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Catastrophic plate tectonics

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Catastrophic plate tectonics is a theory that proposes rapid movement of the Earth's plates during the flood of Noah. It was originally derived by Dr. John Baumgardner, and substantiated by sophisticated computer modeling.

Many creation geologists feel it fits with standard geology better than other flood models because it offers a scientific description of the flood of Noah that is compatible with plate tectonics and continental drift theories. It also provides a mechanism for the source and recession of the flood water (i.e. the fountains of the great deep), and accepts the conventional interpretation of events like earthquakes and volcanic activity. Because it simply requires an accelerated timescale for plate movement, the conflict with traditional uniformitarian geology is also minimal.

Baumgardner's model is illustrated in the 27 minute documentary titled: In the Beginning: Catastrophic Plate Tectonics and the Genesis Flood, which was produced in 1996 by Keziah and American Portrait Films.

Plate tectonics

Main Article: Plate Tectonics

Today it is believed that the earth is made of many "pieces" or "plates". These plates consist of the crust, mantle and core. The crust is the thin rocky outer layer that can be anywhere from 3-45 miles thick. Below the crust is the mantle, it's made of solid rock that is very warm or even hot. This layer is around 1,800 miles deep. Below the mantle is the core, which is made mostly of iron. The outer part of the core is melted.

Any theory of plate tectonics is based on three main movements. Extension (moving apart)is compression normally caused by subduction (one plate falling under another), and transform faulting (horizontal slipping along a large fault line).[1] A faultline is a flat surface rock fracture, which shows evidence of relative movement. The Catastrophic Plate Tectonics Theory suggests that some catastrophic event such as the Flood of Noah might have caused a break in the Mid-Atlantic range, which caused magma to flow from the core and the plates to split apart. Today, magma still flows from the Mid-Atlantic range and slowly moves the plates. But the actual splitting of the plates is believed to have happened very rapidly.[2]

Catastrophism theory

Catastrophic Plate Tectonics starts with a pre-flood Earth with a single continent and a large ocean. Like the present Earth there were distinct continental and oceanic crusts. The continental crust was the same granite crust that exists today, and the oceanic crust was also basalt. From this starting point Baumgardner models runaway plate subduction producing a viable model of the Genesis Flood. According to this model none of the pre-Flood oceanic crust remains at the surface but has been entirely subducted and replaced with a new basalt crust.[Reference needed]

The process starts with material from the upper mantle suddenly sinking to the lower mantle. The energy of this event is released as heat which changes the mantle's viscosity. This causes the oceanic crust to start to sink because it is denser than the continental crust. This oceanic crust, along with material in the upper mantle, continues to sink, which forces material from the lower mantle upward, pushing up the oceanic crust at about the location of the mid oceanic ridge. With the ends of the oceanic crust near the continent sill sinking, runaway subduction begins. This process splits oceanic crust along what is now the mid oceanic ridge, heat from lava entering this gap heats the water above it causing a super sonic burst of steam (Fountains of the great deep). This steam shoots in to the upper atmosphere where it cools and falls back as a torrential rain. The runaway subduction of the oceanic crust drags down the continental crust causing the water to start flooding the the continent. These processes would cause fast moving currents to move off the continent depositing massive amounts of sediment.[Reference needed]

As the original oceanic crust was subducted it was replaced by a hotter and therefore less dense crust that rose up more, increasing water depth. At some point in the process the strain on the continental crust is so great that it splits apart, this begins the formation of the Atlantic Ocean. As the new oceanic crust cools it starts to sink to a lower level. The runaway subduction comes to a stop as the energy of the original crust sinking to lower mantle is expended. This allows the buoyant continental crust to float up and the flood water to drain off.[Reference needed]

Supporting evidence

  • There is a ring of relatively cool material in the lower mantle that corresponds to past and present subduction zones surrounding a hot zone under the Pacific, and hotter material being squeezed up under Africa as predicted by Catastrophic plate tectonics.
  • A more recent discovery of a slab of oceanic crust in the lower mantle was also predicted by Catastrophic plate tectonics.

No other theory predicts nor readily explains this evidence.[Reference needed]


In 1858, geographer Antonio Snider-Pellegrini made these two maps showing his version of how the American and African continents may once have fit together, then later separated.

The concept of plate tectonics has revolutionized thinking in the Earth sciences in the last 10 years and combines many of the ideas about continental drift and sea-floor spreading.[3] The theory of continental drift was put forth by a creation scientist named Antonio Snider-Pellegrini, who published the concept in his book, La Création et ses mystères dévoilés (Creation and its Mysteries Unveiled), in 1858.[4] In 1912 by Alfred Wegener furthered developed the theory of continental drift (Kontinentalverschiebung), and sea-floor spreading was suggested originally by Harry Hess of Princeton University.[3]

To form his theory, Snider drew from Genesis 1:9-10 where it is explained that God gathered the seas into one place, suggesting the possibility of one single landmass at that point in time. He also observed the close fit of the Eastern South American coast and the Western African coast. He concluded that the Flood of Noah had caused subsequent horizontal movement of the supercontinent causing it to break, thus forming the tectonic plates. Snider's idea was overlooked, possibly due to the fact that Darwin's book had been published in the same year. Snider wrote a book and even had it translated into French, but still, his theory went unnoticed until the early twentieth century. At that time, the German meteorologist Alfred Wegener wrote a book on the idea of one original supercontinent called Pangaea.

But still, for about 50 years this thought was neglected due to a small group of seismologists who professed that the strength of the mantle rock was too great to allow continents to drift in the way Wegener had calculated. They estimated the rocks' strength by watching the behavior of seismic waves as they went through the earth. But they were calculating the strength of the rocks at the time of their testing, not from back when the earth was in its pre-flood state. During those 50 years, scientists who believed in the theory of one original supercontinent were considered ignorant people who didn't look at the facts. But today, that view has reversed.

Today, most scientists believe in the fact that the earth was once a supercontinent. Now we have more information on our planet due to mapping the ocean floor using sound waves, measuring the magnetic field above the seafloor, timing geomagnetic reversals of the past by unlocking the magnetic memory of the continental rocks, and locating earthquakes with a world-wide network of seismometers.[1]

Hydroplate theory

Main Article: Hydroplate theory

The hydroplate theory is a relatively new model of Earth history put forth by Dr. Walt Brown in his book In the Beginning. It states that before the Global flood a massive amount of water was underneath the crust. The pressure on the water caused the plates to break and separate. The escaping water then flooded the whole earth. Because these plates were broken, moved, and affected by water, (Hydro = water) these plates are considered hydroplates.[5]

It is believed that the preflood earth held a mass of water that surrounded the earth underneath the crust. It might have held as much as half of the water in our oceans today. This water was seemingly held in coterminous chambers forming a thin spherical shell. The shell was possibly 10 miles below the earth's surface. Increasing pressure on the water started stretching the crust. This "stretching" created a microscopic crack which violently grew about 3 miles per second. This crack found the weakest parts of the crust and broke through them. This crack encompassed the globe in about two hours. The water was being pressured by 10 miles of rock and exploded out of the crack. This water was shot almost 20 miles into the atmosphere. This created fierce rains and even extreme hail. Some of the water shot high above the stratosphere creating ice crystals that fell in certain areas. These extreme hails buried, asphyxiated, and instantly froze many animals. This includes the frozen mammoths found today.

These fountains eroded the rock on both sides of the crack creating massive amounts of sediment all over the world. The sediment buried many animals and plants establishing the fossil record. The width was so colossal that the rock beneath was compelled upward by pressure and became the mid-oceanic ridge. Then the hydroplates slid down and away from the inclining mid-Atlantic ridge. Once the gradually advancing plates reached speeds of about 45 miles per hour they would collide, compress and buckle. The plates that buckled downward became ocean trenches and those that buckled upward became mountains. This explains why large mountain ranges are in correlation to their oceanic ridges.[6]

The Heat Problem

The main problem with this theory is that it generates too much heat, but this can be dealt with by several methods.

  1. A rapid expansion of space would remove large amounts of heat. This could be either universal or local.
  2. Based on M-theory a super cold extremely near parallel universe could serve as a heat sink.
  3. A direct act of God.
  4. The waters from the deep may have been freezing cold, which would absorb excess heat.

[Reference needed]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Can Catastrophic Plate Tectonics Explain Flood Geology?by Andrew A. Snelling November 8, 2007
  2. Geologic fault by Wikipedia
  3. 3.0 3.1 Earthquakes and Plate Tectonics by the U.S. Geological Survey, Earthquake Hazards Program.
  4. Antonio Snider-Pellegrini by Wikipedia
  5. *The Hydroplate Theory: An Overview by Walt Brown PhD
  6. The Hydro-Plate Theory and The Great Flood by Walt Brown PhD

Additional information