published in the 1990s, 19 though research today is focused on
large-scale sequences. 20 Second, the rise of neocatastrophism
forced geologists to confront the amount of time actually
residing in unconformities. Ager6 was famous for his
comments that the record was comprised mostly of gaps.
Saddler21 noted that accumulation rates diminish with time.
Bailey and Smith22 noted the ubiquity of unconformities at
all scales, and the corollary that most stratigraphic charts
vastly overstate the actual time in the rocks. Miall responded
with a defense of uniformitarianism, 23 and proposed that the
wide variation in the scale of sedimentary events provides
a representative record.
Dynamic approach of Flood geology
Uniformitarian geology favours the stratigraphic
approach, but diluvial geology is restricted to one
approach—the dynamic. How do these fundamentally
distinct approaches to unconformities affect stratigraphic
and historical interpretation?
Quantity of time minimal.
Uniformitarians grant that a single
waveform can form in a matter of
seconds, but assert that increasing
physical scale demands an increasing
temporal scale—up to 107–108
years for continental scale sequence
boundaries. 23 We reject that link
between temporal and physical scale;
the Flood was an event of great energy,
in both extent and intensity. Even large
sequence boundaries may have formed
in hours; the major constraint being
the upper boundaries of the motion of
large volumes of water.
Unconformities reflect changes
in flow. If most of the rock record
was produced in a year, then
unconformities mark rapid tectonic
and hydrodynamic changes. Changes
in current direction, velocity, and depth
can produce rapid changes in erosion
and sedimentation, as seen on a small
scale in modern floods. Extrapolation
to larger scales is consistent with both
actualism and the Flood.
Global signatures. Large unconformities are not necessarily time
boundaries correlated to a global timescale, but are more likely signatures
of hydraulic and tectonic events that
cannot be synchronized to any fine
scale during the Flood. Thus, the criteria for correlating
unconformities must be reassessed. Modern correlation
methods—fossils, astronomical cycles, etc.—are largely
irrelevant to diluvialism.
Unconformities keyed to events. Inundation was rapid, but
was complete within 150 days. During that time, interactions
between flowing water and topography produced distinct
local to regional signatures, sometimes in minutes to hours.
The hydraulic environment is therefore more significant
Completeness of record. If the Flood was a global one-year event, and if unconformities represent hydrodynamic
and tectonic shifts of hours to days, then the Flood record
(including unconformities) is much more complete in the
domain of time than the uniformitarian stratigraphic record.
Thus, quantifiable sedimentological analysis would also carry
more historical certainty.
Fossil record result of transport, burial, and preservation.
In marked contrast to uniformitarian stratigraphy, fossils
rarely represent in situ snapshots of ancient environments.
Figure 3. Two stratigraphic sections in Iowa, based on COSUNA charts. Contrast the visual impact
of the presentation by thickness and lithology (left) and the stratigraphic interpretation (right). Note
the vast amount of time pigeonholed into major unconformities. Note the 10x vertical scale change
in the left Webster County column. 17 Thicknesses are averages of ranges provided by COSUNA
charts, and thus are approximations for any given location.