December 9, 2005 | David F. Coppedge

Instant Geology and Undersea Activity

We’re accustomed to thinking of geological processes as slow and gradual, except for volcanoes, earthquakes and landslides, but some recent stories are surprising for the speed and extent of active processes.

  1. Run: The Earth Is Splitting Apart:  Geologists were amazed to find a rift in the Afar desert east of Ethiopia opening up 8 meters wide and 60 kilometers long in just three weeks, reported BBC News.  They call this a rapid episode in the slow formation of a new ocean basin, a process that normally takes millions of years.  This rapid change was called “unprecedented in scientific history.”
  2. Springs of the Sea:  Hydrothermal vents are popping up everywhere, wherever scientists look.  USA Today said they ocean floor is covered with them; MSNBC News said they are not just along tectonic plate boundaries like the pacific Ring of Fire, as previously assumed.

Wow, at 8 meters every 3 weeks, that ocean basin would be 82,000 miles wide in a million years, bigger than the whole earth!  Just kidding, of course.  Nobody is saying that is a typical or uniform rate.  It does illustrate, however, that big things can happen in a short time if the conditions are right.  Faster rates than that could be envisioned, and must have been the case for certain large-scale, catastrophically-formed regions.
    It’s time to relegate Lyell to the history books where he belongs.  His uniformitarian gradualism was useful to Darwin in the Victorian age.  Darwin became obsessed with the vision of how large changes could occur by the accumulation of small variations over long eons of time.  That vision has seen too many challenges to be assumed in our day.
    By the way, how did the ancient philosopher Job know about hydrothermal vents?  “Have you entered the springs of the sea?  Or have you walked in search of the depths?” (Job 38:16).  He must have been told by someone who knew.  There’s another source of data too often overlooked by moderns: direct testimony from the Architect.

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Categories: Bible and Theology

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