The Jurassic Coast—Icon for the Genesis Flood
Numerous geological sites across the world present the story of evolution, uniformitarianism, and rocks millions of years old. One popular site is the Jurassic Coast in southwest England, where millions of people a year visit and take a ‘185 million year walk through time’ (Figure 1).1 However, the discerning tourist can readily see another interpretation from the rocks and fossils, namely evidence of rapid burial through many conformable (continuously deposited) sedimentary layers, which is far better explained by the Genesis Flood.
The Jurassic Coast
In 2001, the United Nations designated 155 km (95 miles) of southwest England in the United Kingdom as a geological world heritage site. It is named ‘The Jurassic Coast’, since much of the sedimentary rock is ‘dated’ as Jurassic of the middle Mesozoic of the geological column. Also it is an area of outstanding natural beauty, ecology, and wide ranging recreational opportunities. But it is showcased as an icon of secular geology.
The Jurassic Coast begins near Studland, Dorset, and goes to Orcombe Point near Exmouth in Devon, and includes the land between the cliff top and the low water mark (Figure 2). The main towns, travelling westward, are Swanage, Lulworth Cove, Weymouth, Portland, Bridport, Charmouth, Lyme Regis, Seaton, Sidmouth and Budleigh Salterton. Many of these have museums or visitor centres that describe the geology in uniformitarian, evolutionary terms. Fossil fairs are regularly held at places like Lyme Regis.
The ‘185 million years’ of time is based on the geologic column, with the strata linked to the column by fossils, such as the classic ammonite index fossil sequence (Figure 3) first developed in the area by Arkell. The layers are tilted at 2° to 3° eastwards, so in general the western rocks are the older ones. There are some local areas of major folding with sedimentary rocks tilted at a steep angle, such as at Lulworth Cove.2,3 Half way along the Jurassic Coast, a near vertical fault has caused many more Jurassic formations to be exposed to the east. These Jurassic layers do not exist in the west because they are thought to have been eroded away.
Evidence for the Flood
Secular geologists totally reject any possibility of a global Flood as described in the Bible. So they see what they want to see, which is evidence of slow processes over millions of years, or uniformitarianism, forming the rocks. Such a tendency was noted by sleep researcher, William Dement, and writer, Christopher Vaughan, in regard to the discovery of REM sleep:
“…even when they are looking, people usually see only what they expect to find and they do not see what they assume for whatever reason could not exist.”4
However, when we put ‘biblical glasses’ on, we see a totally different explanation. The Jurassic Coast actually becomes an ‘icon for the Flood’.
Little or no erosion in the layers
The most obvious feature of the sedimentary rocks is the evenness of the layers, showing that little if any erosion has occurred over this supposed 185-million-year period (Figure 4). Erosion on a million year time scale would be enormous. At the present rate of erosion, the continents could have been flattened to sea level in some 10 million years.5 Even when more conservative values are assumed, the time for flattening the continents would only be 20 million years.5So there should be abundant evidence of erosion; canyons and valleys should be seen in the sedimentary rocks of the Jurassic Coast, even if the sedimentary rocks were deposited in only a million years. The fact that one layer is laid upon another with little if any erosion within and between layers is strong evidence against the millions of years and precisely what is expected in Noah’s Flood. Moreover, lack of erosion within and between sedimentary strata is a feature of sedimentary rocks all over the earth, demonstrating a global Flood.6
Cliff retreat too fast
More evidence against the millions of years is that the chalk cliffs of the Jurassic Coast are eroding too fast with large blocks regularly falling into the sea. Average erosion is around 5 cm/yr (2 in/yr).7 At that rate, the coastline would erode inland 50 km (30 miles) in one million years and 500 km (300 miles) in ten million years. Thus, the Jurassic Coast cannot be many millions of years old.
Fossils indicate rapid burial
Geologists relate the sedimentary rocks of the Jurassic Coast to the geologic column by fossils, mainly ammonite fossils. But ammonites show no evolutionary progression through the sedimentary strata.8 Woodmorappe noted that the ammonite classification is subjective because differences cannot be shown to be caused by evolution.9 However, just to preserve a fossil requires rapid burial, as we would expect in the Genesis Flood. Rapid burial is further reinforced by the discovery of fossilized ink-bags associated with belemnite fossils, fossilized stomach contents of some animals, and the fine structure preserved in fossilized insect wings.1 This evidence was known to leading old-earth geologists such as William Buckland and Henry De la Beche prior to the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species, but suppressed by Charles Lyell and followers. Their old-earth compromise led to an incoherent and confused reading of the geological evidence that fitted neither catastrophism nor slow-uniformity.
Dissected planation surface
From a biblical perspective, after the sedimentary rocks of the Jurassic Coast were deposited, the continents rose out of the floodwater as the ocean basins sank after Day 150 of the Flood.10,11,12 This rapid water runoff from the continents produced tremendous erosion, first by sheet flow, then by channelized flow as mountains and plateaus were exposed.13 Sheet flow erosion first planed this area, forming a flat to rolling planation surface on the chalk. This erosion left a gravel cap that is called ‘clay-with-flints’ (Figure 5). The flints come from the erosion of the chalk that contains flint nodules, and the fine-grained sediment also includes sand. The important point is that planation surfaces are not forming today, except on a very local scale when a river erodes its bank during a flood. Planation surfaces are a tell-tale sign of Flood runoff and are found worldwide.
Consistent with the two-phase erosion during the latter half of the Flood, the sheet erosion that formed the planation surface was followed by channelized erosion, which dissected the planation surface (Figure 6). In places it eroded the flat surface to more of a rolling surface. In other places, it formed valleys, some occupied today by relatively small rivers and streams. Other valleys contain little or no water (Figure 7). These dry valleys in porous chalk are a mystery for uniformitarianism:
“One of the most widespread and most discussed features of the British landscape is the dry-valley network that is developed on many rock types. The classical localities are on Chalk. … There are a vast number of hypotheses that have been developed to try to explain the presence of dry valleys.”14
During the channelized flow phase of the Recessive Stage of the Flood, water flowing off the continents often eroded through barriers, such as ridges, plateaus, and mountain ranges. This process created thousands of water gaps across the earth. Water gaps are observed near the Jurassic Coast. There is a classic water gap between Studland and Lulworth Cove through the Isle of Purbeck’s uplifted and tilted chalk ridge at Corfe Castle, near the coast (Figure 8). But water gaps are not forming today, except at a very local scale.
If the tourist is alert to look past the secular interpretations of the Jurassic Coast, they will see that it is not a 185 million year walk through evolution. Rather, in common with many other world-wide locations, the Jurassic Coast provides dramatic evidence for the Genesis Flood.
References and notes
- Oard, M.J., Matthews J.D., and Sibley, A., The Jurassic Coast—evidence for the Flood, Creation Research Society Quarterly 51(2):113–127, 2014. Return to text.
- Pfaff, M., and D. Simcox, Lulworth Rocks: The Rocks and Landforms of Lulworth Explained, no date. Return to text.
- Matthews, J.D., Lulworth Cove: formed by a colossal Flood, Creation Science Movement, Portsmouth, UK, pamphlet 381, Feb 2011; (csm.org.uk). Return to text.
- Dement, W.C. and Vaughan, C., The Promise of Sleep, Dell Publishing, New York, NY, p. 34, 1999. Return to text.
- Roth, A.A., Origins—Linking Science and Scripture, Review and Herald Publishing, Hagerstown, MD, pp. 263–266, 1998. Return to text.
- ‘Millions of years’ are missing: Jonathan Sarfati interviews biologist and geologist Ariel Roth, Creation 31(2):46–49, 2009; creation.com/roth. Return to text.
- Rosser, N.J., Brain, M.J., Petley, D.N., Lim, M., and Norman, E.C., Coastline retreat via progressive failure of rocky coastal cliffs, Geology 41(8):939–942, 2013. Return to text.
- Winchester, S., The Map that Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of a Science, Viking/Penguin, New York, NY., p. xiii, 2001. Return to text.
- Woodmorappe, J., The cephalopods in the Creation and the universal Deluge, Creation Research Society Quarterly 15(2):94–112, 1978. Return to text.
- Oard, M.J., Flood by Design: Receding Water Shapes the Earth’s Surface, Master Books, Green Forest, AR, 2008. Return to text.
- Oard, M.J., Earth’s Surface Shaped by Genesis Flood Runoff, michael.oards.net/GenesisFloodRunoff.htm, 2013. Return to text.
- Walker, T., A Biblical geological model; in; Walsh, R.E. (Ed.), Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Creationism, technical symposium sessions, Creation Science Fellowship, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pp. 581–592, 1994. Return to text.
- Oard, M.J., Massive erosion of continents demonstrates Flood runoff, Creation 35(3):44–47, 2013. Return to text.
- Goudie, A., The Landforms of England and Wales, Basil Blackwell Ltd, Oxford, U.K., pp. 176, 178, 1990. Return to text.
Thank you so very much, Michael Oard, John Matthews, and Andrew Sibley. Yet again CMI staff equip us for the struggle against false understanding of the evidence for the Genesis Flood all around us.
As someone blessed to live reasonably close to parts of the Jurassic, I often walk some of the beaches around Lyme Regis, West Bay and Seaton. It is obvious to even a casual observer how many people are fascinated by fossils, and your article will embolden me to approach fossil hunters with the aim of engaging them in conversation as to how they interpret their finds. Hopefully in some cases, with the Holy Spirit's help, people may be opened to discuss how the evidence fits perfectly with the Biblical record. And of course, if they are enabled to see how the Bible is validated in this area, there is real hope they can progress to 'seeing' the reality of their need of the Saviour.
More generally, may I encourage you all at CMI for the totally Biblical foundation for what you are doing in supplying us with reasoned presentations of the truth. John Stott states in his book 'Your Mind Matters' 'conversion is not infrequently described in terms of a person's response not to Christ himself but to 'the truth.' Becoming a Christian is 'believing the truth,' obeying the truth,' 'acknowledging the truth.' Paul even describes his Roman readers as 'having become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed.' Ro. 6:17 It is plain from these expressions that in preaching Christ the early Christian evangelists were teaching a body of doctrine about Christ' p49. A recovery of faith in all the teaching of Scripture is vital. Noah and his family could only escape the watery judgement by entering God's way of salvation, the ark. A type of Christ.
Fossils at the Jurassic Coast sound like a good way of connecting with people. I find it is always good to give people something they can take away, such as a back issue of Creation magazine. Also, the Creation.com business card is very inexpensive and a simple item to give to people. You could also print out the article on the Jurassic Coast and give that to people.