Paper Abstracts

Large Tsunamis and the Flood Sediment Record

J. Baumgardner

Discipline: Geology

Abstract: A daunting challenge for Flood geology is providing a credible explanation for how the staggering volume of fossil-bearing sediment was eroded, transported, and deposited in orderly patterns on the surface of the normally high-standing continents in only a few months' time. This paper applies numerical modeling to explore the question of whether repetitive giant tsunamis generated by catastrophic plate tectonics during the Genesis Flood can plausibly account for the Flood sediment record. The modeling suggests with reasonable parameter choices that tsunami-driven erosion during the Genesis Flood can produce considerable volumes of new sediment, that tsunami-driven pulses of turbulent water can transport this sediment vast distances across the continental surfaces, and that these hydrological processes generate sequences of laterally extensive layers often separated by erosional unconformities. The model incorporates a representation of the dynamic history of the continental blocks to explore the consequences of continental motions. It also includes an initial continental topography, with low elevations along the coasts and higher elevations inland. This computational study provides important insight regarding the primary source of the Flood water, how that water was able to cover the normally high-standing continent surface, what produced and sustained the water flow, primary sources of the sediment, primary means of sediment transport and deposition across the continent surface, why so little erosional channeling occurred between sediment layers, processes responsible for observed paleocurrent directions, and mechanisms responsible for the abundance of planar erosional features at many scales. It is vital to stress that the exploration described in this paper is still exceedingly limited in its realism relative to the actual earth and includes only a restricted subset of the processes in operation during the Flood cataclysm. Despite the limitations, it suggests strongly that tsunamis likely played a key role in producing the fossil-bearing sediment record we observe today.