Geological Objections

The following was sent to us by a friend who had shared some of Barry's work with another. Here are the geological objections which were forwarded back to us with Barry's responses below.

I am glad you shared this 24 page document by Barry.  I found it to be very interesting.  It has both truth and falsity in it, but it shows that he knows a bit about geology.  His lack of knowledge about how water behaves in the earth’s crust, however, makes his whole model impossible. 

First, he says that radioactive elements that decay and supply heat occur at great depth in the earth but do not come to the earth’s surface until sometime before the eruption of the fountains of the deep.  This heat supposedly releases water in the crust so that it builds in pressure to burst out suddenly as scalding hot water during the fountain eruptions.  But radioactive elements (such as U and K) have been moving up in the earth’s crust to provide heat throughout all the Hadean, Archaean, and Proterozoic of the Archaeozoic Era.  This heat has produced all of the magmas that crystallized in the igneous plutons found in the cratons and would have also caused the metamorphism of rocks adjacent to these plutons.  There is nothing that will keep these radioactive elements at depth until after (or shortly before) the Snowball Earth event because they accompany the magmas. 

Secondly while these magmas are coming up, water in the mantle comes up with the magmas because water is the agent that enables the melting of these rocks.  This water is dissolved in the magmas.  More heat and pressure do not cause the water to separate into a separate volume.  Higher temperatures and pressures just increase the solubility of the water in the magmas.  Therefore, large free volumes of water cannot ever come out in fountains.  Otherwise, we would see such occurring during volcanic eruptions.  The ash plumes rising above the erupting volcanoes result from the dissolved water under pressure expanding explosively to become 540 cubic centimeters per each cubic centimeter of steam dissolved in the magma. 

I find it interesting that Barry says that both the Bible and conventional geologists have it all wrong regarding what happened prior to the Flood.  That is, all creatures living on earth prior to the Flood were destroyed by the scalding water that erupted in these supposed fountains.  But as explained above, that cannot happen.  Nevertheless, he says that the evidence for this mass destruction is the jumbled masses of boulders in sediments in limestones that contain abundant carbon and kerogen.  He suggests that this kerogen represents muscle material of all the creatures that were destroyed.  I find it interesting that rocks older than the Snowball Earth event do not seem to have any evidence of such abundant creatures in the form of fossils.  So, their presence or existence is pure speculation on the part of Barry.  I repeat − I find it very strange that not a single trace of these abundant creatures destroyed in the supposed scalding water is preserved in older sediments.  Barry says that that the only surviving animals from the scalding waters were those that Noah carried on the Ark.  That is an interesting hypothesis but built on pure speculation. 

Third, I learned from Barry’s article that carbon is soluble in water and that this is how limestones are formed.  I do not know where Barry took his chemistry course, but to my knowledge carbon is not soluble in water. 

Fourth, I learned from Barry that limestone (both dolomite and calcite) only occurs in the sediments beginning in the Paleozoic.  That may be true, but it does not mean that older limestones did not exist at one time because deep-burial metamorphism at high temperatures and pressures changes limestones into marbles.  Marbles in the oldest rocks of the Archaeozoic era are lacking because deep burial makes carbonate minerals unstable, and they break down to release carbon dioxide.  In my studies of Precambrian metamorphic rocks, I have observed remnant traces of marble beds that are being converted into Ca-, Mg-, and Fe silicate rocks, so I know this happens, and experimental studies support that this process occurs.  So, there is ample reason for their absence.
Fifth, I learned from Barry’s article that nearly all, if not most, limestones in the Phanerozoic are formed by chemical precipitation.  There is little to no evidence for this.  In my experience, most are derived from shells of marine animals.  The local increase of concentrations of carbon dioxide in the air and oceanic water sounds a bit accelerated if he wants to accomplish this precipitation in only a few years’ time or even to accumulate great thicknesses of fossil shells.  To produce great thicknesses of chalk beds with astronomical numbers of calcareous shells and to produce enormous accumulations of diatoms in nummulitic limestones in just few years requires rates at which calcium and silica ions can be provided to the oceanic waters far beyond rates of transport of these ions in rivers draining away from continents on the earth’s surface.  The low solubility of silica in water, particularly, and the very slow weathering rates of igneous rocks strongly limit this possibility.  What he proposes is magic and not supported by science.
Sixth, Barry describes trap rocks of great thicknesses in India and Siberia.  But to have such great thicknesses as being deposited in just a few years’ time defies any known rate at which magma can be erupted. 

Seventh, Barry says that the magnetic stripes in the oceanic rocks of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans result from oscillations of earth’s magnetic field.  That is likely true, but to get these stripes to have mirror images on either side of mid-ocean positions in just a short period of time of a few years, requires that the lavas are erupted very rapidly in these mid-ocean centers and that the oceanic plates must move on conveyor belts at speeds that are totally beyond how crustal plates 100 kilometers thick can flow.  His model is pure fiction.   

Eighth, I have some problems with the rate at which animals evolve through the Phanerozoic era so that all these species changes and extinctions can be squeezed into less than 6,000 years.  This rate seems too fantastically fast on the basis of modern genetic studies.  But my chief objection to Barry’s model is the impossibility of generating fountains of scalding water on the scale at which he proposes.

Setterfield Response:
Answer to Questions 1 & 2.
In his reply, the correspondent is assuming that I am following the standard astronomical/geological model of how the earth and planets formed. On this standard scenario the earth started off in a state which was molten, or which was molten shortly after its formation. This molten state allowed the various layers in the interior of the earth to be formed as a result of gravitational action. Thus all the nickel and iron sank down to the core, the silicate mantle was above it and the lightest material formed the crust. A molten earth is required for this gravitational process to operate. The standard model says that the earth either started off in this state or became that way shortly after because of the “iron catastrophe” where the draining of iron into the core released large amounts of gravitational energy which made, or kept, the earth molten for some time after its formation. On this approach, water was inextricably mixed up with the molten rock. Furthermore, radioactive materials came to reside in the crust in high concentrations at an early date. The rest of what the correspondent says is based on that model. It does not take account of the entirely different scenario that the plasma model presents.

The Plasma model has the earth and planets forming from a major plasma filament which has undergone a filamentation instability and fragmented into a number of smaller filaments within the major one. The main filament then undergoes a Bennett pinch and the plasma is pinched to form a ball of material. In this way, planets form from the minor filaments, while the sun forms from a large central filament.

In such plasma filaments, the process of Marklund convection operates to sort out the ions of elements into a layering sequence based on ionization potential. Ionization potential is the ease with which a neutral atom of an element can lose an electron and become ionized. Thus the elements and ions with the lowest ionization potential preferentially collect in the center of any filament while the element or ion with the highest ionization potential collects on the outside. The elements with the lowest ionization potential are nickel and iron and a number of radioactive elements. These are preferentially located at the center of the filaments, while silicon, magnesium, sulfur, etc make up the mantle, with carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, forming the upper mantle asthenosphere and oxygen and nitrogen forming the atmosphere.

It is important to note that when an ion comes to rest at its preferred location in the filament, its temperature drops so that when the Bennett pinch occurs and the plasma forms a ball, that layered ball is cold, not molten. Thus, on the plasma model, the earth started off solid and cold, not molten. This scenario is supported by the oxygen atoms found in zircons from the Jack Hills area of Western Australia. These oxygen and other atoms trapped in the 4.2 billion atomic year old zircons show that there was a hydrological cycle in operation on the earth’s surface, with an ocean, rain and rivers. This is at the earliest times after planet formation, when, on the gravitational model, the whole planet was molten. Herein is the initial difference between the two possible models.

Also indicating an early hydrologic cycle, it should be noted that are earliest rocks are metamorphic.  This means they were initially laid down by water and then transformed by the heat of impacts, as discussed a little further down with the formation of cratons.  This does not fit with the standard model, but it does fit with the plasma model.

Therefore, on the plasma model, planets started out layered and cool with radioactive elements concentrated deep in their interiors. As these radioactive elements rapidly decayed, they produced heat which heated up the planet. We know from studies of asteroids and meteorites that these bodies had up to 20% water contained in their interiors. There is no reason to assume this was not also the case with Earth. As internal temperatures rose, the water would be driven off towards the surface. Only in the last few weeks, plumes of water have been found erupting like geysers from the surface of the largest asteroid Ceres from this process [Localized sources of water vapor on the dwarf planet (1) Ceres”, M. Kuppers et al., Nature 505, pp.525-527 (23 January 2014)]. Other asteroids show evidence of liquid water having acted in their interiors and on their surfaces at an early astronomical date. A fuller discussion of this can be found here and here.

These results are understandable since the boiling point of water is much lower than the melting point of rock. So the water is going to be driven off first and accumulate under the crustal and sub-crustal layers. Eventually the pressure will build to such a degree that the water will explode out in a massive episode. There may be the eruption of some magma, but water will be the primary component. As heating continues in the interior, the mantle rocks themselves will melt and become mobile.

There is evidence on both Mars and Venus that the catastrophic outgassing of water from the planet’s interior has also occurred there as well as on Earth. Here are summaries for the evidence on both Mars and Venus.

The conclusion is that your correspondent has followed the standard model uncritically and not examined all the evidence. This results in his misunderstanding of the processes at work. It also results in his comment that “there is nothing that will keep these radioactive elements at depth” until about the time of the Snowball Earth catastrophe. But the truth is, until about that time, with no generally circulating molten rock, these radioactive elements would remain locked away in the earth’s interior.

The associated comments of the correspondent, regarding magma plumes from the earth's interior forming the cratons during the Archaeozoic, also need to be viewed in a different way.

However, there is an additional component I would like to add here. The initiation event which caused the magma plumes that formed the cratons, can be roughly dated as occurring about 3.9 to 3.2 billion atomic years ago. The core materials of cratons themselves date slightly later than that, and ongoing activity in the neighboring regions later again. The approximate initiation date is well-known astronomically; it corresponds to the shower of debris which came from the outer solar system and is called the Late Heavy Bombardment (LHB). These impactors caused the dark Maria on the Moon where molten rock generated by the impact event flowed out and covered the impact sites. Essentially the same has happened on Earth. So this interpretation of the cratons does not require a molten interior for the earth, whereas the model accepted by your correspondent does. The force of the impacts themselves was enough to melt rocks and, as indicated above, transform the early sedimentary rocks to the metamorphic rocks associated with cratons.

Question 3 to 5:
Surprisingly, your correspondent mentions in the context of limestone formation that he did not know that carbon was soluble in water.  We have proof of that every time we open a can of soda. The high concentration of carbon dioxide in water gives the following reaction:

H2O + CO2  --> H2CO3   which in the presence of calcium gives CaCO3.

As pointed out in Cosmology and the Zero Point Energy, where all of this is explained in detail, the production of calcium by bluegreen algae is considerably enhanced by the higher photon count resulting from a lower strength of the Zero Point Energy in the early universe. Thus massive limestone beds could easily occur as the oceans would have a very high calcium content as well as carbon dioxide. There is ample evidence for the presence of algae during the Precambrian so this proposition also is relevant for that period and any limestones that may have formed then. Since the production of calcium in these creatures is dependent upon the rate of photosynthesis, and that in turn is shown in the Monograph to be dependent upon the number of incoming photons, and that is shown to be very high, then the production rate of calcium will also be very high. Note that while the number of incoming photons is very high, their individual amplitudes are low, so that the total light intensity remains basically the same.

Question 6:
The eruption rate of flood basalt magmas is assumed by your correspondent to be the outcome of “normal” volcanic processes, presumed to take place over millions of years. When astronomical considerations are taken into account, however, a different situation emerges. The emplacement of the flood basalts of the Siberian traps (dated about 250 million atomic years) and the Deccan traps in India (dated about 65 million atomic years) both correspond to massive asteroid impacts that are closely linked to the breakup times of bodies in what is now the asteroid belt. In the case of the Siberian traps, there is the association with the massive impact basin in Wilkes Land in the western Antarctic. That structure is close to 400 km across. The Siberian traps are at the antipodal point of that impact. We see similar results from great impact basins on Mercury, Mars and, to a lesser degree, on the Moon. In each case the pressure and rarefaction pulse from the impact has gone through the planet and has been focused at the antipodal point. In the case of the earth, the internal temperature had built up at the time of the Antarctic/Siberian event. As the pulse went through and emerged at the antipodal point, the pressure pulse fractured the ground and subcrustal region. The following rarefaction meant that pressure was released on the subcrustal rocks. With their high temperature the release of pressure was sufficient to allow the subcrustal rocks to liquefy.

It can be shown that when rocks change from a solid to a liquid, their volume increases by about 10%. This excess volume would have erupted out onto the surface in massive episode unlike any ordinary, or “normal,” volcanic outpouring. It is for this reason that the eruption rate was greater than any currently known. A similar argument applies in the case of the Deccan traps. The full astronomical details supplies data which changes the picture significantly.

Question 7:
The Deccan traps came from one of the series of impacts which also triggered the splitting at the Mid-Atlantic rift. At that stage, the earth’s interior had heated up from its originally cold state so that, by this time, it was essentially molten. When rock melts into magma, it increases its volume by 10%.  As a result, enormous pressure was being applied under the crust. In addition, because of the high water content, particularly in the asthenosphere just below the crust, the magma in that region was very fluid. The series of impacts around 65 million atomic years ago suddenly released the pressure from the earth’s mantle and the crust split along the mid-Atlantic rift. An increase of about 880 km in the earth’s circumference would result if the earth’s interior was heated to just below its melting point. However, if it had become fully molten, an increase of 1360 km in its circumference would occur.  When we look at the topographical map of the Atlantic Rift, we see the ridge system is about 1360 km wide.  Magma would also have poured out along the ridge system with extreme rapidity and the oscillating magnetic field of the earth interior would be recorded. These oscillations would have occurred because of impact related effects on the dynamo of the liquid outer core.

Question 8:
First, regarding any fossilization of animals before the Flood.  The processes required for fossilization were not present then.  Fossilization requires sudden inundation and then draining of chemically rich muds.  This kind of geologic activity was not present before the onset of the Flood, just as it is really not present today.

Interestingly, the Bible gives us some evidence of what was happening geologically before the Flood.  In what appears to be an editorial parenthetic in Genesis 2:5-6, it is stated that  before any plant life appeared, waters were coming up from the crust to water the surface of the earth.  Water does not go up unless it is under pressure; pressure means heat.  By the time we get to the Garden of Eden, the amount of water appears to have increased to the extent that in Eden itself enough water was being extruded to result in the headwaters of four rivers or river systems.  Then, in Genesis 7:11, we read that the onset of the Flood itself was not rain, but the massive explosion of ALL the ‘fountains’ of the deep and, in the most ancient of texts, this is what actually resulted in the rain that followed. 

Given what we can piece together, there is no reason to expect anything to be fossilized before the Flood or during it.  It would only be after, during episodes of earth movement which would cause slides of the chemically rich muds which had been extruded, that we would expect to see fossilization.

Your correspondent has problems with the rate at which evolution must have occurred if the above scenario is followed. That is a topic all in itself. Let us assume that related animals like wolves, foxes, coyotes, dogs, dingoes etc, or horses, zebras, donkeys etc, came from original ancestors, which had all the genetic information needed to give rise to the variations we see in the other related animals. It is then possible to get all these variation within a relatively short time.  We already know that isolating portions of populations can result in certain sets of characteristics becoming predominant.  We do the same thing with breeding programs of domesticated animals.  Your correspondent must be aware that this does not take long periods of time.

I trust that these considerations show your correspondent that, when the fuller picture is considered with the astronomical data, then the proposition becomes more reasonable than he expected.

Kind regards,


February 6, 2014