3

Overall, they found 346 whales within a 1.5-km2 (370-acre) area, buried in an 80-m (260-ft) thick layer of sedimentary rock called diatomite. This layer is part of the Pisco Formation, which varies in thickness from 200–1,000 m (650–3,300 ft).

Diatomite is sedimentary rock containing a high percentage of fossil diatoms—small single-celled algae, which commonly live near the ocean surface. The layer of diatomite in Peru has 5 to 10% clay and abundant volcanic ash.

Today, when diatoms die, their silica skeletons accumulate on the ocean floor. One gram (0.035 oz.) of diatomite may contain up to 400 million skeletons.4 Diatomite sediment normally accumulates slowly—only a few centimetres per thousand years.1 Even where the rate is higher, such as in some shallow-water areas, accumulation is still slow. For example, in the fjords of British Columbia, diatoms and clay accumulate at 2.5–5.0 mm (0.1–0.2 inches) per year.2

Also today, when a whale carcass sinks to the bottom of the ocean, many kinds of scavengers quickly attack and colonize it. And in their quest for food, some scavengers churn up the adjacent sediments.5

However, in Peru, the fossilized whales and diatoms were well preserved and the whale skeletons were mostly intact. There was no evidence of normal decay, such as wormholes, barnacle encrustations or general degradation. Neither was there any sign that organisms had churned up the adjacent sediment.

The whale skeletons were partially mineralized, and, remarkably, baleen from five whales was preserved. Baleen forms the comb-like structure in the whale’s mouth that filters its food. This is remarkable because it is softer than bone—the same composition as our human fingernails.

There is no doubt that these well-preserved whales, entombed in diatomite, indicate rapid burial. After eliminating other possibilities, Brand and his coauthors concluded:

‘The most viable explanation for whale preservation seems to be rapid burial, fast enough to cover whales 5–13 m [16–42 ft] long and approximately 50 cm [20 in] thick within a few weeks or months, to account for whales with well-preserved bones and some soft tissues.’1

These burial times are probably a maximum, based on a comparison with modern environments. It could have been even faster than a few weeks.

Remarkably, these rapidly buried fossil whales contradict one of the ruling principles of modern geology, uniformitarianism—i.e. rocks formed slowly in the past similar to what we observe in the present. Interpreted according to that principle, the whales were buried over a period of two million years about 10 million years ago. However, the fact that 80 m of sediment buried 346 whales within months or weeks (or less) creates a problem for those who believe in millions of years. Where do they put the time? There is nowhere for it in the rocks.

The whale graveyard fits much more comfortably with the biblical timescale of thousands of years.

So, instead of uniformitarianism, we adopt the biblical framework. But that raises another question. Did the Genesis Flood bury these whales or was it a local catastrophe after the Flood?

From the report in Geology, we know that there were strong water currents in the region, since there are abundant, small channels that have been scoured out and refilled with sediment in the Pisco Formation. There was also time for sharks to scavenge, since the scientists found shark teeth with the skeletons. In fact, they noticed some whale bones embedded with the tips of shark teeth. The team found other vertebrates in the deposit besides sharks and whales. These included marine animals such as fish, turtles, seals and porpoises, and land animals such as ground sloths and penguins.

Brand and his team favour a post-Flood shallow marine environment. They suggest the whales and marine vertebrates died when a massive bloom (multiplication) of diatoms, thickened by lateral water currents, poisoned the water.6 There is no evidence that the whales beached. Ash from volcanic eruptions could have provided the nutrients for a diatom population explosion. However, the existence of land vertebrates, especially the ground sloths, seems to be a problem here. A similar post-Flood scenario was applied to a whale found in diatomite at Lompoc, California.7

On the other hand, the whales may have been buried late in the Genesis Flood.8 Rapid deposition of 80 m of diatomite filled with skeletons of marine and land animals seems more like a Flood signature. Ground sloths are associated with the post-Flood Ice Age9 but they also lived before the Flood. The diatomite and whales could have accumulated by a comparable flood process as suggested for the chalk in southern England.10 Chalk is similar to diatomite in that it consists of shells of countless microorganisms (but calcium carbonate instead of silica).

To distinguish between the Flood and post-Flood possibilities, we would need more information on the deposit.

Either way, the 346 fossil whales buried in thick, muddy, diatomaceous sediment graphically illustrate the accuracy of biblical history. The remarkable find points to rapid, catastrophic burial, which is consistent with the timeframe of the Bible—a timeframe covering thousands of years.

Recommended Resources

An Ice Age Caused by the Genesis Flood (Softcover)
A detailed study of the scientific evidence that the Ice Age was caused by the Flood.

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 18-04-2005 20:00:
A ‘165 million year’ surprise
by Andrew A. Snelling

A ‘mysterious network’ of mud springs on the edge of the ‘market town’ of Wootton Bassett, near Swindon, Wiltshire, England, has yielded a remarkable surprise.1 A scientific investigation has concluded that ‘the phenomenon is unique to Britain and possibly the world’.

The mud springs
Hot, bubbling mud springs or volcanoes are found in New Zealand, Java and elsewhere, but these Wootton Bassett mud springs usually ooze slowly and are cold. However, in 1974 River Authority workmen were clearing the channel of a small stream in the area, known as Templar’s Firs, because it was obstructed by a mass of grey clay.2 When they began to dig away the clay, grey liquid mud gushed into the channel from beneath tree roots and for a short while spouted a third of a metre (one foot) into the air at a rate of about eight litres per second.

No one knows how long these mud springs have been there. According to the locals they have always been there, and cattle have fallen in and been lost! Consisting of three mounds each about 10 metres (almost 33 feet) long by five metres (16 feet) wide by one metre (about three feet) high, they normally look like huge ‘mud blisters’, with more or less liquid mud cores contained within living ‘skins’ created by the roots of rushes, sedges and other swampy vegetation, including shrubs and small trees.2 The workmen in 1974 had obviously cut into the end of one of these mounds, partly deflating it. Since then the two most active ‘blisters’ have largely been deflated and flattened by visitors probing them with sticks.3

In 1990 an ‘unofficial’ attempt was made to render the site ‘safe’.4 A contractor tipped many truckloads of quarry stone and rubble totalling at least 100 tonnes into the mud springs, only to see the heap sink out of sight within half an hour! Liquid mud spurted out of the ground and flowed for some 600 metres (about 2,000 feet) down the stream channel clogging it. Worried, the contractor brought in a tracked digger and found he could push the bucket down 6.7 metres (22 feet) into the spring without finding a bottom.

’Pristine fossils’ and evolutionary bias
So why all the ‘excitement’ over some mud springs? Not only is there no explanation of the way the springs ooze pale, cold, grey mud onto and over the ground surface, but the springs are also ‘pumping up’ fossils that are supposed to be 165 million years old, including newly discovered species.1 In the words of Dr Neville Hollingworth, paleontologist with the Natural Environment Research Council in Swindon, who has investigated the springs, ‘They are like a fossil conveyor belt bringing up finds from clay layers below and then washing them out in a nearby stream.’1

Over the years numerous fossils have been found in the adjacent stream, including the Jurassic ammonite Rhactorhynchia inconstans, characteristic of the so-called inconstans bed near the base of the Kimmeridge Clay, estimated as being only about 13 metres (almost 43 feet) below the surface at Templar’s Firs.5 Fossils retrieved from the mud springs and being cataloged at the British Geological Survey office in Keyworth, Nottinghamshire, include the remains of sea urchins, the teeth and bones of marine reptiles, and oysters ‘that once lived in the subtropical Jurassic seas that covered southern England.’1

Some of these supposedly 165 million year old ammonites are previously unrecorded species, says Dr Hollingworth, and the real surprise is that ‘many still had shimmering mother-of-pearl shells’.1 According to Dr Hollingworth these ‘pristine fossils’ are ’the best preserved he has seen … . You just stand there [beside the mud springs] and up pops an ammonite. What makes the fossils so special is that they retain their original shells of aragonite [a mineral form of calcium carbonate] … The outsides also retain their iridescence …’6 And what is equally amazing is that, in the words of Dr Hollingworth, ‘There are the shells of bivalves which still have their original organic ligaments and yet they are millions of years old’!1

Perhaps what is more amazing is the evolutionary, millions–of–years mindset that blinds hard–nosed, rational scientists from seeing what should otherwise be obvious—such pristine ammonite fossils still with shimmering mother–of–pearl iridescence on their shells, and bivalves still with their original organic ligaments, can’t possibly be 165 million years old. Upon burial, organic materials are relentlessly attacked by bacteria, and even in seemingly sterile environments will automatically, of themselves, decompose to simpler substances in a very short time.7,8 Without the millions–of–years bias, these fossils would readily be recognized as victims of a comparatively recent event, for example, the global devastation of Noah’s Flood only about 4,500 years ago.

No explanation
Even with Dr Hollingworth’s identification of fossils from the Oxford Clay,3 which underlies the Kimmeridge Clay and Corallian Beds, scientists such as Roger Bristow of the British Geological Survey office in Exeter still don’t know what caused the mud springs.1 English Nature, the Government’s wildlife advisory body which also has responsibility for geological sites, has requested research be done.

The difficulties the scientists involved face include coming up with a driving mechanism, and unravelling why the mud particles do not settle out but remain in suspension.1 They suspect some kind of naturally–occurring chemical is being discharged from deep within the Kimmeridge and Oxford Clays, where some think the springs arise from a depth of between 30 and 40 metres (100 and 130 feet). So Ian Gale, a hydrogeologist at the Institute of Hydrology in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, is investigating the water chemistry.9 Clearly an artesian water source is involved.10 Alternately, perhaps a feeder conduit cuts through the Oxford Clay, Corallian Beds and Kimmeridge Clay strata, rising from a depth of at least 100 metres (330 feet).3 The mud’s temperature shows no sign of a thermal origin, but there are signs of bacteria in the mud, and also chlorine gas.11 But why mud instead of water? Does something agitate the underground water/clay interface so as to cause such fine mixing?10

Research may yet unravel these mysteries. But it will not remove the evolutionary bias that prevents scientists from seeing the obvious. The pristine fossils disgorged by these mud springs, still with either their original external iridescence or their original organic ligaments, can’t be 165 million years old! Both the fossils and the strata that entombed them must only be recent. They are best explained as testimony to the global watery cataclysm in Noah’s day about 4,500 years ago.

References and notes
N. Nuttall, ‘Mud springs a surprise after 165 million years’, The Times, London, p. 7, May 2, 1996.
W.I. Stanton, ‘Mud springs in Britain’, Geology Today 4(6):187, November–December, 1988.
W.I. Stanton, ‘Wootton Bassett: fame at last for mud springs’, Geology Today, 11(5):172, September–October, 1995.
W.I. Stanton, ‘Mud springs in Britain: an update’, Geology Today 8(5):175, September–October, 1992.
R.P. Gosnell, ‘Mud springs at Wootton Bassett’, Geology Today 5(3):87, May–June, 1989.
Anonymous, ‘Iridescent fossils rise up from volcano’, New Scientist 148(1998):10, October 7, 1995.
T. Lindahl, ‘Instability and decay of the primary structure of DNA,’ Nature 362(6422):709–715, 1993.
H.N. Poinar, M. Höss, J.L. Bada and S. Pääbo, ‘Amino acid racemization and the preservation of ancient DNA’, Science 272(5263):864–866, 1996.
Ian Gale, personal communication, August 16, 1996.
R.P. Gosnell, ‘Wootton Bassett: fame at last for mud springs’, Geology Today 11(5):172–173, September

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 18-04-2005 20:20:
– IMPACT No. 168 June 1987
by Michael J. Oard, M.S.*

© Copyright 2004 Institute for Creation Research. All Rights Reserved.
The origin of the ice age has greatly perplexed uniformitarian scientists. Much cooler summers and copious snowfall are required, but they are inversely related, since cooler air is drier. It is unlikely cooler temperatures could induce a change in atmospheric circulation that would provide the needed moisture. As a result, well over 60 theories have been proposed. Charlesworth states: 1

“Pleistocene phenomena have produced an absolute riot of theories ranging ‘from the remotely possible to the mutually contradictory and the palpably inadequate.'”

A uniformitarian ice age seems meteorologically impossible. The necessary temperature drop in Northern Canada has been established by a sophisticated energy balance model over a snow cover. Summers must be 10 degrees to 12 degrees C cooler than today, even with twice the normal winter snowfall. 2

The Milankovitch mechanism, or the old astronomical theory, has recently been proposed as the solution to the problem. Computer climate simulations have shown that it could initiate an ice age, or at least glacial/interglacial fluctuations. However, an in-depth examination does not support this. The astronomical theory is based on small changes in solar radiation, caused by periodic shifts in the earth’s orbital geometry. It had been assumed too weak to cause ice ages by meteorologists, until the oscillations were “statistically” correlated with oxygen isotope fluctuations in deep-sea cores. The latter cycles are believed related mostly to glacial ice volume, and partially to ocean paleotemperature, although the exact relationship has been controversial. The predominant period from cores was correlated to the 100,000-year period of the earth’s eccentricity, which changes the solar radiation at most 0.17% 3 This is an infinitesimal effect. Many other serious problems plague the astronomical theory. 4, 5 Although models can test causal hypotheses, Bryson says they “. . . are not sufficiently advanced, nor is our knowledge of the required inputs, to allow for climatic reconstruction. . . .” 6

The climate change following the Genesis Flood provides a likely catastrophic mechanism for an ice age. The Flood was a tremendous tectonic and volcanic event. Large amounts of volcanic aerosols would remain in the atmosphere following the Flood, generating a large temperature drop over land by reflecting much solar radiation back to space. Volcanic aerosols would likely be replenished in the atmosphere for hundreds of years following the Flood, due to high post-Flood volcanism, which is indicated in Pleistocene sediments. 7 The moisture would be provided by strong evaporation from a much warmer ocean, following the Flood. The warm ocean is a consequence of a warmer pre-Flood climate and the release of hot subterranean water during the eruption of “all the fountains of the great deep” (Genesis 7:11). The added quantity of water must have been large to cover all the pre-Flood mountains, which were lower than today. Evaporation over the ocean is proportional to how cool, dry, and unstable the air is, and how fast the wind blows. 8 Indirectly, it is proportional to sea surface temperature. A 10 degree C air-sea temperature difference, with a relative humidity of 50%, will evaporate seven times more water at a sea surface temperature of 30 degrees C than at 0 degrees C. Thus, the areas of greatest evaporation would be at higher latitudes and off the east coast of Northern Hemisphere continents. Focusing on northeast North America, the combination of cool land and warm ocean would cause the high level winds and a main storm track to be parallel to the east coast, by the thermal wind equation. 9 Storm after storm would develop near the eastern shoreline, similar to modern-day Northeasters, over the continent. Once a snow cover is established, more solar radiation is reflected back to space, reinforcing the cooling over land, and compensating the volcanic lulls.

The ice sheet will grow as long as the large supply of moisture is available, which depends upon the warmth of the ocean. Thus, the time to reach maximum ice volume will depend upon the cooling time of the ocean. This can be found from the heat balance equation for the ocean, with reasonable assumptions of post-Flood climatology and initial and final average ocean temperatures. However, the heat lost from the ocean would be added to the atmosphere, which would slow the oceanic cooling with cool summers and warm winters. The time to reach maximum ice volume must also consider the heat balance of the post-Flood atmosphere, which would strongly depend upon the severity of volcanic activity. Considering ranges of volcanism and the possible variations in the terms of the balance equations, the time for glacial maximum ranges from 250 to 1300 years. 10

The average ice depth at glacial maximum is proportional to the total evaporation from the warm ocean at mid and high latitudes, and the transport of moisture from lower latitudes. Since most snow in winter storms falls in the colder portion of the storm, twice the precipitation was assumed to fall over the cold land than over the ocean. Some of the moisture, re-evaporated from non-glaciated land, would end up as snow on the ice sheet, but this effect should be mostly balanced by summer runoff. The average depth of ice was calculated at roughly half uniformitarian estimates. The latter are really unknown. As Bloom states, “Unfortunately, few facts about its thickness are known . . . we must turn to analogy and theory. . . .” 11

The time to melt an ice sheet at mid-latitudes is surprisingly short, once the copious moisture source is gone. It depends upon the energy balance over a snow or ice cover. 12 Several additional factors would have enhanced melting. Crevassing would increase the absorption of solar radiation, by providing more surface area. 13 The climate would be colder and drier than at present, with strong dusty storms that would tend to track along the ice sheet boundary. The extensive loess sheets south of and within the periphery of the past ice sheet attest to this. Dust settling on the ice would greatly increase the solar absorption and melting. A mountain snowfield in Japan was observed to absorb 85% of the solar radiation after 4000 ppm of pollution dust had settled on its surface. 14

Earth scientists believe there were many ice ages—perhaps more than 30—in regular succession during the late Cenozoic based on oxygen isotope fluctuations in deep-sea cores. 15 However, the ocean results have many difficulties, and sharply conflict with the long-held four ice-age continental scheme. Before the early 20th century, the number of ice ages was much debated. Some scientists believed in only one ice age, but the sediments are complex and have evidence of anywhere from one to four, or possibly more till sheets, separated by non-glacial deposits. Four ice ages became established mainly from gravel terraces in the Alps, and reinforced by soil stratigraphy. Much has been learned about glacial behavior and sedimentation since then. The Alps terraces are now viewed as possibly “. . . a result of repeated tectonic uplift cycles—not widespread climatic changes per se.” 16 Variously weathered “interglacial soils” between till sheets are complex, and practically always have the top organic horizon missing. It is difficult to know whether they are really soils. 17 Besides, the rate of modern soil formation is unknown, and depends upon many complex factors, like the amount of warmth, moisture, and time. 18 Therefore, the number of glaciations is still an open question.

There are strong indications that there was only one ice age. As discussed previously, the requirements for an ice age are very stringent. The problem grows to impossibility, when more than one is considered. Practically all the ice-age sediments are from the last, and these deposits are very thin over interior areas, and not overly thick at the periphery. Till can sometimes be laid down rapidly, especially in end moraines. Thus the main characteristics of the till favor one ice age. Pleistocene fossils are rare in glaciated areas, which is mysterious, if there were many interglacials. Practically all the megafaunal extinctions were after the last—a difficult problem if there was more than one.

One dynamic ice age could explain the features of the till along the periphery by large fluctuations and surges, which would cause stacked till sheets. 19 Organic remains can be trapped by these oscillations. 20 Large fluctuations may be caused by variable continental cooling, depending upon volcanic activity. In addition, most of the snow and ice should accumulate at the periphery, closest to the main storm tracks. Large surface slopes and warm basal temperatures at the edge are conducive to rapid glacial movement. 21

In summary, the mystery of the ice age can be best explained by one catastrophic ice age as a consequence of the Genesis Flood.

1 Charlesworth, J.K., 1957, The Quaternary Era, Vol. 2, London, Edward Arnold, p. 1532.
2 Williams, L.D., 1979, “An Energy Balance Model of Potential Glacierization of Northern Canada,” Arctic and Alpine Research, v. 11, n. 4, pp. 443-456.
3. Fong, P., 1982, “Latent Heat of Melting and Its Importance for Glaciation Cycles,” Climatic Change, v. 4, p. 199.
4 Oard, M.J., 1984, “Ice Ages: The Mystery Solved? Part 2: The Manipulation of Deep-Sea Cores,”Creation Research Society Quarterly, v. 21, n. 3, pp. 125-137.
5 Oard, M.J., 1985, “Ice Ages: The mystery Solved? Part 3: Paleomagnetic Stratigraphy and Data Manipulation,”Creation Research Society Quarterly, v. 21, n. 4, pp. 170-181.
6 Bryson, R.A., 1985, “On Climatic Analogs in Paleoclimatic Reconstruction,” Quaternary Research, v. 23, n. 3, p. 275.
7 Charlesworth, Op. Cit., p. 601.
8 Bunker, A.F., 1976, “A Computation of Surface Energy Flux and Annual Air-Sea Interaction Cycles of the North Atlantic Ocean,” Monthly Weather Review, v. 104, n. 9, p. 1122.
9 Holton, J.R., 1972, An Introduction to Dynamic Meteorology, New York, Academic Press, pp. 48-51.
10 Oard, M.D., “An Ice Age Within the Biblical Time Frame,” Proceedings of the First International Conference on Creationism, Pittsburgh (in press).
11 Bloom, A.L., 1971, “Glacial-Eustatic and Isostatic Controls of Sea Level,” in K.K. Turekian, ed., Late Cenozoic Glacial Ages, New Haven, Yale University Press, p. 367.
12 Patterson, W.S.B., 1969, The Physics of Glaciers, New York, Pergamon, pp. 45-62.
13 Hughes, T., 1986, “The Jakobshanvs Effect:” Geophysical Research Letters, v. 13, n. 1, pp. 46-48.
14 Warren, S.G. and W.J. Wiscombe, 1980, “A Model for the Spectral Albedo of Snow. II. Snow Containing Atmospheric Aerosols,” Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, v. 37, n. 12, p. 2736.
15 Kennett, J.P. 1982, Marine Geology, New Jersey, Prentice-Hall, p. 747.
16 Eyles, N., W.R. Dearman and T.D. Douglas, 1983, “Glacial Landsystems in Britain and North America” in N. Eyles, ed., Glacial Geology, New York, Pergamon, p. 217.
17 Valentine, K. and J. Dalrymple, 1976, “Quarternary Buried Paleosols: A Critical Review,” Quarternary Research, v. 6, n. 2, pp. 209-222.
18 Boardman, J., 1985, “Comparison of Soils in Midwestern United States and Western Europe with the Interglacial Record,” Quaternary Research, v. 23, n. 1, pp. 62-75.
19 Paul, M.A., 1983, “The Supraglacial Landsystem,” in N. Eyles, ed., Glacial Geology, New York, Pergamon, pp. 71-90.
20 Eyles, Dearman and Douglas, Op. Cit., p. 222.
21 Patterson, Op. Cit., p. 63-167.

* Mr. Oard is a meteorologist with the U.S. Weather Bureau, Montana.

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 18-04-2005 20:33:
– IMPACT No. 226 April 1992
by Larry Vardiman, Ph.D.*

© Copyright 2004 Institute for Creation Research. All Rights Reserved
It is not uncommon to read that ice cores from the polar regions contain records of climatic change from the distant past. Research teams from the United States, the Soviet Union, Denmark, and France have bored holes over a mile deep into the ice near the poles and removed samples for analysis in their laboratories.

Based on flow models, the variation of oxygen isotopes, the concentration of carbon dioxide in trapped air bubbles, the presence of oxygen isotopes, acid concentrations, and particulates, they believe the lowest layers of the ice sheets were laid down over 160,000 years ago. Annual oscillations of such quantities are often evident in the record.

Are these records in the ice legitimate? Do they cause a problem for the recent-creation model of earth history? What are we to make of these data? This article will show that the great ages reported for the bottom layers of ice sheets depend on assumed models of past climate and are not the result of direct counting of layers. An alternative model of recent glacier formation following the Flood described in Genesis will be suggested.

World War II Airplanes Under the Ice
The Greenland Society of Atlanta has recently attempted to excavate a 10-foot diameter shaft in the Greenland ice pack to remove two B-17 Flying Fortresses and six P-38 Lightning fighters trapped under an estimated 250 feet of ice for almost 50 years (Bloomberg, 1989). Aside from the fascination with salvaging several vintage aircraft for parts and movie rights, the fact that these aircraft were buried so deeply in such a short time focuses attention on the time scales used to estimate the chronologies of ice.

If the aircraft were buried under about 250 feet of ice and snow in about 50 years, this means the ice sheet has been accumulating at an average rate of five feet per year. The Greenland ice sheet averages almost 4000 feet thick. If we were to assume the ice sheet has been accumulating at this rate since its beginning, it would take less than 1000 years for it to form and the recent-creation model might seem to be vindicated.

Greenland Ice Cores
However, life is never as simple as implied above. In making our calculations, we did not take into account the compaction of the snow into ice as it is weighted down by the snow above. Neither did we consider the thinning of ice layers as the tremendous weight above forces the ice at lower levels to squeeze out horizontally. More importantly, we did not consider the average precipitation rate and actual depths of ice for different locations on the Greenland ice sheet.

When these factors are taken into account, the average annual thickness of ice at Camp Century located near the northern tip of Greenland is believed to vary from about fourteen inches near the surface to less than two inches near the bottom (Hammer, et al., 1978). If, for simplicity, we assume the average annual thickness to be the mean between the annual thickness at the top and at the bottom (about eight inches), this still gives an age of less than 6000 years for the 4000-foot-thick ice sheet to form under uniformitarian conditions.

This is in relatively good agreement with the number of annual oscillations of O currently observed in Greenland cores. Although occasional ambiguities occur, it is relatively easy to count annual layers downward from the surface through considerable depths in the Greenland ice sheet. This is possible because of the large precipitation rates in Greenland and the preservation of the annual effects.

It is also possible with a high degree of accuracy to cross check the counting of annual layers with occasional peaks in acidity and particulates from the fallout of historic volcanic events. Hammer, et al. (1978) have correlated the peaks in the mean acidity of annual layers from 553 to 1972 A.D. with historic volcanic events. About a dozen historical volcanic eruptions are evident in the ice core from Crete in central Greenland. Several unknown eruptions are also documented in the ice core record.

The confidence in the chronology becomes less the lower in the ice sheet one goes, however. The amplitude of the annual oscillations slowly decreases relative to other factors, and historic markers are fewer and farther apart. Glaciologists estimate that uncertainties in identification of layers will probably limit the number of countable layers to less than about 8,500 (Hammer, et al., 1978).

Antarctic Ice Cores
The claims that layers of ice were formed 160,000 years ago or more come primarily from interpretation of ice cores in Antarctica (Jouzel, et al., 1987; Barnola, et al., l987). The Soviet Antarctic Expeditions at Vostok in East Antarctica recovered an ice core which was almost 7,000 feet long in a region where the total ice thickness is about 12,000 feet (Lorius, et al., 1979; Lorius, et al., 1985). Since the current precipitation rate is so much less than Greenland (on the order of one inch per year) the crude calculation of age, without corrections for compression and horizontal motion for the lowest layers is more than 100,000 years.

However, such estimates are critically based on the assumption that the accumulation rate has not varied greatly over the past. Unlike the Greenland ice cores, annual oscillations of ð18O and other parameters cannot be traced deeply into the ice sheet on Antarctica. In Greenland, the high precipitation rates not only provide relatively thick annual layers for analysis, but the accumulating snow quickly seals off the ice beneath and protects the record from metamorphosis by pressure and temperature changes in the atmosphere. In Antarctica, by the time the ice has been buried deeply enough to no longer be influenced by the atmosphere, annual variations have been greatly dampened by diffusion (Epstein, et al., 1965; Johnsen, et al., 1972).

The technique used to estimate the age of an ice layer deep in the ice sheet is to measure its ð18O content and compute the atmospheric temperature which is observed to produce such concentrations today (Jouzel and Merlivat, 1984). Through a second-known relation between temperature and precipitation rate, again observed in today’s atmosphere, the accumulation rate for a given layer is calculated (Lorius, et al., 1985). Once the accumulation rate is calculated for each layer, the depth and age for each layer in the ice is calculated by integrating the annual accumulation downward from the surface.

There are several historical markers in Antarctica which can be used to cross check these calculations for the past few thousand years. But historical volcanic events are not known beyond a few thousand years in the past which provide any certainty to the calculation of age. This method would be reasonably reliable if precipitation rates had been similar in the past. However, some creationist models predict significant quantities of snow immediately after the Flood (Oard, 1990). Perhaps as much as 95% of the ice near the poles could have accumulated in the first 500 years or so after the Flood.

The Age of the Earth
From a creationist perspective, it would be extremely valuable to thoroughly explore these ice-core data. We would not assume that the precipitation rate has always been similar to that of today. We would expect considerably higher precipitation rates immediately following the Flood. The layers of ice near the bottom of the core should be thicker than expected by the uniformitarian model and contain unusual excursions in ð18O, acidity, and particulates from levels higher in the core. The “annual” layers deep in the Greenland ice sheet may be related to individual storms rather than seasonal accumulations. If these evidences are found, direct information on conditions following the Flood would be available to us.

Nothing in the ice-core data from either Greenland or Antarctica requires the earth to be of great age. In fact, there are good reasons to believe that the ice cores are revealing important information about conditions following the Flood of Genesis and the recent formation of thick ice sheets. Reports of ice-core data containing records of climatic changes as far back as 160,000 years in the past are dependent upon interpretations of these data which could be seriously wrong, if the Genesis Flood occurred as described in the Bible. Further research on ice-core data should be a high priority for creationist researchers.

Barnola, J.M., D. Raynaud, Y.S. Korotkevich, and C. Lorius, 1987. “Vostok ice core provides 160,000-year record of atmospheric carbon dioxide.” Nature, 329:408.

Bloomberg, R., 1989. “WW II planes to be deiced.” Engineering Report, March 9.

Epstein, S., R.P. Sharp, and A.J. Gow, 1965. “Six-year record of oxygen and hydrogen isotope variations in south pole fire.” Journal of Geophysical Research, 70:1809.

Hammer, C.U., H.B. Clausen, W. Dansgaard, N. Gundestrup, S.J. Johnsen, and N. Reeh, 1978. “Dating of Greenland ice cores by flow models, isotopes, volcanic debris, and continental dust.” Journal of Glaciology, 20:3.

Hammer, C.U., H.B. Clausen, and W. Dansgaard, 1980. “Greenland ice sheet evidence of post-glacial vulcanism and its climate impact.” Nature, 288:230.

Johnsen, S.J., W. Dansgeard, and H.B. Clausen, 1972. “Oxygen isotope profiles through the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets.” Nature, 235:429.

Jouzel, J. and L. Merlivat, 1984. “Deuterium and oxygen 18 in precipitation: modeling of the isotopic effects during snow formation.” Journal of Geophysical Research, 89:11, 749.

Jonzel, J., C. Lorius, J.R. Petit, C. Genthon, N.I. Barkov, M. Kotlyakov, and M. Petrov, 1987. “Vostok ice core: a continuous isotope temperature record over the last climatic cycle (160,000 years).” Nature, 329:403.

Lorius, C., L. Merlivat, J. Jonzel, and M. Pourchet, 1979. “A 30,000-yr isotope climatic record from Antarctic ice.” Nature, 280:644.

Lorius, C., J. Jouzel, C. Ritz, L. Merlivat, N.I. Barkov, Y.S. Korotkevich, and V.M. Kotlyakov, 1985. “A 160,000-year climatic record from Antarctic ice.” Nature, 316:591.

Oard, M.J., 1990. “An Ice Age Caused by the Genesis Flood.” ICR Monograph, 243 pp.

* Dr. Larry Vardiman is Chairman of the ICR Physics Department.

Posted by Rocky Raccoon (Member # 5764) on 19-04-2005 00:09:
The Holy lands rest on the junction of three plates, the African, Eurasian and Arabian plates, so it is no surprise a lot of the language of volcanism would play a major role in their mythology.
Image source here

Posted by Claire J (Member # 235) on 19-04-2005 09:27:
I watched all three volcano/tsunami shows shown on the weekend.

7’s Tsunami Chasers was at least 4-5 years old and parts of it I had seen before on Foxtel’s documentary channels. It’s main focus was on the PNG tsunami with a bit of California and South Coast NSW tsunami potential damage thrown in for good measure. It was quite matter of fact, supported by convincing grapgics in it’s explanation of the PNG disaster.

2’s Supervolcano “faction”, despite sound special effects had too much of a “soap” and stereotyping of characters element in it’s story line. One would have been better off watching 2’s Catalyst programmes on the same subject shown last week and again this Thursday to glean a truer picture of the Yellowstone situation.

Discovery’s “Year Without a Summer” was the best by far of the three and worth a watch when it is repeated. Although nowhere near as famous as Krakatoa, Tambora was a much bigger disaster and eruption. The shots of Tambora’s crater today were awe inspiring and the volcano remains dormant. There was a bit of excavation work shown as well as evidence of it’s terrible impact upon Europe’s and North America’s summer in 1816. One would dread if it erupted today with same power as it did in 1815 as the impact would be felt worldwide.

Posted by Rocky Raccoon (Member # 5764) on 19-04-2005 11:39:
Krakatau was probably a noisier explosion than Tambora even though it was nowhere near as big.
A factor that would of made Krakatau so noisy was the fact that is was a real “supersonic eruption” It was the magma and gaseous material that was ejected at supersonic speeds that created that deafening “sonic boom” like millions of jets taking off vertically that would of been heard from thousands of miles.


Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 19-04-2005 12:52:
Catastrophic plate tectonics: the geophysical context of the Genesis Flood
by John Baumgardner

Any serious model for the Genesis Flood must account for the massive tectonic changes evident in the geological record since the point in that record where metazoan fossils first appear. These tectonic changes include the complete replacement of the world’s ocean lithosphere, lateral displacements of continents by thousands of kilometres, significant vertical motions of the continental surfaces to allow deposition of thick and laterally extensive sediment sequences, and large local increases in crustal thickness to generate today’s high mountain ranges. Without a mechanism that can account for these major tectonic changes in a logical and consistent manner, any claims about understanding, much less modelling, the Flood cataclysm are hollow at best. The correct mechanism, on the other hand, will provide a framework into which the vast accumulation of detailed geological observations can be understood in a unified, coherent, and comprehensive manner. A major claim of this paper is that the mechanism of catastrophic plate tectonics, enabled by runaway subduction of negatively buoyant ocean lithosphere into the Earth’s mantle, does account for the main tectonic changes associated with the Flood and provides the best candidate framework currently available for integrating and understanding the vast store of geological observational data.


The scientific revolution in the Earth sciences that unfolded during the decade of the 1960s established the plate tectonics paradigm as the reigning framework for explaining not only present day geophysical processes but also the large-scale geological change in the past. A major point of this brief paper is that while this scientific revolution correctly recognized many important aspects of the Earth’s dynamics and how near surface processes are coupled to phenomena in the Earth’s deeper interior, the prevailing uniformitarian mindset prevented the revolution from reaching its logical end, namely, that Earth had experienced a major tectonic catastrophe in its recent past.

The primary new observational data that precipitated this revolution was from the world’s ocean floors. Sonar technology developed to detect and track submarines during World War II, for example, had provided the means after the war to map the topography of the ocean bottom at high resolution for the first time. The results were startling. Not only did accurately determined margins of continental shelves reveal the striking jigsaw puzzle fit of North and South America with Europe and Africa,1 but the global mid-ocean ridge system, running like a baseball seam some 60,000 km around the Earth, was also unveiled.2 This ridge system, representing a long chain of mountains on the ocean bottom, contained topography some 2,000 m higher than the ocean’s abyssal plains.3 Moreover, its axis displayed curious lateral jumps that came to be known as fracture zones.4–6 As technology became available to measure heat flow from the ocean bottom, it was found that exceptionally high values of heat flow occurred along the axis of the mid-ocean ridge system.7 A logical inference was that the elevated topography of the ridge was a consequence of higher temperatures and hence lower densities in the rock beneath.

Another key observation from the seafloor was the discovery of ‘magnetic stripes’ oriented parallel to the mid-ocean ridges and displaying a near mirror symmetry across the ridge axis.8 Although evidence for reversals of the Earth’s dipole magnetic field had been reported in the early 1900s from studies of successive lava flows on volcanoes,9,10 it was not until after WWII that careful investigation of rock magnetism established the reality of magnetic reversals in the geological record. Therefore, the discovery that basaltic rocks forming the ocean floor basement were magnetized in alternating directions in a spatially coherent pattern of stripes parallel to the ridge axis generated considerable interest. It was realized this pattern suggested a means for mapping the relative time of formation of vast areas of the ocean floor basement rocks and correlating this history with the record of continental volcanism. (This correlation can be done without any reference to or use of radioisotope methods or time-scale.) The correlation is achieved simply by counting magnetic reversals backward in time from the present.

These observations were compelling enough by the mid-1960s for significant numbers of Earth scientists to embrace the proposition that sea-floor spreading was genuine. However, it was data from the first deep sea drilling expedition by the Glomar Challenger in 1968 in the South Atlantic that for many removed all doubt. Nine sites from the east side of the Mid-Atlantic ridge to a point just off the continental shelf southeast of Rio de Janeiro were drilled to basaltic basement.11 Most of the sediment cores contained abundant microfossils—calcareous nannoplankton and planktonic foraminifera—of species already known from studies in continental shelf environments. These microfossils ranged in stratigraphic affinity from lower Cretaceous to late Pleistocene, with stratigraphic age of the fossils just above basaltic basement increasing progressively with distance from the ridge axis. These data now made it possible to correlate the age of the basaltic ocean basement with the sediment record on the continental shelves. They revealed the South Atlantic Ocean floor to be younger, relatively speaking, than early Mesozoic sediments on the continents and implied South America and Africa had been joined prior to that point in Earth history. Subsequent deep sea drilling of more that 2,000 holes through the Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) and the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) have served to confirm to an overwhelming degree of confidence that none of today’s ocean floor basement anywhere on Earth is older than Mesozoic relative to the microfossil record12 (a well documented record that exists independent of radioisotope methods).

Yet another feature from the ocean floor played a crucial role in the acceptance of the plate tectonics framework, namely, the deep trenches that ring much of the Pacific Ocean and north-east Indian Ocean. Associated with these deep trenches, almost without exception, is the occurrence of spectacular volcanic activity and large earthquakes. Careful study of earthquake locations and depths by H. Benioff in the late 1940s revealed earthquakes occur on giant fault-like surfaces 650 km in depth and up to 4,500 km in length beneath western South America and the Tonga-Kermadec region in the western Pacific.13 Investigations by Benioff in the early 1950s showed similar planar distributions of earthquakes beneath the Sunda arc adjacent to Indonesia, inboard of the Kurile-Kamchatka trench, the Bonin-Honshu trench, the Aleutian arc, and beneath Mexico and Central America, the New Hebrides, and the Philippines.14 He found an average dip angle of 33° for zones under continents in the depth range from 70 to 300 km and of 60° for greater depths. Benioff further determined a thrusting sense of motion in all these zones. He also reported a remarkably constant relationship between the surface location of volcanoes and the depth of the inclined planar seismogenic zone below. These planar features became known as ‘Benioff zones’.

With the evidence for seafloor spreading so compelling, it became clear in the early 1960s that unless the Earth is expanding, the new ocean floor generated at a mid-ocean ridge must be compensated by the loss of ocean floor by subduction at an ocean trench. The evidence first compiled by Benioff was recognized as strong support for ocean plates plunging into the mantle at boundaries with other plates. Since the 1980s the field of seismic tomography15 has been able to image the plunging slabs of ocean lithosphere, in some cases all the way to the core-mantle boundary.16 With the clear evidence from seismology for subduction and the lack of a mechanism for large differential expansion of the Earth’s interior relative to its surface, discussion of the possibility of Earth expansion has now all but disappeared from the Earth science community.

Logical imperatives

The items discussed in the previous section deal primarily with observational data, much of it from the ocean basins, that led to acceptance 30–40 years ago of a new understanding of the Earth known as plate tectonics, a conceptual framework that includes the notions of continental displacement, seafloor spreading, and subduction of oceanic lithosphere. How do these observations and this conceptual framework relate to the Genesis Flood of the Bible?

First, I am convinced the Biblical text requires the beginning of the metazoan fossil record to coincide with the beginning of the Genesis Flood, and most of the subsequent fossil record to be a product of that year-long event. The observational data of the previous section then implies a staggering amount of tectonic change must have accompanied the Flood cataclysm. In attempting to put the pieces of this geological/tectonic puzzle together, I consider the piece with the greatest importance to be the set of observations that constrain the present ocean basement to be no older than the Mesozoic portion of the continental fossil record. This requires, from a logical standpoint, the entire pre-Flood ocean floor, as well as any generated when the Paleozoic fossils were being deposited, to have vanished from the Earth’s surface.

It therefore seems a logical imperative that any viable candidate model for the Flood catastrophe accounts for this monumental fact. That is, explaining where the pre-Flood ocean floor went and how the present ocean floor came to be is an inescapable logical requirement for any serious Flood model. If one also includes the compelling evidence the present ocean floor was formed progressively and simultaneously with the deposition of Mesozoic and Cenozoic fossils, then any successful model must also account for thousands of kilometres of seafloor spreading and continental displacement. In summary, the data responsible for the plate tectonics revolution within the secular Earth science community places major logical constraints on how people who realize the Bible is indeed God’s Word seek to interpret the geological record. But instead of a hindrance, the observations responsible for the plate tectonics revolution provide a dramatic conceptual breakthrough for defending the Genesis Flood to a sceptical world in ways not possible in previous centuries. In a nutshell, I am persuaded the Genesis Flood was primarily a tectonic catastrophe that effectively resurfaced the planet in a few months’ time, destroyed all the non-marine air-breathing life except that providentially saved by God, and left a powerful testimony of that cataclysm in the rocks all around us.

Can plate tectonics happen quickly? Clues from mineral physics and Venus

At least as far back as the early 1960s it has been known that for materials whose effective viscosity is described by an Arrhenius-like relationship17 the phenomenon of thermal runaway can potentially occur. The viscosity of such materials varies as e(E*/RT), where T is absolute temperature, E* is the activation energy, and R is the gas constant. A large variety of materials including silicate minerals behave in this manner. In particular, Gruntfest in 1963 showed that, with this type of temperature dependence of viscosity, both the deformation rate and the temperature of a viscous fluid layer subject to constant shear stress increase without limit, that is, run away.18 What is required is that the time constant associated with viscous heating be much smaller than the characteristic thermal diffusion time of the layer. Several investigators explored the possibility of thermal runaway of lithospheric slabs in the mantle in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Anderson and Perkins, for example, suggested that the widespread Cenozoic volcanism in the southwestern US might be a consequence of thermal runaway of chunks of lithosphere in the low viscosity upper mantle with resulting surges of melt expressed in episodes of volcanism at the surface.19 Such lithospheric slabs, because of an average temperature some 1,000 K or more lower than that of the upper mantle but with a similar chemical composition, are several percent denser than the surrounding rock and therefore have a natural ability to sink. The gravitational body forces acting on a slab lead to high stresses, especially within the mechanical boundary layer surrounding the slab. As a slab sinks, most of its gravitational potential energy is released in the form of heat in these regions of high stress. If conditions are right, the weakening arising from heating can lead to an increased sinking rate, an increased heating rate, and greater weakening. This positive feedback can result in runaway.20

Experimental studies of the deformational behaviour of silicate minerals over the last several decades have revealed the strength of such materials also depends strongly on the state of stress. At shear stresses of the order of 10-3 times the low-temperature elastic shear modulus and temperatures of the order of 80% of the melting temperature, silicate minerals deform by a mechanism known as dislocation creep in which slip occurs along preferred planes in the crystalline lattice.21 In this type of solid deformation, the deformation rate depends on the shear stress in a strongly nonlinear manner, proportional to the shear stress to approximately the third power. At somewhat higher levels of shear stress, these materials display plastic yield behaviour, where their strength decreases in an even more nonlinear way, in this case inversely with the deformation rate. When these stress-weakening mechanisms are combined with the temperature weakening discussed above, the potential for slab runaway from gravitational body forces is enhanced dramatically. A point many people fail to grasp is that these weakening mechanisms can reduce the silicate strength by ten or more orders of magnitude without the material ever reaching its melting temperature.21

Figure 1. Three snapshots from a 2-D mantle runaway calculation in a box 11,500 km wide by 2,890 km high at problem times of 5, 12.5, and 20 days. Arrows denote flow velocity and are scaled to the peak velocity ‘umax’. Contours denote temperatures in the upper panel and base 10 logarithm of viscosity in the lower panel of each frame. Numbers on the contours correspond to a scale from 0 to 10 for the range of values indicated beneath each plot. A viscosity of 1013 Pa-s, corresponding to the minimum value in the viscosity plots, represents a reduction in the viscosity by a factor of one billion relative to the strength of the rock material when the velocities are negligible. Much of the domain exhibits viscosity values near this minimum during the runaway episode. Deformation rate-dependent weakening, observed experimentally in silicate minerals, is the crucial physics underlying the runaway process.
The NASA Magellan mission to Venus in the early 1990s revealed that Earth’s sister planet had been globally resurfaced in the not so distant past via a catastrophic mechanism internal to the Venus mantle.22 Magellan’s high-resolution radar images showed evidence of extreme tectonic deformation that generated the northern highlands known as Ishtar Terra with mountains having slopes as high as 45°.23 More than half of the Venus surface had been flooded with basaltic lava to produce largely featureless plains except for linear fractures caused by cooling and contraction. Runaway sinking of the cold upper thermal boundary layer of the planet seems the most plausible mechanism to explain such catastrophism at the surface.22 Given such clear and tangible evidence for runaway in a planet so similar in size and composition as Venus, it is not unreasonable to consider lithospheric runaway as the mechanism behind the global scale catastrophism so apparent in the Earth’s Phanerozoic sedimentary record.

Numerical modelling of the runaway mechanism

Numerical methods now exist for modelling and investigating this runaway mechanism. Considerable challenge is involved, however, because of the extreme gradients in material strength that arise.24,25 W.-S. Yang focused much of his Ph.D. thesis research effort at the University of Illinios on finding a robust approach for dealing with such strong gradients in the framework of the finite element method and an iterative multigrid solver. He showed what is known as a matrix dependent transfer multigrid approach allows one to treat such problems with a high degree of success. Although his thesis dealt with applying this method to 3-D spherical shell geometry, he subsequently developed a simplified 2-D Cartesian version capable of much higher spatial resolution within current computer hardware constraints. Details of this method together with some sample calculations are provided in a recent paper.26 Figure 1 shows three snapshots using this 2-D code from a case in which runaway occurs. Note that runaway diapirs emerge from both top and bottom boundaries. The upwelling from the lower boundary releases gravitational potential energy stored in the hot buoyant material at the base of the mantle. Such upwellings from the bottom boundary have dramatic implications for transient changes in sea level during the Flood since they cause a temporary rise in the height of the ocean bottom by several kilometres.

Toward a full 3-D simulation

In a paper presented at the 1994 ICC in Pittsburgh, I showed that a 3-D spherical shell model of the Earth’s mantle initialized with surface lithospheric plates corresponding to an approximate Pangean configuration of the continents and bands of cold rock along the Pangean boundary yields a pattern of plate motions that resemble in a remarkable way the inferred Mesozoic-to-present plate motions for the Earth.27 This solution was obtained simply by solving the conservation equations for mass, momentum, and energy in this spherical shell domain starting from relatively simple but plausible initial conditions. Such a calculation confirms that subduction driven mantle flow, with very few other assumptions, generates the style of plate motions recorded in the rocks of today’s ocean floor. Although this calculation simply adopted the reduced viscosity observed in high resolution 2-D calculations during runaway, with continued improvements in computer technology it should soon be feasible to achieve the required resolution in the 3-D spherical model to capture the runaway behaviour in a fully self-consistent fashion. The advantage of a 3-D spherical model, of course, is that its output can be compared directly with geological observation. Therefore realization of this crucial objective should be an extremely high priority for those who desire a credible defence of the Flood to a sceptical world.

Geological consequences of a catastrophic plate tectonics episode

What are the consequences at the Earth’s surface when the ocean plates, like giant conveyor belts, slide into the mantle in a runaway manner? Let us consider some highlights. First, there is a spectacular eruption of molten rock on the ocean bottom at sites where ocean plates are moving apart at several kilometres per hour. Decompression melting generates the magma as previously solid rock rises to fill the gap and decreasing pressure reduces the rock’s melting temperature. With temperatures of the order of 1,500 K, the magma causes the adjacent ocean water to flash to steam at a huge rate. The steam in turn organizes into buoyant supersonic jets that penetrate the overlying layer of ocean water as well as the atmosphere above. Peak velocities in these jets, which form as a more or less continuous sheet above the zone between the diverging plates, can exceed the Earth’s escape velocity, and much of the steam escapes to space.28 Jet velocity is related in a simple way to the ocean depth. These jets are powerfully effective in cooling the newly forming ocean floor while keeping the temperatures in the bulk of the ocean at modest values.

The jets also provide a potent source of water for the 40 days and nights of rain described in Genesis 7. Simple radiation at 373 K of the latent heat of water vapour condensation to space limits the rainfall rate to about 1.75 mm/hr, or 4.4 cm/day. But the high-speed jets entrain vast quantities of liquid water as they rise through the ocean. Droplets launched into ballistic trajectories spread this water over the entire Earth and increase the rainfall rate dramatically. Along the ocean bottom, water feeding the jets reaches velocities in the range of tens to hundreds of meters per second, well beyond the threshold for cavitation. Some of the erupted rock is therefore pulverized and rapidly decomposed into silt- and clay-sized particles that can be entrained by the jets as well.

Another key consequence of the runaway subduction of the pre-Flood ocean lithosphere is a dramatic rise in the sea level relative to the continental surfaces. This occurs mainly because of the pattern of vertical stress near the Earth’s surface that the flow inside the mantle induces. Downwelling flow associated with the rapidly sinking lithospheric slabs, mostly below regions of continent, tends to pull the surface down. Similarly, upwelling flow associated with diapirs emerging from the core-mantle boundary, mostly beneath oceanic regions, tends to generate elevated surface topography. These surface deflections are on the order of several kilometres during the runaway episode. The consequence is dramatic flooding of the continent surface. When the gravitational potential energy driving the catastrophe is exhausted, the flow velocities in the mantle diminish to small values, and the stresses responsible for the large surface deflections likewise decrease toward zero. Gravity then restores the surface topography to that given by isostatic balance such that the continents rise and the ocean floor subsides. Water covering the continents then drains into the enlarging ocean basins.

A notable consequence of the flooding of the continental regions is an emergence of giant cyclonic eddies, driven by the Earth’s rotation, that circulate over the flooded continents.29 These water currents are similar in origin to the jet streams in the atmosphere and display comparable velocities of several tens of meters per second. Such currents have the power and scale to transport and distribute the quantities of sediment required to form the thick and laterally extensive sediment blankets that characterize the Paleozoic and Mesozoic portions of the continental sediment record. Since their velocities exceed the threshold for cavitation, these eddies also have considerable erosive power, sufficient for example to erode thousands of meters of crystalline rock from continental shield regions, as the field evidence indicates has occurred. Other sediment sources include the pelagic material scraped from subducting ocean plates at continent margins. In addition to clay this pelagic inventory would contain halite, gypsum, and other salts formed by rapid evaporation of seawater at the base of the steam jets.

Another major consequence of the rapid subduction of the pre-Flood ocean plates is the pulling apart of a pre-Flood supercontinent and the dispersal of the resulting continental blocks. A 3-D calculation previously described27 shows subduction around a Pangean-like supercontinent causes the supercontinent to pull apart and the resulting continental blocks to move toward their present locations. Such calculations demonstrate the basic fluid dynamics that give rise to the forces responsible for the observed plate motions. Under conditions of runaway, the effective viscosity throughout the mantle is reduced by some eight to ten orders of magnitude, and the velocities are consequently increased by this ratio relative to presently observed plate speeds.

The energy driving this catastrophe is the gravitational potential energy both of the cold, dense pre-Flood ocean plates and of the hot, buoyant rock in the thermal boundary layer at the base of the mantle. When the rock comprising these plates subducts and sinks to the bottom of the mantle and the hot rock at the core-mantle boundary rises to near the Earth’s surface, this energy is all converted to other forms and is no longer available to drive the process. The rapid motions in the mantle and in the plates at the surface come to a rather abrupt halt. When this occurs, the steam jets shut down and the high stresses associated with the rapid motions relax. This relaxation of stress has several effects. One is that the continents, which have been pulled downward by the lithosphere sinking beneath them, rebound. Another is that the ocean bottom, which has been dynamically elevated by the rapid upwelling of rock from the base of the mantle, subsides. Yet another is that ocean trenches which previously had depths of tens of kilometres also rebound and shallow dramatically. This reduction in topographic relief of the trenches results in extensional deformation of the sediments they contain.30 The net result is a decrease in global sea level and a dramatic retreat of the floodwaters from the continents. Retreating floodwaters strip away sediments from continent interiors and redeposit them on continental shelves still below sea level. Continental zones where crustal thickness has been significantly increased from tectonic processes such as subduction bob up like a cork because of buoyancy to form the present day high mountain ranges including the Andes, Rockies, Alps, and Himalayas.

A final consequence is that the resulting increase in ocean temperature produces vigorous atmospheric circulation, increased moisture carried to high latitudes, and the formation of massive ice sheets near the poles following the catastrophe.31,32


A major barrier to a credible technical defence of the Genesis Flood for well over two centuries has been the lack of a mechanism consistent not only with the scale and character of the change evident in the geological record but also with the Biblical time frame. The mechanism of catastrophic plate tectonics now provides a coherent explanation for the unique observed character of the record as well as for its short duration.33 It has a built-in source of energy to drive the process. This mechanism accounts for the data of conventional plate tectonics but also much more, including the ubiquitous evidence in the continental Paleozoic and Mesozoic record for rapid, high-energy, globally-correlated sedimentary processes radically different in character from processes occurring today. Just as the discovery that a genetic language mediates the astounding complexity of all living systems now provides an irrefutable apologetic for the existence of God and His undeniable role as Creator of these systems, catastrophic plate tectonics promises to provide a positive and unstoppable apologetic for the Genesis Flood and a time-scale consistent with a literal reading of Scripture. Considerable effort yet remains in reorganizing and reinterpreting geological field observations in terms of this new paradigm. As is the case in many other related enterprises, the opportunities are great but the labourers are few.

Posted by Keith (Member # 4510) on 19-04-2005 13:14:
Interesting reading, these posts.

Has anyone considered the impact that condensation of the mantle of water vapour might have had? Following the Genesis story, you will note that prior to Noah’s day rain had not fallen on earth but the ground was watered by mists and springs. The ‘mantle’ was ‘the waters that seperate the heavens from the earth’ in the creation account. The Flood was the first instance of rain having fallen.

I have read scientific speculation that part of the flood rains had to do with the condensation of a mantle of invisible water vapour. Its pressure was at least equal to the atmospheric pressure, about 1000 millibars, so the air pressure would have been roughly twice what it is now. Its presence created a kind of ‘greenhouse effect’, which could also explain why tropical plant fossils have been found in Antarctica (presumably before that continent was relocated, as it were, by the geological upheavals). If this happened, an enormous amount of water would have been released, but I don’t know what the mechanism would have been..presumably some sort of cooling, perhaps a ‘volcanic winter’.

It was when the waters were receding that a strong wind was brought to bear in the process. Could it be that this resulted from the formation of the current atmospheric circulation where you have polar front depressions at higher latitudes alternating with the subtropical high pressure belts? Given the latitude of the event, is it likely that the whole area was swept by westerly gales generated by the formation of these cyclonic systems?

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 19-04-2005 13:27:
[The Holy lands rest on the junction of three plates, the African, Eurasian and Arabian plates]….Thats where the greatest earthquake ever, may occur….

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 19-04-2005 13:37:
Highly probable Keith….will look into it some more!

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 19-04-2005 14:04:

1965 Camino Redondo
Los Alamos, NM 87544

Presented at the Third International Conference on Creationism
Pittsburgh, PA, July 18-23, 1994
Copyright 1994 by Creation Science Fellowship, Inc.
Pittsburgh, PA USA – All Rights Reserved

(click here to a link to the figures that go with this paper)


Genesis Flood, geological catastrophism, runaway subduction, mantle dynamics, plate tectonics


Any comprehensive model for earth history consistent with the data from the Scriptures must account for the massive tectonic changes associated with the Genesis Flood. These tectonic changes include significant vertical motions of the continental surfaces to allow for the deposition of up to many thousands of meters of fossil-bearing sediments, lateral displacements of the continental blocks themselves by thousands of kilometers, formation of all of the present day ocean floor basement rocks by igneous processes, and isostatic adjustments after the catastrophe that produced today’s Himalayas, Alps, Rockies, and Andes. This paper uses 3-D numerical modeling in spherical geometry of the earth’s mantle and lithosphere to demonstrate that rapid plate tectonics driven by runaway subduction of the pre-Flood ocean floor is able to account for this unique pattern of large-scale tectonic change and to do so within the Biblical time frame.


Many diverse mechanisms have been put forward to explain the dramatic and rapid geological changes connected with the Genesis Flood [6,7,13,14]. This event is here conceived to have generated the portion of the geological record beginning with the initial abrupt fossil appearance of multicellular organisms and including all of the so-called Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras and the lower part of the Cenozoic. In other words, the Flood is understood, in terms of normal usage of the words in the Genesis account, to be a global catastrophe that destroyed all the non-aquatic air-breathing life on the earth except for that preserved in the ark. Since the Scriptures indicate no large-scale destruction of life between the time of creation and the Flood, it logically follows that the initial abrupt appearance of multicellular fossils in the rock record must represent the onset of this cataclysm. The huge amount of energy required to accomplish such a vast amount of geological work so quickly together with the amazing order evident in the stratigraphic record and the smooth pattern seafloor spreading and continental drift documented in today’s ocean floor obviously impose severe limitations on candidate mechanisms.

What constraints might one use to discriminate among possible mechanisms for the Flood? One is the pattern of downwarping and uplift of the earth’s surface that produced the observed patterns of sedimentation. Broadly speaking, it is possible to divide the continental regions of today’s earth into three general categories according to the type and amount of sedimentary cover. Cratonic shield areas such as the Canadian Shield, the African Shield, and the Scandinavian Shield, represent regions mostly barren of Phanerozoic, or fossil-bearing, sediment. Surface rocks are instead pre-Phanerozoic crystalline rocks, frequently displaying strong metamorphism and often deeply eroded. Cratonic platform areas, a second category, represent broad regions of continental surface with generally extensive and uniform Phanerozoic sedimentary deposits commonly a few kilometers in thickness. The third category includes Phanerozoic tectonic belts which frequently contain huge thicknesses of sediments–often up to tens of kilometers–usually with strong compressive deformations, evidence of large vertical displacements, and vast amounts of volcanism and metamorphism. These zones are mostly located along the margins of cratonic shield or platform regions and usually contain high mountains.

These three categories, in the context of the Flood, respectively represent broadly uplifted and eroded areas, broadly downwarped areas that accumulated moderate thicknesses of sediment, and localized belts where downwarping and deformation were extreme and where huge thicknesses of sediment accumulated. The evidence indicates that when the forces responsible for the extreme downwarping in these tectonic belts abated, high mountains appeared as the deep, narrow, sediment-filled trenches rebounded isostatically. The sedimentary patterns therefore suggest that transient processes, almost certainly operating in the earth’s mantle, caused dynamical subsidence and uplift within craton interiors and intense localized downwarping at craton edges. In the context of the Flood, these observational data speak of large and rapid vertical motions of the earth’s surface. Such vertical motions represent distinctive patterns of internal stress and mechanical work that must be accounted for by any successful mechanism.

A second major geological constraint concerns the large lateral displacements of the cratonic blocks that also occurred during the Flood. From a stress distribution standpoint this requirement of translating continental blocks by thousands of kilometers in a short period of time severely constrains candidate mechanisms because it involves the solid-state deformation of rock in the mantle below. That craton interiors display so little Phanerozoic deformation despite the fact the cratons traversed such vast distances so rapidly means that stress levels within the cratons never approached the fracture or yield limits and that the forces responsible for moving these huge bodies of rock were diffuse and relatively uniform over the area of the block. Mechanisms that move the plates by applying forces at their edges cannot produce this general absence of deformation in the craton interiors. The only conceivable mechanisms able to move plates so far and so rapidly with hardly any internal deformation are those that involve large scale flow in the earth’s mantle and that apply relatively mild and uniform tractions on the base of the plates. This constraint as well as the previous one both point to catastrophic overturning of the mantle driven by gravitational potential energy in large volumes of cold rock at the earth’s surface and/or in the upper mantle and assisted by a runaway instability resulting from a temperature and stress dependent deformation law for silicate rock. The thrust of this paper is to report advances in numerical modeling of such a mechanism for the Flood. Results from this effort have been presented in papers at the two previous ICC meetings in 1986 and 1990 [4,5]. In the 1990 paper it was shown how subducting ocean floor along the Pangean margins leads to a pulling apart of the supercontinent in a manner generally consistent with the pattern of seafloor spreading recorded in the rocks of today’s ocean floor [16]. This paper describes a number of improvements in the model. One is the use of a much more detailed reference state for the earth that includes compressibility and phase changes. Another is the addition of depth variation in the mantle’s viscosity structure that provides for a low viscosity upper mantle and a higher viscosity lower mantle. Another is a much improved plate treatment that includes the oceans. The plates are now tracked using a highly accurate particle-in-cell method. Dynamic surface topography and sea level are now also computed as part of a time dependent calculation. This yields maps of the continental flooding that occurs in response to the mantle’s internal dynamics. In addition there are several numerical improvements that allow larger time steps and provide increased accuracy.


The earth’s mantle in the numerical model is treated as an irrotational, infinite Prandtl number, anelastic Newtonian fluid within a spherical shell with isothermal, undeformable, traction-free boundaries. Under these conditions the following equations describe the local fluid behavior:

0= – (p – pr) + (r – rr) g + t

0= (r u)

dT/dt=- (T u) – (g – 1) T u + [ (k T) + t : u + H]/rrcv

where t =m [ u + ( u)T – 2 I ( u)/3]

and r=rr + rr(p – pr)/K – a(T – Tr).

Here p denotes pressure, r density, g gravitational acceleration, t deviatoric stress, u fluid velocity, T absolute temperature, g the Grueneisen parameter, k thermal conductivity, H volume heat production rate, cv specific heat at constant volume, m dynamic shear viscosity, K the isothermal bulk modulus, and a the volume coefficient of thermal expansion. The quantities pr, rr, and Tr are, respectively, the radially varying pressure, density, and temperature of the reference state used for the mantle. I is the identity tensor. The superscript T in (4) denotes the tensor transpose. Equation (1) expresses the conservation of momentum in the infinite Prandtl number limit. In this limit, the deformational term is so large that the inertial terms (as well as the rotational terms) may be completely ignored. The resulting equation (1) then represents the balance among forces arising from pressure gradients, buoyancy, and deformation. Equation (2) expresses the conservation of mass under the anelastic approximation. The anelastic approximation ignores the partial derivative of density with respect to time in the dynamics and thereby eliminates fast local density oscillations. It allows the computational time step to be dictated by the much slower deformational dynamics. Equation (3) expresses the conservation of energy in terms of absolute temperature. It includes effects of transport of heat by the flowing material, compressional heating and expansion cooling, thermal conduction, shear or deformational heating, and local volume (e.g., radiogenic) heating.

The expression for the deviatoric stress given by equation (4) assumes a viscosity m that is dependent on the radial temperature and pressure distribution but independent of the strain rate. The stress therefore is linear with respect to velocity and represents the customary description for the deformation of a Newtonian fluid. This rheological law applies to the type of deformation in solids known as diffusion creep that is believed to occur in the mantle under conditions of extremely small strain rate. Equation (5) represents density variations as linearly proportional to pressure and temperature variations relative to a reference state. The compressible reference state is chosen to match observational data for the earth to a high degree of precision. It includes the density jumps associated with mineralogical phase changes. In the numerical model the set of equations (1)-(5) is solved for each grid point in the computational domain during each time step.


Equations (1)-(5) represent conservation of momentum, mass, and energy in terms of the local velocity, pressure, and temperature. The material properties such as thermal conductivity and specific heat may also vary with position. A much better approach than simply assuming constant values for these quantities is to rely on a reference model that provides these material properties as well as reference values for the temperature, pressure, and density as a function of depth through the mantle. Substantial effort has been invested over the last several decades to use seismic and other geophysical observations to formulate radial seismic earth models [8]. Such models typically provide density and compressional and shear wave speeds as a function of depth. It is possible, however, to construct more comprehensive earth models that give the full suite of thermodynamic quantities by using an equation of state together with estimates for material properties of silicate minerals obtained from experimental measurements. A desirable attribute of the more comprehensive models is that they reproduce the density profile of the seismic models.

The reference model used here is based on an equation of state that represents the density and temperature dependence of pressure as two independent functions, that is, p(r,T)=p1(r) + p2(T). The Morse equation of state [2], derived from an atomic potential model of a crystalline lattice, is employed for the density dependence and given as follows:

p1(r)=[3Ko/(Ko’ – 1)] (r/ro)2/3 E (E – 1)

where E=exp{ (Ko’ – 1) [1 – (r/ro)-1/3] }

Here ro is the uncompressed zero-temperature density, Ko is the uncompressed zero-temperature isothermal bulk modulus, and Ko’ is the derivative of Ko with respect to pressure. These three material parameters specify the pressure-density relationship for a given mineral assemblage. By choosing appropriate values for the upper mantle, the transition zone between 410 and 660 km depth, and the lower mantle, one can match the density profile given by the seismic models quite closely. The values used for these quantities versus depth are given below .

Depth Range (km) ro (kg/m3) Ko (Pa) Ko’
0-410 3425 1.4 x 1011 5.00
410-510 3695 1.6 x 1011 4.00
510-660 3725 1.6 x 1011 4.00
660-2890 4220 2.6 x 1011 3.85

The thermal component assumed for the equation of state is simply p2(T)=aKT, where a is the thermal expansivity and K is the isothermal bulk modulus. Using standard thermodynamic relationships together with experimentally obtained estimates for quantities such as the specific heat and Grueneisen parameter, one can integrate the equation of state with depth through the mantle, starting at the earth’s surface, and obtain a consistent set of thermodynamic quantities as a function of depth. Because the gravitational acceleration and the radial density distribution depend on each other, it is necessary to iterate the calculation to obtain a state that is in hydrostatic balance as well as in thermodynamic equilibrium. Depth profiles for rr, Tr, pr, g, K, a, g, and cv resulting from such a calculation are displayed in Fig. 1. Temperatures chosen for the top and bottom boundaries were 300 K and 2300 K, respectively. Also shown in Fig. 1 are profiles for the thermal conductivity and dynamic shear viscosity. The thermal conductivity is assumed constant with depth except in the bottom portion of the lower mantle where it is assumed to increase by about a factor of three because of the elevated temperatures.

Depth variation in the dynamic shear viscosity is modeled using a temperature and pressure dependent relationship of the form [9]

m=mo exp[ -(E* + prV*)/RTr] (7)

where mo is a depth independent reference viscosity, E* is an activation energy, V* is an activation volume, and R is the universal gas constant. As in the case for the parameters of the Morse equation of state, separate values for E* and V* for the upper mantle, transition zone, and lower mantle are assumed. These are as follows:

Depth Range (km) E* (kJ/mole) V* (m3/mole)
0-410 500 10.0 x 10-6
410-660 555 6.0 x 10-6
660-2890 640 2.6 x 10-6

Due to limitations in the numerical algorithms, the extremely large viscosities that arise in the cold upper boundary layer of the mantle are clipped to a maximum value of 2mo and the values of E* and V* are scaled by a factor of 0.7 relative to those given above. The resulting profile showing the depth variation of m is displayed in Fig. 1.


The jumps in the density profile at 410 and 660 km, respectively, (Fig. 1) correspond in pressure and temperature to the transitions observed experimentally between olivine and spinel and between spinel and perovskite silicate structures. In a dynamical calculation in which silicate material is transported through these depths and undergoes these phase changes, two effects need to be taken into account. One is the latent heat released or absorbed and the other is the deflection of the phase boundary upward or downward. The latent heat may be accounted for by locally adding or removing heat through the volume heating term in equation (3) proportional to the vertical flux of material through the transition depth. The latent heat per unit mass is obtained from the Clapeyron equation which expresses that in a phase transition DH=(dp/dT) T DV, where DH is the enthalpy change, or latent heat, and DV is the change in specific volume. The Clapeyron slope (dp/dT) is a quantity that can be determined experimentally for a given transition. The deflection in the location of a phase boundary occurs because the pressure, and therefore the depth, at which the phase change occurs depends on the temperature. The effect of such a deflection enters as a contribution to the buoyancy term in equation (1). A downward deflection represents positive buoyancy because the lighter phase now occupies volume normally occupied by the denser phase. The Clapeyron slope is also a constant of proportionality in the boundary deflection Dh=-(dp/dT) DT/rg that arises from a deviation DT from the reference temperature. The values for the Clapeyron slope used here are 1 x 106 Pa/K for the 410 km transition and -4 x 106 Pa/K for the 660 km transition. Note that the exothermic 410 km transition leads to a positive or upward deflection for a cold slab and hence increased negative buoyancy, while the endothermic 660 km transition leads to a downward deflection and reduced negative buoyancy. The 660 km transition therefore acts to inhibit buoyancy driven flow while the 410 km transition acts to enhance it.


The set of equations (1)-(5) is solved in a discrete manner on a mesh constructed from the regular icosahedron [2,3]. The mesh used in the calculations (Fig. 2) has 10242 nodes in each of 17 radial layers for a total of 174,114 nodes. There are 160 nodes around the equator which implies a horizontal spatial resolution of 250 km at the earth’s surface. Nonuniform spacing of nodes in the radial direction assists in resolving the boundary layers.

The calculational procedure on each time step is first to apply a two-level conjugate gradient algorithm [17] to compute the velocity and pressure fields simultaneously from Eq. (1) and (2). This task involves solving 4n simultaneous equations for 3n velocity unknowns and n pressure unknowns, where n is the total number of nodes in the mesh. Key to the procedure is an iterative multigrid solver [2] formulated in terms of a finite element representation of the continuum equations. The outstanding rate of convergence in the multigrid solver is responsible for the method’s overall high efficiency. Special piecewise linear spherical finite element basis functions provide second-order spatial accuracy [2,3]. The temperature field is updated according to Eq. (3) with a forward-in-time finite difference interpolated donor cell advection method. Tectonic plates at the earth’s surface are included in this framework by finding the unique Euler rotation vector w for each plate such that the net torque y resulting from the surface stress field acting over the area of the plate is zero. The surface velocity field corresponding to this piecewise constant set of rigid plate rotations is then applied as a surface velocity boundary condition when solving equation (1). An iterative method is employed to determine the rotation vectors on each time step. For a given interior velocity field u and an estimate of w for a given plate, small perturbations in w about the x-, y-, and z-axes are made to compute torque sensitivities dy/dw. The current estimate for w is improved by subtracting a correction Dw proportional to y/(dy/dw) in a manner that drives y to zero.

Because of the need for very accurate treatment of plate boundaries, a Lagrangian particle-in-cell method is used to define the plates themselves and to track their motion. Four particles per node have been found adequate to provide a sufficiently accurate plate representation. Piecewise linear basis functions are used to map particle data to the mesh nodes. The particles are moved in a Lagrangian manner at each time step using the same piecewise linear basis functions to interpolate the nodal velocities to the particles. The advantage of this particle method is extremely low numerical diffusion and hence the ability to minimize the smearing of the plate edges. When oceanic plate begins to overlap another plate, the ocean plates particles in the overlap zone are destroyed to model the disappearance of ocean plate beneath the surface. When two plates diverge, new oceanic plate is created by generating new particles. The plate identity of a new particle depends on the correlation of its velocity with the velocities of the plates on either side of the gap.


A companion paper describes the consequences of using power law rheology [10,11] instead of the simpler Newtonian creep law in a model that also includes phase transitions. The result is to dramatically increase the potential for episodes of catastrophic avalanches [12,15,19,20] of cold material from the upper mantle into the lower mantle. Numerical calculations that include such physics require high spatial resolution and a robust scheme for treating strong lateral variations in the effective shear viscosity. Although this is currently feasible in two dimensions, computational costs are still prohibitive in three dimensions. An approach used to work around these limitations has been referred to as the Newtonian analog method. In this approach the effects of a nonlinear stress-dependent rheology are partially accounted for by simply using a Newtonian deformation law and reducing the value of the viscosity. Although this approach is far from satisfying, it is the best that can be done from a numerical modeling standpoint at this time. The results from such a strategy should therefore be understood as merely suggestive of what the more accurate treatment would provide. A further consideration is that spatial resolution currently still restricts the realism even of 3-D global Newtonian calculations. Some degree of scaling of parameters is usually necessary for such 3-D calculations to be stable from a numerical standpoint. One choice for reducing the steepness of the spatial gradients and thereby achieving the required numerical stability is to retain the desired value of Newtonian viscosity but to scale the thermal conductivity and the radiogenic heat production rate to values larger than those estimated for the real earth. This has the effect of lowering the overall convective vigor of the system as measured by the Rayleigh number Ra=agr2cvHd5/mok2 where d is the depth of the mantle. The strategy then for mimicking the effects of power law rheology in a Newtonian 3-D model with limited spatial resolution is to select a reference viscosity mo that yields appropriate velocities and to scale the thermal conductivity k and radiogenic heat production H by the amount necessary to yield a Rayleigh number low enough to be consistent with the available spatial resolution. For the calculation described below, a reference viscosity mo of 1 x 1013 Pa-s, a thermal conductivity of 2 x 1010 W m-1K-1, and a radiogenic heat production rate of 0.02 W/m3 are used.


At a given instant in time the system of equations (1)-(5) can be solved given only the temperature distribution and boundary conditions. The only time dependent boundary condition is the plate configuration. Therefore to initialize a calculation one needs only an initial temperature distribution and plate configuration. The calculation shown below assumes an extremely simple initial temperature field related to an initial plate configuration that represents a late Paleozoic/early Mesozoic reconstruction of the supercontinent Pangea (Fig. 3a). This initial state is chosen because plate motions since this point in earth history are tightly constrained by observational data in today’s ocean floors. The realism of the calculation in some sense can thus be tested against these observational constraints. Furthermore, geological evidence is strong that Gondwanaland –the southern portion of Pangea that included South America, Africa, India, Australia, and Antarctica–was intact throughout the Paleozoic era and that North America, Europe, and Africa also were not far apart during the Paleozoic. Therefore, the actual pre-Flood continent distribution may not have been much different from this Pangean configuration. The plate boundaries in the Pacific hemisphere are chosen to resemble the present ones. This implies the Pacific spreading ridges have not migrated significantly since pre-Flood times. The individual continental blocks represent the present continental areas mapped to their estimated Pangean locations. Initially the North American, Greenland, and Eurasian blocks are constrained to have a common rotation vector. Similarly, the Gondwana blocks initially rotate as a single unit. Later in the course of the calculation, these composite blocks are allowed to break into constituent parts with their own rigid motions.

The initial temperature distribution consists of the reference state temperatures on which is superimposed a set of slablike perturbations designed to represent incipient circum-Pangea subduction. The perturbations have an amplitude of -400 K, a depth extent of 400 km, and a width that corresponds to a single finite element basis function (about 250 km). They lie along the Pangean margin adjacent to South America, North America, and the Pacific and Tethyan coasts of Asia and along an arc in the ocean from southeast Asia, through what is now Indonesia and Australia as shown in Fig. 3a. Fig. 3b provides a cross sectional view through the earth in the plane of the equator and reveals the modest depth extent of the perturbations. Although they occupy but a tiny fraction of the total volume of the mantle, these small perturbations are sufficient to initiate a pattern of motions in the mantle that move the surface plates by thousands of kilometers. The process, of course, is driven by the gravitational potential energy existing in the cold upper boundary at the beginning of the calculation.


Starting with these initial conditions, the numerical model is advanced in time by solving the momentum, mass, and energy conservation equations at every mesh point on each time step. Tractions on the base of the surface plates produced by flow in the mantle below causes the plates to move and their geometry to change. Fig. 4 contains a sequence of snapshots at times of 10, 30, 50, and 70 days showing the locations of the continental blocks and the velocities and temperatures at a depth of 100 km. A notable feature in the velocity fields of Fig. 4 is the motion of the nonsubducting continental blocks toward the adjacent zones of downwelling flow. This motion is primarily a consequence of the drag exerted on a nonsubducting block by the material below it as this material moves toward the downwelling zone. Such a general pattern of flow is evident in the cross-sectional slices of Fig 5. The translation of the nonsubducting blocks in this manner leads to a backward, or oceanward, migration of the zones of the downwelling. This oceanward translation of the continental blocks as well as the subduction zones therefore acts to pull the supercontinent apart. This behavior is a basic fluid mechanical result and not the consequence of any special initial conditions or unusual geometrical specifications other than the asymmetrical downwelling at the edges of nonsubducting portions of the surface. That the continental blocks move apart without colliding and overrunning one another, on the other hand, depends in a sensitive way on the initial distribution of thermal perturbations, the shapes of the blocks, and timing of their breakup. A moderate amount of trial and error was involved in finding the special set of conditions that leads to the results shown in Fig. 4 and 5.

An important output from the calculations is the height of the surface relative to sea level. Fig. 6 shows global topography relative to sea level at a time of 30 days. Several features are noteworthy. One is the broad belt of depression and flooding of the continental surface adjacent to subduction zones, as evident, for example, along the western margins of North and South America. This depression of the surface is mostly due to the stresses produced by the cold slab of lithosphere sinking into the mantle below these regions. Narrow trenches several kilometers in depth lie inside these zones. A second feature is the elevation of the topography above the oceanic spreading ridges. This effect is so strong that some portions of the ridge are above sea level. Since the volume occupied by the ridges displaces sea water, a result is to raise the global sea level and to flood significant portions of the continent interiors. A third effect is the elevation of continent areas flanking zones of continental rifting. This is a consequence of the intrusion of a significant volume of hot buoyant rock from deeper in the mantle beneath these zones. This produces a belt of mountains several kilometers high on either side of the rift zone between North America and Africa, for example. It is worth emphasizing that the topography dynamically changes with time and that Fig. 6 is but a snapshot. It illustrates, however, that what is occurring in the mantle below has a strong and complex effect on the height relative to sea level of a given point at the earth’s surface. Although this calculation is crude and merely illustrative, it shows that this mechanism produces the general type of vertical surface motions required to create key aspects of the global stratigraphic record. It produces broad scale continental flooding; it creates belts of thick sediments at the edges of cratons; it uplifts portions of the continents where broad scale erosion and scouring would be expected to occur.


This calculation illustrates that with relatively modest initial perturbations, gravitational potential energy stored in the earth’s upper thermal boundary layer drives an overturning of the mantle that pulls the Pangean supercontinent apart, moves the continental blocks by thousands of kilometers, elevates much of the newly formed seafloor above sea level, floods essential all of the continental surface, and produces dramatic downwarpings of the continent margins that lie adjacent to zones of subduction.

The key to the short time scale is the phenomenon of power-law creep that, for parameter values measured experimentally and for strain rates observed in the calculation, yields more than eight orders of magnitude reduction in effective viscosity relative to a condition of zero strain rate. Indeed maximum strain rates implied by the calculated velocities are on the order of 10-4 s-1 –precisely in the range for which laboratory measurements have been made [10,11]. As discussed in more detail in the companion paper, the combination of the effect of the endothermic phase transition at 660 km depth to act as a barrier to vertical flow [12,15,19,20] with the tendency of thermal runaway of regions of cold material from the upper thermal boundary layer, makes a sudden catastrophic avalanche event a genuine possibility. Thermal runaway behavior is a direct consequence of the positive feedback associated with viscous heating and temperature dependent rheology [1,9] and amplified by an extreme sensitivity to strain rate. A notable outcome of the recent high resolution mapping of the surface of Venus by the Magellan spacecraft is the conclusion that there was a tectonic catastrophe on Venus that completely resurfaced the planet in a brief span of time [18]. This event in terms of radiometric time, accounting for the uncertainties in the cratering rate estimates, coincides almost precisely with the Flood event on earth. A mechanism internal to Venus was almost certainly the cause of that catastrophe. It is reasonable to suspect that simultaneous catastrophes on both the earth and Venus likely were due to the same phenomenon of runaway avalanche in their silicate mantles.

This mechanism of runaway subduction then appears to satisfy most of the critical requirements imposed by the observational data to successfully account for the Biblical Flood. It leads to a generally correct pattern of large scale tectonic change; it produces flooding of the continents; it causes broad uplifts and downwarpings of craton interiors with intense downwarpings at portions of craton margins to yield the types of sediment distributions observed. It also transports huge volumes of marine sediments to craton edges as ocean floor, in conveyor belt fashion, plunges into the mantle and most of the sediment is scraped off and left behind. It plausibly leads to intense global rain as hot magma erupted in zones of plate divergence, in direct contact with ocean water, creates bubbles of high pressure steam that emerge from the ocean, rise rapidly through the atmosphere, radiate their heat to space, and precipitate their water as rain. That no air-breathing life could survive such a catastrophe and that most marine life also perished is readily believable. Finally, numerical modeling appears to be the most practical means for reconstructing a comprehensive picture of such an event and for creating a conceptual framework into which the geological observational data can be correctly integrated and understood. This calculation, it is hoped, is a modest step in that direction.


[1] O. L. Anderson and P. C. Perkins, Runaway Temperatures in the Asthenosphere Resulting from Viscous Heating, Journal of Geophysical Research, 79(1974), pp. 2136-2138.

[2] J. R. Baumgardner, A Three-Dimensional Finite Element Model for Mantle Convection, Ph.D. thesis, 1983, UCLA.

[3] J. R. Baumgardner and P. O. Frederickson, Icosahedral Discretization of the Two-Sphere, SIAM Journal of Numerical Analysis, 22(1985), pp. 1107-1115.

[4] J. R. Baumgardner, Numerical Simulation of the Large-Scale Tectonic Changes Accompanying the Flood, Proceedings of the International Conference on Creationism, R. E. Walsh, et al, Editors, 1987, Creation Science Fellowship, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA, Vol. II, pp. 17-28.

[5] J. R. Baumgardner, 3-D Finite Element Simulation of the Global Tectonic Changes Accompanying Noah’s Flood, Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Creationism, R. E. Walsh and C. L. Brooks, Editors, 1991, Creation Science Fellowship, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA, Vol. II, pp. 35-45.

[6] W. T. Brown, Jr., In the Beginning, 1989, Center for Scientific Creation, Phoenix. [7] J. C. Dillow, The Waters Above, 1981, Moody Press, Chicago.

[8] A. M. Dziewonski and D. L. Anderson, Preliminary Reference Earth Model, Physics of Earth and Planetary Interiors, 25(1981), pp. 297-356.

[9] I. J. Gruntfest, Thermal Feedback in Liquid Flow; Plane Shear at Constant Stress, Transactions of the Society of Rheology, 8(1963), pp. 195-207.

[10] S. H. Kirby, Rheology of the Lithosphere, Reviews of Geophysics and Space Physics, 21(1983), pp. 1458-1487.

[11] S. H. Kirby and A. K. Kronenberg, Rheology of the Lithosphere: Selected Topics, Reviews of Geophysics and Space Physics, 25(1987), pp. 1219-1244.

[12] P. Machetel and P. Weber, Intermittent Layered Convection in a Model Mantle with an Endothermic Phase Change at 670 km, Nature, 350(1991), pp. 55-57. [13] G. R. Morton, The Flood on an Expanding Earth, Creation Research Society Quarterly, 19(1983), pp. 219-224.

[14] D. W. Patton, The Biblical Flood and the Ice Epoch, 1966, Pacific Meridian Publishing, Seattle.

[15] W. R. Peltier and L. P. Solheim, Mantle Phase Transitions and Layered Chaotic Convection, Geophysical Research Letters, 19(1992), pp. 321-324.

[16] Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program

[17] A. Ramage and A. J. Wathen, Iterative Solution Techniques for Finite Element Discretisations of Fluid Flow Problems, Copper Mountain Conference on Iterative Methods Proceedings, Vol. 1., 1992.

[18] R. G. Strom, G. G. Schaber, and D. D. Dawson, The Global Resurfacing of Venus, Journal of Geophysical Research, 99(1994), pp. 10899-10926. [19] P. J. Tackley, D. J. Stevenson, G. A. Glatzmaier, and G. Schubert, Effects of an Endothermic Phase Transition at 670 km Depth on Spherical Mantle Convection, Nature, 361(1993), pp. 699-704.

[20] S. A. Weinstein, Catastrophic Overturn of the Earth’s Mantle Driven by Multiple Phase Changes and Internal Heat Generation, Geophysical Research Letters, 20(1993), pp. 101-104.

Posted by hit4six (Member # 6442) on 19-04-2005 15:18:
i am totally confused now

Posted by Rocky Raccoon (Member # 5764) on 19-04-2005 19:33:
Under Yellowstone the source of all its activity is said to be due to a mantle plume. More specifically a “shallow” mantle plume. So I decided to do some research on another site which may well be the next Yellowstone type event of the not too distant geological future.
The scary bit is, if this data from Malaspina University College British Columbia Canada is right then it is far closer to home than I ever thought possible. In fact I may be sitting right on top of such a mantle plume. A proto-version of the one that is menacing Yellowstone at the moment.

Source of data here.

However I am not too concerned about real estate values down this way yet. [Big Grin]


Posted by thunder (Member # 5674) on 19-04-2005 22:02:
Hi Rocky,

I think you will find that parts of Mt Gambier – Western Victoria areas were active only 4000-5000 years ago. In Geological time that makes these regions far from dead forever.

However I think these weak regions require a trigger. I have a theory that the last lava flows coinceded with the end of the last ice age and perhaps a rapid sea rise that may have been the trigger.

No science, just a wild theory.

Posted by WoodGully2 (Member # 53) on 19-04-2005 22:29:
Victorian geologists are waiting and monitoring temperatures in southwestern Victoria and ‘wouldn’t be surprised’ if something happens within our lifetimes. The Mt Elephant area is of interest…..
Eruption Points of Newer Volcanics

Posted by Karl Lijnders (Member # 183) on 19-04-2005 22:42:
Fascinating read Jane,

Wouldnt really want a westerly setup if there was a major eruption!

Karl [Smile]

Posted by teckert (Member # 77) on 19-04-2005 23:49:
After I spent a year or two living in the area, I found many locals are convinced that something will eventually happen in SW Vic. Most thought not in their lifetime but maybe in the next 100 years or so. Like Thunder said, you would really need some sign of a trigger to start with…
I always found the Mt Napier-Mt Eccles area fascinating. Cant remember off-hand the name, but there is a valley between then where you can actually see where the lava flow was.. you look up the valley to Mt Napier and down south further past the valley was Mt Eccles… absolutley fascinating place… they are continually finding new caves and other geological formations in the area too..

Might see if I can dig up some more research on the area..

Ahh.. I remember the name of the valley now… the Harman valley. And the caves were called the Byaduk caves. I know I took some photos of the area. Might see if I can find and scan them.

[ 20.04.2005, 00:07: Message edited by: teckert ]

Posted by teckert (Member # 77) on 20-04-2005 00:30:
For some links and photos check out:

Posted by Karl Lijnders (Member # 183) on 20-04-2005 07:53:
Would anyone like to take a stab at central VIC, around Melbourne, with the Dandenongs and Macedon ranges, what features do they have and is a trigger like to start them off too?

Karl [Smile]

Posted by Rocky Raccoon (Member # 5764) on 20-04-2005 10:38:
If this page if this is any guide Mt Macedon is a large caldera volcano which erupted approximately 360 million years ago. Which emphasizes the depth of Australia’s volcanic history.

But posit my own theory that the tough Australian regolith or compacted bedrock played a major part in preventing volcanic outbreaks like in around Mount Gambier and the Western District of Victoria for millions of years. This regolith was for millions of year buried under a heavy ice cap until Australia separated from Antarctica about 50 million years ago. But as Australia passed over the magma plume hotspot that in under the Western District volcanic activity is now reemerging with new spate of eruptions breaking out every few thousand years to every few hundred years to almost constantly to become one of the most volcanically active sites on earth as the hotspot is not longer smothered by Australia’s hard and massive regolith and the hospot is located more out in the Southern Ocean..

[Cheers] Paul

Posted by Claire J (Member # 235) on 20-04-2005 12:22:
Geologists suspect an earthquake that originated 50Km from King Island some time ago signalled the reawakening of Australia’s hot spot, which is several hundred Km wide and lies under Bass strait and parts of Victoria and Tasmania.

The hot spot lies beneath the earths crust that the Australian plate is sliding over. There is a chain of extinct volcanos extending from Cairns (the oldest) to Mt Gambier (the youngest) that have formed when the that part of the plate has slipped over the hotspot. Volcanic remnants included in the chain include the Glass House Mountains, Mt Warning, The Warrumbungles, Mt Canobolas right around to Tower Hill.

18 months ago I took a tour around Victoria’s recently (ie. in the last 20,000 years) created volcanic areas. Tower Hill has access to drive through the crater and around the rim and see the scoria cones in the centre. Mt Eccles has extensive lava flows and a crater lake. Mt Napier has a distinct shape and it’s extensive lava flows created the Byaduk lava tube caves. These tubes are accessible but are a bit dangereous to climb into and were guarded by snakes when I was there. Other volcanos visited were: Mt Rouse (great views from summit); Mt Leura and Mt Sugarloaf; Red Rock and it’s views over Lake Corangamite to Mt Elephant. The folk in the 1800s in these areas used the rock from the lava flows to build rock fences to divide their paddocks. Hundreds of kilometres of these walls still stand.

Posted by WoodGully2 (Member # 53) on 20-04-2005 13:23:


Originally posted by Karl Lijnders:
Would anyone like to take a stab at central VIC, around Melbourne, with the Dandenongs and Macedon ranges, what features do they have and is a trigger like to start them off too?

Karl [Smile]

Light reading here:Camels Hump
Golf Course Hill
Hanging Rock

Mt Fraser

Posted by Pacman (Member # 517) on 20-04-2005 15:04:
The hot spot lies beneath the earths crust that the Australian plate is sliding over. There is a chain of extinct volcanos extending from Cairns (the oldest) to Mt Gambier (the youngest) that have formed when the that part of the plate has slipped over the hotspot.

I heard on the news exactly what has been said in regard to possible reawakened activity of our extinct Volcanoes around Cairns with all these recent events taking place. Here we were told from our teachers as kids that these volcanoes would never come back to life. Goes to show ‘Extinct’ doesn’t mean anything.
The waters in these volcanoes are warm and great to swim in during winter months.

Posted by teckert (Member # 77) on 20-04-2005 18:52:
After thinking a bit more today about it, I recall reading something along the lines of that if we were to have the SW Vic/SE SA region active again, it would be more likely to be new volcanoes come up off the coast rather than around the dormant volcanos.

Posted by Karl Lijnders (Member # 183) on 20-04-2005 23:29:
Thanks for the info guys, Jane thankyou for the light bedtime reading.

I remember there being a few years ago, The Herald Sun have a special of what it might look like if the Dandenongs exploded and had a super-imposed picture and speculative report attatched. Would be most interesting to see it again for this discussion

Karl [Smile]

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 21-04-2005 10:00:
Also did Volcanno tour of S.W. Vic & Eastern S.A. a couple of years back….climbed Mt.Elephant,Tower Hill & down into the Mt.Schank Crater(you idiot dave)Fantastic echos down there, freaked my dogs out:)  -  - ….1,011m high & formed by Phreatomagmatic Eruptions (Pyroclastic Flows & lava etc.)….37.8S 142.5E between Mt.Gambier & Port MacDonnell on a Limestone plain….They claim 5,000 years for last eruption but excepted Geo Time has lost all credibility with me so wasn’t long ago at all….& along with Mt.Gambier are the most recent/youngest in Australia….as for Central Vic, my main concern is the major FAULT LINE that basically cuts Victoria in half & roughly runs North South from Rochester down through Heathcote to Wallan & maybe even as far as Melbourne(haven’t checked)….this is a good Volcanno info site …. http://www.volcanolive.com/volcanolive.html

[ 21.04.2005, 10:20: Message edited by: dave7 ]

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 21-04-2005 11:33:
Re: Dr. Baumgarder & ‘THERMAL RUNAWAY’….  - ….John R. Baumgardner, Ph.D. Geophysics and Space Physics

He has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Texas Tech University, a M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Geophysics and Space Physics from UCLA. Dr. Baumgardner has served as staff scientist in the Fluid Dynamics Group of the Theoretical Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico since 1984. He is famous for his development of the TERRA program, a 3-D spherical finite element model for the earth’s mantle. Beginning in 1995 Dr. Baumgardner assisted the German Weather Service in adapting methods from the TERRA code as the basis for a new operational global weather forecast model known as GME that is now used in Germany and ten other countries…………………………(The following is part of interview with him)…… Dr. Baumgardner: I’m trying to understand what happened to the Earth in Noah’s flood and put together a solid scientific case that supports the biblical account of a world- destroying catastrophic flood.

Back in 1978 I felt strongly led to go back to graduate school and get professional credentials to work on the problem of what happened to the Earth in the flood. As part of my Ph.D. research, I developed a three-dimensional model for the Earth’s interior called Terra. Today it is recognized as the most capable code computer model of its type in the world. Currently NASA is funding this effort as one of their nine grand challenge projects in high performance computing for the next three years, It’s recognized as a unique tool for understanding the dynamics of the mantle of the Earth.

What is NASA’s interest in this project? Your goal sounds like it’s different from theirs.

Dr. Baumgardner: Well, they see it as an important means for solving as yet unanswered questions about the Earth. They have a number of satellite observation programs for monitoring the Earth and measuring tectonic motions of the Earth’s surface. They see my computer model as complementing some of these observational programs. They see it as cutting- edge science. And the model can be applied to the other terrestrial planets of the solar system – Venus, Mars, and Mercury in particular.

How do your Christian beliefs and values affect your work? How should a Christian view science?

Dr. Baumgardner: I believe science as we know it is a product of the Christian worldview. It was only in the Christian world that science developed and I believe could have developed. For example, in the Buddhist or Hindu worldview this physical realm is more or less regarded as an illusion and not representing ultimate reality. Of course, Christians don’t regard this world as eternal, but nevertheless it’s real. Science has flowed from a Christian understanding of reality, a Christian understanding of God, and a Christian understanding of the natural world. In general I believe that science is legitimate, that it does reveal the glory of God, that it does confirm what the Scriptures say is valid and true.

John, how has your work in geophysics confirmed your faith?

Dr. Baumgardner: I believe that there is strong evidence in favor of the proposition that the Earth has suffered a major cataclysm in the past that is responsible for most of the fossil-bearing portions of the sedimentary record.

The great flood of Noah’s day?

Dr. Baumgardner: Yes. There’s an abrupt beginning to the portion of the geological record that contains fossils. There’s a worldwide discontinuity in the record, above which we find fossils, below which we do not. Above that boundary there is abundant evidence that the sedimentary layers were deposited rapidly by processes that were global in lateral extent-a regime dramatically different from anything we can observe on the Earth today The majority of the sedimentary record since that point is the product of global catastrophism.

My work in particular has focused on what conceivable mechanism could result in such an event. I believe I have identified it or at least a likely candidate for a mechanism.

And what is that?

Dr. Baumgardner: The name that other people have applied to this process is thermal runaway. Tectonic plates of the Earth’s surface can slide down into the hot mantle that comprises about the outer 2,000 miles of the Earth. What I’m finding is that this runaway process involving the tectonic plates can indeed occur and cause a massive catastrophe at the Earth’s surface.

One exciting discovery from the Magellan mission to Venus in the early 1990s was that Venus had been entirely resurfaced in the relatively recent past. The high resolution images showed the surface of Venus had been catastrophically flooded with lava, presumably as a result of some process interior to the planet. All the ancient craters had been obliterated by this lava. The images show hardly any change of a geological nature has occurred on Venus since this catastrophe.

So within our own solar system we now have at least one indisputable example of global tectonic catastrophe. This was exciting to me because for years I had been investigating a similar possibility for the Earth. I firmly believe the idea of a global tectonic catastrophe on the Earth is not a far-fetched idea, but close to being established scientific fact.

And, of course, this supports what the Scripture has said all along about the past history of the Earth.

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 21-04-2005 12:22:
Will science confirm the existance of God?….(1Corinthians1:27,28….God purposely chose what the world considers nonsense in order to shame the wise (proud), and what the world considers weak in order to shame the powerful. He chose what the world looks down on and thinks is nothing, in order to destroy what the world thinks is important.)

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 21-04-2005 12:31:
Wednesday 2nd March 2005
Residents of Ambrym Island in Vanuatu are calling for international assistance to help with the disaster caused by the ongoing volcanic eruptions. Ambrym is one of the world’s most active volcanoes and has been in almost continuous eruption for the past 200 years. One year ago there was a change in eruptive activity which caused damage to food crops and created health problems for the residents. One year later, the volcano is still creating problems for the local communities, and the population is still calling for food aid to help prevent a famine on the island. Famine is the great forgotten killer of volcanic eruptions. During a survey of the volcano in November 2004, Volcanologist John Seach surveyed the damage to the island and made observations of the changes in volcanic activity. A new report received from the island 4 days ago by John Seach indicated that the situation is getting desperate for some residents who do not have enough food. So far only $1000 USD has been raised to help with food aid. Further information on how to assist can be obtained from John Seach. john@volcanolive.com

Posted by Karl Lijnders (Member # 183) on 21-04-2005 12:44:
Interesting reading Dave thanks for that.

Must say those pics you have pasted up are rather interesting and awe inspiring. Too think of a volcano on the Australian Mainland erupting in our lifetime is just too difficult to comprehend.

Karl [Smile]

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 21-04-2005 13:05:
The “NOT IN OUR LIFETIME” Valium Pill/Bio-computer re-assurance program:)….Yep, seeing is believing….reckon the survivors of recent plate movement would have had the same difficulty in comprehension!

Posted by Rocky Raccoon (Member # 5764) on 21-04-2005 19:27:
The second installment of supervolcanos is on Catalyst on the ABC tonight at 8.00 PM East Australian Time. Just in a half an hours time.

[Cheers] RR

Posted by Rocky Raccoon (Member # 5764) on 21-04-2005 22:09:
Well now I have just now seen Catalyst, I can deliver my opinion as I have all this doomsday hype before. Particularly during the Soviet era cold war. I can recall back to the that nuclear holocaust tele-movie “The Day After” when it become very fashionable some of the more well to do to build nuclear bomb shelters in their back yards, and loud mouthed evangelical preachers shouting their lungs out at shopping malls that the “end was nigh”. Now that the threat of a nuclear holocaust has deminished they to more natural threats as they are switching their attention to Yellowstone and doing it all over again.

Posted by Karl Lijnders (Member # 183) on 21-04-2005 22:46:
Yeah but the docco was pure specualtion, it stated that the last Supervolcanic eruption was 650,000 years ago, however the last major supervolcanic eruption at Yellowstone was 1,300,000yrs before that, so I will headge my bets and say its not coming from that neck of the woods, though a very interesting a plausible event.

Interesting to note they think the dinosaurs became extinct from this sort of event.

Cant wait til it comes out on DVD.

Posted by Thunda Hunta (Member # 4930) on 22-04-2005 08:04:


Originally posted by dave7:
 - ….1,011m high & formed by Phreatomagmatic Eruptions (Pyroclastic Flows & lava etc.)….37.8S 142.5E between Mt.Gambier & Port MacDonnell on a Limestone plain….

1,011m high?…..

[Roll Eyes] …… [Laugh]


Posted by Craig Arthur (Member # 63) on 22-04-2005 09:26:


Originally posted by Rocky Raccoon:
Now that the threat of a nuclear holocaust has deminished

I suggest you open your eyes to the behaviour of some states with regard to this… [Wink]

Posted by Rocky Raccoon (Member # 5764) on 22-04-2005 10:01:


Originally posted by Craig Arthur:


Originally posted by Rocky Raccoon:
Now that the threat of a nuclear holocaust has deminished

I suggest you open your eyes to the behaviour of some states with regard to this… [Wink]

I doubt if North Korea or Iran could inflict anything like the damage that the Soviet Union could have done in their hey day, when between the US and the Soviet Union they has enough nuclear arsenal to destroy the world a hundred times over. If full scale WW III broke out in 1980, I am sure that would have been far more destructive than the Toba supervolcano was 75,000 years ago when it blew.


Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 22-04-2005 21:02:


1,011m high?…..



How high do you reckon it is Thunda?….website i got it from claimed 3,316ft/1,011m….the hill i live on is 300m & from memory it would go pretty close to that claim….that photo doesn’t do the steepness or true hight justice….was a very steep hard,high climb that could easily fit 3 of my hills into it!….here’s some volcano photos….  - ….This one is Mt.St.Helens on the 8-3-2005 @ 5.25pm ….  - …. As for what could happen in the future….the truth is ANYTHING, ANYTIME! …. ( No Worries Mate! She’ll be right!)

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 22-04-2005 21:29:


loud mouthed evangelical preachers shouting their lungs out at shopping malls that the “end was nigh”. Now that the threat of a nuclear holocaust has deminished they to more natural threats as they are switching their attention to Yellowstone and doing it all over again.

Interesting how you related the Yellowstone Doco to Shopping Mall Shouters!….Maybe they believe in Gods promises & care enough about others to try to warn them whats coming….maybe they got no choice like the prophets of old & have to do Gods will no matter how crazy or unpopular they’re perceived by others….maybe they got the right message but really are crazy [Big Grin]

Posted by Rocky Raccoon (Member # 5764) on 22-04-2005 21:52:
I feel that a disaster like from Yellowstone it would almost impossible for even a country as rich and a powerful as the US to immune itself from a VEI8 eruption. In my opinion all they can do is just hope it probably wont happen anyway, and statistical probability is on America’s side anyway. Just because the last three eruptions were roughly 600,000 apart means that that we are overdue for another one. Because that is only a sample of three eruptions the one before that from that same hotspot was at Bruneau Jarbridge about 10 million years earlier. So if we average all that out we may not be due for another one for 5 million years or even another 10.

But there tsunami generated from the Canary would be something they could do something about. the body count may be massive but an am sure the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) could deal with that.

In Australia an eruption in the Timor Sea near New Zealand may well cause a massive marine landslide generating a tsunami which would be extremely catastrophic for all cities on the NSW coast.
There is hard evidence at Jervis Bay of such a mega-tsunami that hit us just before European Settlement, but I am not sure if that was caused by a volcanic eruption. However it was a lulu for sure, and I am not sure if our own Emergency Management Australia (EMA) could deal with a disaster with a body count greater than Gallipoli, but it should be ready at least even if it never happens. Maybe our country’s short history is its worst enemy.


Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 22-04-2005 22:38:
Just had a look at some of your pictures, beautiful stuff Paul!….Guess it all comes back to the credibility of Geo Time & the assumption that the earth HAS to behave as we expect or to repeat old patterns….If we can learn anything from what has been happening, it would seem this is NOT the case, and indeed, should not be surprised with whatever comes our way!

Posted by Rocky Raccoon (Member # 5764) on 22-04-2005 23:54:


Originally posted by dave7:
Just had a look at some of your pictures, beautiful stuff Paul!….Guess it all comes back to the credibility of Geo Time & the assumption that the earth HAS to behave as we expect or to repeat old patterns….If we can learn anything from what has been happening, it would seem this is NOT the case, and indeed, should not be surprised with whatever comes our way!

Thanks for that Dave, I will try and get some more together soon. Some nice red volcano fountains from Hawaii would be nice. Only just dreamin’ at them moment.

[Cheers] Paul

Posted by teckert (Member # 77) on 23-04-2005 00:51:
Mt Schank is only 158 metres high!!
If it was 1100 or so metres it would be the highest mountain in SA lol….

Posted by Thunda Hunta (Member # 4930) on 23-04-2005 06:40:
dave 7,
teckert has supplied the reply to your question on the height of mt. shank.
what i require now is a link to this website you claim has mt. shank at over 1000m high.


Posted by Craig Arthur (Member # 63) on 23-04-2005 06:45:

Posted by Keith (Member # 4510) on 23-04-2005 08:15:
Above MSL or above the surrounding plain?

Posted by Rocky Raccoon (Member # 5764) on 23-04-2005 14:51:
I once drove through Mt Gambier and from memory it is only about 180 meters ASL and Mt Schank is on about the same level.

However I would hate to hang around there too long if either the blue lake or Mt Schank was about to erupt. Because the last ones were those nasty grey eruptions with pyroclastic surges and flows. So unless you have a death wish, clear out fast. [Eek!]


Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 24-04-2005 09:10:
Just as well we got South Aussies here to get the hights right!….pity they’re havin trouble playin footy at the moment! [Smile] [Razz] [Smile] [Razz] [Smile] [Razz] [Smile]

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 25-04-2005 10:09:
Another Volcano update link….

Posted by Rocky Raccoon (Member # 5764) on 25-04-2005 10:20:
I found a good webpage
here which illustrates the track of the Yellowstone hotspot.

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 25-04-2005 10:59:
Mt.Gambier is certainly living ontop of the most recent Volcano….note the Pyroclastic layer below water….  - ….  - ….& this last one is from Kilauea in Hawaii….  -

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 25-04-2005 11:13:
Volcanic and Geologic Terms


‘A’a: Hawaiian word used to describe a lava flow whose surface is broken into rough angular fragments. Click here to view a photo of ‘a’a.

Accessory: A mineral whose presence in a rock is not essential to the proper classification of the rock.

Accidental: Pyroclastic rocks that are formed from fragments of non-volcanic rocks or from volcanic rocks not related to the erupting volcano.

Accretionary Lava Ball: A rounded mass, ranging in diameter from a few centimeters to several meters, [carried] on the surface of a lava flow (e.g., ‘a’a) or on cinder-cone slopes [and formed] by the molding of viscous lava around a core of already solidified lava.

Acid: A descriptive term applied to igneous rocks with more than 60% silica (SiO2).

Active Volcano: A volcano that is erupting. Also, a volcano that is not presently erupting, but that has erupted within historical time and is considered likely to do so in the future.

Agglutinate: A pyroclastic deposit consisting of an accumulation of originally plastic ejecta and formed by the coherence of the fragments upon solidification.

Alkalic: Rocks which contain above average amounts of sodium and/or potassium for the group of rocks for which it belongs. For example, the basalts of the capping stage of Hawaiian volcanoes are alkalic. They contain more sodium and/or potassium than the shield-building basalts that make the bulk of the volcano.

Andesite: Volcanic rock (or lava) characteristically medium dark in color and containing 54 to 62 percent silica and moderate amounts of iron and magnesium.

Ash: Fine particles of pulverized rock blown from an explosion vent. Measuring less than 1/10 inch in diameter, ash may be either solid or molten when first erupted. By far the most common variety is vitric ash (glassy particles formed by gas bubbles bursting through liquid magma).

Ashfall (Airfall): Volcanic ash that has fallen through the air from an eruption cloud. A deposit so formed is usually well sorted and layered.

Ash Flow: A turbulent mixture of gas and rock fragments, most of which are ash-sized particles, ejected violently from a crater or fissure. The mass of pyroclastics is normally of very high temperature and moves rapidly down the slopes or even along a level surface.

Asthenosphere: The shell within the earth, some tens of kilometers below the surface and of undefined thickness, which is a shell of weakness where plastic movements take place to permit pressure adjustments.

Aquifer: A body of rock that contains significant quantities of water that can be tapped by wells or springs.

Avalanche: A large mass of material or mixtures of material falling or sliding rapidly under the force of gravity. Avalanches often are classified by their content, such as snow, ice, soil, or rock avalanches. A mixture of these materials is a debris avalanche.

Basalt: Volcanic rock (or lava) that characteristically is dark in color, contains 45% to 54% silica, and generally is rich in iron and magnesium.

Basement: The undifferentiated rocks that underlie the rocks of interest in an area.

Basic: A descriptive term applied to igneous rocks (basalt and gabbro) with silica (SiO2) between 44% and 52%.

Bench: The unstable, newly-formed front of a lava delta.

Blister: A swelling of the crust of a lava flow formed by the puffing-up of gas or vapor beneath the flow. Blisters are about 1 meter in diameter and hollow.

Block: Angular chunk of solid rock ejected during an eruption.

Bomb: Fragment of molten or semi-molten rock, 2 1/2 inches to many feet in diameter, which is blown out during an eruption. Because of their plastic condition, bombs are often modified in shape during their flight or upon impact.

Caldera: The Spanish word for cauldron, a basin-shaped volcanic depression; by definition, at least a mile in diameter. Such large depressions are typically formed by the subsidence of volcanoes. Crater Lake occupies the best-known caldera in the Cascades.

Capping Stage: Refers to a stage in the evolution of a typical Hawaiian volcano during which alkalic, basalt, and related rocks build a steeply, sloping cap on the main shield of the volcano. Eruptions are less frequent, but more explosive. The summit caldera may be buried.

Central Vent: A central vent is an opening at the Earth’s surface of a volcanic conduit of cylindrical or pipe-like form.

Central Volcano: A volcano constructed by the ejection of debris and lava flows from a central point, forming a more or less symmetrical volcano.

Cinder Cone: A volcanic cone built entirely of loose fragmented material (pyroclastics.)

Cirque: A steep-walled horseshoe-shaped recess high on a mountain that is formed by glacial erosion.

Cleavage: The breaking of a mineral along crystallographic planes, that reflects a crystal structure.

Composite Volcano: A steep volcanic cone built by both lava flows and pyroclastic eruptions.

Compound Volcano: A volcano that consists of a complex of two or more vents, or a volcano that has an associated volcanic dome, either in its crater or on its flanks. Examples are Vesuvius and Mont Pelee.

Compression Waves: Earthquake waves that move like a slinky. As the wave moves to the left, for example, it expands and compresses in the same direction as it moves. Usage of compression waves.

Conduit: A passage followed by magma in a volcano.

Continental Crust: Solid, outer layers of the earth, including the rocks of the continents. Usage of continental crust.

Continental Drift: The theory that horizontal movement of the earth’s surface causes slow, relative movements of the continents toward or away from one another.

Country Rocks: The rock intruded by and surrounding an igneous intrusion.

Crater: A steep-sided, usually circular depression formed by either explosion or collapse at a volcanic vent.

Craton: A part of the earth’s crust that has attained stability and has been little deformed for a prolonged period.

Curtain of Fire: A row of coalescing lava fountains along a fissure; a typical feature of a Hawaiian-type eruption.

Dacite: Volcanic rock (or lava) that characteristically is light in color and contains 62% to 69% silica and moderate a mounts of sodium and potassium.

Debris Avalanche: A rapid and unusually sudden sliding or flowage of unsorted masses of rock and other material. As applied to the major avalanche involved in the eruption of Mount St. Helens, a rapid mass movement that included fragmented cold and hot volcanic rock, water, snow, glacier ice, trees, and some hot pyroclastic material. Most of the May 18, 1980 deposits in the upper valley of the North Fork Toutle River and in the vicinity of Spirit Lake are from the debris avalanche.

Debris Flow: A mixture of water-saturated rock debris that flows downslope under the force of gravity (also called lahar or mudflow).

Detachment Plane: The surface along which a landslide disconnects from its original position.

Devonian: A period of time in the Paleozoic Era that covered the time span between 400 and 345 million years.

Diatreme: A breccia filled volcanic pipe that was formed by a gaseous explosion.

Dike: A sheetlike body of igneous rock that cuts across layering or contacts in the rock into which it intrudes.

Dome: A steep-sided mass of viscous (doughy) lava extruded from a volcanic vent (often circular in plane view) and spiny, rounded, or flat on top. Its surface is often rough and blocky as a result of fragmentation of the cooler, outer crust during growth of the dome.

Dormant Volcano: Literally, “sleeping.” The term is used to describe a volcano which is presently inactive but which may erupt again. Most of the major Cascade volcanoes are believed to be dormant rather than extinct.

Drainage Basin: The area of land drained by a river system.

Echelon: Set of geologic features that are in an overlapping or a staggered arrangement (e.g., faults). Each is relatively short, but collectively they form a linear zone in which the strike of the individual features is oblique to that of the zone as a whole.

Ejecta: Material that is thrown out by a volcano, including pyroclastic material (tephra) and lava bombs.

Episode: An episode is a volcanic event that is distinguished by its duration or style.

Eruption: The process by which solid, liquid, and gaseous materials are ejected into the earth’s atmosphere and onto the earth’s surface by volcanic activity. Eruptions range from the quiet overflow of liquid rock to the tremendously violent expulsion of pyroclastics.

Eruption Cloud: The column of gases, ash, and larger rock fragments rising from a crater or other vent. If it is of sufficient volume and velocity, this gaseous column may reach many miles into the stratosphere, where high winds will carry it long distances.

Eruptive Vent: The opening through which volcanic material is emitted.

Evacuate: Temporarily move people away from possible danger.

Extinct Volcano: A volcano that is not presently erupting and is not likely to do so for a very long time in the future. Usage of extinct.

Extrusion: The emission of magmatic material at the earth’s surface. Also, the structure or form produced by the process (e.g., a lava flow, volcanic dome, or certain pyroclastic rocks).

Fault: A crack or fracture in the earth’s surface. Movement along the fault can cause earthquakes or–in the process of mountain-building–can release underlying magma and permit it to rise to the surface.

Fault Scarp A steep slope or cliff formed directly by movement along a fault and representing the exposed surface of the fault before modification by erosion and weathering.

Felsic: An igneous rock having abundant light-colored minerals.

Fire fountain: See also: lava fountain

Fissures: Elongated fractures or cracks on the slopes of a volcano. Fissure eruptions typically produce liquid flows, but pyroclastics may also be ejected.

Flank Eruption: An eruption from the side of a volcano (in contrast to a summit eruption.)

Fluvial: Produced by the action of of flowing water.

Formation: A body of rock identified by lithic characteristics and stratigraphic position and is mappable at the earth’s surface or traceable in the subsurface.

Fracture: The manner of breaking due to intense folding or faulting.

Fumarole: A vent or opening through which issue steam, hydrogen sulfide, or other gases. The craters of many dormant volcanoes contain active fumaroles.

Geothermal Energy: Energy derived from the internal heat of the earth.

Geothermal Power: Power generated by using the heat energy of the earth.

Graben: An elongate crustal block that is relatively depressed (downdropped) between two fault systems.

Guyot: A type of seamount that has a platform top. Named for a nineteenth-century Swiss-American geologist.

Hardness: The resistance of a mineral to scratching.

Harmonic Tremor: A continuous release of seismic energy typically associated with the underground movement of magma. It contrasts distinctly with the sudden release and rapid decrease of seismic energy associated with the more common type of earthquake caused by slippage along a fault.

Heat transfer: Movement of heat from one place to another.

Heterolithologic: Material is made up of a heterogeneous mix of different rock types. Instead of being composed on one rock type, it is composed of fragments of many different rocks.

Holocene: The time period from 10,000 years ago to the present. vAlso, the rocks and deposits of that age.

Horizontal Blast: An explosive eruption in which the resultant cloud of hot ash and other material moves laterally rather than upward.

Horst: A block of the earth’s crust, generally long compared to its width, that has been uplifted along faults relative to the rocks on either side.

Hot Spot: A volcanic center, 60 to 120 miles (100 to 200 km) across and persistent for at least a few tens of million of years, that is thought to be the surface expression of a persistent rising plume of hot mantle material. Hot spots are not linked to arcs and may not be associated with ocean ridges.

Hot-spot Volcanoes: Volcanoes related to a persistent heat source in the mantle.

Hyaloclastite: A deposit formed by the flowing or intrusion of lava or magma into water, ice, or water-saturated sediment and its consequent granulation or shattering into small angular fragments.

Hydrothermal Reservoir: An underground zone of porous rock containing hot water.

Hypabyssal: A shallow intrusion of magma or the resulting solidified rock.

Hypocenter: The place on a buried fault where an earthquake occurs. Usage of hypocenter.

Ignimbrite: The rock formed by the widespread deposition and consolidation of ash flows and Nuees Ardentes. The term was originally applied only to densely welded deposits but now includes non-welded deposits.

Intensity: A measure of the effects of an earthquake at a particular place. Intensity depends not only on the magnitude of the earthquake, but also on the distance from the epicenter and the local geology.

Intermediate: A descriptive term applied to igneous rocks that are transitional between basic and acidic with silica (SiO2) between 54% and 65%.

Intrusion: The process of emplacement of magma in pre-existing rock. Also, the term refers to igneous rock mass so formed within the surrounding rock.

Joint: A surface of fracture in a rock.

Juvenile: Pyroclastic material derived directly from magma reaching the surface.

Kipuka: An area surrounded by a lava flow.

Laccolith: A body of igneous rocks with a flat bottom and domed top. It is parallel to the layers above and below it.

Lahar: A torrential flow of water-saturated volcanic debris down the slope of a volcano in response to gravity. A type of mudflow. Usage of lahar. For a larger discussion on lahars, click here.

Landsat: A series of unmanned satellites orbiting at about 706 km (438 miles) above the surface of the earth. The satellites carry cameras similar to video cameras and take images or pictures showing features as small as 30 m or 80 m wide, depending on which camera is used. Usage of Landsat.

Lapilli: Literally, “little stones.” Round to angular rock fragments, measuring 1/10 inch to 2 1/2 inches in diameter, which may be ejected in either a solid or molten state.

Lava: Magma which has reached the surface through a volcanic eruption. The term is most commonly applied to streams of liquid rock that flow from a crater or fissure. It also refers to cooled and solidified rock.

Lava Dome: Mass of lava, created by many individual flows, that has built a dome-shaped pile of lava.

Lava Flow: An outpouring of lava onto the land surface from a vent or fissure. Also, a solidified tongue like or sheet-like body formed by outpouring lava.

Lava Fountain: A rhythmic vertical fountainlike eruption of lava.

Lava Lake (Pond): A lake of molten lava, usually basaltic, contained in a vent, crater, or broad depression of a shield volcano.

Lava Shields: A shield volcano made of basaltic lava.

Lava Tube: A tunnel formed when the surface of a lava flow cools and solidifies while the still-molten interior flows through and drains away.

Limu O Pele (Pele Seaweed): Delicate, translucent sheets of spatter filled with tiny glass bubbles.

Lithic: Of or pertaining to stone.

Lithosphere: The rigid crust and uppermost mantle of the earth. Thickness is on the order of 60 miles (100 km). Stronger than the underlying asthenosphere.

Luster: The reflection of light from the surface of a mineral.

Maar: A volcanic crater that is produced by an explosion in an area of low relief, is generally more or less circular, and often contains a lake, pond, or marsh.

Mafic: An igneous composed chiefly of one or more dark-colored minerals.

Magma: Molten rock beneath the surface of the earth.

Magma Chamber: The subterranean cavity containing the gas-rich liquid magma which feeds a volcano.

Magmatic: Pertaining to magma.

Magnitude: A numerical expression of the amount of energy released by an earthquake, determined by measuring earthquake waves on standardized recording instruments (seismographs.) The number scale for magnitudes is logarithmic rather than arithmetic. Therefore, deflections on a seismograph for a magnitude 5 earthquake, for example, are 10 times greater than those for a magnitude 4 earthquake, 100 times greater than for a magnitude 3 earthquake, and so on.

Mantle: The zone of the earth below the crust and above the core.

Matrix: The solid matter in which a fossil or crystal is embedded. Also, a binding substance (e.g., cement in concrete).

Miocene: An epoch in Earth’s history from about 24 to 5 million years ago. Also refers to the rocks that formed in that epoch.

Moho: Also called the Mohorovicic discontinuity. The surface or discontinuity that separates the crust from the mantle. The Moho is at a depth of 5-10 km beneath the ocean floor and about 35 km below the continents (but down to 60 km below mountains). Named for Andrija Mohorovicic, a Croatian seismologist.

Monogenetic: A volcano built by a single eruption.

Mudflow: A flowage of water-saturated earth material possessing a high degree of fluidity during movement. A less-saturated flowing mass is often called a debris flow. A mudflow originating on the flank of a volcano is properly called a lahar.

Myth: A fictional story to explain the origin of some person, place, or thing. Usage of myth.

Nuees Ardentes: A French term applied to a highly heated mass of gas-charged ash which is expelled with explosive force and moves hurricane speed down the mountainside. Usage of Nuees Ardentes

Obsidian: A black or dark-colored volcanic glass, usually composed of rhyolite.

Oceanic Crust: The earth’s crust where it underlies oceans. Usage of oceanic crust.

Pahoehoe: A Hawaiian term for lava with a smooth, billowy, or ropy surface. Click here to view a photo of pahoehoe.

Pali: Hawaiian word for steep hills or cliffs.

Pele Hair: A natural spun glass formed by blowing-out during quiet fountaining of fluid lava, cascading lava falls, or turbulent flows, sometimes in association with pele tears. A single strand, with a diameter of less than half a millimeter, may be as long as two meters.

Pele Tears: Small, solidified drops of volcanic glass behind which trail pendants of Pele hair. They may be tear-shaped, spherical, or nearly cylindrical.

Peralkaline: Igneous rocks in which the molecular proportion of aluminum oxide is less than that of sodium and potassium oxides combined.

Phenocryst: A conspicuous, usually large, crystal embedded in porphyritic igneous rock.

Phreatic Eruption (Explosion): An explosive volcanic eruption caused when water and heated volcanic rocks interact to produce a violent expulsion of steam and pulverized rocks. Magma is not involved.

Phreatomagmatic: An explosive volcanic eruption that results from the interaction of surface or subsurface water and magma.

Pillow lava: Interconnected, sack-like bodies of lava formed underwater.

Pipe: A vertical conduit through the Earth’s crust below a volcano, through which magmatic materials have passed. Commonly filled with volcanic breccia and fragments of older rock.

Pit Crater: A crater formed by sinking in of the surface, not primarily a vent for lava.

Plastic: Capable of being molded into any form, which is retained.

Plate Tectonics: The theory that the earth’s crust is broken into about 10 fragments (plates,) which move in relation to one another, shifting continents, forming new ocean crust, and stimulating volcanic eruptions.

Pleistocene: A epoch in Earth history from about 2-5 million years to 10,000 years ago. Also refers to the rocks and sediment deposited in that epoch.

Plinian Eruption: An explosive eruption in which a steady, turbulent stream of fragmented magma and magmatic gases is released at a high velocity from a vent. Large volumes of tephra and tall eruption columns are characteristic.

Plug: Solidified lava that fills the conduit of a volcano. It is usually more resistant to erosion than the material making up the surrounding cone, and may remain standing as a solitary pinnacle when the rest of the original structure has eroded away.

Plug Dome: The steep-sided, rounded mound formed when viscous lava wells up into a crater and is too stiff to flow away. It piles up as a dome-shaped mass, often completely filling the vent from which it emerged.

Pluton: A large igneous intrusion formed at great depth in the crust.

Polygenetic: Originating in various ways or from various sources.

Precambrian:All geologic time from the beginning of Earth history to 570 million years ago. Also refers to the rocks that formed in that epoch.

Pumice: Light-colored, frothy volcanic rock, usually of dacite or rhyolite composition, formed by the expansion of gas in erupting lava. Commonly seen as lumps or fragments of pea-size and larger, but can also occur abundantly as ash-sized particles. Usage of pumice.

Pyroclastic: Pertaining to fragmented (clastic) rock material formed by a volcanic explosion or ejection from a volcanic vent.

Pyroclastic Flow: Lateral flowage of a turbulent mixture of hot gases and unsorted pyroclastic material (volcanic fragments, crystals, ash, pumice, and glass shards) that can move at high speed (50 to 100 miles an hour.) The term also can refer to the deposit so formed.

Quaternary: The period of Earth’s history from about 2 million years ago to the present; also, the rocks and deposits of that age.

Relief: The vertical difference between the summit of a mountain and the adjacent valley or plain.

Renewed Volcanism State: Refers to a state in the evolution of a typical Hawaiian volcano during which –after a long period of quiescence–lava and tephra erupt intermittently. Erosion and reef building continue.

Repose: The interval of time between volcanic eruptions.

Rhyodacite: An extrusive rock intermediate in composition between dacite and rhyolite.

Rhyolite: Volcanic rock (or lava) that characteristically is light in color, contains 69% silica or more, and is rich in potassium and sodium.

Ridge, Oceanic: A major submarine mountain range.

Rift System: The oceanic ridges formed where tectonic plates are separating and a new crust is being created; also, their on-land counterparts such as the East African Rift.

Rift Zone: A zone of volcanic features associated with underlying dikes. The location of the rift is marked by cracks, faults, and vents.

Ring of Fire: The regions of mountain-building earthquakes and volcanoes which surround the Pacific Ocean.

Scoria: A bomb-size (> 64 mm) pyroclast that is irregular in form and generally very vesicular. It is usually heavier, darker, and more crystalline than pumice.

Seafloor Spreading: The mechanism by which new seafloor crust is created at oceanic ridges and slowly spreads away as plates are separating.

Seamount: A submarine volcano.

Seismograph: An instrument that records seismic waves; that is, vibrations of the earth.

Seismologist: Scientists who study earthquake waves and what they tell us about the inside of the Earth. Usage of seismologist.

Seismometer: An instrument that measures motion of the ground caused by earthquake waves. Usage of seismometer.

Shearing: The motion of surfaces sliding past one another.

Shear Waves: Earthquake waves that move up and down as the wave itself moves. For example, to the left. Usage of shear waves.

Shield Volcano: A gently sloping volcano in the shape of a flattened dome and built almost exclusively of lava flows.

Shoshonite: A trachyandesite composed of olivine and augite phenocrysts in a groundmass of labradorite with alkali feldspar rims, olivine, augite, a small amount of leucite, and some dark-colored glass. Its name is derived from the Shoshone River, Wyoming and given by Iddings in 1895.

Silica: A chemical combination of silicon and oxygen.

Sill: A tabular body of intrusive igneous rock, parallel to the layering of the rocks into which it intrudes.

Skylight: An opening formed by a collapse in the roof of a lava tube.

Solfatara: A type of fumarole, the gases of which are characteristically sulfurous.

Spatter Cone: A low, steep-sided cone of spatter built up on a fissure or vent. It is usually of basaltic material.

Spatter Rampart: A ridge of congealed pyroclastic material (usually basaltic) built up on a fissure or vent.

Specific Gravity: The density of a mineral divided by the density of water.

Spines: Horn-like projections formed upon a lava dome.

Stalactite: A cone shaped deposit of minerals hanging from the roof of a cavern.

Stratigraphic: The study of rock strata, especially of their distribution, deposition, and age.

Stratovolcano: A volcano composed of both lava flows and pyroclastic material.

Streak: The color of a mineral in the powdered form.

Strike-Slip Fault: A nearly vertical fault with side-slipping displacement.

Strombolian Eruption: A type of volcanic eruption characterized by jetting of clots or fountains of fluid basaltic lava from a central crater.

Subduction Zone: The zone of convergence of two tectonic plates, one of which usually overrides the other.

Surge: A ring-shaped cloud of gas and suspended solid debris that moves radially outward at high velocity as a density flow from the base of a vertical eruption column accompanying a volcanic eruption or crater formation.

Talus: A slope formed a the base of a steeper slope, made of fallen and disintegrated materials.

Tephra: Materials of all types and sizes that are erupted from a crater or volcanic vent and deposited from the air.

Tephrochronology: The collection, preparation, petrographic description, and approximate dating of tephra.

Tilt: The angle between the slope of a part of a volcano and some reference. The reference may be the slope of the volcano at some previous time.

Trachyandesite: An extrusive rock intermediate in composition between trachyte and andesite.

Trachybasalt: An extrusive rock intermediate in composition between trachyte and basalt.

Trachyte: A group of fine-grained, generally porphyritic, extrusive igneous rocks having alkali feldspar and minor mafic minerals as the main components, and possibly a small amount of sodic plagioclase.

Tremor: Low amplitude, continuous earthquake activity often associated with magma movement.

Tsunami: A great sea wave produced by a submarine earthquake, volcanic eruption, or large landslide.

Tuff: Rock formed of pyroclastic material.

Tuff Cone: A type of volcanic cone formed by the interaction of basaltic magma and water. Smaller and steeper than a tuff ring.

Tuff Ring: A wide, low-rimmed, well-bedded accumulation of hyalo-clastic debris built around a volcanic vent located in a lake, coastal zone, marsh, or area of abundant ground water.

Tumulus: A doming or small mound on the crest of a lava flow caused by pressure due to the difference in the rate of flow between the cooler crust and the more fluid lava below.

Ultramafic: Igneous rocks made mostly of the mafic minerals hypersthene, augite, and/or olivine.

Unconformity: A substantial break or gap in the geologic record where a rock unit is overlain by another that is not next in stratigraphic sucession, such as an interruption in continuity of a depositional sequence of sedimentary rocks or a break between eroded igneous rocks and younger sedimentary strata. It results from a change that caused deposition to cease for a considerable time, and it normally implies uplift and erosion with loss of the previous formed record.

Vent: The opening at the earth’s surface through which volcanic materials issue forth. Usage of vent.

Vesicle: A small air pocket or cavity formed in volcanic rock during solidification.

Viscosity: A measure of resistance to flow in a liquid (water has low viscosity while honey has a higher viscosity.)

Volcano: A vent in the surface of the Earth through which magma and associated gases and ash erupt; also, the form or structure (usually conical) that is produced by the ejected material.

Volcanic Arc: A generally curved linear belt of volcanoes above a subduction zone, and the volcanic and plutonic rocks formed there.

Volcanic Complex: A persistent volcanic vent area that has built a complex combination of volcanic landforms.

Volcanic Cone: A mound of loose material that was ejected ballistically.

Volcanic Neck: A massive pillar of rock more resistant to erosion than the lavas and pyroclastic rocks of a volcanic cone.

Vulcan: Roman god of fire and the forge after whom volcanoes are named.

Vulcanian: A type of eruption consisting of the explosive ejection of incandescent fragments of new viscous lava, usually on the form of blocks.

Water Table: The surface between where the pore space in rock is filled with water and where the the pore space in rock is filled with air.

Xenocrysts: A crystal that resembles a phenocryst in igneous rock, but is a foreign to the body of rock in which it occurs.

Xenoliths: A foreign inclusion in an igneous rock.

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 25-04-2005 11:43:
Pahoehoe Lava

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 25-04-2005 11:59:
This is an amazing story of Survival & Blessing  -

[ 25.04.2005, 12:12: Message edited by: dave7 ]

Posted by FeralWX (Member # 6497) on 25-04-2005 16:07:


Originally posted by Rocky Raccoon:

In Australia an eruption in the Timor Sea near New Zealand may well cause a massive marine landslide generating a tsunami which would be extremely catastrophic for all cities on the NSW coast.


You might want to pull out a map or an atlas and get your geography sorted out before you post eh [Wink]
Last time I looked New Zealand is nowhere near Timor nor is it in the Timor Sea.

New Zealand is in the Pacific Ocean bordered on the western side by the Tasman Sea and the South Pacific on the east!
The Timor Sea is north of Western Australia and is bounded on its Eastern border by the Arafura Sea with the Indian Ocean to the south.
Here is a picture for you.



Posted by Keith (Member # 4510) on 25-04-2005 19:12:
Tasman Sea?

Posted by Dilbert (Member # 6188) on 26-04-2005 07:29:
Some of you guys are unbelievably critical [Laugh] ……I knew what you meant Rocky [Wink] …….and an interesting and quite plausible possibility.

Posted by David Simpson (Member # 5389) on 26-04-2005 07:53:
Amazing imagery & great topic. I went volcano chasing 25 years ago and visited the Mt St Helens area in 1980 and then visited Mauna Loa and Kilauea in Hawaii for my first molten lava experience. And of course, the moonscapes were incredible, seen nothing like it since.

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 27-04-2005 20:31:
Only live Volcano’s i’ve seen was Bagana on Bouganville when i was working at the Mine….& the one that destroyed Rabaul Tavurvur ….While i was working in Rabaul before it’s destruction myself & some friends climbed Tovanumbatir which the locals nicknamed ‘Mother’….will have a look through my old prints & see if i can find a pic taken from the top….The climb was the steepest & hardest i can remember….we were all so exhausted after hours of climbing, we fell asleep on the summit….

Posted by thunderclap (Member # 5562) on 27-04-2005 22:31:
in 1980 i lived 90 miles from mt st helens and was directly affected by the awesome explosion and subsequent ash fall out. anyone who knows washington state knows that it rains a lot and with the ash fallout combined with rain produced a fine grained mud falling from the sky. i tried driving in it but the windscreen wipers gave up very quickly. i returned in 96 to the base of the mountain and not too much had changed. regrowth had occurred but it was easy to see the direction of the main blast patterns over the hundreds of acres of forrest. an awesome and humbling experience, with out a doubt.

Posted by Thunda Hunta (Member # 4930) on 27-04-2005 22:50:


Originally posted by dave7:


1,011m high?…..



How high do you reckon it is Thunda?….website i got it from claimed 3,316ft/1,011m….the hill i live on is 300m & from memory it would go pretty close to that claim….that photo doesn’t do the steepness or true hight justice….was a very steep hard,high climb that could easily fit 3 of my hills into it!

ROFL [Laugh]
i’ve been up and down, in and out, round and round
that damn molehill with various groups over the years
more times than i care to remember, i can understand
you believing the website, but having been there and
actually think it is over 3000′


[ 28.04.2005, 08:41: Message edited by: David Simpson ]

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 29-04-2005 13:18:
Yes TH dave’s an idiot,(he forgot to factor in the ASL equation, & that from our dam valley to the top of the hill is about 20M not 300M) what about you?….It’s not a mole hill, it’s a Dormant Volcano & surprising familar to the Tavurvur Crater in Rabaul….Unlike some who focus on trivia & criticism rather than sharing a common interest in this subject & the ESSENCE of it….who are just not happy little vegemites usless they are whingin about or runnin something down in the vain attempt to elevate themselves….(however elevations is not my forte:)…..Well Thunder my brother, dave is human afterall & believe it or not, actually makes mistakes (yes i know thats hard to believe:)….but unlike most cowards, is not afraid of them!….Thats how we learn & grow….Thanks to Ecc, i /we learnt the correct height (very important to some) of the Mt.Schank Volcano….Did you contact the website & inform them? ….No matter, i have….

[ 29.04.2005, 13:29: Message edited by: dave7 ]

Posted by David Simpson (Member # 5389) on 29-04-2005 13:33:
Righto guys, points made, take your spat private if you want to continue along that track please, thanks.

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 29-04-2005 13:45:
daves not interested in spats, mainly Volcanos….heres a new link to Yellowstone & Super Volcanos Q & A ‘s

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 29-04-2005 13:57:
Couple of images from yellowstone….  -  -

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 29-04-2005 20:09:
Found the old (1980) print from the summit of Tovanumbatir Volcano (Mother) looking down on Rabaul….hardest climb i’ve ever done….started early morning & reached top around noon….incredibly steep cone….

Posted by David Simpson (Member # 5389) on 30-04-2005 07:04:
Nice shots Dave, I actually brought back with me from Mt St Helens a bag of the volcanic ash from the eruption (maybe I should EBay it…) and also some recently cooled lava from Hawaii, which the locals suggest such removal brings evil spirits and bad lack for the holder. I must dig out my old photos too, will post them here when I do.

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 30-04-2005 14:53:
Look forward to seeing your old pics dave!….As i now believe in things unseen, (although having also removed/collected rocks in the past)….now only take pics….if nothing else, out of respect for the custodians & or the spirit of place….most whitefella private property dudes would’nt be happy about someone comin in & taking stuff away either(: …. Here’s a link to the
Mt.St.Helens LIVE Volcano Cam. ….which can be seen most mornings BEFORE 10am.

Posted by Leopold (Member # 6980) on 30-04-2005 17:05:
geebus…err…nice list of definitions. I enjoyed reliving my first GEOS1100 lecture. Im wondering if you actually typed it. I spose if you’re an exploration geo like myself you havent got much else to do.

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 01-05-2005 08:31:
No Leo, didn’t type….& not Geo, just obsessed(: ….Some good long reads before the def.page….This is a live pic of Mt.St.Helens this morning @ 8.03am AEST….

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 02-05-2005 08:34:
Better shot of Mt.St.Helens this morning, showing her boiling away with steam visible from the new vent….
 - ….This is a Movie Link to past minor eruptions

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 02-05-2005 09:08:
This is an aerial shot of Mt.St.Helens & Mt.Rainier Volcanos….  - ….This is a shot from Mt.St.Helens showing Mt.Rainier in the distance & the Spirit Lake blast area….
 - ….This picture shows how Mt.Rainier is much closer to human habitation & has the potential to cause more trouble….  -

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 02-05-2005 09:59:
Live Volcano Cams Link ……. White Island Crater (NZ) Live Cam @ 9.00am 2-5-2005

Posted by Rocky Raccoon (Member # 5764) on 02-05-2005 11:34:


Originally posted by FeralWX:


Originally posted by Rocky Raccoon:

In Australia an eruption in the Timor Sea near New Zealand may well cause a massive marine landslide generating a tsunami which would be extremely catastrophic for all cities on the NSW coast.


You might want to pull out a map or an atlas and get your geography sorted out before you post eh [Wink]
Last time I looked New Zealand is nowhere near Timor nor is it in the Timor Sea.

New Zealand is in the Pacific Ocean bordered on the western side by the Tasman Sea and the South Pacific on the east!
The Timor Sea is north of Western Australia and is bounded on its Eastern border by the Arafura Sea with the Indian Ocean to the south.
Here is a picture for you.



Sorry my mistake [Embarrassed] (Edited out a full sentence by mistake just in a hasty rush to make it shorter). So I wont be so hasty this time. An eruption like Krakatoa in the Timor sea or a or a marine landslide for that matter would be pretty nasty too just off the south coast of Java and may well be even nastier than a similar sized eruption just near New Zealand in the Tasman.

However the much broader continental shelf may privide a better buffer than the Tasman so the tsunami would lose energy as it crosses the Timor or Arifura before it slams into Darwin or Port Hedland. But Phuket was also protected by a broad continental shelf and reef too and did not save it.


[ 02.05.2005, 11:56: Message edited by: Rocky Raccoon ]

Posted by Rocky Raccoon (Member # 5764) on 02-05-2005 12:14:
Phuket as it fronts the Andaman Sea should have had as much protection as our Great Barrier Reef so even Queensland is not immune if there were a major eruption or marine landslide somewhere else in the ring of fire like say at Vanuatu or the Solomons.

Even in spite of the fact the Queensland coast is considered to be low risk.

Unfortunely the shelf off NSW is very narrow so that would be a worry as the tsunami would only lose a little of its energy.

I am not alarmist but I feel any natural threat to Australia by far outweighs any military threat like terrorist attacks or invasions. I feel our country should be far better prepared for such an emergency when or if such a natural catastrophe hits us.


[ 02.05.2005, 12:28: Message edited by: Rocky Raccoon ]

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 05-05-2005 11:07:
This the Taranaki Volcano @ 9am this morning, which is situated in the S.W. of the South Island of NZ…..  - ….& this is the Latest Seismic Report Link for NZ ….which are around M5 to M7 & up in the N.E. of the North Island.

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 14-05-2005 09:40:
Just got this email from John….who’s got the time & bucks to see an erupting active one???? [May 12, 2005
Dear dave,
Last chance to join the June 10 volcano trip!

Volcano Adventure Travel
You are invited to join the June 10 tour with volcanologist John Seach to Yasur and Ambrym Volcanoes in Vanuatu, SW Pacific.
Participants on the March and April tours were treated to a spectacular display. Don’t miss your chance at seeing the current eruptions.

Visit Our Website
Thank your for your continuing interest in Volcano Updates and I welcome you on a trip.


John Seach
Volcano Live


email: john@volcanolive.com
phone: + 61 438 464307
web: http://www.volcanolive.com

Posted by Rocky Raccoon (Member # 5764) on 14-05-2005 16:40:

Here is Mt Bunninyong in the background. Last active 12,000 years ago. A blink of an eye in geological time. The Western District of Victoria and South East of South Australia is dotted with many young scoria cones such as these.


Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 14-05-2005 20:58:
Everytime i hear people speak of ‘Mans’ geological time, i feel sorry for all the young ones who are being mislead away from the truth….(Young Earth)….sort of reminds me of the ‘Flat Earth’ senario:)….i guess it’s a reassuring deception, if nothing else….d7

Posted by bigwilly (Member # 5351) on 20-05-2005 18:03:
A devastating tsunami could strike Australia’s east coast, Tasmania included, sometime in the next 10 years, a geophysicist has warned.

University of Queensland professor Peter Mora said forecasts showed an earthquake measuring up to nine on the Richter scale could occur north of New Zealand.

I got the rest of the article here
Some interesting reading there…

[Cheers] Will

Blue Mountains Photography

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 21-05-2005 21:28:
Australia at risk of tsunami: researcher
May 19, 2005 –

A devastating tsunami could strike Australia’s east coast, Tasmania included, sometime in the next 10 years, a geophysicist has warned.

University of Queensland professor Peter Mora said forecasts showed an earthquake measuring up to nine on the Richter scale could occur north of New Zealand.

Prof Mora said this could trigger a wall of water up to 10 metres high that would decimate Australia’s east coast.

“There is a high level of seismic activity within the earth’s plates surrounding Australia … the north-east of Australia is very exposed,” he said.

Prof Mora said New Zealand would not act as a buffer for Australia against the tsunami because of the forecasted position of the earthquake.

“Any islands north, such as Fiji, would be impacted tremendously,” he said.

“I doubt North or South America would be affected that much because they are so far away – but Hawaii would be.”

It could strike any part of the mainland’s east coast, and even Tasmania.

Possibly, depending on the shape of the seafloor, Melbourne also might be affected.

He said the threat was “very real” and had much more potential than many Australians thought.

“I think it is a misconception that Australia is safe from natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis,” Prof Mora said.

“We are actually very prone.”

He said research partners in the US, who had an 80 per cent success rate of forecasting the locations of large earthquakes, were behind the forecasts detrimental to Australia.

Prof Mora said the US researchers’ accurate forecasts included 13 out of 14 earthquakes in California since 2001 as well as last year’s tragic Indian Ocean earthquake that generated the devastating Boxing Day tsunami.

Although he welcomed the federal government’s $68 million commitment towards a tsunami warning system, he said an international approach to predicting tsunamis’ exact impacts on coastal communities was paramount.

Prof Mora is the director of the University’s new Earth Systems Science Computational Centre, which is part of a push to set up an international institute focused on solid earth and tsunami computer simulation.

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 22-05-2005 21:30:
Found this interesting ….It’s from the famous GMC ….
 - …. Link ….


Australia will lose approximately twenty-five percent of its land mass due to inundation of coastal areas. The Adelaide area will become an inland sea all the way north to Lake Eyre. The Simpson and Gibson Deserts will become fertile land. Great communities based on spiritual principles will form between the Great Sandy and Simpson Deserts. Another settlement will arise in Queensland. New land will rise off the coast.

New Zealand

New Zealand will grow in size, once again joining the land of old — Australia. The two lands will be joined by an isthmus, formed by rising land and volcanic activity. New Zealand will become the new frontier.

[ 22.05.2005, 21:37: Message edited by: dave7 ]

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 12-06-2005 19:44:
Volcano World have corrected the height of Mt. Schank….
Mt.Schank Volcano S.A. ….

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 12-06-2005 19:53:
Volcanism on Mars ……. Volcanism on the Moon

Posted by Countryw (Member # 7060) on 12-06-2005 20:39:


Originally posted by dave7:
Found this interesting ….It’s from the famous GMC ….  - …. Link ….


Australia will lose approximately twenty-five percent of its land mass due to inundation of coastal areas. The Adelaide area will become an inland sea all the way north to Lake Eyre. The Simpson and Gibson Deserts will become fertile land. Great communities based on spiritual principles will form between the Great Sandy and Simpson Deserts. Another settlement will arise in Queensland. New land will rise off the coast.

New Zealand

New Zealand will grow in size, once again joining the land of old — Australia. The two lands will be joined by an isthmus, formed by rising land and volcanic activity. New Zealand will become the new frontier.

I’m just wondering what that land in the top right corner is that’s North America?

Posted by dave7 (Member # 6757) on 13-06-2005 15:11:
Must be new land….where south pacific is now….(see lower left of map)  - ……. Link [correction from GMS]

[ 13.06.2005, 15:18: Message edited by: dave7 ]

Posted by Rocky Raccoon (Member # 5764) on 15-01-2006 13:33:
One studendously huge supervolcano may be right beneath our feet. You may have to wait millions of years for the next big eruption, but it is a far vaster volcanic province than Yellowstone or Toba. This volcanic province marked the “Great Artesian Basin” the world’s largest artesian basin with many of its hot high PH mound springs over an extremely vast area.

I have been doing some research
here , here


[ 15.01.2006, 13:40: Message edited by: Rocky Raccoon ]

Posted by Rocky Raccoon (Member # 5764) on 15-01-2006 14:18:
I meant low ph. A ph of 4 in those mound springs is pretty low (Took too long for my computer to reboot before I could edit it).


It is my view that the groundwaters in the Basin are derived from deep within the Earth. They have a similar source to the steam that explodes from volcanoes, and the hot acid waters that gush from the deep ocean vents. They are part of the original constitution of the Earth. The Great Artesian Basin adjoins a long and wide zone of recent volcanism, extending from Torres Strait to Tasmania, which is regarded as one of the most extensive volcanic zones in the world. It is now quiet. But it has been very active in recent geological time, and the eruptions would have been accompanied by the release of great quantities of steam. The most recent active volcano in this zone erupted only 4600 years ago, at Mt. Gambier, and there are extensive recent basalt flows in north Queensland adjoining the Great Artesian Basin. The hot sulphurous waters from nearby boreholes in the Basin certainly reveal a recent volcanic origin.

[ 15.01.2006, 14:33: Message edited by: Rocky Raccoon ]

Posted by Mike in Canada (Member # 7687) on 24-01-2006 20:05:
It’s no surprise that Australia’s prone to potentially devastating tsunamis. After all, New Zealand and the Kermadecs and other island regions in the SW Pacific are hotbeds of volcanic and earthquake activity.

There is evidence that Australia was hit by a truly massive tsunami 125,000 years ago that would have made the tsunami disaster of 2004 in South Asia look like a mere beach wave. A chunk of the island of Lana’i in Hawai’i slid into the Pacific and sent tsunamis all the way down to Australia. Scientists found beach debris and stuff at an unusual distance from the shoreline in northern NSW. I found this out by reading a couple of scientific journals a few years ago in the local university (University of Alberta), but can’t find any related stuff online.

A massive volcanic eruption could well do the same. Although Krakatau’s eruption in 1883 was indeed huge and its tsunamis killed quite a number of people (mostly in Java and Sumatra), I don’t know if Western Australia reported any tsunamis. But the eruption was loud enough to rattle windows in the Kimberley Region of WA, though. Tambora’s eruption in 1816, which was responsible for the infamous “year without a summer” was even bigger, but then again, I don’t know if any resulting tsunamis would have hit what is now Western Australia or Northern Territory. Remember, even by the late 19th Century, even Western and northern Australia was much more sparsely populated than today. So, any eyewitness accounts would have been very scarce, if at all.

There was an eruption in Vanuatu of a volcano named Kuwae in circa 1452 which was probably larger than Krakatau’s 1883 eruption. Like Krakatau, most of Kuwae collapsed into the ocean, and might have sent tsunamis into Australia and NZ.

Posted by Thunderstruck (Member # 64) on 24-01-2006 22:42:
Very interesting reading for sure, got a keeb interest in the earth and tectonics…

We all know mt gambier was an active area and still has dormat volcanoes, not extinct. Blue Lake and Mount Schank are such examples, terrific to look at and study the lava flows on the side of the mountain of mt schank, got a quarry there and have been blasting away at the old flows. Very interesting.

On the Tsunami side I dont really think we are at a great threat due to the general location of the continent on the plate, perhaps in millions of years time that will change are new subduction zones form etc where seismic instabilty may be generated but for now I reckon we are pretty safe, the Tasman side the most likely to be hit… Once there was a predicted Tsunami to hit Adelaide in the 70’s I think but never occured. Very unlikely to hit us here due to the protection from shallows seas and KI.

TS [Cool]

Posted by Mike in Canada (Member # 7687) on 25-01-2006 08:04:
I first heard about volcanoes in the continenet of Australia itself when I borrowed a book from the local library written by an Australian author and scientist by the name of Lin Sutherland, although I can’t remember the exact title now. The book is supposed to be on volcanoes in general, but goes heavily into Australian volcanoes like Schank and Gambier. The book even has a couple of scenarios on what if future eruptions happened in Sydney and Melbourne. (both scenarios are actually highly unlikely!)

The Mt. Gambier and Schank areas are likely still potentially able to have volcanic activity in the future. The local Aborigines had legends relating to the volcanic activity in that area.

Another place in Australia that could have future activity is in northern Tasmania or in the Bass Strait. This is because the hotspot responsible is now directly beneath southern Victoria and the Bass Strait and northern Tasmania. Even in Far North Queensland, a future eruption could happen there as well, since eruptions there occured as recently as 13,000 and 18,000 years ago. Undara, also in FNQ, (about 200,000 years old) is known for its huge lava tubes as a tourist attraction.

By the way, Australia does have a couple of historically active volcanoes, but neither are on the Australian continent itself. They both lie in Australian territory in the Indian Ocean, though. One is Big Ben on Heard Island. Big Ben is a heavily ice-covered (due to its subantartic latitude at about 53°S) volcano which has had eruptions as recently as 2004. The other historically active Australian volcano is the McDonald Island, which is not far from Heard Island. It is a small volcanic island cluster last active in 2001.

Smithsonian GVP info on Big Ben: click here.
McDonald Islands: Click here.

Click on any image below to see a larger one. [Big Grin]

Big Ben (also known as Mawson Peak) on Heard Island . It is 2415 m high.

Big Ben in eruption in February, 2001. (From the Smithsonian GVP Activity Reports)

Closeup shot of the eruption.

McDonald Islands seen in 1997.

Posted by Willoughby (Member # 5954) on 25-01-2006 08:05:
Watch Lake Taupo.. 150km SSE of here.. world’s biggest caldera which exploded around 300AD. Yikes!

Posted by TranslucidusW (Member # 6330) on 01-09-2008 21:22:

this is nice [Big Grin]

Sky watchers across the USA and Europe are reporting unusually colorful sunsets and sunrises. The cause appears to be the August 7th eruption of the Kasatochi volcano in Alaska. The volcano hurled a massive cloud of ash and sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere; high winds have since carried the aerosols over parts of the USA and Europe, producing widespread “volcanic sunsets.”

“I was taking photos of sunflowers on Aug. 26th when this amazing sunset materialized,” says Darin Brunin of Lawrence, Kansas. “It had colors brighter than the yellow petals of the sunflower itself. Now I know this unique sunset was caused by the volcano.”

Violet domes, dramatic pink and magenta rays crossing the sky, red aureoles around Venus–these are just a few of the things people are seeing.

from here: of September 1, 2008

More about this volcano on this excellent site:

BTW – this topic is a great read; glad I rediscovered it [Big Grin]

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