Earth's Sediment

How Good Are Those Young-Earth Arguments?
A Close Look at Dr. Hovind's List of Young-Earth Arguments and Other Claims
by Dave E. Matson
Copyright © 1994-2002


Young-earth "proof" #21: Given the rate of sediment transport into the ocean by the world's rivers, the ocean basins should have a much thicker layer of sediment than they actually have. Only a small amount of sediment is on the ocean floor, indicating a few thousand years of accumulation. This embarrassing fact explains why the continental drift theory is vitally important to those who worship evolution. (The present influx of sediment into the oceans is 27.5 x 109 tons per year; the present mass of sediment in the oceans is 820 x 1015 tons. That yields 30 million years.)

This is the other half of Nevins' argument (see point #15). Dr. Hovind has botched it further by asserting that only a few thousand year's worth of sediment is on the ocean floor! In the case of the Atlantic Ocean, the sediment varies in thickness. The thinnest sediment is near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge where new sea floor is currently being generated. That is to say, sediment thickness there is zero. The thickest sediment hugs the continental margins, which certainly have more than a few thousand years of accumulation. Try around 150 million year's worth! Funny, that the measured rate of sea floor spreading, when extrapolated backwards in time, gives the same age for the Atlantic sea floor as does radiometric dating. Funny, how the sediment gets thicker and thicker as one moves away from the sea floor spreading zone! That is, the farther we get from the Mid-Atlantic ridge the thicker the sediment tends to get; that thickness correlates with increased age of the sea floor as determined by radiometric dating as well as the known rate at which the Atlantic is widening. (Funny, how Dr. Hovind always comes up with "a few thousand years" no matter what we are looking at!)


What are the odds of such a triple "coincidence" occurring? It boggles the mind! It's easy to see why scientists "bet" on an old-earth. And what about those magnetic stripes on the Atlantic sea floor? If that ocean floor is indeed spreading, then the thickness of those stripes and their distance from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge preserve a chronological record of magnetic field reversals. When those distances and widths are divided by the sea floor spreading rate, do we get a match with the magnetic reversal chronology based on the radiometric dating of continental rocks? Yes, we do!


Here is another interesting but little known fact. Mathematical calculations done by Dan McKenzie in 1967 indicated that an ocean floor, spreading at a few inches per year from a rift which adds new material, would cool and contract. It would sink deeper into the mantle as it contracted. "The process is so undeviating that there is a striking relationship between the age of the sea floor and the depth of water covering it." (Miller, 1983, p.122)


John Sclater and his students at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California, put McKenzie's theory to the test in 1971. They gathered up every scrap of data on the age and depth of the Pacific sea floor. McKenzie's theory was confirmed! The increasing depths of the older portions of the Pacific floor were a result of thermal contraction. Plate tectonics even explains the basic facts about the depth of the Pacific!


That's bad news for those creationists who believe that the earth's plates did some dancing after Noah's flood. In the few thousand years that creationists have to play around with, there is not enough time for a growing ocean plate to cool down. That means the plate would not sink as a result of greater density due to cooling and contraction, meaning that the Western Pacific would not be any deeper than the Eastern Pacific. Isn't that amazing! Instant-drift creationists have another problem. (Actually they have bushels of problems, but we don't have yards of space.) Like Silly Putty (remember that?) the earth's mantle will flow like a liquid if enough time is allowed, but it will act like a solid if you try to rush things. A stick of old-fashioned Silly Putty will, if left to own sweet time, melt into a puddle -- and even into the sofa! However, if you try to bend that stick quickly it will snap in two as though it were a piece of glass! For similar reasons, there is absolutely no way to greatly speed up the drift of continents or the spreading of ocean floors. It would be like driving through solid rock! Dr. Hovind's bizarre suggestion that plate tectonics is an evolutionist's means for escaping an embarrassing dilemma doesn't merit any comment, since there is no dilemma. Strange, that the theory of continental drift was fiercely opposed by most "evolutionary" geologists at first! Stranger still, how some discoveries in the late sixties brought them all around! It looks like a case of follow-the-evidence rather than a conspiracy! We might note, in passing, that plate tectonics became an observed fact in 1985! The Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) technique, in combination with laser ranging techniques, have successfully measured the movement of the earth's plates relative to one another (Strahler, 1987, p.212). Since 1979, such measurements have continually been taken by NASA's Crustal Dynamics Project, which has removed any doubt that the continents are indeed "drifting." (Note: the continents don't "drift" by any efforts of their own, they just hitch a ride on the earth's mantle material as it moves away from oceanic ridges.)


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