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The Creation Science Association for Mid-America
Volume 30: (6)
"It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man." Psalm 118:8
Western Kansas Safari 2013
by Doug Dexheimer
Our annual “CSAMA Western Kansas Chalk and Fossil Safari” is now history.
The safari began at 9:00A.M. on Saturday May 25, 2013 at the Tuttle Creek Reservoir, near Manhattan, KS.
The second change we noticed was a number of new “wind farms” situated in an east-west line between Silvan Grove and the volcanic ash deposit. We paused briefly to watch their gleaming white blades spinning gracefully in the wind.
Some very interesting minerals also abound in the canyon. See articles on gypsum veins, and “Noah's Travelers” in this issue.
There is a prominent overlook south of Castle Rock. From the top of the overlook, we had a downward view of Castle Rock to the north, and the Voo-Doo Badlands to the south.
We ate our lunches at the top of the overlook before driving down to the lower plain for a discussion of chalk formation and algae blooms. Dr. David Demick shared his photos of the microscopic cocoliths that make up the chalk. He also showed us a recent news article describing an algae bloom so thick that it was killing fish. The additional nutrients from the dying fish then caused the algae to bloom even more profusely. We believe a similar phenomenon took place at the time of Noah's flood, when the infusion of nutrients provided by massive numbers of decaying organisms caused far greater algae blooms. In a matter of hours, the buildup of accumulated skeletons from the resulting dead sea creatures smothered all nearby lifeforms in place before they had a chance to free themselves from the accumulating ooze, where they were then rapidly buried and fossilized before they could begin to decay significantly.
In 2007, professional fossil hunter Alan Detrich found a fossilized Xiphactinus protruding from a hillside between Scott City and Oakley. He has offered this find of an even larger “fish-within-a-fish” for sale to any willing buyer. 1
The next stop was Keystone Gallery, where we admired a number of large, mounted, fossilized fish
and a Mossosaur.
All the fossils displayed at this shop were found in chalk formations within 30 miles of that spot. Several sharks’ teeth, and other small fossils were purchased at this location.2
Although unusually windy, the return trip eastward was pleasant and happily uneventful.
Gypsum Veins in Chalk
by Doug Dexheimer
Scattered across the chalk beds of Wildcat Canyon in Western Kansas, you’ll stumble across veins of gypsum, a clear or white crystalline mineral lying within cracks in the surrounding chalk. At first glance, it appears to be chunks of petrified wood standing above the chalk. This photo shows the apparent “grain” of a chunk of gypsum crystal that was collected at Wildcat Canyon.
Gypsum is a very soft sulfate mineral composed of calcium sulfate dihydrate, with the chemical formula CaSO4·2H2O. It is mined widely, and is used as a fertilizer, and as the main ingredient in many forms of plaster. A very fine-grained white or lightly tinted variety of gypsum, called alabaster, has been used for sculpture by many cultures including ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and medieval England, where we find the Nottingham alabasters. It has a hardness of 2 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. It forms as an evaporite mineral and as a hydration product of anhydrite.
Gypsum is moderately water-soluble (~2.0–2.5 g/l at 25°C) and in contrast to most other salts, it exhibits a retrograde solubility, becoming less soluble at higher temperatures. When gypsum is heated in air it loses water and converts first to calcium sulfate hemihydrate (bassanite, often simply called "plaster") and, if heated further, to anhydrous calcium sulfate (anhydrite).
Gypsum occurs in nature as flattened and often twinned crystals, and transparent, cleavable masses called selenite. Selenite contains no significant selenium; rather, both substances were named after the ancient Greek word for "moon."
Selenite also occurs in a silky, fibrous form, in which case it is commonly called "satin spar." Finally, it may also be granular or quite compact. In hand-sized samples, it can range anywhere in appearance from transparent to opaque. A very fine-grained white or lightly tinted variety of gypsum, called alabaster, is prized for ornamental work of various sorts. In arid areas, gypsum can occur in a flower-like form, typically opaque, with embedded sand grains, and is known as “desert rose.”
It also forms some of the largest crystals found in nature, up to 12 metres (39 ft) long, in the form of selenite, recently discovered deep in cavities below lead and zinc mines in Naica, Mexico.1
How did it get here in the middle of chalk beds?
Most chalk is almost pure calcium carbonate, CaCO4. It likely precipitated from an inland sea long ago, probably during Noah’s Flood. As the sun baked the exposed surface of the chalk, it dried out, causing the chalk to shrink, and cracks to appear.
It is generally believed that burning coal or wood upwind from a rain shower often results in “acid rain.” However, volcanic eruptions are also a major cause: sulfur in volcanic gases combines with water to form sulfuric acid, H2SO4. Now when acidic rainwater washes across dry beds of chalk, a simple chemical reaction occurs:
Calcium carbonate and sulfuric acid combine to form calcium sulfate dihydrate (gypsum) and carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide, being a gas, dissipates into the air. Here’s the chemical equation:
CaCO4 + H2SO4 = CaSO4·2H2O + CO2
The calcium sulfate accumulates, or “grows onto” other gypsum crystals in the cracks of chalk, often causing the cracks to grow wider with each acid rain shower.
How does acid precipitation affect marble and limestone buildings (and soft chalk formations)?
Acid precipitation affects stone primarily in two ways: dissolution and alteration. When sulfurous, sulfuric, and nitric acids in polluted air react with the calcite in marble and limestone, the calcite dissolves. This causes roughened surfaces, removal of material, and loss of carved details on exposed areas of buildings and statues. Surface material may be lost from just the more reactive spots, or from entire surfaces of these structures.
You might expect that rain-sheltered buildings and statuary would be protected from such damage. Unfortunately, even these structures often show blackened crusts that have spalled (peeled off) in places, revealing crumbling stone beneath. This black crust is primarily composed of gypsum, a mineral that forms from the reaction between calcite, water, and sulfuric acid. Gypsum is soluble in water. Although usually washed away from carbonate stone surfaces exposed to acid rain or sulfur dioxide gas (SO2), it persists on protected surfaces that are not directly washed by rainwater. Gypsum is white, but the crystals form networks that trap particles of dirt and pollutants, giving the crust a blackened look. Eventually the blackened crust blisters and spalls, revealing the crumbling stone beneath it.
A black “crust” of dirty gypsum can be seen at the tops of chalk formations such as Castle Rock, the Chalk Pyramids, and the “Voo Doos,” or badlands, nearby. The dark coatings on the limestone cliffs of the Grand Canyon
CSA Monthly Meeting
Tuesday July 2nd, 2013
“Origin of Life”
by Kevin Anderson
In Darwin's day, it was thought that living cells were simple, making it easier to imagine that cells were built up through long, slow, gradual, natural processes. Today, as we are able to delve further into the details of even the simplest of living cells, we are finding that they are not simple at all, but extremely complex, with many “all-or-nothing” systems that characterize cellular functions and cannot be the result of such gradualism. A half-developed system, which is needed for cellular function, would do a cell no good at all along its evolutionary development and this defies a naturalistic origin. We will also discuss the nature of the information stored in the structure of the DNA molecule, as well as the obviously divine "Sender" of that information.
(For time & location see box near the end of this newsletter.)
Coming Events: 2013
(1st Tuesday of each month;
Local and National Conferences
International Conference on Creationism
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Attend CSA Meetings by ordering the audio ($5) or video ($13) tape/CD. To order, request by meeting date and topic. Copies of above items may be borrowed from...
The CSA Lending Library
Overland Park, KS 66212
are likely comprised of this same dirty gypsum. This gypsum crust is not the same as the “desert varnish” seen on other arid rock surfaces.
Desert varnish, or rock varnish, is an orange-yellow, to black coating found on exposed rock surfaces in arid environments. Desert varnish is usually around one micron thick and represents nanometre-scale layering. Rock rust and desert patina are less-frequently used descriptions of the same condition.
Desert varnish forms only on physically stable rock surfaces that are no longer exposed to frequent precipitation, fracturing, or wind abrasion. The varnish is primarily composed of clay particles intermingled with iron and manganese oxides. Generally associated with the varnish are a host of trace elements and some organic matter. The color of the varnish varies from shades of brown, to black.
Limestone is not typically covered with this varnish, since its water solubility provides an insufficiently stable surface for varnish formation. Shiny, dense, and black varnishes form on basalt, fine quartzites, and metamorphosed shales, due to these rocks' relatively high weather resistance.
Where, you may ask, is the chalk that used to be there, level with the tops of these formations? The gypsum crust on top has protected the softer chalk from wind and rain. The harder caps on the tops of the formations survive to this day, while the softer chalk below is more easily washed and dissolved away. If you look at the base of Castle Rock or the Chalk Pyramids, you will see broken piles of chalk that are slowly washing away with each rain. The same process is taking place at the Voo Doos, and the Chalk Pyramids. In the 10 or 15 years that CSA has been visiting Castle Rock, we have seen a significant decrease in the size of the towers.
Note: Watch for next month’s issue. A sequence of photos of Castle Rock will be presented showing how the formation has deteriorated over the relatively short time CSA has been visiting this area.
Some interesting examples of hard rock pebbles and gravel are scattered across the surface of the chalk in Western Kansas’ Wildcat Canyon.
What could possibly have moved these rocks 500–1,000 km (300–600 miles) from their source over almost-level ground (slopes less than 0.1 degrees)? The geological processes that transported them are clearly not happening today!
What is quartzite?
Quartzites come in almost every color of the rainbow. Many have percussion marks, indicating violent collisions during transport, in suspension at times, in deep torrential waters.
Quartzite rocks are so hard that they can be rolled long distances without disintegrating, as most other rocks would. They are composed of the mineral quartz (SiO2) and bound together with silica cement. Quartzite was once a softer sedimentary sandstone. But heat and pressure changed it into a hard metamorphic rock. Quartzites come in countless colors and designs. Some are banded with the original colors of the sandstone strata. Though usually mixed with other local rocks, quartzite cobbles can be easily recognized after a little practice. They are unusually smooth and rounded, and the lighter colors have a semi-opaque look. If you break one open, the inside has a sort of granulated or "sugared" appearance. For this reason, some people call them "sugar agates."
The area along the Continental Divide signifies the nearest sources from which the scattered quartzites could have come. This reflects the locations that my friends and I have observed or have read about in the literature. As quartzites were carried east of the Rockies, they acted like gigantic cutting tools and planed the hills flat on the Northern Great Plains. How could this be explained? We have a clue in the retreating phases of Noah’s Flood.
For the waters of Noah’s Flood to recede, there had to be differential sinking and rising of the earth’s crust. This is probably what Psalm 104:6–8 is describing:
So You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
The waters were standing above the mountains.
At your rebuke they fled,
At the sound of Your thunder they hurried away.
The mountains rose; the valleys sank down
To the place which You established for them. (NASB)
Thus the floodwaters receded from vast surfaces of the earth with tremendous erosional force. The fact that quartzites were left on the tops of ridges and plateaus suggests that they were first carried by huge sheets of water which were flowing over a generally flat landscape. But as the mountain ranges continued to rise, land emerged above the eroding floodwaters, lifting the rocks as well. Further mountain uplift very likely constricted and directed the waning Flood currents. This would initiate a more “channelized” phase of the receding Flood. Also, during this phase, major drainages and canyons were carved, and probably much of our present-day topography was formed. At this time, most of the quartzites were swept away with other eroded material. However some remained mixed with the gravels along major river valleys, and others collected in newly-formed deep basins. This is what we would expect to see with the flood model, and this indeed is what we observe in the field.
The long distances that quartzites have traveled are a great mystery for evolutionary geologists.
Geological researchers Peter Klevberg and Michael Oard have studied quartzite distributions. They have asked what sort of currents would be required to carry boulders over 1,000 km (600 miles) from their source. By applying open-flow channel equations they calculated that oblong boulders 15 cm (6 inches) across would require currents of at least 105 km per hour (65 mph) in waters 60 m (200 ft) deep. These figures are minima! These rates are astounding, especially considering that modern-day flash floods seldom exceed 30 km (20 miles) per hour, even flowing down steep slopes. Modern floods don’t come close to explaining the distances most quartzites have traveled.
We can’t rule out the possibility that super-dense mudflows and other mass-wasting processes also played a part in transporting quartzites. However, most far-traveled quartzites show evidence of rounding by a fluvial (watery) transport. Additionally, many quartzites are scarred with semicircular percussion marks. Most geologists agree that these marks indicate the rocks banged against one another while being carried in suspension in a violent watery flow.
Quartzite distributions are a powerful and convincing signature of the recessive phases of the Genesis Flood. The reality of the Flood is a solemn reminder that God is the Sovereign Ruler and Judge over His creation. So why are the evidences for the Flood we’ve outlined in this article so significant? Because if the Flood happened the way the Bible says it did, then the supposed evidence for evolution and millions of years collapses. Either most of the earth’s fossils, sedimentary rocks, and landforms signify long ages of evolution, or they represent a recent watery catastrophe. Two such grossly divergent hypotheses cannot possibly be accepted simultaneously by a sound mind – i.e., “you can’t have it both ways.”
What the Bible says about the Flood is important. It is foundational to clear and consistent Bible history and theology, and it provides a sturdy underpinning to reliable Earth science.
As we gathered for our Sunday potluck supper during the recent Western Kansas Chalk and Fossil Safari, a conversation with Christie Wickert began when she offered everyone at the picnic table some hand sanitizer. She had a small pocket-sized bottle, and a larger jug with a pump dispenser.
My reaction to her question took her by surprise. I pondered aloud, “I’ll bet hand sanitizer and sterile environments are partly to blame for the antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARB), also known as “superbugs,” for which the medical community are presently scurrying to find a cure.” My comment was based on several articles debunking the notion that bacterial evolution or mutation is the basic cause for the recent outbreaks of drug-resistant diseases.
Imagine my surprise to find several articles on a related topic in recent emails!
“These studies, along with epidemiological observations, seem to explain why immune system disorders like multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma and allergies have risen significantly in the United States and other developed countries.
Training the Immune System“What a child is doing when he puts things in his mouth is allowing his immune response to explore his environment,” Mary Ruebush, a microbiology and immunology instructor, wrote in her new book, “Why Dirt Is Good” (Kaplan). “Not only does this allow for ‘practice’ of immune responses, which will be necessary for protection, but it also plays a critical role in teaching the immature immune response what is best ignored.” 4
Although I find each one of the above articles very interesting, all are based on a secular world view.
For the biblical, creationist worldview, let’s take a look at what Dr. Carl Wieland, MD wrote about the drug-resistant bugs that infected HIS OWN body.
Here’s a brief summary of what he said:
When I was finally discharged from hospital, I still had a strain of supergerm colonizing my body. Nothing had been able to get rid of it, after months in hospital. However, I was told that all I had to do on going home was to “get outdoors a lot, occasionally even roll in the dirt, and wait.” In less than two weeks of this advice, the supergerms were gone. Why? The reason is that supergerms are actually defective in other ways, as explained. Therefore, when they are forced to compete with the ordinary bacteria which normally thrive on our skin, they do not have a chance. They thrive in hospital because all the antibiotics and antiseptics being used there keep wiping out the ordinary bacteria which would normally outcompete, wipe out and otherwise keep in check these “superwimps.”
This is why more than one microbiologist concerned about these super-infections has mused (only partly tongue in cheek) that the best thing to happen in major hospitals might be to dump truckloads of germ-laden dirt into the corridors, rather than keep on applying more and more chemicals in a never-ending “arms race” against the bacteria. In other words, stop using the antibiotics (which of course is hardly feasible), and all this ‘evolution’ will reverse itself, as the bacterial populations shift back again to favor the more hardy, less resistant varieties.
The balance of this article is quoted from the creation.com webpage.
1. “Supergerms” are actually not “super” at all. They are generally less hardy than naturally-occuring organisms of their type, and therefore less likely to survive outside of the typically “sterile” hospital environment.
2. There are many instances in which germs become resistant by simple “natural selection” of those among them who already posess a resistance to certain antibiotics (this includes resistances “imported” from other bacteria).
3. Where a mutational defect causes resistance, the survival advantage is almost always caused by a LOSS of genetic information, rather than by an INCREASE. There is NO evidence of any “information-adding,” or “uphill” change.
4. The existence of “supergerms” provides no evidence to sustain the claim that living things evolved from simple to complex by the slow, progressive addition of genetic information over millions of years.
Death, suffering, and disease (including infection) are part of the curse which came upon a once-perfect world through the rebellion of our original ancestor, Adam, against his Maker.
Bacteria actually provide evidence AGAINST evolution. They multiply at incredibly high rates. In a matter of only a few years, bacteria can go through massive numbers of generations, genetically analogous to millions of years of human generations. Since we observe constant mutation and natural selection in bacterial populations, we should therefore, according to evolutionary thinking, see in them tremendous amounts of genuine evolution. Unfortunately for the evolutionist, the bacteria we have with us today are essentially the same as those described by Robert Koch a century ago. In fact, there are bacteria found fossilized in rock layers claimed by evolutionists to be millions of years old, which are, as far as we can tell, indistinguishable from their present-day “relatives.”
The famous French biologist Pièrre Grassé, who held the chair of evolution at the Sorbonne for many years, admitted that mutations in bacteria simply showed shifts back and forth around a mean, without any net change. He concluded, “mutations do not produce any kind of evolution.”
The next time you read about “supergerms,” remember that everything known about them is consistent with the Genesis creation account of an originally good, complex world, ruined by sin.
You can read the entire text of Dr. Carl Wieland’s bout with superbugs at this address: