Appalachians eroded by receding waters of Noah’s Flood, new GSA paper shows

posted in: Geological History, Landscapes | 17
Location of the Appalachians (brown) on the eastern side of North America (from Wikipedia).
Location of the Appalachians (brown) on the eastern side of North America (from Wikipedia).
An interesting article, published in GSA Today (a publication by the Geological Society of America) in February 2013, describes features of the landscape of the Appalachian Mountains. These are a system of mountain ranges in eastern North America, extending from around Atlanta, Georgia, north past New York, and into Canada (see figure left). The paper is entitled Miocene rejuvenation of topographic relief in the southern Appalachians.

This title would not mean anything to most people, because like most geological articles in geological journals this one is written in technical language making it difficult for a lay person to follow. So I’ll post the abstract below with my lay-friendly comments interspersed.

Conventional wisdom holds that the southern Appalachian Mountains have not experienced a significant phase of tectonic forcing for >200 myr;

In other words, the Appalachians were uplifted over 200 million years ago and have not been uplifted since. This means the Appalachians are considered a very old mountain range that has been exposed to normal weathering processes (rain, snow, ice, erosion, landslides, etc.) for hundreds of millions of years. (I’m quoting their figures, but the idea of millions of years comes from evolutionary assumptions, which I don’t accept, and which I discuss a bit more later.)

yet, they share many characteristics with tectonically active settings, including locally high topographic relief, steep slopes, incised river gorges, and frequent mass-wasting events.

But the problem is that, although the Appalachians are thought to be old, they have lots of features that look really young: tall mountains and low valleys, steep escarpments and deep river gorges with steep sides.

Two competing hypotheses are commonly used to explain their modern topographic expression. One suggests that relief is largely controlled by variable lithologic resistance to weathering and that their modern form has long persisted in a dynamic equilibrium. The second postulates that their relief is a product of recent rejuvenation, driven either by climate change or the epeirogenic uplift of the land surface driven by mantle forcing.

There are two competing explanations that geologists use to try to get around the problem. The first is that the hardness of different rock strata varies in such a way that the landscape just happens to weather such that it looks young even though it has been weathering for hundreds of millions of years.

The second is that something happened recently to cause a new bout of weathering and erosion, and the features look young because whatever happened only happened recently (geologically speaking).

One idea for the something that happened recently is a change in the climate. (Someone had to suggest that. It’s par for the course these days for climate change to be invoked somewhere.)

Another idea for the something that happened recently is that the continent was recently uplifted. (That’s what epirogenic means, that an enormous area of land uplifted without much folding of the sediments upon it. It was not just the Appalachians that was uplifted, but a huge area around them. The area is considered to have been uplifted from below the continental crust by vertical upwelling of the mantle.)

Within portions of the Cullasaja River basin of the southern Appalachians, we show that relief has increased by >150% since the Miocene.

Here they describe the extent to which the land surface has become eroded to produce deep gorges and steep escarpments. It’s significant. And they put a time on it. It has occurred since the Miocene, which is somewhere around 15 million years ago, within the evolutionary worldview. That is much more recent than the 200 million years.

Evident within the basin are a set of retreating knickpoints that delineate a rugged, actively incising landscape from lower-relief relict topography. Constraints on the timing of knickpoint entry into the basin suggest that the process of landscape rejuvenation began well prior to the late Cenozoic (<4 myr) transition to a more oscillatory (glacial-interglacial) climate regime.

Here they describe how they have measured various slopes on the landscape and determined that the renewed erosion was active until about 4 million years ago—i.e. before the Ice Age. So they established that the time range for the erosion was from 15 million to 4 million years ago.

Furthermore, the geomorphology of the Cullasaja River basin is difficult to reconcile in the context of a transition to a more erosive climatic regime but is consistent with an epeirogenically uplifted landscape.

Here they dismiss the first explanation put forward to solve the problem. They say that the shape of the landscape is such that the erosion was not caused by climate change.

Consequently, these observations lend new support to the idea that the rugged topography of the southern Appalachians has developed in response to post-orogenic regional uplift in the Miocene.

In other words, the erosion of the landscape began long after the Appalachian Mountains themselves were pushed up. Further the erosion that produced the young-looking features was caused by the whole continent (or a large part of it) uplifting with minimal folding or disturbance of the geology.


Cover of GSA Today issue featuring the uplift of the Appalachians toward the end of the global Flood.
Cover of GSA Today issue featuring the uplift of the Appalachians toward the end of the global Flood.
I found this article from the GSA Today interesting. The sequence of events that unfolded during the biblical Flood easily explain what the authors have found. Of course, within the biblical way of thinking we should not be put off by the ages quoted of millions of years. The timing has to be reinterpreted within the biblical model. When they speak of 200 million years it’s getting toward the middle of the Flood. When they say 15 million years it is toward the end. And 4 million years is around the beginning of the post-Flood period. These are rough numbers, but a clearer picture emerges when we consider each local area on its merits.

First, the strata that make up the Appalachians were deposited during the first half of Noah’s Flood as waters were rising. The Flood occurred 4500 years ago, and the first half lasted about 150 days.

Second, the Appalachian Mountains were folded and formed by the Appalachian Orogeny (i.e. the Appalachian mountain-building event) which occurred about half way through the Flood, or just before. By this stage or soon after the whole earth would have been covered by water, including the North American continent.

Third, the newly formed Appalachian Mountains were eroded as the waters that covered them began to recede into the Atlantic in the second ‘half’ of the Flood. The waters began to flow off the continent because the continent began to be uplifted and the ocean basins began to open up (or sink). The water initially flowed off the land in sheets, greatly eroding the surface. The resultant surface would be undulating to flat. Secular geologists, who do not believe in the Flood, have mistakenly interpreted the flat and gently undulating surfaces as caused by long periods of sub-aerial weathering. The second ‘half’ of the Flood (until Noah disembarked from the Ark) lasted some 220 days.

Fourth, as the waters continued to retreat from the continent, parts of the land surface emerged above the water, and the receding water then eroded valleys and gorges in the areas that remained submerged. As the water level continued to drop the valleys and gorges were eroded deeper. This explains why the river gorges in the Appalachians (and all other mountain ranges around the world) cut straight through the ranges (rather than going around them). These erosional features of the landscape look young because they are young. (See Do rivers erode through mountains and the pdf about the Eastern Structural Front of the Appalachian Mountains for more on rivers flowing through mountain ranges.)

The timing constraints in the GSA Today paper suggest that the landscape in this area emerged from below the retreating waters of Noah’s Flood somewhere around the Miocene (although we have to be careful in trying to make a one-for-one correlation with the geologic column).

Fifth, the Ice Age began to develop immediately after the Flood (which provides the only plausible explanation for it). The ice cover grew on the continents for some 500 years and then retreated for the next 200.


The biblical Flood provides a coherent model and elegantly explains the geological evidence in the Appalachians published in this recent GSA Today paper. When we examine the shape of the landscape (i.e. geomorphology) we have a powerful tool for understanding the sequence of large-scale geologic events and their relative timing. (Google Earth and Google Maps are remarkable tools that have recently become available and can be used for this purpose, but they need to be used in conjunction with geological maps.) The Flood model gives insights into the processes that were occurring, how these processes changed with time, and stimulates ideas for how to explain the evidence that is being uncovered.


Sean F. Gallen, Karl W. Wegmann, DelWayne R. Bohnenstieh, Miocene rejuvenation of topographic relief in the southern Appalachians, GSA Today 23(2):4–10, February 2013.

17 Responses

  1. Patricia Sullivan

    I am at a loss. Seriously, Mr. Walker? Exactly what is your background in Geology? Wikipedia as a reference? Even high school freshmen know that Wikipedia is NOT a reliable source! Dr. Gallen (see that, MISTER Walker? DOCTOR Gallen) spent three years on his research…and you spent….let’s see…three weeks? YOUR ‘lay-friendly interpretation’ is nothing more than a twisted, bastardized attempt to promote your fundamental, literal beliefs. Shame on you!

    Tas Walker responds:
    Hi Patricia,
    It’s the map that was sourced from Wikepedia to show the location of the Appalachians. I would expect you would agree that the location shown is accurate. Your comment about MISTER and DOCTOR shows a misunderstanding of science. The authority in science is not the person—it’s the evidence. And anyway, Gallen, according to his own description of himself, is a PhD CANDIDATE. And if you want to know my background go to and search for my biography.

    Yes, the interpretation I presented was according my worldview, the same as the interpretation that Gallen et al. presented was according to their worldview. Their worldview includes strong and defining (and unstated) beliefs about God and the nature of the Bible. I believe their worldview is wrong. They believe mine is wrong. The worldview issue is what I beleive needs to be discussed, rather than attacking the man. If you find this article so disturbing then I suspect you need to read more on the issue. Go to and use their search box. Or go to their “Topics” tab. There is a wealth of literature these days by scientists from all over the world, so no-one need be uninformed.

  2. somuchbetter

    You should actually read the entire article before citing it. You grossly misinterpreted the actual article.

    Tas walker responds:
    I have read the whole article. The abstract, as you would hope, is a good summary to the paper, and it provided a good starting point for presenting an alternative explanation. The fact is that you interpret geological evidence according to your worldview. For many many people this is a new and challenging idea, because they do not realise that they are doing it. But a person’s starting beliefs affect the way they try to explain what they measure. What I have done is re-interpret the same information that Sean Gallen et al. reported but from the assumption that Noah’s Flood as recorded in the Bible was a recent, global event that actually happened.

  3. Sean

    I am the first author on the article “Miocene rejuvenation of topographic relief in the southern Appalachians”. While my coauthors and I appreciate Tas’ interest in our research, his comments and reinterpretations of our work merit clarification. I understand that most readers of this blog are unlikely to read the primary research article which is why I wanted to present rational for why Tas’ comments are incorrect. I want to make it clear that I am not opposed to Tas’ ideas. I encourage criticism and critique; however, as detailed below, there is reasonable suspicion that Tas is intentionally misleading and attempting to manipulate readers of his blog. I am simply responding to his blog post to point out critical flaws in his critique of our work that readers should find offensive. The take home message is that Tas’ reinterpretation of our work is inconsistent with the observations and finds of the study. Even without our estimates of timing, our findings argue against flooding as a mechanism for changes in the landscape, but are well described by a region that experienced uplift sometime in the past.

    [Tas] Thank you for taking the time to respond to the article. I don’t think your claim that I am “intentionally misleading” is justified because it is clear to everyone that I interpret evidence from a biblical perspective, as the name of this blog says, and as I say in the article. Further, the evidence you published in your paper does support the reality of the biblical Flood, and I will deal with that below.

    “I’ll post the abstract below with my lay-friendly comments interspersed”, is how the blog post opens. For those who are unaware, an abstract is the briefest summary of the research presented in the paper. It does not discuss the important details of the research, but simply touches on the main observations, arguments, and conclusions. It, therefore, should go without saying that evaluating and interpreting scientific work solely base on an abstract is inappropriate. An analogy is evaluating and interpreting the content and plot of a movie based on a movie trailer. It is impossible to do so.

    [Tas] I have read your whole article and I found your abstract to be a good summary of your paper. It provided a good starting point for presenting an alternative explanation. It enabled me to keep my article short, and it ensured that I could not be accused of misquoting you.

    “the idea of millions of years comes from evolutionary assumptions, which I don’t accept, and which I discuss a bit more later.”
    Evolutionary observations are not the only piece of evidence used to determine that the region have been tectonically inactive for hundreds of millions of year. Radiometric dating as well as the slow and steady accumulation of sediments in ocean basins provides supporting evidence. To convincingly suggest that these age estimates are inaccurate you will need to explain those latter bits of evidence and provide evidence to the contrary. Neither of which are done in the blog post or elsewhere for that matter.

    [Tas] When a new idea is presented, people will often say, “That can’t be right because of this, this and this.” In the article above I’ve provided a big-picture view of how the evidence can be explained by Noah’s Flood, and I think I showed that the processes and events are consistent with what you would expect during the Recessive stage of the Flood. Of course there will be questions from those who are used to looking at things from a different perspective. That is normal and good. You mention two sticking points here that require a lot of reading and a lot of thought, which is why I did not address them in the blog item. Concerning radiometric dating there are many articles that show that radioactive dating is not a problem for the time-scale of the Flood (See Q&A Radioactive Dating). Concerning the accumulation of sediments, the accumulation rate was not “slow” during the Flood.

    “There are two competing explanations that geologists use to try to get around the problem.”
    It isn’t a problem it is an observation.

    [Tas] Indeed. And the purpose of your paper was to explain two apparently inconsistent ‘observations’. As you say in your paper “tectonic activity presumably ceased” but your paper solved that problem by showing it didn’t.

    “One idea for the something that happened recently is a change in the climate. (Someone had to suggest that. It’s par for the course these days for climate change to be invoked somewhere.)”
    The statement in parentheses is a red herring. It is intentionally and inappropriately inserted into the text to distract readers. In conflates the controversy over present-day climate change with the ice ages. In other word, the climate change referred to in our paper is the ice ages, which Tas mentions later in his blog post, and not modern climate change. It is very well documented that the ice ages had a profound and measurable impact on landscapes. This statement indicates to me that Tas is intentionally misguiding and manipulating readers, he is being dishonest.

    [Tas] Attacking a person’s character by calling them “dishonest” is inappropriate among scientists. I agree the climate change reference was is a side issue. However, that is not what I focussed on.

    “Here they describe the extent to which the land surface has become eroded to produce deep gorges and steep escarpments. It’s significant. And they put a time on it.”
    Tas glosses over a very important part of our research in the last sentence of this quote. He does not describe to the reader how we estimated time. To estimate time we did not use fossil (evolutionary) evidence or radiometric dating. We simply calculate the volume of material eroded and divide that by the erosion rate of the landscape, which has remained slow and approximately steady over the millennia. Evidence to support the assertion of slow and steady erosion of the Appalachians comes from sediment in offshore basins and radiometric methods. It is my opinion that he either did not read the article in its entirety or he is intentionally misleading readers. I favor the latter because it is very difficult to argue that are age estimates are incorrect as they based on a simple yet effective calculation.

    [Tas] I’m pleased to see you use the phrase “how we estimate time” because all ‘ages’ are estimates. They are all based on assumptions, as you are well aware. In your case, you used rates of erosion from Ahnert’s relationship to obtain a rate of mm of erosion per thousand years. However, Ahnert’s relationship is only valid in the post-Flood period. It is not valid for the Recessive Stage of the Flood. I notice that you compared the rate with the beryllium-10 estimates, but these beryllium estimates do not apply in Recessive Stage either.

    “The sequence of events that unfolded during the biblical Flood easily explains what the authors have found.”
    This statement cannot be any more wrong. It is entirely inconsistent with the data we present. Flooding would actually be more similar to the climate change hypothesis that we disprove in our paper. The flooding hypotheses would suggest that the rivers become very erosive as waters recede into the ocean. The climate change hypothesis suggests that the rivers become more erosive due to cooler and more rapidly fluctuating climate (ice ages). Evidence from the river and surrounding landscape, however, are inconsistent with either of these models for change. Further, we show compelling evidence that the landscape was uplifted. In other words, even if the timing of landscape change were wrong, the observations support uplift, not flooding, as the mechanism for change. Our research would actually argue against flooding. Tas misses this central point of our research either due to preconceived notions of how to explain our results or his general lack of knowledge about geology. In either case, it is clear that his is attempting to manipulate readers.

    What is discussed above makes the following statements in Tas’ blog regarding time moot. Tas offers no observations or evidence to support his claims on his chronology of events. I encourage Tas to make some observations, collect some data, and support his statements. This is how science works. Claims supported by observations, data, evidence, and facts.

    [Tas] The unfolding of the Recessive Stage of the biblical Flood is vastly different from the ‘climate change’ scenario. The Recessive Stage of the Flood involved the rising of the continents and the lowering of the ocean basins. You say I should provide evidence. Well, I point to your paper because that is exactly what you have found—epeirogenic uplift. The Recessive Stage began with a high base level (high sea level), and the base level dropped during the progress of the phase. There are papers on creation sites that discuss and quantify these things.

    It seems to me (I’m speculating here) that the paleorelief level you mention in your figure 3 would represent the level as the Recessive stage transformed from the Abative phase to the Dispersive phase, perhaps a bit after. (These may seem like jargon terms, but as a geologist you would find it helpful to become familiar with them.)

    “The biblical Flood provides a coherent model and elegantly explains the geological evidence in the Appalachians published in this recent GSA Today paper.”
    It does not. It is actually inconsistent with observations in the region and a similar hypothesis (climate change) is disproven in the paper (see above for more details).

    [Tas] As I said above, the climate change hypothesis does not represent the Flood scenario.

    “When we examine the shape of the landscape (i.e. geomorphology) we have a powerful tool for understanding the sequence of large-scale geologic events and their relative timing.”
    I agree with Tas here; however, it is unclear whether or not he is capable of carrying out such tasks.

    [Tas] Yes, we agree. But you need to resist the temptation toward ad hominem. 🙂

    “stimulates ideas for how to explain the evidence that is being uncovered”.
    It would be more helpful if Tas spent time collecting evidence rather than attempting to explain the work of others.

    [Tas] I appreciate the evidence you have published. You would know that a very important role is that of the scientist who collects data from others and synthesises it.

    In closing, I want emphasize again that I am not opposed to Tas’ ideas. I do, however, take issue with someone who intentionally misleads and feeds misinformation to readers, as Tas has done in this blog post. The reason why I responded to his post was that he misrepresents and incorrectly reinterprets our data and leaves out important details of our work. Tas is one of two things: 1) guilty of intentionally trying to manipulate readers, or 2) inadequately trained and incapable of evaluating geologic literature. In either case, content posted in his blog is untrustworthy and unreliable. I caution readers to take his posts with a grain of salt.

    [Tas] Now, now, it’s inappropriate to attack a fellow scientist’s training, ability and integrity.
    However, I am more than happy for readers to critically evaluate what I am proposing. Understanding the geological effects of Noah’s Flood is a work in progress and it will only be strengthened by rigorous debate. I think your term “grain of salt” is not a good one; it suggests to me that the ideas should be dismissed without proper consideration. Instead, I would encourage readers to critically evaluate, read widely, picture the processes, and come to their own considered conclusions.

    So I thank you Sean for your reply and the opportunity to engage.

    – Sean

  4. Joe Bloggs

    Hi Tas,

    you say: “the interpretation I presented was according my worldview, the same as the interpretation the Gallen et al. presented.”

    – fortunately their interpretation is based on evidence.

    [Tas] So is my interpretation. It is based on the same evidence as theirs. Worldview is about how you explain the evidence. You really don’t become aware of your own worldview until you try to look at things from another perspective.

    you say: “I believe their worldview is wrong.”

    – do you have any evidence to support your belief that their worldview is wrong? If you have the evidence then you would go down in history as the first person to prove the biblical flood actually happened – congratulations, I’m sure I’ll see you on CNN soon!

    [Tas] Yes there is lots of evidence that the biblical Flood actually happened. Check out some articles about that evidence at Flood Q&A.

    As for the flood story, direct from Wikipedia:

    “The flood myth motif is widespread among many cultures as seen in the Mesopotamian flood stories, the Puranas, Deucalion in Greek mythology, the Genesis flood narrative, and in the lore of the K’iche’ and Maya peoples of Central America, and the Muisca people in South America.”

    [Tas] Wikipedia is a good first place to look, but don’t trust it on these sorts of issues because it has a strong anti-creation bias. See these articles on Wikipedia. Check for information on the other side.

    It seems historically everyone likes a story where all the bad people are destroyed in a flood and all the good ones (often from one family) are saved in some sort of giant boat, incidentally with ALL the animals. The key here is to realize it is an old story and a boring one at that. Did Noah put 2 sheep on the boat or did he keep an extra one on just in case the lion/tiger/etc got hungry… hope the only ewe didn’t get eaten or no more sheep… come on – it is a pathetic story.

    [Tas] The sorts of questions that you are throwing up are the absolute basic ones that have been answered long ago. If you would like answers you can find them in chapters 10–12 of The Creation Answers Book.

    It is such a pity that you wasted your time trying to mold this paper into your “worldview” instead of using that time more productively. Alas the same could be said for me, I’m sure I have wasted my time here.

    [Tas] No, Joe, if that is your real name. You may not have wasted your time. If you go and have a look at the account of the Flood in the Bible, and think about its cause, God’s nature and Noah’s obedience, it could have very long term blessings in your life.

  5. ashley haworth-roberts

    “There are two competing explanations that geologists use to try to get around the problem”.
    You have not shown that there is an age ‘problem’. The GSA paper is trying to account not for age but for ‘topographic expression’ – and concludes that the present high topographic relief in this part of the mountain range arose from epeirogenic uplift of the land surface driven by mantle forcing during the Miocene.

    [Tas] The problem that the paper addresses is the presence of “rugged terrains” (i.e. ones that look young) in an area where the “last significant phase of tectonic activity presumably ceased shortly after [the] Late Triassic …”. Yes, it is about topographic expression: a young expression on an old landscape.

    “This explains why the river gorges in the Appalachians (and all other mountain ranges around the world) cut straight through the ranges (rather than going around them).” But why are mountain gorges so sinuous, eg at the Grand Canyon, if formed rapidly by vast amounts of draining floodwater? Perhaps widespread uplift causes a pre-existing river to meander more, with steep sided high gorges developing, especially where some of the rocks are particularly hard and not easily eroded by air or water?

    [Tas] Perhaps you are referring to Don Prothero’s claim about the meandering river in Grand Canyon at Horse Shoe Bend. That was explained by a simple study on Google Earth, showing that the receding waters of Noah’s Flood explain it well.

    “The Ice Age began to develop immediately after the Flood (which provides the only plausible explanation for it)”. Sadly, I fear that you are not joking but really claiming that ice age glaciations are not caused by Earth’s orbital variations over millennia.

    [Tas] The Milankovitch idea has lots of problems and is not an adequate mechanism to force an ice age.

    You could of course submit your flood geology interpretation of the same features to GSA Today – and see what they make of it.

    [Tas] It would be like getting permission to build a church in Mecca.

  6. S.J.

    Dr. Walker has correctly represented the scope of Gallen et al.’s article. They have presented quantifiable data on river profiles and related it to the conventional geologic dating scheme. Dr. Walker does not support the conventional dating model, for reasons that are easily discernible in many of’s web pages. It is perfectly legitimate for him to re-interpret the hard data in view of his model of formation.

    Hand-waving and ad hominem attacks are not helpful debate tactics. If Dr. Walker’s article misinterprets Gallen et al., it should be pointed out where he does so.

  7. S.J.

    For an example of what happens to those who try to present data that unequivocally challenge the existing old-age paradigm (i.e., build a church in Mecca!), see’s article on the censorship of a presentation on C-14 in dinosaur bones in an AGU-AOGS conference last year:

  8. ashley haworth-roberts

    With respect, all of Tas Walker’s rejoinders to Sean Gallen are meaningless – because a worldwide hill-covering flood around 2,300 BC is not history it is FICTION. If evidence might be consistent with a fictional event, then we need one or more other explanations to account for it – that is what science seeks and finds (even if what it finds cannot be proven to the satisfaction of all).

    [Tas] Dear Ashley, Your comments are too long. I’ll publish your comment this time, but in future I will either snip your comment or not publish it.

    However, you have done a favour here because you have put your finger on the crux of the issue. Biblical geologists believe the Flood recorded in the Bible was a real event that unfolded as the Bible describes. Mainstream uniformitarian geologists don’t consider the biblical Flood as a serious possibility.

    Even if a receding ‘worldwide flood’ would cause uplift, but NOT deepening ocean floors (maybe uplift along the lines of the isostatic rebound as ice sheets retreat after glaciations) it is noticeable that Genesis does NOT suggest uplift of the land, merely falling waters.

    [Tas] All motion is relative, as you would have experienced if you have sat on a train at a station with another train alongside that started to move. Initially you are not sure which train is moving. The rising of the continents was with respect to the ocean.

    It is clear that Mr Gallen’s feels somewhat misrepresented and exploited by the rather questionable ‘alternative’, non-peer reviewed, explanation of the evidence and data presented in his co-authored science paper – not to mention the blog title which baldly claims ‘Appalachians eroded by receding waters of Noah’s Flood, new GSA study shows’. Either Tas hoped that the scientists would not see his blog, or else he wished to tell them as well as his regular readers that their conclusions are false.

    [Tas] I believe the Bible records the true history of the world, and I believe geology supports this, and I provide evidence to support that idea. I am keen that all people to consider this reality and that all people come to know their Creator and be reconciled with Him, Who is loving, powerful, wise, righteous, and compassionate.

    I trust that if Tas is interested in critical evaluations he will not be tempted to indulge in the behaviour that I have experienced in the past couple of years from other young Earth creationists (I have named them at the British Centre for Science Education community forum) when I have tried to avoid Ad hominems but have persistently questioned their scientific claims in online blog pages. Namely censorship (sometimes accompanied by a rather cowardly silence) of my comments from the outset, sudden censorship half-way through a debate, or in one case a sudden ban from posting again at the page.

    [Tas] Ashley, I should just delete a paragraph like this.

    Further to the exchanges with Joe, Tas’s worldview DEMANDS a particular type of interpretation ie a pro-Bible one whenever it examines any evidence. That is not how science normally works (though it does test new evidence against existing knowledge that was gained from other, often very different, evidence).

    [Tas] Of course. I start with the truth. I consider that science is about the same thing: seeking the truth. Gallen is doing the same thing: he begins with what he has been taught and what he believes is true. That is why I am pleased about this discussion because ideas that I believe are true are being discussed.

    On Tas’ responses to myself:
    I’m no geologist but am aware that even on a very old planet some local landscapes will display features that are comparatively young/recent compared to the overall age of that planet.
    You allude to this blog post by Don Prothero:
    “Steep-walled canyons like these are indicative of rapid uplift far above sea level, and to a geologist, they only make sense if the Colorado Plateau was once near sea level (as many lines of evidence now support), then later uplifted to cause sea-level river meanders to carve down into hard bedrock. Whatever you think of these features, they are NOT consistent with the rapid draining of water from the earth’s surface after Noah’s flood, the mechanism that creationists claim cut the Grand Canyon. We set up a very simple demonstration where we simulated the draining of the floodwaters with a bucket of water running down slope. Although our sand substrate was pretty porous and most the water soaked in, you could still see the straight stream channels that form any time river waters are moving rapidly downslope during a flood”.
    You also link to your blog post of 19 November:
    But this simply asserted that Prothero’s simulation was “misleading because it used an inadequate understanding of the magnitude and behaviour of the receding waters of the Flood” and suggested that the location of the water pouring experiment was too ‘porous’, too ‘sloped’ and needed ‘undulations’. Your claim about waters is faith-based speculation, and it ignores a REAL (admittedly simple) experiment.

    [Tas] I’ve done enough experiments in my time to know that their validity depends on how realistically they represent the situation they are supposed to model. I explained why Prothero’s experiment did not represent the processes of Noah’s Flood. It is really important to try to picture the processes of the Flood. Read Genesis 6–8 again and think about how the event is described and what that physically would mean.

    “The Milankovitch idea has lots of problems and is not an adequate mechanism to force an ice age”. Unsupported assertion. I agree that it does not cause a ‘rapid’ ice age – but only creationists claim such an episode in (very recent) Earth history.

    [Tas] Please read some articles about it on and then dig out the secular references they cite so you can be properly informed. See Noah’s Flood and global warming, which explains about the mechanism not being adequate and needing an amplification factor. This factor is mentioned in various places on the web because it is significant to the global warming debate.

    I reply to SJ I would politely suggest that if nothing else the title of Mr Walker’s blog misrepresented the scientists published at GSA Today.

    [Tas] If you compare the title with what I wrote in the blog you will see that is an accurate, albeit attention grabbing, title.

    I see that Tas has written two FURTHER posts which I will now read.

  9. Peter Newland

    It’s interesting to see how the old-age paradigm is defended above.

    I’m reminded that the history of science is littered with examples where soundly disproven paradigms persisted and were endorsed by the reigning “experts” who simply refused to consider that their paradigm may be wrong. Often wrong paradigms persist until the stubborn old guard died out – and even now some known false paradigms persist. The sad thing is that egos, prestige, authority, and fervently held word views often trump the facts of experimental science.

    Examples include: the Phlogiston Theory; Puerperal Fever; ‘ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny’; and more modern fallacies such as: junk DNA; and, ‘useless’ vestigial organs. All of these fallacies have delayed scientific progress and in the Puerperal Fever case was directly responsible for many thousands of deaths – even decades after Semmelweiss had first proven how to avoid Puerperal fever.

    Geology is not immune either: I’m sure Tas could list examples where refusal to accept catastrophic explanations, despite the evidence, has delayed a proper understanding of some major landforms for generations.

  10. Vern

    Thanks Tas.

    First, I found the posts contrarian to Tas Walker’s post really were very poor arguments.

    In the NW USA, forest preservation advocates say “stumps don’t lie.” In the same way, when it comes to the Biblical global flood, the rocks and miscellaneous geological formations likewise don’t lie prevaricatingly, they just lie motionless waiting for folks to explain how in the world they got there. Walker’s post re Appalachians is helpful in the dialogue for those who really do want dialogue.

    Rapid uplift of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California, could explain the residual buttes in the Sierra-Nevada western foothills of northern California. Butte COunty has some REALLY interesting sights. e.g.
    Spring wildflowers add to the majesty of Table Mountain:

    Similar residual buttes: Jackson County Oregon’s Table Mountain a couple of miles north of Medford; Colorado’s Castle Rock about 20 miles south of Denver. And readers must know of scores more similar features like these. A rapid uplift would create weaker more shallow flows near the uplift axis leaving residual buttes in foothills here and there while getting rid of pretty much everything down-flow unless already very hardened rock.

    And then there are flood cobbles and sediments all over the globe of a scale orders of magnitude beyond what could be caused by localized flooding experienced in recent history. For example the relatively homogeneous flood cobbles perhaps a thousand meters deep just on the east edge of the Tibetan Plateau of China (suggesting rapid, not gradual uplift of the TP), as well as the hundreds of meters of deposited clays (Xian terra cotta soldiers) just to the north and east of the Tibetan Plateu suggesting that rapid off-flow from the Plateau entered stilling waters for settling and depostion of the clays.

    And then there are the quartzite flood cobbles (usually mixed within primarily basaltic cobbles) deposited around the Pacific Northwest USA, located hundreds of miles from likely source strata such as the mountains of Central Idaho.

    Numerous Bible flood apologist articles point out water gaps around the world which can only be explained by flows of magnitudes of the Biblical scale, not the measley 100-year garden variety scale.

    Something (or some things) very very big has/have gone down in the past and we are impoverished by our own limited experiences to visualize the scale of processes required to create these features. Walker has pointed this out well in his replies.

    But we need not be limited by our experience since we have historical records: (1) the Bible, (2) Chinese history, including writing pictograms … for example the character for a very large boat is the combination of the character for a small vessel along with two characters representing “eight” and “mouth”, i.e person; (3) oral flood legends around the world containing many of the key features corroborating the Biblical record.

    Thanks to the GSA article authors for pointing out something we can remember: “apparently young features”. In learning the “story” of the Appalachians, “apparently young features” were not in my geography book back in the day.

    And certainly thanks to Tas Walker for pointing out, in discussing the Appalachians, yet another geologic feature in which the major geological signature seems to be the signature of the Creator Himself – who acts within His own specified time frames for and unto His own purposes … and sometimes tells us with considerable specificity what those time frames and purposes are.

  11. Jonathan O

    I have a degree in geology from one of Australia’s most respected universities and I think Dr Walker’s article is a good one. His critics in the discussion above are being unreasonable, and in some places, ungracious. They in some cases have succeeded in shaming only themselves.

    There are several geologists in the world today who believe in, and see copious evidence for, the global Flood. This may be an unpalatable fact for some, but it is nevertheless true. It may be best to simply accept it, and drop the ad hominems, which never work in the long run, anyway.

    Dr Walker clearly states his position (biblical, young earth geology), and forms his interpretations entirely consistently with this premise, and with the evidence. He did not misrepresent anyone.

  12. Cheri

    Thank you so much, Dr. Walker!
    I remember my parents explaining the Appalachians as being formed early in the Flood, but hadn’t run into any more information for years.
    I especially appreciate you explaining the fancy terms.

    May God richly bless and protect you!

  13. Aimee

    Thank you for sticking your neck out to interpret Flood Theories into evolutionist theories.

    In most of the replys I see that many are saying that Gallen sites “evidence”. However, I find this very humorous. How can anyone, even a scientist say they have evidence for something that happened 4 million years ago, 10 million years ago, even 200 million years ago? Were you there? Were they there? Was Gallen there? Does Gallen have any witnesses who were there? All theories are made on mere study, research and speculation. And if an evolutionist can speculate, why can’t a creationist? There is much we can learn from each other.

    Keep up the good work sir. Thank you for reporting your theories on the flood and the Appalachians.

  14. Jennifer Honda

    incredible, and wonderful – thanks be to God for His continued work through you

  15. D.M.

    The lead author seemed to have no idea what Flood geology actually involves. He imagines that the climate change option, which he had already argued against, would be the same as the Flood. He appeared to genuinely believe that his misunderstanding of Flood geology was accurate, but he was clearly out of his depth.

    A PhD candidate in geology would be expected to know how to perform basic research and how to become informed about another`s position before attacking it, especially in a public forum. If he had done even an elementary literature review of basic Flood geology ideas – e.g. using the information available on this website – he would have realised that his ideas about Flood geology needed to be adjusted. He should have taken more care to try to understand the principles on which the Flood-geology arguments are based.

  16. Jeff C-C

    Dr. Walker,

    As a Christian and former high school geology teacher, I applaud your courage and submission in developing this model, as well as your humility in dealing with the classical geologists visiting your web site. In the long run, I think this conversation can only proceed when the fruits borne of the Holy Spirit draw people to us. It is our love, our patience, our long-suffering, our joy (and more) which will open up others to the Truth. Clanging Gongs will get us nowhere. Thank you.