Bill Menke's BLOG Page: Geophysicists serving Satan?

Geophysicists serving Satan! World less than 10,000 Years Old! Creation took 7 Days! said the protest signs outside San Francisco's Moscone Center during the 2004 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union. I found being protested against rather refreshing - a change of pace, given that its usually we Academics who are doing the protesting! But I also pondered what it would take for we geophysicists to buy the idea of a 10,000 year old earth. Take the opening of the Atlantic, which we believe to have taken 200 million years. The evidence that the Atlantic opened is just too compelling that we would ever discard the idea. The jigsaw-puzzle fit of the continents, the crust-generating volcanism along the mid-Atlantic Ridge, and the arcs of the fracture zones on the ocean floor are just too sweet! But could we speed it up by a factor of 20,000? The trick would be dealing with the logical consequences: You'd have to cool the volcanic crust 20,000 faster, for starters. Or even faster, actually. We know its not cooling that fast today, so you'd have to squeeze the cooling into the first, say, 5000 years. The crust would become a heat source comparable in intensity to that of sunlight, warming the ocean from the bottom. The deep ocean would have been warmer than the surface waters, rather than colder as it is today. Carbonate sediments would have been stable all the way to the ocean bottom, not just to 4000 meters depths as today. And sea level would have been higher (due to thermal expansion) than now. Alas, sedimentological evidence excludes these scenarios, so reasons why they didn't occur would have to be cooked up. But those reasons would have consequences, too. The task of reconcilliation quickly becomes very unwieldy, to say the least. Personally, I doubt it could be done, except by "rescaling time", that is making all the laws of chemistry and physics operate 20000 times faster. But this is just eqivalent interpreting the Biblical day as an age of indeterminate - but possibly longer - length. That certainly would not appeal to to these protestors.