Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Evidence Revealed

We went on a fascinating field trip this week with a group of homeschoolers.

Three area geology experts took us on a tour along the Columbia River Gorge to look at the geological evidences for a catastrophic flood as described in the Bible.

The knowledge of the three men, who have all written books on their areas of expertise and have been conducting tours in Oregon, Washington, the Grand Canyon and other areas for decades, was vast; no question went unanswered during our trip.

The first place we went was a quarry that we have driven past many, many times on the highway. It contains a geological mystery. The area is made up of a deep layer of small, smooth, rounded stone mixed with sand that is under other layers of basalt, which is rock formed by volcanic action. The small stones are quartzite. The only source of quartzite is 350 miles away in the Rocky Mountains of Montana. How did this (and many other) deposit of quartzite get here along the Columbia River?

We pondered the theory that a massive flood of waters 200 feet deep brought the rock- tumbling and polishing the stones along the way and pulverizing others into sand- while there was also violent volcanic action taking place under the water.

The geologists also brought us along a trail to the site of this hole in a basalt cliff. How did the hole form?

This pattern on the volcanically formed rock gives a clue. This is an imprint of charred wood on a particular form of lava rock that was cooled under water.

The tour we went on was very thoughtfully organized for the information that was given and the sites that were visited. During the lunch break the kids and adults got a chance to examine the large collection of petrified wood that was displayed by the rock expert. He explained how petrified wood is formed and the various kinds that there are. Did you know that petrification happens very quickly- in weeks or months- and that it can be done in a laboratory? Included in the display was a petrified pickle that the collector had made. We were given the method for making our own. Petrification can only be done quickly, not slowly over many years.

One moment of fascination for me was when the college professor showed us these two pieces he found. One is a piece of petrified wood; the other is a piece of charred wood, still able to burn, which he demonstrated. He told us that he had found these two items himself in a road cut where the contact between two layers of basalt rock, formed by volcanic action, was revealed by the road construction. These two items were found in the rock together, indicating that they were the same age.
 Charred wood and petrified wood in rock. My question of why the charred wood did not decay in four thousand years was answered. It was sealed in the rock away from oxygen. Fascinating!

After getting some understanding of how wood is petrified, we visited this site- an area where the basalt rock was cut out to accommodate the highway passing through.

The basalt cliffs revealed layers of volcanic action and this unusual looking formation which continued on the other side of the road.
The scientists explained the action that formed this rock. Flows of lava, coming all the way from the Idaho border, rolling along, under water (which is evidenced by the kind of rock formed) pushed along like a bulldozer, an amount of wood debris, including logs of trees.

We could see the petrified wood in this formation.

There was a whole log in the area of the professor's stick.

The group then crossed the road to find pieces of petrified wood to take home.

Our last stop of the day was a short hike up into an area where there were other kinds of rock formations.

These volcanic formations were composed of basalt columns that have broken away over time to reveal their structure.

What a thought provoking trip, for students and adults both, to better understand this unique area where we live. The earth around us reveals information that confirms what we know through faith- that the record of the Bible is true.

For more information about these types of tours, check out Creation Encounter.


  1. Fascinating. I did not know that fact about petrification.

  2. True. Oil and Coal can be made in the laboratory also. Only quickly. It doesn't form slowly.
    Velly intellesting....


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