LINDSAY MARKS HAROLD·MONDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2017
The rock strata of the world being found in layers with fossils in a general progression, though with some mixing, is actually very consistent with a global flood. Most creation scientists believe a lot of the layers were deposited as slurry flows, not minute sediments settling out of suspension. In that sort of scenario, we would expect distinct layers to form, with various organisms caught in the flow and being deposited according to their ecosystems, which were the source of the sediments.
The most popular model for the global flood is known as catastrophic plate tectonics (or CPT) and involves rapid, runaway subduction of at least one crustal plate followed by formation of new crust through cooling of mantle rocks. I also happen to think there was an inversion of the land and sea such that the continents we now have were once ocean floor. The pre-flood continent delaminated and the bottom portion subducted, dumping the top portion off as sediments on the ocean floor.
In this scenario, we would expect to find benthic oceanic life at the bottom of the geologic column, buried where it lived, with a general progression vertically of ecosystems from coast to further inland. On top of that general trend, we would expect more intelligent and motile organisms to flee the rising waters by moving inland and thus be found in upper layers, not necessarily where they lived. There would certainly also be cases of mixing as well, with some fossils found in unusual places, but this may not be the rule.
This model also explains how we can have contiguous layers spreading over hundreds of square miles and across continents and with knife-edge sharp boundaries between layers, yet with no sign of erosion or normal land topography to indicate it was an exposed surface for a long period of time. It explains rapidly buried fossils, in positions of asphyxiation, trauma, or with other signs of very rapid death and burial and with impressive preservation. For example, we have fossils of animals buried in the process of giving birth or with food still half-eaten in their mouths. We also have mass graveyards of disarticulated bones from many different organisms, which would be expected in areas of greater turbulence. A global flood explains preservation of soft bodied organisms like jellyfish which literally disintegrate in a matter of hours when exposed to the elements, yet which appear in the fossil record in nearly perfect detail. It explains preservation of ephemeral markings like raindrop impressions, ripple marks, and animal tracks, which had to be buried extremely rapidly. A global flood explains these and many other details of the fossil record much better than gradual sediment accumulation over long periods of time.
Toward the end of the flood, we would expect the denser new crust formed from cooled mantle rocks to sink isostatically, causing the previous ocean floor, now covered in sediments, to rise and become continents. The continents also broke apart at some point and divided to form the Atlantic Ocean. Further movements and collisions of the plates pushed up mountain ranges such as the Rockies, Andes, and Himalayans. Water rushing off the continents into the newly sunk ocean basins caused the extensive erosion on the continents, especially noticeable in places like Monument Valley or the Grand Canyon.
It is often suggested that the fossils from the bottom of the geologic column are less sophisticated than those at the top, but this isn't necessarily true. We do see a general trend that benthic oceanic creatures are at the bottom, but some of these were very sophisticated and advanced. The body structure of the trilobite, for example, is highly developed and complex. And these bottom-dwelling ocean creatures of the Cambrian layers appear quite suddenly, with extremely diverse and well-developed body plans, without any known ancestors in the layers below them. It's a serious challenge for the old earth narrative to explain this explosion of diversity. But in a flood scenario, this makes sense. They were already at the bottom and got buried first.
We also expect, as I already pointed out, that more motile and intelligent animals would be able to flee from danger and are more likely to be found in upper layers, having been overcome later by the rising waters.
The fossil record isn't a record of long ages of time, but a record of a global catastrophe. It's a whole different way of looking at the evidence we find in the rocks, but it does fit a lot of observations, and in fact makes more sense of some observations than the standard viewpoint.