I have pondered this important question since 1986 and have considered dates between 3,500 B.C. and 28,000 B.C. A particularly good case can be made for around 9,500 B.C., 11,500 years ago.
Conventional geology is built around a uniformitarian paradigm that discards "anomalous" findings and interpretations that do not support the paradigm. Two veteran geomorphologists, Cliff Ollier and Colin Pain, pushed back in 2000 with their book "Origin of Mountains". They conclude, "Our compilation of mountains throughout the world shows that a major phase of uplift occurred in the Pliocene-Pleistocene." "Uplift occurred over a relatively short and distinct time. Some earth process switched on and created mountains after a period with little or no significant uplift. This is a deviation from uniformitarianism." (page 303).
Mountain uplift is primarily due to compression, which the Shock Dynamics event delivers. "Virtually all major mountain ranges in the world are a consequence of crustal shortening." Some Simple Physical Aspects of the Support, Structure, and Evolution of Mountain Belts. Peter Molnar, H. Lyon-Caen. Special Paper 218, Geological Society of America, 1988, pages 179-207.
D.S. Allan and J.B. Delair provide a large volume of "anomalous" material in their 1997 book "Cataclysm!", which makes a compelling case for a catastrophic event that brings down the Pleistocene world in 9,500 B.C. You can read long excerpts (with many unfortunate copy typos) at http://chapmanresearch.org/PDF/Glacial%20Cataclysm.pdf and appreciate the remarkable fit of the geologic and fossil evidence to the Shock Dynamics theory.
It is my experience that people often mistakenly combine evidence from two separate catastrophic events into one - a global flood. Here is how I see the sequence of events from a creationist point of view:
Why it works:
Dinosaurs - undivided
on the protocontinent
Creationist researcher Michael Oard has studied the extinction of the woolly mammoth for many years. Here are some of his findings.8 "There are probably millions of mammoths buried in the permafrost of Siberia alone. The mammoths are found with a wide variety of other mammals, large and small, many of which were grazers. They lived in a grassland environment with a long growing season, mild winters, very little permafrost, and a wide diversity of plants -- quite different from the climate in the region today." "They were buried in the dust storms that deposited the loess blankets found in those regions today. Some were entombed in a standing position."
Siberia, Alaska, and the Yukon Territory of Canada, together with the surrounding shallow ocean (Bering Strait), are called Beringia. "Mammoths are commonly found in surficial sediments from western Europe eastward through northern and eastern Asia, Alaska and the Yukon. Mammoth remains are also found on some of the islands in the Bering Sea and are dredged from the shallow continental shelves surrounding Beringia. Enormous numbers of ice age mammals, most commonly mammoths, are dredged up from the unconsolidated sediments of the North Sea by trawlers." "Mammoth and mastodon teeth have been dredged from 40 sites along the continental shelf off the eastern US in water up to 120 meters deep." "It would be conservative... to conclude that several million mammoths are buried in Beringia."
"Woolly mammoths are not the only fossil mammals found in the permafrost of Beringia. There are a wide range of other mammals, large and small, that accompany the mammoths. These include the woolly rhinoceros, wolf, fox, lion, brown bear, camel, deer, ground sloth, pika, wolverine, ferret, ground squirrel, moose, reindeer, yak, musk ox, giant beaver, lemming, porcupine, coyote, skunk, mastodon, antelope sheep, voles, hare and rabbit, plus many species of birds, rodents, horses, and bisons."
"There is abundant evidence that the woolly mammoths in Siberia, Alaska and the Yukon died after the Flood." The surface sediment "lies upon hundreds of meters of consolidated sedimentary rock that a large majority of creationists would attribute to the Flood."
As a result of "great tectonic and volcanic upheaval, the stratosphere would have held great quantities of dust and aerosols." "Thus sunlight would have been partially reflected back to space from the volcanic products trapped in the stratosphere. Less sunlight would have meant cooler land surfaces." "Evaporation would be much greater at mid and high latitude than today due to the much warmer water. Copious evaporation close to the ice sheets would have been most favourable for their rapid growth." Oard is probably not aware of the Shock Dynamics theory and, along with most creationists, believes the "great tectonic and volcanic upheaval" occurred during the Genesis Flood rather than long afterward, as presented here. However, the effects are just as relevant.
Oard writes, "I believe the secret to their demise and burial can be found in the type of sediment surrounding the woolly mammoths." "The vast majority of the animals are found in the 'yedomas' of Siberia and the 'muck' of Alaska. The yedomas, a Yukut term, are hills 10-20 meters, sometimes up to 60 meters, high." "There is now general agreement that the yedomas and muck are loess -- a wind-blown silt! Much data support the wind-blown origin of this sediment." "Thus it seems likely that the mammoths in Beringia were mostly killed and buried by dust storms." "The permafrost would then move upward after the loess was deposited and rapidly freeze the remains, thus accounting for the rapid burial." "Copious wind-blown dust even occurs in the ice age portion of the Greenland and Antarctic ice cores."
"Today, Siberia is well known for its bitterly cold winters." "Siberia today is in the permafrost zone where up to a meter of the surface melts in the summer. Water pools on the surface forming massive bogs and muskegs, making summer travel difficult, if not impossible, for man and beast."8
If only two mammoths survived the Flood, was 300 years enough time to build the population of millions that we find buried? Yes. If we use the elephant life-cycle as a model, a 13 year doubling rate would produce a population at least as large as that which was buried.
Calcium carbonate from seawater
On the other hand, the much later Shock Dynamics impact did not remove enough atmosphere to lower atmospheric pressure, so calcium carbonate was not produced in vast amounts as before. Cross-continental waves did deposit sediment, but only a little calcium carbonate was released by wave agitation. That is why Cenozoic layers are mostly loose sediment, unlike the hard Paleozoic and Mesozoic rocks. "Cenozoic sediments can be recognized in the field because for the most part they are just that, sediments (rocks composed of unconsolidated [loose] materials). Where lithified, Cenozoic sandstone is usually friable [crumbly] and shale is mechanically weak." --Rance, Hugh. 1999. The Present is the Key to the Past. Queensborough Community College Press, online textbook, page 213. "The sedimentary rocks of the Cenozoic era are, for the most part, quite loose and uncompacted; it is relatively rare to find hard rocks, such as so generally characterize the older formations." --Scott, William Berryman. 1914. An Introduction To Geology. The MacMillan Company, New York, Chapter XXXV.
Folding and faulting
Over 175 impact crater structures have been found on Earth; 42 are 20 km or more in diameter. It is likely that many others exist in remote regions that have been less studied. We would expect there to be hundreds more on the seafloor since oceans cover most of the planet, yet hardly any have been found. Water depth may be a factor, and they may be difficult to discern. Impact craters are spread throughout the geologic column. For uniformitarians, that means billions of years. For creationists, that means bombardment during the catastrophic events that laid down the strata. So in this model of Earth history, both the Flood and the Shock Dynamics event must have been associated with global meteorite bombardments.
"The Moon and all the terrestrial planets were resurfaced during a period of intense impact cratering." "Only a sudden injection of impacting objects into the terrestrial planet zone could account for the abrupt end of the intense bombardment; thus, this event has been named the Late Heavy Bombardment (LHB), or sometimes the Lunar Cataclysm." "The lunar cataclysm hypothesis postulates that the intense bombardment of the Moon lasted only a very short period of time." "Therefore the LHB was a catastrophic event." "The LHB affected the entire inner solar system, not just the Moon."
Crater size distribution and chemical analyses show that "the source of the LHB impactors was the main asteroid belt and that the dynamical mechanism that caused the LHB was unique in the history of the solar system and distinct from the processes that produce the flux of objects currently hitting planetary surfaces."
"The terrestrial planets have been impacted by two populations of objects that are distinguishable by their size distributions. Population 1 is responsible for the LHB, and Population 2 is responsible for impacts since the LHB period."
"The size distribution of Population 2 projectiles is the same as that of the near-Earth asteroids and quite different from that of the LHB projectiles." Strom, Robert G., Renu Malhotra, Takashi Ito, Fumi Yoshida, David A. Kring. 16 September 2005. The Origin of Planetary Impactors in the Inner Solar System. Science, Vol. 309, pp. 1847-1850.
Of course, the uniformitarian timescale places the LHB nearly 4 billion years ago, and the "very short period of time" is 20 to 200 million years! Nevertheless, the catastrophic nature of the LHB and the distinct populations of craters are still important observations for creationists.
Some Population 1 craters were later obliterated by a few very large impacts on the nearside of the Moon. These huge impacts leveled (modified) parts of the surface inside and beyond the impact craters, forming "basins", such as the Imbrium, Crisium, and Serenitatis basins. No doubt similar large asteroids hit Earth as well. Head III, James W., Caleb I. Fassett, Seth J. Kadish, David E. Smith, Maria T. Zuber, Gregory A. Neumann, Erwin Mazarico. 17 September, 2010. Global Distribution of Large Lunar Craters: Implications for Resurfacing and Impactor Populations. Science, Vol. 329, pp. 1504-1507.
The following sequence of events seems reasonable:
1) A portion of the swarm of LHB asteroids fell on the Earth, initiating the Flood of Noah by collapsing the vapor canopy.
2) 200 to 300 years later, a handful of very large asteroids arrived in such a tight group that they formed basins on only the nearside of the Moon. The giant meteorite that divided the protocontinent on Earth in the Shock Dynamics model was part of this group.
3) Near-Earth asteroids have been striking the Earth and Moon ever since.
British researchers Clube and Napier have identified what they believe are the shattered remains of a giant asteroid on an Earth-intercept orbit. An unknown number of these pieces have already collided with the Moon and Earth, such as the famous 1908 Tunguska event on Earth and the 1178 AD impact that made the Bruno crater on the Moon. Their list of the remaining pieces includes seven asteroids and two comets (all a few kilometers in diameter); Taurid and Orionid micrometeor streams; and the Stohl dust stream. Clube and Napier suggest that, following the breakup of the giant asteroid, the Moon and Earth were bombarded with a swarm of the pieces and have encountered the diminished remains ever since. They also warn that today there are probably 1000 - 2000 "Apollo asteroids", each over a kilometer in diameter, in potential Earth-intercept orbits. --Clube, Victor, Bill Napier. The Cosmic Winter. 1990. Basil Blackwell Ltd., Oxford, UK. 307 pages.
Chicxulub impact crater
To me, the Shock Dynamics impact fits the profile for the second impact.
What is actually measured in radiometric dating are the so-called parent and daughter elements, such as Uranium-238 and Lead-206 or Thorium-232 and Lead-208. The parent element may decay into many other unstable elements on the way to its stable daughter element. For example, Thorium-232 decays into 9 different elements on its way to Lead-208, and all of these should be present if a rock sample has indeed sat undisturbed long enough to decay to its stable daughter (as long as any parent element remains).
One of the unknowns in geology is how elements accumulated in the different layers of the Earth, and even how the continental crust we live on formed. There are theories, of course, but each has problems. All mainstream ideas involve Plate Tectonics producing continental crust little by little through multiple melting-eruption-hydration-subduction cycles.
My hypothesis is that continental crust was produced during the impact that created the Moon, and was metamorphosed during the Shock Dynamics event. The Moon-forming impact melted the Earth where it hit, forming a "magma ocean" from the oceanic (basaltic) crust at the surface to the lower mantle. The affected area was about 41% of the surface of the Earth, the area covered by continental crust. A veteran researcher makes an important point concerning Earth's main heat-producing "radioactive elements K, U, and Th. The continental crust contains about 35% of the total 'bulk silicate earth' (BSE) supply. But as the crust is only 0.5% of the mass of the BSE, it is enriched by a factor of about 70 in K, U, and Th relative to BSE. This implies that at least 35% of the BSE passed through whatever melting processes eventually formed the continents."15 That it is close to the 41% of the Earth covered by continental crust is encouraging.
During melting, these elements, along with the other radioactive elements, their daughter elements, and many others, efficiently gathered into liquids throughout the affected mantle and rose within magma to the surface. These elements were not dispersed randomly throughout the crust. They fractionated (separated from the magma) according to their atomic structure. Since parent and daughter elements are closely related in structure, they would tend to fractionate together as continental crust rock formed.5 Therefore, measuring how much of each element is in a piece of continental crust measures more than how much of a parent element has decayed into its daughter element. It also measures the abundance of these elements in the source mantle from which they came. In the old-Earth/young-biosphere (plants and animals) model of Gorman Gray, the age of the rocks of the Earth are unknown and could be quite old. The source mantle could have been full of the whole range of radioactive decay elements, from both original accretion and radioactive decay. Thus samples taken from the continental crust would be useless in determining its age.
Each time large-scale melting occurs, parent and daughter elements rise and become more concentrated near the surface. That seems to make the surface rocks appear older to radiometric dating techniques, reversing the order in which they actually formed. The first melting event (accretion of the Earth) formed oceanic basalt. The next melting event (Moon-forming impact) formed continental crust, which is "dated" as older than oceanic basalt. The last melting event (Shock Dynamics impact) caused stress-melting that formed cratons, which are "dated" as older than the rest of the continental crust. Additionally, meteorites in the swarm that initiated the Flood melted continental crust according to their size, speed, and angle of impact. So a large impact such as Vredefort melted a lot of crust, yielding a much older radiometric "date" than smaller impacts that hit at the same time.
The discovery of measurable Carbon-14 in fossilized organic material does, however, put an upper limit on the age of the biosphere: "Given the short Carbon-14 half-life of 5730 years, organic materials purportedly older than 250,000 years... should contain absolutely no detectable Carbon-14." "Almost without exception, when tested by highly sensitive accelerator mass spectrometer (AMS) methods, organic samples from every portion of the Phanerozoic [(fossil)] record show detectable amounts of Carbon-14!" AMS is capable of measuring Carbon-14 levels of less than 0.01 percent modern carbon (pmc). The mean value for fossil samples is 0.29 pmc, while samples without fossils have a mean value of 0.06 pmc. "In terms of the standard geological timescale, all these samples should be equally Carbon-14 dead."3 Dates determined by other radiometric methods for similar samples are far older, up to hundreds of millions of years. But the discovery of protein and soft tissue in a dinosaur fossil thought to be 80 million years old13, confirming previous finds14, adds more doubt to these supposed vast ages. Dinosaur bones have been dated with Carbon-14 (click on pdf).
Without a verifiable way to determine absolute age, researchers in catastrophic geology can only judge relative age; lower rocks were laid down before higher rocks. That is to say, lower catastrophes occurred before higher ones, with rapid deposition of perhaps thousands of feet of sediment in a single catastrophic event, and each new event may have removed some of the previously deposited sediment by scouring. The rock record would not reveal the time between events.
Unburied carcasses disintegrate quickly, so fossilization requires rapid burial. The very slow accumulation of sediment on the floor of a lake or ocean in the uniformitarian scenario could hardly cover even a leaf. Covering a dinosaur would take millennia, so local floods, landslides, or quicksand-like pits are postulated. Yet many strata extend over vast regions. Large numbers of creatures and plants are found fossilized together, often broken in pieces or piled up. The uniformitarian scenario does not fit reality. On the other hand, the catastrophist scenario requires no special pleading, particularly for the action of huge tsumani-style waves of water. The work of French geology researcher Guy Berthault3 has shown that multiple layers of graded beds of sediment can be deposited simultaneously by a single wave, and that lamination is affected by current speed. On a large scale, this would produce a whole series, or sequence, of strata from an individual wave. Deposition by wave after wave over an area could lead to repetitive groups of sequences.
Here is where the broad range of fossils are found in the geologic column.
A very candid book, The Origin of Mountains9, was published in 2000. The authors, Cliff Ollier and Colin Pain, are two PhD Australian researchers in geomorphology with experience in geology before and after the Plate Tectonics revolution. While generally supporting Plate Tectonics, they list 17 problems with that theory. Some of these are: 1) "The total length of spreading sites is three times longer than that of subduction sites." 2) "The North America plate rides indiscriminately over the North Pacific (and other) plates with no regard to spreading sites, plate margins, or transform faults." 3) "If subduction is the cause of mountain building, why did mountain uplift occur mainly in the last 5 million years, while subduction is supposedly a continuous process that worked over the past 50 to 200 [million years] in different parts of the world?" 4) "Subduction fails to explain why there is a period of still-stand [erosion], when land was extensively planated [ie. made smooth] before the period of mountain uplift on a global scale." 5) "Plate tectonics as a general principle has been enormously helpful in many aspects of geology, but its practitioners have neglected the ground surface, and have often been uncritical in their time scales. The geomorphology of mountains and their recent origin make plate tectonics an improbable mechanism for mountain building."9 Of particular interest here is that most mountain uplift is relatively recent, and that globally the surface was made smooth prior to the raising of mountains. They also say that "Uplift occurred over a relatively short and distinct time. Some earth process switched on and created mountains after a period with little or no significant uplift. This is a deviation from uniformitarianism. The mountain building period is generally relatively short. It does not appear to be on the same time scale as granite intrusion which takes tens of millions of years, or plate tectonics which is continuous. The same rapid uplift occurs in areas where hypotheses such as mantle plumes do not seem appropriate. We do not yet know what causes this short, sharp period of uplift, but at least the abandonment of naive mountain building hypotheses might lead to further realistic explanations."9 Their list of mountain ranges mostly includes the "collision" and "brake" mountains of Shock Dynamics which are raised in the latter part of this 26-hour event. The sudden and unique nature of the mountain building they describe is characteristic of the effects from a shock impulse of global proportions.
The Appalachians exemplify impulse mountains raised at the beginning of the Shock Dynamics model. Folding of these mountains was caused by pressure from the shock wave initiated by the giant meteorite impact east of Africa. This is borne out by a specialist in Appalachian geology who wrote, "maximum orogeny [mountain building] took place in a linear core belt... These rocks, and any floor on which they may have rested, were as if gripped and squeezed between the jaws of a giant vise, and at the same time heated up enough to become quite plastic and to stew in their own juice, in the fluids released as they transformed into mineral assemblages." "...for me the vise is not a metaphor but a fairly exact model. Thus the evidence of intense shortening perpendicular to the length of the chain, not only in the folded marginal belts but also in the central core belt, is too clear for me to doubt that there was not only confining but directed pressure, the greatest compressive stress being consistently directed roughly horizontally across the orogenic belt." "Compression then relaxed, and the thickened crust rose isostatically to form mountains and has continued to do so ever since."12 As a believer in Plate Tectonics, he cannot find a mechanism in the crust that could do this, and imagines mantle convection must be involved.
The smooth planing of many continental surfaces prior to mountain building is also interesting. Sliding landmasses would naturally cause waters to overrun the continents and send giant waves rushing across oceans to opposite shores. Here at last we find a cause for the sediment-bearing waves that catastrophists have long recognized as the source of strata of limestone, dolostone, sandstone, shale, etc. thousands of feet thick, as well as for scouring and planing-smooth vast continental surfaces.
All continental flood basalts occurred above the Permian. The most massive by far of these outpourings of molten rock onto the surface of continents was the Siberian flood basalt flow, right at the Permian-Triassic boundary. It is likely that this flow occurred before the Shock Dynamics event, perhaps at the end of a previous global catastrophe.
The Cretaceous-Tertiary (K/T) boundary includes the famous termination of dinosaur fossil deposition. The massive Deccan Trap continental flood basalt outpouring is associated with this boundary. Its location in western India makes it reasonable to connect it to the separation of India from Africa following the giant meteorite impact. Also, the apparent global fallout of iridium (Ir) at the K/T boundary suggests an end to high-energy activity. The thin layer of clay in which the iridium spike (concentration) is found is significant because it indicates a thick global dust cloud, an expected consequence of a giant impact. The persistent work of Gerta Keller in recent years has shown that the Chicxulub impact was not connected to K/T extinction. Her placement of the Chicxulub impact 300,000 years before the K/T extinction6 is meaningful to uniformitarians but not for catastrophists, who place at least the whole Mesozoic section in a single event.
However, another finding is noteworthy: "Throughout Central America, the Chicxulub glass spherules have never been observed together with the iridium anomaly or the mass extinction but always well below it."6 Glass spherules, or shocked quartz, are traceable chemically to a specific meteorite impact; iridium fallout is not, thus far. Hundreds of impact craters have been found on land, some larger than Chicxulub. The question naturally arises, why are there not more large iridium spikes found in the geologic column? After studying about 8,000 rock samples, researchers at Los Alamos Laboratory concluded "The K/T Ir anomaly is far stronger than anything we have found in our analysis of thousands of sedimentary-rock samples from throughout the fossil record. Our work on Deccan basalts and other forms of volcanism have convinced us that eruptive processes were not the source of the Ir anomaly."10 Keller proposes that a larger impact than Chicxulub yielded the K/T Ir anomaly.6
1. Allan, D.S., J.B. Delair. 1997. Cataclysm! Compelling Evidence of a Cosmic Catastrophe in 9500 B.C. Bear & Co., Rochester, Vermont.
2. Barrett, Paul M., Roger B.J. Benson, Thomas H. Rich, Patricia Vickers-Rich. Published online June 21, 2011. First spinosaurid dinosaur from Australia and the cosmopolitanism of Cretaceous dinosaur faunas. Biology letters, doi:10.1098/rsbl.2011.0466.
3. Baumgardner, John R., D. Russell Humphreys, Andrew A. Snelling, Steven A. Austin. 2003. Measurable 14C in Fossilized Organic Materials: Confirming the Young Earth Creation-Flood Model. Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Creationism, R.L. Ivey (editor), pp. 127-142.
4. Berthault, G. 2002. Analysis of Main Principles of Stratigraphy on the Basis of Experimental Data. Lithology and Mineral Resources, Vol.37, No. 5, pp. 442-446.
5. Brimhall, Jr., George H. 1987. Preliminary fractionation patterns of ore metals through Earth history. Chemical Geology, Vol. 64, pp. 1-16.
6. Keller, Gerta, et.al. 2004. More evidence that the Chicxulub impact predates the K/T mass extinction. Meteorites & Planetary Science, 39, Nr 7, pp. 1127-1144.
7. Lister, Adrian, Paul Bahn. 2007. Mammoths: Giants of the Ice Age. University of California Press, Berkeley, Los Angeles.
8. Oard, Michael J. (2001?) The extinction of the woolly mammoth: was it a quick freeze? 11 pages, open source online.
9. Ollier, Cliff, Colin Pain. 2000. The Origin of Mountains. Routledge, London. pp. 296-307.
10. Orth, C. J., et.al. 1990. Iridium abundance patterns across bio-event horizons in the fossil record. Geological Society of America Special Paper 247, pp. 45-59.
11. Rasmussen, Birger, Ian R. Fletcher, Janet R. Muhling, Courtney J. Gregory, Simon A. Wilde. December 2011. Metamorphic replacement of mineral inclusions in detrital zircon from Jack Hills, Australia: Implications for the Hadean Earth. Geology, Vol. 39, No. 12, pp. 1143-1146.
12. Rodgers, John. 1970. The Tectonics of the Appalachians. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York. p. 224.
13. Schweitzer, Mary H., et. al. 1 May 2009. Biomolecular Characterization and Protein Sequences of the Campanian Hadrosaur B. canadensis. Science, Vol. 324, 626-631.
14. Schweitzer, Mary Higby, Jennifer L. Wittmeyer, John R. Horner. 2007. Soft tissue and cellular preservation in vertebrate skeletal elements from the Cretaceous to the present. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Vol. 274, pp. 183-197.
15. Sleep, Norman H. 2005. Evolution of the Continental Lithosphere. Annual Reviews of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Vol. 33, pp. 369-393.