In his June Acts & Facts article, Volcanoes of the Past, Dr John D. Morris argues for an exponential decay of the power of volcanoes since the flood. It should come as no surprise that this requires the cherry-picking of data in order to support his claims. But first, an introduction:
During the great Flood of Noah’s day, God unleashed His great power, exercising His righteous judgment on the wicked and violent civilization that had rejected Him. He promised not only to judge sinful man, but also to judge the earth (Genesis 6:13). All of Adam’s dominion (Genesis 1:26) came under the sin penalty because of his choice to reject God’s kingship over creation. By the time of Noah’s day, rebellion had increased so much that God finally enacted His just penalty for sin (Romans 6:23). He sent the worldwide Flood to punish the wicked world, purge the entire planet, and start over with the descendants of righteous Noah.
Don’t forget: Noah’s Flood was the genocidal cleansing of almost the entire population of the planet in retribution for their (unspecified) sins.
The Flood primarily involved hydraulic processes, with rainfall pummeling the earth for 150 days (Genesis 7:11-8:4). The “fountains of the great deep” also broke open, spewing onto the surface of the earth huge volumes of water, magma, and whatever else was beneath the earth’s crust. “Fountains” suggest tectonic activity as well, both on land and under water.
Morris repeats the 150 days claim. Once again, the 150 days was the time until the water abated (Gen 8:3) – the famous ‘forty days and forty nights’ constrains the actual raining to that, much shorter period. Now for those volcanoes:
Through an understanding of today’s volcanic eruptions, we can better comprehend those of the past. However, the rock record of the past suggests that yesterday’s volcanoes were evidently “supervolcanoes,” accomplishing geologic work hardly comparable to those we currently observe.
There were, however, plenty of more boring volcanoes as well, something which rather ruins his exponential decline idea. It’s analogous to the inch ruler on the right where an apparently exponential decline is spoiled by the lines that don’t go down so far.
If we plot the volume of ash and lava extruded by volcanoes throughout history—comparing Vesuvius (79 A.D.) and Krakatoa (1883) to more recent volcanoes, such as Mount St. Helens (1980) and Pinatubo (1991)—we come to the conclusion that the earth processes are quieting down. Then if we plot the materials blown out by volcanoes that erupted during the great Flood and soon thereafter (inferred only from the materials left behind), then we conclude an exponential decline in the power of earth’s volcanoes over time. Flood volcanoes were many times greater than those recently witnessed.
What’s missing here? To begin with, the most powerful eruption in the last 5000 years was the Hatepe eruption of Taupo, in around 180-230 (dates given vary). And by far the most powerful eruption in many millions of years was Toba, which – due to the human fossils beneath the ash – cannot be construed to be anything other than post flood. This alone destroys the claim that “Flood volcanoes were many times greater than those recently witnessed,” for relevant values of ‘recently.’
Morris also provides a map of a number of Western US volcanic eruptions, and a diagram comparing the amount of material ejected. These are: the Huckleberry Ridge Tuff, the Lava Creek Tuff, the Bishop Tuff, the Mazama Ash, and the “Mount St. Helens Ash” (presumably corresponding to the most famous eruption of 1980). These are cherry-picked so that the chronological order also shows a decrease in eruption volume. For example, the first two are from Yellowstone. Missing, however, between these is the other eruption, which produced the much smaller Mesa Falls Tuff: this alone ruins the progression. In addition, there will be many, many smaller eruptions omitted that muck things up, often from the same volcanoes which simply would not have the time to do so.
Earth underwent a complete tectonic restructuring during the great Flood, with supervolcanoes, mega-earthquakes, supercurrents of flowing water and mud, and hypercanes. All of these exhibit a similar exponential decline in intensity. Thankfully, we do not witness comparable events, and God promised we wouldn’t, but by studying the impact of the great Flood we can begin to understand how much God hates sin. Likewise, we can surmise the nature of the coming judgment, when the earth will pass away and be replaced by the new earth (2 Peter 3:10-13).
It is generally agreed that Yellowstone will erupt again. Just give it time…
The plan for the A&F stuff this month is to give each of the more science-related article its own post, and then post the rest as one. We’ll see how it goes.