November 17, 2018 | David F. Coppedge

New Geological Episode Sounds Flood-Like

Ever hear of the “Carnian Pluvial Episode”? Neither had geologists, until they invented it.

Geologists submitting papers to this months Journal of the Geological Society are all excited. They just created a new geological episode. Yes; they had a meeting about it last year, and decided it was real, even though it wasn’t real until they invented it. Most of the current issue talks about it. First, what is the Carnian Pluvial Episode? According to the lead paper by Dal Corso et al, “The Carnian pluvial episode (Late Triassic): new insights into this important time of global environmental and biological change,”

The Carnian Pluvial Episode (CPE) is a global climate change that occurred in the early Late Triassic, a time of major biological turnovers between two of the largest mass extinctions, at the end of the Permian and at the end of the Triassic, respectively. It is marked by severe extinction among important marine groups such as ammonoids and conodonts, and rapid radiation of key taxa on land and in the ocean, e.g. dinosaurs and pelagic calcifier.

As you can see, this new thing even obtained its own acronym: CPE. Remember, this episode occurred in the Early Late Triassic, not the Late Early Triassic. Word order is important for new things in geology. They date the CPE at 232-to-230 million Darwin Years ago. Here are some of the papers:

The Carnian Pluvial Episode and the origin of dinosaurs (Benton et al, Journal of the Geological Society). Extra! Extra! Climate change invented the dinosaurs! Well, at least it cleared the ground for their evolutionary rise, according to these three.

If this was a catastrophic extinction event, then the environmental perturbations of the CPE explain the sharp disappearance of various terrestrial tetrapods, and the subsequent sharp rise of dinosaurs and perhaps other clades too, especially those that constitute much of the modern terrestrial faunas, such as lissamphibians, turtles, crocodiles, lizards and mammals.

The Carnian Pluvial Episode and the first global appearance of amber (Seyfulla et al, Journal of the Geological Society). Amber fossils are not common, these authors say, and usually are found later in the Eocene. Is there a connection between a catastrophic climate change and Triassic amber found in distant locations?

The occurrence of amber in different localities and within the same time interval suggests a widespread stressed flora, and major biological turnover in the terrestrial ecosystems during the Carnian Pluvial Episode.

Record of the Carnian wet episode in strata of the Chinle Group, western USA (Lucas and Tanner, Journal of the Geological Society). Hikers in the southwest are usually familiar with the Chinle formation, with its colorful banded hills of badlands. Many times this formation contains petrified wood. These two geologists link the Carnian Pluvial Episode to the lowest layers of the Chinle.

Outcrop of Chinle formation in northern Arizona (DFC)

The Carnian Pluvial Episode: from discovery, through obscurity, to acceptance (Simms and Ruffell, Journal of the Geological Society). This paper tells how science sausage is made. Did geologists “discover” the Carnian Pluvial Episode, or “invent” it?

The discovery of the Carnian Pluvial Episode arose through a chance conversation bringing together two seemingly unrelated strands of research: the extinction of some Triassic crinoids and the stratigraphy of the non-marine Mercia Mudstone Group. Investigations revealed a hitherto unrecognized period of climate change seemingly linked to a largely overlooked episode of biotic turnover. Ignored for more than a decade, an upsurge of interest in recent years has validated our original findings and answered some of the key questions concerning its extent and ultimate cause.

So it is “settled science” today, even though it languished in “obscurity” earlier. Why? Because a certain number of scientists thought it deserved “acceptance” after a chance conversation got them talking it.

We’ll let readers judge the relative empirical merits of this new term and concept, but we have to ask if it was real before the guild voted that it was real. Maybe they did because they could use the popular phrase “climate change” to explain it.

If it was real, notice that it was (1) global and (2) wet. The environment was stressed, they say. There was a major turnover of biota, with many organisms caught in a “sharp disappearance.” It might have involved impacts of asteroids from space.

To evolutionists, this is all part of the usual Stuff Happens Law. Everything is supposed to be slow and gradual, but catastrophes do come in handy. Evolution clears the ecology so that new things can arise. It was a time for big beasts to arise. The CPE caused dinosaurs; how about that!

To the extent they are finding evidence of catastrophe, creationists have a better answer: the Genesis Flood. Geologists fail to see the big picture. Their prior commitment to the geologic column forces them to fit pieces of data into the predetermined model, when actually, a single global event could have explained all the extinctions. It definitely would have changed the climate, too! One benefit of the creation model is that you don’t need mutational magic to explain the origin of dinosaurs. They already existed. Unfortunately, very few groups and species existed after the Flood, except for those on the ark, and plants that survived by seed or on floating mats. We live on an impoverished world, seeing the dead remains of organisms more diverse and often larger than those that diversified after their kind after the Flood.


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Categories: Dinosaurs, Fossils, Geology


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