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Varves can form in less than a year (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (Varves can form in less than a year (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.

Claim CD241:

Varves (layers of silt that show seasonal differences) do not necessarily form annually. Individual varves can form in less than a year. Thus claims that 10,000 varve layers represent 10,000 years are unwarranted.

Source: Garner, Paul, 1997. Green River blues. Creation 19(3) (June-Aug.): 18-19.

CreationWiki response:

Please take note that Isaak doesn't actually attack the claim varves that can form in less then a year. He merely cites arguments that attempt to show the CERTAIN varve formations formed slowly and he provides no argument against the actual idea. In addition, Isaak's good friend Kevin Henke admits that varves can be laid down quickly(but he instead cites arguments like those made here).

For decades, geologists have known that cross-bedding and laminae can form in rapidly deposited pyroclastics (especially surges) (Fisher and Schmincke, 1984, p. 107-115, 191, 192, 198-206, 247-256; Schmincke et al., 1973; Carey, 1991). For example, Schmincke et al. (1973) discussed the presence of laminar- and cross-bedding in a pyroclastic deposit at Laacher See, Germany. Many of the features seen in pyroclastics, such as cross-bedding, antidunes and laminar features, resemble those seen in "Bouma sequences," which typically form in natural catastrophic turbidite flows (Schmincke et al., 1973; Fisher and Schmincke, 1984, p. 107-115). Bouma developed his sequence way back in 1962 and he knew that the laminar bedding in the sequences were the result of rapid flows (Bouma, 1962). At the same time, laminae and cross-beds may also form slowly in quiet, gradually changing environments (Blatt et al., 1980, p. 133-135).

(Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

1. The seasonal nature of varves is sometimes indicated by the systematic variation of pollen from seasonal plants.

The raw data is that pollen is found mainly in the upper parts of the dark layers and twice as many diatoms are found in in the light layers as are found in the dark layers. This is interpreted as seasonal variation. However within Flood geology the answer is that this pattern is produced by the same hydrological sorting that formed the alternating layers. Furthermore experiments with diatomite show that the same patterns are produced regardless of sedimentation rates. Talk.Origins' claim is basically, your theory does not work under my theory, so your theory must be wrong.

2. At least one formation contains 20 million varves. That represents more than 50,000 years even if you assume varves were formed at a rate of one per day. And the fineness of the silt precludes the possibility that they could have formed that rapidly.

Actually, both moving water and liquefied material (like concrete) can form many layers simultaneously. Furthermore fine liquefied material can produce even thin layers quickly.

See also: Green River, Varves


3. The 45,000 year varve record of Lake Suigetsu is consistent with other dating techniques, such as carbon-14 dating and the tree ring record

This is not quite true. First of all, both the varves and tree rings are used to calibrate carbon-14 so as such they are not independent confirmation of each other. Second, there is a systematic error, where carbon-14 tends to suggest a younger date than indicated by varves and tree ring counts. When they are normalized for original carbon-14 content, the uniformitarian model would require a loss of atmospheric carbon-14 of 550 % of the current value over the past 30,000 years. This trend goes away completely when other varves are included. Actually the evidence is more consistent with a rapid post Flood increase in carbon-14 and the observed patterns are actually predicted by it.


4. Non-annual fine-grained layers are recognizably different from varves. Layers that form rapidly tend to be much more irregular, reflecting the changes in the weather conditions that cause them. Annual varves are observed forming today. They produce uniform layers seen also in the geologic record.

That only shows that many of varves in the geologic record were formed by liquefied material (like concrete) rather than storms. Liquefied material can produce many uniform layers in a short period of time. This is just another example of the fact that Talk.Origins can not think outside the uniformitarian box.

See also


Green River Formation