Wednesday 11 April 2012

Coconino Sandstone: Silvestru's Global Flood, part 2

This is part of a longer post about Silvestru's video containing evidence for a Global Flood.  I chose to break up the posts so that individual claims can be better discussed.  The video can be found here:

Note that the video starts with about thirty minutes of introduction.  I believe the original poster of the video has left some suggestions of where to start watching to skip the intro.

In this post, I look at silvestru's claims for the Coconino Sandstone.  As I mentioned in my original post, some claims, both for and against evolution, are beyond my ability to comment.  I am smart enough that I could learn more about geology and the like, but feel that it would take too much time to devote to a hobby.  The second set of points in this post are an example of what I am unable to argue for or against and, as part of trying to be fair, it is an example from the old-Earth side of the argument.

At some point between 51 minutes and one hour, 4 minutes (I didn't record the timestamp for this one) we come to evidence I can at least imagine I have a handle on.  Silvestru claims that the Coconino Sandstone, found around the Grand Canyon was laid down during the Flood.  I don’t see how this can be as there are footprints of terrestrial animals among those layers.  Some of those prints look be from newts, small aquatic vertebrates.  Others are from scorpions.  I feel this is good evidence that the location was not under three kilometres of water at the time.  There could have been water, but it would have to be fresh and relatively still - far less than the full torrent a global flood requires.

 Newts, indeed all amphibians, cannot tolerate salt water, and this water would be very salty for reasons that Silvestru gives and others that I will offer. At one hour twenty-six minutes, Silvestru describes ‘mineral-rich water’ permeating the mantle and sediments, so there is one source.  I feel that salt of the oceans, plus that of various salt lakes and deposits means that the total salt content of the water would be near current ocean levels and completely deadly to amphibians.  The fast moving water- carrying great quantities of fine silt - would also clog the newt’s gills.  It would also be somewhere between irritating and lethal for any animal with gills. This is one of the big-/small- picture problems I have with Silvestru.
Below is an argument against Coconino being caused by a global flood.  There is little need to comment on it as I do not have the background to defend or dispute it.  I hope it does not seem dishonest to display a claim like this then back away from it.  In my defense, I have offered examples from Dr Silvestru where I do the same.    My goal here is to show the limits of my own understanding and to suggest that others in the same position (of ignorance) should not use such arguments.

Regarding the Coconino Sandstone: Again, I am not a geologist.  Here, I will quote someone about the Coconino Sandstone discussing desert sand.  I suppose it is possible to determine that the sand in sandstone was laid down by wind in a desert rather than by silt in water, but I don't have the background.

That prompts a rather obvious question: How does a giant desert form in the middle of a global flood?The Coconino sandstone contains lots of evidence that it formed on land, not underwater. It has tracks made by terrestrial animals, for example, which is a real problem for flood geology. What were terrestrial animals doing walking around, leaving tracks in sand dunes in the middle of a global flood, especially after thousands of feet of sediments had been deposited by that flood beneath them?

A commenter at that link also discusses the shape and size of the sand grains.  

Just to stick with the Coconino Sandstone for a while longer - it's also a second source sediment, if I remember my geology correctly. But even if I don't: a look through a hand lens at the sand grains will show you nicely rounded, nearly spherical, almost uniformly sized grains. That means they most likely have gone through at least two cycles of erosion and deposition.

For more on both subjects, Talk Origins has some citations.
Updated May6: Another blog discussing the layers of the Grand Canyon.  An excerpt, there are more layers discussed at the link.

The Grand Canyon’s “layers”, on the other hand, are not all comprised of material one would associate with a volcanic eruption. In fact, they are comprised of a vast series of strata of different types, each requiring a distinct and long-lasting depositional environment in order to have time to form. The bottom layer is the Vishnu Group, mostly granite and precambrian rock. Above that, it’s all sedimentary rock, each layer deposited in an entirely different environment, in roughly this order from the bottom up:
Tapeats Sandstone: This is the oldest of what is called the Tonto Group, large strata formed at the edge of an ancient body of water called the Tonto sea. 300 feet thick, comprised of near-shore and sandbar deposits from the edge of that sea.
Bright Angel Shale: 325 feet thick, full of trilobites and other brachiopod and mollusk fossils, as well as lots of tracks, trails and burrows from animals. Formed in a shallow marine environment as the Tonto sea encroached further on land.
Muav Limestone: The last of the Tonto Group formations. 375 feet thick, with more trilobite and brachiopod fossils and yet more invertebrate tracks and trails. This was deposited as the Tonto sea encroached even further on the land.
Redwall Limestone: 500 feet thick. Like most limestones, this one is made up of the shells of sea creatures, made of calcium carbonate, after they die and settle to the bottom of a shallow sea. A 500-foot thick limestone takes an incredibly long time to form and it’s not possible for all of those sea creatures whose dead bodies are in the formation to have lived at the same time. This formation requires a shallow, relatively tranquil marine environment for a very long period of time in order to form.

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