Walt Brown’s flood theory is called the Hydroplate Theory (HT). It assumes that there was considerable water under the earth’s crust at one time (p. 111), and that the continents were originally joined in one supercontinent. Somehow a crack formed in the crust in the Atlantic Ocean region, and water came out at high speed. Water came out of the earth with such force that much of it went into space, forming comets and asteroids. This water removed the crust of the earth near the crack, so that the mantle could rise there and create a kind of a hill there. Also, the supercontinent was partitioned by this crack. The crust broke into plates called hydroplates. These slid downhill towards the Pacific Ocean, separating the continents and raising up the great mountain chains on the Pacific side of continents. Also, tremendous electrical forces generated during the flood caused radioactive elements to form, which did not exist on earth before the flood. The earth was originally larger than it is today, but melting of the magma in the mantle caused the magma to compress and caused the core of the earth to form during the flood. Also, this redistribution of matter towards the center of the earth caused the earth’s rotation to speed up. Many of the sedimentary layers were not formed successively, but were formed simultaneously by water rising through the earth in a process called liquefaction. The hydroplate theory is presented in an online book entitled In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood, 8th edition, 2008. This document is an evaluation of this theory.
The Hydroplate Theory in summary
Here is how Brown summarizes this theory:
The hydroplate theory has three starting assumptions. All else follows from them and the laws of physics. Proposed explanations for past events always have some initial conditions. Usually they are not mentioned.
Assumption 1: Subterranean Water. About half the water now in the oceans was once in interconnected chambers about 10 miles below the entire earth’s surface. At thousands of locations, the chamber’s sagging ceiling pressed against the chamber’s floor. These solid contacts will be called pillars.The average thickness of the subterranean water was at least ¾ mile. Above the subterranean water was a granite crust; beneath that water was earth’s mantle. [See Figure 54.]
Assumption 2: A Global Continent. The earth’s preflood crust encircled the globe. On the crust were deep and shallow seas, and mountains, generally smaller than those of today, but some perhaps 5,000 feet high.
Assumption 3: An Initial Crack. A small initial crack occurred in the earth’s crust. (Later, several ways this crack could have started will be mentioned.) The basic forces that quickly propagated the crack around the earth will soon be explained. (pages 123-124)
The theory also has four phases: Rupture, Flood, Drift, and Recovery.
To understand this theory, it helps to know that the earth is divided into a crust on the surface, a mantle below that, and a core at the center of the earth. The upper part of the mantle is called the asthenosphere, and in conventional plate tectonics, the continents slide on the asthenosphere. Perhaps Walt Brown also believes that this took place, only very rapidly. An interesting fact about the mantle is given by Brown:
Earth’s mantle and inner core are essentially solid. Only the outer core, which lies 1,800–3,200 miles below the earth’s surface, is a liquid. (Brown, In the Beginning, page 118)
General creation evidences
There is also a good discussion of general creation evidences in Brown’s book, but it is not relevant for this study. In general, Walt Brown’s book has a lot of interesting information and points out many things that conventional science cannot explain. The book has much excellent information to strengthen faith in creationism.
Brown (In the Beginning, p. 114) considers plate tectonics, which is the accepted theory for the dynamics of the crust of the earth. It assumes that the crust of the earth is divided into plates that are floating on the mantle of the earth. Circulation of the mantle causes these plates to move relative to one another.
Brown states that plate tectonics is an unsatisfactory theory, and that many evidences do not agree with it. It would require an expert in geology and plate tectonics to evaluate Brown’s discussion of plate tectonics. However, some experts in the field make statements that agree with Brown’s evaluation.
Plate tectonics is becoming more complex as new information is learned, a sign that “epicycles” are with us again. This has caused a growing number of international scientists to announce that “a lot of phenomena and processes are incompatible with this theory [plate tectonics] … we must develop competitive hypotheses.” [A. Barto-Kyriakidis, editor, Critical Aspects of the Plate Tectonics Theory, Vol. I (Athens, Greece: Theophrastus Publications, 1990), p. v.] (Brown, In the Beginning, page 139)
“The single most difficult question that faces the theory of plate tectonics today is the same question that led to the downfall of Wegener’s theory of continental drift almost three-quarters of a century ago. That is, what is the mechanism that drives the plate tectonic machine?” Gordon A. Macdonald et al., Volcanoes in the Sea, 2nd edition (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1983), p. 337. (Brown, In the Beginning, page 139)
The initiation of subduction remains one of the unresolved challenges of plate tectonics. From Brown, In the Beginning, page 172, quoting the following:
Klaus Regenauer-Lieb et al., “The Initiation of Subduction: Criticality by Addition of Water?” Science, Vol. 294, 19 October 2001, p. 578. These authors propose that ocean water may have “softened” the earth’s crust, breaking it along a narrow band all around the earth. Just by adding water, we obtain a narrow faultlike zone for lithosphere separation. … but a sound quantitative description does not exist. Ibid., p. 580.
“In spite of its importance, it is unclear how subduction is initiated.” Robert J. Stern, “Subduction Initiation: Spontaneous and Induced,” Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol. 226, 2004, p. 275. (Brown, In the Beginning, p. 185)
Although these conclusions were understood and widely accepted over 20 years ago, the mechanism responsible for driving the lithospheric motions has remained obscure. It is generally assumed that thermal convection in the mantle is responsible for the dynamics observed at the surface, but to date no one has been able to produce an acceptable model connecting mantle convection with the observed pattern of plate motion (Boss, 1983). (Baumgardner, Numerical Simulation of the Large-Scale Tectonic Changes Accompanying the Flood, page 2, <http://static.icr.org/i/pdf/technical/Numerical-Simulation-of-the-Large-Scale-Tectonic-Changes.pdf>)
However, there is also evidence in favor of plate tectonics:
These observations were compelling enough by the mid-1960s for significant numbers of Earth scientists to embrace the proposition that sea-floor spreading was genuine. However, it was data from the first deep sea drilling expedition by the Glomar Challenger in 1968 in the South Atlantic that for many removed all doubt. Nine sites from the east side of the Mid-Atlantic ridge to a point just off the continental shelf southeast of Rio de Janeiro were drilled to basaltic basement.11 Most of the sediment cores contained abundant microfossils—calcareous nannoplankton and planktonic foraminifera—of species already known from studies in continental shelf environments. These microfossils ranged in stratigraphic affinity from lower Cretaceous to late Pleistocene, with stratigraphic age of the fossils just above basaltic basement increasing progressively with distance from the ridge axis. These data now made it possible to correlate the age of the basaltic ocean basement with the sediment record on the continental shelves. They revealed the South Atlantic Ocean floor to be younger, relatively speaking, than early Mesozoic sediments on the continents and implied South America and Africa had been joined prior to that point in Earth history. Subsequent deep sea drilling of more than 2,000 holes through the Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) and the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) have served to confirm to an overwhelming degree of confidence that none of today’s ocean floor basement anywhere on Earth is older than Mesozoic relative to the microfossil record12 (a well documented record that exists independent of radioisotope methods). ( Baumgardner, Catastrophic Plate Tectonics: the Geophysical Context of the Genesis Flood, April 1, 2002; http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/tj/v16/n1/plate-tectonics)
It would be interesting to see how Brown explains these observations. On pages 114-115 he denies sea-floor spreading and the existence of the associated magnetic stripes. However, the evidence given by Baumgartner in favor of sea-floor spreading does not seem to be based on these magnetic stripes.
Origin of heavy elements
Brown discusses the origin of the heavy elements (p. 122). It is generally assumed that hydrogen, helium, and some lithium were created in the big bang, and then the elements up to iron and nickel were created in stars. However, stars cannot produce elements heavier than this, and it is generally assumed that these heavy elements originated in supernovas, but this process is not understood. According to the conventional view,
So, the big bang produced the three lightest chemical elements: hydrogen (including deuterium), helium, and lithium. Later, after stars evolved, the next 23 lightest chemical elements evolved deep in stars. Hundreds of millions of years later, all other chemical elements must have been produced by supernovas, because temperatures a hundred times greater than those in stars are required. (In the Beginning, page 373)
But when fusion creates elements that are heavier than iron, it requires an excess of neutrons. Therefore, astronomers assume that heavier atoms are minted in supernova explosions, where there is a ready supply of neutrons, although the specifics of how this happens are unknown. [See Eric Haseltine, “The Greatest Unanswered Questions of Physics,” Discover, February 2002, p. 40.]
Where the heaviest elements, such as uranium and lead, came from still remains something of a mystery. Ibid., p. 41.
32. “But simulations [of supernovas] show that these explosions have an insufficient quantity of neutrons.” Grant, p. 17. (In the Beginning, page 141)
Heavy elements have been observed in the spectra of distant stars (In the Beginning, pp. 33-34, 422), so it’s not necessary to say that all heavy elements arose during the flood. Brown even says that they were created in the beginning.
49. HP: Almost all chemical elements were created at the beginning, not just hydrogen, helium, and lithium. (Brown, In the Beginning, p. 384)
Along this line, Brown states
Supernovas did not produce earth’s radioactivity. Had supernovas spewed out radioisotopes in our part of the galaxy, radioactivity would be spread evenly throughout the earth, not concentrated in continental granite. (Brown, In the Beginning, page 361)
In 1957, E. Margaret Burbidge, Geoffrey R. Burbidge, William A. Fowler, and Fred Hoyle published a famous paper in which they proposed how supernovas produce all the heavy chemical elements between iron and uranium. Since then, many supernovas have been seen with powerful telescopes and instruments that can identify the elements and isotopes actually produced. So many elements and isotopes are missing that the supernova explanation must be reexamined. (Brown, In the Beginning, page 385)
“… the temperatures in the interior of stars are measured in tens of millions of degrees, whereas several billion degrees are needed to ‘cook’ radioactive nuclei from the nuclei of lighter elements.” George Gamow, One Two Three … Infinity, Bantam Science and Mathematics edition (New York: The Viking Press, Inc., 1961), p. 329. (Brown, In the Beginning, p. 398)
Brown assumes that a process called liquefaction has originated many of the earth’s sedimentary layers. This process is explained beginning on page 189. Liquefaction has been observed in earthquakes and refers to soil and rocks beginning to flow as water penetrates them. However, it is important to distinguish liquefaction from liquefaction layering. Liquefaction layering is the process by which liquefaction produces sedimentary layers.
The idea of liquefaction layering is that water rising through objects suspended in it, causes these objects to organize in layers similar to sedimentary layers. Brown has done some experiments to illustrate this process. However, he does admit that other factors besides liquefaction influence the content of sediments:
This order of relative buoyancy correlates closely with “the evolutionary order,” but, of course, evolution was not the cause. Other factors influencing burial order at each geographical location were: liquefaction lenses, which animals were living in the same region, and each animal’s mobility before the flood overtook it. (Brown, In the Beginning, p. 193)
The problem is that Brown seems to be using liquefaction to explain everything, be it varves, cross bedding, footprints in the fossil record, the limestone deposits, cyclothems, and sandstone, among others. Here he is reasoning in generalities, and needs to consider why liquefaction produced the particular layers that it did, and what sequence of events happened. We need more evidence that liquefaction actually happened, because there are other explanations for the sedimentary layers that are consistent with creationism. Brown should try to say what kind of layers liquefaction would produce, and how one can know if it was operating. Explaining the sediments is one of the main goals of a flood theory. Liquefaction seems to brush this all away with generalities.
For example, how does liquefaction explain the large fossils that are sometimes found in varves, or a Baleen whale that was found in limestone? One would expect liquefaction to cause objects with a high density to fall, and objects with a low density to rise. This could be checked to see if it is often the case among the sedimentary layers.
Did liquefaction create the layers at Mount St. Helens in the way Walt explains, by water coming up through the earth? In Mt. St. Helens in Davis canyon, many thin parallel layers were quickly formed in sediments, and this happened in a few hours or days due to the horizontal flow of muddy water. Liquefaction layering involves vertical flow. These two processes should be discussed and distinguished. Horizontal flow is associated with turbidities, which are believed to be common in the geological record, and responsible for as much as 50 percent of the sedimentary layers.
Concerning turbidity flows, the example of wave loading on page 190 needs to be considered more carefully. Brown argues that a turbidity flow could not go faster than a nuclear submarine and could not go very fast in any event on a two degree slope. However, nuclear submarines have a different shape, and also possibly could travel faster with more force. The two degree slope of the land does not matter; what matters is how much potential energy is released over the whole extent of the slope. There is less friction underwater, so a landslide could be longer than has been observed on land. As for turbidity currents, there is considerable evidence for them in general. Walt Brown’s tsunami explanation of the 1929 event needs to be more carefully considered by experts in the field.
On page 194, Brown considers large, flat sedimentary layers and concludes that they could not have been laid down over thousands or millions of years. However, other explanations exist for these large flat sediment layers, consistent with the creation view. These explanations also need to be considered. One possible explanation is rapid mixing of the top layer of water over a large area during the flood, with sediment entering, and then settling out. Then more sediment comes in and more mixing occurs, then it settles out again. This produces parallel layers of sediment, and does not require liquefaction. By whatever means sediment enters the water, if there is turbulence in the water, gravity will tend to make the layer of sediment flat. More sediment on top will make another flat layer, and so on, so that creating flat layers of sediment during a flood should not be a problem. Also, turbidity flows have been studied experimentally, I believe, and may be caused by turbulence in flowing water containing particles. Turbidity flows likely caused many of the sedimentary layers, and not liquefaction layering. However, liquefaction layering may have operated in places.
Beginning on page 194, Brown considers many specific formations and concludes that they were formed by liquefaction layering. The problem is that Brown only considers non-creationist and non-catastrophic explanations, and compares them with liquefaction layering. Other creation explanations are also possible in the context of a catastrophic worldwide flood, and even conventional geology is beginning to recognize the operation of catastrophes more and more. For example, varves (page 195) could also be explained by sudden, massive, frequent events depositing sediments, unlike the slow processes at work today. Furthermore, how could liquefaction layering deposit large fossils in the varves? Such fossils are frequently found there.
It seems that liquefaction can explain anything, flat sedimentary layers, varves, footprints, worm burrows, ripple marks, imprints of rain drops, cross bedding, limestone, coal, and cyclotherms. How can this theory be tested? Are there other creation explanations? As for limestone, it might also have been created by diatom blooms in the flood waters. As for plants and animals being separated, the plants are attached to the ground and the animals are not, which would separate them in moving flood waters. Even if liquefaction layering is plausible, we need evidence that it actually happened.
Also, when water is flowing up through the crust during liquefaction, would it not prefer to find cracks and places of least resistance? This means that the layers would not be uniformly flat. Walt even allows for this in the beginning phase of the flood as the crust cracked.
It is questionable that much of the layering in the sediments is caused by liquefaction, but the rest of the hydroplate theory does not depend on this.
Core of the Earth
Near page 158 Brown discusses the core of the earth. He suggests that the core formed during the flood by gravitational settling and melting. Perhaps this process can be better explained in the following way: As rock melts, an endothermal reaction, heat is consumed. However, if the rock also becomes slightly smaller, as it would in the lower mantle, then the mass above the rock moves down a little. If there is a lot of mass above the rock, then a lot of mass moves down a little. This decreases the potential energy of this mass of rock. Where does this energy go? It can’t just disappear. Therefore it is converted into heat energy, which can melt additional rock, and so on. So if enough rock melted, this cycle could be self-perpetuating. But note that if rock expands on melting, such a self-perpetuating cycle cannot occur. Brown asserts that this melting and sinking of rock could have caused the rotation of the earth to speed up. The faster rotation of the earth might also be caused by water or rocks shooting out of the earth at an angle and speeding up its rotation.
Beginning on page 151, Brown discusses the Pacific crust. This crust would have sunk as the Atlantic crust rose, and this process could have helped to form the Pacific trenches. The Pacific trenches also might have formed because of the continents sliding apart and coming to a stop, pushing the crust of the earth toward the Pacific basin and causing it to wrinkle.
Brown discusses the origin of the Grand Canyon beginning on page 207, but this seems to be of less importance than the rest of the book for the hydroplate theory, so it will not be discussed here. In the section on the Grand Canyon, theories of other creationists should also be discussed, if they differ from Brown’s.
Brown believes (In the Beginning, p. 249) that the great limestone deposits on earth were produced in subterranean chambers, not in ocean waters during the flood. Brown’s ideas about limestone have been developed with help from Dr. C. Stuart Patterson (former Academic Dean at Furman University and Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus).
The formation of limestone produces carbon dioxide and water, and also consumes calcium (ionized) and two molecules of HCO3 , negatively ionized. Of course, the latter can decompose into carbon dioxide and two hydroxyl ions. Thus the formation of limestone can both produce and consume carbon dioxide. The formation of one molecule of limestone (CaCO3) produces one atom of carbon dioxide and consumes two. (See Brown, In the Beginning, p. 250)
Brown considers that limestone could not have formed in the ocean waters during the flood, because it would have produced so much carbon dioxide that it would have been toxic to life on earth. Brown believes instead that the great limestone deposits were formed by liquefaction layering during the flood. He asserts that the limestone was produced in subterranean chambers by a chemical process in which the carbon dioxide that was generated, immediately went into the production of more limestone. In the ocean, the carbon dioxide would have escaped into the air and would not have been available for subsequent limestone formation, according to Brown:
Today, when limestone forms at the earth’s surface, the released CO2 enters the biosphere—the atmosphere, soil, and surface waters of the earth. Before the flood, vast amounts of limestone steadily precipitated onto the subterranean chamber floor, but the released CO2 was confined to the chamber, unable to escape into the biosphere. That CO2 again dissolved in subterranean water and was used to dissolve more minerals in the chamber’s ceiling and floor. Therefore, earth’s preflood limestone was produced without the obvious life-extinguishing problem described in Table 6 and the paragraph that follows it. (Brown, In the Beginning, page 250)
A simple, visual examination of limestone grains shows that few are ground-up seashells or corals, as some believe. (Brown, In the Beginning, p. 249)
For two other reasons, we can reject the common belief that most limestone has an organic origin. Wave action and predators can fragment shells and other hard parts of marine organisms. However, as fragments become smaller, it is more difficult to break them into smaller pieces. With increasingly smaller pieces, the forces required to break them again become unreasonably large before the pieces reach the size of typical limestone grains … . (Brown, In the Beginning, page 252)
Elsewhere he discusses how some limestone could have been produced by tiny marine organisms:
Later, in warm surface waters, rich in dissolved limestone, vast algae blooms—perhaps daily—produced the soft, fine-grained type of limestone known as chalk. As long as nutrients and sunlight are plentiful (as was the case following the flood) algae blooms will expand exponentially. The algae die quickly and sink to the bottom of the sea. Most famous are the exposed layers in England’s White Cliffs of Dover and France’s Normandy coast. (Brown, In the Beginning, p. 252)
The conventional belief is that most limestone is produced from skeletons of many tiny organisms; chalk is believed to be formed from foraminifera, algae, and diatoms. Diatoms actually contain silicon, not calcium, in their shells, and silicon is often present as an impurity in limestone. Other forms of limestone are produced in other ways, some from larger organisms. Some creationists believe that much limestone was produced during and after the flood by massive blooms of algae and other organisms. These organisms emit far less carbon dioxide than clams and corals, and also consume carbon dioxide, as plants do, so the carbon dioxide could have been recycled in producing the limestone, and need not have become toxic to life on earth. It seems that the formation of limestone by organic means is not a problem. However, some limestone appears to have formed inorganically, such as stalactites and stalagmites in caves.
Organic limestone is primarily produced within 30 degrees of the equator. However, limestone layers and cement are not concentrated near the equator. Rocks, cemented with limestone, are found at all latitudes. Obviously, whatever produced inorganic limestone was global in scope. (Brown, In the Beginning, p. 253)
Of course, the ocean waters would have been warmer after the flood, so organic limestone could have been produced at all latitudes.
Walt Brown also discusses the origin of dolomite:
Geologists frequently refer to “the dolomite problem.” Why is it a problem? Dolomite is not secreted by any known organism. If organisms deposited almost all limestone over hundreds of millions of years, how did dolomite form? Dolomite is frequently found in contact with limestone and is strangely distributed on earth. It has hardly ever formed in recent times. Therefore, magnesium-rich solutions must have been much more abundant when older rocks were deposited. (In the Beginning, p. 253)
Perhaps dolomite was formed in hot flood waters that contained magnesium-rich solutions. The explanations of other creationists for dolomite should be considered.
Brown gives a fascinating discussion of the frozen mammoths of Siberia, beginning on page 257. He feels that the mammoths lived before the flood, and were killed by a fall of ultra-cool muddy hail at the beginning of the flood. This hail originated from water that was ejected into space during the flood and then subsequently fell back to the earth. Of course, this mechanism for the freezing of the mammoths does not require the full hydroplate theory.
Could the mammoths have been buried after the flood by a sudden decrease in temperature and snowstorm and strong winds, during the ice age? Warm oceans and cool, drying continents after the flood would generate snow and wind, so that the chill factor could be very low. For example, if the temperature were -50 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind velocity were 100 miles an hour, anything would freeze very fast.
Is it really consistent to say that the mammoths lived before the flood? Is this consistent with other geological evidences concerning where they are found in the fossil record? The general belief of creationists seems to be that they lived after the flood. Probably the mammoths occur together with other organisms that generally occur in the post-flood portion of the fossil record. Mammoths are conventionally dated in the late Cenozoic period, and this would be post-flood most likely.
Here and elsewhere Walt has a large number of excellent references. This section is highly interesting to read.
Beginning on page 291, Brown discusses comets. This section is interesting and easy to read. Brown summarizes this section as follows:
SUMMARY: Past explanations for how comets began have serious problems. After a review of some facts concerning comets, a new explanation for comet origins will be proposed and tested. It appears that the fountains of the great deep and the sustained power of an “ocean” of high-pressure, supercritical water jetting into the vacuum of space launched, as the flood began, the material that became comets. Other known forces would have assembled the expelled rocks and muddy droplets into larger bodies resembling comets in size, number, density, composition, spin, texture, strength, chemistry (organic and inorganic), and orbital characteristics. After a comparison of theories with evidence, problems with the earlier explanations will become obvious.
This material seems plausible and worthy of consideration. Also, comets have a short lifetime, so it is possible that they were generated during the flood.
Asteroids and Meteoroids
Beginning on page 327, Brown discusses asteroids and meteoroids. He explains difficult technical material in a way that is engaging and accessible to the average reader. This is not easy to do. Here is how he summarizes this chapter:
SUMMARY: The fountains of the great deep launched rocks as well as muddy water. As rocks moved farther from Earth, Earth’s gravity became less significant to them, and the gravity of nearby rocks became increasingly significant. Consequently, many rocks, assisted by their mutual gravity and surrounding clouds of water vapor, merged to become asteroids. Isolated rocks in space are meteoroids. Drag forces caused by water vapor and thrust forces produced by the radiometer effect concentrated asteroids in what is now the asteroid belt. All the so-called “mavericks of the solar system” (asteroids, meteoroids, and comets) resulted from the explosive events at the beginning of the flood.
The conclusions in this section seem reasonable enough and deserving of consideration. However, it is possible that some other processes formed some of the comets, asteroids, and meteoroids. For example, there could have been floods or catastrophic events on other planets resulting in the origination of some of these bodies. One could argue that asteroids and meteoroids would not be present in a perfect universe, so they may have been generated during the flood.
The origin of earth’s radioactivity
Beginning on page 355, Brown discusses the origin of earth’s radioactivity, which he believes took place during the flood. He summarizes this section as follows:
SUMMARY: As the flood began, stresses in the massive fluttering crust generated huge voltages via the piezoelectric effect. For weeks, powerful electrical surges within earth’s crust—much like bolts of lightning—produced equally powerful magnetic forces that squeezed (Faraday’s Law) atomic nuclei together into highly unstable, superheavy elements. Those superheavy elements quickly fissioned and decayed into subatomic particles and various isotopes, some of which were radioactive.
Many creationists believe that radioactive decay was faster during the flood, explaining the old radiometric ages measured on isotopes associated with fossil-bearing sediments. There are various evidences for such accelerated decay, including helium retention in argon, young carbon 14 ages, and radiohalos.
Brown attributes the origin of the radioactive elements to powerful electric currents during the flood. Indeed, discharges of electricity are often associated with earthquakes (In the Beginning, page 362). Brown discusses the Z pinch, which can generate very high temperatures. This is a phenomenon that occurs during parallel flows of electricity.
In fact, the concept of the Z pinch is used by several groups in an attempt to generate temperatures high enough to cause the fusion of hydrogen into helium (In the Beginning, page 354). It has been shown that the Z pinch together with strong magnetic fields can generate temperatures close to those required to fuse hydrogen. It is reasonable, therefore, that this mechanism operating in an earth-scale experiment during the flood could generate temperatures in stars, which are sufficient to form the elements up to iron and nickel. Such temperatures might also lead to accelerated decay. However, temperatures in supernovas are needed to generate the heavy elements, and possibly higher temperatures (In the Beginning, p. 374). It needs to be determined whether the Z pinch can generate such temperatures, and if not, whether it can generate some of the heavy elements assuming others are already present.
Brown states that the Z pinch can also generate heavy and radioactive elements. For this, he relies on reports from the Proton-21 Electrodynamics Research Laboratory (Kiev, Ukraine), discussed on page 360. These researchers claim to have created heavy elements using the Z pinch. Brown references their work in references 33 and 34, which refer to the journals ExtraOrdinary Technology and Infinite Energy. Brown also references a booklet, a web page, and a personal communication. This material and these results do not seem reputable, and should not be relied on unless they can be duplicated elsewhere.
It’s also not clear where the heat due to accelerated radioactive decay would have gone. Is Walt saying that the creation of heavy elements by the Z pinch would absorb so much energy that heating due to accelerated decay would not be a problem? Or is he saying that accelerated decay did not happen at all, and the decay products were created just as they are by the Z pinch? Fission track measurements show that decay did indeed occur in the past, so in a short chronology a lot of decay must have taken place in a short time, and one has to remove the heat in some manner in any theory. Also, if the Z pinch origin of radioactive elements is correct, then close to radioactive elements one should always find many other heavy elements and possibly other evidences of huge electrical flows. Is this true?
Electricity can be created by means other than the piezoelectric effect. For example, a Wimshurst static generator generates electricity by two plates rotating in opposite directions. Also, lightning is generated by a possibly similar effect. All these and other mechanisms could have been operating during the flood. It is true that the catastrophic nature of the flood is beyond our comprehension and many processes may have been active that we cannot imagine. Brown at least considers some of these, but there could be many more.
This statement is not correct: AMS ages for old carbon-14 specimens are all about 5,000 years. (page 359). These ages are often in the 20,000 to 30,000 year range.
Brown mentions results based on helium retention in zircons, showing that they are a few thousand years old rather than millions of years old (In the Beginning, p. 361). These results show that a tremendous amount of decay took place in a short time. Similar results have been shown for argon retention in zircons.
Brown argues that earth’s radioactive elements could not have come from supernovas or they would be evenly distributed in the earth. Experts believe that radioactive elements are only found near the surface of the earth (In the Beginning, page 375). This is partly based on arguments about heat flow. However, heat from radioactive elements in the interior of the earth may not have had time to reach the surface yet. Perhaps when man fell into sin the laws of physics changed so that radioactive decay began then, and the heat has not all had a chance to escape from the earth yet. This could explain the puzzling observations about heat and decay. Brown mentions a conventional theory that there is a uranium reactor at the center of the earth (In the Beginning, p. 378), so it must at least be accepted as a possibility that there are some radioactive elements there.
On page 370, Brown discusses the removal of heat generated by radioactive decay and by other processes during the flood. He shows that processes other than radiation can remove tremendous quantities of heat, and such processes might have operated during the flood.
Brown considers radioactivity in the moon rocks (In the Beginning, page 386). He feels that this radioactivity must have originated on the earth. However, why is this so, if radioactive elements were created in the original creation as Brown states on page 384?
Brown states (In the Beginning, p. 388) that learned men once believed that the earth is flat. Is this true? Some sources state that educated men always knew that the earth was round.
Does the observed pattern of decay in the crust of the earth match what would be expected if decay was the result of electrical discharges? It would be helpful to look at specific geological formations in this light.
Brown should also compare his theory with other explanations for accelerated decay in the earth.
Part III of Brown’s book is less relevant for the hydroplate theory, so it will not be discussed here. However, much of this material is very interesting.
Discussion of other theories
Walt Brown also discusses other geological theories, principally conventional plate tectonics, catastrophic plate tectonics, and the canopy theory. Following page 162 there is a detailed comparison of conventional plate tectonics and the hydroplate theory which claims to show the superiority of the hydroplate theory. In pp. 468-476, Brown presents problems with the canopy theory. Brown also criticizes catastrophic plate tectonics:
Ironically, some leading creationists who believe in a global flood have contributed to its frequent rejection by advocating unsound mechanisms for the flood. They have failed to clearly answer people’s most basic questions: “Where did so much water come from, and where did it go?” One such explanation is the canopy theory. (Pages 468–476 examine its many problems.) Others who know of these problems have proposed an equally weak explanation called catastrophic plate tectonics. Basically, it is the flawed plate tectonic theory speeded up a millionfold by assumed miracles and unworkable mechanisms. (Brown, In the Beginning, p. 109)
See also the comments on pages 511 and 512, referenced from page 509.
Discussion of Walt Brown’s theory
Walt Brown’s theory does have a certain plausibility. There seems to have been water created under the earth in the original creation, and in some manner it came out during the flood. Because the flood was catastrophic, the manner in which the water came out could also have been catastrophic. The similarity of organic matter on the earth and on comets is also suggestive, as is the short lifetime of comets and the fact that there may be more extraterrestrial impacts on the near face of the moon than elsewhere. However, Brown’s book includes so many aspects of geology that it would take an expert in geology to really evaluate it. It also touches on astronomical subjects.
The hydroplate theory makes many predictions, but it also has many variables other than its three basic assumptions. Therefore it is not surprising that the hydroplate theory agrees with so many observations; it has been designed to agree with all these observations. It also has the freedom to hypothesize features of the inner earth that agree with the observations, while conventional geology has to start from the Big Bang and has less flexibility. HT also has the ability to postulate whatever events during the flood fit the observations. Therefore the hydroplate theory has an advantage in explaining the observations. It also has the freedom to ascribe any layering in the sediments to liquefaction layering and any observed pattern of decay to electrical discharges in the earth during the flood. Brown can also assume arbitrary features of the creation, such as the existence of all heavy elements then, to explain observations (In the Beginning, p. 384).
Brown gives lists of observations that the hydroplate theory can explain better than other theories, according to him. For this purpose, he frequently makes statements such as “Theory X cannot explain observation Y.” Such statements should really be checked with experts in these fields, because they may have explanations that Brown is not aware of. There may also be other observations that other theories explain better than the hydroplate theory does, and there may be problems with the hydroplate theory that Brown does not consider.
Of course, the hydroplate theory may develop further. There may have been additional processes operating during the flood that Brown has not considered. Perhaps violent storms and lightning also occurred during the flood and produced some observed data. For example, the storms could have been so violent that part of the atmosphere was ejected into space, reducing air pressure, so that the air pressure could have been higher before, explaining the giant fossils. It also seems that parts of Walt Brown’s theory could be discarded without throwing it all away. For example, what happens in the core of the earth is not necessary for the conclusions about hydroplates moving over underlying water and rock. Brown can also dispense with his emphasis on liquefaction layering without damage to the rest of his theories.
There are other possibilities, in addition. For example, the core of the earth may have been colder before the flood. It is also possible that floods also took place on other planets.
Walt Brown integrates a lot of information that is puzzling in the conventional scenario. However, his theory may develop over time, so that some aspects of it may change without affecting the overall idea. In general, Walt Brown is certainly willing to think outside the box.
One question is, if the continents were lubricated by water as they spread, then why is the Atlantic sea floor still spreading? This seems to indicate that there was circulation in the mantle during the Flood. Brown (pages 114-115) actually denies sea-floor spreading. Another point is that Brown does not consider other creation explanations as often as he could. For example, the section “final thoughts” (In the Beginning, p. 200) ignores other standard creation explanations. If Brown’s explanations are in agreement with creationists in general, then this should be mentioned.
On pp. 242-243 there is a discussion of the reaction of Austin and ICR to the hydroplate theory.
Questions and Criticisms about Walt Brown’s theory
Walt gives many criticisms of other theories, but of course cannot as readily see problems with his own theory. It would be interesting to get some criticisms of his theory from others as a comparison.
The Bible does talk about water under the earth in Genesis 1, so there may be some reason to think that originally there was a lot of water under the earth. But would the Lord have made the earth as unstable as Walt Brown says, so that a small crack leads to a catastrophe? Instead, perhaps the water was stored somehow in the rocks, and as the earth heated up for whatever reason, the water became steam and escaped, causing the flood.
The HP theory does consider some detailed geological formations and how they could have been formed, such as the raising up of the mountain chains, liquefaction mounds, and the Grand Canyon. What HP theory really needs is a consideration in detail of geological formations on the continents and showing how the various sedimentary layers were likely formed by liquefaction layering during the flood. The same goes for the distribution of rocks of various isotopic ages and showing how this distribution was most likely caused by the discharge of electricity during the flood. My feeling is that such a detailed study would show that liquefaction layering and the discharge of electricity did not play a role in the great majority of cases. One needs to study how liquefaction layering works and what its trademarks are, to determine if it created various sedimentary layers, and the same for isotopes being formed by powerful electrical discharges.
It is quite a drastic conclusion to state that the core of the earth was different before the flood. Is this really true?
As for the origins of the radioactive elements, the base of the Paleozoic is conventionally dated at about 500 million years ago. This is the beginning of the flood, so that about 500 million years of decay took place during and after the flood. However, some rocks on earth date to billions of years old. How can this be explained in Brown’s theory? It seems that such rocks were radioactive before the flood. This would contradict Brown’s thesis that all radioactive elements originated during the flood. Also, many meteorites are conventionally dated to about 4.5 billion years ago. If these came from the earth, it seems that they must have been radioactive before the flood. Perhaps Paleozoic and Cenozoic fossils should be examined to see if they have any traces of radioactivity. This might help to determine whether there was radioactivity on the surface of the earth before the flood.
Catastrophic plate tectonics is based on the assumption that the sea floor is not older than Mesozoic, so that all the older Pacific sea floor must have subducted and been replaced by hot lava spreading from the Pacific ridge. This assumption is partially based on a magnetic chronology that should be studied more carefully by creationists. See for example the web page at http://geology.about.com/library/bl/maps/blseafloorage.htm . Brown (In the Beginning, p. 114-115) has another explanation for the supposed magnetic reversals on the ocean floor. He essentially denies the existence of the stripes of magnetism on the ocean floor that cause it to date as Mesozoic or later. However, there is evidence for this late age of the ocean floor that does not appear to depend on the magnetic chronology (Baumgardner, Catastrophic Plate Tectonics: the Geophysical Context of the Genesis Flood, April 1, 2002; http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/tj/v16/n1/plate-tectonics). This Mesozoic and later age for the ocean floor appears to imply that the entire floor of the Pacific was replaced by lava during the flood. Brown’s hydroplate theory assumes that the Pacific Ocean floor is all pre-Cambrian, so that if the ocean floor really dates from the Mesozoic, this is a difficulty for the hydroplate theory.
As for the Pacific ridge, Brown assumes that the mid-Atlantic ridge was caused by a crack in the earth permitting a water jet to remove the overlying crust, and this crack gradually widened. Then the mantle under the crack buckled upward, pushing the continents apart. This crack encircled the entire earth, producing the Pacific ridge as well. (Brown, In the Beginning, pp. 128-131) One thought is that if the Atlantic ridge was produced as Brown states, then one would expect it to be gently rounded. Is this consistent with the Atlantic and Pacific ridges as mountain chains? However, Brown also realizes that fractures would have formed in this rounded Atlantic crust, and from these fractures underwater mountain chains could have formed.
It is worth considering whether there is another explanation of the data that avoids the need to have the ocean floor covered with lava during the flood. This would solve the heat removal problem. Perhaps during the flood, the Paleozoic sediments never entered the oceans. On the Pacific side, the continents would have been sliding towards the ocean, so that the sediments would have stayed on the continents or been washed back on them. On the Atlantic and Pacific sides, the rising flood waters would have tended to keep the sediments on land. This would make the ocean floor appear to date from the Mesozoic period or later. Then the magnetic stripes on the ocean floor could have been caused by a pattern of volcanism on the ocean floor, or a pattern of cooling of magma under the ocean floor that had been melted during the flood.
The progressively younger sediments near the Atlantic and Pacific ridges, if this pattern also exists there, might be explained by later sediments being washed farther out to sea and closer to the ridges as the flood progressed. Another possibility is that the ocean was too hot at first for microfossils to survive, especially near the ridges. As the ocean cooled down, the microfossils were able to live closer and closer to the ridges. This explains why the microfossils in the sediment on the ocean floor near the ridges would be more recent than those farther away. The different fossils would not represent evolution, but different ecological communities that arose as time passed during and after the flood.
However, there is a lot of evidence in favor of plate tectonics that also needs to be considered (without accepting the absolute ages given):
earthquakes: earthquakes occur on the boundaries of the plates as they rub past each other. The motion observed during these earthquakes agrees well with the expected motion.
absolute measurements: Thanks to the Global Positioning System navigation system, we can now measure the location of any point on the earth to within a few cm. The observed motions agree with expected plate motions.
plate boundaries: where two plates meet there can be three types of boundaries: transform faults where the plates slide past each other (like the San Andreas fault); spreading centers where two plates are moving away from each other (like the Juan de Fuca spreading center off the Pacific NW and the mid-Atlantic Ridge; and subduction zones where one plate dives into the earth under another plate (Aleutian Islands, Japan). All the observed boundaries should agree with the expected motions – and they do.
magnetism: new rock is added to the the plates at spreading centers as they split apart. As this lava cools, it becomes magnetized, much like a magnetic tape does in your tape recorder. When the magnetic field of the earth changes, this change is recorded in the rocks. We can read this record by sensing the changes in the magnetic field from ships, and we see stripes of different magnetism parallel to the spreading centers, as expected if the plates are splitting apart there.
sediments: in the deep ocean there is a very slow but continuous rain of mud that slowly settles to the ocean bottom and forms layers of sediment. Since the ocean floor is youngest near the spreading centers, we would expect very little sediment there, and the layers should get thicker the farther you get from a spreading center. This is observed, and the age of the oldest (deepest) fossils in the sediment obtained by drilling in the ocean floor gives us an idea of the age of the ocean floor at that spot. Studies show that the ocean floor gets older as you get farther away from spreading centers, and that the OLDEST ocean floor on the earth today is only about 200 million years old. That may sound very old, but the oldest FOSSILS are over 3 BILLION years old. [Dr. Fred Duennebier, Professor, Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96822; http://www.soest.hawaii.edu/GG/ASK/plate-tectonics2.html]
Concerning these evidences, even if there are plates that are moving in the expected directions, and even if their motions are related to earthquakes, this motion may not have caused the movement of the continents during the flood. Also, the ocean crust above the basalt may have all been removed by earthquakes and the violence of the flood, exposing the underlying basalt on which sediments later settled. This might explain the above observations and permit Walt Brown’s mechanism of continental motion, which does seem to explain many observations.
Faulkner has a detailed criticism of the astronomical aspects of the hydroplate theory. For example, he argues against the fountains of water moving fast enough to escape the earth.
This is beyond supersonic into hypersonic speeds. Modeling this properly would be very difficult. Such high speeds undoubtedly would produce tremendous turbulence. Turbulence will slow at least a portion of the water jet and transfer kinetic energy to the atmosphere. A portion of this energy transfer would cause some of the earth’s atmosphere to be carried along into space as well, though this too would be difficult to model and hence estimate. There will also be other interactions between the jets and the earth’s atmosphere. The leading edge of a jet will slam into the atmosphere, and the air in the way will have to be shoved out of the way via momentum transfer. However, as the leading edge of the jet transfers momentum to the air, it would then move more slowly. Material behind the leading edge will subsequently move faster than the leading edge, which will lead to a collision between the slower moving leading edge and the faster moving material immediately below. Of course, this collision will slow down the water below the leading edge, leading to collision with still more water lower in the jet. This cascading effect will cause the leading edge of the jet to spread horizontally. Eventually, the jet could penetrate through the atmosphere, but this pancaking of the leading edge of the jet is one way in which a large amount of kinetic energy transfers from the jets to the atmosphere.
Assuming that a jet eventually penetrated through the atmosphere, there will be a very large inrush of air toward the jet. The jet is a fluid passing through another fluid (the atmosphere) with large relative velocity. Since the jet is moving Mach 150 and the atmosphere is essentially stagnate, Bernoulli’s equation will produce a very large pressure difference that will drive air into the jet. Calculation shows that the pressure difference is nearly one atmosphere, and that the resulting speed of the inrushing air is nearly the speed of sound. Once the inrushing air slams into the sides of the jet, there will be large viscous motions between the two. This is a second way in which kinetic energy from the jet will transfer to the atmosphere. When chaotic transfer of kinetic energy happens as with these two mechanisms, the kinetic energy is quickly randomized into microscopic motion of the particles. We recognize that random microscopic particle motion is heat, so we say that the kinetic energy is thermalized.
How much thermalization of the kinetic energy of the jets would have occurred? This is difficult to say precisely, for it would require very detailed computation, and it is doubtful that our current models would permit realistic computation anyway. So let us use a very common practice in physics and astronomy of doing a “back of envelope” calculation. Let us assume for the sake of argument that only one millionth of the kinetic energy of the jets would be thermalized into the atmosphere. This figure is probably far too conservative, and the percentage of thermalized energy transfer is likely far higher. … Solving, we find that the change in temperature is 34 C. Thus, assuming that only one millionth of the jet energy is thermalized to the atmosphere and that heat is distributed uniformly, we find an atmospheric temperature increase of 34 C. This is in addition to other heating mechanisms, such as from volcanic activity and the latent heat of vaporization from rainfall. This is an unrealistically high temperature increase, and it is doubtful that the energy transfer was this minimal. With more realistic energy transfer, it ought to be obvious that trying to pass this much matter through the earth’s atmosphere at such speed is not possible.
The casual way in which he asserts that the jets from the subterranean chambers could so easily penetrate the earth’s atmosphere is most remarkable in light of his conclusion that even with enough energy, the fragments must be large enough to pass through Mars’ atmosphere. To see the difficulty, imagine throwing a ball high into the air. Then visualize how hard it would be to throw a handful of dust that high. Atmospheric drag, even in Mars’ thin atmosphere, absorbs too much of the smaller particles’ kinetic energy (Brown, 2008, p. 306).
With this conclusion, Brown dismisses the belief that some meteorites found on earth originated on Mars. Those rocks allegedly were blasted off the surface of Mars by Meteoroid impacts. Mars has an extremely thin atmosphere and less gravity than earth, but he claims that that thin atmosphere is sufficient to prevent rocks from being lifted off the surface of Mars. Yet, Dr. Brown thinks that much more massive jets of water could have penetrated a much denser terrestrial atmosphere as if the atmosphere were not there. Given that rock is denser than water and that, being a fluid, a water jet will fragment into small drops, water ought to be more susceptible to atmospheric drag than rock is. (Faulkner, An Analysis of Astronomical Aspects of the Hydroplate Theory, Creation Research Society Quarterly 2013, volume 49, pages 198-199)
However, if the rising jets of water had rocks mixed in, then they could have pushed aside the air with less deceleration, overcoming one of Faulkner’s objections to this mechanism of rising jets. This might also help with Faulkner’s concern about atmospheric heating. The jets also might have been moving very fast near the center and slower near the edges. Furthermore, Bernoulli’s equation might not apply at such high velocities and with rocks and dirt mixed in to the water. In addition, air would soon start moving along with the rising jet, and probably much of this air would be ejected into space. This process reduces the speed differential between air and water, and reduces the problems Faulkner mentions. The water jets may at first have been moving slowly and gradually increased their velocity; this might also reduce the problems Faulkner mentions. Heat generated in the air could be largely dissipated, as hot air near the rising jet might either cool down in space or be ejected from the earth entirely. In addition, water that entered space and fell back to the earth as ice would cool the atmosphere more. It is difficult to know whether such rising jets really happened, but so far Faulkner’s objections are not conclusive.
Faulkner also mentions apparent inconsistencies in Brown’s presentation concerning meteorites from Mars. However, the situations are completely different. Faulkner is comparing rocks or dust thrown up by a meteor impact on Mars with a jet of water, rocks, and mud leaving the earth under tremendous pressure. Obviously the rocks or dust from Mars would have much less energy and less ability to pass through even a thin atmosphere. Besides, the quantity of water in the water jets on earth is much greater. Faulkner’s comparison in this case is unfair to Walt Brown.
Faulkner also mentions (page 200) very long period comets with periods on the order of a million years that would be difficult to create in Walt Brown’s model, in which comets were created during the flood. Brown argues that the mass of the solar system might be somewhat larger than believed, which could reduce the period of these very long period comets to a few thousand years, so that they could have originated during the flood. Faulkner discusses whether the mass of the solar system has been underestimated, as Brown suggests, so that the period of these comets might be much shorter. An error of 17 parts in 10,000 in the mass of the solar system near the sun is sufficient to reduce the period of the comets to a few thousand years, but even such an error has been all but ruled out near the sun. If the mass is farther from the sun, more than 17 parts per 10,000 of additional mass in the solar system would be needed. Faulkner shows that if the mass is distributed in a roughly spherical shell at 40 A.U. from the sun (roughly the orbit of Pluto), the orbits of the planets would not be affected much, but a shell having seven percent of the estimated mass of the solar system could reduce the period of the very long period comets to a few thousand years. If the shell is at 300 A.U, then 1.04 times the estimated mass of the solar system would be needed. Faulkner considers these possibilities as unlikely.
However, the mass could be thinly distributed between 40 A.U. and 300 A.U., and then somewhat more than 7 percent and less than 1.04 times the estimated mass of the solar system would be needed. For example, the mass might be distributed so that an equal amount is at each radius between 40 A.U. and 300 A.U., more precisely, the density of this mass in space would be inversely proportional to the square of the radius. The amount of mass needed would be reduced if the distribution were somewhat higher near 40 A.U. than farther away. Such a thinly distributed shell would be hard to detect, in addition. Perhaps some of the comets were not originated during the flood. Furthermore, it would seem difficult to estimate the mass of the solar system; even matter distant from the sun, and even dust, could influence the comets’ orbit.
Faulkner’s computation puts this extra matter at an “average” distance of 320 A.U. from the sun, an average of 40 A.U. and 600 A.U., instead of spreading the mass out uniformly between 40 A.U. and 600 or possibly 320 A.U., with an equal amount of mass at each distance from the sun; Faulkner’s approach significantly increases the amount of extra mass needed. Thus Faulkner’s computation is unfair to Brown. Faulkner’s estimates assume that the matter is distributed as a uniform spherical shell. If the matter is irregularly distributed and close to the comet, the amount needed could be even less. Faulker also assumes that the kinetic energy of the comet is zero at aphelion. If the comet originally had a more spherical orbit, then it would have had significant kinetic energy at aphelion, and could have had a much shorter period. Therefore some deflection of the orbit could greatly increase the comet’s period. Also, the comet might have gotten a gravitational boost on its path to the sun, making its period much, much longer. Perhaps Brown could discuss this point in more detail. Faulkner writes,
While a yet undetected mass distribution could account for very long-period comets, until there is some evidence for the mass, this is nothing more than special pleading on Brown’s part. (page 202)
Thus even Faulkner does not completely rule out this extra mass. It is natural for Brown to consider this extra mass, because his theory postulates that all comets originated during the flood.
Faulkner also deals with Brown’s discussion of pairs of comets that may really be the same comet (page 202). If there is extra mass in the solar system, then such pairs could indeed be the same comet.
Faulkner argues that dust and methane are common in the interstellar medium, in an attempt to contradict Brown’s conclusions that comets came from the earth. However, even if dust and methane are common in space, the comets still could have come from the earth. Similar comments are made about olivine, silicates, and oxygen, and other substances.
Faulkner also discusses the enrichment of heavy hydrogen in comets. He criticizes Brown for assuming that this extra heavy hydrogen came from subterranean water during the flood. However, in Brown’s model, huge electrical discharges in the earth created some of the elements and isotopes, so Brown’s assumption does fit into his overall theory.
Faulkner criticizes Brown for his discussion of the association of comets with disaster. The whole discussion is not conclusive, and the point is weak.
Faulkner makes a number of other points. It seems that Brown would do well to take Faulkner’s comments into account in revising his book; after all, Faulkner is well versed in astronomical matters and Walt Brown is covering a lot of territory. However, Faulkner’s objections do not seem conclusive.
A Combined Flood Theory
One can modify Walt Brown’s theory and still retain many of its features. Much of Walt Brown’s flood theory is not really dependent on large underground pools of water. What are the basics needed for a flood theory? There has to be a mechanism to heat the earth so that water embedded in rocks (not necessarily underground pools) turns to steam and comes out, not necessarily in one gigantic crack in the Atlantic. Assuming that there was one large supercontinent at the beginning, then the water coming out of the earth would have raised the water level all over the earth. This would have covered the earth with water. The greater mass of water in the Pacific Ocean would have caused the crust to sink there, and rise elsewhere. Thus the waters would have receded from the continents. The continents would have been on a hill with the Atlantic region high and the Pacific region low, and water and steam would still be coming out of the earth to lubricate them. The increased curvature of the crust under the Pacific Ocean might have caused some of it to break away and fall through the mantle. Also, the increased curvature of the earth in the Atlantic region would have cracked the continents somewhere in the Atlantic. The continents would have split and slid sideways away from the Atlantic and towards the Pacific. Thus the mountains would be raised up in the leading edges of the continents, and there could still be ice going into outer space, muddy hail falling, the core of the earth forming, and all of the other ingredients of Walt Brown’s theories. CPT can also be involved because heating of the earth could cause circulation in the mantle to go much faster, and this could have aided the separation of the continents.
What would cause the heating of the earth? It could have been a change in the sun, or faster decay, or radiation hitting the earth, or some combination of these. Perhaps radioactive elements were fairly uniformly distributed in the earth before the flood, and the interior of the earth was cooler. It’s possible that there were no radioactive elements near the surface of the earth, but they were distributed elsewhere in the earth. Then when the rate of decay increased, the heat generated from the decay of these radioactive elements caused them to rise and to heat up the core and mantle of the earth. This would explain where most of the heat went, why most radioactive elements are in or near the crust of the earth, and how life on the original earth may not have been subjected to radioactivity. The rising of these radioactive elements through the mantle may also have created convection currents, helping to move the continents apart. The hot areas in the earth’s mantle under the central Pacific and under Africa (Baumgardner, Catastrophic Plate Tectonics: The Physics Behind the Genesis Flood, p. 7) could be where these convection currents were rising, and the cold areas near the border of the Pacific could be where they were falling. Also, perhaps some of the radioactive elements rose towards the surface and others sank towards the core when the rate of decay increased. The date given by isotopic dating is generally the date at which the sample cooled down, which suggests that many radioactive elements might have originated in lava that came from deep in the earth.
It’s also possible to have a thin canopy around the earth at the creation, a canopy that breaks up and falls to the earth during the flood, so that one can combine features of the various theories. However, the canopy would not supply much water for the flood.
The Heat Problem
Many flood scenarios have a problem with removal of heat. For example, the second RATE book on pages 761-762 indicates the amount of heat generated by accelerated radioactive decay during the Flood:
If God caused a period of accelerated decay during the Genesis Flood, it would have generated a massive pulse of heat in the earth. The RATE group estimates that the heating would have been equal to that produced by about a half billion years of decay at today’s rates. But, it would have been generated over the period of only one year of the Genesis Flood. The heat would have melted the crustal rocks many times over unless there was some mechanism for simultaneously removing it quickly.
One thing to consider is that many catastrophic mechanisms were operating in the flood, and it is difficult to imagine their effects. There could have been huge electric flows and lightning extending into space, for example. This lightning, with its strong electrical field, may have carried steam and mud with it far into space. Powerful electromagnetic waves may have been generated. There could also have been powerful magnetic fields generated, and intense aurora borealis. Possibly elementary particles were generated and sent into space at huge velocities.
The amount of heat lost by radiation is limited by the Stefan-Boltzmann law, and varies as the fourth power of the absolute temperature. Thus very high temperatures in parts of the earth could lead to the radiation of much heat. For example, a tenfold increase in temperature would result in 10,000 times as much heat being radiated.
Rapid convection of air during the flood could lead to massive electrical discharges extending into space or even to other planets. These discharges could have temperatures in the millions of degrees, which by the Stefan-Boltzmann law would radiate a lot of heat energy and might help solve the heat dissipation problem. Also, extremely hot steam ejected high into the atmosphere could radiate a lot of heat.
Another thing to consider is that it takes a long time for heat generated within the earth to reach the surface. A reference from Brown’s book says that it would take millions of years for heat to flow up through 4.68 or more miles of rock (In the Beginning, p. 376). The detailed reference says this:
If the base of a semi-infinite, 4.68-mile-thick slab of rock is heated from below by a steady heat source, half that heat flux will pass through the top of the slab in 1.5 million years. After 40 million years, 90% of the heat flux entering from below would reach the surface. For each doubling of the slab’s thickness, the time required for a given fraction of the heat flux to reach the surface increases by a factor of four. (Brown, In the Beginning, p. 399)
There is a supporting statement by Baumgardner:
If this simplified model is applied to cooling ocean floor, the temperature at a depth of 50 km reaches a temperature representing half the original temperature difference between the mantle and ocean at a time of 87 million years. (Baumgardner, Numerical Simulation of the Large-Scale Tectonic Changes Accompanying the Flood, p. 5)
It’s possible that heat generated by accelerated decay during the flood simply hasn’t had time to reach the surface of the earth yet. Perhaps this heat is the cause of global warming, and it could even lead to the earthquakes described in the Bible just before Christ returns. We really need to know how much heat would be generated by accelerated radioactive decay, and what mechanisms could remove it from the earth. Very hot regions of lava could radiate heat, and there could be effects other than black body radiation operating, such as the ejection of mass at high velocities. Also, the heat would not be generated all at once, so it could be removed little by little during the flood and later.
Also, Baumgardner himself seems to believe that the heat problem could be solved by jets of water much like those of Brown:
Discussions in early 2001 with Nathaniel Morgan, a new graduate student at Los Alamos National Laboratory with a background in multiphase heat transfer, led us both to realize that supersonic steam jets were almost a certainty along the spreading boundary between diverging ocean plates during the runaway phase of the catastrophe. Further analysis showed that jet velocities exceeding the earth’s escape velocity might be possible. In this case, the energy per kilogram of steam escaping to space is sufficient to accomplish the bulk of the lithospheric cooling while the plates are moving apart and do so without depleting the oceans of all their water. At a velocity of 14 km/s, for example, 1 kg of steam has about 108 J of kinetic energy. Removal of this amount of heat is enough to cool 140 kg of rock by 1000 K, for a representative specific heat of 710 J/kg-K. On the order of 1,000–1,500 m of water would then be needed to cool the present ocean lithosphere to its current state. Although this is a lot of seawater, it is not entirely beyond the realm of comprehension. Another aspect of these jets is that seawater is converted to supercritical steam as the water penetrates downward through the fractured and porous newly formed seafloor, and then emerges almost explosively at the throat of the jet. Although there is some entrainment of water as the jets traverse the overlying layer of ocean water, mixing is minimal, and heating of the bulk ocean is therefore modest. Moreover, the seawater entrained in liquid form at the ocean-jet interface and lofted in widely dispersive trajectories provides a potent source of heavy rain so long as the jets are active. This mechanism solves a second fundamental problem that any credible model for the Genesis Flood must address, namely, the source of water for 40 days and nights of continuous rainfall. Explanations that involve the condensation of water vapor fail because, even assuming ideal black body conditions, radiation is incapable of removing the latent heat of condensation to space at a sufficient rate. With this entrainment mechanism, however, the water that falls as rain is not required to condense from the vapor state. To be sure, considerable additional analysis is required to demonstrate to a high level of confidence these supersonic jets can indeed cool the new ocean lithosphere to approximately its present state as it was being formed during the runaway episode. The initial analysis, however, looks promising. (Baumgardner, Catastrophic Plate Tectonics: The Physics Behind the Genesis Flood, pp. 8-9)
Brown states that these geysers also removed much of the heat generated by accelerated decay:
In fact, normal physics was involved. These researchers never addressed the larger question: What was the origin of Earth’s radioactivity? They were also unaware of all the preflood subterranean water and why it became electrically conductive SCW and increasingly permeated the lower crust. That SCW absorbed most of the nuclear energy and converted it primarily to kinetic energy, without a huge rise in temperature. Furthermore, the extremely powerful fountains of the great deep expelled most of that energy into outer space. Some of these researchers completely missed the cataclysmic nature of the flood’s beginning—saying that when,“on the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open” (Genesis 7:11), the fountains were simply like geysers. These individuals also did not realize that the hydroplate theory explains the accelerated decay and energy removal, and places that decay at the beginning of the flood. [http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/TechnicalNotes21.html]
As mentioned earlier, another possibility is that radioactive elements may originally have been more evenly distributed in the earth, possibly in the core, and the interior of the earth may have been cooler and denser than today. When decay sped up, radioactive materials rose through the core and mantle, heating them up, and solving the heat dissipation problem. Also, this rising of radioactive materials created convection in the mantle, perhaps helping to move the continents. The radiation from accelerated decay may also have created isotopes that did not exist before. Also, as the core and mantle were denser, heating might have expanded them. This would have absorbed a tremendous amount of heat energy and converted it to potential energy, helping to deal with the heat dissipation problem.
This also could explain why radioactive elements are now concentrated in the crust of the earth, why people were not exposed to radioactivity before the flood, and why Noah and his crew might not have had radioactive elements in their bodies, because the radioactivity was confined to the interior of the earth.
Support for the idea that most of the earth’s radioactive elements are in or near the crust of the earth can be found in the first RATE study, Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth, edited by Vardiman, Snelling, and Chaffin, pp. 74-78. Brown also gives support to this hypothesis:
Three types of measurements each show that earth’s radioactivity is concentrated in the relatively thin continental (granite) crust. (Brown, In the Beginning, p. 361)