The famous Green River Formation (including shale and limestone)
covers tens of thousands of square miles. In at least one place,
it contains about twenty million varves, each varve consisting of
a thin layer of fine light sediment and an even thinner layer of
finer dark sediment. According to the conventional geologic
interpretation, the layers are sediments laid down in a complex of
ancient freshwater lakes. The coarser light sediments were laid
down during the summer, when streams poured run-off water into the
lake. The fine dark sediments were laid down in the winter when
there was less run-off. (This process can be observed in modern
freshwater lakes.) If this interpretation is correct, the varves
of the Green River formation must have formed over a period of
about twenty million years.
Creationists insist that the earth is no more than 10,000 years
old and that the geologic strata were laid down by the Flood.
Whitcomb and Morris therefore attempt to attribute the Green River
varves to "a complex of shallow turbidity currents..." (p. 427).
Turbidity currents--flows of mud-laden water--generally occur in
the ocean, resulting from underwater landslides. If the Green
River shales were laid down during the Flood, there must have been
forty million turbidity currents, alternatively light and dark,
over about three hundred days. A simple calculation (which
Creationists have avoided for twenty years) shows that the layers
must have formed at the rate of about three layers every two
seconds. A sequence of forty million turbidity currents covering
tens of thousands of square miles every two-thirds of a second
Henry Morris apparently has no answer to this. Biologist Kenneth
Miller of Brown University dropped this bombshell on Morris during
a debate in Tampa, Florida, on September 19, 1981, and Morris
didn't attempt a reply. Fred Edwords used essentially the same
argument against Duane Gish in a debate on February 2, 1982, at
the University of Guelph, Ontario. In rebuttal, Gish claimed that
some of the fossilized fishes project through several layers of
sediment and that therefore the layers can't be semiannual.
As usual, Gish's argument ignores the main issue, which is the
alleged formation of millions of distinct layers of sediment in
less than a year. Furthermore, Gish's argument is false, according
to American Museum of Natural History paleontologist R. Lance
Grande, an authority on the Green River Formation. Grande says
that, while bones or fins of an individual fish may cut several
layers, in general each fish is blanketed by a single layer of
sediment. The few exceptions are explainable when one observes
lakes where varves are forming _today_. It sometimes happens that
a dead fish is too large to be covered by one semiannual
sedimentation, and so its bones or fins end up protruding through
newer layers that are later observed to form. When an object or
animal is too large, this _must_ happen, and therefore such a
protrusion cannot be used as evidence against a great age for the
Green River Formation.
--Robert Schadewald, "Six 'Flood' Arguments Creationists
Can't Answer," _Creation Evolution_, Issue IX, pp. 12-17
The layers of sediment in this formation stretch undisturbed for many
miles. There are 40 million layers in one part of this formation. All
deposited within a year, without any disturbance such as would be expected
from a "catastrophic flood"? Two remarkably thin, uniform, and miles-wide
layers every three seconds? Turbidity currents? Give me a break!
My challenge for Creationists to explain the Green River Formation as
having been formed during the Flood still stands.