Awesome Science

Explore The John Day Fossil Beds

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript



Series Code: ASB

Program Code: ASB000107A

00:04 And comes from the DVD series, "Awesome Science"
00:09 [music playing]
00:10 NOAH JUSTICE (VOICEOVER): Very few places in America
00:12 have such amazing sights for exploring volcanic history
00:15 as the Pacific Northwest.
00:17 Dormant, extinct, or active volcanoes
00:20 hold spectacular views.
00:22 Before these volcanoes rose, a foundation of basalt
00:26 was laid across vast areas of Oregon and Washington,
00:29 named the Columbia River Basalt.
00:32 NOAH JUSTICE (VOICEOVER): Up to 15,000 feet
00:34 thick, these layers are best seen in Eastern Oregon,
00:38 where they have been cut by extensive erosion.
00:42 Below and above the basalts are amazing layers
00:45 of ash, sediment, and fossils.
00:48 This area was so spectacular, the government
00:50 declared it a National Monument which we know now
00:54 as the John Day Fossil Beds.
00:57 scientists say the thousands of feet of basalt and ash layers,
01:00 along with the erosion which carved them out,
01:03 took many millions of years to form.
01:06 As we look at the evidence, another explanation
01:09 is possible-- that they were laid down and carved quickly
01:13 as a result of a global Flood.
01:15 Which view is right?
01:17 What really happened here?
01:19 All this and more, next on "Awesome Science."
01:22 [music playing]
01:27 NOAH JUSTICE (VOICEOVER): "Awesome Science" takes you
01:29 on a field trip to some of the most amazing geologic
01:32 and historical sites around the world,
01:35 where we used the Bible as our history guidebook
01:37 to interpret what we see-- that the Bible can be trusted,
01:41 and empirical science falls in line
01:43 with the Biblical account of Creation,
01:45 the Fall, and the Flood.
01:48 Science-- it's awesome.
01:55 [music playing]
02:02 The state of Oregon is divided into four major areaS--
02:06 the pristine coastline, rich valleys, Cascade Mountains,
02:11 and the high desert to the east.
02:14 Much of this high desert is covered in basalt thousands
02:17 of feet thick.
02:18 The basalt comes from a series of lava flows originating
02:21 from numerous fissures in Southeastern Washington
02:24 and Northeastern Oregon.
02:27 Some of these lava flows traveled as far
02:29 as the Pacific Ocean, a few hundred miles to the west.
02:33 NOAH JUSTICE (VOICEOVER): Some of the basalt has been removed,
02:36 creating large, open areas thousands of feet
02:39 deep, revealing the underlying layers of sandstone, shales,
02:43 and volcanic deposits.
02:45 These sedimentary beds have colorful shades of tan,
02:48 green, and red.
02:51 They often contain fossils, mostly of plants,
02:54 but a few animals, as well.
02:56 Some of the most spectacular sites
02:59 where the sediment was exposed were set aside
03:02 for the National Monument.
03:03 Spread over three different locations,
03:05 over 100,000 visitors come every year
03:08 to experience the outstanding geology and scenery.
03:12 NOAH JUSTICE (VOICEOVER): This part of Oregon
03:13 was named after John Day, a hunter and trapper who
03:17 came West on an expedition party in 1812.
03:21 He and a partner became separated from their group
03:24 and were raided by Indians.
03:26 This happened where the John Day river enters the Columbia.
03:29 The river, which meanders through Eastern Oregon,
03:32 and the region, were named after him.
03:34 The monument was established in 1975,
03:38 and encompasses around 14,000 acres.
03:42 It's easy to make your way around the monument
03:44 on the highways and gravel roads.
03:46 If you're traveling through this area,
03:48 it's really worth a visit.
03:50 [whoosh]
03:52 NOAH JUSTICE (VOICEOVER): As you drive through the large canyons
03:55 and valleys, it becomes evident that more than one
03:58 geologic formation can be seen in these steep walls.
04:02 From the top of the canyon all the way to the bottom,
04:05 there are 10 formations.
04:07 The top formation consists of sediments and glacial deposits.
04:11 And the bottom of the canyon contains marble, schists,
04:14 and limestone.
04:15 NOAH JUSTICE (VOICEOVER): All the formations
04:17 fit into the geologic column.
04:19 Sections of the Holocene, Pleistocene, Pliocene, Miocene,
04:23 Eocene, Cretaceous, Jurassic, Triassic, and Permian.
04:29 By the way, creationists and evolutionists
04:32 both agree that these rock layers are real, and have
04:35 distinctions.
04:36 Where we disagree is the timing of the laying
04:38 down of these layers.
04:41 geologists use this column to describe
04:43 the long ages of the evolutionary history
04:46 of the earth.
04:48 Each layer has a set of index fossils
04:50 that are used to identify it.
04:52 For the most part, Biblical creationists
04:55 also use the same column.
04:57 But they interpret what they see mainly
05:00 as layers being laid down during the Flood
05:02 in a quick succession, not over long ages.
05:05 NOAH JUSTICE (VOICEOVER): Arguably, there
05:07 is no one location on Earth that has the full columns stacked
05:11 one layer on top of the other.
05:13 Scientists piece it together by comparing multiple locations
05:16 around the world.
05:19 There is some debate among creationists
05:21 over whether the Columbia River Basalts were formed
05:24 during or after the Flood.
05:26 NOAH JUSTICE (VOICEOVER): There Is strong evidence
05:28 that heavy volcanic activity was happening
05:30 during and after the Flood, when the flood water was
05:33 moving into the ocean basins, as the earth
05:36 came to a balance point.
05:39 One reason why the scientists think
05:41 that the basalt may have formed after the flood waters moved
05:44 off the continents is that when magma
05:46 comes to the surface at the bottom of the ocean,
05:48 it has a tendency to form pillows.
05:51 Yet most of the basalt here has not formed into pillows.
05:57 But more recent observations have been made in Hawaii
06:00 where large amounts of magma have quickly developed
06:03 underwater without pillowing.
06:06 So we can't be absolutely certain,
06:08 but we still have a fairly narrow window, much less
06:11 than the millions of years in the evolutionary view.
06:15 NOAH JUSTICE (VOICEOVER): The pillowing
06:17 features seem to be related to the quantity and quickness
06:20 at which the magma exits to the surface.
06:23 With the massive quantity of basalt
06:25 here, we can be fairly certain that the earth was putting out
06:29 very large amounts of magma at the end stages of the Flood.
06:33 The other challenge with this lava being post-Flood
06:36 is the fact that of massive amounts of erosion
06:39 that occurred.
06:40 The Flood is the only logical event
06:42 with the means of carving this basalt thousands of feet deep.
06:46 NOAH JUSTICE (VOICEOVER): There is evidence
06:48 that we can interpret as several large lakes that existed
06:51 in the west after the Flood.
06:53 These lakes eventually breached, and the escaping water
06:56 carved the landscape as it made its way to the ocean.
07:01 Glacial Lake Missoula and Lake Bonneville
07:04 are just two examples.
07:06 Yet there just isn't enough evidence
07:08 that can be interpreted as a local flood event in Oregon.
07:13 NOAH JUSTICE (VOICEOVER): As you enter the John Day river
07:15 valley, near the small village of Antelope,
07:19 it's easy to see the lines of contact between lava beds.
07:23 They're straight and level.
07:25 This evidence is consistent with the short period of time
07:28 between one flow and the next.
07:31 And the whole sequence accumulated very quickly.
07:35 There was not hundreds of thousands
07:37 of years between flows.
07:39 Otherwise, we'd see erosion.
07:42 There is also a large amount of sliding and slumping
07:45 in the layers, so the John Day beds
07:48 were not thoroughly consolidated when
07:50 formed, but were still soft or plastic when
07:53 the bending action happened.
07:55 Then they hardened.
07:57 Many locations around the world have
08:00 had extensive volcanic activity in the past.
08:03 This includes huge magma deposits and massive layers
08:07 of ash, such as in the Southwest at Petrified Forest National
08:11 Park.
08:12 During the Flood, massive tectonic activity
08:15 was happening below the waters to release this magma and ash.
08:19 NOAH JUSTICE (VOICEOVER): When the highway
08:21 was built along the John Day River,
08:23 several hillsides were exposed, showing conglomerate layers.
08:28 Below the conglomerate layer are sandstones, shales, and ash
08:32 deposits.
08:34 All of these layers are sedimentary,
08:36 meaning they were deposited in water.
08:39 Shales are usually formed by sand, pressure, and heat.
08:43 The heat fuses the particles of sand and other materials
08:46 together into a shale.
08:50 There was plenty of heat present below the surface of the flood
08:52 waters to help form the shales, along
08:55 with the volcanic activity to generate the ash layers.
08:59 The Bible tells us that God sent the Flood to destroy
09:02 all land-dwelling, air-breathing life,
09:06 except for Noah, his family, and the animals on the Ark.
09:09 None of these types of animals or people
09:12 could have survived what was happening as the flood waters
09:15 covered the entire earth.
09:17 God's destruction was complete, just as He said it would be.
09:21 NOAH JUSTICE (VOICEOVER): This is exactly what we
09:23 see from the geologic record.
09:26 The destruction was massive and worldwide.
09:29 [whoosh]
09:31 [hum]
09:33 [zap]
09:34 Thousands of cubic miles of material
09:36 have been removed from this area.
09:38 Where did it go?
09:40 There is no significant accumulation of sediment
09:42 anywhere in between here and the Pacific Ocean.
09:47 NOAH JUSTICE (VOICEOVER): For hundreds of miles up and down
09:50 this valley, the excavation of the Columbia River
09:53 Basalt and other layers has been enormous.
09:57 Water erosion has amazing properties,
10:00 and can cut through just about any substance.
10:04 In 1982, at Mount St. Helens, a mudflow
10:07 caused by immense amounts of water came out of the crater
10:11 and carved canyons hundreds of feet thick,
10:14 including a lava flow thought to be 500 years old.
10:18 After day 150 of the Flood, the Bible
10:22 tells us that the waters were, indeed, receding.
10:25 Below the surface, the remaining movements
10:27 of the continents and changes of elevation were happening.
10:30 Mountains were being pushed up.
10:33 Valleys were being formed.
10:34 And what is now the Pacific Ocean was sinking lower.
10:38 NOAH JUSTICE (VOICEOVER): These massive volcanic changes
10:40 started moving the water off the continents
10:42 and into the ocean basins.
10:45 During this time, giant sheet erosion
10:48 was moving sediments off the top layers
10:51 and dumping them on the continental shelves
10:53 in the ocean.
10:56 As the water decreased, it began to carve canyons and gaps
11:00 in the mountain chains and plateaus.
11:03 It is believed that this massive erosional event
11:06 was responsible for carving the John Day Fossil Beds.
11:10 NOAH JUSTICE (VOICEOVER): The absence
11:11 of significant accumulations of erosional debris
11:14 and sedimentary deposits between here
11:16 and the ocean suggest that most of the material eroded
11:20 from these great canyons was dumped into the Pacific Ocean.
11:24 The Genesis Flood could provide sufficient water
11:27 to accomplish this task quickly.
11:30 [whoosh]
11:32 We're here behind Fossil High School,
11:34 where collecting is permitted.
11:36 Be sure to have a hammer and a geology chisel.
11:40 Let's go.
11:43 This rock is white volcanic ash.
11:47 This is the area that we can dig in.
11:49 Let's go look for some.
11:50 [music playing]
11:54 Oh, wow.
11:55 What's interesting about these leaves
11:57 is the edges aren't bent, which means
11:59 that they were stripped off their plant
12:01 and buried in the mud flow within seconds.
12:03 NOAH JUSTICE (VOICEOVER): This find is significant,
12:05 because it shows catastrophe was involved in making this fossil.
12:09 If this leaf had fallen from a tree
12:11 and lied on the ground for a while,
12:13 it would have first withered, and the edges
12:15 would have been bent.
12:16 Then it would have eventually decomposed.
12:19 This leaf didn't even get a chance
12:21 to wither before it was buried.
12:23 Oh.
12:25 Here's another one.
12:27 Oh.
12:29 There's another one.
12:30 NOAH JUSTICE (VOICEOVER): At the beginning stages of the Flood,
12:33 the fountains of the great deep were unleashed
12:35 and it rained for 40 days and nights.
12:38 [lightning crash]
12:39 Water quickly flooded the earth, wiping out the vegetation
12:42 quickly, stripping leaves from trees as the waters came.
12:46 The fountains of the great deep also
12:49 included volcanic activity, which
12:51 would have spewed ash into the water
12:53 and dropped quickly as sediments,
12:55 burying the leaves and other small animals.
12:58 It is quickly evident why this is
13:00 called Fossil Beds, because the fossils are everywhere.
13:05 What makes it even more remarkable
13:07 is that these leaf impressions were made by vegetation
13:10 which existed before the Flood.
13:13 It is a reminder that God's judgment was swift and sure.
13:17 Everything died in that catastrophe,
13:19 except for those on the ark.
13:22 [whoosh]
13:23 [hum]
13:25 [zap]
13:27 These are the Palisades.
13:28 They're composed of conglomerates,
13:30 with angular rocks and boulders.
13:34 The Palisades are 18 miles west of Fossil High School,
13:38 and a part of the Clarno Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds.
13:42 They are thought, by secular scientists,
13:44 to have formed 44 million years ago in a series of volcanic mud
13:48 flows called lahars.
13:50 We've seen lahars happen, and we
13:53 have evidence of past lahars, most recently when
13:56 Mount St. Helens erupted.
13:59 scientists claim that this area was vastly different at one
14:02 time, that this high desert used to get 100 inches of rain
14:06 every year and was surrounded by volcanoes
14:09 in a near-tropical jungle rain forest.
14:13 They say that this area was a near-tropical rain forest
14:17 because most of the fossil leaves in the rocks
14:19 came from a rain forest environment.
14:22 Modern leaves that are similar are
14:24 found in Central and South America, Southeast
14:28 Asia, and Africa.
14:31 These include palm trees, and avocado.
14:34 But strong [? bedding ?] could indicate
14:37 that some of the layers may have been sorted by water,
14:40 or dropped from the air into the water.
14:43 There's no question about these cliffs being formed with water.
14:47 Secular scientists say it was made during a volcanic mudflow.
14:51 But there is more evidence to support that it
14:53 was made during the Flood.
14:55 NOAH JUSTICE (VOICEOVER): After day 150 of the Flood,
14:57 the waters began to recede.
15:00 As the Rockies were coming up, the earth's crust,
15:04 near Idaho, Oregon, and Washington,
15:06 developed deep cracks, opening up
15:08 fissures for large amounts of magma to come to the surface,
15:13 thus allowing for the Columbia River Basalts to form.
15:17 Ash from these eruptions would have
15:19 generated the airfall particles which
15:21 dropped into this formation.
15:24 Leftover vegetation from the beginning of the Flood
15:27 would have mixed in with the ash and created these layers.
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16:21 After a careful analysis of the geology and landscape,
16:25 the John Day River should have flowed past this area
16:28 and through Keys Creek Pass, just
16:30 to the west, which is about 1,000 feet lower.
16:34 But it went through this area we now call Picture Gorge.
16:38 In geomorphology, we call this a water gap.
16:42 Many water gaps can be seen around the world, where water
16:46 has cut through elevated areas.
16:48 NOAH JUSTICE (VOICEOVER): The most famous
16:50 is the Grand Canyon in Arizona.
16:53 Long ages can't explain this geologic feature.
16:57 Some secular scientists say that the land was pushed up
17:01 after the gap was made.
17:03 It's pretty easy to see this is not the case.
17:06 If the ground were pushed up, then you'd
17:08 see broken and cracked layers, which we don't see.
17:12 If the ground rose too quickly, it
17:14 would dam up and go the other way.
17:17 NOAH JUSTICE (VOICEOVER): Water gaps are a good indication
17:19 that there was a global Flood.
17:21 Based on observations, the astute researcher
17:24 recognizes that this canyon was formed
17:26 by catastrophic processes.
17:28 But sadly, many reject this truth
17:30 in favor of a secular worldview interpretation.
17:35 provides the perfect conditions to carve a canyon,
17:38 like we see at Picture Gorge.
17:39 [whoosh]
17:41 [hum]
17:43 [zap]
17:45 As you come out of Picture Gorge,
17:46 Sheep Rock towers in the middle of the valley.
17:50 It's an impressive sight, because all
17:52 of the layering seen in this mound
17:54 are several hundred feet high.
17:56 The bottom layers are the John Day formation,
17:58 mostly made up of ash.
18:00 The different colors represent the different stages
18:03 of its formation.
18:04 The lower is red.
18:06 The middle is greenish.
18:07 And the upper is a buff colored.
18:10 scientists say the John Day formation was made
18:14 18 to 39 million years ago.
18:17 But, because of the disjointed nature of the mammal skeletons
18:20 and the localized nature and varying thickness
18:23 of these beds, slumping and repositioning
18:26 of these sediments has likely occurred under water.
18:29 Put simply, the flood waters were
18:31 very active and violent while this layer was being deposited.
18:36 What's cool about Sheep Rock is the cap on the top.
18:39 After all that ash layering, the top
18:41 is basalt, from the Picture Gorge Basalts.
18:44 Sheep Rock used to be connected to the other formations
18:47 here in the valley.
18:48 But the receding flood waters carved around it
18:51 and left it standing alone.
18:53 NOAH JUSTICE (VOICEOVER): After the massive lava
18:55 flows covered the John Day formation, sediments of ash
18:58 were laid down during the late stages of the Flood
19:01 in the Pliocene Miocene mezcal formation.
19:04 Secular scientists say this layer was laid down
19:07 12 to 15 million years ago.
19:10 But what isn't admitted too often
19:12 is that this layer contains diatoms.
19:15 Diatoms are teeny, one-celled plants found in oceans.
19:20 Secular scientists have a tough time
19:22 coming up with a reasonable explanation
19:24 for how this layer formed.
19:26 But the Flood is a perfect model to explain
19:29 how it formed because it involved seas
19:31 where algae lived, and also it involved
19:34 catastrophic deposition.
19:37 In addition, the top of the mezcal formation
19:39 is very smooth, so there was little
19:42 or no erosion between the strata before the next layers
19:45 were laid down.
19:47 If millions of years had passed, there should be some erosion.
19:50 But it just isn't there.
19:52 [whoosh]
19:53 [hum]
19:56 [zap]
19:57 As you go throughout the John Day Fossil Beds,
19:59 there are many signs referring to the mammal fossils.
20:02 In fact, this area is considered one
20:04 of the largest beds for finding mammal fossils in the world.
20:08 NOAH JUSTICE (VOICEOVER): Many of these mammals
20:10 are unusual, because we don't see them today.
20:14 Yet most are related to modern, living mammals.
20:18 A few are extinct, and not related to any living mammals.
20:23 There are several cat-like carnivores,
20:26 over a dozen different members of the dog family,
20:29 horses, several different rhinoceroses, and a number
20:33 of different camels.
20:35 The visitors center and published materials
20:38 will say that these animal fossils had
20:40 evolved from common ancestors.
20:42 Yet, most of these mammals fit into the family categories
20:45 of living mammals.
20:47 The secular idea of evolution says
20:50 that the ancestors of modern animals were "simpler,"
20:53 and modern animals are more complex.
20:57 we should see a chain of animal fossils connecting these links.
21:01 Yet, when we look back through the fossil layers,
21:04 the earlier mammals are just as complex.
21:08 Evidence of evolution from simpler animals is lacking.
21:12 Of course, we expect this, since each kind of animal
21:16 was made on Creation Days 5 and 6,
21:19 with intricate design from an intricate Designer, God.
21:23 [whoosh]
21:26 Here at Goose Rock, a conglomerate layer
21:28 has been exposed.
21:29 Several different rock types intermix here,
21:33 indicating a water deposit.
21:35 NOAH JUSTICE (VOICEOVER): Some of the pebbles and gravel
21:37 in Goose Rock are thought, by secular scientists,
21:40 to have come from the Aldrich Mountains,
21:42 40 miles to the south, because the wash rock is
21:45 the same at both locations.
21:48 But there may be another source of these rocks,
21:51 much farther away.
21:52 NOAH JUSTICE (VOICEOVER): It's true.
21:53 These exotic, rounded cobbles and boulders
21:56 are found on the south side of the Aldrich Mountains,
21:59 but also in the Ochoco Mountains west of here.
22:03 The Aldrich Mountains may not be the source of these rocks,
22:07 but just a depositing point for a much larger transport
22:10 of stones.
22:12 A large concentration of these same type rocks
22:15 came from the Rockies, several hundred miles away.
22:19 Secular scientists have a very challenging time
22:22 trying to explain how this could have happened.
22:24 But as creationists, it isn't very hard
22:27 when we start from the Bible.
22:28 Massive amounts of water, such as during the global Flood,
22:32 would have been required to move this rock so great a distance.
22:36 [whoosh]
22:37 [hum]
22:39 [zap]
22:40 The John Day Fossil Beds are testament
22:42 to the quick deposition, volcanic activity, and erosion
22:46 of the earth during the year-long Flood, as described
22:50 in the book of Genesis.
22:51 NOAH JUSTICE (VOICEOVER): Researchers
22:52 can recognize that the evidence is
22:54 a good confirmation of the catastrophic processes that
22:57 formed these layers.
23:00 The lack of erosion between layers;
23:03 the massive erosion; and no evolutionary links
23:07 in the fossils; are all evidence for the Biblical record being
23:11 true.
23:12 Here at the monument, evolution and long ages
23:15 are presented as fact on the signs
23:18 and at the visitors center.
23:20 But the arguments just don't match up with the evidence.
23:24 What we see here reminds us that there
23:26 was a judgement for man's rebellion
23:28 against God, as recorded in the Bible.
23:31 NOAH JUSTICE (VOICEOVER): All the people and animals
23:34 on the land were destroyed, except for one righteous man,
23:38 his family, and all land-dwelling animals
23:41 on the Ark.
23:42 Because of His holiness and justice,
23:45 God promises a coming judgment for man's continued rebellion
23:49 after the Flood.
23:50 And this time, a judgment by fire.
23:54 NOAH JUSTICE (VOICEOVER): Yet, God in His love and mercy
23:56 has provided a way of escape through repentance
23:59 of sin and faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.
24:03 By His death on the cross, Jesus took the punishment
24:06 for your rebellion.
24:09 To be saved, you must repent of your sin and rebellion,
24:12 and turn your heart towards Him in faith.
24:15 NOAH JUSTICE (VOICEOVER): We don't know the day when
24:17 this next judgment is coming.
24:20 So turn to God today, before it's too late.
24:25 Come visit this amazing landscape
24:28 and see the evidence of catastrophic processes
24:31 during and after the global Flood.
24:34 That's all for now.
24:35 Remember, science-- it's awesome.
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Revised 2018-03-21