The Ice Age

Discussion in 'Creation vs. Evolution' started by Administrator2, Mar 7, 2002.

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    BROTHER GLEN

    I am just a christian seeker of knowledge and would like to know according creationist model what was the cause of the Ice Age?
    Brother Glen
     
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    HELEN

    Hi, Glen,

    An ice age cannot be caused by normal weather patterns as we know them.
    For ice to build up to the extent we associate with an ice age, there
    must be a combination of two factors: an area where enormous amounts of
    water are being evaporated into the atmosphere (a very warm and wet
    area) and then a strong enough wind system to get these clouds over very
    cold areas to dump layers and layers of snow on them, which will
    compress to ice under the weight of themselves.

    Although a lot of creationists believe that the Flood of Noah itself
    precipitated the ice age, I don’t think so. I think that the Flood had
    been over for several hundred years and it was the rampant volcanism
    which followed later which drove the forces which produced the ice age.
    This would have provided both the heat and the moisture as well as the
    clouded atmosphere which would have resulted in severe cooling, thus
    keeping the snow on the ground while storm wave after storm wave swept
    over the affected areas.
     
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    BROTHER GLEN

    Helen you said Although a lot of creationists believe that the Flood of Noah itself
    precipitated the ice age, I don't think so. I think that the Flood had
    been over for several hundred years and it was the rampant volcanism
    which followed later which drove the forces which produced the ice age.


    What about the different animals that have been found preserved in ice? Does that speak of a pre or post flood ice age? Is there any way to say for sure?... Brother Glen
     
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    JOE MEERT

    Where is this ice age described in the post-flood accounts? For that
    matter, where is this volcanism described? You can’t make things up and
    then insist on a literal bible! In addition, your ‘trigger’ is a bit
    problematic. Let’s consider some of the scientific merits of what you
    claim.
    (1) There is no geologic evidence to support the notion of massive
    volcanism some 3800 years ago.
    (2) There was not a ‘single’ ice age. There have been many ‘ice ages’
    and some of them simply do not fit into your post flood scenario. For
    example, the Precambrian glaciations, the Ordovician glaciations, the
    Devonian glaciations and the Permo-Carboniferous glaciations. You may
    also want to read about the more recent Pleistocene glaciation(s) plural
    emphasis.
    (3) Volcanism alone, no matter how massive, will not trigger an ice
    age. The feedback mechanisms between volcanism and glaciation are
    fairly complex. For example, volcanism releases quite a bit of CO2 into
    the atmosphere. CO2 has a greenhouse effect rather than an icehouse
    effect. Those ‘clouds’ you speak of are also good insulators for solar
    radiation. Nevertheless, there are some other feedback mechanisms which
    may help drawdown this CO2 and generate cooler temperatures. The key
    seems to be that the volcanism must be basaltic. Basaltic volcanism
    will weather rapidly and this continental weathering will, in turn,
    remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Here is an abstract of some work we are
    presenting at the EGS meeting:, but this is a long-term process and does
    not act during the time scales you need. Note, this conclusion is
    independent of the old earth young earth debate!

    IMPACT OF BASALTIC ROCK EMPLACEMENT ON ATMOSPHERIC CO2 AND CLIMATE

    A. Grard (1), L. François (1), C. Dessert (2), B. Dupré (2), Y. Goddéris
    (2), J. Meert (3)
    (1) Laboratoire de Physique Atmosphérique et Planétaire, Université de
    Liège, Liège, Belgium, (2) Laboratoire des Mécanismes de Transfert en
    Géologie, CNRS UMR5563 - Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France, (3)
    Department of Geological Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville,
    Florida, USA
    [email protected]

    Volcanic eruptions are known to have short-term effects on global cimate
    through the release of aerosols in the stratosphere. Large volcanic
    eruptions are thus considered as potential candidates for initiating
    major climatic and biological crises in the Earth's history. On the
    other hand, changes in tectonic activity and average volcanism is
    generally thought as one of the major driving forces of climate change
    at the geological timescale (> 1 my), through the release of CO2 in the
    atmosphere and the associated greenhouse warming. At this timescale, the
    volcanic release of CO2 into the atmosphere-ocean system is balanced by
    its consumption during silicate weathering followed by carbonate
    deposition. This equilibrium is reached dynamically through the negative
    feedback of silicate weathering, as the system evolves towards an
    hypothetic steady state. Thus, in this simplified view of the long-term
    carbon cycle, volcanic activity is thought to play a role on the source
    of CO2, but does not act directly on its sink. This assertion fails to
    be true in the case of subaerial basaltic volcanism, where the eruption
    not only releases CO2 to the atmosphere, but also produces balsaltic
    rocks which weather much more rapidly than the average continental
    crust, enhancing CO2 consumption. As shown recently by some of us
    (Dessert et al., Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 188:459-474, 2001), the
    emplacement of the Deccan basaltic traps at the K-T boundary may have
    led to a transient increase of atmospheric CO2 over a few hundred
    thousand years, followed by a drop towards CO2 levels lower, and climate
    cooler, than prior the emplacement. This trend towards a lower CO2 level
    is still effective today and will persist until the Deccan traps are
    completely weathered. Hence, basaltic emplacements appear to act both as
    short- and long-term climatic factors. The succession of basaltic
    emplacements which occurred during the Cenozoic may explain at least
    part of the climatic cooling recorded over the same period. Similarly,
    the emplacement of the Siberian traps at the Permo-Trias boundary had a
    profound impact on the Triassic climate. Model simulations are presented
    to investigate the possibility that sharp cooling or glacial periods may
    have been produced by the formation of large basaltic provinces,
    especially if these occur under warm and wet tropical climates.
     
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    BARRY SETTERFIELD

    Hi Glen!

    It has become “traditional” in YEC circles to hold to a “one Flood did everything” model, and on this basis the last Ice-age has been described as the aftermath of the Flood process. As far as I can determine, this suggestion was originally put forward by Dr. Henry Morris in his book “The Genesis Flood” back in the 1960’s. This opinion has largely held sway ever since and much Creationist research in a variety of areas has
    been done on this basis. Although I can understand the rationale behind this model, I think that perhaps it has a number of weaknesses that have not been addressed.

    Both the Bible and the geologic record seem to indicate that there was more than one catastrophe. I think my research has accounted for all this. The fact that the long ages indicated by radiometric dating are easily collapsed into the young earth model due to the fact that radioactive decay was exponentially faster in the beginning is the key to understanding the timing of these catastrophic events.

    On the one hand, the groups like ICR who support the Flood model as being responsible for the vast majority of the geologic column are really not able to answer the ice age(s) problem. But on the other, the ancient age theorists like Joe also run into problems because he has no way of knowing which deposits might have been the result of rapid and catastrophic forces and which might have been the result of long and gradual accumulations of material.

    I find myself agreeing with Joe Meert that there was more than one ice age. In line with the model I have worked out in line with the data, the whole geological column was laid down over a period of roughly 3000 years. The Permian/Triassic ice-age and the link with the Siberian flood basalts is thereby retained, as is the link between the last ice-age and the Deccan Traps (flood basalts) in India as Joe Meert has asserted.

    The asteroid impacts (at least 5) closed the Mesozoic and decimated the dinosaurs, following which the final phases of continental drift were set in motion. This event in Scripture and in the Variable Lightspeed (Vc) model coincides with the time of Peleg in Genesis 10:25 where we are told “In his days the land masses were divided [literal Hebrew].” On this model there was a rapid upthrusting of mountains, a much higher axis tilt due to the impacts, and the outpouring of flood basalts. This combination of factors led to new climatic conditions. Thus the massive quantities of water vapour in the atmosphere along with the impact induced global wildfires and the associated ash blocking out the sun led to the onset of ice-age conditions when the new atmospheric circulation pattern due to high axis tilt and upthrust mountains are considered.

    As far as the Scriptural record of these events are concerned, I invite you to reconsider the book of Job. In cognate languages (languages of the same family group) the word Job is the same as Jobab. In Genesis 10:26, 27 we find that a Jobab was the last son born to Joktan, the brother to Peleg. (As an aside, it might be mentioned that the word Peleg is a root word which implies splitting apart of land with water coming in as a result, while Joktan means “earthquake”. Thus we get the “pelagic” ocean deposits of geology, while the old Grecian name for the Mediterranean of “Pelagos” – both words from the same root. A complete study of these two names and their roots turns up a surprising amount of information which backs up the comment in Genesis 10:25.) Thus this Jobab was living at the close of this period when continental drift was occurring and ice-age conditions were in force.

    What is the evidence for this, Scripturally? Consider first the effects of asteroidal impacts. In Job 9:5-7 we have an eyewitness account that reads “God removes the mountains and overturns them in His anger; He shakes the earth out of its place and its core trembles; He commands the sun, and it does not rise; and He blots out the stars…” This is specific enough language that to pass it by as being “poetic” or “nearly poetic” is to miss the meaning of what is being said. Then consider the effects of enhanced continental drift – surely there would be massive tidal movements and tsunamis. In Job 12:15; 14:11 and 30:14 we read that Job and his fellows were familiar with the fact that “God withholds the waters, and the sea dries up; He sends them out, and they overwhelm the earth…For the waters fail from the sea, and the ocean flood dries up…They come as broad breakers, as the wide breaking in of ocean waters; under the ruinous storm they roll along.” Concurrently, there would be the effects of rifting, volcanism and the outpouring of magma. Job and his companions testify of these effects like this: “The mountains fall and crumble away, and the rock is moved from its place … For God overturns the mountains from their roots and cuts out channels through the rocks; …and underneath it is turned to fire, whose stones are the source of sapphires and contains gold dust.” (Job 28:9, 14:18).

    Then there is the experiencing of ice-age conditions in the Mid-East when the ocean is frozen over as recorded in Job 38:29-30 “From whose womb comes the ice? …The ocean waters harden like stone, and the surface of the deep is frozen.”

    One final point may be mentioned. As a result of devastating asteroid impacts and the accompanying wild-fires, all existing structures would have been destroyed, and now an ice-age was upon the survivors. Where could they find shelter? The logical place is a cave. Consequently, this was also the period of the cave-dwellers – they were simply ordinary humans who lived in caves to try and re-establish society. In Job 24:7-8, and 30:3-7 these people are mentioned:“They were gaunt with want and famine, and plucked mallow by the bushes, and broom-tree roots for their food … They lived in the clefts of the valleys, their houses were the caves in the rocks, and they lived under the wild bushes…They spend the night naked, without clothing, and have no covering in the cold. They are wet with the showers of the mountains, and huddle around the rock for want of shelter.”

    Under these circumstances, I think that the Bible does give a record of events associated with continental division and the last ice-age.

    Barry Setterfield
     
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    JOE MEERT

    Barry seems to think that the relationships between the Deccan traps and
    Siberian traps and climate can hold up in the young earth model.
    The main problem with trying to squeeze
    this into a young earth scenario (regardless of how one views
    radiometric decay) is that the mechanisms for generating the cooler
    climate take time. You cannot erupt and erode the Siberian traps (or
    the Deccan for that matter) in the space of a few hundred years, draw
    the CO2 out of the atmosphere and bury it again. This is one big
    problem for young earth creationism. You can artificially claim that
    radiometric dates have changed, you can assert that fossils are the
    result of the flood, you can claim that plates moved at lightning
    speeds, but you cannot change the climate through this mechanism in the
    space of a few hundred years (remember you also have to cycle it back
    again as well!). I also noticed that Barry failed to address the Precambrian
    ice ages. Think about the time spans involved here regardless of how
    one feels about radiometric dating. YOU CAN’T SQUEEZE IT IN. The other
    thing that no-one wants to discuss is the evidence for multiple ICE AGES
    in the bible. Surely these multiple ice ages would be mentioned as
    distinct events. I think this is an assertion by ye-creationists that
    was not well thought out.

    Cheers

    Joe Meert
     
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    BARRY SETTERFIELD

    Joe brings up several issues here. The Vc model, that was briefly
    presented here, has the advantage over the “Traditional” YEC position in
    that it does maintain the temporal proximity of the formation of the
    Siberian traps and the Permian ice age and the much later event of the
    Deccan traps and the Pleistocene ice-age. By contrast, the “traditional”
    YEC view usually claims that both these events happened within one year,
    and not necessarily in that chronological order. Despite this advantage,
    Joe is concerned about two issues: (1) The rapid climate change, and (2)
    the Precambrian ice-ages.

    It needs to be mentioned that the eruption of both the Siberian and
    Deccan traps could well have happened rapidly. One school of thought
    holds that these areas were formed as a result of massive impacts
    penetrating the crust and releasing the basalt. This would have of
    necessity been a rapid occurrence. As far as erosion goes, it should be
    noted that these materials would be soft for quite a while and this
    during times of geologic upheaval. So erosion processes would be
    expected to take their toll in a short amount of time where these areas
    are concerned.

    However, Joe appears to be looking at the eruption and erosion of the
    traps solely in relation to the cycling of CO2 as the cause of the
    ice-ages, in line with current thinking. What I pointed out in my
    original post was that there are other concurrent factors, which Joe has
    not included, that speed up the whole process. These were listed off in
    the original post as high axis tilt (which makes the poles significantly
    colder), high water vapour content in the atmosphere (which means rapid
    precipitation over colder poles), and mountain upthrusting (which
    significantly changes the atmospheric circulation pattern). On this
    basis, both the precipitation and cooling processes would be more rapid.

    On the second issue regarding the Precambrian ice ages, I come from
    South Australia which has the type-section for the middle and upper
    Pre-Cambrian which includes the tillite and other beds in question, as
    well as strata from the Permian and Pleistocene ice-ages. On this basis,
    as well as university training in geology and subsequent work in that
    field, I have a reasonable understanding of what Joe is talking about.

    The first point that I want to make is the very different appearance of
    the Precambrian tillites and associated beds compared with those of the
    Permian and Pleistocene events. The Precambrian tillites are like cement
    with unsorted boulders, pebbles and gravels mixed into the solid matrix.
    By contrast, the Permian and Pleistocene beds are certainly not
    cemented, but closely resemble glacial sediments and associated debris
    seen today, but merely compacted. Read and Watson in their introductory
    text on Geology also state that the Precambrian strata were different
    from that left from the other ice-ages on a world-wide basis. This
    suggests that something different was happening in the Precambrian case.
    Furthermore, on the basis of what is seen in South Australia, the
    geologists at Adelaide University have trashed the current “snowball
    earth” paradigm as the explanation for these Precambrian beds on at
    least 10 counts in several journals.

    The question then becomes, “What was the cause of these Precambrian
    tillites and associated strata?” They date, radiometrically, from about
    750 million years to about 600 million years worldwide. With the speed
    of light correction, this period becomes the same as Noah’s worldwide
    Flood. I believe that it may be profitable to reconsider the origins of
    these strata in light of that. The debris making up the tillites in the
    Adelaide region have their source area some 500 km away to the west, yet
    they are still angular, which is not good evidence for glacial origin.
    However a flood would cart and deposit this material very quickly,
    leaving the debris as sharp-edged as that which we see there. The
    various phases of the Flood would give rise to the various phases of the
    Precambrian “ice age” strata.

    Joe then asserts that the Bible should mention multiple ice ages in
    order to be scientifically correct. This is not necessarily so. The
    Bible is primarily concerned with God’s relationship with man and not
    with geologic activity. It is only where this activity reflects this
    relationship that the Bible comments upon it. Comments by some of the
    Biblical authors do help us put some of the pieces together, but the
    Bible itself is silent in terms of explanations.
     
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    JOE MEERT

    JM: It’s not just the Siberian and Deccan traps being erupted that I am
    concerned about! For one, its your claim that the Siberian traps are
    responsible for the Permo-Carboniferous glaciation. That’s quite a
    trick since the glaciations precede the eruption of the traps!

    [/quote]It needs to be mentioned that the eruption of both the Siberian
    and
    Deccan traps could well have happened rapidly. One school of thought
    holds that these areas were formed as a result of massive impacts
    penetrating the crust and releasing the basalt. This would have of
    necessity been a rapid occurrence. As far as erosion goes, it should be
    noted that these materials would be soft for quite a while and this
    during times of geologic upheaval. So erosion processes would be
    expected to take their toll in a short amount of time where these areas
    are concerned. [/quote]

    JM: You’re mixing and matching ideas here. There is evidence for a
    meteor impact at about the same time as the Deccan trap volcanism, but
    to my knowledge there is no evidence that a meteor caused the Deccan
    trap volcanism. Evidence for an impact at the time of the Siberian
    traps is less compelling. Why don’t we get down to some specifics
    instead of throwing out a bunch of ‘well it mighta been this way’. How
    long do you think it took to erupt both the Siberian and Deccan traps?
    Your statement about erosion is rather naïve. Once the rock erupted it
    would begin to solidify and given the sheer volume of volcanism in the
    Deccan and given the short amount of time you allow for its eruption,
    erosion is not going to occur more rapidly because you are constantly
    piling fresh basalt on the old. Think about it, let’s say it all
    erupted in one years time. That’s 8.2 x 10^6 km^3 of basalt pouring out
    in that period. That’s about ~300 m^3 of basalt per second!! Once it
    hardens (and there is clear evidence that a lot of the Siberian and
    Deccan traps remain as rock), it takes time to erode. So, give me some
    of your estimates of erosive rates since the time the Deccan and
    Siberian traps eroded? I want you to tell me (a) when they were erupted
    (within a few hundred years in the ye-scenario) and (b) relative to the
    current volume of material left, how much eroded?

    JM: No, I am not. I am looking at the whole picture. You seem to be
    glossing over details that are important in the discussion. Important
    items such as when, how, how fast and how much!

    JM: Are you joking? I cannot believe this is what you think happens
    with increased tilt of the axis. That is simply wrong and I am
    surprised that a physicist wouldn’t understand this! If you increase
    the tilt of the axis--- a couple of things happen. First, the climatic
    conditions on the poles change dramatically from summer to winter and do
    not favor the formation of glaciers (see Williams, 2000). It is the
    equatorial region that becomes susceptible to glaciation. Secondly, you
    are now tossing in mountain upthrusting into the equation. The effects
    of mountains on climate depends very much on where the mountains rise.
    So, where did these mountains rise? When did these mountains rise and
    at what rate did these mountains rise? Please give the details and
    please review the effects of increasing the axial tilt. While you are
    reviewing those effects, please tell me when this axial tilt changed, to
    what degree and how it returned to 23 degrees. Please supply details
    not ‘mighta been’ stories. For example, please explain the actual
    physical mechanisms for changing the tilt in whatever period of time you
    claim the tilt to have changed. What caused the tilting and what caused
    it to return to ‘normal’?

    [/quote]On the second issue regarding the Precambrian ice ages, I come
    from
    South Australia which has the type-section for the middle and upper
    Pre-Cambrian[/quote]

    JM: It does not contain the type section. That is still being discussed
    although it is one of the favorites. Other candidates are in Siberia,
    Namibia, China and North America.

    JM: It contains ‘tillites’ (plural).

    JM: Who claimed there was a snowball? The Australian who is doing most
    of the ‘trashing’ is George Williams because he favors an alternate
    explanation for the glaciations. He is NOT arguing that the glaciations
    don’t exist or that they did not happen, he is arguing for an
    alternative mechanism!! By the way, if you are familiar at all with the
    geologic literature, you would know that I wrote a 1994 paper called “No
    More Snowball Earth” so I am hardly an ally for the snowball hypothesis!
    I do not deny that the glaciations have occurred. However, what you are
    alluding to is that the tillites (in Australia) are not glacial in
    origin. Unfortunately, the debate does not include ‘all the Precambrian
    tillites’. I just completed a field season working on the
    Neoproterozoic tillites in Norway (from the type section for the
    Varangian glaciation). These are indisputably glacial as are many other
    tillites worldwide. I can’t think of a single Aussie geologist who
    claims that all Precambrian tillites are mistakenly identified, nor do I
    know of many who claim that the Aussie tillites are non-glacial. It’s easy to make
    assertions on web pages like these, quite another thing to actually
    publish your ideas (as you well know!).

    JM: Really? The dating on them is uniformly poor or
    non-existent—tillites tend not to be dateable rock types (see Evans,
    2000). The 750-600 Ma interval is most widely cited, because it is
    clear that some of the glacial rocks occurred during this interval. One
    of the best dated tillites, the Squantum tillite (Boston Basin) is
    younger. Let me note here that the problem in dating tillites stems
    from the fact that the rocks are found in sedimentary successions that
    are difficult to date and contain few diagnostic fossils. This seems to
    go against your assertion that they were deposited during the Noachian
    flood (see next paragraph).

    JM: Of course, no one has yet conclusively shown that the speed of light
    has varied! It is your
    opinion that this COULD be the case and you have submitted your
    arguments to your peers, but there are many notions out there that don’t
    ever survive the critical eyes of science. Once it is published, we can
    discuss its relevance to other issues, but I see no profitability in
    adding another ‘mighta been this’ to a mountain of ‘mighta beens’. By
    the way, I am glad to see that at least one creationist (you) is willing
    to submit their publication through normal channels. Peer-review is a
    tough process, but it is how good science gets done.

    [/quote] The debris making up the tillites in the
    Adelaide region have their source area some 500 km away to the west, yet
    they are still angular, which is not good evidence for glacial
    origin.[/quote]

    JM: What makes you think glaciers round every clast? Glacial erosion is
    highly variable. Glaciers entrain a lot of material after ripping it
    off the ground or sides of mountains. These clasts tend to be angular
    and while entrained, they will not be rounded. Glaciers deposit the
    material as it moves down through the ice and into the meltwater stream
    where it can be rounded or deposited as is. Glaciers also pulverize
    rock (loess), so the deposits left by glaciers tend to be highly
    variable. The fact that there are angular clasts in the Adelaide
    deposits does not necessarily indicate a non-glacial origin.

    [/quote]However a flood would cart and deposit this material very
    quickly,
    leaving the debris as sharp-edged as that which we see there. The
    various phases of the Flood would give rise to the various phases of the
    Precambrian “ice age” strata. [/quote]

    JM: Well, since your argument about angular clasts is incorrect, I see
    no need to argue about a flood. However, let’s now take your word for
    it that the Precambrian marks the time of the flood of Noah. Now, how
    long does that flood last? What strata globally mark the onset and
    termination of the flood? Be specific.

    [/quote]Joe then asserts that the Bible should mention multiple ice ages
    in
    order to be scientifically correct. This is not necessarily so. The
    Bible is primarily concerned with God’s relationship with man and not
    with geologic activity. [/quote]

    JM: Darn tootin! That’s what I’ve been saying all along! The Bible is
    not a scientific text, it is a book about salvation. No one (including
    you and Helen and other ye-creationists) should try to force it to be
    scientifically accurate because it (a) is not a science book and (b) was
    never meant to be used (or misused) as a scientific text. I’ve said it
    to others and I’ll repeat it again. It seems to me that young earth
    creationists worship the Bible as God rather than the God of the Bible
    when trying to force science to fit their interpretation of it.

    JM: However, don’t you think that the massive eruptions of the Deccan
    and Siberian traps along with the ensuing ice ages would deserve a bit
    of mention in the Bible given your claim of severity? At 300 m^3/sec
    don’t you think someone would take notice?

    Cheers

    Joe Meert
     

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