Moeraki Boulders, New Zealand

posted in: Landscapes | 11

Moeraki Boulders, New ZealandThese solid spherical stones, scattered over the beach on the South Island of New Zealand, look like the remains of a monster game of marbles. (Click image to enlarge.)

They are spectacular examples of concretions, which form when a mineral precipitates from the ground water cementing the loose grains of sediment into solid rock. As you walk down the steep bluff to the beach you can see other enormous boulders being exposed as the ocean erodes the loose embankment. They eventually fall out of the embankment onto the beach.

The boulders are all large balls and a fascinating tourist attraction about 70 km north of Dunedin.

The tourist signs say they took four million years to form. I wonder how they measured that. People reading the sign could be excused for thinking that the time was carefully measured with a scientific instrument. It was not measured but calculated from diffusion models based on a range of assumptions about how it was envisaged the concretions formed. The result fits with the assigned multi-million-year Paleocene age of the enclosing mudstone so it is considered to be acceptable.

The fact is that sediment can be cemented into hard rock within days. It all depends on the conditions. See Rapid Rock. The sediments containing the boulders would have been deposited very late in the global Flood or just afterward—about 4,500 years ago. The 4-million-year age on the tourist sign is another example of the constant indoctrination of the public into the belief system of millions of years.

UPDATE 4 June 2009:
I’ve made a few changes to this article based on feedback from Mike Sloane, which I appreciated.

11 Responses

  1. Mike Sloane

    Please don’t distort facts to fit with ancient myths.
    Mistakes in this article (I’m from the area in question and first visited them during geological field trips back in the 1960’s when with Canterbury Univ Geology Dept):

    1. It’s spelled “Moeraki”
    2. They are in mud stone – not sandstone.
    3. The mudstone is Paleocene (56 – 66 million years old).
    4. They are networked with septarian veins of calcite that run through them (these veins take a few (4) million years to form). The estimate is based on published diffusion growth models (Journal of Sedimentary Petrology ). What is your basis for saying the age isn’t based on scientific fact ? If you have facts, put up or shut up.

    The bible isn’t a science text book – and unfortunately I don’t think this note will sway you.

    Mike.

  2. Mike:

    Thanks for your comment. I’ve made some changes to the article, so you can be encouraged that your note has been acted on.
    1. I’ve fixed the typo and
    2. hopefully the article is factually correct now about the mudstone.
    3. I don’t accept the age of 56–66 million years for the sediments because that is not a measured fact but assigned on the basis of a range of assumptions. I don’t agree with the assumptions.
    4. I’ve mentioned the diffusion growth models in the article now.

    I agree that the Bible is not a science text book. But it is a book of history, of King David, Joseph, Abraham and Noah, for example. It has much detail about these people, recording when they were born, their wives, their children and what they did, etc. It is from this history that we know when the global Flood occurred. And, just as long-age geologists check calculated dates and only accept those they think are reasonable, so do creationists. On the basis of the historical evidence recorded in the Bible we can conclude that numbers greater than about 4,500 years have a problem. (See for example 101 evidences for a young earth.)

  3. Hi Tas, I was born in dunedin. They r amazing boulders! I have also dug fossils from concretions in Fairfield quarry dunedin. These concretions are about 30-90cm across and form around ammonite shells which I have extracted by breaking open the concretion. Ammonites are extinct and died out same time as dinosaurs. How do you explain the various types of life that are present in only the some layers ie many species are present throuout the world always below other species eg trilobites are always below ammonites or dinosaurs always below large mammals.
    Another thing: The build up of stalagmites/tites can be noted eg a stalagmite may grow by say 2mm a year. 6000years is clearly not enough for the massive formations around the world to form.
    Another thing: Antarctic ice cores showing the regular freeze/ thaw winter summer: these layers go back tens of thousands of years.
    Another thing:(sorry im just as opinionated as u r I guess but please bear with me: ) Continental drift eg S america and africa are so like a jigsaw puzzle and the rate of spreading at the mid atlantic ridge is clearly slow (few cms/mms a year):would take longer than 6000yrs. also sideways movement of other faults where previous position of land is obvious.
    I also think evolution is obvious too but especially when u find fossils yourself.
    But anyway, evolution/ big bang doesnt preclude god. I dont belive in god but If u believe do why cant u believe god wouldnt start such an elegant process such as evolution? I dont think Jesus would have been happy with all the squabbling about the details. he used analogy alot as I think the writers of the bible did (like refering to people as a flock of sheep: good one!). I think that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is obvoiusly a metaphor for carnal knowledge. After all: it was a snake that tempted eve 🙂 and an apple or fruit is/was a commen synbol of the womb etc. And the “punishment” was pain in childbirth : a direct consequence of sex. Dont take it so literally.. it was not intended to be.

  4. Hi Gordon:

    It’s common for concretions to form around a fossil shell as you describe. Similar rocks, called “moon rocks” by the locals, are found in the area around Richmond, Queensland.

    There are lots of answers to your questions. Go to Creation.com and use the search box to find them.

    1. For the distribution of fossils type the keywords “fossil distribution”. It has to do with the distribution of organisms in the pre-Flood environment, the way they responded to the rising floodwaters, and how they were transported by the floodwaters.

    2. Type “stalactites” to see that they can grow much more rapidly than most people think.

    3. Type “ice cores” for articles that show the cores do not represent annual layers but multiple layers per year.

    4. Type “continental drift” or “plate tectonics” to find relevant articles. It has been shown that plate tectonics can happen catastrophically and could easily have occurred during the Flood year.

    5. When you say evolution is obvious you may be confusing natural selection and adaptation with molecules-to-man evolution. Search for these keywords for lots of articles.

    6. The true creator God has revealed himself in the Bible through His prophets and explained how He made the world, so you can’t just make up ideas in your own mind about what you think. Could I suggest that you get yourself a Bible and read for yourself what it says about God, creation, Adam and Eve, etc. In other words, check out the original data for yourself and don’t just base your ideas on what other people tell you.

    All the best

  5. Lifman Ilya

    Hello Bible believer. I live in Israel and we are reading bible in original version. You can believe anything you want. But bible is only a book written by men. The bible stories are written to make people not ask many questions about their origins and make them obey rules like not to kill and so on. Some stories may be true and some are not. But it is only stories and not facts. Do you really believe that Noah survived the big flood? If so, we are all have to be his sons 🙂
    Have a good Day 🙂

  6. Hi Lifman Ilya: Hello relative! Yes we are related because we are all descended from Noah and his family. Have a look at the article The sixteen grandsons of Noah.

  7. gotrootdude

    The Egyptian and Norse gods are well documented and older than the gods mentioned in the bible. They are just as historical. Why do you not believe their stories?

  8. Hi Dude,

    If they are historical then why don’t you believe in them? Remember that everyone on earth is descended from Noah and his three sons, which means that the Egyptian and Norse cultures were derived from Babel in the Middle East. They are in fact younger. The idea that they are older comes out of the methods used to date these cultures. These methods are highly subjective and give conclusions in line with the assumptions that are brought to bear.

    Two related articles:
    Athena and Eve
    The Bronze Tree of Sanxingdui: the oldest man-made Genesis artefact?

  9. Chinny

    I’ve always wanted to ask a creationist this:
    Adam and Eve produced only sons,so who did they breed with to produce the rest of humanity?

  10. Chinny,
    That is a question that lots of people have puzzled over for a long time but it has a simple answer, and that has been around for decades too. First fact: Adam and Eve also produced daughters (Genesis 5). So, in the first generation brothers married sisters. This was absolutely no problem because the human DNA was perfect in the early generations; there were no mutations that would cause birth defects. These accumulated over the years, and so brothers and sisters do not marry today because of the genetic risk. See:
    Who was Cain’s wife?
    Darwinian evolution is impossible. See especially the section about mutations and the declining genome, which is evidence that the human race has only existed for thousands of years, not millions.

  11. Hi Gordon:

    It’s common for concretions to form around a fossil shell as you describe. Similar rocks, called “moon rocks” by the locals, are found in the area around Richmond, Queensland.

    There are lots of answers to your questions. Go to Creation.com and use the search box to find them.

    1. For the distribution of fossils type the keywords “fossil distribution”. It has to do with the distribution of organisms in the pre-Flood environment, the way they responded to the rising floodwaters, and how they were transported by the floodwaters.

    2. Type “stalactites” to see that they can grow much more rapidly than most people think.

    3. Type “ice cores” for articles that show the cores do not represent annual layers but multiple layers per year.

    4. Type “continental drift” or “plate tectonics” to find relevant articles. It has been shown that plate tectonics can happen catastrophically and could easily have occurred during the Flood year.

    5. When you say evolution is obvious you may be confusing natural selection and adaptation with molecules-to-man evolution. Search for these keywords for lots of articles.

    6. The true creator God has revealed himself in the Bible through His prophets and explained how He made the world, so you can’t just make up ideas in your own mind about what you think. Could I suggest that you get yourself a Bible and read for yourself what it says about God, creation, Adam and Eve, etc. In other words, check out the original data for yourself and don’t just base your ideas on what other people tell you.

    All the best