The Geology Book
Item # 0890512817
Planet Earth 6
The Ground We Stand Upon 10
Igneous Rocks 10
Sedimentary Rocks 12
Metamorphic Rocks 18
The Earth's Surface 20
Erosional Features 26
Geological Processes and Rates 28
Sediments Become Sedimentary Rock 36
The Deformation of Rocks 44
Were the Continents Once Connected? 47
Metamorphism of Rocks 48
Radioisotope Decay 49
Ways to Date the Entire Earth 54
Great Geologic Events of the Past 58
The Fall 61
The Flood 62
The Ice Age 67
Questions People Ask 69
The Future Earth 73
How Was the Grand Canyon Formed?
Today, the Colorado River flows southerly along the uplifted Kaibab Upwarp and suddenly takes a right-hand turn through the mountain, forming the canyon. What would cause a river to flow directly through a mountain? Rivers usually go around mountains. At the end of Noah's flood it appears that a great volume of water was trapped, held in place by the Kaibab Upwarp. Ice Age rains filled the lake to overflowing and as it burst through its mountain "dam," the huge volume of lake waters carved the canyon.
What Causes the Geysers in Yellowstone Park?
Volcanism continued at an intense rate for several centuries following Noah's flood. The series of volcanic eruptions at Yellowstone was perhaps one of the very greatest. At Yellowstone Park, the soil and rock is thin, allowing very hot material to be near the surface. As rain and run-off water trickle down into the earth they get heated, bubbling up in places as hot springs. In some places the underground water is trapped and when heated to an excessive degree, it bursts out in a geyser. The geyser stops once the pressure is relieved, but will erupt again as building pressures exceed the maximum.
How Did Niagara Falls Form?
The level of water in Lake Erie is somewhat higher than the elevation of nearby Lake Ontario. A river draining the waters of Lake Erie into Lake Ontario runs over the Niagara escarpment, resulting in a spectacular set of falls. Erosion takes place as the water roars over the falls, and the escarpment naturally recedes toward Lake Erie at the rate of four to five feet (1.2 to 1.5 m) per year. Over the years, it has formed a seven-mile-long (3.7 km) gorge between the falls and Lake Ontario. Simple division indicates that the fall and gorge system is only a few thousand years old. Thankfully, engineers have been able to control the erosion, and the falls are stable today.
Why Are the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains So Different?
Both mountain chains are the result of layers of sediments deposited by Noah's flood. The Appalachians buckled up in the early stages of the flood and were subjected to massive erosion by the continuing flood waters. The Rocky Mountains buckled up late in the flood, extending up above the flood waters as the waters drained off. Thus, the erosion to which they were subjected was much less intense.
How Long Does It Take to Form Petrified Wood?
Petrified wood can form, under laboratory conditions, in a very short period of time. There are even companies who produce petrified wood commercially to be used in real "hardwood floors."
There are many examples of wood petrifying in a short period of time. Awooden board dangled in the hot silica-rich waters of a hot spring in Yellowstone was substantially petrified in one year.
The speed of petrifaction is related to the pressures which inject the hot silica-rich waters into the wood. Silica surrounds or replaces each cell, thereby turning the entire wooden object into solid stone.
How Are Stalactites and Stalagmites Formed?
Most caves are found in limestone. The calcium carbonate present in limestone easily dissolves in ground water. The warmer the water and the higher the acidity, the greater the amount of calcium carbonate which can be dissolved by the water. When water saturated with calcium carbonate enters an open space such as a cave, it cools off or evaporates, leaving the calcium carbonate behind. Stalactites (holding "tightly" to the ceiling) and stalagmites (which are usually larger and thus more "mighty" than stalactites) are formed as this calcium carbonate precipitates out of the water.
Obviously, the rate of precipitation varies with the amount of water, the temperature, the acidity, other chemicals present, etc. In many modern caves, the conditions are not conducive to rapid growth of precipitates, leading to the tale that it takes long periods of time to build up large stalactites and stalagmites. In other cases, where the conditions are better, both have been seen to grow quite rapidly, sometimes totally enclosing human artifacts or animals.
Stalactites or stalagmites have even been seen to form in structures, such as the basements of buildings, under bridges, and in mines. Some of the huge features in major caves, however, give evidence that conditions were even more favorable in the past. One can surmise that recently deposited sediments saturated with warm and acidic flood water would have been just right for the rapid growth of such cave features.
How Is Coal Formed?
It is usually thought that coal is formed as a layer of organic peat accumulates in the bottom of a swamp, later to be submerged under the ocean and buried by ocean bottom sediments. Millions of years of heat and pressure are thought to be required. Actually, the features found in modern peat are totally unlike the features found in coal, and nowhere on earth is peat seen to change into coal. Coal can be formed in a laboratory by heating organic material away from oxygen but in the presence of volcanic clay. Under such conditions, coal can be formed in a matter of hours.
One wonders if the abundant forest growing before the flood would not have formed huge log mats floating on the flood ocean. As these decayed and were buried by hot sediments in the presence of volcanic clay, they might have rapidly turned to coal. A situation very analogous to that happened at Mount St. Helens following the eruption of 1980.
How Is Natural Gas Formed?
Natural gas, mostly methane, is given off in the coalification process. Large commercial quantities of methane also occur near where oil is found. The largest quantities of it, however, are found in deep rocks not associated with decomposition of organic material. Methane (CH4) is a rather simple molecule. It is also found in the gases given off by volcanic eruptions, and occasionly in meteorites. Evidently, some natural gas is from both organic and inorganic sources.
How Is Oil Formed?
Coal is obviously the altered remains of plant material. Organic natural gas is from the decomposition of both plant and animal remains as well as a product of the digestive systems of animals and man. Many theories have been promoted as to the specific origin of oil. The best seems to be that it is the remains of algae once floating in the ocean but buried in ocean sediments. Oil is not the remains of dinosaurs as has sometimes been claimed.
Are Dinosaur Fossils the Most Abundant Type of Fossil?
Thousands of pieces of dinosaur fossils have been found and certainly there are thousands more waiting to be found, but actually dinosaur fossils are quite rare. They are found on every continent, but just in a few places. Most fossils are of sea creatures, fish, and insects. Only relatively few fossils are of land animals.
Dinosaurs, being reptiles, probably had a slightly higher fossilization potential than did mammals during the devastating waters of the flood, but not nearly as much potential as marine animals such as clams.