Top 5 Creationist Claims About Grand Canyon: #2 The Coconino Sandstone Formed During Noah’s Flood, Part 2

“In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth.”

―Rachel Carson, “Our Ever-Changing Shore”

In part 1, I explained that the Coconino Sandstone poses a serious scientific challenge to young-earth creationist Flood geology. If you think that the Earth was entirely covered by water, and that the sediments of Grand Canyon in particular were laid down during that mighty Flood, then you’re going to have a hard time explaining why some of those sediments—the Coconino Sandstone especially—show every sign of having formed on dry land.

coconino sandstone cross-bedding

But rather than accept the Coconino as a legitimate challenge to the model of Noah’s Flood, and perhaps rethink whether or not a literal global Flood matters to the importance of the metaphors in this Biblical passage, creationists argue those pesky geologists are all wrong—blinded by “aggressive teaching by uniformitarians,” as Morris puts it—and the Coconino formed underwater, after all. This kind of goalpost-moving reminds me of that Woody Allen film where in order to address the problem of young children, a dictator declares that all children under 16 years of age are now 16 years old. Problem solved! Except that no matter how they deny its significance, creationists cannot get away from the scratchy sands of the Coconino.

One popular creationist tactic: challenge the standard interpretation of the Coconino as an eolian deposit at scientific conferences. Some of the presentations at recent meetings of the Geological Society of America [emphasis mine]:

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Steve Newton is a former Programs and Policy Director at NCSE.

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