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Diatoms and the Global Flood

In an email from Sharon to Edward T. Babinski
Last night on PBS, they did a special on crime scene investigations and how plants and animals help investigators to date victimsʼ time of death, and help to convict murderers.

Forensic scientists use diatoms (they classified them as plants) to pinpoint where a water-related crime takes place (diatoms are unique with every body of water).

You figure a global flood would mix those diatoms up a little? Or did Noah go out and hand collect them by the spoonfuls world-over, or did they miraculously grow weensy little legs, walking billions of miles to get onboard the Ark? And… making that long trek back home, once the ride was over? How many fishbowls did Noah need to keep them separate on the ark?

They might be able to burrow down in the floor of a lake or river? and survive in their home environment, but the Bible says nothing about God commanding them to do that… rather, God says he will wipe everything out. A universal flood seems like some heavy stuff, comes sweeping those rivers and lakes and oceans together — and mixing all the many species(?) of diatoms — funny how they separated themselves again into completely unique organisms for every local river and pond, sort of like the geological/fossil record is organized? Unless they got all mixed up during the flood, and only some diatoms survived (completely unique from any other river or pond in the whole wide world), and natural selection took over and made billions of new little diatom species, so police can do their investigations.

Amphorotia sp. Extinct Diatom

Edward T. Babinski: Thereʼs ditomaceous earth hundreds of feet thick found in different parts of the world where there used to be shallow seas, or off coast waters. Diatoms are tiny single-celled organisms that breed and die near the top of the water and fall very slowly to the bottom where they collect very slowly after lots of time.

Great questions and something worth pursuing, and though I donʼt have the expertise, there was an article that asked a similar question at “No Answers in Genesis.” See the first link below:

  1. Young-Earth Creationist Distortions of the Paleoenvironments of the Clarkia Fossil Beds, Idaho, USA…Commonly, the diatoms found in the Clarkia beds are well-known freshwater species (Batten et al., 1999, p. 171-172; Bradbury et al., 1985, p. 36-39). For example, freshwater species of Melosira are especially abundant in the beds…

  2. Ancient Ice Ages AND Submarine Landslides, but NOT Noahʼs Flood: A Review of M.J. Oardʼs assault on multiple glaciations
    …at the bottom of the formation accumulated very slowly, which further contradicts Oardʼs hopes for rapid accumulation. Diatoms are also present in the Yakataga Formation (Armentrout, 1983, p. 637-638). In a “Flood” scenario, not…

  3. Is Young Earth Creationism a Heresy?
    …Lake Suigetsu in Japan, which deposits dark-colored clay year-round and white layers resulting from the growth of diatoms in the spring. The authors took cores of the soft lake bed sediments and carefully counted the 1 mm-thick…

Glen Morton could probably write a paper on diatoms and he knows the scientific terms and how to use the geologic online databases. Have you seen his excellent articles on geological formations versus a “worldwide Flood?” Hereʼs what he said about diatoms:

Too Many Diatoms

A deposit that is similar to chalk is diatomaceous chert. These siliceous deposits are made of little more than dead diatoms. A diatom is a small single-celled animal that lives in the sea. As diatoms collect on the ocean floor and are buried deeper and deeper, they are compressed and changed from a form known as diatomite, which is used in swimming pool filters, to opal. Upon further burial, with increased temperature and pressure, the opal is changed into chert. The Monterey formation of California is such a deposit. It is the light-colored rock that forms much of the landscape of southern California. The deposit is 1,200 kilometers long, 250 kilometers wide and averages half a kilometer in thickness. This single deposit of dead diatoms is large enough to cover the earth to a depth of nearly 1 foot, or 0.28 meters.

But this is not all. There are over 300 such siliceous deposits around the world. If each one of them is only one-fourth the size of the Monterey, then there are enough dead diatoms to cover the earth uniformly to a depth of 21 meters, or 70 feet! So we now have a preflood world which contains 2,100 terrestrial animals per acre (none of which are human), a tropical rain forest everywhere, 20 meters of dead diatoms over the entire globe and 1 meter of dead coccoliths. Where is everyone going to live? And we are not through.

And…More On Diatoms from Glen

Oil created from Cambrian, Ordovician and Silurian rocks have the biomarker for dinoflagellates. But they lack the biomarkers for land plants, diatoms and angiosperms. The biomarker for land plants is vitrain—a component of coal. Only after the Devonian, when land plants become numerous do we find oil source rocks containing land plants. And in the Jurassic we find a new biomarker, which matches the rise of the DIATOMS:

The biological precursors of 24-norcholoestanes remain unclear, but samples from more than 100 basins provide evidence that 24-norcholestanes show an initial increase above background in Jurassic oils, but they increase dramatically in Cretaceous oils, coincident with diatom evolution. The highest ratios are found in oils and rock extracts from Oligocene or younger marine siliceous source rocks in which the sources were deposited at paleolatitudes greater than 30o N” ~ A. G. Holba et al, “24-norcholestanes as Age-sensitive Molecular Fossils,” Geology 26(1998):783-786, p. 783

Glenʼs articles on “Green River” and also, “Real Poop” are priceless.


Kevin Henke and Glen Morton are professional geologists and would know far more about writing such an article than I. But I agree itʼs a neat idea. Still, creationists already know how specific the contents of layers are in the geologic record, and how such contents are NOT mixed up, but distributed in discretely right down to fossils, microfossils and fossil fragments of bones, and even the proportions of radioactive elements in discrete layers show a gradation over time, which would make any normal person accept that the layers were not all laid down in one big annual Flood. Creationists stuggle to reinterpret the evidence in terms of a worldwide Flood. Though some creationists have begun arguing for enormous successive post-Flood catastrophes that cover huge parts of the globe, one after the other, that take place for centuries after the Flood. So, they donʼt limit the number of enormous geological catastrophes and are trying to put together a young-earth jigsaw puzzle of some sort, but neither the global Flood nor the successive enormous catastrophes model truly explains the record, not like the plain history of the ancient earth does. By the way, the late Henry Morris used to point out that the “successive catastrophe model” didnʼt jive with Scripture which said that God calmed the waters right after the one global flood and put up a rainbow promising no more enormous world-wide floods. The successive catastrophe model also make it more difficult to explain how animal and plant species survived and trekked all around the earth and diversified and fit into their niches during so many successive catastrophes.

Sharon: I gather, diatoms fossilize like any other living substance.
I have some questions…
Have sediment samples been taken that reveal “unique diatoms” exclusively localized, no where else in the world, those same ole unique diatoms still living in the same body of water after thousands of years?

Plankton Planet — science news articles online technology …Diatoms exist in both fresh and brackish environments. The oldest diatom fossils are about 140 million years old, leading some scientists to speculate that …

Geology Probing the memory of mud : Nature The oldest known fossil diatom is around 190 million years old3, but there is molecular evidence that suggests that diatoms first appeared 400 million years …

(If the waters actually did what Genesis says, all the diatoms would have been mixed up and swept away to new lands, and no way to separate them ever again, except for a miracle.)

How many bodies of water, and where?

Does the ground sample show any record of outside diatoms “flooded into” the area —which should mark the time of Noahʼs Flood.

Fossil Record of Diatoms
The oldest certain fossil diatoms are Lower Cretaceous in age. Diatoms probably had a much longer history than this; there are reports of Precambrian and …

Worldʼs oldest lake holds worldʼs newest genus Natural History Museum scientists have discovered a new genus of diatom.
Named Amphorotia, the genus contains 14 species, including six new to science.

Basis of the food chain
Diatoms (Bacillariophyta) are a group of single-celled algae that photosynthesise - a process that coverts sunlight into chemical energy used by animals. Diatoms live in marine and fresh water and are extremely important for many animals as they form the basis of the food chain on our planet.
The oldest lake
The new genus was first discovered living in Lake Baikal, Russia, but occurs elsewhere in the world.
Lake Baikal is the worldʼs largest lake and holds nearly 20 per cent of the worldʼs unfrozen surface fresh water. It has many endemic species - organisms not found anywhere else. This has been explained by the fact that at 20 to 30 million years old, itʼs the oldest lake in the world, and plants and animals have had plenty of time to evolve into new species.
Life at the deepest depths
Light micrograph of Amphorotia americana, an extinct species of diatom that lived in the USA and Japan in the Miocene, 15—20 million years ago. Natural History Museum scientists Dr David Williams and Dr Geraldine Reid discovered the new genus while studying diatom diversity in Lake Baikal. ‘This remarkable new find is really only the tip of the iceberg,’ said Williams. ‘The diatom diversity in Lake Baikal, especially in its deeper waters, is almost entirely unknown and unstudied.’ It is estimated that there are over 500 species of diatom found only in Lake Baikal. This number increases with each new biodiversity survey carried out making Lake Baikal home to one of the most diverse diatom communities in the world.
Living fossils
Species in the new genus Amphorotia are both fossil (extinct) as well as living; those found in deep lakes have been called living fossils, relics from the past still thriving in these unique and ancient habitats. Five of the species are found only in Lake Baikal (two being new to science), one found only in Lake Khuvsgul (Hövsgöl), Mongolia, four only in southeast China and three are believed to be extinct, known only from Miocene (15-20 million years ago) fossil specimens.
Unusual distribution
The geographic distribution of the species is somewhat unusual, showing two contrasting patterns, one extending across the cold northern hemisphere, the other south towards the tropical regions of southeast Asia via southern China. Williams and Reid are now researching why this diatom distribution is the way it is.
‘This study highlights the need to understand these unique habitats and track what species are actually on the planet before they disappear forever in these times of dramatic species loss through extinction’ said Reid.

Williams and Reid have produced a major monograph, or book, Diatom Monographs, which provides detailed light and electron microscope images of all 14 species.

And in the Jurassic we find a new biomarker, which matches the rise of the diatoms: “The biological precursors of 24-norcholoestanes remain unclear, but samples from more than 100 basins provide evidence that 24-norcholestanes show an initial increase above background in Jurassic oils, but they increase dramatically in Cretaceous oils, coincident with diatom evolution. The highest ratios are found in oils and rock extracts from Oligocene or younger marine siliceous source rocks in which the sources were deposited at paleolatitudes greater than 30o N” ~ A. G. Holba et al, “24-norcholestanes as Age-sensitive Molecular Fossils,” Geology 26(1998):783-786, p. 783

Climatically driven macroevolutionary patterns in the size of … The oldest unequivocal fossil diatoms are found in the middle Cretaceous (1, 2), but molecular clock estimates indicate they may have originated as early as …

Diatom and Global Flood

Reasons To Believe: Spokane Chapter Newsletter - November 2004
But much more amazingly, how did this global flood manage to sort these trillions of diatoms in the correct layers according to the proportion of carbon-14 …

Evolution - September 1998: Re: diatoms and the global flood
Re: diatoms and the global flood.
Karen G. Jensen (kjensen@calweb.com) Fri, 25 Sep 1998
09:32:47 -0600. Messages sorted by: [ date ][ thread ][ subject …

Evolution - September 1998: diatoms, angiosperms and the global floodThe question for the global flood advocates is: Why do the chemicals found in petroleum not show the presence of preflood diatoms and angiosperms? glenn

Thu, 24 Sep 1998 21:43:01 -0500
Glenn Morton gave some possible scenarios re: diatoms and the flood [see below].

Hereʼs another possiblility:

5. Diatoms lived in upland waters preflood, and were not washed into the sediments until rising water eroded those uplands (so they are not found in Paleozoic deposits). During the high-water phase of the Flood, when diatoms had mixed into the ocean, some species found conditions favorable for massive multiplication, generating the multitudes of diatoms (with their C26 steranes) found in Cretaceous deposits. Then, when the floodwaters receded, leaving giant lakes in many places around the world, some of the lakes provided appropriate nutrients, temperatures, etc. for extremely prodigious diatom multiplication (different species in different areas), until the nutrients etc. were exhausted or the lake was filled, leaving the mid-upper Tertiary diatomite deposits we mine today.
Karen


The global flood model holds that the pre-flood biosphere contained almost all the plants and animals which are alive today. This means that evidence of the plants and animals should be found in the fossil record. Diatoms are microscopic plants that should have lived in the preflood oceans, yet they first appear in very small numbers in the Triassic rocks. According to the flood model, they were in existence in the waters of the flood prior to this time. Diatoms become abundant in the Cretaceous and later rocks. But there is no fossil evidence of their pre-flood or early existence. And what is surprising is that diatoms produce unique chemicals which are modified and then found in oils around the world. These chemicals first appear in oils which come from Cretaceous rocks, which is coincident with the fossil occurrence of abundant diatoms. September Geology published a study of the biological chemicals left by diatoms in petroleum.

“Biomarkers, molecular fossils, are organic compounds in Holocene to Precambrian sedimentary deposits that can be related to specific chemical compounds produced in the biosphere. We demonstrate here that 24-norcholestane biomarkers, i.e, C26 steranes (saturated hydrocarbons having a steroid skeleton), can be useful to constrain the age and paleolatitude of geologic samples. The biological precursors of 24-norchloestanes remain unclear, but samples from more than 100 basins provide evidence that 24-norcholestanes show an initial increase above background in Jurassic oils, but they increase dramatically in Cretaceous oils, coincident with diatom evolution. The highest ratios are found in oils and rock extracts from Oligocene or younger marine siliceous source rocks in which the sources were deposited at paleolatitudes greater than 30[deg] N” ~ A. G. Holba et al, “24-norcholestanes as Age-sensitive Molecular Fossils,” Geology 26(1998):783-786, p. 783

Now, what are the possibilities:

  1. Diatoms lived in the oceans prior to the Cretaceous part of the flood, but they didnʼt die. Given the supposed violence of the flood, this seems unlikely as the waters should have been thoroughly mixed up and the microscopic diatoms should have been found with microscopic conodonts and other small evidences of life in the Paleozoic
  2. Diatoms fled with the dinosaurs and were washed into the sea later. This is Morrisʼ hydrodynamic sorting and ecological zonation hypothesis. Morris suggests that dinos and men were able to flee to the hills and avoid burial in the early part of the flood and escape early burial. It seems difficult to envision diatoms fleeing to the hills.
  3. Diatoms only lived in freshwater before the flood and they didnʼt enter the flood until the waters washed them into the sea. The difficulty with this is that fresh water deposits, without any diatoms are found in the Paleozoic.
  4. Diatoms actually evolved in the Cretaceous rocks as evolution and paleontology says.

The same line of reasoning goes for another chemical found in petroleum, oleananes, which are manufactured only by angiosperms. Angiosperms first appear early in the Cretaceous but donʼt become numerous until the Maastrichtian at the very end of the Cretaceous. And guess what? Oleananes also follow this pattern.

“The results of the oleanane analyses are broadly comparable with those found for fossil angiosperm occurrences. The relative concentrations of oleanane to hopane, excluding the unusual Middle Jurassic and Neocomian occurrences, begin low, near the detectable limit of 3% during the Early Cretaceous and steadily incrase to a plateau during the latest Cretaceous. Then, during the Tertiary there is a major increase.” J. Michael Moldowan et al, “the Molecular Fossil Record of Oleanane and Its Relation to Angiosperms,” Science 265(1994):768-771, p. 769

The question for the global flood advocates is: Why do the chemicals found in petroleum not show the presence of preflood diatoms and angiosperms?
glenn

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