[Originally published as Millions of nautiloid fossils prove rapid Grand Canyon limestone formation]
Remember the Nautiloids: In the Grand Canyon there is a limestone layer that challenges the textbook explanation of super-slow limestone formation (e.g., the NPS indicates that it took up to 35 million years for Big Bend limestone to form, and a geologist on a popular site says it took about a million years for each 18 feet at the Grand Canyon).
Beginning in the east at seven feet thick, it thickens to about 40 feet as it runs the 277 miles of the canyon and beyond into to Las Vegas, Nevada. This layer contains tens of millions of fossils with an average of one nautiloid fossil per four square meters, with nearly one in seven fossilized standing vertically!
Famed Mount St. Helens geologist Steve Austin is also one of the world’s two leading experts on nautiloid fossils, and has worked in the canyon for years and presented his findings to the park rangers at the invitation of National Park Service officials.
With a Ph.D. in sedimentary geology from Penn State, Dr. Austin points out, as is true of many of the world’s mass fossil graveyards, that this enormous nautiloid deposition, which covers more than 5,000 square miles, provides indisputable proof of the rapid formation of this significant layer of the canyon. Contrast that to the now outdated textbook explanation which has claimed that such massive limestone layers form extremely slowly as grain by grain settles to the bottom of a shallow and placid sea. But a million upright nautiloids beg to differ.
Many of these organisms were longer than your forearm. As seen in the canyon’s walls and beyond, millions of nautiloids that were buried in an extremely rapid mass-kill as this limestone layer formed. This particular bed, made up of the persistent bottom (basal) layer of the 500-foot thick Redwall Limestone, is exposed throughout the canyon. (Dr. Austin reports that he has even documented nautiloid fossils as far as Lake Mead Boulevard in Las Vegas where the Redwall Limestone is exposed.)
Along with many other dead creatures in this narrow layer, 15% of these nautiloids were killed and then fossilized upright. Yes, vertically. They were catastrophically buried, being caught in a hyperconcentrated flow, such that gravity was not able to cause all of their dead carcasses to fall over onto their sides.
Even a strongly-biased old-earth geologist should be able to agree that, if these fossils exist, as Dr. Austin and others have been documenting them, then this must be considered hard evidence of rapid limestone deposition for this layer. However, from our experience at Real Science Radio, paleontologists, geologists, atheists, Darwinists, and even the anti-Darwinists in the Intelligent Design movement, generally have a very hard time acknowledging such powerful evidence and such obvious conclusions. Why would this be? Because that limestone layers as at the Grand Canyon only form slowly is a claim that is too big to fail.
For more information, geologist Steven Austin’s video discussing nautiloids at the 16 minute mark:
See this nautiloid information in a RSR debate with popular atheist AronRa at England’s League of Reason.
Finally, see the Geological Society of America abstract, the Canyon-Length Mass Kill of Orthocone, Nautiloids, Redwall Limestone (Mississippian), Grand Canyon, Arizona.
This states, “Large fossil orthocone nautiloids are amassed within a thin but extremely persistent bed in the basal member of the Redwall Limestone throughout the length of the Grand Canyon. … Fossil density… within Marble Canyon is greater than one orthocone nautiloid per four square meters. Similar nautiloid density is seen on ledges along Havasu Creek in central Grand Canyon and at a cliff face… in western Grand Canyon. … A gigantic population of orthocone nautiloids was overcome by a a canyon-length event impacting an area exceeding one thousand square kilometers.”
(See also rsr.org/list-of-not-so-old-things.)
Here’s the Point
Most scientists default to claiming super-slow deep time processes when trying to explain many features of nature. But more careful observation, though, often shows hard scientific evidence that falsifies the claimed million-year process. So, while evolutionists everywhere insist otherwise, the catastrophic burial of nautiloids in a widespread limestone deposit at the Grand Canyon proves that layer formed rapidly. And unless we refuse to learn this big lesson from history, we should now challenge similar slow-process claims elsewhere.