16. Down the Drain
“But the mountain falls and crumbles away, and the rock is removed from its place; the waters wear away the stones; the torrents wash away the soil of the earth; so you destroy the hope of man.” Job 14:18-19
Erosion is a technical term. It essentially means Earth’s surface is wearing away. Erosion may occur by either a chemical or a mechanical process. Either way, small bits of soil and rock break off or dissolve and move down from high elevation to low elevation. Eroded material is carried away with wind and water currents. Eventually eroded material finds its way into the oceans. Erosion affects ocean chemistry.
The second law of thermodynamics predicts erosion. Neither the Creation nor Materialist model directly predicts erosion per se. The two models do make distinctly different predictions about the age of Earth and, by extrapolation, we can predict how erosion should affect our planet.
Evidence of erosion is all around us. Hard rain can cause mudslides and we often see muddy streams of water running from fields after a rain. The 1930’s dustbowl is an example of wind erosion. River deltas are an example of what happens to dust, dirt and rock eroded from higher elevations. Areas frequently flooded by overflowing rivers are often among the most fertile agricultural areas because the water carries along rich topsoil from places upstream. Ultimately a great deal of the eroded material finds its way into the oceans. Anyone who has seen a diver on television knows that silt builds up quickly on sunken ships or anything else on the sea floor.
High-tech modern equipment can very accurately measure the pace at which mountains are pushed up by tectonic plates pushing together. It is also possible to measure erosion of the same mountains. Today mountains are eroding faster than they are being pushed up. If Earth is only a few thousand years old, particularly if its highest mountains were formed during a recent flood, the present height of our great mountain ranges is not a problem. If Earth is billions of years old and if plate and erosion activity is little changed over vast ages, Earth’s mountains should be virtually flat.
Oceans are chemically rich. Chemicals carried to the oceans by erosion dissolve into the ocean water. A certain amount of any chemical element remains suspended in the water while excess amounts eventually separate out and sink to the bottom. We know approximately how much of each element is present in Earth’s soil. We can easily measure ocean water samples to find out how much of any given chemical element is present in the ocean.
If Earth and its oceans are a billion years old, there should be an equilibrium amount of every element suspended in ocean water even if the ocean started out as completely pure water. What we observe is anything but equilibrium amounts of nearly every element. Some chemical ratios limit Earth’s maximum age to a several million years while others limit maximum age to several thousand years. This means Earth could be younger than several thousand years, but could not be older.