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Crsq Fall 2010 Oard (III)

Crsq Fall 2010 Oard (III)

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Published by Papa Giorgio
Crsq Fall 2010 Oard (III)
Crsq Fall 2010 Oard (III)

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Published by: Papa Giorgio on Jan 30, 2011
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 Volume 47, Summer 2010 45
Introduction
The origin of Grand Canyon has beenan insoluble mystery for uniformitariangeologists for nearly 150 years. Theirhypotheses—all hampered by theircommitment to the uniformitarianprinciple—fail miserably to explain theobserved field evidence (Oard, 2010a).Thus, catastrophist alternatives are wellworth exploring.Because of its high visibility withthe public, creation scientists haveattempted to explain Grand Canyonwithin their paradigm to promote the
 
The Origin of Grand CanyonPart III: A Geomorphological Problem
Michael J. Oard*Abstract
T
hough the origin of Grand Canyon is of great interest to sedimen-tologists and structural geologists, the problem more properlyrests within the field of geomorphology. That is because in spite of itsimposing size, it is a water gap—one of over a thousand cataloguedacross the Earth. Like many other geomorphological features, mostwater gaps are best explained as formed during the retreating stageof the Flood. Clues to the formation of Grand Canyon are providedby the processes that occurred when the glacial Lake Missoula floodovertopped a ridge between Washtucna Coulee and the Snake River inthe southeast Channeled Scabland. There are other water gaps presenton the Colorado Plateau, and all are readily explained by the distinctprocesses of the retreating stage of the Flood. None of these featuresare easily explained by any dam-breach hypothesis.
general Flood model. Research todate has yielded no spectacular break-throughs. Initially, creation scientistsattributed the canyon to late Flood ero-sion (Gish, 1989; Whitcomb and Morris,1961), but in the 1980s the dam-breachhypothesis was developed (Austin, 1994;Brown, 2001; 2008). The two publishedversions of this hypothesis posited thecatastrophic emptying of two to threepost-Flood lakes caused by a dam breach,approximately 200 to 500 years after theFlood. However, these iterations of thedam-breach model do not explain therelevant field data (Oard, 2010b). Inparticular, neither can explain the ab-sence of evidence for the needed lakes,and neither can explain the erosion of tributary canyons in the same event.Furthermore, the glacial Lake Missoulaflood provides a good analogy for a dam-breach event, but there are significantdifferences between that flood’s Chan-neled Scablands and Grand Canyon(Oard, 2004).Since both uniformitarian and post-Flood dam-breach models consistentlyfail to explain the origin of Grand Can-yon, another look is warranted at erosionduring the Flood. Obviously, this eventwould have been late in the Flood, and
* Michael J. Oard, Bozeman, MT, mikeoard@bridgeband.com Accepted for publication March 23, 2009
 
46 Creation Research Society Quarterlythe development of a Flood-orientedsequence of geologic events by Walker(1994) provides a good framework (Fig-ure 1). Walker (1994) proposed that theretreating stage of the Flood includedtwo phases: an initial sheet-flow phaseand a later channelized-flow stage.This two-stage sequence of events canexplain the features of the ColoradoPlateau, including Grand Canyon, andcan make sense of field data that othermodels cannot explain.Geomorphology is the study of thelandscape features of Earth’s surface. Itis the area of geology best suited to exam-ine Grand Canyon. Within the differentclasses of landscape features, GrandCanyon is best classified as a water gap. A water gap is a deep, perpendicular cutin a ridge, mountain range, plateau, orsome other transverse barrier that car-ries a river or stream (Douglass, 2005).This paper will provide evidence for thelate Flood
timing
for the carving of thecanyon, based on geomorphology and acomparison with other geomorphologi-cal features of the Earth’s surface. Thenext paper in this series will addressthe widespread sheet erosion event thatoccurred across the entire ColoradoPlateau prior to the erosion of GrandCanyon. This event is called the “GreatDenudation” by secular geologists.Large-scale sheet erosion occurred overvast areas of the southwest United States,caused by very broad currents that wereflowing east to northeastward. It was onlyafter the Great Denudation that GrandCanyon was eroded by more restrictedchannelized currents that flowed in theopposite direction. This stage will be ad-dressed in the final paper of this series.Over the course of this series, I willseek to demonstrate that the key to under-standing Grand Canyon in its geologicaland geomorphological setting is the two-stage nature of the late Flood retreat off of North America. I propose that no othercatastrophist or uniformitarian modelhas the comprehensive explanatory valueof this simple Flood explanation.
Geomorphology Demonstratesa Late-Flood Origin
In very few places on Earth can ge-ologists study sedimentary strata orstructural features as well as they canin Grand Canyon. However, there is adistinction between the geology that thecanyon makes visible and the canyonitself. The origin of Grand Canyon isessentially a problem in geomorphology(Meek and Douglass, 2001) becauseit is a landform. Geomorphology isthe geological science that studies thegeneral configuration of Earth’s surface,especially the classification, description,nature, and origin of landforms andtheir relationships to the underlyinggeological structures (Bates and Jackson,1984). Landforms are features that whentaken together make up the surface of the Earth (Bates and Jackson, 1984).They include broad features such asmountain ranges, plateaus, or plains,as well as small-scale features such ashills, valleys, slopes, canyons, or alluvialfans. Geomorphology is concerned withgeography, topography, shape, and otherpertinent features of landforms.The uniformitarian study of the geo-morphology of Grand Canyon has notprovided a solution to its origin, as Hillet al. (2008, p. 316) lament:
The history of Grand Canyon—itsage and how it formed as a physio-graphic unit—has been, and is, oneof the great unsolved problems of geomorphology. Past workers havehypothesized practically every di-rection imaginable for the ancestralroute of the Colorado River throughthe Grand Canyon region. Theyhave set dates for drainage throughthe canyon as early Eocene, lateEocene, early Miocene, Miocene,Pliocene, and Pleistocene. Theyhave described the Colorado Riveras being wholly, or in part, ante-cedent, superimposed, subsequent,consequent, obsequent, or resequent. And, they have debated (withoutresolution) how the disparate geo-morphic sections of Grand Canyonhave evolved together to create thetotal integrated canyon that we seetoday.
This uniformitarian fog aroundGrand Canyon is not unique; mysteriesabound in the uniformitarian attemptto explain other types of landforms(Oard, 2008a). Many of those myster-ies can be solved by applying a newparadigm—that of the Genesis Flood,especially the two phases of the retreat-ing stage (Figure 1), the sheet-flow andthe channelized-flow phases.The secret to understanding land-forms is the realization that each of thesetwo distinct phases of Floodwater retreathad its own distinct erosional patternsand that the channelized-flow patternsare superimposed on top
 
of featurescreated by the sheet-flow phase. This isdemonstrated clearly with the ColoradoPlateau and Grand Canyon. But first, wewill delve into the geomorphologicalevidence that Grand Canyon was indeedcarved late in the Genesis Flood.Since the Flood provides reason-able explanations for geomorphologicalfeatures on a global scale (Oard, 2008a),and since Grand Canyon is merely oneof those features, it stands to reason thatthe Grand Canyon was carved duringthe late-Flood period.
Grand Canyon:Just Another Water Gap
 A water gap is defined as “a deep pass in amountain ridge, through which a streamflows; esp. a narrow gorge or ravine cutthrough resistant rocks by an antecedentor superposed stream” (Neuendorf et al.,2005, p. 715). This definition is similarto that from the older
Dictionary of Geo-logical Terms
(Bates and Jackson, 1984),and both contain genetic mechanismsthat should not be part of any geologi-cal definition. What is interesting aboutthese genetic terms (antecedent andsuperposed stream) is that they leaveout the most popular uniformitarianmechanism for the formation of water
 
 Volume 47, Summer 2010 47gaps, that is, stream piracy, and insteaduse mostly rejected mechanisms for thesuggested origin of water gaps. Another problem with the definitionof a water gap is that it is employed onlyfor a gorge through a mountain ridge.In practice, a water gap refers to a gorgethrough any structural barrier. Suchcuts are also called transverse drainage,which would also include a plateau, aseries of plateaus, or even an isolatedmountain. For instance, John Douglass(2005, p. 1, emphasis mine) states inhis PhD dissertation on the origin of water gaps:
Many of the world’s largest riversystems follow seemingly anoma-lous paths, incising gorges acrossstructural and topographic highs.… Examples can be found in thePyrenees … Apennine Mountains… Decinska Vrchovina Highland …Zagros Mountains … Zambezi River… Himalayan Mountains … RockyMountains … the
Grand Canyon
,and the Appalachian Mountains.
 As spectacular as it is, Grand Canyonis just another
water gap
through a highbarrier, the Kaibab Plateau and the otherplateaus to the west. The Colorado Riverlies about 6,000 feet below the Kai-bab Plateau in eastern Grand Canyon.Though few are as visually stunning asGrand Canyon, water gaps are commonthroughout the world (Oard, 2007a;2008a). In the uniformitarian paradigm,the Kaibab Plateau supposedly beganuplifting and became a barrier to riversabout 70 million years ago (Karlstromet al., 2007). If the ancestral ColoradoRiver was also that age, as believed byJohn Wesley Powell and many others, itshould have cut through the Kaibab Pla-teau at a different location from GrandCanyon. That is because the lowestpoints across the plateau today—about6,000 feet (1,829 m) msl—are locatedboth north and south of the highestpart. The highest point is a little over9,000 feet (2,743 m). One of the mostperplexing questions for uniformitariansis why Grand Canyon was cut at an in-termediate height between the low andhigh points of the Kaibab Plateau.There are at least a thousand watergaps on Earth, with 300 alone in theZagros Mountains of Iran (Oberlander,1965). Figure 2 shows the Shoshone wa-ter gap west of Cody, Wyoming, whichcarries the Shoshone River through a2,500-foot (762 m) deep gorge. Ironically,this water gap is another thorn in the sideof uniformitarian geology; the river couldhave easily flowed around the south endof the Rattlesnake Mountains, followingtopography (Figure 3). Water gaps arecommon in the Appalachian Moun-tains (Figure 4), and six cut through the Alaska Range from the south to the north(Figure 5) (Oard, 2008b). Though notas well known as Grand Canyon, thereare deeper water gaps; the deepest cutthrough the Himalayas. Water gaps as awhole are easily explained by the runoff of the Floodwater from the continents(Oard, 2007a; 2007b; 2008a).Thus, the Grand Canyon is notunique; it is one of a class of landformsfound all over the world. It is similarto other water gaps on the ColoradoPlateau, described below. Therefore,logic suggests that we look for the originof Grand Canyon by investigating theorigin of water gaps as a class, and allof those on the Colorado Plateau inparticular. One mechanism that canaccount for all of these water gaps islate-Flood channelized erosion (Oard,2008a). Interestingly, no other mecha-nism explains water gaps as well as theretreating stage of the Flood. Figure 6presents a schematic of the Flood forma-tion of water and wind gaps. A wind gapis a notch in a ridge or mountain rangethat was not cut quite deep enough for ariver or a stream to run through it. Onlywind passes through. Although Grand Canyon is the lon-gest water gap in the world (277 miles,
Figure 1. Tas Walker’s Biblical Flood model with the stages and phases renamed(from Oard, 2008a).

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