Mudstone: Geologists Should Have Read Morris and Whitcomb First
“The entire [Biblical] account plainly yields the inference that tremendous quantities of earth and rock must have been excavated by the waters of the Flood … and the materials that were eroded must eventually have been redeposited somewhere, and necessarily in stratified layers, such as we find everywhere around the world today in the great sedimentary rock systems.” –Henry Morris & John Whitcomb, The Genesis Flood, 1961, p. 123.
“Many ancient shale units, once examined carefully, may thus reveal that they accumulated in the manner illustrated here, [in moving water] rather than having largely settled from slow-moving or still suspensions. This, in turn, will most likely necessitate the reevaluation of the sedimentary history of large portions of the geologic record. Elucidating the mechanisms of mudstone deposition not only helps to better understand the rock record but also benefits hydrocarbon exploration, hydrogeology, and coastal and shelf engineering.” — Schieber et al., December 2007
Wow. How did a hydraulic engineer and a theologian know that mudstone was deposited in moving water 46 years ago, but mainstream geologists are just now realizing it? Simple. They realized that the Genesis Record is an accurate record of history after all. And they realized that the reasons people reject the account of the Genesis Flood are often philosophical, not scientific. So Morris & Whitcomb studied the evidence and wrote a book explaining scientifically how the account of the Flood is true. Now, after much educational effort on the part of organizations like ICR and AIG, mainstream geologists are slowly coming back around to catastrophism as an explanation for the geologic record. Also, critics like Glenn Morton who say that “ICR theories on oil formation were useless to actual oil exploration” are mistaken. Creationist theories could actually enhance oil exploration and provide new ideas about where to find it as this recent article from the leading journal Science makes clear. Just think how advanced our geologic knowledge would be if all geologists would have read The Genesis Flood as part of their graduate programs!
Science 14 December 2007:
Vol. 318. no. 5857, pp. 1760 – 1763
Accretion of Mudstone Beds from Migrating Floccule Ripples
Juergen Schieber,1* John Southard,2 Kevin Thaisen1
Mudstones make up the majority of the geological record. However, it is difficult to reconstruct the complex processes of mud deposition in the laboratory, such as the clumping of particles into floccules. Using flume experiments, we have investigated the bedload transport and deposition of clay floccules and find that this occurs at flow velocities that transport and deposit sand. Deposition-prone floccules form over a wide range of experimental conditions, which suggests an underlying universal process. Floccule ripples develop into low-angle foresets and mud beds that appear laminated after postdepositional compaction, but the layers retain signs of floccule ripple bedding that would be detectable in the rock record. Because mudstones were long thought to record low-energy conditions of offshore and deeper water environments, our results call for reevaluation of published interpretations of ancient mudstone successions and derived paleoceanographic conditions.A key issue in mudstone sedimentation is flocculation, a phenomenon in which a number of these parameters, such as settling velocity, floccule size, grain-size distribution, ion exchange behavior, and organic content “come together.” A joining of smaller particles to form larger aggregates, flocculation enhances the deposition rate of fine-grained sediments, and its understanding is critical for modeling the behavior of mud in sedimentary environments.
The notion is widely held that slow-moving currents or still water are a prerequisite for substantial mud deposition (7, 8) because shear stress in swift-moving currents disrupts previously formed fragile floccules and prevents their deposition, but our observations suggest an alternative mode of mud deposition that apparently left its imprint in the rock record.
Mudstones constitute up to two-thirds of the sedimentary record and are arguably the most poorly understood type of sedimentary rocks (9).
Our observations do not support the notion that muds can only be deposited in quiet environments with only intermittent weak currents (8). Instead, bedload transport of flocculated mud and deposition occurs at current velocities that would also transport and deposit sand (21). Clay beds can accrete from migrating floccule ripples under swiftly moving currents in the 10 cm/s to 26 cm/s velocity range, a range likely to expand as flows with larger sediment concentrations are explored.
In the course of two decades of detailed studies of shales and mudstones, one of us (25–27) has seen comparable low-amplitude bedforms (Fig. 4D) in shale units that were deposited in a wide variety of environments. Examples can be found in the Mid-Proterozoic Belt Supergroup, the Devonian of the eastern United States, the Jurassic Posidonia Shale, the Cretaceous Mancos Shale, and the Eocene Green River Formation. This suggests that mud accretion from migrating floccule ripples probably occurred throughout geologic history. Many ancient shale units, once examined carefully, may thus reveal that they accumulated in the manner illustrated here, rather than having largely settled from slow-moving or still suspensions. This, in turn, will most likely necessitate the reevaluation of the sedimentary history of large portions of the geologic record.
Elucidating the mechanisms of mudstone deposition not only helps to better understand the rock record but also benefits hydrocarbon exploration, hydrogeology, and coastal and shelf engineering. Managing mud is important for the maintenance of harbors, shipping lanes, and water reservoirs, especially given the impact of climate change. How mudstones act as barriers to fluid migration (oil and water) is probably linked to depositional processes that affect mud microfabrics. For example, if a mud accumulated from current-transported floccules, one might expect a network of larger pores, poorer sealing capacity, and easier release of liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons. Conversely, accumulation in still water from dispersed clays and low-density floccules should lower permeability and may produce an oil shale that clings tightly to its generated hydrocarbons. These qualities are also critical for the ability of a mudstone unit to protect aquifers from contamination and to compartmentalize groundwater reservoirs. http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/318/5857/1760?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&volume=318&firstpage=1760&resourcetype=HWCIT