Floods cause canyons? Yeah, but…..

Check out this science news article:


Geologist investigates canyon carved in just three days in Texas flood

June 20, 2010

In the summer of 2002, a week of heavy rains in Central Texas caused Canyon Lake — the reservoir of the Canyon Dam — to flood over its spillway and down the Guadalupe River Valley in a planned diversion to save the dam from catastrophic failure. The flood, which continued for six weeks, stripped the valley of mesquite, oak trees, and soil; destroyed a bridge; and plucked meter-wide boulders from the ground. And, in a remarkable demonstration of the power of raging waters, the flood excavated a 2.2-kilometer-long, 7-meter-deep canyon in the bedrock.

According to a new analysis of the and its aftermath—performed by Michael Lamb, assistant professor of geology at the California Institute of Technology, and Mark Fonstad of Texas State University—the formed in just three days.

A paper about the research appears in the June 20 advance online edition of the journal Nature Geoscience.

Our traditional view of deep river canyons, such as the Grand Canyon, is that they are carved slowly, as the regular flow and occasionally moderate rushing of rivers erodes rock over periods of millions of years.

Such is not always the case, however. “We know that some big canyons have been cut by large catastrophic flood events during Earth’s history,” Lamb says.

Unfortunately, these catastrophic megafloods — which also may have chiseled out spectacular canyons on Mars—generally leave few telltale signs to distinguish them from slower events. “There are very few modern examples of megafloods,” Lamb says, “and these events are not normally witnessed, so the process by which such erosion happens is not well understood.” Nevertheless, he adds, “the evidence that is left behind, like boulders and streamlined sediment islands, suggests the presence of fast water”—although it reveals nothing about the time frame over which the water flowed.

Shrewd commenters noticed the irony of that article:

yyz – Jun 20, 2010

I wonder how long before the Texas Board of Education and Young Earth Creationists (same thing, really) point to legitimate research such as this as further proof that Earth “might be” 6,000 years old? We’ll know soon enough.
Andragogue – 23 hours ago
Young Earth Creationists will not doubt cherry pick bits of data from this study thereby adding to the volume of their pseudoscientific books and pamplets sold in gift shops around the Grand Canyon. (At 7 meters in 3 days, that’s about 230 days to carve out the Grand Canyon.)
GaryB – 22 hours ago
> Unfortunately, these catastrophic megafloods — which also may have chiseled out spectacular canyons on Mars—generally leave few telltale signs to distinguish them from slower events.
 Is Lamb a young earth creationist?? There are plenty of signs: Slow erosion such as formed the Grand canyon leaves a meandering canyon when the earth rises under a meandering stream. Fast floods tend to leave straight paths.
Caliban – 21 hours ago
Unfortunately for the YEC crowd, the total volume of material excision that is represented by the Grand Canyon will defy all but the most idiotic or foolhardy among them.
I don’t have exact figures, but the discharge flow/volume rate of moving water required to carve out the canyon, on young earth timescales simply doesn’t exist, and there is no documented megaflood precedent that could even come close to camparing- and even at that at least a couple orders of magnitude too small.
The Grand Canyon simply dwarfs any of the other megaflood sites- Washington state’s Channeled Scab Lands, the English Channel, and the McKenzie River megaflood features, after repeated episodes, are HUGE- but still tiny in comparison to the Grand Canyon.
Ethelred – 18 hours ago
There is a simple way to show that the Grand Canyon was not created by a single great flood.
The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is 2000 feet higher than the South Rim. The Colorado River flows mostly west with a little bit of south. Across the slope. Not along it.
As single great flood would have flowed SOUTH towards the Gulf of Mexico instead of west towards the Gulf of California. Pointing this out has invariably stopped YEC in their tracks for me. Some have even bothered to ask why the Colorado flows the way it does. Thus showing signs that they might have actually begun to think.

Indeed, I highly commend these people for recognizing how Young Earth Creationists (YECs) can misuse data to support their absurd dogmas and knowing how to debunk the Creationist claims before they are even made. The problem is that Creationists use two methods to make their claims:
  1. Taking real phenomenon out of context to support something that is only distantly related to it (There is a HUGE difference between a local flood like what was referred to in the science article above and the mythical flood of Noah).
  2. Ignoring details about something to make a Creationist claim about it plausible when in fact it is not (Have you ever seen flood waters carve out a meandering river course? Also, how could a single flood both make the layers of rock that make up the sides of the Grand Canyon and carve out the canyon itself?)

YECs are deluded liars, of course. And since one of the Ten Commandments of the Bible forbids bearing false witness against one’s neighbor, that must mean Young Earth Creationism is actually unbiblical, right?