Paper Abstracts

Ocean floor cooling

W.J. Worraker, R. Ward

Discipline: Geology

Abstract: Given that the earth's ocean basins are geologically young, few areas being older than early Jurassic, and that most creation scientists regard Jurassic rocks as Flood deposits, these basins must have formed during and since the Flood, i.e. within no more than 4500 years. This paper represents a first attempt at modelling ocean basin formation by the separation of the continents and cooling of the lava erupting at spreading centres well within that limited time. We use a spreadsheet-based finite difference solution of the heat diffusion equation applied to a simple widely-used plate model of ocean lithosphere formation. Having verified our model by reproducing in detail the results of published uniformitarian calculations, we use it to demonstrate the effects of enhanced heat conduction and of a variety of heat sinks, both uniform and tailored in space and time, within a biblical time scale. Enhanced heat conduction is physically unrealistic and delivers an overwhelming heat load to the oceans, thus requiring two extraordinary changes to normal physics. A tailored heat sink reproduces surface heat flux and bathymetry profiles of the observed general forms, but predicted heat fluxes in the broad near-ridge region are far too high, and ridge profiles are too sharp. These problems stem from the presence of an apparently unavoidable near-surface thermal boundary layer. Including more realistic initial conditions and taking account of hitherto neglected geophysical processes (e.g. phase changes during magma depressurization, water production and fluid convection) to construct more sophisticated models are suggested as possible ways forward from this impasse.