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Young earth evidence. The sedimentary rocks.

Updated on May 18, 2015

A look at the evidence

Albert Einstein once said "The Lord may be subtle, but he's never malicious!" .What did he mean? Is it that God may have created the earth, but he did it using natural laws (that he wrote in the first place!) and he displays the wonder of creation through those laws.

A few days ago I found a question on the hub 'Creation Myths Part 1' asking "Are there dating methods that indicate a young earth?"

Never one to walk away from a challenge I've started to look at of there really are any methods of dating a young earth? The search has thrown up some interesting things.

I haven't found any 'Theories' as such but it turns out that there are a number of pieces of evidence that are often used in arguing the age of the Earth. There is a lot of discussion as to how accurate the evidence is but I thought it at least worth the look.

Depending on whom you read (or talk to) you'll hear figures anything from "None" to "Over a hundred" so in the next few hubs we're going to take a look at the top ten pieces of evidence for a young earth and see if they 'stack up'

One thing that you'll hear often (I noticed as I read some of the 'old earth' accusations) is that the people teaching about a young earth are people who may have Doctorates but they're not geologists! That just isn't true! Thirty years ago maybe but today the teachers of the young earth accounts are men and women with Doctorates in geology and related fields from some of the most respected and prestigious universities in the world including Harvard. Just in case you want to check that out I've put a link to an article in the New York Times about these scientists.

In the Beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth

How old is our home?
How old is our home?

Sedimentary Rocks

The discussion

According to mainstream 'Inflation theory' and evolutionary scientists (by the way "The inflation theory" is the correct term for what we know as the Big Bang theory) the Earth is about four and a half billion years old.

When it first came into existence there was no water on the planet and it was just a huge molten mass probably millions of degrees Celsius but over time it cooled.

When and how water first arrived on earth is still unsure but the theory says that sometime around 3.8 billion years ago water first arrived. Possibly in meteorites or maybe an asteroid strike. By 3 billion years ago enough water was on earth to form rivers, seas and oceans and another process began. EROSION

Water and erosion

For three billion years (according to present theories) water has been on the earth and slowly changing the surface of the planet by a process of erosion. Water is dropped on the high points and slowly (or not so slowly) makes it's way to the oceans where it eventually evaporates and is transported back to the high points to begin the process again.

Each time this takes place the water wears down the rocks that it meets and small, almost microscopic pieces of rock are brought down with the water and eventually deposited either in the ocean or in the mouth of the rivers that it travels in, this process is what's known as erosion.

When the rocks are worn down like this they are known as silt and slowly settle down where over time they compact and become stone again, but this stone is different to the original stone that they were, it's known as 'sedimentary rock'

One thing about sedimentary rock is that since life started on earth living things lived, died and often their bodies settled into the sediment where they either became part of the rock (like limestone which is fossilized micro organisms) or fossils in the rock.

Types of rock on Earth

  1. Igneous rock.
    This is the Rock that came straight out of the Mantle of the earth and had not been changed. A classic of this is a lava flow.
  2. Sedimentary rock.
    Once the water or weather patterns have begun to work on the igneous rock and worn it down then sedimentary rock is formed. Sandstone, Coal and Limestone would be three types of sedimentary rock
  3. Metamorphic rock.
    This is rock that has come under stress from either heat or pressure and changes. Quartz and Diamonds are metamorphic rocks.

It's estimated that in one year erosion produces between twenty and twenty five billion tons of sedimentary rock. That's just in one year! Yet in all that time only 8% of the earth's rocks are sedimentary! If the earth has had weather patterns to make erosion for 3 billion years then were is it all?

The problem

If erosion has been happening for the past three billion years and water has created about twenty billion tons of sediment every year then there should be a lot more sediment than there is. The total sediment produced by erosion should cover the earth and be thousands of feet thick, but it only covers a small part of the ocean and only to a depth of a few hundred meters.

One argument used is that the tectonic plates are constantly moving and replacing the sediment as it slides back into the mantle at the edges of the plates (earthquakes). But there are problems with that idea.

Some have said that it may be as much as all the sediment that it literally recycled but some studies point out that actually very little sedimentary rock is recycled. The sediment is actually lifted folded and forms the Mountain ranges.

The tectonic plates move about two millimeters (one eighth of an inch) every year. Some years they don't move possibly for decades but then suddenly they move with devastating results "EARTHQUAKE" is the earth's way of renewing itself. Even with the tectonic plates moving and renewing the sediment it still only replaces about five percent of the sediment! or one billion tons. So where's all the rest?

Sediment and the Creation view

Taking the argument to it's conclusion

The argument goes that if we use the presence and quantity of sedimentary rocks as evidence of a young earth then according to Dr Andrew Snelling (Doctorate in geology) we would come up with a date for the earth of around twelve million years which is considerably more than the 6-10,000 years of the creation account (around 200 times the age) but considerably less than the 4.5 billion years of the old earth proponents (around 400 times less than that!)

So, if the figures are correct then we have the following situation

If we date the earth at 10,000 years then the discrepancy is 11,990,000 years but

If we date the earth at 4,500,000,000 years then the discrepancy is 4,498,000,000 years!

Young earth creation seeks to explain the excess sediment as the result of the flood during Noah's time and a devastating but brief ice age that happened afterwards where many of the fjords and lakes were formed.

In conclusion

In a sense this hub could be a never ending task as more and more is uncovered in this area. This is only one 'evidence' that is quoted in this subject and I'm not 100% sure that I've put it in the best light but I wanted to put it 'out there' to stimulate discussion among people.

I'm not expecting to change anyone's views on creation and evolution and that's not the purpose of the discussion, more to show the 'other side' to a debate that has been going on rather one sided for a long time.

I'm actually hoping that my fellow hubbers who have an interest in this subject will join in and leave comments with their thoughts that I can follow up on and we can all benefit from the discussion.

Hope you enjoyed the hub.

Leave a comment


See you soon
See you soon


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    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      No body

      Thank you so much. I don't have much of a science background myself but love reading about this stuff.

      What I try and do is actually look at what the science says rather than what each group says, it gets interesting as you start to see more evidence for a young earth than there is for an old one.

      There will be more hubs in the series so stay tuned.



    • no body profile image

      Robert E Smith 2 years ago from Rochester, New York

      I am going to share this article to my Pinterest board on Creation Science. You laid this topic out with clarity and concise for people like me that is not scientific. I know that God's Word is true. Sometimes I don't know HOW it is true but I know it is. I have had way too many arguments with the Bible to have any more doubts about who it was that wrote it and where They got their information. I plan on sharing each one of these articles in this series. Hope it gets you much traffic in the future. Voted up and awesome! Bob.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 3 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


      Thank you for the visit. It was fascinating putting this hub together. I was surprised whwn I started looking at this just how the information fitted together.

      There will be more hubs on the subject meanwhile you might like to read the one on distant starlight as proof of a young universe


    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I found this rather interesting, just from the standpoint that I am geologically challenged, but I will definitely read more about this. Thanks for the food for thought.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 3 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


      Thanks for coming back and for the information about the Mountain building process. I'm sure I'll be coming back to this in future.



    • Gwyn Buchanan profile image

      Gwyn Buchanan 3 years ago from South Africa

      I've also since, looked a little deeper. That appears to be the consensus, just remember that the mountain building process also results in the metamorphism as well as partial to full melting of sedimentary rock resulting in granitic rocks. Which are then in turn eroded. So you may want to consider the effect of the rock cycle.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 3 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


      I've been back and looked at the subduction rates for sediment in a few articles from various universities. Most of the articles say it's actually the igneous rock that goes back into the mantle and the sediment is 'folded and left' on the top to become our Mountain ranges. They go on to say that the amount of sediment that is recycled is actually 'negligible' which is kind of interesting. (That came from an article by the University of Indiana.)

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 3 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


      Thank you for the comment. Part of yhe reason for the hub was to get debate going. I think I did mention in the hub that subduction and recycling of the sediment could account for some but there is disagreement as to how much.

      As you said not all sediment gets to the seafloor but the difference to what should be there (if we take the old earth age to be correct) is significant.

      Glad the hub got you thinking.


    • Gwyn Buchanan profile image

      Gwyn Buchanan 3 years ago from South Africa

      As a Christian geologist I have thought about this long and hard.

      In terms of sediment on the sea floor: subduction of the ocean crust goes a long way to explaining the lack of sediment there as the ocean floor is regularly recycled back into the mantle and lost to us. Also remember that oceanic sediments are relatively regularly caught up in collision events and end up on continental crust. Also, not all sediment does end up in the oceans. Just look at how much sedimentary rock is on the continental crust.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 3 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


      Thank you for your input. We have a similar background in that I also studied Theology and Biblical studies. I really enjoyed your comments and would agree with you.

      I like what you say about God not creating something to appear what it isn't. If the earth appears old then it must be otherwise it makes the creation and hence the creator to be a liar right?

      My argument is to ask if we've really understood what nature is telling us? We hear from science all the time that Radiometric dating has dated the earth at four billion to four and a half billion years old but are there methods that reveal a younger earth than we've been told? And if so then what are they.

      For me, the big thing in this hub and the others that will come in the series is to let the evidence speak for itself. I probably won't look at Radiometric dating as I did touch a little on it in the hubs I did called "Creation Myths?" but to look at ten other methods of dating the earth that are often quoted by people who believe in a young earth and see where the evidence takes us.

      One thing that surprised me when I wrote this hub was that the evidence didn't really support either side of the debate (it said twelve million years not six to ten thousand or four and a half billion!) and I'm not totally convinced that so much sediment could be created in the flood, but who knows, I may explore that in a hub as well.

      By the way, I'm totally happy with having the Bible here and references to it. I really loved the comment you made with the scripture.

      So, if we can trust the scriptures and they don't lie to us then we must be able to find out the truth of these things (at least that's my reasoning)

      "It's the glory of God to conceal a thing, but the glory of the King to search them out" (Proverbs 25 verse 2 and yes I know I'm not a King!)

      Thanks for the comment and keep them coming.



    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 3 years ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

      I need to jump back in here with another comment. As I look over your hub, you have mentioned creation, but not the Bible. I'm the one that brought the Bible up. If my thoughts in my previous comment are not in line with what you want to discuss, then go ahead and delete my comment. I'll understand. I don't want to take your discussion in a direction you didn't intend to take. Thanks.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 3 years ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

      lawrence01, Very good information here and some interesting ideas. I like to see people keep an open mind regarding the age of the earth, no matter what their view on origins may be. If God created it, He could have done so long ago or more recently. Evidence should rule. I have something I want to share here that has been on my mind a while. My background is in Bible and theology, so that is where this thought arose.

      "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made..." Romans 1:20.

      The point I take out of this verse regarding the current discussion is that all of creation, meaning microscopic and macroscopic, terrestrial and extraterrestrial, literally, all of creation speaks to man. Man is to gain understanding from nature according to this verse. The words "Having been clearly seen" indicate the truth and trustworthiness of what nature has to say to us.

      My point is simply this. The Earth, and all of nature, LOOKS old, very old. From the half life of elements to fossils to the speeds and distances of galaxies, to the rate of the expansion of the universe and much more, the message that the universe speaks is that it is old. Creationists often claim that God created a mature universe and that would go along with what I am saying, that it looks old.

      But if it only appears to be old, and in reality is young, there is a problem when we come to Romans 1:20. This verse says we can trust what nature tells us. But if nature tells us that the universe is old, when it is really young, then nature has misled us, which Romans 1:20 says nature can't do.

      I'll stop there and see if there is any feedback. Please don't mistake my comments here as a criticism of your hub. This just seemed like a good place to share this particular thought and to get input from others.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 3 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


      Thank you for the visit and for raising the issues of the age of other star systems etc, I'll be looking at those in future hubs so 'stay tuned'



    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi, Interesting points, but I still stick to the scientific view of 4 billion years, purely because of the dating of other Star systems, dinosaurs etc, but then again you could be right. As you said the type of dating they do is not always right, so maybe one of these days we will hear something that will all totally shock us! lol! great read!

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 3 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


      You were right on with the points. I took the point about water arriving on the earth when it did from an article (in the further reading section of the hub) written by geologists at the smithsonian.

      They believe the water came from space because of work done showing comets and asteroids have high levels of ice

      Evolutionary geologists use radiometric dating (uranium 238 and potassium argon maibly but not exclusively) as they claim that the rate of decay is constant but there's no proof it is! So this hub was an attempt to look at another way of seeing how old the earth might be and see if we get a younger date.

      There are other ways of dating that I'm planning to look at but this one has got people thinking

      Glad you liked the hub


    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 3 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very interesting topic. I appreciate your research and workout on this. Very logical reasoning has been done.

      But, I have many other points also. How we know when the water first appeared on earth? What if, it has been not there for millions of years or even billion. Argument based on erosion of rocks by water may not be accurate in that case.

      Suppose it constituted only rock. How to know the age of rock? All these geologists tell that rocks are billion years old. How can we verify it?

      But, I am much inspired by your attempt in discussing on this great topic here. Voted up.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 3 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


      Wow!! Thanks so much. Truth is I enjoyed researching the subject and intend to do more on these 'evidences' . Glad you really liked the hub

      Welcome back anytime



    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Fascinating, Lawrence. You have put in a lot of research on this and your hard work shows. It is late here, or early, so I will be sure to return to read more closely. Up ++++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing God bless

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 3 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


      Thanks for the positive feedback. I did try to be fair in putting the views out but still think my personal 'bias' came out.

      Actually between yourself and Tsadjatko you've given me some ideas for future hubs.

      I'm discovering that i really like writing about science (some might debate what i put in is science but that was part of the reason for writing)

      Taking a look at some of the inbuilt navigation systems in mammals might make a few hubs.

      Thanks again for the visit


    • tsadjatko profile image

      TSAD 3 years ago from https:// online/ hubpages. html

      And Billy, the monarch isn't fascinating because it "evolved," not that you implied it did but

      "Not only does the monarch have to have a built-in clock, almanac, and navigational computer, it has to have the programmed capacity to make and remake its own internal maps. In addition, somehow that learned information (for example which tree it came from) has to be passed to the next generation, who have never flown over that route before. In the light of all that is known today about the processes of inheritance, how that could possibly be is a major mystery."

      that quote is from An Electronic Design Expert who wrote this you might find interesting.

    • tsadjatko profile image

      TSAD 3 years ago from https:// online/ hubpages. html

      Go for it, and thank you for bringing up the topic although, as the video I linked explains, evidence is not enough, your world view must be correct and can be tested by the AIP test. I know from experience few commenters look at a link or video inserted in comments but this one is important if you want to consider evidence for the age of the earth.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 3 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


      Thank you for the comments. You are right about these aspects and I'm planning to look at some others in future hubs. Quite a few are news to me but I think they deserve discussion.


    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nice summation of the arguments, Lawrence. Oddly (or maybe not so) I've never "burdened" myself with this topic. I don't mean that sarcastically. This just isn't a topic I consider too's not on my radar so to speak. The Earth is what it is. I'm more curious how a Monarch butterfly can find its way thousands of miles in generation following another generation and another, none of them ever having made the journey and yet they end up where they always end that is fascinating to me.

    • tsadjatko profile image

      TSAD 3 years ago from https:// online/ hubpages. html

      Dating methods include evidence that the earth can't be billions or milions of years old. For example.

      #1 Very Little Sediment on the Seafloor

      #2 Bent Rock Layers

      #3 Soft Tissue in Fossils

      #4 Faint Sun Paradox

      #5 Rapidly Decaying Magnetic Field

      #6 Helium in Radioactive Rocks

      #7 Carbon-14 in Fossils, Coal, and Diamonds

      #8 Short-Lived Comets

      #9 Very Little Salt in the Sea

      #10 DNA in “Ancient” Bacteria

      #13 Not enough Stone Age skeletons

      #14 Agriculture is too recent.

      #15 History is too short.

      Just Google any one of these and you'll find scientific evidence that confirms a young earth:

      But if you really want the whole truth just finding evidence for a young earth will not do it because a worldview leads to a different interpretation or even denial of the evidence. This is how to approach the truth.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 3 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


      By the way that's not the first time geologists had that result. When Mt St Helens erupted a geologist did the same with rocks less than thirty years old but the labs dated them at between five to ten million years

      The lab at the time did ask that rocks suspected to be less than one million years not be sent to the lab but that discrepancy takes a lot of explaining


    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 3 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


      Thanks for the vote of confidence and the cheque that goes with the prize would be great but alas not likely

      The main aim of the hub was to explore if there was any indication of dating methods that show the earth to be younger than we're told. I don't think its totally conclusive but sure shows some interesting stuff.

      One other argument used is that creation scientists aren't real scientists, they may be a minority but their credentials are as impressive as they come.

      Glad you enjoyed the hub


    • tsadjatko profile image

      TSAD 3 years ago from https:// online/ hubpages. html

      You should get a Nobel prize just for bringing up this subject. Oh, wait, I'm sorry, now you don't have to do anything to get that award and your not black so you probably wouldn't qualify.

      The radioactive potassium-argon dating method has been demonstrated to fail on 1949, 1954, and 1975 lava flows at Mt Ngauruhoe, New Zealand, in spite of the quality of the laboratory’s K–Ar analytical work. Argon gas, brought up from deep inside the earth within the molten rock, was already present in the lavas when they cooled. We know the true ages of the rocks because they were observed to form less than 50 years ago. Yet they yield ‘ages’ up to 3.5 million years which are thus false. How can we trust the use of this same ‘dating’ method on rocks whose ages we don’t know? If the method fails on rocks when we have an independent eye-witness account, then why should we trust it on other rocks where there are no independent historical cross-checks?

      I found this to be one of the most enlightening sources on the subject answering all the questions

      Then of course there is the subject of the Cambrian Explosion which destroys Darwin's theory as he himself feared.


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