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.

11 Responses to “Mudstone: Geologists Should Have Read Morris and Whitcomb First”

  1. Can you refer us to that portion of the paper that suggests the mudstones were deposited in a global flood just a few years ago? Thanks ever so much.

  2. The paper of course does not say that. But it says that mud beds don’t require still water to form. They can (and probably were) deposited by moving water … just as Morris and Whitcomb asserted 46 years ago. Don’t worry, Jukia, I’m not saying the Global Flood is proven because of this paper. Just saying that people should read Morris and Whitcomb. Have you?

  3. Nope, got better things to do than read Morris. There is no evidence for a young earth or a global flood, don’t need to read about something that did not really happen unless the writer means it to be fiction and I take it Morris and Whitcomb do not.

  4. lordkalvan Says:

    Again you make the mistake of assuming that there is an either/or choice between catastrophism and uniformitarianism (or gradualism, or whatever you wish to call it). This is a false dichotomy, at least as far as contemporary understanding of the processes that shaped the face of the Earth is concerned. The catastrophism that you reference here is the same catastrophism that was posited as the only logical explanation for the way in which the Earth could have been shaped in the few thousand years available in the mythical timescale provided by the efforts of eccentrics to calculate the age of the Universe from a collection of ancient legends.

    This ignorant catastrophism was supplanted by the rational conclusions of serious geologists like James Hutton and Charles Lyell who, through fieldwork and careful observation came to the inevitable conclusion, based on the evidence before them, that geological processes consumed millions of years. The modern concept of catastrophism incorporates into that gradualism the understanding that long-term processes are punctuated by short-term events of some violence, such as impacts from large extraterrestrial bodies (e.g. Chicxulub) and massive outflowings of basaltic lava (e.g. the Deccan Traps). Again, this understanding is based on observation and evidence and not on the requirement to conform to a theological interpretation of natural processes.

  5. Dave, since you use Whitcomb & Morris’s “The Genesis Flood” as a reference I’m surprised you haven’t refuted VoxRat’s review of it ( at TalkRational. VoxRat found over two dozen posts worth of errors, conjecture and plain stupidity which reflects poorly on W&M as a creditable source. None of which you have bothered to defend. Additionally, you haven’t updated the post above to reflect these errors even though we both know you are aware of VoxRat’s thread. You claim to be after the truth but don’t seem to act in a honest manner.

    Additionally you claim that this blog is free of censorship. Time and your actions will determine if this is true or not. Prove me wrong but just in case my suspicion is correct I am posting a copy of this message at

  6. It’s dishonest to dismiss anyone as ‘not worth reading’ without refuting what they have said. I don’t believe you have refuted any of what he has said or even responded to the vast majority of it. Provide links to prove otherwise.

    Along the same lines, even though you have stated that he ‘has proven himself to be a very dishonest’ I don’t think you can provide an example of this as proven anywhere.

    In fact, isn’t your entire last reply an assertion without proof? Isn’t this something you have done repeatedly in your online discussions at TalkRat and previous forums? Isn’t this dishonest?

    I applaud the fact that you approved my last comment. You’ve said that your blog won’t be censored and you kept your word. I’m hoping you continue to do so but just in case I am posting a copy of this comment at

  7. ninewands Says:

    Hi Dave,

    You wrote:
    “Voxrat’s critique is not worth reading. Voxrat has proven himself to be a very dishonest, low content poster who spins pretty much everything to try to make Creationism look bad while paying very little attention to what the Creationist authors are actually saying.”

    We’ve known each other for a couple of years now, and I don’t think I agree with your take on VoxRat. It appears to me that the one who is doing everything he can to make creationism look bad is you.

    Let that soak in for a while, Dave.

  8. OK. I’m deleting my comment about Voxrat above. He thinks I’m libeling him and I prefer not to argue with him.

  9. If I say something about someone and take it back because I refuse to defend it then I apologize as well. Maybe you should do the same it’s only polite.

    Additionally, while you have deleted the comment here you have not done so on TalkRat where you have made similar comments in more then a few places. If you were honest you would delete or defend all of these comments.

  10. lordkalvan Says:

    I must say I tend to agree with black5. Your statement regarding the removal of your comments is clearly qualified with the opinion that you think those comments were really entirely justified. If this is the case, you should be prepared to defend them and saying that you ‘prefer not to argue with him’ only suggests that you find his response to your accusations tiresome. If you no longer believe your comments justified, you should do as black5 suggests and delete similar comments elsewhere and apologize.

  11. porzitski Says:

    Quoted …
    “VoxRat found over two dozen posts worth of errors, conjecture and plain stupidity which reflects poorly on W&M as a creditable source. ”
    Here we go again – stupidity, ridiculous, better things to do, no evidence (when there is actually much that looks like evidence to the non-dogmatic) (un-dogmatic?), ignorant catastrophism, and so forth and so on.
    Then the subject changes to “you should apologize …”
    THIS is science?!?

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